Can. 834 §1 The Church
carries out its office of sanctifying in a special way in the sacred liturgy, which is an
exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy, by the use of signs
perceptible to the senses, our sanctification is symbolised and, in a manner appropriate
to each sign, is brought about. Through the liturgy a complete public worship is offered
to God by the head and members of the mystical body of Christ.
§2 This worship takes place
when it is offered in the name of the Church, by persons lawfully deputed and through
actions approved by ecclesiastical authority.
Can. 835 §1 The sanctifying
office is exercised principally by Bishops, who are the high priests, the principal
dispensers of the mysteries of God and the moderators, promoters and guardians of the
entire liturgical life in the Churches entrusted to their care.
§2 This office is also
exercised by priests. They, too, share in the priesthood of Christ and, as his ministers
under the authority of the Bishop, are consecrated to celebrate divine worship and to
sanctify the people.
§3 Deacons have a share in
the celebration of divine worship in accordance with the provisions of law.
§4 The other members of
Christs faithful have their own part in this sanctifying office, each in his or her
own way actively sharing in liturgical celebrations, particlarly in the Eucharist. Parents
have a special share in this office when they live their married lives in a christian
spirit and provide for the christian education of their children.
Can. 836 Since christian
worship, in which the common priesthood of Christs faithful is exercised, must
proceed from and rest upon faith, sacred ministers are to strive diligently to arouse and
enlighten this faith, especially by the ministry of the word by which faith is born and
Can. 837 §1 Liturgical
actions are not private but are celebrations of the Church itself as the sacrament
of unity, that is, the holy people united and ordered under the Bishops.
Accordingly, they concern the whole body of the Church, making it known and influencing
it. They affect individual members of the Church in ways that vary according to orders,
role and actual participation.
§2 Since liturgical matters
by their very nature call for a community celebration, they are, as far as possible, to be
celebrated in the presence of Christs faithful and with their active participation.
Can. 838 §1 The ordering
and guidance of the sacred liturgy depends solely upon the authority of the Church,
namely, that of the Apostolic See and, as provided by law, that of the diocesan Bishop.
§2 It is the prerogative of
the Apostolic See to regulate the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, to publish
liturgical books and review their vernacular translations, and to be watchful that
liturgical regulations are everywhere faithfully observed.
§3 It pertains to Episcopal
Conferences to prepare vernacular translations of liturgical books, with appropriate
adaptations as allowed by the books themselves and, with the prior review of the Holy See,
to publish these translations.
§4 Within the limits of his
competence, it belongs to the diocesan Bishop to lay down for the Church entrusted to his
care, liturgical regulations which are binding on all.
Can. 839 §1 The Church
carries out its sanctifying office by other means also, that is by prayer, in which it
asks God to make Christs faithful holy in the truth, and by works of penance and
charity, which play a large part in establishing and strengthening in souls the Kingdom of
Christ, and so contribute to the salvation of the world.
§2 Local Ordinaries are to
ensure that the prayers and the pious and sacred practices of the christian people are in
full harmony with the laws of the Church.
I : THE SACRAMENTS
Can. 840 The sacraments of
the New Testament were instituted by Christ the Lord and entrusted to the Church. As
actions of Christ and of the Church, they are signs and means by which faith is expressed
and strengthened, worship is offered to God and our sanctification is brought about. Thus
they contribute in the most effective manner to establishing, strengthening and
manifesting ecclesiastical communion. Accordingly, in the celebration of the sacraments
both the sacred ministers and all the other members of Christs faithful must show
great reverence and due care.
Can. 841 Since the
sacraments are the same throughout the universal Church, and belong to the divine deposit
of faith, only the supreme authority in the Church can approve or define what is needed
for their validity. It belongs to the same authority, or to another competent authority in
accordance with can. 838 §§3 and 4, to determine what is required for their lawful
celebration, administration and reception and for the order to be observed in their
Can. 842 §1 A person who
has not received baptism cannot validly be admitted to the other sacraments.
