|Part of a series on the|
| Canon law of the|
Regarding the canon law of the Catholic Church, canonists provide and obey rules for the interpretation and acceptation of words, in order that legislation is correctly understood and the extent of its obligation is determined.
An "authentic interpretation" is an official and authoritative interpretation of a statute issued by the legislator of the statute. In canon law an authentic interpretation has the force of law.
Besides the Supreme Pontiff (Pope), who has plenary legislative power, several other authorities in the Catholic Church have various grades of legislative power. Primary examples are diocesan bishops and their equivalents, episcopal conferences, and particular councils.Any of these legislators can issue authentic interpretations of their own and their predecessors' laws. Authentic interpretations supersede even administrative decisions of ordinaries and judgments of ecclesiastical courts, because neither of these acts have the force of law which authentic interpretations have. The effect of an authentic interpretation is contingent on the extent of the interpretation:
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 words which are certain in themselves, it has retroactive force. If it restricts or extends a law or explains a doubtful one, it is not retroactive.
Legislators also can entrust the power to authentically interpret their laws to another.For the 1983 Code of Canon Law , the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches , and other Papal laws, the Supreme Pontiff has delegated authority of authentic interpretation to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts. The following table lists the authentic interpretations that this dicastery has issued (with Papal approbation).
|Can. 87, §1||AAS , v. 77 (1985), p. 771||Diocesan bishop cannot dispense from canonical form for the marriage of two Catholics.|
|Can. 119, 1º||AAS , v. 82 (1990), p. 845||Relative majority suffices on the third scrutiny.|
|Can. 127, §1||AAS , v. 77 (1985), p. 771||Superior does not have the right of voting, unless it is an existing custom in the community.|
|Can. 230, §2||AAS , v. 86 (1994), p. 541-542||Both lay men and women can serve at the altar.|
|Cann. 346, §1 and 402, §1||AAS , v. 83 (1991), p. 1093||Bishops emeriti may be elected to the Synod of Bishops.|
|Cann. 434 and 452||AAS , v. 81 (1989), p. 388||Auxiliary bishops cannot fill office of president of an episcopal conference.|
|Can. 455, §1 (also cann. 31-3)||AAS , v. 77 (1985), p. 771||"General decrees" includes general executory decrees.|
|Can. 502, §1||AAS , v. 76 (1984), p. 746-747||Consultor continues in office even when no longer a member of presbyteral council. |
Consultors need not be replaced unless the minimum required number is lacking.
|Can. 509, §1||AAS , v. 81 (1989), p. 991||It is not required to select the president of a chapter of canons by election.|
|Can. 684, §3||AAS , v. 79 (1987), p. 1249||"Religious" includes religious in temporary vows.|
|Can. 700||AAS , v. 78 (1986), p. 1323–1324|| Religious to be notified of dismissal after confirmation by Holy See. |
Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes to receive suspensive recourse against dismissal.
|Cann. 705-7||AAS , v. 78 (1986), p. 1323–1324||A religious bishop does not enjoy active and passive voice in his own institute.|
|Cann. 705-7||AAS , v. 80 (1988), p. 1818–1819||Religious appointed judges of the Roman Rota are not exempt from the religious Ordinary.|
|Can. 767, §1||AAS , v. 79 (1987), p. 1249||Diocesan bishop cannot dispense from the prescription that the homily is reserved to priests or deacons.|
|Can. 830, §3||AAS , v. 79 (1987), p. 1249||Imprimaturs must indicate the name of the Ordinary giving his permission, and where and when the permission was given.|
|Can. 910, §2 (also Can. 230, §3)||AAS , v. 80 (1988), p. 1373||Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion cannot exercise their function when ordinary ministers (who are not impeded from distributing the Eucharist) are present in the church, even though not celebrating the Mass.|
|Can. 917||AAS , v. 76 (1984), p. 746-747||A person may receive Holy Communion on the same day only twice, outside of the danger of death.|
|Can. 951, §1||AAS , v. 79 (1987), p. 1132||Mass offerings for multiple celebrations on the same day are to be sent to the proper Ordinary of the celebrant.|
