The People of God
» The Christian Faithful
§1. The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through baptism, have been constituted as the people of God. For this reason, made sharers in their own way in Christ’s priestly, prophetic, and royal function, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each.
§2. This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.
Those baptized are fully in the communion of the Catholic Church on this earth who are joined with Christ in its visible structure by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical governance.
§1. Catechumens, that is, those who ask by explicit choice under the influence of the Holy Spirit to be incorporated into the Church, are joined to it in a special way. By this same desire, just as by the life of faith, hope, and charity which they lead, they are united with the Church which already cherishes them as its own.
§2. The Church has a special care for catechumens; while it invites them to lead a life of the gospel and introduces them to the celebration of sacred rites, it already grants them various prerogatives which are proper to Christians.
Canon 207.The People of God
§1. By divine institution, there are among the Christian faithful in the Church sacred ministers who in law are also called clerics; the other members of the Christian faithful are called lay persons.
§2. There are members of the Christian faithful from both these groups who, through the profession of the evangelical counsels by means of vows or other sacred bonds recognized and sanctioned by the Church, are consecrated to God in their own special way and contribute to the salvific mission of the Church; although their state does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church, it nevertheless belongs to its life and holiness.
» The Christian Faithful
» The Obligations and Rights of all the Christian Faithful
From their rebirth in Christ, there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality regarding dignity and action by which they all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ according to each one’s own condition and function.
§1. The Christian faithful, even in their own manner of acting, are always obliged to maintain communion with the Church.
§2. With great diligence they are to fulfill the duties which they owe to the universal Church and the particular church to which they belong according to the prescripts of the law.
All the Christian faithful must direct their efforts to lead a holy life and to promote the growth of the Church and its continual sanctification, according to their own condition.
All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and more reaches all people in every age and in every land.
§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.
§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.
§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments.
The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church.
The Christian faithful are at liberty freely to found and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common pursuit of these purposes.
Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless, no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.
Since they are called by baptism to lead a life in keeping with the teaching of the gospel, the Christian faithful have the right to a Christian education by which they are to be instructed properly to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation.
Those engaged in the sacred disciplines have a just freedom of inquiry and of expressing their opinion prudently on those matters in which they possess expertise, while observing the submission due to the magisterium of the Church.
All the Christian faithful have the right to be free from any kind of coercion in choosing a state of life.
No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.
§1. The Christian faithful can legitimately vindicate and defend the rights which they possess in the Church in the competent ecclesiastical forum according to the norm of law.
§2. If they are summoned to a trial by a competent authority, the Christian faithful also have the right to be judged according to the prescripts of the law applied with equity.
§3. The Christian faithful have the right not to be punished with canonical penalties except according to the norm of law.
§1. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.
§2. They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor from their own resources.
Canon 223.The People of God
§1. In exercising their rights, the Christian faithful, both as individuals and gathered together in associations, must take into account the common good of the Church, the rights of others, and their own duties toward others.
§2. In view of the common good, ecclesiastical authority can direct the exercise of rights which are proper to the Christian faithful.
» The Christian Faithful
» The Obligations and Rights of the Lay Christian Faithful
In addition to those obligations and rights which are common to all the Christian faithful and those which are established in other canons, the lay Christian faithful are bound by the obligations and possess the rights which are enumerated in the canons of this title.
§1. Since, like all the Christian faithful, lay persons are designated by God for the apostolate through baptism and confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and possess the right as individuals, or joined in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation is made known and accepted by all persons everywhere in the world. This obligation is even more compelling in those circumstances in which only through them can people hear the gospel and know Christ.
§2. According to each one’s own condition, they are also bound by a particular duty to imbue and perfect the order of temporal affairs with the spirit of the gospel and thus to give witness to Christ, especially in carrying out these same affairs and in exercising secular functions.
§1. According to their own vocation, those who live in the marital state are bound by a special duty to work through marriage and the family to build up the people of God.
§2. Since they have given life to their children, parents have a most grave obligation and possess the right to educate them. Therefore, it is for Christian parents particularly to take care of the Christian education of their children according to the doctrine handed on by the Church.
The lay Christian faithful have the right to have recognized that freedom which all citizens have in the affairs of the earthly city. When using that same freedom, however, they are to take care that their actions are imbued with the spirit of the gospel and are to heed the doctrine set forth by the magisterium of the Church. In matters of opinion, moreover, they are to avoid setting forth their own opinion as the doctrine of the Church.
§1. Lay persons who are found suitable are qualified to be admitted by the sacred pastors to those ecclesiastical offices and functions which they are able to exercise according to the precepts of the law.
§2. Lay persons who excel in necessary knowledge, prudence, and integrity are qualified to assist the pastors of the Church as experts and advisors, even in councils according to the norm of law.
§1. Lay persons are bound by the obligation and possess the right to acquire knowledge of Christian doctrine appropriate to the capacity and condition of each in order for them to be able to live according to this doctrine, announce it themselves, defend it if necessary, and take their part in exercising the apostolate.
