Papal rescripts

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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. [1]

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.

There are currently nine congregations of the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church. They are second highest-ranking departments, below the two Secretariats, and above the pontifical councils, pontifical commissions, tribunals and offices.

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.

Types of rescripts

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).

An apostolic executor is a cleric who is charged with putting into practice a Papal rescript.

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.

Rome Capital city and comune in Italy

Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome also serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2 (496.1 sq mi), it is also the country's most populated comune. It is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of the Tiber. The Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

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.

Obreption and subreption are terms used in ancient Roman law and in the canon law applied by the Catholic church to species of fraud by which an ecclesiastical rescript is obtained.

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.

Excommunication censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community

Excommunication is an institutional act of religious censure used to deprive, suspend, or limit membership in a religious community or to restrict certain rights within it, in particular receiving of the sacraments. The term is often historically used to refer specifically to excommunications from the Catholic Church, but it is also used more generally to refer to similar types of institutional religious exclusionary practices and shunning among other religious groups. For instance, many Protestant denominations, such as the Lutheran Churches, have similar practices of excusing congregants from church communities, while Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as the Churches of Christ, use the term "disfellowship" to refer to their form of excommunication. The Amish have also been known to excommunicate members that were either seen or known for breaking rules, or questioning the church.

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[ citation needed ] 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.[ citation needed ] Rescripts of justice are to be interpreted strictly. Rescripts expire for the most part in the same manner as faculties.

A faculty is a legal instrument or warrant in canon law, especially a judicial or quasi-judicial warrant from an ecclesiastical court or tribunal.

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References

  1. PD-icon.svg Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Papal Rescripts". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton Company.


Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Herbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). "Papal Rescripts". Catholic Encyclopedia . New York: Robert Appleton.