|Can. 964, §2||AAS , v. 90 (1998), p. 711||A priest may choose to hear confession in a confessional with a fixed grille.|
|Can. 1103||AAS , v. 79 (1987), p. 1132||Force and fear invalidate the matrimonial consent of non-Catholics as well.|
|Can. 1263||AAS , v. 81 (1989), p. 991||External schools of religious institutes of pontifical right are not subject to taxation by diocesan bishop.|
|Can. 1367||AAS , v. 91 (1999), p. 918||"Desecration" includes any voluntary and gravely comptemptuous action towards the Eucharistic species.|
|Can. 1398||AAS , v. 80 (1988), p. 1818–1819||"Abortion" includes the killing of a fetus in any way whatsoever, at any time from the moment of conception onwards.|
|Cann. 1522 and 1525||AAS , v. 78 (1986), p. 1324||Can reintroduce a case in another tribunal after instance is finished through peremption or renunciation.|
|Can. 1673, 3º||AAS , v. 78 (1986), p. 1323–1324||The judicial vicar of the interdiocesan tribunal of the respondent cannot give the consent required for hearing a nullity case in the diocese of the plaintiff.|
|Can. 1686 (also Cann. 1066–7)||AAS , v. 76 (1984), p. 746-747||The pre-nuptial investigation suffices to determine the invalidity of a prior marriage due to lack of canonical form; a declaration of nullity via the documentary process is not required.|
|Can. 1737 (also Can. 299, §3)||AAS , v. 80 (1988), p. 1818||A non-juridical group with a grievance must take hierarchical recourse as individuals.|
In general, the authentic interpretation of a law may be made by the legislator or his successor or superior, but when this is not the case recourse must be had to what is called magisterial, or doctrinal, interpretation. It is for this latter mode that rules have been formed.
The specific words of a law are understood according to their usual signification, unless it is certain that the legislator intended them to be understood otherwise. When words are unambiguous, they must not be twisted into another, improbable signification. If the intention of the legislator regarding words in question is known, interpretation must accord therewith, rather than with the usual signification of the words, because in this instance the words are said not to be nude but rather clothed with the will of the legislator.
When a law is stated in general terms, it is presumed that no exception was intended; that is, if the general law states no exception, interpreters may not distinguish specific cases. Regarding all interpretations, however, that signification of the words in question is to be preferred that favors equity rather than strict justice. An argument can be made from the contrary signification of the words, provided that it does produce a result that is absurd, inappropriate, or contradicted by another law. Further, the provisions of a prior statute are presumed not to be changed beyond the express signification of the words of a new law.
When a law is penal in nature, its words are to be construed in their strictest sense and not to be extended to cases that are not explicitly stated, but when a law concedes favors, its words are to be interpreted in their widest sense. "In contracts, words are to be taken in their full [plena] meaning, in last wills in a wider [plenior] sense, and in grants of favours in their widest [plenissimi] interpretation".When the signification of words is doubtful, that sense is to be preferred that does not prejudice the rights of a third person, i. e., a person whom the law does not directly affect or concern.
Words of a law are never presumed to be superfluous. Words must be considered in their context. An interpretation of words that renders the law in question futile is a false interpretation. When words are in the future tense, and even when they are in the imperative mood regarding the judge, but not regarding the crime, the penalty is understood to be incurred not ipso facto but only upon judicial sentence. When words are doubtful they must be presumed to favor the subjects thereof and not the legislator.
The instructions of the Magisterium regarding canon law and its interpretation are binding per se insofar as it teaches of the law.The juridically binding instructions on canonical interpretation of the Magisterium are primarily given in the allocutions of the Supreme Pontiffs to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota.