§2 The sacraments of
baptism, confirmation and the blessed Eucharist so complement one another that all three
are required for full christian initiation.
Can. 843 §1 Sacred
ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly
disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.
§2 According to their
respective offices in the Church, both pastors of souls and all other members of
Christs faithful have a duty to ensure that those who ask for the sacraments are
prepared for their reception. This should be done through proper evangelisation and
catechetical instruction, in accordance with the norms laid down by the competent
Can. 844 §1 Catholic
ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to catholic members of Christs
faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from catholic ministers, except as
provided in §§2, 3 and 4 of this canon and in can. 861 §2.
§2 Whenever necessity
requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and provided the danger of error or
indifferentism is avoided, Christs faithful for whom it is physically or morally
impossible to approach a catholic minister, may lawfully receive the sacraments of
penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-catholic ministers in whose
Churches these sacraments are valid.
§3 Catholic ministers may
lawfully administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick to
members of the eastern Churches not in full communion with the catholic Church, if they
spontaneously ask for them and are properly disposed. The same applies to members of other
Churches which the Apostolic See judges to be in the same position as the aforesaid
eastern Churches so far as the sacraments are concerned.
§4 If there is a danger of
death or if, in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop or of the Episcopal Conference, there
is some other grave and pressing need, catholic ministers may lawfully administer these
same sacraments to other christians not in full communion with the catholic Church, who
cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them,
provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are
§5 In respect of the cases
dealt with in §§2, 3 and 4, the diocesan Bishop or the Episcopal Conference is not to
issue general norms except after consultation with the competent authority, at least at
the local level, of the non-catholic Church or community concerned.
Can. 845 §1 Because they
imprint a character, the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and order cannot be repeated.
§2 If after diligent
enquiry a prudent doubt remains as to whether the sacraments mentioned in §1 have been
conferred at all, or conferred validly, they are to be conferred conditionally.
Can. 846 §1 The liturgical
books, approved by the competent authority, are to be faithfully followed in the
celebration of the sacraments. Accordingly, no one may on a personal initiative add to or
omit or alter anything in those books.
§2 The ministers are to
celebrate the sacraments according to their own rite.
Can. 847 §1 In
administering sacraments in which holy oils are to be used, the minister must use oil made
from olives or other plants, which, except as provided in can. 999, n. 2, has recently
been consecrated or blessed by a Bishop. Older oil is not to be used except in a case of
§2 The parish priest is to
obtain the holy oils from his own Bishop and keep them carefully in fitting custody.
Can. 848 For the
administration of the sacraments the minister may not ask for anything beyond the
offerings which are determined by the competent authority, and he must always ensure that
the needy are not deprived of the help of the sacraments by reason of poverty.
Can. 849 Baptism, the
gateway to the sacraments, is necessary for salvation, either by actual reception or at
least by desire. By it people are freed from sins, are born again as children of God and,
made like to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church. It is
validly conferred only by a washing in real water with the proper form of words.
Chapter I : THE CELEBRATION OF BAPTISM
Can. 850 Baptism is
administered according to the rite prescribed in the approved liturgical books, except in
a case of urgent necessity when only those elements which are required for the validity of
the sacrament must be observed.
Can. 851 The celebration of
baptism should be properly prepared. Accordingly:
1° an adult who intends to
receive baptism is to be admitted to the catechumenate and, as far as possible, brought
through the various stages to sacramental initiation, in accordance with the rite of
initiation as adapted by the Episcopal Conference and with the particular norms issued by
2° the parents of a child
who is to be baptised, and those who are to undertake the office of sponsers, are to be
suitably instructed on the meaning of this sacrament and the obligations attaching to it.
The parish priest is to see to it that either he or others duly prepare the parents, by
means of pastoral advice and indeed by prayer together; a number of families might be
brought together for this purpose and, where possible, each family visited.
Can. 852 §1 The provisions
of the canons on adult baptism apply to all those who, being no longer infants, have
reached the use of reason.
§2 One who is incapable of
personal responsibility is regarded as an infant even in regard to baptism.
