» Physical and Juridic Person
» Juridical Persons
§1 The catholic Church and the Apostolic See have the status of a moral person by divine disposition.
§2 In the Church, besides physical persons, there are also juridical persons, that is, in canon law subjects of obligations and rights which accord with their nature.
§1 Aggregates of persons or of things which are directed to a purpose befitting the Church’s mission, which transcends the purpose of the individuals, are constituted juridical persons either by a provision of the law itself or by a special concession given in the form of a decree by the competent authority.
§2 The purposes indicated in §1 are understood to be those which concern works of piety, of the apostolate or of charity, whether spiritual or temporal.
§3 The competent ecclesiastical authority is not to confer juridical personality except on those aggregates of persons or of things which aim at a genuinely useful purpose and which, all things considered, have the means which are foreseen to be sufficient to achieve the purpose in view.
§1 Juridical persons in the Church are either aggregates of persons or aggregates of things.
§2 An aggregate of persons, which must be made up of at least three persons, is collegial if the members decide its conduct by participating together in making its decisions, whether by equal right or not, in accordance with the law and the statutes; otherwise, it is non-collegial.
§3 An aggregate of things, or an autonomous foundation, consists of goods or things, whether spiritual or material, and is directed, in accordance with the law and the statutes, by one or more physical persons or by a college.
§1 Public juridical persons are aggregates of persons or of things which are established by the competent ecclesiastical authority so that, within the limits allotted to them in the name of the Church, and in accordance with the provisions of law, they might fulfil the specific task entrusted to them for the public good. Other juridical persons are private.
§2 Public juridical persons are given this personality either by the law itself or by a special decree of the competent authority expressly granting it. Private juridical persons are given this personality only by a special decree of the competent authority expressly granting it.
No aggregate of persons or of things seeking juridical personality can acquire it unless its statutes are approved by the competent authority.
Those persons represent, and act in the name of, a public juridical person whose competence to do so is acknowledged by universal or particular law, or by their own statutes; those persons represent a private juridical person who are given this competence by their statutes.
In regard to collegial acts, unless the law or the statutes provide otherwise:
1° in regard to elections, provided a majority of those who must be summoned are present, what is decided by an absolute majority of those present has the force of law. If there have been two inconclusive scrutinies, a vote is to be taken between the two candidates with the greatest number of votes or, if there are more than two, between the two senior by age. After a third inconclusive scrutiny, that person is deemed elected who is senior by age;
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 119 1º, 28.VI.1990]
2° in regard to other matters, provided a majority of those who must be summoned are present, what is decided by an absolute majority of those present has the force of law. If the votes are equal after two scrutinies, the person presiding can break the tie with a casting vote;
3° that which affects all as individuals must be approved by all.
§1 A juridical person is by its nature perpetual. It ceases to exist, however, if it is lawfully suppressed by the competent authority, or if it has been inactive for a hundred years. A private juridical person also ceases to exist if the association itself is dissolved in accordance with the statutes, or if, in the judgement of the competent authority, the foundation itself has, in accordance with the statutes, ceased to exist.
§2 If even a single member of a collegial juridical person survives, and the aggregate of persons has not, according to the statutes, ceased to exist, the exercise of all the rights of the aggregate devolves upon that member.
When aggregates of persons or of things which are public juridical persons are so amalgamated that one aggregate, itself with a juridical personality, is formed, this new juridical person obtains the patrimonial goods and rights which belonged to the previous aggregates; it also accepts the liabilities of the previous aggregates. In what concerns particularly the arrangements for the goods and the discharge of
obligations, the wishes of the founders and benefactors, and any acquired rights must be safeguarded.
When an aggregate which is a public juridical person is divided in such a way that part of it is joined to another juridical person or a distinct public juridical person is established from one part of it, the first obligation is to observe the wishes of the founders and benefactors, the demands of acquired rights and the requirements of the approved statutes. Then the competent ecclesiastical authority, either personally or through an executor, is to ensure:
1° that the divisible common patrimonial goods and rights, the monies owed and the other liabilities, are divided between the juridical persons in question in due proportion, in a fashion which is equitable and right, taking account of all the circumstances and needs of both;
2° that the use and enjoyment of the common goods which cannot be divided, be given to each juridical person, and also that the liabilities which are proper to each are the responsibility of each, in due proportion, in a fashion which is equitable and right.
On the extinction of a public juridical person, the arrangements for its patrimonial goods and rights, and for its liabilities, are determined by law and the statutes. If these do not deal with the matter, the arrangements devolve upon the next higher juridical person, always with due regard for the wishes of the founders or benefactors and for acquired rights. On the extinction of a private juridical person, the arrangements for its goods and liabilities are governed by its own statutes.
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