Canon Law

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1983 Code

Book I : General Norms

Book II: People of God

Book II - Part III

Book III: Teaching Office

Book IV: Sanctifying Office

Book V: Temporal Goods

Book VI: Sanctions

Book VII: Processes


Code of Canons of Eastern Churches



Contact: Amy Hereford, csj, JD, JCD

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Book VI: Sanctions

Revised in 2021

I. Offenses and Punishments in General

Penal law is:

  • Reactive, It is not well planned nor systematic
  • Its focus is on the forum externum. The presumption is that penal law works in the forum externum. This is the principle.
  • Penal law must be the ultimate or the last measure to be taken. Before the measure of penal law is to be taking, all the possible manses must be exhausted. Therefore Penal law must be taken as last remedy.

Penal law in the 1917 code

  • Penalties were in book 5
  • General norms, Persons, Goods, Processes the Penal law. This code was very much inline with the Roman law system.

Penal law in the 1983code

  • Material law then to enforce this law penal law follows. This is the logic of putting it after material law.
  • Penal law also could be placed next to Book I (the rules of the game) in order to enforce these rules and it would have been the appropriate placing from the viewpoint of Vatican II.
  • In the code of 1983, we find penalties/penal laws almost all over book VI.

Examples are-

Administrative process = Canons 45, 50-52… extrajudicial (measures taken by Bishops)
= Canon 1720…………precepts
= Canons, 1720-1739…..hierarchical records
Penal procedures = Canon 1314 which is late sententiae
= Canons 1341-1353 …….. impostions (declarations of late sententiae)

Crimes; in cases of crimes the congregation for faith which is sometimes called the holy office is to deal with criminal cases. Refer Canon 1362(1).It is reserved to this office.

It is the congregation with many competencies of judicial power, executive power and protector of the true doctrine or faith. It is a very special office with many competencies.

See pastor bounas of Pope Paul VI about the cases of crimes. The office also deals with Ethics. The office is a micro-cosmos of the important matters of the church

The following canons show us what is reserved to this important office.

  • canon 1367,1378(1),1379,977,1387,1388 and 1395(2)
  • other crime canons are 1365 and 927

Examples of crime are; sexual matters, sacramental crimes and the combination of the two.

Where does the right to punish of the Church come from? It is the part of the divine law of the Church. It is of divine origin that you acquire through history or on the journey. Canons 1311of 1983 and canon2214 of 1917 are similar showing that penalties can be both spiritual and material.

In canon 1311 “who are the faithful’? the answer is in canon 11 of the 1983 code.

I. Punishment of Offenses

(Canons 1311 - 1312) English Latin

Canon 1311 Right to Sanction Claims the right of the church, here understood as ecclesiastical authorities, to impose sanctions on those (christifideles) who commit offenses.

Canon 1312 Healing effect Penalties are healing, censures, expiatory or penitential (Canons 1331-1333, 1336), others may also be imposed.

II. Penal Law and Penal Precept

(Canons 1313 - 1320) English Latin

Canon 1313 Change of law 1. If a law is changed, the law more favorable to the accused is to be applied. 2. When a law abolishes a law or penalty, that penalty immediately ceases.

Canon 1314 Binding effect Generally, a penalty binds only after it is imposed (ferendae sententiae); if expressly established, it is incurred immediately (latae sententiae = LS).

Can. 1315 Stronger penalty 1. Legislators can issue penal laws within jurisdiction and can strengthen divine or higher ecclesiastical law. 2. Penalty is determined by the law or the judge. 3. Particular law can add penalties to universal law for a very grave necessity or make a determinate penalty in place of an indeterminate one.

Canon 1316 Uniformity Laws should be uniform in the same city or region.

Canon 1317 Necessity Penalties should be established only if truly necessary; particular law can't dismiss from the clerical state.

Can. 1318 Threats A legislator is not to threaten LS* penalties except possibly for certain singularly malicious delicts which either can result in graver scandal or cannot be punished effectively by ferendae sententiae penalties; he is not, however, to establish censures, especially excommunication, except with the greatest moderation and only for graver delicts.