§2. They also possess the right to acquire that fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences which are taught in ecclesiastical universities and faculties or in institutes of religious sciences, by attending classes there and pursuing academic degrees.
§3. If the prescripts regarding the requisite suitability have been observed, they are also qualified to receive from legitimate ecclesiastical authority a mandate to teach the sacred sciences.
§1. Lay men who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte.
Nevertheless, the conferral of these ministries does not grant them the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church.
§2. Lay persons can fulfill the function of lector in liturgical actions by temporary designation. All lay persons can also perform the functions of commentator or cantor, or other functions, according to the norm of law.
§3. When the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside over liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion, according to the prescripts of the law.
Canon 231.The People of God
§1. Lay persons who permanently or temporarily devote themselves to special service of the Church are obliged to acquire the appropriate formation required to fulfill their function properly and to carry out this function conscientiously, eagerly, and diligently.
§2. Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 230,
§1 and with the prescripts of civil law having been observed, lay persons have the right to decent remuneration appropriate to their condition so that they are able to provide decently for their own needs and those of their family. They also have a right for their social provision, social security, and health benefits to be duly provided.
» The Christian Faithful
» Sacred Ministers or Clerics
» The Formation of Clerics
The Church has the duty and the proper and exclusive right to form those who are designated for the sacred ministries.
§1. The duty of fostering vocations rests with the entire Christian community so that the needs of the sacred ministry in the universal Church are provided for sufficiently. This duty especially binds Christian families, educators, and, in a special way, priests, particularly pastors. Diocesan bishops, who most especially are to be concerned for promoting vocations, are to teach the people entrusted to them of the importance of the sacred ministry and of the need for ministers in the Church and are to encourage and support endeavors to foster vocations, especially by means of projects established for that purpose.
§2. Moreover, priests, and especially diocesan bishops, are to have concern that men of a more mature age who consider themselves called to the sacred ministries are prudently assisted in word and deed and duly prepared.
§1. Minor seminaries and other similar institutions are to be preserved, where they exist, and fostered; for the sake of fostering vocations, these institutions provide special religious formation together with instruction in the humanities and science. Where the diocesan bishop judges it expedient, he is to erect a minor seminary or similar institution.
§2. Unless in certain cases circumstances indicate otherwise, young men disposed to the priesthood are to be provided with that formation in the humanities and science by which the youth in their own region are prepared to pursue higher studies.
§1. Young men who intend to enter the priesthood are to be provided with a suitable spiritual formation and prepared for their proper duties in a major seminary throughout the entire time of formation or, if in the judgment of the diocesan bishop circumstances demand it, for at least four years.
§2. The diocesan bishop is to entrust those who legitimately reside outside a seminary to a devout and suitable priest who is to be watchful that they are carefully formed in the spiritual life and in discipline.
According to the prescripts of the conference of bishops, those aspiring to the permanent diaconate are to be formed to nourish a spiritual life and instructed to fulfill correctly the duties proper to that order:
1. young men are to live at least three years in some special house unless the diocesan bishop has established otherwise for grave reasons;
2. men of a more mature age, whether celibate or married, are to spend three years in a program defined by the conference of bishops.
§1. Where it is possible and expedient, there is to be a major seminary in every diocese; otherwise, the students who are preparing for the sacred ministries are to be entrusted to another seminary, or an interdiocesan seminary is to be erected.
§2. An interdiocesan seminary is not to be erected unless the conference of bishops, if the seminary is for its entire territory, or the bishops involved have obtained the prior approval of the Apostolic See for both the erection of the seminary and its statutes.
§1. Seminaries legitimately erected possess juridic personality in the Church by the law itself.
§2. In the handling of all affairs, the rector of the seminary represents it unless competent authority has established otherwise for certain affairs.
§1. Every seminary is to have a rector who presides over it, a vice-rector if one is needed, a finance officer, and, if the students pursue their studies in the seminary itself, teachers who give instruction in various disciplines coordinated in an appropriate manner.
§2. Every seminary is to have at least one spiritual director, though the students remain free to approach other priests who have been designated for this function by the bishop.
§3. The statutes of a seminary are to provide ways through which the other moderators, the teachers, and even the students themselves participate in the responsibility of the rector, especially in maintaining discipline.
§1. In addition to ordinary confessors, other confessors are to come regularly to the seminary. Without prejudice to the discipline of the seminary, students are always free to approach any confessor, whether in the seminary or outside it.
§2. When decisions are made about admitting students to orders or dismissing them from the seminary, the opinion of the spiritual director and confessors can never be sought.
§1. A diocesan bishop is to admit to a major seminary only those who are judged qualified to dedicate themselves permanently to the sacred ministries; he is to consider their human, moral, spiritual, and intellectual qualities, their physical and psychic health, and their correct intention.
§2. Before they are accepted, they must submit documents of the reception of baptism and confirmation and any other things required by the prescripts of the program of priestly formation.
