The Teaching Function of the Church
» Instruments of Social Communication and Books in Particular
§1 In exercising their office the pastors of the Church, availing themselves of a right which belongs to the Church, are to make an ample use of the means of social communication.
§2 Pastors are also to teach the faithful that they have the duty of working together so that the use of the means of social communication may be imbued with a human and christian spirit.
§3 All Christ’s faithful, especially those who in any way take part in the management or use of the media, are to be diligent in assisting pastoral action, so that the Church can more effectively exercise its office through these means.
§1 In order to safeguard the integrity of faith and morals, pastors of the
Church have the duty and the right to ensure that in writings or in the use of the means of social communication there should be no ill effect on the faith and morals of Christ’s faithful. They also have the duty and the right to demand that where writings of the faithful touch upon matters of faith and morals, these be submitted to their judgement. Moreover, they have the duty and the right to condemn writings which harm true faith or good morals.
§2 For Christ’s faithful entrusted to their care, the duty and the right mentioned in §1 belong to the Bishops, both as individuals and in particular councils or Episcopal
Conferences; for the whole people of God, they belong to the supreme authority in the Church.
§1 Unless it is otherwise provided, the local Ordinary whose permission or approval for publishing a book is to be sought according to the canons of this title, is the author’s proper local Ordinary, or the Ordinary of the place in which the book is published.
§2 Unless the contrary is clear, what is said in the canons of this title about books, applies also to any writings intended for publication.
§1 Books of the sacred Scriptures may not be published unless they are approved by the Apostolic See or the Episcopal Conference. The publication of translations of the sacred Scriptures requires the approval of the same authority, and they must have necessary and sufficient explanatory notes.
§2 With the permission of the Episcopal Conference, catholic members of Christ’s faithful, in cooperation with separated brethren, may prepare and publish versions of the Scriptures, with appropriate explanatory notes.
§1 For liturgical books, the provisions of can. 838
are to be observed.
§2 To republish liturgical books or to publish translations of all or part of them, it must be established, by an attestation of the Ordinary of the place in which they are published, that they accord with an approved edition.
§3 Prayer books, for either the public or the private use of the faithful, are not to be published except by permission of the local Ordinary.
§1 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 775
§2, the publication of catechisms and other writings pertaining to catechetical formation, as well as their translations, requires the approval of the local Ordinary.
§2 Books dealing with matters concerning sacred Scripture, theology, canon law, church history, or religious or moral subjects may not be used as textbooks on which the instruction is based, in elementary, intermediate or higher schools, unless they were published with the approbation of the competent ecclesiastical authority or were subsequently approved by that authority.
§3 It is recommended that books dealing with the subjects mentioned in §2, even though not used as basic textbooks, and any writings which specially concern religion or good morals, be submitted to the judgement of the local Ordinary.
§4 Books or other written material dealing with religion or morals may not be displayed, sold or given away in churches or oratories, unless they were published with the permission of the competent ecclesiastical authority or were subsequently approved by that authority.
Collections of decrees or acts published by any ecclesiastical authority may not be republished without first seeking the permission of the same authority and observing the conditions which it lays down.
Approval or permission to publish a work is valid only for the first edition, but not for new editions or translations.
§1 Every local Ordinary retains the right to appoint persons whom he considers competent to give a judgement about books. The Episcopal Conference, however, may draw up a list of censors who are outstanding for their knowledge, right doctrine and prudence, to be available to diocesan curias; it may even establish a commission of censors whom the local Ordinary can consult.
§2 In carrying out this task, a censor must put aside all preference of persons and look only to the teaching of the Church concerning faith and morals, as declared by its magisterium.
§3 The censor must give an opinion in writing. If it is favourable, the Ordinary may, in his prudent judgement, give his permission for the work to be published, adding his own name and the date and place of the permission. If he does not give this permission, the Ordinary must inform the author of the reasons for the refusal.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 830 §3, 20.VI.1987]
§1 Unless there is a just and reasonable cause, no member of Christ’s faithful may write in newspapers, pamphlets or periodicals which clearly are accustomed to attack the catholic religion or good morals. Clerics and members of religious institutes may write in them only with the permission of the local Ordinary.
§2 It is for the Episcopal Conference to lay down norms determining the requirements for clerics and members of religious institutes to take part in radio and television programmes which concern catholic doctrine or morals.
To publish writings on matters of religion or morals, members of religious institutes require also the permission of their major Superior, in accordance with the constitutions.
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