Can. 1319 Power to impose

  1. Insofar as a person can impose precepts in the external forum in virtue of the power of governance, the person can also threaten determinate penalties by precept, except perpetual expiatory penalties.
  2. A penal precept is not to be issued unless the matter has been considered thoroughly and those things established in cann. 1317 and 1318 about particular laws have been observed.

Can. 1320 Religious The local ordinary can coerce religious with penalties in all those matters in which they are subject to him.

III. Those Liable

(Canons 1321 - 1330) English Latin

Can. 1321 Imputability

  1. No one is punished unless the external violation is gravely imputable by reason of malice or negligence.
  2. A penalty established by a law or precept binds the person who has deliberately violated the law or precept, omissions are not punished unless the law specifically provides for it.
  3. Presumption: External violations are imputable unless it is otherwise apparent.

Can. 1322 Use of Reason Those habitually lacking the use of reason are incapable of a delict, even if apparently sane when acting.

Can. 1323 Exempt The following aren't subject to penalty:

  1. one under 17 years;
  2. one ignorant of the law violated;
  3. one acting under force or one who didn't foresee the result;
  4. one coerced by grave fear unless the act is intrinsically evil or tends to harm souls;
  5. self-defense against an unjust aggressor;
  6. one without the use of reason without prejudice to cann. 1324, §1, n. 2 and 1325;
  7. one who non-negligently thought 4 or 5 was present.

Can. 1324 Dimished Imputability

§1. The perpetrator of a violation is not exempt from a penalty, but pentalty must be tempered or replaced if:

  1. one had only the imperfect use of reason;
  2. voluntary intoxication;
  3. heat of passion;
  4. one under 17 years;
  5. grave fear, unless the delict is intrinsically evil or tends to the harm of souls;
  6. self-defense against an unjust aggressor;
  7. against someone who gravely and unjustly provokes the person;
  8. one with error about can. 1323, nn. 4 or 5 was present;
  9. non-negligent ignorance;
  10. one without full imputability.

§2. A judge can act in the same manner if another circumstance is present which diminishes the gravity of a delict.

§3. In the circumstances mentioned in §1, the accused is not bound by a LS* penalty.

Can. 1325 Ignorance Crass, supine, or affected ignorance can never exculpate as per cann. 1323 and 1324; voluntary intoxication to induce delict.

Can. 1326 More grave penalty

§1. A judge can punish the following more gravely than the law or precept has established:

  1. one who continues to offend after penalty where obstinate ill will of the person can prudently be inferred;
  2. one who abused a position or office;
  3. one who did not take prudent precaution against delict.

§2. If the penalty in §1 is LS*, another penalty or a penance can be added.

Can. 1327 Particular law Particular law can establish further exempting, mitigating, or aggravating circumstances.

Can. 1328 Incomplete Delict

§1. An incomplete delict is not punished unless specifically provided.

§2. If acts are directly preparatory, but didn't have the effect, they can be punished. If scandal or some other grave damage or danger resulted, the perpetrator can be punished.

Can. 1329 Conspirators and Accomplices

§1. If ferendae sententiae penalties are established for the principal perpetrator, co-conspirators are punished with the same or lesser penalty.

§2. Accomplices who are not named in a law or precept incur a LS* penalty attached to a delict if without their assistance the delict would not have been committed, and the penalty is of such a nature that it can affect them; otherwise, they can be punished by ferendae sententiae penalties.

Can. 1330 Communication A delict which consists in a communication is not complete unless someone perceives.

IV. Penalties and Other Punishments

(Canons 1331 - 1340)

1. Censures

(Canons 1331 - 1335) English Latin

Can. 1331 Excommunication

§1 An excommunicated person is forbidden: 1. to have any ministerial part in the Eucharist or other public worship; 2. to celebrate and receive sacraments or sacramentals; 3. to exercise any ecclesiastical offices, etc.

