» Ecclesiastical Offices
» Provision of Ecclesiastical Office
Unless it is otherwise provided in the law or in the statutes of the college or group, if a college or a group of persons enjoys the right to elect to an office, the election is not to be deferred beyond three canonical months, to be reckoned from the receipt of notification of the vacancy of the office. If the election does not take place within that time, the ecclesiastical authority who has the right of confirming the election or the right to make provision otherwise, is freely to provide for the vacant office.
Canon 164.General Norms
Unless it has been otherwise provided in the law, the provisions of the following canons are to be observed in canonical elections.
» Ecclesiastical Offices
» Provision of Ecclesiastical Office
The authority to whom, in accordance with the law, it belongs to appoint one who is presented, is to appoint the person lawfully presented whom he has judged suitable, and who has accepted. If a number lawfully presented are judged suitable, he is to appoint one of them.
A person who has not presented anyone within the canonical time prescribed by can. 158
§1 and can. 161,
or who has twice presented a candidate judged to be unsuitable, loses the right of presentation for that case. The authority who is competent to appoint may then freely provide for the vacant office, but with the consent of the proper Ordinary of the person appointed.
§1 Unless the law prescribes otherwise, one who has presented a person who is judged unsuitable, may within a month present another candidate, but once only.
§2 If before the appointment is made the person presented has withdrawn or has died, the one with the right of presentation may exercise this right again, within a month of receiving notice of the withdrawal or of the death.
§1 One who has the right of presentation may present one or more persons, either simultaneously or successively.
§2 No persons may present themselves. However a college or a group of persons may present one of its members.
No one is to be presented who is unwilling. Accordingly, one who is proposed for presentation must be consulted, and may be presented if within eight canonical days a refusal is not entered.
Canon 158.General Norms
§1 Presentation to an ecclesiastical office by a person having the right of presentation must be made to the authority who is competent to make an appointment to the office in question; unless it is otherwise lawfully provided, presentation is to be made within three months of receiving notification of the vacancy of the office.
§2 If the right of presentation belongs to a college or group of persons, the person to be presented is to be designated according to the provisions of can. 165--179
» Ecclesiastical Offices
» Provision of Ecclesiastical Office
» Free Conferral
Canon 157.General Norms
Unless the law expressly states otherwise, it is the prerogative of the diocesan Bishop to make appointments to ecclesiastical offices in his own particular
Church by free conferral.
» Ecclesiastical Offices
» Provision of Ecclesiastical Office
The provision of any office is to be made in writing.
One who confers an office in the place of another who is negligent or impeded, does not thereby acquire any power over the person on whom the office is conferred; the juridical condition of the latter is the same as if the provision of the office had been carried out in accordance with the ordinary norm of law.
An office which in law is vacant, but which someone unlawfully still holds, may be conferred, provided that it has been properly declared that such possession is not lawful, and that mention is made of this declaration in the letter of conferral.
§1 The provision of an office which in law is not vacant is by that very fact invalid, nor does it become valid by subsequent vacancy.
§2 If, however, there is question of an office which by law is conferred for a determinate time, provision can be made within six months before the expiry of this time, and it takes effect from the day the office falls vacant.
§3 The promise of any office, by whomsoever it is made, has no juridical effect.
Two or more offices which are incompatible, that is, which cannot be exercised at the same time by the same person, are not to be conferred upon anyone.
The provision of an office which carries with it the care of souls is not to be deferred without grave reason.
An office which carries with it the full care of souls, for which the exercise of the order of priesthood is required, cannot validly be conferred upon a person who is not yet a priest.
§1 In order to be promoted to an ecclesiastical office, one must be in communion with the Church, and be suitable, that is, possessed of those qualities which are required for that office by universal or particular law or by the law of the foundation.
§2 The provision of an ecclesiastical office to a person who lacks the requisite qualities is invalid only if the qualities are expressly required for validity by universal or particular law or by the law of the foundation; otherwise it is valid, but it can be rescinded by a decree of the competent authority or by a judgement of an administrative tribunal.
§3 The provision of an office made as a result of simony, is invalid by virtue of the law itself.
Unless the law provides otherwise, the provision of an office is the prerogative of the authority which is competent to establish, change or suppress the office.
The provision of an ecclesiastical office is effected: by its being freely conferred by the competent ecclesiastical authority; by appointment made by the same authority, where there has been a prior presentation; by confirmation or admission by the same authority, where there has been a prior election or postulation; finally, by a simple election and acceptance of the election, if the election does not require confirmation.
Canon 146.General Norms
An ecclesiastical office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision.
» Ecclesiastical Offices
Canon 145.General Norms
§1 An ecclesiastical office is any post which by divine or ecclesiastical disposition is established in a stable manner to further a spiritual purpose.
§2 The duties and rights proper to each ecclesiastical office are defined either by the law whereby the office is established, or by a decree of the competent authority whereby it is at one and at the same time established and conferred.
» The Power of Governance
§1 In common error, whether of fact or of law, and in positive and probable doubt, whether of law or of fact, the Church supplies executive power of governance for both the external and the internal forum.