§3. If it concerns admitting those who were dismissed from another seminary or religious institute, testimony of the respective superior is also required, especially concerning the cause for their dismissal or departure.
§1. Each nation is to have a program of priestly formation which is to be established by the conference of bishops, attentive to the norms issued by the supreme authority of the Church, and which is to be approved by the Holy See. This program is to be adapted to new circumstances, also with the approval of the Holy See, and is to define the main principles of the instruction to be given in the seminary and general norms adapted to the pastoral needs of each region or province.
§2. All seminaries, both diocesan and interdiocesan, are to observe the norms of the program mentioned in §1.
In addition, each seminary is to have its own rule, approved by the diocesan bishop, or, if it is an interdiocesan seminary, by the bishops involved, which is to adapt the norms of the program of priestly formation to particular circumstances and especially to determine more precisely the points of discipline which pertain to the daily life of the students and the order of the entire seminary.
The spiritual formation and doctrinal instruction of the students in a seminary are to be arranged harmoniously and so organized that each student, according to his character, acquires the spirit of the gospel and a close relationship with Christ along with appropriate human maturity.
§1. Through their spiritual formation, students are to become equipped to exercise the pastoral ministry fruitfully and are to be formed in a missionary spirit; they are to learn that ministry always carried out in living faith and charity fosters their own sanctification. They also are to learn to cultivate those virtues which are valued highly in human relations so that they are able to achieve an appropriate integration between human and supernatural goods.
§2. Students are so to be formed that, imbued with love of the Church of Christ, they are bound by humble and filial charity to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, are attached to their own bishop as faithful coworkers, and work together with their brothers. Through common life in the seminary and through relationships of friendship and of association cultivated with others, they are to be prepared for fraternal union with the diocesan presbyterium whose partners they will be in the service of the Church.
§1. The eucharistic celebration is to be the center of the entire life of a seminary in such a way that, sharing in the very love of Christ, the students daily draw strength of spirit for apostolic work and for their spiritual life especially from this richest of sources.
§2. They are to be formed in the celebration of the liturgy of the hours by which the ministers of God pray to God in the name of the Church for all the people entrusted to them, and indeed, for the whole world.
§3. The veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary, including the marian rosary, mental prayer, and other exercises of piety are to be fostered; through these, students are to acquire a spirit of prayer and gain strength in their vocation.
§4. Students are to become accustomed to approach the sacrament of penance frequently; it is also recommended that each have a director of his spiritual life whom he has freely chosen and to whom he can confidently open his conscience.
§5. Each year students are to make a spiritual retreat.
§1. Students are to be prepared through suitable education to observe the state of celibacy and are to learn to honor it as a special gift of God.
§2. They are duly to be informed of the duties and burdens which are proper to sacred ministers of the Church; no difficulty of the priestly life is to be omitted.
The doctrinal instruction given is to be directed so that students acquire an extensive and solid learning in the sacred disciplines along with a general culture appropriate to the necessities of place and time, in such way that, grounded in their own faith and nourished thereby, they are able to announce in a suitable way the teaching of the gospel to the people of their own time in a manner adapted to their understanding.
The program of priestly formation is to provide that students not only are carefully taught their native language but also understand Latin well and have a suitable understanding of those foreign languages which seem necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of pastoral ministry.
The philosophical and theological studies which are organized in the seminary itself can be pursued either successively or conjointly, in accord with the program of priestly formation. These studies are to encompass at least six full years in such a way that the time dedicated to philosophical disciplines equals two full years and to theological studies four full years.
Philosophical instruction must be grounded in the perennially valid philosophical heritage and also take into account philosophical investigation over the course of time. It is to be taught in such a way that it perfects the human development of the students, sharpens their minds, and makes them better able to pursue theological studies.
§1. Theological instruction is to be imparted in the light of faith and under the leadership of the magisterium in such a way that the students understand the entire Catholic doctrine grounded in divine revelation, gain nourishment for their own spiritual life, and are able properly to announce and safeguard it in the exercise of the ministry.
§2. Students are to be instructed in sacred scripture with special diligence in such a way that they acquire a comprehensive view of the whole of sacred scripture.
§3. There are to be classes in dogmatic theology, always grounded in the written word of God together with sacred tradition; through these, students are to learn to penetrate more intimately the mysteries of salvation, especially with St. Thomas as a teacher. There are also to be classes in moral and pastoral theology, canon law, liturgy, ecclesiastical history, and other auxiliary and special disciplines, according to the norm of the prescripts of the program of priestly formation.
§1. The bishop or bishops concerned are to appoint to the function of teacher in philosophical, theological, and juridic disciplines only those who are outstanding in virtue and have obtained a doctorate or licentiate from a university or faculty recognized by the Holy See.
§2. Care is to be taken that different teachers are appointed to teach sacred scripture, dogmatic theology, moral theology, liturgy, philosophy, canon law, ecclesiastical history, and other disciplines which must be taught according to their proper methodology.
