Notes, Commentary, Discussion, Papers & Bibliography
Civil competence for goods, some give legal personality for all church entities, others have to form civil associations. The second manner raises the problem of the two entities being parallel.
Canon 1254 Right
§1 The catholic Church has the inherent right, independently of any secular power, to acquire, retain, administer and alienate temporal goods, in pursuit of its proper objectives.
§2 These proper objectives are principally the regulation of divine worship, the provision of fitting support for the clergy and other ministers, and the carrying out of works of the sacred apostolate and of charity, especially for the needy.
Canon 1255 Capacity The universal Church, as well as the Apostolic See, particular Churches and all other public and private juridical persons are capable of acquiring, retaining, administering and alienating temporal goods, in accordance with the law.
Canon 1256 Ownership Under the pope juridic person owns its goods.
Canon 1257 Ecclesiastical Goods
§1 Goods of Church, Apostolic see and publica juridic persons are ecclesiastical goods regulated by canon law and their statutes.
§2 Goods of private juridic persons own their own goods.
Canon 1258 Church Herein, “Church” means universal Church, Apostolic See, or public juridic person, unless the contrary is clear.
Canon 1259 The Church may acquire temporal goods in any way in which, by either natural or positive law, it is lawful for others to do this.
Canon 1260 The Church has the inherent right to require from the faithful whatever is necessary for its proper objectives. T: taxation would be a possibility - Kerkensteuer, Tassa. Tithing is requested / required from members, in some places. This was a controversial provision in the development of the code.
Canon 1261 §1 The faithful have the right to donate temporal goods for the benefit of the Church. §2 The diocesan Bishop is bound to remind the faithful of the obligation mentioned in Can. 222 §1, and in an appropriate manner to urge it. C: The state shouldn't make contravene this right.
Canon 1262 Support. The faithful are to give their support to the Church in response to appeals and in accordance with the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference. USCCB Complementary Norms
Canon 1263 Tax. The diocesan Bishop can tax public juridical persons moderate and proportionate to their income. For grave need can tax other physical and juridical persons.
Canon 1264 Fees. Provincial Bishops to: 1° determine the taxes for acts of executive authority; 2° determine the offerings for sacraments and sacramentals.
Canon 1265 Alms §1 Except mendicants, ordinary must approve collections of alms. §2 The Episcopal Conference can draw up rules regarding collections for all. T: more norms for alms than for contracts since there seems more chance for abuse.
Canon 1266 Collection. In all churches and oratories bishop can order special collection.
Canon 1267 Offerings. §1 Offerings to superiors are for juridic person. §2 It can't be refused except for a just reason and, in matters of greater importance, with the permission of the Ordinary. The permission of the Ordinary is required for offerings with a condition. §3 Offerings given by the faithful for a specified purpose may be used only for that purpose.
Canon 1268 Prescription. The Church recognises prescription, in accordance with Cann. 197 199, as a means both of acquiring temporal goods and of being freed from their obligations.
Canon 1269 Sacred Objects. Sacred objects of private individuals may be prescribed, but not for secular purposes unless they have lost their dedication or blessing. Ecclesiastical sacred objects can only go to other public ecclesiastical juridical persons.
Canon 1270 Immovable goods. Immovable goods, precious movable goods, rights and legal claims, of the Apostolic See are prescribed in 100 years. Goods which belong to another public ecclesiastical juridical person are prescribed in 30 years.
Canon 1271 Support of Apostolic See. By unity and charity, and according to their resources, Bishops are to support the Apostolic See. T: Germany and US were main support, now both countries are having financial difficulties.
Canon 1272 Benefices. Episcopal Conference to regulate benefices so that the capital of the benefice should by degrees be transferred to the fund mentioned in Canon 1274 §1. T: Benefice is an endowed ecclesiastical office, e.g. with a factory.
Stable patrimony’ is defined: by RT Kennedy, in JP Beal, JA Coriden and TJ Green (eds), New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (NY, 2000), p 1495 as: ‘[A]ll property, real or personal, movable or immovable, tangible or intangible, that, either of its nature or by explicit designation, is destined to remain in the possession of its owner for a long or indefinite period of time to afford financial security for the future. It is the opposite of free or liquid capital which is intended to be used to meet operating expenses or otherwise disposed of within a reasonably short period of time (within one or, at most, two years)’; by A Farrelly, ‘The Diocesan Finance Council: functions and duties according to the Code of Canon Law’, Studia Canonica 23 (1989) 149–166, at p 160 as: ‘[A]ll goods which are designated as constituting the minimum, reliable economic base by which the juridic person can subsist in an autonomous manner and take care of the purposes and services that are proper to it’; and by FG Morrisey, in Sheehy et al (eds), The Canon Law Letter & Spirit, p 732, para 2573, as: ‘fixed capital’.
