Without prejudice to can. 1547
, whatever the local civil law decrees about contracts, both generally and specifically, and about the voiding of contracts, is to be observed regarding goods which are subject to the power of governance of the
Church, and with the same effect, provided that the civil law is not contrary to divine law, and that canon law does not provide otherwise.
The permission of the authority competent by law is required for the valid alienation of goods which, by lawful assignment, constitute the stable patrimony of a public juridical person, whenever their value exceeds the sum determined by law.
§1 Without prejudice to the provision of can. 638
§3, when the amount of the goods to be alienated is between the minimum and maximum sums to be established by the Episcopal Conference for its region, the competent authority in the case of juridical persons not subject to the diocesan Bishop is determined by the juridical person’s own statutes. In other cases, the competent authority is the diocesan
Bishop acting with the consent of the finance committee, of the college of consultors, and of any interested parties. The diocesan Bishop needs the consent of these same persons to alienate goods which belong to the diocese itself.
§2 The permission of the Holy See also is required for the valid alienation of goods whose value exceeds the maximum sum, or if it is a question of the alienation of something given to the Church by reason of a vow, or of objects which are precious by reason of their artistic or historical significance.
§3 When a request is made to alienate goods which are divisible, the request must state what parts have already been alienated; otherwise, the permission is invalid.
§4 Those who must give advice about or consent to the alienation of goods are not to give this advice or consent until they have first been informed precisely both about the economic situation of the juridical person whose goods it is proposed to alienate and about alienations which have already taken place.
§1 To alienate goods whose value exceeds the determined minimum sum, it is also required that there be:
1° a just reason, such as urgent necessity, evident advantage, or a religious, charitable or other grave pastoral reason;
2° a written expert valuation of the goods to be alienated.
§2 To avoid harm to the Church, any other precautions drawn up by lawful authority are also to be followed.
§1 Normally goods must not be alienated for a price lower than that given in the valuation.
§2 The money obtained from alienation must be carefully invested for the benefit of the Church, or prudently expended according to the purposes of the alienation.
The provisions of can. 1291-1294,
to which the statutes of juridical persons are to conform, must be observed not only in alienation, but also in any dealings in which the patrimonial condition of the juridical person may be jeopardised.
When alienation has taken place without-the prescribed canonical formalities, but is valid in civil law, the competent authority must carefully weigh all the circumstances and decide whether, and if so what, action is to be taken, namely personal or real, by whom and against whom, to vindicate the rights of the Church.
It is the duty of the Episcopal Conference, taking into account the local circumstances, to determine norms about the leasing of ecclesiastical goods, especially about permission to be obtained from the competent ecclesiastical authority.
Unless they are of little value, ecclesiastical goods are not to be sold or leased to the administrators themselves or to their relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, without the special written permission of the competent authority.
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