A resource for both professional and armchair canonists.

Also including the GIRM, GILH, CCC, CCEO, DC, SST, ESI, USCCB Norms, and Vos estis.


  • Section Numbers
  • Text Search    

  • Documents



The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Places
Canon 1205. Sacred places are those which are assigned to divine worship or to the burial of the faithful by the dedication or blessing which the liturgical books prescribe for this purpose.
Canon 1206. The dedication of a place belongs to the diocesan Bishop and to those equivalent to him in law. For a dedication in their own territory they can depute any
Bishop or, in exceptional cases, a priest.
Canon 1207. Sacred places are blessed by the Ordinary, but the blessing of churches is reserved to the diocesan Bishop. Both may, however, delegate another priest for the purpose.
Canon 1208. A document is to be drawn up to record the dedication or blessing of a church, or the blessing of a cemetery. One copy is to be kept in the diocesan curia, the other in the archive of the church.
Canon 1209. The dedication or the blessing of a place is sufficiently established even by a single unexceptionable witness, provided no one is harmed thereby.
Canon 1210. In a sacred place only those things are to be permitted which serve to exercise or promote worship, piety and religion. Anything out of harmony with the holiness of the place is forbidden. The Ordinary may however, for individual cases, permit other uses, provided they are not contrary to the sacred character of the place.
Canon 1211. Sacred places are desecrated by acts done in them which are gravely injurious and give scandal to the faithful when, in the judgement of the local
Ordinary, these acts are so serious and so contrary to the sacred character of the place that worship may not be held there until the harm is repaired by means of the penitential rite which is prescribed in the liturgical books.
Canon 1212. Sacred places lose their dedication or blessing if they have been in great measure destroyed, or if they have been permanently made over to secular usage, whether by decree of the competent Ordinary or simply in fact.
Canon 1213. Ecclesiastical authority freely exercises its powers and functions in sacred places.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Places » Churches
Canon 1214. The term church means a sacred building intended for divine worship, to which the faithful have right of access for the exercise, especially the public exercise, of divine worship.
Canon 1215. §1 No church is to be built without the express and written consent of the diocesan Bishop.

§2 The diocesan Bishop is not to give his consent until he has consulted the council of priests and the rectors of neighbouring churches, and then decides that the new church can serve the good of souls and that the necessary means will be available to build the church and to provide for divine worship.

§3 Even though they have received the diocesan Bishop’s consent to establish a new house in a diocese or city, religious institutes must obtain the same Bishop’s permission before they may build a church in a specific and determined place.
Canon 1216. In the building and restoration of churches the advice of experts is to be used, and the principles and norms of liturgy and of sacred art are to be observed.
Canon 1217. §1 As soon as possible after completion of the building the new church is to be dedicated or at least blessed, following the laws of the sacred liturgy.

§2 Churches, especially cathedrals and parish churches, are to be dedicated by a solemn rite.
Canon 1218. Each church is to have its own title. Once the church has been dedicated this title cannot be changed.
Canon 1219. All acts of divine worship may be carried out in a church which has been lawfully dedicated or blessed, without prejudice to parochial rights.
Canon 1220. §1 Those responsible are to ensure that there is in churches such cleanliness and ornamentation as befits the house of God, and that anything which is discordant with the sacred character of the place is excluded.

§2 Ordinary concern for preservation and appropriate means of security are to be employed to safeguard sacred and precious goods.
Canon 1221. Entry to a church at the hours of sacred functions is to be open and free of charge.
Canon 1222. §1 If a church cannot in any way be used for divine worship and there is no possibility of its being restored, the diocesan Bishop may allow it to be used for some secular but not unbecoming purpose.

§2 Where other grave reasons suggest that a particular church should no longer be used for divine worship, the diocesan Bishop may allow it to be used for a secular but not unbecoming purpose. Before doing so, he must consult the council of priests; he must also have the consent of those who could lawfully claim rights over that church, and be sure that the good of souls would not be harmed by the transfer.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Places » Oratories and private chapels
Canon 1223. An oratory means a place which, by permission of the Ordinary, is set aside for divine worship, for the convenience of some community or group of the faithful who assemble there, to which however other members of the faithful may, with the consent of the competent Superior, have access.
Canon 1224. §1 The Ordinary is not to give the permission required for setting up an oratory unless he has first, personally or through another, inspected the place destined for the oratory and found it to be becomingly arranged.

§2 Once this permission has been given, the oratory cannot be converted to a secular usage without the authority of the same Ordinary.
Canon 1225. All sacred services may be celebrated in a lawfully constituted oratory, apart from those which are excluded by the law, by a provision of the local Ordinary, or by liturgical laws.
Canon 1226. The term private chapel means a place which, by permission of the local
Ordinary, is set aside for divine worship, for the convenience of one or more individuals.
Canon 1227. Bishops can set up for their own use a private chapel which enjoys the same rights as an oratory.
Canon 1228. Without prejudice to the provision of can. 1227, the permission of the local Ordinary is required for the celebration of Mass and of other sacred functions in any private chapel.
Canon 1229. It is appropriate that oratories and private chapels be blessed according to the rite prescribed in the liturgical books. They must, however, be reserved for divine worship only and be freed from all domestic use.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Places » Shrines
Canon 1230. The term shrine means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary, is by reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims.
Canon 1231. For a shrine to be described as national, the approval of the Episcopal
Conference is necessary. For it to be described as international, the approval of the
Holy See is required.
Canon 1232. §1 The local Ordinary is competent to approve the statutes of a diocesan shrine; the Episcopal Conference, those of a national shrine; the Holy See alone, those of an international shrine.