Canon 1273 Supreme Administrator The Roman Pontiff, by virtue of his primacy of governance, is the supreme administrator and steward of all ecclesiastical goods.
Canon 1274 Support of Clergy §1 Every diocese is to have a fund for support of clergy. §2 Episcopal Conference to ensure social provision for the clergy. §3 Diocese is to support diocesan workers, diocese and poorer dioceses. §4 Diocese or Episcopal conferences can cooperate on these funds. §5 Funds should have standing also in the civil law. T: When a juridic person is split, goods have to be negotiated between the two.
Canon 1275 Reserve. A reserve set up by a number of different dioceses is to be administered according to norms opportunely agreed upon by the Bishops concerned.
Canon 1276 Bishop. §1 Ordinaries must carefully supervise the administration of ecclesiastical goods. §2 Ordinaries are to regulate the whole matter of the administration of ecclesiastical goods by instructions, within the limits of rights, and universal and particular law.
Canon 1277 Major Administration. For major acts of administration the bishop must consult the finance committee and the college of consultors. For acts of extraordinary administration, diocesan Bishop needs the consent of the committee and of the college of consultors. Episcopal Conference to determine what are to be regarded as acts of extraordinary administration.
Canon 1278 Finance officer Besides the duties mentioned in Can. 494 §§3 and 4, the diocesan Bishop may also entrust to the financial administrator the duties mentioned in Canon 1276 §1 and Canon 1279 §2.
Canon 1279 Administrators §1 The administration of ecclesiastical goods pertains to the one with direct power of governance over the person to whom the goods belong, unless particular law or statutes or legitimate custom state otherwise, and without prejudice to the right of the Ordinary to intervene where there is negligence on the part of the administrator. §2 Where no administrators are appointed for a public juridical person by law or by the documents of foundation or by its own statutes, the Ordinary to which it is subject is to appoint suitable persons as administrators for a three-year term. The same persons can be re-appointed by the Ordinary.
Canon 1280 Finance Committee Every juridical person is to have its own finance committee, or at least two counsellors, who are to assist in the performance of the administrator's duties, in accordance with the statutes.
Canon 1281 §1 Without prejudice to the provisions of the statutes administrators act invalidly when they go beyond the limits and manner of ordinary administration, unless they have first received in writing from the Ordinary the faculty to do so. §2 The statutes are to determine what acts go beyond the limits and manner of ordinary administration. If the statutes are silent on this point, it is for the diocesan Bishop, after consulting the finance committee, to determine these acts for the persons subject to him. §3 Except and insofar as it is to its benefit, a juridical person is not held responsible for the invalid actions of its administrators. The juridical person is, however, responsible when such actions are valid but unlawful, without prejudice to its right to bring an action or have recourse against the administrators who have caused it damage.
Canon 1282 All persons, whether clerics or laity, who lawfully take part in the administration of ecclesiastical goods, are bound to fulfil their duties in the name of the Church, in accordance with the law.
Canon 1283 Before administrators undertake their duties: 1° they must take an oath, in the presence of the Ordinary or his delegate, that they will well and truly perform their office; 2° they are to draw up a clear and accurate inventory, to be signed by themselves, of all immovable goods, of those movable goods which are precious or of a high cultural value, and of all other goods, with a description and an estimate of their value; when this has been compiled, it is to be certified as correct; 3° one copy of this inventory is to be kept in the administration office and another in the curial archive; any change which takes place in the property is to be noted on both copies.
Canon 1284 Duties §1 All administrators are to perform their duties with the diligence of a good householder. §2 Therefore they must: 1° be vigilant that no goods placed in their care in any way perish or suffer damage; to this end they are, to the extent necessary, to arrange insurance contracts; 2° ensure that the ownership of ecclesiastical goods is safeguarded in ways which are valid in civil law; 3° observe the provisions of canon and civil law, and the stipulations of the founder or donor or lawful authority; they are to take special care that damage will not be suffered by the Church through the non-observance of the civil law; 4° seek accurately and at the proper time the income and produce of the goods, guard them securely and expend them in accordance with the wishes of the founder or lawful norms; 5° at the proper time pay the interest which is due by reason of a loan or pledge, and take care that in due time the capital is repaid; 6° with the consent of the Ordinary make use of money which is surplus after payment of expenses and which can be profitably invested for the purposes of the juridical person; 7° keep accurate records of income and expenditure; 8° draw up an account of their administration at the end of each year; 9° keep in order and preserve in a convenient and suitable archive the documents and records establishing the rights of the Church or institute to its goods; where conveniently possible, authentic copies must be placed in the curial archives. §3 It is earnestly recommended that administrators draw up each year a budget of income and expenditure. However, it is left to particular law to make this an obligation and to determine more precisely how it is to be presented.
Canon 1285 Solely within the limits of ordinary administration, administrators are allowed to make gifts for pious purposes or christian charity out of the movable goods which do not form part of the stable patrimony.