Pope Benedict XVI, in his address of 21 January 2012 to the Roman Rota, taught that canonical law can only be interpreted and fully understood within the Catholic Church in the light of her mission and ecclesiological structure, and that "the work of the interpreter must not be deprived of 'vital contact with ecclesial reality":
All things considered, the hermeneutics of canonical laws is most closely tied to the very understanding of the law of the Church....In such realistic prospectiveness, the interpretative undertaking, at times arduous, takes on meaning and purpose. The use of the interpretive meaning foreseen by the Code of Canon Law in can. 17, beginning with "the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context", is no longer a mere logical exercise. It has to do with an assignment that is vivified by an authentic contact with the comprehensive reality of the Church, which allows one to penetrate the true meaning of the letter of the law. Something then occurs, similar to what I said about the inner process of St Augustine in biblical hermeneutics: "the transcending of the letter has rendered the letter itself credible".In such a manner, also in the hermeneutics of the law is it confirmed that the authentic horizon is that of the juridical truth to love, to seek out and to serve. It follows that the interpretation of canonical law must take place within the Church. This is not a matter of mere external circumstance, subject to the environs: it is a calling to the same humus of Canon Law and the reality regulated by it. Sentire cum Ecclesia takes on meaning also within the discipline, by reason of the doctrinal foundations that are always present and operative within the legal norms of the Church. In this manner, is also applied to Canon Law that hermeneutics of renewal in continuity of which I spoke in reference to the Second Vatican Council so closely bound to the current canonical legislation. Christian maturity leads one to love the law ever more and want to understand it and to apply it faithfully.
The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, or simply the Eastern Churches and in some historical cases referred to pejoratively as Uniates, are twenty-three Eastern Christian sui iuris (autonomous) particular churches of the Catholic Church, in full communion with the pope in Rome. They are united with one another and with the Latin or Roman Church. In particular, they recognize the central role of the Bishop of Rome within the College of Bishops and his infallibility when speaking ex cathedra. The majority of the Eastern Catholic Churches are groups from the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox churches, and the historic Church of the East that have returned to communion with the Bishop of Rome due to extenuating political and cultural circumstances influencing the churches' relations. As such the five liturgical traditions of the twenty-three Eastern Catholic Churches, including the Alexandrian Rite, the Armenian Rite, the Byzantine Rite, the East Syriac Rite, and the West Syriac Rite, are shared with other Eastern Christian churches. Consequently, the Catholic Church consists of six liturgical rites; including the aforementioned five liturgical traditions of the Eastern Catholic Churches along with the Latin liturgical rites of the Latin Church.
Traditionalist Catholicism is a set of religious beliefs and practices comprising customs, traditions, liturgical forms, public and private, individual and collective devotions, and presentations of Catholic Church teachings that were in vogue in the decades that immediately preceded the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). It is associated in particular with attachment to the 1570–1970 form of the Roman Rite Mass, which traditionalist Catholics call the Traditional Latin Mass or TLM or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
Papal primacy, also known as the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, is a Christian ecclesiological doctrine concerning the respect and authority that is due to the Pope from other bishops and their episcopal sees.
A papal renunciation occurs when the reigning pope of the Catholic Church voluntarily steps down from his position. As the reign of the pope has conventionally been from election until death, papal renunciation is an uncommon event. Before the 21st century, only five popes unambiguously resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Additionally, there are disputed claims of four popes having resigned, dating from the 3rd to the 11th centuries; a fifth disputed case may have involved an antipope.
The Catholic Church first prohibited Catholics from membership in Masonic organizations and other secret societies in 1738. Since then, at least eleven popes have made pronouncements about the incompatibility of Catholic doctrines and Freemasonry. From 1738 until 1983, Catholics who publicly associated with, or publicly supported, Masonic organizations were censured with automatic excommunication. Since 1983, the prohibition on membership exists in a different form. Although there was some confusion about membership following the 1965 Second Vatican Council, the Church continues to prohibit membership in Freemasonry because it concluded that Masonic principles and rituals are irreconcilable with Catholic doctrines. The current norm, the 1983 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's (CDF) Declaration on Masonic associations, states that "faithful who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion" and membership in Masonic associations is prohibited. The most recent CDF document about the "incompatibility of Freemasonry with the Catholic faith" was issued in 1985.
The Roman Rota, formally the Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, and anciently the Apostolic Court of Audience, is the highest appellate tribunal of the Catholic Church, with respect to both Latin-rite members and the Eastern-rite members and is the highest ecclesiastical court constituted by the Holy See related to judicial trials conducted in the Catholic Church. An appeal may be had to the pope himself, who is the supreme ecclesiastical judge. The Catholic Church has a complete legal system, which is the oldest in the West still in use. The court is named Rota (wheel) because the judges, called auditors, originally met in a round room to hear cases. The Rota was established in the 13th century.