Can. 853 Apart from a case
of necessity, the water to be used in conferring baptism is to be blessed, in accordance
with the provisions of the liturgical books.
Can. 854 Baptism is to be
conferred either by immersion or by pouring, in accordance with the provisions of the
Can. 855 Parents, sponsors
and parish priests are to take care that a name is not given which is foreign to christian
Can. 856 Though baptism may
be celebrated on any day, it is recommended that normally it be celebrated on a Sunday or,
if possible, on the vigil of Easter.
Can. 857 §1 Apart from a
case of necessity, the proper place for baptism is a church or an oratory.
§2 As a rule and unless a
just reason suggests otherwise, an adult is to be baptised in his or her proper parish
church, and an infant in the proper parish church of the parents.
Can. 858 §1 Each parish
church is to have a baptismal font, without prejudice to the same right already acquired
by other churches.
§2 The local Ordinary,
after consultation with the local parish priest, may for the convenience of the faithful
permit or order that a baptismal font be placed also in another church or oratory within
Can. 859 If, because of
distance or other circumstances, the person to be baptised cannot without grave
inconvenience go or be brought to the parish church or the oratory mentioned in can. 858
§2, baptism may and must be conferred in some other church or oratory which is nearer, or
even in some other fitting place.
Can. 860 §1 Apart from a
case of necessity, baptism is not to be conferred in private houses, unless the local
Ordinary should for a grave reason permit it.
§2 Unless the diocesan
Bishop has decreed otherwise, baptism is not to be conferred in hospital, except in a case
of necessity or for some other pressing pastoral reason.
Chapter II : THE MINISTER OF BAPTISM
Can. 861 §1 The ordinary
minister of baptism is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon, without prejudice to the provision
of can. 530, n. 1.
§2 If the ordinary minister
is absent or impeded, a catechist or some other person deputed to this office by the local
Ordinary, may lawfully confer baptism; indeed, in a case of necessity, any person who has
the requisite intention may do so. Pastors of souls, especially parish priests, are to be
diligent in ensuring that Christs faithful are taught the correct way to baptise.
Can. 862 Except in a case of
necessity, it is unlawful for anyone without due permission to confer baptism outside his
own territory, not even upon his own subjects.
Can. 863 The baptism of
adults, at least of those who have completed their fourteenth year, is to be referred to
the Bishop, so that he himself may confer it if he judges this appropriate.
Chapter III : THE PERSONS TO BE BAPTISED
Can. 864 Every unbaptised
person, and only such a person, can be baptised.
Can. 865 §1 To be admitted
to baptism, an adult must have manifested the intention to receive baptism, must be
adequately instructed in the truths of the faith and in the duties of a christian, and
tested in the christian life over the course of the catechumenate. The person must
moreover be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.
§2 An adult in danger of
death may be baptised if, with some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith, he or
she has in some manner manifested the intention to receive baptism and promises to observe
the requirements of the christian religion.
Can. 866 Unless there is a
grave reason to the contrary, immediately after receiving baptism an adult is to be
confirmed, to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and to receive holy
Can. 867 §1 Parents are
obliged to see that their infants are baptised within the first few weeks. As soon as
possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to approach the parish priest to
ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves duly prepared for it.
§2 If the infant is in
danger of death, it is to be baptised without any delay.
Can. 868 §1 For an infant
to be baptised lawfully it is required:
1° that the parents, or at
least one of them, or the person who lawfully holds their place, give their consent;
2° that there be a
well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the catholic religion. If such hope
is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to
be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for this.
§2 An infant of catholic
parents, indeed even of non-catholic parents, may in danger of death be baptised even if
the parents are opposed to it.
Can. 869 §1 If there is
doubt as to whether a person was baptised or whether a baptism was conferred validly, and
after serious enquiry this doubt persists, the person is to be baptised conditionally.
§2 Those baptised in a
non-catholic ecclesial community are not to be baptised conditionally unless there is a
serious reason for doubting the validity of their baptism, on the ground of the matter or
the form of words used in the baptism, or of the intention of the adult being baptised or
of that of the baptising minister.