Canon 1286 Administrators of temporal goods: 1° in making contracts of employment, are accurately to observe also, according to the principles taught by the Church, the civil laws relating to labour and social life; 2° are to pay to those who work for them under contract a just and honest wage which will be sufficient to provide for their needs and those of their dependents.
Canon 1287 §1 Where ecclesiastical goods of any kind are not lawfully withdrawn from the power of governance of the diocesan Bishop, their administrators, both clerical and lay, are bound to submit each year to the local Ordinary an account of their administration, which he is to pass on to his finance committee for examination. Any contrary custom is reprobated. §2 Administrators are to render accounts to the faithful concerning the goods they have given to the Church, in accordance with the norms to be laid down by particular law.
Canon 1288 Administrators are not to begin legal proceedings in the name of a public juridical person, nor are they to contest them in a secular court, without first obtaining the written permission of their proper Ordinary.
Canon 1289 Although they may not be bound to the work of administration by virtue of an ecclesiastical office, administrators may not arbitrarily relinquish the work they have undertaken. If they do so, and this occasions damage to the Church, they are bound to restitution.
Canon 1290 Without prejudice to Can. 1547[5 ], whatever the local civil law decrees about contracts, both generally and specifically, and about the voiding of contracts, is to be observed regarding goods which are subject to the power of governance of the Church, and with the same effect, provided that the civil law is not contrary to divine law, and that canon law does not provide otherwise.
Canon 1291 The permission of the authority competent by law is required for the valid alienation of goods which, by lawful assignment, constitute the stable patrimony of a public juridical person, whenever their value exceeds the sum determined by law.
Canon 1292 §1 Without prejudice to the provision of Can. 638 §3, when the amount of the goods to be alienated is between the minimum and maximum sums to be established by the Episcopal Conference for its region, the competent authority in the case of juridical persons not subject to the diocesan Bishop is determined by the juridical person's own statutes. In other cases, the competent authority is the diocesan Bishop acting with the consent of the finance committee, of the college of consultors, and of any interested parties. The diocesan Bishop needs the consent of these same persons to alienate goods which belong to the diocese itself. §2 The permission of the Holy See also is required for the valid alienation of goods whose value exceeds the maximum sum, or if it is a question of the alienation of something given to the Church by reason of a vow, or of objects which are precious by reason of their artistic or historical significance. §3 When a request is made to alienate goods which are divisible, the request must state what parts have already been alienated; otherwise, the permission is invalid. §4 Those who must give advice about or consent to the alienation of goods are not to give this advice or consent until they have first been informed precisely both about the economic situation of the juridical person whose goods it is proposed to alienate and about alienations which have already taken place.
Canon 1293 §1 To alienate goods whose value exceeds the determined minimum sum, it is also required that there be: 1° a just reason, such as urgent necessity, evident advantage, or a religious, charitable or other grave pastoral reason; 2° a written expert valuation of the goods to be alienated. §2 To avoid harm to the Church, any other precautions drawn up by lawful authority are also to be followed.
Canon 1294 §1 Normally goods must not be alienated for a price lower than that given in the valuation. §2 The money obtained from alienation must be carefully invested for the benefit of the Church, or prudently expended according to the purposes of the alienation.
Canon 1295 The provisions of canons 1291 - 1294, to which the statutes of juridical persons are to conform, must be observed not only in alienation, but also in any dealings in which the patrimonial condition of the juridical person may be jeopardised.
Canon 1296 When alienation has taken place without-the prescribed canonical formalities, but is valid in civil law, the competent authority must carefully weigh all the circumstances and decide whether, and if so what, action is to be taken, namely personal or real, by whom and against whom, to vindicate the rights of the Church.
Canon 1297 It is the duty of the Episcopal Conference, taking into account the local circumstances, to determine norms about the leasing of ecclesiastical goods, especially about permission to be obtained from the competent ecclesiastical authority.
Canon 1298 Unless they are of little value, ecclesiastical goods are not to be sold or leased to the administrators themselves or to their relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity, without the special written permission of the competent authority.
Canon 1299 §1 Those who by the natural law and by canon law can freely dispose of their goods may leave them to pious causes either by an act inter vivos or by an act mortis causa. §2 In arrangements mortis causa in favour of the Church, the formalities of the civil law are as far as possible to be observed. If these formalities have been omitted, the heirs must be advised of their obligation to fulfil the intention of the testator.
Canon 1300 The intentions of the faithful who give or leave goods to pious causes, whether by an act inter vivos or by an act mortis causa, once lawfully accepted, are to be most carefully observed, even in the manner of the administration and the expending of the goods, without prejudice to the provisions of Canon 1301 §3.