§2 The same norm applies to the faculties mentioned in cann. 883, 966, and 1111
§1 Ordinary power ceases on the loss of the office to which it is attached.
§2 Unless the law provides otherwise, ordinary power is suspended if an appeal or a recourse is lawfully made against a deprivation of, or removal from, office.
§1 Delegated power lapses: on the completion of the mandate; on the expiry of the time or the completion of the number of cases for which it was granted; on the cessation of the motivating reason for the delegation; on its revocation by the person delegating, when communicated directly to the person delegated; and on the retirement of the person delegated, when communicated to and accepted by the person delegating. It does not lapse on the expiry of the authority of the person delegating, unless this appears from clauses attached to it.
§2 An act of delegated power exercised for the internal forum only, which is inadvertently performed after the time limit of the delegation, is valid.
If several people are successively delegated, that person is to deal with the matter whose mandate was the earlier and was not subsequently revoked.
§1 When several people are together delegated to act in the same matter, the person who has begun to deal with it excludes the others from acting, unless that person is subsequently impeded, or does not wish to proceed further with the matter.
§2 When several people are delegated to act as a college in a certain matter, all must proceed in accordance with can. 119,
unless the mandate provides otherwise.
§3 Executive power delegated to several people is presumed to be delegated to them together.
§1 Unless the law prescribes otherwise, the tact that a person approaches some competent authority, even a higher one, does not mean that the executive power of another competent authority is suspended, whether that be ordinary or delegated.
§2 A lower authority, however, is not to interfere in cases referred to higher authority, except for a grave and urgent reason; in which case the higher authority is to be notified immediately.
Ordinary executive power, and power delegated for all cases, are to be interpreted widely; any other power is to be interpreted strictly. Delegation of power to a person is understood to include everything necessary for the exercise of that power.
§1 Ordinary executive power can be delegated either for an individual case or for all cases, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
§2 Executive power delegated by the Apostolic See can be subdelegated, either for an individual case or for all cases, unless the delegation was deliberately given to the individual alone, or unless subdelegation was expressly prohibited.
§3 Executive power delegated by another authority having ordinary power, if delegated for all cases, can be subdelegated only for individual cases; if delegated for a determinate act or acts, it cannot be subdelegated, except by the express grant of the person delegating.
§4 No subdelegated power can again be subdelegated, unless this was expressly granted by the person delegating.
Persons may exercise executive power over their subjects, even when either they themselves or their subjects are outside the territory, unless it is otherwise clear from the nature of things or from the provisions of law. They can exercise this power over peregrini who are actually living in the territory, if it is a question of granting favours, or of executing universal or particular laws by which the peregrini are bound in accordance with can. 13
§2, n. 2.
§1 The power of governance is divided into legislative, executive and judicial power.
§2 Legislative power is to be exercised in the manner prescribed by law; that which in the Church a legislator lower than the supreme authority has cannot be delegated, unless the law explicitly provides otherwise. A lower legislator cannot validly make a law which is contrary to that of a higher legislator.
§3 Judicial power, which is possessed by judges and judicial colleges, is to be exercised in the manner prescribed by law, and it cannot be delegated except for the performance of acts preparatory to some decree or judgement.
§4 As far as the exercise of executive power is concerned, the provisions of the following canons are to be observed.
§1 In law the term Ordinary means, apart from the Roman Pontiff, diocesan
Bishops and all who, even for a time only, are set over a particular Church or a community equivalent to it in accordance with can. 368,
and those who in these have general ordinary executive power, that is, Vicars general and episcopal Vicars; likewise, for their own members, it means the major Superiors of clerical religious institutes of pontifical right and of clerical societies of apostolic life of pontifical right, who have at least ordinary executive power.
§2 The term local Ordinary means all those enumerated in §1, except Superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life.
§3 Whatever in the canons, in the context of executive power, is attributed to the diocesan Bishop, is understood to belong only to the diocesan Bishop and to those others in can. 381
§2 who are equivalent to him, to the exclusion of the Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar except by special mandate.
§1 A delegate who exceeds the limits of the mandate, with regard either to things or to persons, performs no act at all.
§2 A delegate is not considered to have exceeded the mandate when what was delegated is carried out, but in a manner different to that determined in the mandate, unless the manner was prescribed for validity by the delegating authority.
§1 Habitual faculties are governed by the provisions concerning delegated power.
§2 However, unless the grant has expressly provided otherwise, or the Ordinary was deliberately chosen as the only one to exercise the faculty, an habitual faculty granted to an Ordinary does not lapse on the expiry of the authority of the Ordinary to whom it was given, even if he has already begun to exercise the faculty, but it passes to the
Ordinary who succeeds him in governance.
§1 Ordinary power of governance is that which by virtue of the law itself is attached to a given office; delegated power is that which is granted to a person other than through an office.
§2 Ordinary power of governance may be proper or vicarious.
§3 One who claims to have been delegated has the onus of proving the delegation.