§3 If in the cases
mentioned in §§1 and 2 a doubt remains about the conferring of the baptism or its
validity, baptism is not to be conferred until the doctrine of the sacrament of baptism is
explained to the person to be baptised, if that person is an adult. Moreover, the reasons
for doubting the validity of the earlier baptism should be given to the person or, where
an infant is concerned, to the parents.
Can. 870 An abandoned infant
or a foundling is to be baptised unless diligent enquiry establishes that it has already
Can. 871 Aborted foetuses,
if they are alive, are to be baptised, in so far as this is possible.
IV : SPONSORS
Can. 872 In so far as
possible, a person being baptised is to be assigned a sponsor. In the case of an adult
baptism, the sponsors role is to assist the person in christian initiation. In the
case of an infant baptism, the role is together with the parents to present the child for
baptism, and to help it to live a christian life befitting the baptised and faithfully to
fulfil the duties inherent in baptism.
Can. 873 One sponsor, male
or female, is sufficient; but there may be two, one of each sex.
Can. 874 §1 To be admitted
to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
1° be appointed by the
candidate for baptism, or by the parents or whoever stands in their place, or failing
these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the person must be suitable
for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
2° be not less than sixteen
years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated by the diocesan Bishop, or unless
the parish priest or the minister considers that there is a just reason for an exception
to be made;
3° be a catholic who has
been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and who lives a life of faith which
befits the role to be undertaken;
4° not labour under a
canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;
5° not be either the father
or the mother of the person to be baptised.
§2 A baptised person who
belongs to a non-catholic ecclesial community may be admitted only in company with a
catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the baptism.
Chapter V : PROOF AND REGISTRATION OF BAPTISM
Can. 875 Whoever administers
baptism is to take care that if there is not a sponsor present, there is at least one
witness who can prove that the baptism was conferred.
Can. 876 To prove that
baptism has been conferred, if there is no conflict of interest, it is sufficient to have
either one unexceptionable witness or, if the baptism was conferred upon an adult, the
sworn testimony of the baptised person.
Can. 877 §1 The parish
priest of the place in which the baptism was conferred must carefully and without delay
record in the register of baptism the names of the baptised, the minister, the parents,
the sponsors and, if there were such, the witnesses, and the place and date of baptism. He
must also enter the date and place of birth.
§2 In the case of a child
of an unmarried mother, the mothers name is to be entered if her maternity is
publicly known or if, either in writing or before two witnesses, she freely asks that this
be done. Similarly, the name of the father is to be entered, if his paternity is
established either by some public document or by his own declaration in the presence of
the parish priest and two witnesses. In all other cases, the name of the baptised person
is to be registered, without any indication of the name of the father or of the parents.
§3 In the case of an
adopted child, the names of the adopting parents are to be registered and, at least if
this is done in the local civil registration, the names of the natural parents in
accordance with §§1 and 2 subject however to the rulings of the Episcopal Conference.
Can. 878 If baptism was
administered neither by the parish priest nor in his presence, the minister of baptism,
whoever that was, must notify the parish priest of the parish in which the baptism was
administered, so that he may register the baptism in accordance with can. 877 §1.
TITLE II: THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
Can. 879 The sacrament of
confirmation confers a character. By it the baptised continue their path of christian
initiation. They are enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit, and are more closely
linked to the Church. They are made strong and more firmly obliged by word and deed to
witness to Christ and to spread and defend the faith.
Chapter I : THE CELEBRATION OF CONFIRMATION
Can. 880 §1 The sacrament
of confirmation is conferred by anointing with chrism on the forehead in a laying on of
hands, and by the words prescribed in the approved liturgical books.
§2 The chrism to be used in
the sacrament of confirmation must have been consecrated by a Bishop, even when the
sacrament is administered by a priest.
Can. 881 It is desirable
that the sacrament of confirmation be celebrated in a church and indeed during Mass.