Canon 1301 Executor §1 The Ordinary is the executor of all pious dispositions whether made mortis causa or inter vivos. §2 Other executors are to render him an account when they have finished their task. §3 Any clause contrary non-existent. T: this is not realistic or enforceable
Canon 1302 §1 Anyone who receives goods in trust for pious causes, whether by an act inter vivos or by last will, must inform the Ordinary about the trust, as well as about the goods in question, both movable and immovable, and about any obligations attached to them. If the donor has expressly and totally forbidden this, the trust is not to be accepted. §2 The Ordinary must demand that goods left in trust be safely preserved and, in accordance with Canon 1301, he must ensure that the pious disposition is executed. §3 When goods given in trust to a member of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, are destined for a particular place or diocese or their inhabitants, or for pious causes, the Ordinary mentioned in §§1 and 2 is the local Ordinary. Otherwise, when the person is a member of a pontifical clerical institute or of a pontifical clerical society of apostolic life, it is the major Superior; when of other religious institutes, it is the member's proper Ordinary.
Canon 1303 §1 In law the term pious foundation comprises: 1° autonomous pious foundations, that is, aggregates of things destined for the purposes described in Canon 114 §2, and established as juridical persons by the competent ecclesiastical authority. 2° non-autonomous pious foundations, that is, temporal goods given in any way to a public juridical person and carrying with them a long-term obligation, such period to be determined by particular law. The obligation is for the juridical person, from the annual income, to celebrate Masses, or to perform other determined ecclesiastical functions, or in some other way to fulfil the purposes mentioned in Canon 114 §2. §2 If the goods of a non-autonomous pious foundation are entrusted to a juridical person subject to the diocesan Bishop, they are, on the expiry of the time, to be sent to the fund mentioned in Canon 1274 §1, unless some other intention was expressly manifested by the donor. Otherwise, the goods fall to the juridical person itself.
Canon 1304 §1 For the valid acceptance of a pious foundation by a juridical person, the written permission of the Ordinary is required. He is not to give this permission until he has lawfully established that the juridical person can satisfy not only the new obligations to be undertaken, but also any already undertaken. The Ordinary is to take special care that the revenue fully corresponds to the obligations laid down, taking into account the customs of the region or place. §2 Other conditions for the establishment or acceptance of a pious foundation are to be determined by particular law.
Canon 1305 Money and movable goods which are assigned as a dowry are immediately to be put in a safe place approved by the Ordinary, so that the money or the value of the movable goods is safeguarded; as soon as possible, they are to be carefully and profitably invested for the good of the foundation, with an express and individual mention of the obligation undertaken, in accordance with the prudent judgment of the Ordinary when he has consulted those concerned and his own finance committee.
Canon 1306 §1 All foundations, even if made orally, are to be recorded in writing. §2 One copy of the document is to be carefully preserved in the curial archive and another copy in the archive of the juridical person to which the foundation pertains.
§1 When the provisions of canons 1300, 1302 and 1287 have been observed, a document showing the obligations arising from the pious foundations is to be drawn up. This is to be displayed in a conspicuous place, so that the obligations to be fulfilled are not forgotten.
§2 Apart from the book mentioned in Can. 958 §1, another book is to be kept by the parish priest or rector, in which each of the obligations, their fulfillment and the offering given, is to be recorded.
Canon 1308 §1 The reduction of Mass obligations, for a just and necessary reason, is reserved to the Apostolic See, without prejudice to the provisions which follow. §2 If this is expressly provided for in the document of foundation, the Ordinary may reduce Mass obligations on the ground of reduced income. §3 In the cases of Masses given in legacies or in foundations of any kind, which are solely for the purpose of Masses, the diocesan Bishop has the power, because of the diminution of income and for as long as this persists, to reduce the obligations to the level of the offering lawfully current in the diocese. He may do this, however, only if there is no one who has an obligation to increase the offering and can actually be made to do so. §4 The diocesan Bishop has the power to reduce the obligations or legacies of Masses which bind an ecclesiastical institute, if the revenue has become insufficient to achieve in a fitting manner the proper purpose of the institute. §5 The supreme Moderator of a clerical religious institute of pontifical right has the powers given in §§3 and 4.
Canon 1309 Where a fitting reason exists, the authorities mentioned in Canon 1308 have the power to transfer Mass obligations to days, churches or altars other than those determined in the foundation.
Canon 1310 §1 The intentions of the faithful in pious cases may be reduced, directed or changed by the Ordinary, if the donor has expressly conceded this power to him, but only for a just and necessary reason. §2 If it has become impossible to carry out the obligations because of reduced income, or for any other reason arising without fault on the part of the administrators, the Ordinary can diminish these obligations in an equitable manner, with the exception of the reduction of Masses, which is governed by the provisions of Canon 1308. He may do so only after consulting those concerned and his own finance committee, keeping in the best way possible to the intention of the donor. §3 In all other cases, the Apostolic See is to be approached.