Of itself the power of governance is exercised for the external forum; sometimes however it is exercised for the internal forum only, but in such a way that the effects which its exercise is designed to have in the external forum are not
acknowledged in that forum, except in so far as the law prescribes this for determinate cases.
Canon 129.General Norms
§1 Those who are in sacred orders are, in accordance with the provisions of law, capable of the power of governance, which belongs to the Church by divine institution. This power is also called the power of jurisdiction.
§2 Lay members of Christ’s faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this same power in accordance with the law.
» Juridic Acts
Whoever unlawfully causes harm to another by a juridical act, or indeed by any other act which is deceitful or culpable, is obliged to repair the damage done.
§1 When the law prescribes that, in order to perform a juridical act, a
Superior requires the consent or the advice of some college or group of persons, the college or group must be convened in accordance with can. 166,
unless, if there is question of seeking advice only, particular or proper law provides otherwise. For the validity of the act, it is required that the consent be obtained of an absolute majority of those present, or that the advice of all be sought.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 127 §1, 5.VII.1985]
§2 When the law prescribes that, in order to perform a juridical act, a Superior requires the consent or advice of certain persons as individuals:
1° if consent is required, the Superior’s act is invalid if the Superior does not seek the consent of those persons, or acts against the vote of all or of any of them;
2° if advice is required, the Superior’s act is invalid if the Superior does not hear those persons. The Superior is not in any way bound to accept their vote, even if it is unanimous; nevertheless, without what is, in his or her judgement, an overriding reason, the Superior is not to act against their vote, especially if it is a unanimous one.
§3 All whose consent or advice is required are obliged to give their opinions sincerely. If the seriousness of the matter requires it, they are obliged carefully to maintain secrecy, and the Superior can insist on this obligation.
An act is invalid when performed as a result of ignorance or of error which concerns the substance of the act, or which amounts to a condition sine qua non; otherwise it is valid, unless the law provides differently. But an act done as a result of ignorance or error can give rise to a rescinding action in accordance with the law.
§1 An act is invalid if performed as a result of force imposed from outside on a person who was quite unable to resist it.
§2 An act performed as a result of fear which is grave and unjustly inflicted, or as a result of deceit, is valid, unless the law provides otherwise. However, it can be rescinded by a court judgement, either at the instance of the injured party or that party’s successors in law, or ex officio.
Canon 124.General Norms
§1 For the validity of a juridical act, it is required that it be performed by a person who is legally capable, and it must contain those elements which constitute the essence of the act, as well as the formalities and requirements which the law prescribes for the validity of the act.
§2 A juridical act which, as far as its external elements are concerned, is properly performed, is presumed to be valid.
» Physical and Juridic Person
» Juridical Persons
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.
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.
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.
§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.
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.
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.
No aggregate of persons or of things seeking juridical personality can acquire it unless its statutes are approved by the competent authority.
§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.
§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 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.
Canon 113.General Norms
§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.
» Physical and Juridic Person
» The Canonical Condition of Physical Persons
§1 After the reception of baptism, the following are enrolled in another
Church sui iuris:
1° one who has obtained permission from the Apostolic See;
2° a spouse who, on entering marriage or during its course, has declared that he or she is transferring to the Church ‘sui iuris’ of the other spouse; on the dissolution of the marriage, however, that person may freely return to the Latin Church;
3° the children of those mentioned in nn. 1 and 2 who have not completed their fourteenth year, and likewise in a mixed marriage the children of a Catholic party who has lawfully transferred to another Church ‘sui iuris’; on completion of their fourteenth year, however, they may return to the Latin Church.
§2. The practice, however long standing, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of another Church ‘sui iuris’, does not bring with it membership of that Church.
§3. Each transfer to another Church ‘sui iuris’ is valid from the moment of the declaration made in the presence of the local ordinary of the said Church or of its
pastor or of the priest delegated by one of them and of two witnesses, unless a rescript of the Apostolic See disposes otherwise; and is noted in the baptismal register.
[revised wording according to m.p. De concordia inter Codices, 31.V.2016]
§1 Through the reception of baptism a child is ascribed to the Latin Church if the parents belong to that Church or, should one of them not belong to it, if both parents agree in choosing that the child be baptised in the Latin Church; but, if the agreement is lacking, the child is ascribed to the Church ‘sui iuris’, to which the father belongs.
§2. However, if only one parent is Catholic, the child is ascribed to the Church to which the Catholic parent belongs.
§3. Any candidate for baptism who has completed the fourteenth year of age may freely choose to be baptised either in the Latin Church or in another Church ‘sui iuris’; in which case the person is ascribed to the Church which he or she has chosen.
[revised wording according to m.p. De concordia inter Codices, 31.V.2016]
Children who have been adopted in accordance with the civil law are considered the children of that person or those persons who have adopted them.
§1 Affinity arises from a valid marriage, even if not consummated, and it exists between the man and the blood relations of the woman, and likewise between the woman and the blood relations of the man.
§2 It is reckoned in such a way that the blood relations of the man are related by affinity to the woman in the same line and the same degree, and vice versa.
§1 Consanguinity is reckoned by lines and degrees.