§3. The authority mentioned in §1 is to remove a teacher who is gravely deficient in his or her function.
§1. In giving instruction in their disciplines, teachers are to have a constant concern for the intimate unity and harmony of the entire doctrine of the faith so that students find that they learn one science. For this to be realized more suitably, there is to be someone in the seminary who directs the entire curriculum of studies.
§2. Students are to be instructed in such a way that they also become qualified to examine questions by their own appropriate research and with scientific methodology; therefore, there are to be assignments in which the students learn to pursue certain studies through their own efforts under the direction of the teachers.
Although the entire formation of students in the seminary has a pastoral purpose, strictly pastoral instruction is to be organized through which students learn the principles and skills which, attentive also to the needs of place and time, pertain to the exercise of the ministry of teaching, sanctifying, and governing the people of God.
§1. Students are to be instructed diligently in those things which in a particular manner pertain to the sacred ministry, especially in catechetical and homiletic skills, in divine worship and particularly the celebration of the sacraments, in relationships with people, even non-Catholics or non-believers, in the administration of a parish, and in the fulfillment of other functions.
§2. Students are to be instructed about the needs of the universal Church in such a way that they have solicitude for the promotion of vocations and for missionary, ecumenical, and other more urgent questions, including social ones.
§1. The instruction of students is to provide that they have solicitude not only for the particular church in whose service they are to be incardinated but also for the universal Church, and that they show themselves prepared to devote themselves to particular churches which are in grave need.
§2. The diocesan bishop is to take care that clerics intending to move from their own particular church to a particular church of another region are suitably prepared to exercise the sacred ministry there, that is, that they learn the language of the region and understand its institutions, social conditions, usages, and customs.
In order that students also learn the art of exercising the apostolate in practice, during the course of studies and especially during times of vacation they are to be initiated into pastoral practice by means of appropriate activities, determined by judgment of the ordinary, adapted to the age of the students and the conditions of the places, and always under the direction of a skilled priest.
§1. The diocesan bishop or, for an interdiocesan seminary, the bishops involved are competent to decide those things which pertain to the above-mentioned governance and administration of the seminary.
§2. The diocesan bishop or, for an interdiocesan seminary, the bishops involved are to visit the seminary frequently, to watch over the formation of their own students as well as the philosophical and theological instruction taught in the seminary, and to keep themselves informed about the vocation, character, piety, and progress of the students, especially with a view to the conferral of sacred ordination.
In carrying out their proper functions, all must obey the rector, to whom it belongs to care for the daily supervision of the seminary according to the norm of the program of priestly formation and of the rule of the seminary.
§1. The rector of a seminary and, under his authority, the moderators and teachers for their part are to take care that the students observe exactly the norms prescribed by the program of priestly formation and by the rule of the seminary.
§2. The rector of a seminary and the director of studies are carefully to provide that the teachers properly perform their function according to the prescripts of the program of priestly formation and of the rule of the seminary.
A seminary is to be exempt from parochial governance. The rector of the seminary or his delegate fulfills the office of pastor for all those who are in the seminary, except for matrimonial matters and without prejudice to the prescript of can. 985
The diocesan bishop or, for an interdiocesan seminary, the bishops involved in a way determined by them through common counsel must take care that provision is made for the establishment and maintenance of the seminary, the support of the students, the remuneration of the teachers, and the other needs of the seminary.
Canon 264.The People of God
§1. In addition to the offering mentioned in can. 1266,
a bishop can impose a tax in the diocese to provide for the needs of the seminary.
§2. All ecclesiastical juridic persons, even private ones, which have a seat in the diocese are subject to the tax for the seminary unless they are sustained by alms alone or in fact have a college of students or teachers to promote the common good of the Church. A tax of this type must be general, in proportion to the revenues of those who are subject to it, and determined according to the needs of the seminary.
» The Christian Faithful
» Sacred Ministers or Clerics
» The Enrollment, or Incardination, of Clerics
Every cleric must be incardinated either in a particular church or personal prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or society endowed with this faculty, in such a way that unattached or transient clerics are not allowed at all.
§1. Through the reception of the diaconate, a person becomes a cleric and is incardinated in the particular church or personal prelature for whose service he has been advanced.
§2. Through the reception of the diaconate, a perpetually professed religious or a definitively incorporated member of a clerical society of apostolic life is incardinated as a cleric in the same institute or society unless, in the case of societies, the constitutions establish otherwise.
§3. Through the reception of the diaconate, a member of a secular institute is incardinated in the particular church for whose service he has been advanced unless he is incardinated in the institute itself by virtue of a grant of the Apostolic See.
§1. For a cleric already incardinated to be incardinated validly in another particular church, he must obtain from the diocesan bishop a letter of excardination signed by the same bishop and a letter of incardination from the diocesan bishop of the particular church in which he desires to be incardinated signed by that bishop.
§2. Excardination thus granted does not take effect unless incardination in another particular church has been obtained.
