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De delictis gravioribus (Latin for "on more serious crimes") was a letter written on 18 May 2001 by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to all the Bishops of the Catholic Church and the other Ordinaries concerned, including those of the Eastern Catholic Churches. The letter was published in the official gazette of the Holy See, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis , in 2001.
It covers "the more serious offences reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" that the apostolic constitution Pastor Bonus of 28 June 1988 attributes to the competence of that office:
The Code of Canon Law also speaks of offences reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and likewise does not specify them.
Of the eight more grave delicts (graviora delicta) in behaviour or in the celebration of the sacraments that De delictis gravioribus specified, four concern the Eucharist:
Three concern the sacrament of Confession:
In addition, the document lists one offence of a moral character, not directly connected with administration of the sacraments, as reserved in the same way as these to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, namely, the offence of a cleric (a bishop, priest or deacon) who commits a sexual sin with someone under 18 years of age.
Reservation of these offences to the Congregation does not mean that the Congregation itself tries those accused of committing them. It requires instead that, if a preliminary investigation shows that it is at least probable that the offence was committed, the ordinary (in the Eastern Catholic Churches called the hierarch) is to consult the Congregation on the manner in which his own tribunal is to proceed. In addition, any appeals from the verdict of that tribunal are to be made to the Congregation, instead of the usual appeals tribunal.
In the case of criminal actions brought before an ecclesiastical tribunal against someone accused of offences reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, prescription normally limits to ten years from the date of commission of an offence the time within which the prosecution may be initiated;but the document De delictis gravioribus lays down that, in the case of a sexual offence against a minor, the period of ten years begins to run only when the minor reaches 18 years of age.
The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope's name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular churches and provides the central organization for the church to advance its objectives.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the oldest among the nine congregations of the Roman Curia, seated at the Palace of the Holy Office in Rome. It was founded to defend the church from heresy; today, it is the body responsible for promulgating and defending Catholic doctrine. Formerly known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, it is informally known in many Catholic countries as the Holy Office, and between 1908 and 1965 was officially known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office.
Crimen sollicitationis is the title of a 1962 document ("instruction") of the Holy Office codifying procedures to be followed in cases of priests or bishops of the Catholic Church accused of having used the sacrament of Penance to make sexual advances to penitents. It repeated, with additions, the contents of an identically named instruction issued in 1922 by the same office.
The Polish National Catholic Church (PNCC) is a Christian church based in the United States and founded by Polish-Americans. The PNCC is not in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church; it seeks full communion with the Holy See, although it differs theologically in several important respects. A sister church in Poland, the Polish-Catholic Church of Republic of Poland, is a member of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht and is also not in communion with the Holy See; at the same time, the PNCC is neither in communion with the Union of Utrecht, but rather the Union of Scranton. The Polish National Catholic Church welcomes people of all ethnic, racial, and social backgrounds.
The pontifical secret or pontifical secrecy or papal secrecy is the code of confidentiality that, in accordance with the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, applies in matters that require greater than ordinary confidentiality:
Business of the Roman Curia at the service of the universal Church is officially covered by ordinary secrecy, the moral obligation of which is to be gauged in accordance with the instructions given by a superior or the nature and importance of the question. But some matters of major importance require a particular secrecy, called "pontifical secrecy", and must be observed as a grave obligation.
Infant communion, also known as paedocommunion, refers to the practice of giving the Eucharist, often in the form of consecrated wine, to young children. This practice is standard in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches; here, communion is given at the Divine Liturgy to all baptized and chrismated church members regardless of age. Infant communion is less common in most other Christian denominations, including the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.
Eucharistic discipline is the term applied to the regulations and practices associated with an individual preparing for the reception of the Eucharist. Different Christian traditions require varying degrees of preparation, which may include a period of fasting, prayer, repentance, and confession.
Valid but illicit and valid but illegal are descriptions applied in Catholic Church to an unauthorized celebration of a sacrament or an improperly placed juridic act that nevertheless has effect. Validity is presumed whenever an act is placed "by a qualified person and includes those things which essentially constitute the act itself as well as the formalities and requirements imposed by law for the validity of the act".
Latae sententiae is a Latin phrase, meaning "sentence (already) passed", used in the canon law of the Catholic Church. A latae sententiae penalty is one that follows ipso facto or automatically, by force of the law itself, when a law is contravened.
A Eucharistic minister, also known as a communion steward, is an individual that assists in the distribution of Holy Communion to the congregation of a Christian church.
Joseph Ratzinger was named by Pope John Paul II on 25 November 1981 as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office and, especially around the sixteenth century, as the Roman Inquisition.
The priesthood is one of the three holy orders of the Catholic Church, comprising the ordained priests or presbyters. The other two orders are the bishops and the deacons. Only men are allowed to receive holy orders, and the church does not allow any transgender people to do so. Church doctrine also sometimes refers to all baptised Catholics as the "common priesthood".
Canon 915, one of the canons in the 1983 Code of Canon Law of the Latin Church of the Catholic Church, forbids the administration of Holy Communion to those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared or who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin:
Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
In the canon law of the Catholic Church, excommunication, the principal and severest censure, is a medicinal, spiritual penalty that deprives the guilty Christian of all participation in the common blessings of ecclesiastical society. Being a penalty, it presupposes guilt; and being the most serious penalty that the Catholic Church can inflict, it naturally supposes a very grave offense.
There are seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, which according to Catholic theology were instituted by Jesus and entrusted to the Church. Sacraments are visible rites seen as signs and efficacious channels of the grace of God to all those who receive them with the proper disposition. The sevenfold list of sacraments is often organized into three categories: the sacraments of initiation, consisting of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist; the sacraments of healing, consisting of Penance and Anointing of the Sick; and the sacraments of service: Holy Orders and Matrimony.
A notification by the Holy See is an official announcement by a department of the Holy See, the leadership of the Catholic Church in Rome.
Oriental canon law is the law of the 23 Catholic sui juris (autonomous) particular churches of the Eastern Catholic tradition. Oriental canon law includes both the common tradition among all Eastern Catholic Churches, now chiefly contained in the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, as well as to the particular law proper to each individual sui juris particular Eastern Catholic Church. Oriental canon law is distinguished from Latin canon law, which developed along a separate line in the remnants of the Western Roman Empire, and is now chiefly codified in the 1983 Code of Canon Law.
Catholic canon law is the set of rules and principles (laws) by which the Catholic Church is governed, through enforcement by governmental authorities. Law is also the field which concerns the creation and administration of laws.