However, for a just and reasonable cause it may be celebrated apart from Mass and in any
Chapter II : THE MINISTER OF CONFIRMATION
Can. 882 The ordinary
minister of confirmation is a Bishop. A priest can also validly confer this sacrament if
he has the faculty to do so, either from the general law or by way of a special grant from
the competent authority.
Can. 883 The following have,
by law, the faculty to administer confirmation:
1° within the confines of
their jurisdiction, those who in law are equivalent to a diocesan Bishop;
2° in respect of the person
to be confirmed, the priest who by virtue of his office or by mandate of the diocesan
Bishop baptises an adult or admits a baptised adult into full communion with the catholic
3° in respect of those in
danger of death, the parish priest or indeed any priest.
Can. 884 §1 The diocesan
Bishop is himself to administer confirmation or to ensure that it is administered by
another Bishop. If necessity so requires, he may grant to one or several specified priests
the faculty to administer this sacrament.
§2 For a grave reason the
Bishop, or the priest who by law or by special grant of the competent authority has the
faculty to confirm, may in individual cases invite other priests to join with him in
administering the sacrament.
Can. 885 §1 The diocesan
Bishop is bound to ensure that the sacrament of confirmation is conferred upon his
subjects who duly and reasonably request it.
§2 A priest who has this
faculty must use it for those in whose favour it was granted.
Can. 886 §1 A Bishop in his
own diocese may lawfully administer the sacrament of confirmation even to the faithful who
are not his subjects, unless there is an express prohibition by their own Ordinary.
§2 In order lawfully to
administer confirmation in another diocese, unless it be to his own subjects, a Bishop
needs the permission, at least reasonably presumed, of the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 887 A priest who has
the faculty to administer confirmation may, within the territory assigned to him, lawfully
administer this sacrament even to those from outside the territory, unless there is a
prohibition by their own Ordinary. He cannot, however, validly confirm anyone in another
territory, without prejudice to the provision of can. 883, n.3.
Can. 888 Within the
territory in which they can confer confirmation, ministers may confirm even in exempt
Chapter III : THE PERSONS TO BE CONFIRMED
Can. 889 §1 Every baptised
person who is not confirmed, and only such a person, is capable of receiving confirmation.
§2 Apart from the danger of
death, to receive confirmation lawfully a person who has the use of reason must be
suitably instructed, properly disposed and able to renew the baptismal promises.
Can. 890 The faithful are
bound to receive this sacrament at the proper time. Parents and pastors of souls,
especially parish priests, are to see that the faithful are properly instructed to receive
the sacrament and come to it at the opportune time.
Can. 891 The sacrament of
confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion, unless the
Episcopal Conference has decided on a different age, or there is a danger of death or, in
the judgement of the minister, a grave reason suggests otherwise.
IV : SPONSORS
Can. 892 As far as possible
the person to be confirmed is to have a sponsor. The sponsors function is to take
care that the person confirmed behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfils
the duties inherent in this sacrament.
Can. 893 §1 A person who
would undertake the office of sponsor must fulfil the conditions mentioned in can. 874.
§2 It is desirable that the
sponsor chosen be the one who undertook this role at baptism.
Chapter V : PROOF AND REGISTRATION OF CONFIRMATION
Can. 894 To establish that
confirmation has been conferred, the provisions of can. 876 are to be observed.
Can. 895 The names of those
confirmed, the minister, the parents, the sponsors and the place and date of the
confirmation are to be recorded in the confirmation register of the diocesan curia or,
wherever this has been prescribed by the Episcopal Conference or by the diocesan Bishop,
in the register to be kept in the parochial archive. The parish priest must notify the
parish priest of the place of the baptism that the confirmation was conferred, so that it
be recorded in the baptismal register, in accordance with can. 535 §2.
Can. 896 If the parish
priest of the place was not present, the minister, personally or through someone else, is
to notify him as soon as possible that the confirmation was conferred.