§1. A cleric who has legitimately moved from his own particular church to another is incardinated in the latter particular church by the law itself after five years if he has made such a desire known in writing both to the diocesan bishop of the host church and to his own diocesan bishop and neither of them has expressed opposition in writing to him within four months of receiving the letter.
§2. Through perpetual or definitive admission into an institute of consecrated life or into a society of apostolic life, a cleric who is incardinated in the same institute or society according to the norm of can. 266,
§2 is excardinated from his own particular church.
A diocesan bishop is not to allow the incardination of a cleric unless:
1. the necessity or advantage of his own particular church demands it, and without prejudice to the prescripts of the law concerning the decent support of clerics;
2. he knows by a lawful document that excardination has been granted, and has also obtained from the excardinating bishop, under secrecy if need be, appropriate testimonials concerning the cleric’s life, behavior and studies;
3. the cleric has declared in writing to the same diocesan bishop that he wishes to be dedicated to the service of the new particular church according to the norm of law.
Excardination can be licitly granted only for just causes such as the advantage of the Church or the good of the cleric himself. It cannot be denied, however, except for evident, grave causes. A cleric who thinks he has been wronged and has found an accepting bishop, however, is permitted to make recourse against the decision.
§1. Apart from the case of true necessity of his own particular church, a diocesan bishop is not to deny permission to clerics, whom he knows are prepared and considers suitable and who request it, to move to regions laboring under a grave lack of clergy where they will exercise the sacred ministry. He is also to make provision that the rights and duties of these clerics are determined through a written agreement with the diocesan bishop of the place they request.
§2. A diocesan bishop can grant permission for his clerics to move to another particular church for a predetermined time, which can even be renewed several times. Nevertheless, this is to be done so that these clerics remain incardinated in their own particular church and, when they return to it, possess all the rights which they would have had if they had been dedicated to the sacred ministry there.
§3. For a just cause the diocesan bishop can recall a cleric who has moved legitimately to another particular church while remaining incardinated in his own church provided that the agreements entered into with the other bishop and natural equity are observed; the diocesan bishop of the other particular church, after having observed these same conditions and for a just cause, likewise can deny the same cleric permission for further residence in his territory.
Canon 272.The People of God
A diocesan administrator cannot grant excardination or incardination or even permission to move to another particular church unless the episcopal see has been vacant for a year and he has the consent of the college of consultors.
» The Christian Faithful
» Sacred Ministers or Clerics
» The Obligations and Rights of Clerics
Clerics are bound by a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and their own ordinary.
§1. Only clerics can obtain offices for whose exercise the power of orders or the power of ecclesiastical governance is required.
§2. Unless a legitimate impediment excuses them, clerics are bound to undertake and fulfill faithfully a function which their ordinary has entrusted to them.
§1. Since clerics all work for the same purpose, namely, the building up of the Body of Christ, they are to be united among themselves by a bond of brotherhood and prayer and are to strive for cooperation among themselves according to the prescripts of particular law.
§2. Clerics are to acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercise in the Church and in the world.
§1. In leading their lives, clerics are bound in a special way to pursue holiness since, having been consecrated to God by a new title in the reception of orders, they are dispensers of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.
§2. In order to be able to pursue this perfection:
1. they are first of all to fulfill faithfully and tirelessly the duties of the pastoral ministry;
2. they are to nourish their spiritual life from the two-fold table of sacred scripture and the Eucharist; therefore, priests are earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic sacrifice daily and deacons to participate in its offering daily;
3. priests and deacons aspiring to the presbyterate are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily according to the proper and approved liturgical books; permanent deacons, however, are to carry out the same to the extent defined by the conference of bishops;
4. they are equally bound to make time for spiritual retreats according to the prescripts of particular law;
5. they are urged to engage in mental prayer regularly, to approach the sacrament of penance frequently, to honor the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and to use other common and particular means of sanctification.
§1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.
§2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful.
§3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.
§1. Secular clerics have the right to associate with others to pursue purposes in keeping with the clerical state.
§2. Secular clerics are to hold in esteem especially those associations which, having statutes recognized by competent authority, foster their holiness in the exercise of the ministry through a suitable and properly approved rule of life and through fraternal assistance and which promote the unity of clerics among themselves and with their own bishop.
§3. Clerics are to refrain from establishing or participating in associations whose purpose or activity cannot be reconciled with the obligations proper to the clerical state or can prevent the diligent fulfillment of the function entrusted to them by competent ecclesiastical authority.
§1. Even after ordination to the priesthood, clerics are to pursue sacred studies and are to strive after that solid doctrine founded in sacred scripture, handed on by their predecessors, and commonly accepted by the Church, as set out especially in the documents of councils and of the Roman Pontiffs. They are to avoid profane novelties and pseudo-science.
§2. According to the prescripts of particular law, priests are to attend pastoral lectures held after priestly ordination and, at times established by the same law, are also to attend other lectures, theological meetings, and conferences which offer them the opportunity to acquire a fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences and pastoral methods.
