Canon Law

Notes, Commentary, Discussion, Papers & Bibliography

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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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Privacy and Confidentiality


  • Privacy Definition - the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information
  • Right of Privacy - the right not to be subjected invasion of privacy by the government, corporations or individuals, with certain exceptions and limitations.
  • US Constitution - 4th Amendment: The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
  • Article 12 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.
  • Corporations - e.g. health-care providers covered by HIPAA
  • Individuals - invasion of privacy - unlawfully intrudes into his or her private affairs, discloses his or her private information, publicizes him or her in a false light, or appropriates his or her name for personal gain. To win, the case must be highly offensive to reasonable persons.
  • Zone of privacy is limited in special relationships: citizenship, employment, education, social groupings, contract, family, religious community.

Canon Law and Privacy

  • Canon 220 No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.
  • Canon 670 An institute must supply the members with all those things which are necessary to achieve the purpose of their vocation, according to the norm of the constitutions.
  • Canon 630
    • §1. Superiors are to recognize the due freedom of their sisters regarding the sacrament of penance and direction of conscience, without prejudice, however, to the discipline of the institute.
    • §5. Sisters are to approach superiors with trust, to whom they can freely and on their own initiative open their minds. Superiors, however, are forbidden to induce the members in any way to make a manifestation of conscience to them.

Constitution and Guideline

  • 37 We take responsibility for our ongoing personal health and the quality of our presence in community.
    • 37.1 We avail ourselves of spiritual, physical and psychological supports as needed in dialogue with the Congregation, Provincial / Regional and/or Community Prioress.
  • 38 We are attentive to the needs of our infirm and elderly sisters who participate in the mission of the Congregation….
  • 214 The Congregational Prioress is responsible for the overall financial administration of the temporal goods of the Congregation.
  • We commit ourselves individually and communally to healthy living and wellness on all levels…. funds are budgeted to support personal wellness.
  • When a sister is aware of a need for psychological support, she communicates with her visitator or the Congregational Prioress ….
  • If a local community is impacted by the physical or psychological needs of a sister, appropriate communication, and support for the community will be facilitated by the Congregtional Prioress and/or visitator


  • Privacy
    • a sphere of the conscience with freedom to disclosure or not.
    • a sphere of interdependence in community.
      • relationship and obligations of mutual personal and spiritual support
      • financial interdependence
  • Confidentiality - obligation not to reveal personal information of another, when it is received in confidence.
  • Mutual support -
  • Respect for personal preferences


  • Principal - the one making the power of attorney, allowing another person to make decisions on their behalf
  • Agent - the empowered by another to make decisions on their behalf.
  • Powers - the authority
  • Term - Comes into effect on incapacity, lasts until end of incapacity or until death.
  • Revocation
  • Healthcare - Health care POA assigns a person to make healthcare decisions. Advance directive provides directives about certain procedures that are desired or not desired by the principal
  • Finance - Finance POA assigns a person to make finance decisions.
  • Communication - indicate what is appropriate to communicate to whom: prioress, sisters, family/friends, etc.


  • Standards for:
    • Health plans
    • Health care clearinghouses
    • Health care providers legally bound
  • Privacy Rule - Protected Healthcare Information (PHI)
    • The individual’s past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition
    • The provision of health care to the individual
    • The past, present, or future payment for the provision of health care to the individual
  • Security Rule and ePHI
    • Ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of all ePHI they create, receive, maintain, or transmit
    • Identify and protect against reasonably anticipated threats to the security or integrity of the ePHI
    • Ensure compliance by their workforce

Staff Handbook

Confidentiality / HIPAA

  • In the process of performing one’s work at the Motherhouse, information acquired or overheard pertaining to issues of health, finances, and business, personal, family, etc. must be considered CONFIDENTIAL.
  • All Sisters, Employees, Volunteers, and outside Contractors are directed not to discuss these items of information unless required as a necessary part of their job and then, only in a location that would protect this confidentiality.
  • An employee’s private as well as professional life is expected to be conducted with integrity and professionalism.
  • Employees, Volunteers, and outside Contractors are cautioned not to give out information about a resident’s condition to anyone without specific authorization. To do so may possibly involve legal action. Questions should be referred to the appropriate Department Manager/Supervisor or Community Prioress.


  • Prioress
    • receive confidential communications, personal disclosures to allow her to work for the good of the sisters and the congregation
    • give information as needed, respecting the privacy of the individual as much as possible.
  • Sisters
    • communicate her situation to the Prioress
    • respect the privacy of others
    • respect the desire of others to know and respect each other's information
  • Family & Friends
    • communication as desired by the sister
  • Staff
    • Medical staff are covered by their professional standards, regarding patients in their care.
    • Other staff not covered by HIPAA may need to be given standards. Personnel handbook. Generally, don't ask, don't tell.
  • Agents
    • Should be given access to info in POA


  • Sisters: Prioress
  • Staff: Supervisor / Prioress
  • HIPAA: Administrative process
  • Civil invasion of privacy: courts
privacy.txt · Last modified: 2018/09/25 11:18 by amycsj