§2 In the direct line there are as many degrees as there are generations, that is, as there are persons, not counting the common ancestor.
§3 In the collateral line there are as many degrees as there are persons in both lines together, not counting the common ancestor.
§1 Both through domicile and through quasi-domicile everyone acquires his or her own parish priest and Ordinary.
§2 The proper parish priest or Ordinary of a vagus is the parish priest or Ordinary of the place where the vagus is actually residing.
§3 The proper parish priest of one who has only a diocesan domicile or quasi-domicile is the parish priest of the place where that person is actually residing.
Domicile or quasi-domicile is lost by departure from the place with the intention of not returning, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 105
§1 A minor necessarily retains the domicile or quasi-domicile of the person to whose authority the minor is subject. A minor who is no longer an infant can acquire a quasi-domicile of his or her own and, if lawfully emancipated in accordance with the civil law, a domicile also.
§2 One who for a reason other than minority is lawfully entrusted to the guardianship or tutelage of another, has the domicile and quasidomicile of the guardian or curator.
Spouses are to have a common domicile or quasi-domicile. By reason of lawful separation or for some other just reason, each may have his or her own domicile or quasi-domicile.
Members of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life acquire a domicile in the place where the house to which they belong is situated. They acquire a quasi-domicile in the house in which, in accordance with can. 102
§2, they reside.
§1 Domicile is acquired by residence in the territory of a parish, or at least of a diocese, which is either linked to the intention of remaining there permanently if nothing should occasion its withdrawal, or in fact protracted for a full five years.
§2 Quasi-domicile is acquired by residence in the territory of a parish, or at least of a diocese, which is either linked to the intention of remaining there for three months if nothing should occasion its withdrawal, or in fact protracted for three months.
§3 Domicile or quasi-domicile in the territory of a parish is called parochial; in the territory of a diocese, even if not in a parish, it is called diocesan.
§1 The place of origin of a child, and even of a neophyte, is that in which the parents had a domicile or, lacking that, a quasi-domicile when the child was born; if the parents did not have the same domicile or quasi-domicile, it is that of the mother.
§2 In the case of a child of vagi, the place of origin is the actual place of birth; in the case of a foundling, it is the place where it was found.
A person is said to be: an incola, in the place where he or she has a domicile; an advena, in the place of quasi-domicile; a peregrinus, if away from the domicile or quasi-domicile which is still retained; a vagus, if the person has nowhere a domicile or quasi-domicile.
Whoever habitually lacks the use of reason is considered as incapable of personal responsibility and is regarded as an infant.
§1 A person who has attained majority has the full exercise of his or her rights.
§2 In the exercise of rights a minor remains subject to parents or guardians, except for those matters in which by divine or by canon law minors are exempt from such authority. In regard to the appointment of guardians and the determination of their powers, the provisions of civil law are to be observed, unless it is otherwise provided in canon law or unless, in specific cases and for a just reason, the diocesan Bishop has decided that the matter is to be catered for by the appointment of another guardian.
§1 A person who has completed the eighteenth year of age, has attained majority; below this age, a person is a minor.
§2 A minor who has not completed the seventh year of age is called an infant and is considered incapable of personal responsibility; on completion of the seventh year, however, the minor is presumed to have the use of reason.
Canon 96.General Norms
By baptism one is incorporated into the Church of Christ and constituted a person in it, with the duties and the rights which, in accordance with each one’s status, are proper to christians, in so far as they are in ecclesiastical communion and unless a lawfully issued sanction intervenes.
» Statutes and Rules of Order
§1 Ordinances are rules or norms to be observed both in assemblies of persons, whether these assemblies are convened by ecclesiastical authority or are freely convoked by the faithful, and in other celebrations: they define those matters which concern their constitution, direction and agenda.
§2 In assemblies or celebrations, those who take part are bound by these rules of ordinance.
Canon 94.General Norms
§1 Statutes properly so called are regulations which are established in accordance with the law in aggregates of persons or of things, whereby the purpose, constitution, governance and manner of acting of these bodies are defined.
§2 The statutes of an aggregate of persons bind only those persons who are lawfully members of it; the statutes of an aggregate of things bind those who direct it.
§3 The provisions of statutes which are established and promulgated by virtue of legislative power, are regulated by the provisions of the canons concerning laws.
» Singular Administrative Acts
A dispensation capable of successive applications ceases in the same way as a privilege. It also ceases by the certain and complete cessation of the motivating reason.
A strict interpretation is to be given not only to a dispensation in accordance with can. 36
§1, but also to the very power of dispensing granted for a specific case.
In respect of their subjects, even if these are outside the territory, those who have the power of dispensing can exercise it even if they themselves are outside their territory; unless the contrary is expressly provided, they can exercise it also in respect of peregrini actually present in the territory; they can exercise it too in respect of themselves.
§1 A dispensation from an ecclesiastical law is not to be given without a just and reasonable cause, taking into account the circumstances of the case and the importance of the law from which the dispensation is given; otherwise the dispensation is unlawful and, unless given by the legislator or his superior, it is also invalid.