§2 The statutes of a shrine are to determine principally its purpose, the authority of the rector, and the ownership and administration of its property.
Canon 1233. Certain privileges may be granted to shrines when the local circumstances, the number of pilgrims and especially the good of the faithful would seem to make this advisable.
Canon 1234. §1 At shrines the means of salvation are to be more abundantly made available to the faithful: by sedulous proclamation of the word of God, by suitable encouragement of liturgical life, especially by the celebration of the Eucharist and penance, and by the fostering of approved forms of popular devotion.

§2 In shrines or in places adjacent to them, votive offerings of popular art and devotion are to be displayed and carefully safeguarded.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Places » Altars
Canon 1235. §1 The altar or table on which the eucharistic Sacrifice is celebrated is termed fixed if it is so constructed that it is attached to the floor and therefore cannot be moved; it is termed movable, if it can be removed.

§2 It is proper that in every church there should be a fixed altar. In other places which are intended for the celebration of sacred functions, the altar may be either fixed or movable.
Canon 1236. §1 In accordance with the traditional practice of the Church, the table of a fixed altar is to be of stone, indeed of a single natural stone. However, even some
other worthy and solid material may be used, if the Episcopal Conference so judges.
The support or the base can be made from any material.

§2 A movable altar can be made of any solid material which is suitable for liturgical use.
Canon 1237. §1 Fixed altars are to be dedicated, movable ones either dedicated or blessed, according to the rites prescribed in the liturgical books.

§2 The ancient tradition of placing relics of Martyrs or of other Saints within a fixed altar is to be retained, in accordance with the rites prescribed in the liturgical books.
Canon 1238. §1 An altar loses its dedication or blessing in accordance with can. 1212.

§2 Altars, whether fixed or movable, do not lose their dedication or blessing as a result of a church or other sacred place being made over to secular usage.
Canon 1239. §1 An altar, whether fixed or movable, is to be reserved for divine worship alone, to the exclusion of any secular usage.

§2 No corpse is to be buried beneath an altar; otherwise, it is not lawful to celebrate
Mass at that altar.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Places » Cemeteries
Canon 1240. §1 Where possible, the Church is to have its own cemeteries, or at least an area in public cemeteries which is duly blessed and reserved for the deceased faithful.

§2 If, however, this is not possible, then individual graves are to be blessed in due form on each occasion.
Canon 1241. §1 Parishes and religious institutes may each have their own cemetery.

§2 Other juridical persons or families may each have their own special cemetery or burial place which, if the local Ordinary judges accordingly, is to be blessed.
Canon 1242. Bodies are not to be buried in churches, unless it is a question of the
Roman Pontiff or of Cardinals or, in their proper Churches, of diocesan Bishops even retired.
Canon 1243. Appropriate norms are to be enacted by particular law for the management of cemeteries, especially in what concerns the protection and the fostering of their sacred character.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Times
Canon 1244. §1 Only the supreme ecclesiastical authority can establish, transfer or suppress holydays or days of penance which are applicable to the universal Church, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1246 §2.

§2 Diocesan Bishops can proclaim special holydays or days of penance for their own dioceses or territories, but only for individual occasions.
Canon 1245. Without prejudice to the right of diocesan Bishops as in can. 87, a parish priest, in individual cases, for a just reason and in accordance with the prescriptions of the diocesan Bishop, can give a dispensation from the obligation of observing a holyday or day of penance, or commute the obligation into some other pious works.
The Superior of a pontifical clerical religious institute or society of apostolic life has the same power in respect of his own subjects and of those who reside day and night in a house of the institute or society.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Times » Feast days
Canon 1246. §1 The Lord’s Day, on which the paschal mystery is celebrated, is by apostolic tradition to be observed in the universal Church as the primary holyday of obligation. In the same way the following holydays are to be observed: the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of St Joseph, the feast of the Apostles SS Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints.

§2 However, the Episcopal Conference may, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, suppress certain holydays of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.
Canon 1247. On Sundays and other holydays of obligation, the faithful are obliged to assist at Mass. They are also to abstain from such work or business that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the joy proper to the Lord’s Day, or the due relaxation of mind and body.
Canon 1248. §1 The obligation of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day.

§2 If it is impossible to assist at a eucharistic celebration, either because no sacred minister is available or for some other grave reason, the faithful are strongly recommended to take part in a liturgy of the Word, if there be such in the parish church or some other sacred place, which is celebrated in accordance with the provisions laid down by the diocesan Bishop; or to spend an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family or, as occasion presents, in a group of families.
The Sanctifying Function of the Church » Sacred Places and Times » Sacred Times » Days of penance
Canon 1249. All Christ’s faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence which the following canons prescribe.
Canon 1250. The days and times of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.
Canon 1251. Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the
Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good
Canon 1252. The law of abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year. Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Canon 1253. The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

Page generated in 0.0041 seconds.