The Temporal Goods of the Church
» The Acquisition of Goods
The Church may acquire temporal goods in any way in which, by either natural or positive law, it is lawful for others to do this.
The Church has the inherent right to require from the faithful whatever is necessary for its proper objectives.
§1 The faithful have the right to donate temporal goods for the benefit of the Church.
§2 The diocesan Bishop is bound to remind the faithful of the obligation mentioned in can. 222
§1, and in an appropriate manner to urge it.
The faithful are to give their support to the Church in response to appeals and in accordance with the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference.
The diocesan Bishop, after consulting the finance committee and the council of priests, has the right to levy on public juridical persons subject to his authority a tax for the needs of the diocese. This tax must be moderate and proportionate to their income. He may impose an extraordinary and moderate tax on other physical and juridical persons only in a grave necessity and under the same conditions, but without prejudice to particular laws and customs which may give him greater rights.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 1263, 20.V.1989]
Unless the law prescribes otherwise, it is for the provincial Bishops’ meeting to:
1° determine the taxes, to be approved by the Apostolic See, for acts of executive authority which grant a favour, or for the execution of rescripts from the Apostolic
2° determine the offerings on the occasion of the administration of the sacraments and sacramentals.
§1 Without prejudice to the right of mendicant religious, all private juridical or physical persons are forbidden to make a collection for any pious or ecclesiastical institute or purpose without the written permission of their proper
Ordinary and of the local Ordinary.
§2 The Episcopal Conference can draw up rules regarding collections, which must be observed by all, including those who from their foundation are called and are
§1 In all churches and oratories regularly open to Christ’s faithful, including those belonging to religious institutes, the local Ordinary may order that a special collection be taken up for specified parochial, diocesan, national or universal initiatives. The collection must afterwards be carefully forwarded to the diocesan curia.
§1 Unless the contrary is clear, offerings made to Superiors or administrators of any ecclesiastical juridical person, even a private one, are presumed to have been made to the juridical person itself.
§2 If there is question of a public juridical person, the offerings mentioned in §1 cannot be refused except for a just reason and, in matters of greater importance, with the permission of the Ordinary. Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1295,
permission of the Ordinary is also required for the acceptance of offerings to which are attached some qualifying obligation or condition.
§3 Offerings given by the faithful for a specified purpose may be used only for that purpose.
The Church recognises prescription, in accordance with can. 197-199,
as a means both of acquiring temporal goods and of being freed from their obligations.
Sacred objects in private ownership may be acquired by private persons by prescription, but they may not be used for secular purposes unless they have lost their dedication or blessing. If, however, they belong to a public ecclesiastical juridical person, they may be acquired only by another public ecclesiastical juridical person.
Immovable goods, precious movable goods, rights and legal claims, whether personal or real, which belong to the Apostolic See, are prescribed after a period of one hundred years. For those goods which belong to another public ecclesiastical juridical person, the period for prescription is thirty years.
By reason of their bond of unity and charity, and according to the resources of their dioceses, Bishops are to join together to produce those means which the Apostolic See may from time to time need to exercise properly its service of the universal Church.
In those regions where benefices properly so called still exist, it is for the
Episcopal Conference to regulate such benefices by appropriate norms, agreed with and approved by the Apostolic See. The purpose of these norms is that the income and as far as possible the capital itself of the benefice should by degrees be transferred to the fund mentioned in can. 1274
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