§2 A dispensation given in doubt about the sufficiency of its reason is valid and lawful.
Parish priests and other priests or deacons cannot dispense from universal or particular law unless this power is expressly granted to them.
The local Ordinary can dispense from diocesan laws and, whenever he judges that it contributes to the spiritual welfare of the faithful, from laws made by a plenary or a provincial Council or by the Episcopal Conference.
§1 Whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual welfare, the diocesan Bishop can dispense the faithful from disciplinary laws, both universal laws and those particular laws made by the supreme ecclesiastical authority for his territory or his subjects. He cannot dispense from procedural laws or from penal laws, nor from those whose dispensation is specially reserved to the Apostolic See or to some other authority.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 87 §1, 5.VII.1985]
§2 If recourse to the Holy See is difficult, and at the same time there is danger of grave harm in delay, any Ordinary can dispense from these laws, even if the dispensation is reserved to the Holy See, provided the dispensation is one which the
Holy See customarily grants in the same circumstances, and without prejudice to can.
In so far as laws define those elements which are essentially constitutive of institutes or of juridical acts, they are not subject to dispensation.
Canon 85.General Norms
A dispensation, that is, the relaxation of a merely ecclesiastical law in a particular case, can be granted, within the limits of their competence, by those who have executive power, and by those who either explicitly or implicitly have the power of dispensing, whether by virtue of the law itself or by lawful delegation.
» Singular Administrative Acts
A person who abuses a power given by a privilege deserves to be deprived of the privilege itself. Accordingly, after a warning which has been in vain, the
Ordinary, if it was he who granted it, is to deprive the person of the privilege which he or she is gravely abusing; if the privilege has been granted by the Apostolic See, the Ordinary is obliged to make the matter known to it.
§1 Without prejudice to can. 142
§2, a privilege ceases on the expiry of the time or the completion of the number of cases for which it was granted.
§2 It ceases also if in the judgement of the competent authority circumstances are so changed with the passage of time that it has become harmful, or that its use becomes unlawful.
A privilege which does not burden others does not lapse through non-use or contrary use; if it does cause an inconvenience for others, it is lost if lawful prescription intervenes.
A privilege is not extinguished on the expiry of the authority of the person who granted it, unless it was given with the clause ‘at our pleasure’ or another equivalent expression.
§1 No privilege ceases by renunciation unless this has been accepted by the competent authority.
§2 Any physical person may renounce a privilege granted in his or her favour only.
§3 Individual persons cannot renounce a privilege granted to a juridical person, or granted by reason of the dignity of a place or thing. Nor can a juridical person renounce a privilege granted to it, if the renunciation would be prejudicial to the
Church or to others.
Without prejudice to can. 46,
a privilege ceases by revocation on the part of the competent authority in accordance with can. 47
§1 A privilege is presumed to be perpetual, unless the contrary is proved.
§2 A personal privilege, namely one which attaches to a person, is extinguished with the person.
§3 A real privilege ceases on the total destruction of the thing or place; a local privilege, however, revives if the place is restored within fifty years.
A privilege is to be interpreted in accordance with can. 36
§1. The interpretation must, however, always be such that the beneficiaries of the privilege do in fact receive some favour.
Canon 76.General Norms
§1 A privilege is a favour given by a special act for the benefit of certain persons, physical or juridical; it can be granted by the legislator, and by an executive authority to whom the legislator has given this power.
§2 Centennial or immemorial possession of a privilege gives rise to the presumption that it has been granted.
» Singular Administrative Acts
If a rescript contains a privilege or a dispensation, the provision of the following canons are also to be observed.
Although one who has been granted a favour orally may use it in the internal forum, that person is obliged to prove the favour for the external forum whenever this is lawfully requested.
No rescripts are revoked by a contrary law, unless it is otherwise provided in the law itself.
Rescripts granted by the Apostolic See which have expired, can for a just reason be extended by the diocesan Bishop, but once only and not beyond three months.
No one is obliged to use a rescript granted in his or her favour only, unless bound by a canonical obligation from another source to do so .
If in a rescript the very granting of the favour is entrusted to the executor, it is a matter for the executor’s prudent judgement and conscience to grant or to refuse the favour.
A rescript for whose presentation no time is determined, may be submitted to the executor at any time, provided there is no fraud or deceit.
A rescript of the Apostolic See in which there is no executor must be presented to the Ordinary of the person who obtains it only when this is prescribed in the rescript, or when there is question of public affairs, or when it is necessary to have the conditions verified.
§1 If it should happen that two contrary rescripts are obtained for one and the same thing, where specific matters are expressed, the specific prevails over the general.
§2 If both are equally specific or equally general, the one earlier in time prevails over the later, unless in the later one there is an express mention of the earlier, or unless the person who first obtained the rescript has not used it by reason of deceit or of notable personal negligence.
§3 In doubt as to whether a rescript is invalid or not, recourse is to be made to the issuing authority.