§3. They are also to acquire knowledge of other sciences, especially of those which are connected with the sacred sciences, particularly insofar as such knowledge contributes to the exercise of pastoral ministry.
Some practice of common life is highly recommended to clerics; where it exists, it must be preserved as far as possible.
§1. Since clerics dedicate themselves to ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve remuneration which is consistent with their condition, taking into account the nature of their function and the conditions of places and times, and by which they can provide for the necessities of their life as well as for the equitable payment of those whose services they need.
§2. Provision must also be made so that they possess that social assistance which provides for their needs suitably if they suffer from illness, incapacity, or old age.
§3. Married deacons who devote themselves completely to ecclesiastical ministry deserve remuneration by which they are able to provide for the support of themselves and their families. Those who receive remuneration by reason of a civil profession which they exercise or have exercised, however, are to take care of the needs of themselves and their families from the income derived from it.
§1. Clerics are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a semblance of vanity.
§2. They are to wish to use for the good of the Church and works of charity those goods which have come to them on the occasion of the exercise of ecclesiastical office and which are left over after provision has been made for their decent support and for the fulfillment of all the duties of their own state.
§1. Even if clerics do not have a residential office, they nevertheless are not to be absent from their diocese for a notable period of time, to be determined by particular law, without at least the presumed permission of their proper ordinary.
§2. They are entitled, however, to a fitting and sufficient time of vacation each year as determined by universal or particular law.
Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical garb according to the norms issued by the conference of bishops and according to legitimate local customs.
§1. Clerics are to refrain completely from all those things which are unbecoming to their state, according to the prescripts of particular law.
§2. Clerics are to avoid those things which, although not unbecoming, are nevertheless foreign to the clerical state.
§3. Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power.
§4. Without the permission of their ordinary, they are not to take on the management of goods belonging to lay persons or secular offices which entail an obligation of rendering accounts. They are prohibited from giving surety even with their own goods without consultation with their proper ordinary. They also are to refrain from signing promissory notes, namely, those through which they assume an obligation to make payment on demand.
Clerics are prohibited from conducting business or trade personally or through others, for their own advantage or that of others, except with the permission of legitimate ecclesiastical authority.
§1. Most especially, clerics are always to foster the peace and harmony based on justice which are to be observed among people.
§2. They are not to have an active part in political parties and in governing labor unions unless, in the judgment of competent ecclesiastical authority, the protection of the rights of the Church or the promotion of the common good requires it.
The prescripts of cann. 284, 285, §§3 and 4
, 286, and 287, §2 do not bind permanent deacons unless particular law establishes otherwise.
Canon 289.The People of God
§1. Since military service is hardly in keeping with the clerical state, clerics and candidates for sacred orders are not to volunteer for military service except with the permission of their ordinary.
§2. Clerics are to use exemptions from exercising functions and public civil offices foreign to the clerical state which laws and agreements or customs grant in their favor unless their proper ordinary has decided otherwise in particular cases.
» The Christian Faithful
» Sacred Ministers or Clerics
» Loss of the Clerical State
Once validly received, sacred ordination never becomes invalid. A cleric, nevertheless, loses the clerical state:
1. by a judicial sentence or administrative decree, which declares the invalidity of sacred ordination;
2. by the penalty of dismissal lawfully imposed;
3. by rescript of the Apostolic See which grants it to deacons only for grave causes and to presbyters only for most grave causes.
Apart from the case mentioned in can. 290,
n. 1, loss of the clerical state does not entail a dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, which only the Roman Pontiff grants.
A cleric who loses the clerical state according to the norm of law loses with it the rights proper to the clerical state and is no longer bound by any obligations of the clerical state, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 291
. He is prohibited from exercising the power of orders, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 976
. By the loss of the clerical state, he is deprived of all offices, functions, and any delegated power.
Canon 293.The People of God
A cleric who loses the clerical state cannot be enrolled among clerics again except through a rescript of the Apostolic See.
» The Christian Faithful
» Personal Prelatures
After the conferences of bishops involved have been heard, the Apostolic See can erect personal prelatures, which consist of presbyters and deacons of the secular clergy, to promote a suitable distribution of presbyters or to accomplish particular pastoral or missionary works for various regions or for different social groups.
§1. The statutes established by the Apostolic See govern a personal prelature, and a prelate presides over it as the proper ordinary; he has the right to erect a national or international seminary and even to incardinate students and promote them to orders under title of service to the prelature.
§2. The prelate must see to both the spiritual formation and decent support of those whom he has promoted under the above-mentioned title.
Lay persons can dedicate themselves to the apostolic works of a personal prelature by agreements entered into with the prelature. The statutes, however, are to determine suitably the manner of this organic cooperation and the principal duties and rights connected to it.
Canon 297.The People of God
The statutes likewise are to define the relations of the personal prelature with the local ordinaries in whose particular churches the prelature itself exercises or desires to exercise its pastoral or missionary works, with the previous consent of the diocesan bishop.