§2 If the excommunication has been imposed or declared, the offender: 1. acting in defiance of §1.1 is to be removed, or the action suspended; 2. invalidly exercises any acts of governance in defiance of §1.3; 3. is forbidden to benefit from privileges already granted; 4. cannot validly assume any dignity, office or other function; 5. loses the title to the benefits of any dignity, office, function or pension.

Can. 1332 Interdict Interdict includes canon 1331 §1.1 and 2.

Can. 1333 Suspension

§1 Suspension, which can affect only clerics, prohibits: all or some of the acts of the power of 1. order, and 2. governance, and 3. the exercise of office.

§2 Law or precept may prescribe that a suspended person cannot validly perform acts of the power of governance.

§3 The prohibition never affects: 1. offices or powers out of the jurisdiction of the one imposing it; 2. right of residence; right of administration, if the penalty is LS*.

§4 A suspension prohibiting the receipt of benefits, etc., carries with it the obligation of restitution.

Can. 1334 Extent of Suspension

§1 The extent of a suspension defined by law, precept, judgment or decree.

§2 A law, but not a precept, can establish a LS* suspension.

Can. 1335 Suspension of penalty Suspended for the faithful who are in danger of death, or for LS* censure whenever one of the faithful requests a sacrament or sacramental or an act of the power of governance.

2. Expiatory Penalties

(Canons 1336 - 1338) English Latin

Can. 1336 Duration

§1 Expiatory penalties forever or for a determinate or an indeterminate period. E.g. 1. a prohibition or command of residence; 2. deprivation of power, office, function, etc; 3. a prohibition on the exercise #2; 4. a penal transfer to another office; 5. dismissal from the clerical state.

§2 Only #3 can be LS*.

Can. 1337 Residence

§1 A prohibition against residing can affect both clerics and religious. An order to reside for religious is within the limits of their constitutions.

§2 An order to reside must have the consent of the Ordinary of that place, unless the place is established for penance and rehab.

Can. 1338 Deprivation §1 The deprivations must be within the control of the one imposing its.

§2 Cannot deprive the power of order, or academic degrees.

§3 Can. 1335 is observed for Can. 1336 §1.3.

3. Penal Remedies and Penances

(Canons 1339 - 1340) English Latin

Can. 1339 Warning and Correction

§1 In danger or suspicion, the Ordinary can warn. §2 In scandal or disturbance the Ordinary can correct. §3 Warning and correction to be proven.

Can. 1340 Penance

§1 A penance some work of religion or piety or charity. §2 A public penance is never to be imposed for an occult transgression. §3 The Ordinary may prudently add penances to the penal remedy of warning or correction.

V. Application of Penalties

(Canons 1341 - 1353) English Latin

Can. 1341 Pastoral approach first Penalties onlly after pastoral methods fail.

Can. 1342 Extra-judicial Decree

§1 A penalty can be imposed or declared by means of an extra-judicial decree; or other decree.

§2 Perpetual penalties cannot be imposed or declared by means of a decree; nor when the law forbids application by decree.

§3 Superior in extra-judicial decree bound by law for judges (except procedure).

Can. 1343 Modify If judge can apply or not, judge can modify penalty.

Can. 1344 Mitigation The judge may, according to his own conscience and prudence: 1. defer penalty; 2. abstain from imposing the penalty or substitute; 3. suspend.

Can. 1345 Dimished capacity When offender has diminished capacity, the judge can choose another mode of reform.

Can. 1346 Multiple penalties In multiple offences and cumulative penalties can be reduced.

Can. 1347 Warning No censure without prior warning and time to reform. Purge contempt=cease wrong-doing and made reparation.

Can. 1348 Not guilty Even if not guilty, a penalty can be imposed.

Can. 1349 Indeterminate If a penalty is indeterminate, the judge does not impose graver or perpetual penalties.