A rescript is not rendered invalid because of an error in the name of the person to whom it is given or by whom it is issued, or of the place in which such person resides, or of the matter concerned, provided that in the judgement of the
Ordinary there is no doubt about the person or the matter in question.
§1 Without prejudice to the provisions of §§2 and 3, no one is to seek from another Ordinary a favour which was refused by that person’s proper Ordinary, unless mention is made of the refusal. When the refusal is mentioned, the Ordinary is not to grant the favour unless he has learned from the former Ordinary the reasons for the refusal.
§2 A favour refused by a Vicar general or an episcopal Vicar cannot be validly granted by another Vicar of the same Bishop, even when he has learned from the
Vicar who refused the reasons for the refusal.
§3 A favour refused by a Vicar general or an episcopal Vicar and later, without any mention being made of this refusal, obtained from the diocesan Bishop, is invalid. A favour refused by the diocesan Bishop cannot, without the Bishop’s consent, validly be obtained from his Vicar general or episcopal Vicar, even though mention is made of the refusal.
Without prejudice to the right of the Penitentiary for the internal forum, a favour refused by any department of the Roman Curia cannot validly be granted by another department of the same Curia, or by any other competent authority below the
Roman Pontiff, without the approval of the department which was first approached.
§1 Except where there is question of a rescript which grants a favour Motu proprio, subreption, that is, the withholding of the truth, renders a rescript invalid if the request does not express that which, according to canonical law, style and practice, must for validity be expressed.
§2 Obreption, that is, the making of a false statement, renders a rescript invalid if not even one of the motivating reasons submitted is true.
§3 In rescripts of which there is no executor, the motivating reason must be true at the time the rescript is issued; in the others, at the time of execution.
A rescript in which there is no executor, has effect from the moment the document was issued; the others have effect from the moment of execution.
Unless it is otherwise established, a rescript can be obtained for another, even without that person’s consent, and it is valid before its acceptance, without prejudice to contrary clauses.
Any rescript can be obtained by all who are not expressly prohibited.
Canon 59.General Norms
§1 A rescript is an administrative act issued in writing by a competent authority, by which of its very nature a privilege, dispensation or other favour is granted at someone’s request.
§2 Unless it is otherwise established, provisions laid down concerning rescripts apply also to the granting of permission and to the granting of favours by word of mouth.
» Singular Administrative Acts
» Singular Decrees and Precepts
§1 A singular decree ceases to have force when it is lawfully revoked by the competent authority, or when the law ceases for whose execution it was issued.
§2 A singular precept, which was not imposed by a lawful document, ceases on the expiry of the authority of the person who issued it.
§1 Whenever the law orders a decree to be issued, or when a person who is concerned lawfully requests a decree or has recourse to obtain one, the competent authority is to provide for the situation within three months of having received the petition or recourse, unless a different period of time is prescribed by law.
§2 If this period of time has expired and the decree has not yet been given, then as far as proposing a further recourse is concerned, the reply is presumed to be negative.
§3 A presumed negative reply does not relieve the competent authority of the obligation of issuing the decree, and, in accordance with can. 128,
of repairing any harm done.
A decree is deemed to have been made known if the person to whom it is directed has been duly summoned to receive or to hear the decree, and without a just reason has not appeared or has refused to sign.
Without prejudice to cann. 37 and 51
, whenever a very grave reason prevents the handing over of the written text of a decree, the decree is deemed to have been made known if it is read to the person to whom it is directed, in the presence of a notary or two witnesses- a record of the occasion is to be drawn up and signed by all present.
§1 A singular decree whose application is entrusted to an executor, has effect from the moment of execution; otherwise, from the moment when it is made known to the person on the authority of the one who issued it.
§2 For a singular decree to be enforceable, it must be made known by a lawful document in accordance with the law.
If decrees are contrary one to another, where specific matters are expressed, the specific prevails over the general; if both are equally specific or equally general, the one later in time abrogates the earlier insofar as it is contrary to it.
A singular decree has effect in respect only of those matters it determines and of those persons to whom it was issued; it obliges such persons everywhere, unless it is otherwise clear.
A decree is to be issued in writing. When it is a decision, it should express, at least in summary form, the reasons for the decision.
Before issuing a singular decree, the person in authority is to seek the necessary information and proof and, as far as possible, is to consult those whose rights could be harmed.
A singular precept is a decree by which an obligation is directly and lawfully imposed on a specific person or persons to do or to omit something, especially in order to urge the observance of a law.
Canon 48.General Norms
A singular decree is an administrative act issued by a competent executive authority, whereby in accordance with the norms of law a decision is given or a provision made for a particular case; of its nature this decision or provision does not presuppose that a petition has been made by anyone.
» Singular Administrative Acts
» Common Norms
The revocation of an administrative act by another administrative act of the competent authority takes effect only from the moment at which the person to whom it was issued is lawfully notified.
An administrative act does not cease on the expiry of the authority of the person issuing it, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
If there has been any error in the execution of an administrative act, the executor may execute it again.
An administrative act can also be executed by the executor’s successor in office, unless the first had been chosen deliberately as the only person to be executor.