» The Christian Faithful
» Associations of the Christian Faithful
» Common Norms
§1. In the Church there are associations distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life; in these associations the Christian faithful, whether clerics, lay persons, or clerics and lay persons together, strive in a common endeavor to foster a more perfect life, to promote public worship or Christian doctrine, or to exercise other works of the apostolate such as initiatives of evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with a Christian spirit.
§2. The Christian faithful are to join especially those associations which competent ecclesiastical authority has erected, praised, or commended.
§1. By means of a private agreement made among themselves, the Christian faithful are free to establish associations to pursue the purposes mentioned in can. 298,
§1, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 301,
§2. Even if ecclesiastical authority praises or commends them, associations of this type are called private associations.
§3. No private association of the Christian faithful is recognized in the Church unless competent authority reviews its statutes.
No association is to assume the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority according to the norm of can. 312
§1. It is for the competent ecclesiastical authority alone to erect associations of the Christian faithful which propose to hand on Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to promote public worship, or which intend other purposes whose pursuit is of its nature reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority.
§2. Competent ecclesiastical authority, if it has judged it expedient, can also erect associations of the Christian faithful to pursue directly or indirectly other spiritual purposes whose accomplishment has not been sufficiently provided for through the initiatives of private persons.
§3. Associations of the Christian faithful which are erected by competent ecclesiastical authority are called public associations.
Those associations of the Christian faithful are called clerical which are under the direction of clerics, assume the exercise of sacred orders, and are recognized as such by competent authority.
Associations whose members share in the spirit of some religious institute while in secular life, lead an apostolic life, and strive for Christian perfection under the higher direction of the same institute are called third orders or some other appropriate name.
§1. All public or private associations of the Christian faithful, by whatever title or name they are called, are to have their own statutes which define the purpose or social objective of the association, its seat, government, and conditions required for membership and which determine the manner of its acting, attentive, however, to the necessity or advantage of time and place.
§2. They are to choose a title or name for themselves adapted to the usage of time and place, selected above all with regard to their intended purpose.
§1. All associations of the Christian faithful are subject to the vigilance of competent ecclesiastical authority which is to take care that the integrity of faith and morals is preserved in them and is to watch so that abuse does not creep into ecclesiastical discipline. This authority therefore has the duty and right to inspect them according to the norm of law and the statutes. These associations are also subject to the governance of this same authority according to the prescripts of the canons which follow.
§2. Associations of any kind are subject to the vigilance of the Holy See; diocesan associations and other associations to the extent that they work in the diocese are subject to the vigilance of the local ordinary.
In order for a person to possess the rights and privileges of an association and the indulgences and other spiritual favors granted to the same association, it is necessary and sufficient that the person has been validly received into it and has not been legitimately dismissed from it according to the prescripts of law and the proper statutes of the association.
§1. The reception of members is to be done according to the norm of law and the statutes of each association.
§2. The same person can be enrolled in several associations.
§3. Members of religious institutes can join associations according to the norm of their proper law with the consent of their superior.
No one legitimately enrolled is to be dismissed from an association except for a just cause according to the norm of law and the statutes.
According to the norm of law and the statutes, legitimately established associations have the right to issue particular norms respecting the association itself, to hold meetings, and to designate moderators, officials, other officers, and administrators of goods.
A private association which has not been established as a juridic person cannot, as such, be a subject of obligations and rights. Nevertheless, the members of the Christian faithful associated together in it can jointly contract obligations and can acquire and possess rights and goods as co-owners and co-possessors; they are able to exercise these rights and obligations through an agent or a proxy.
Canon 311.The People of God
Members of institutes of consecrated life who preside over or assist associations in some way united to their institute are to take care that these associations give assistance to the works of the apostolate which already exist in a diocese, especially cooperating, under the direction of the local ordinary, with associations which are ordered to the exercise of the apostolate in the diocese.
» The Christian Faithful
» Associations of the Christian Faithful
» Public Associations of the Christian Faithful
§1. The authority competent to erect public associations is:
1. the Holy See for universal and international associations;
2. the conference of bishops in its own territory for national associations, that is, those which from their founding are directed toward activity throughout the whole nation;
3. the diocesan bishop in his own territory, but not a diocesan administrator, for diocesan associations, except, however, for those associations whose right of erection has been reserved to others by apostolic privilege.
§2. Written consent of the diocesan bishop is required for the valid erection of an association or section of an association in a diocese even if it is done by virtue of apostolic privilege. Nevertheless, the consent given by a diocesan bishop for the erection of a house of a religious institute is also valid for the erection in the same house or church attached to it of an association which is proper to that institute.
Through the same decree by which the competent ecclesiastical authority according to the norm of can. 312
erects it, a public association and even a confederation of public associations is constituted a juridic person and, to the extent it is required, receives a mission for the purposes which it proposes to pursue in the name of the Church.
