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Papal rescripts are responses of the pope or a Congregation of the Roman Curia, in writing, to queries or petitions of individuals. Some rescripts concern the granting of favours; others the administration of justice under canon law, e. g. the interpretation of a law, the appointment of a judge.
Sometimes the favour is actually granted in the rescript (gratis facta — a rescript in forma gratiosa); sometimes another is empowered to concede the request (gratia facienda — a rescript in forma commissoria); sometimes the grant is made under certain conditions to be examined into by the apostolic executor (a rescript in forma mixta).
The petition forwarded to Rome should comprise three parts: the narrative or exposition of the facts (context); the petition (object of the demand); the reasons for the request.
The response likewise contains three parts: a brief exposition of the case; the decision or grant; the reason of the same.
Every rescript pre-supposes the truth of the allegations found in the supplication. Intentional falsehood or concealment of truth (obreption and subreption) renders a rescript invalid, since no one should benefit through his own deceit. According to some, however, a rescript is valid if voluntary misrepresentation affects only the secondary reason of the grant. This is certainly true where there is no fraud, but merely inadvertence or ignorance of requirements; for, where there is no malice, punishment should not be inflicted; and the petition should be granted, if a sufficient cause therefor exists. A rescript in forma commissoria is valid, if the reason alleged for the grant be true at the time of execution, though false when the rescript was issued.
When a rescript is null and void, a new petition is drawn up containing the tenor of the previous concession and cause of nullity, and asking that the defect be remedied. A new rescript is then given, or the former one validated by letters perinde valere.
If the formalities sanctioned by canon law or usage for the drawing up of rescripts are wanting, the document is considered spurious. Erasures, misspellings or grave grammatical errors in a rescript render its authenticity suspected.
Excommunicated persons may seek rescripts only in relation to the cause of their excommunication or in cases of appeal. Consequently, in rescripts absolution from penalties and censures is first given, as far as necessary for the validity of the grant.
Rescripts have the force of a particular law, i. e. only for the persons concerned; only occasionally, e. g. when they interpret or promulgate a general law, are they of universal application.
Rescripts in forma gratiosa are effective from the date they bear; others only from the moment of execution. Rescripts contrary to common law contain a derogatory clause: all things to the contrary notwithstanding. Rescripts of favour ordinarily admit a broad interpretation; the exceptions are when they are injurious to others, refer to the obtaining of ecclesiastical benefices, or are contrary to common law. Rescripts of justice are to be interpreted strictly. Rescripts expire for the most part in the same manner as faculties.
In the canon law of the Catholic Church, the loss of the clerical state is the removal of a bishop, priest or deacon from the status of being a member of the clergy.
In law, motu proprio describes an official act taken without a formal request from another party. Some jurisdictions use the term sua sponte for the same concept.
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 process of beatification and canonization has undergone various reforms in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. For current practice, as well as a discussion of similar processes in other churches, see the article on canonization. This article describes the process as it was before the promulgation of the Codex Iuris Canonici of 1983.
Pedro Martínez de Luna y Pérez de Gotor, known as el Papa Luna in Spanish and Pope Luna in English, was an Aragonese nobleman, who as Benedict XIII, is considered an antipope by the Catholic Church.
In the jurisprudence of the canon law of the Catholic Church, a dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation of law in certain cases. Its object is to modify the hardship often arising from the rigorous application of general laws to particular cases, and its essence is to preserve the law by suspending its operation in such cases.
A Commissary Apostolic is Commissary who has been appointed by the pope, hence commissary Apostolic.
Disparity of cult, sometimes called disparity of worship, is a diriment impediment in Roman Catholic canon law: a reason why a marriage cannot be validly contracted without a dispensation, stemming from one person being certainly baptized, and the other certainly not baptized.
In legal terminology, a rescript is a document that is issued not on the initiative of the author, but in response to a specific demand made by its addressee. It does not apply to more general legislation.
Obreption and subreption are terms used in the canon law applied by the Catholic church to species of fraud by which an ecclesiastical rescript is obtained.
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 Apostolic Datary was one of the five Ufficii di Curia in the Roman Curia of the Roman Catholic Church. It was instituted no later than the 14th AD. Pope Paul VI abolished it in 1967.
Ecclesiastical letters are publications or announcements of the organs of Roman Catholic ecclesiastical authority, e.g. the synods, but more particularly of pope and bishops, addressed to the faithful in the form of letters.
An ecclesiastical judge is an ecclesiastical person who possesses ecclesiastical jurisdiction either in general or in the strict sense. Up until 1858 when Ecclesiastical courts were abolished, ecclesiastical judges tried church clergy men in church courts or Ecclesiastical courts. Charges dealt in these courts were often very lenient, especially when dealt to church clergymen.
Canonical faculties, in the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, are ecclesiastical rights conferred on a subordinate, by a superior who enjoys jurisdiction in the external forum. These rights then allow the subordinate to act, in the external or internal forum, validly or lawfully, or at least safely.
The Acts of Roman Congregations is a term of the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church, used to designate the documents issued by the Roman Congregations, in virtue of powers conferred on them by the Roman Pontiff.
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.
In the canon law of the Catholic Church, custom is the repeated and constant performance of certain acts for a defined period of time, which, with the approval of the competent legislator, thereby acquire the force of law. A custom is an unwritten law introduced by the continuous acts of the faithful with the consent of the legitimate legislator.
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 Eastern Catholic canon law of the Eastern Catholic Churches, Photios holds a place similar to that of Gratian for the West.
The canon law of contract follows that of the civil jurisdiction in which canon law operates.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Papal Rescripts". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.
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