The executor of an administrative act may in his prudent judgement substitute another for himself, unless substitution has been forbidden, or he has been deliberately chosen as the only person to be executor, or a specific person has been designated as substitute; however, in these cases the executor may commit the preparatory acts to another.
The executor of an administrative act must proceed in accordance with the mandate. If, however, the executor has not fulfilled essential conditions attached to
the document, or has not observed the substantial form of procedure, the execution is invalid.
The executor of an administrative act to whom the task of execution only is entrusted, cannot refuse to execute it, unless it is quite clear that the act itself is null, or that it cannot for some other grave reason be sustained, or that the conditions attached to the administrative act itself have not been fulfilled. If, however, the execution of the administrative act would appear to be inopportune, by reason of the circumstances of person or place, the executor is to desist from the execution, and immediately inform the person who issued the act.
The executor of any administrative act cannot validly carry out this office before receiving the relevant document and establishing its authenticity and integrity, unless prior notice of this document has been conveyed to the executor on the authority of the person who issued the administrative act.
Conditions attached to an administrative act are considered to concern validity only when they are expressed by the particles ‘if’, ‘unless’, ‘provided that’.
An administrative act, even if there is question of a rescript given Motu proprio, has no effect in so far as it harms the acquired right of another, or is contrary to a law or approved custom, unless the competent authority has expressly added a derogatory clause.
An administrative act which concerns the external forum is to be effected in writing; likewise, if it requires an executor, the act of execution is to be in writing.
§1 An administrative act is to be understood according to the proper meaning of the words and the common manner of speaking. In doubt, a strict interpretation is to be given to those administrative acts which concern litigation or threaten or inflict penalties, or restrict the rights of persons, or harm the acquired rights of others, or run counter to a law in favour of private persons; all other administrative acts are to be widely interpreted.
§2 Administrative acts must not be extended to cases other than those expressly stated.
Canon 35.General Norms
Within the limits of his or her competence, one who has executive power can issue a singular administrative act, either by decree or precept, or by rescript, without prejudice to can. 76
» General Decrees and Instructions
§1 Instructions, namely, which set out the provisions of a law and develop the manner in which it is to be put into effect, are given for the benefit of those whose duty it is to execute the law, and they bind them in executing the law. Those who have executive power may, within the limits of their competence, lawfully publish such instructions.
§2 The regulations of an instruction do not derogate from the law, and if there are any which cannot be reconciled with the provisions of the law they have no force.
§3 Instructions cease to have force not only by explicit or implicit revocation by the competent authority who published them or by that authority’s superior, but also by the cessation of the law which they were designed to set out and execute.
§1 General executory decrees, even if published in directories or other such documents, do not derogate from the law, and any of their provisions which are contrary to the law have no force.
§2 These decrees cease to have force by explicit or implicit revocation by the competent authority, and by the cessation of the law for whose execution they were issued. They do not cease on the expiry of the authority of the person who issued them, unless the contrary is expressly provided.
General executory decrees which define the manner of application or urge the observance of laws, bind those who are bound by the laws.
§1 Within the limits of their competence, those who have executive power can issue general executory decrees, that is, decrees which define more precisely the manner of applying a law, or which urge the observance of laws.
§2 The provisions of can. 8
are to be observed in regard to the promulgation, and to the interval before the coming into effect, of the decrees mentioned in §1.
A general decree, as in can. 29,
cannot be made by one who has only executive power, unless in particular cases this has been expressly authorised by the competent legislator in accordance with the law, and provided the conditions prescribed in the act of authorisation are observed.
Canon 29.General Norms
General decrees, by which a competent legislator makes common provisions for a community capable of receiving a law, are true laws and are regulated by the provisions of the canons on laws.
Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 5,
a custom, whether contrary to or apart from the law, is revoked by a contrary custom or law. But unless the law makes express mention of them, it does not revoke centennial or immemorial customs, nor does a universal law revoke particular customs.
Custom is the best interpreter of laws.
Unless it has been specifically approved by the competent legislator, a custom which is contrary to the canon law currently in force, or is apart from the canon law, acquires the force of law only when it has been lawfully observed for a period of thirty continuous and complete years. Only a centennial or immemorial custom can prevail over a canonical law which carries a clause forbidding future customs.
No custom acquires the force of law unless it has been observed, with the intention of introducing a law, by a community capable at least of receiving a law.
§1 No custom which is contrary to divine law can acquire the force of law.
§2 A custom which is contrary to or apart from canon law, cannot acquire the force of law unless it is reasonable; a custom which is expressly reprobated in the law is not reasonable.
Canon 23.General Norms
A custom introduced by a community of the faithful has the force of law only if it has been approved by the legislator, in accordance with the following canons.
» Ecclesiastical Laws
When the law of the Church remits some issue to the civil law, the latter is to be observed with the same effects in canon law, insofar as it is not contrary to divine law, and provided it is not otherwise stipulated in canon law.
In doubt, the revocation of a previous law is not presumed; rather, later laws are to be related to earlier ones and, as far as possible, harmonised with them.