The statutes of each public association and their revision or change need the approval of the ecclesiastical authority competent to erect the association according to the norm of can. 312,
Public associations are able on their own initiative to undertake endeavors in keeping with their own character. These endeavors are governed according to the norm of the statutes, though under the higher direction of the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312,
§1. A person who has publicly rejected the Catholic faith, has defected from ecclesiastical communion, or has been punished by an imposed or declared excommunication cannot be received validly into public associations.
§2. Those enrolled legitimately who fall into the situation mentioned in §1, after being warned, are to be dismissed from the association, with due regard for its statutes and without prejudice to the right of recourse to the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312,
§1. Unless the statutes provide otherwise, it is for the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312,
§1 to confirm the moderator of a public association elected by the public association itself, install the one presented, or appoint the moderator in his own right. The same ecclesiastical authority also appoints the chaplain or ecclesiastical assistant, after having heard the major officials of the association, when it is expedient.
§2. The norm stated in §1 is also valid for associations which members of religious institutes erect outside their own churches or houses in virtue of apostolic privilege. In associations which members of religious institutes erect in their own church or house, however, the nomination or confirmation of the moderator and chaplain pertains to the superior of the institute, according to the norm of the statutes.
§3. In associations which are not clerical, lay persons are able to exercise the function of moderator. A chaplain or ecclesiastical assistant is not to assume that function unless the statutes provide otherwise.
§4. Those who exercise leadership in political parties are not to be moderators in public associations of the Christian faithful which are ordered directly to the exercise of the apostolate.
§1. In special circumstances and where grave reasons require it, the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312,
§1 can designate a trustee who is to direct the association for a time in its name.
§2. The person who appointed or confirmed the moderator of a public association can remove the moderator for a just cause, after the person has heard, however, the moderator and the major officials of the association according to the norm of the statutes. The person who appointed a chaplain can remove him according to the norm of can. 192-195
§1. Unless other provision has been made, a legitimately erected public association administers the goods which it possesses according to the norm of the statutes under the higher direction of the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312,
§1, to which it must render an account of administration each year.
§2. It must also render to the same authority a faithful account of the expenditure of the offerings and alms which it has collected.
Canon 320.The People of God
§1. Only the Holy See can suppress associations it has erected.
§2. For grave causes, a conference of bishops can suppress associations it has erected. A diocesan bishop can suppress associations he has erected and also associations which members of religious institutes have erected through apostolic indult with the consent of the diocesan bishop.
§3. The competent authority is not to suppress a public association unless the authority has heard its moderator and other major officials.
» The Christian Faithful
» Associations of the Christian Faithful
» Private Associations of the Christian Faithful
The Christian faithful guide and direct private associations according to the prescripts of the statutes.
§1. A private association of the Christian faithful can acquire juridic personality through a formal decree of the competent ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312
§2. No private association of the Christian faithful can acquire juridic personality unless the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312,
§1 has approved its statutes. Approval of the statutes, however, does not change the private nature of the association.
§1. Although private associations of the Christian faithful possess autonomy according to the norm of can. 321,
they are subject to the vigilance of ecclesiastical authority according to the norm of can. 305
and even to the governance of the same authority.
§2. It also pertains to ecclesiastical authority, while respecting the autonomy proper to private associations, to be watchful and careful that dissipation of their energies is avoided and that their exercise of the apostolate is ordered to the common good.
§1. A private association of the Christian faithful freely designates its moderator and officials according to the norm of the statutes.
§2. A private association of the Christian faithful can freely choose a spiritual advisor, if it desires one, from among the priests exercising ministry legitimately in the diocese; nevertheless, he needs the confirmation of the local ordinary.
§1. A private association of the Christian faithful freely administers those goods it possesses according to the prescripts of the statutes, without prejudice to the right of competent ecclesiastical authority to exercise vigilance so that the goods are used for the purposes of the association.
§2. A private association is subject to the authority of the local ordinary according to the norm of can. 1301
in what pertains to the administration and distribution of goods which have been donated or left to it for pious causes.
Canon 326.The People of God
§1. A private association of the Christian faithful ceases to exist according to the norm of its statutes. The competent authority can also suppress it if its activity causes grave harm to ecclesiastical doctrine or discipline or is a scandal to the faithful.
§2. The allocation of the goods of an association which has ceased to exist must be determined according to the norm of its statutes, without prejudice to acquired rights and the intention of the donors.
» The Christian Faithful
» Associations of the Christian Faithful
» Special Norms for Associations of the Laity
Lay members of the Christian faithful are to hold in esteem associations established for the spiritual purposes mentioned in can. 298,
especially those which propose to animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit and in this way greatly foster an intimate union between faith and life.
Those who preside over associations of the laity, even those which have been erected by virtue of apostolic privilege, are to take care that their associations cooperate with other associations of the Christian faithful where it is expedient and willingly assist various Christian works, especially those in the same territory.
Moderators of associations of the laity are to take care that the members of the association are duly formed to exercise the apostolate proper to the laity.
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