Can. 1350 Support of Clerics §1 In imposing penalties on a cleric, he still needs worthy support. §2 If a person is in true need, on dismissal from clerical state, he should be supported.

Can. 1351 Universal Binding A penalty binds an offender everywhere, unless it is otherwise expressly provided.

Can. 1352 Danger of Death §1 Prohibition on sacraments suspended in danger of death. §2 LS* penalty not observed if observance would give danger of grave scandal or loss of good name.

Can. 1353 Appeal suspends An appeal or a recourse has a suspensive effect.

VI. Cessation of Penalties

(Canons 1354 - 1363) English Latin

Can. 1354 Remission §1 All who can dispense, can also remit the penalty itself. §2 A law or precept establishing a penalty can also grant the power of remitting the penalty. §3 Reservation of remission to the Apostolic See, is to be strictly interpreted.

Can. 1355 Bishops §1 Non-reserved penalty established by law is remitted by: 1. the initiating Ordinary; 2. the Ordinary of the place where the offender actually is, after consulting the Ordinary mentioned in n. 1.

§2 Non-reserved LS* penalty established by law but not yet declared, can be remitted by the Ordinary for his subjects, those in his territory, offenses in his territory. Or any Bishop in sacramental confession.

Can. 1356 Remitting Bishop §1 A penalty not issued by the Apostolic See, can be remitted by: 1. the Ordinary where the offender is, 2. initiating Ordinary. §2 First consult the author of the precept.

Can. 1357 Confessor §1 Except c. 508 and 976, a confessor remit LSE* or interdict if too difficult or too long to get Ordinary. §2 Confessor requires recourse within one month for formal remission. §3 The same duty of recourse applies in can 976.

Can. 1358 Purge Contempt §1 Remission only if offender ceased wrongdoing and made amends = “purge contempt”. §2. If contempt is purged, remission is not refused. §2 One who remits can make provision (c. 1348) and impose penance.

Can. 1359 Multiple remission Remission only valid for stated penalties, unless general remission.

Can. 1360 Grave Fear The remission of a penalty extorted by grave fear is invalid

Can. 1361 Presence §1 A remission can be granted even to a person who is not present, or conditionally. §2 In writing, unless a grave reason suggests otherwise. §3 Not public, unless to repair good name or scandal.

Can. 1362 Prescription §1 A criminal action is extinguished by prescription after three years, except for: 1. offences reserved to CDF; 2. 1394, 1395, 1397, 1398 extinghished in 5 years; 3. particular law has prescribed a different period of prescription. §2 Prescription runs from the day the offence was committed or, if the offence was enduring or habitual, from the day it ceased.

Can. 1363 Prescription of penalty §1 Penalty extinguished if not notified to offender in periods of c 1362.

II. Penalties for Particular Offenses

I. Offenses against Religion and the Unity of the Church

(Canons 1364 - 1369) English Latin

Can. 1364 Apostate, etc. §1 Apostate, heretic, schismatic = LSE*, (cf Can. 194 §1.2); a cleric, adds penalties mentioned in Can. 1336 §1, nn. 1, 2 and 3. §2 If longstanding other penalties, including dismissal from clerical state.

Can. 1365 Prohibited rites One who participates in prohibited religious rites = just penalty.

Can. 1366 Parents Parents who hand their children over for non-catholic upbringing = just penalty.

Can. 1367 Desecration One who throws away the consecrated species = LSE*, cleric just penalty including dismissal.

Can. 1368 Perjury = just penalty.

Can. 1369 Public Blasphemy or exciting hatred of the church = just penalty.

II. Offenses against Church Authorities

(Canons 1370 - 1377) English Latin

Can. 1370 Battery §1 Physical force against the Roman Pontiff LSE reserved to the Apostolic See; if the offender is a cleric, another penalty may be added. §2 Physical force against a Bishop LS interdict, if a cleric, also LS suspension. §3 Physical force against a cleric or religious out of contempt, = just penalty.