A later law abrogates or derogates from an earlier law, if it expressly so states, or if it is directly contrary to that law, or if it integrally reorders the whole subject matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, does not derogate from a particular or from a special law, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
If on a particular matter there is not an express provision of either universal or particular law, nor a custom, then, provided it is not a penal matter, the question is to be decided by taking into account laws enacted in similar matters, the general principles of law observed with canonical equity, the jurisprudence and practice of the Roman Curia, and the common and constant opinion of learned authors.
Laws which prescribe a penalty, or restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception to the law, are to be interpreted strictly.
Ecclesiastical laws are to be understood according to the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains doubtful or obscure, there must be recourse to parallel places, if there be any, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator.
§1 Laws are authentically interpreted by the legislator and by that person to whom the legislator entrusts the power of authentic interpretation.
§2 An authentic interpretation which is presented by way of a law has the same force as the law itself, and must be promulgated. If it simply declares the sense of words which are certain in themselves, it has retroactive force. If it restricts or extends the law or resolves a doubt, it is not retroactive.
§3 On the other hand, an interpretation by way of a court judgement or of an administrative act in a particular case, does not have the force of law. It binds only those persons and affects only those matters for which it was given.
§1 Ignorance or error concerning invalidating or incapacitating laws does not prevent the effect of those laws, unless it is expressly provided otherwise.
§2 Ignorance or error is not presumed about a law, a penalty, a fact concerning oneself, or a notorious fact concerning another. It is presumed about a fact concerning another which is not notorious, until the contrary is proved.
Laws, even invalidating and incapacitating ones, do not oblige when there is a doubt of law. When there is a doubt of fact, however Ordinaries can dispense from them provided, if there is question of a reserved dispensation, it is one which the authority to whom it is reserved is accustomed to grant.
§1 Particular laws are not presumed to be personal, but rather territorial, unless the contrary is clear.
§2 Peregrini are not bound:
1° by the particular laws of their own territory while they are absent from it, unless the transgression of those laws causes harm in their own territory, or unless the laws are personal
2° by the laws of the territory in which they are present, except for those laws which take care of public order, or determine the formalities of legal acts, or concern immovable property located in the territory.
§3 Vagi are bound by both the universal and the particular laws which are in force in the place in which they are present.
§1 Universal laws are binding everywhere on all those for whom they were enacted.
§2 All those actually present in a particular territory in which certain universal laws are not in force, are exempt from those laws.
§3 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 13,
laws enacted for a particular territory bind those for whom they were enacted and who have a domicile or quasi-domicile in that territory and are actually residing in it.
Merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who were baptised in the catholic
Church or received into it, and who have a sufficient use of reason and, unless the law expressly provides otherwise, who have completed their seventh year of age.
Only those laws are to be considered invalidating or incapacitating which expressly prescribe that an act is null or that a person is incapable.
Laws concern matters of the future, not those of the past, unless provision is made in them for the latter by name.
§1 Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the ‘Acta Apostolicae Sedis’, unless in particular cases another manner of promulgation has been prescribed. They come into force only on the expiry of three months from the date appearing on the particular issue of the ‘Acta’, unless because of the nature of the case they bind at once, or unless a shorter or a longer interval has been specifically and expressly prescribed m the law itself.
§2 Particular laws are promulgated in the manner determined by the legislator; they begin to oblige one month from the date of promulgation, unless a different period is prescribed in the law itself.
Canon 7.General Norms
A law comes into being when it is promulgated.
§1 When this Code comes into force, the following are abrogated:
1° the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;
2° other laws, whether universal or particular, which are contrary to the provisions of this Code, unless it is otherwise expressly provided in respect of particular laws;
3° all penal laws enacted by the Apostolic See, whether universal or particular, unless they are resumed in this Code itself;
4° any other universal disciplinary laws concerning matters which are integrally reordered by this Code.
§2 To the extent that the canons of this Code reproduce the former law, they are to be assessed in the light also of canonical tradition.
§1 Universal or particular customs which have been in effect up to now but are contrary to the provisions of these canons and are reprobated in the canons of this Code, are completely suppressed, and they may not be allowed to revive in the future. Other contrary customs are also to be considered suppressed, unless the Code expressly provides otherwise, or unless they are centennial or immemorial: these latter may be tolerated if the Ordinary judges that, in the circumstances of place and person, they cannot be removed.
§2 Customs apart from the law, whether universal or particular, which have been in effect hitherto, are retained.
Acquired rights, and likewise privileges hitherto granted by the Apostolic See to either physical or juridical persons, which are still in use and have not been revoked, remain intact, unless they are expressly revoked by the canons of this Code.
The canons of the Code do not abrogate, nor do they derogate from, agreements entered into by the Apostolic See with nations or other civil entities. For this reason, these agreements continue in force as hitherto, notwithstanding any contrary provisions of this Code.
For the most part the Code does not determine the rites to be observed in the celebration of liturgical actions. Accordingly, liturgical laws which have been in effect hitherto retain their force, except those which may be contrary to the canons of the Code.
The canons of this Code concern only the Latin Church.
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