The Temporal Goods of the Church
» The Acquisition of Goods
The Church can acquire temporal goods by every just means of natural or positive law permitted to others.
The Church has an innate right to require from the Christian faithful those things which are necessary for the purposes proper to it.
§1. The Christian faithful are free to give temporal goods for the benefit of the Church.
§2. The diocesan bishop is bound to admonish the faithful of the obligation mentioned in can. 222,
§1 and in an appropriate manner to urge its observance.
The faithful are to give support to the Church by responding to appeals and according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops.
After the diocesan bishop has heard the finance council and the presbyteral council, he has the right to impose a moderate tax for the needs of the diocese upon public juridic persons subject to his governance; this tax is to be proportionate to their income. He is permitted only to impose an extraordinary and moderate exaction upon other physical and juridic persons in case of grave necessity and under the same conditions, without prejudice to particular laws and customs which attribute greater rights to him.
Unless the law has provided otherwise, it is for a meeting of the bishops of a province:
1. to fix the fees for acts of executive power granting a favor or for the execution of rescripts of the Apostolic See, to be approved by the Apostolic See itself;
2. to set a limit on the offerings on the occasion of the administration of sacraments and sacramentals.
§1. Without prejudice to the right of religious mendicants, any private person, whether physical or juridic, is forbidden to beg for alms for any pious or ecclesiastical institute or purpose without the written permission of that person’s own ordinary and of the local ordinary.
§2. The conference of bishops can establish norms for begging for alms which all must observe, including those who by their foundation are called and are mendicants.
In all churches and oratories which are, in fact, habitually open to the Christian faithful, including those which belong to religious institutes, the local ordinary can order the taking up of a special collection for specific parochial, diocesan, national, or universal projects; this collection must be diligently sent afterwards to the diocesan curia.
§1. Unless the contrary is established, offerings given to superiors or administrators of any ecclesiastical juridic person, even a private one, are presumed given to the juridic person itself.
§2. The offerings mentioned in §1 cannot be refused except for a just cause and, in matters of greater importance if it concerns a public juridic person, with the permission of the ordinary; the permission of the same ordinary is required to accept offerings burdened by a modal obligation or condition, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 1295
§3. Offerings given by the faithful for a certain purpose can be applied only for that same purpose.
The Church recognizes prescription as a means of acquiring temporal goods and freeing oneself from them, according to the norm of can. 197-199
If sacred objects are privately owned, private persons can acquire them through prescription, but it is not permitted to employ them for profane uses unless they have lost their dedication or blessing; if they belong to a public ecclesiastical juridic person, however, only another public ecclesiastical juridic person can acquire them.
If they belong to the Apostolic See, immovable property, precious movable objects, and personal or real rights and actions are prescribed by a period of a hundred years; if they belong to another public ecclesiastical juridic person, they are prescribed by a period of thirty years.
By reason of the bond of unity and charity and according to the resources of their dioceses, bishops are to assist in procuring those means which the Apostolic See needs, according to the conditions of the times, so that it is able to offer service properly to the universal Church.
In regions where benefices properly so called still exist, it is for the conference of bishops, through appropriate norms agreed to and approved by the Apostolic See, to direct the governance of such benefices in such a way that the income and even, insofar as possible, the endowment itself of the benefices are gradually transferred to the institute mentioned in can. 1274,
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