Can. 1371 Just penalty: 1. Teaches condemned doctrine; 2. disobeys lawful command after warning.

Can. 1372 Appeal Appeal from Pope = censure.

Can. 1373 Hatred A person who publicly incites hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary = interdict or other just penalties.

Can. 1374 Plotter A person who joins an association which plots against the Church is to be punished with a just penalty - one who promotes or takes office in such an association is to be punished with an interdict.

Can. 1375 Hinder freedom Those who hinder the freedom of church or its action or election = just penalty.

Can. 1376 Profanation A person who profanes a sacred object = just penalty.

Can. 1377 Alienation Without permission = just penalty.

III. Usurpation of Ecclesiastical Offices

(Canons 1378 - 1389) English Latin

Can. 1378 Mass, Penance §1 A priest against Can. 977 = LSE* reserved. §2 LS interdict or, if a cleric, LS suspension: 1. non-priest doing mass; 2° hears sacramental confession, though unable. §3 Can increase penalty in §2 due to gravity.

Can. 1379 Other Sacraments Pretends other sacraments = just penalty.

Can. 1380 Simony = interdict or suspension.

Can. 1381 Office §1 Usurps an ecclesiastical office + just penalty. §2 Unlawful retention of an ecclesiastical office = usurpation.

Can. 1382 Mandate Bishop ordained without pontifical mandate = LSE* reserved.

Can. 1383 Ordination with dimissorials A Bishop is prohibited from confer= ring orders for one year, ordinand suspended.

Can. 1384 Other Other unlawful exercise of sacred ministry = just penalty.

Can. 1385 Traffics Mass offerings = censure or other just penalty.

Can. 1386 Bribery = just penalty for one who offers and one who accepts.

Can. 1387 Solicitation against 6th commandment = suspension, prohibitions and deprivations; up to from the clerical state.

Can. 1388 Violates seal §1 A confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal LSE reserved; indirect = according to the gravity of the offence. §2 Interpreters and the others mentioned who violate the secret = just penalty, not excluding excommunication.

Can. 1389 Abuse of power §1 Penalty up to deprivation of office; §2 Negligent harm through ecclesiastical office = just penalty.

IV. Falsehood

(Canons 1390 - 1391) English Latin

Can. 1390 Denunciation, Calumny §1 Falsely denounce a confessor for solicitation = LS interdict; cleric = suspension. §2 Calumnious denunciation that injures good name = just penalty, not excluding a censure. §3 The calumniator can also be compelled to make appropriate amends.

Can. 1391 Documents Just penalty for: 1. false public ecclesiastical document, or who changes, conceals a genuine one, or uses a false or altered one; 2. in ecclesiastical process uses some other false or altered document; 3. false assertion in a public ecclesiastical document.

V. Offenses against Special Obligations

(Canons 1392 - 1396) English Latin

Can. 1392 Cleric or religious in business punished according to the gravity of the offence.

Can. 1393 Violates penalty A person who violates a penalty, = just penalty.

Can. 1394 Marriage §1 Cleric who attempts marriage LSE*. If, he continues progressive deprivation up to dismissal from clerical state. §2 Religious attempting marriage LS interdict.

Can. 1395 Concubinage §1 Cleric living in concubinage = suspension, progressive deprivation up to dismissal from the clerical state. §2 A cleric who has offended against the sixth commandment with force, threats, publically or with a minor = just penalty up to dismissal.

Can. 1396 Residence Grave violation of duty of residence = just penalty, up to deprivation of office.

VI. Offenses against Human Life and Liberty

(Canons 1397 - 1398) English Latin

Can. 1397 Murder Murder, kidnapping, mutilation = can 1336 and 1370.

Can. 1398 Abortion = LSE*

VII. General Norm

(Canon 1399) English Latin

Can. 1399 Divine Law External violation of divine or canon law can be punished with a just penalty if necessary.

LS*=latae sententiae LSE = latae sententiae excommunication

book6.txt · Last modified: 2021/11/10 11:33 by amycsj