The canon law of the Catholic Church is the system of laws and legal principles made and enforced by the hierarchical authorities of the Catholic Church to regulate its external organization and government and to order and direct the activities of Catholics toward the mission of the Church. It was the first modern Western legal system and is the oldest continuously functioning legal system in the West, while the unique traditions of Oriental canon law govern the 23 Eastern Catholic particular churches sui iuris.
In the canon law of the Catholic Church, an impediment is a legal obstacle that prevents a sacrament from being performed validly and/or licitly. The term is used most frequently in relationship to the sacraments of Marriage and Holy Orders. Some canonical impediments can be dispensed by the competent authority as defined in Canon Law.
In the Catholic Church, a declaration of nullity, commonly called an annulment and less commonly a decree of nullity, is a judgment on the part of an ecclesiastical tribunal determining that a marriage was invalidly contracted or, less frequently, a judgment determining that ordination was invalidly conferred.
The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts is a dicastery of the Roman Curia. Its work "consists mainly in interpreting the laws of the Church".. It is distinct from the highest tribunal or court in the Church, which is the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, and does not have law-making authority to the degree the Pope and the Holy See's tribunals do. Its charge is the interpretation of existing canon laws, and it works closely with the Signatura and the other Tribunals and the Pope. Like the Signatura and the other two final appellate Tribunals, the Roman Rota and the Apostolic Penitentiary, it is led by a prefect who is a bishop or archbishop.
The 1917 Code of Canon Law, also referred to as the Pio-Benedictine Code, was the first official comprehensive codification of Latin canon law. It was promulgated on 27 May 1917 and took legal effect on 19 May 1918. It was in force until the 1983 Code of Canon Law took legal effect and abrogated it on 27 November 1983. It has been described as "the greatest revolution in canon law since the time of Gratian".
The 1983 Code of Canon Law, also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehensive codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by John Paul II and took legal effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983. It replaced the 1917 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Benedict XV on 27 May 1917.
The evolution of the ministry of altar servers has a long history. In the early Church, many ministries were held by men and women. By the early Middle Ages, some of these ministries were formalized under the term "minor orders" and used as steps to priestly ordination. One of the minor orders was the office of acolyte.
Canon 844 is a Catholic Church canon law contained within the 1983 Code of Canon Law, which defines the licit administration and reception of certain sacraments of the Catholic Church in normative and in particular exceptional circumstances, known in canonical theory as communicatio in sacris.
The term ratum sed non consummatum or ratum et non consummatum refers to a juridical-sacramental category of marriage in Catholic matrimonial canon law. If a matrimonial celebration takes place (ratification) but the spouses have not yet engaged in intercourse (consummation), then the marriage is said to be a marriage ratum sed non consummatum. The Tribunal of the Roman Rota has exclusive competence to dispense from marriages ratum sed non consummatum, which can only be granted for a "just reason". This process should not be confused with the process for declaring the nullity of marriage, which is treated of in a separate title of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.
A decree is, in a general sense, an order or law made by a superior authority for the direction of others. In the usage of the canon law of the Catholic Church, it has various meanings. Any papal Bull, Brief, or Motu Proprio is a decree inasmuch as these documents are legislative acts of the Pope. In this sense the term is quite ancient. The Roman Congregations were formerly empowered to issue decrees in matters which come under their particular jurisdiction, but were forbidden from continuing to do so under Pope Benedict XV in 1917. Each ecclesiastical province, and also each diocese may issue decrees in their periodical synods within their sphere of authority.
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.
The jurisprudence of Catholic canon law is the complex of legal theory, traditions, and interpretative principles of Catholic canon law. In the Latin Church, the jurisprudence of canon law was founded by Gratian in the 1140s with his Decretum. In the Oriental canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Photios holds a place similar to that of Gratian for the West.
The philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory of canon law are the fields of philosophical, theological (ecclesiological), and legal scholarship which concern the place of canon law in the nature of the Catholic Church, both as a natural and as a supernatural entity. Philosophy and theology shape the concepts and self-understanding of canon law as the law of both a human organization and as a supernatural entity, since the Catholic Church believes that Jesus Christ instituted the church by direct divine command, while the fundamental theory of canon law is a meta-discipline of the "triple relationship between theology, philosophy, and canon law".