TITLE III: THE BLESSED EUCHARIST
Can. 897 The most venerable
sacrament is the blessed Eucharist, in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered
and received, and by which the Church continually lives and grows. The eucharistic
Sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the Sacrifice
of the cross is forever perpetuated, is the summit and the source of all worship and
christian life. By means of it the unity of Gods people is signified and brought
about, and the building up of the body of Christ is perfected. The other sacraments and
all the apostolic works of Christ are bound up with, and directed to, the blessed
Can. 898 Christs
faithful are to hold the blessed Eucharist in the highest honour. They should take an
active part in the celebration of the most august Sacrifice of the Mass; they should
receive the sacrament with great devotion and frequently, and should reverence it with the
greatest adoration. In explaining the doctrine of this sacrament, pastors of souls are
assiduously to instruct the faithful about their obligation in this regard.
Chapter I : THE CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST
Can. 899 §1 The celebration
of the Eucharist is an action of Christ himself and of the Church. In it Christ the Lord,
through the ministry of the priest, offers himself, substantially present under the
appearances of bread and wine, to God the Father, and gives himself as spiritual
nourishment to the faithful who are associated with him in his offering.
§2 In the eucharistic
assembly the people of God are called together under the presidency of the Bishop or of a
priest authorised by him, who acts in the person of Christ. All the faithful present,
whether clerics or lay people, unite to participate in their own way, according to their
various orders and liturgical roles.
§3 The eucharistic
celebration is to be so ordered that all the participants derive from it the many fruits
for which Christ the Lord instituted the eucharistic Sacrifice.
Article 1: The Minister of the Blessed Eucharist
Can. 900 §1 The only
minister who, in the person of Christ, can bring into being the sacrament of the
Eucharist, is a validly ordained priest.
§2 Any priest who is not
debarred by canon law may lawfully celebrate the Eucharist, provided the provisions of the
following canons are observed.
Can. 901 A priest is
entitled to offer Mass for anyone, living or dead.
Can. 902 Unless the benefit
of Christs faithful requires or suggests otherwise, priests may concelebrate the
Eucharist; they are, however, fully entitled to celebrate the Eucharist individually, but
not while a celebration is taking place in the same church or oratory.
Can. 903 A priest is to be
permitted to celebrate the Eucharist, even if he is not known to the rector of the church,
provided either that he presents commendatory letters, not more than a year old, from his
own Ordinary or Superior, or that it can be prudently judged that he is not debarred from
Can. 904 Remembering always
that in the mystery of the eucharistic Sacrifice the work of redemption is continually
being carried out, priests are to celebrate frequently. Indeed, daily celebration is
earnestly recommended, because, even if it should not be possible to have the faithful
present, it is an action of Christ and of the Church in which priests fulfil their
Can. 905 §1 Apart from
those cases in which the law allows him to celebrate or concelebrate the Eucharist a
number of times on the same day, a priest may not celebrate more than once a day.
§2 If there is a scarcity
of priests, the local Ordinary may for a good reason allow priests to celebrate twice in
one day or even, if pastoral need requires it, three times on Sundays or holydays of
Can. 906 A priest may not
celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation of at least one of the
faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so.
Can. 907 In the celebration
of the Eucharist, deacons and lay persons are not permitted to say the prayers, especially
the eucharistic prayer, nor to perform the actions which are proper to the celebrating
Can. 908 Catholic priests
are forbidden to concelebrate the Eucharist with priests or ministers of Churches or
ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the catholic Church.
Can. 909 A priest is not to
omit dutifully to prepare himself by prayer before the celebration of the Eucharist, nor
afterwards to omit to make thanksgiving to God.
Can. 910 §1 The ordinary
minister of holy communion is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon.
§2 The extraordinary
minister of holy communion is an acolyte, or another of Christs faithful deputed in
accordance with can. 230 §3.
Can. 911 §1 The duty and
right to bring the blessed Eucharist to the sick as Viaticum belongs to the parish priest,
to assistant priests, to chaplains and, in respect of all who are in the house, to the
community Superior in clerical religious institutes or societies of apostolic life.
§2 In a case of necessity,
or with the permission at least presumed of the parish priest, chaplain or Superior, who
must subsequently be notified, any priest or other minister of holy communion must do
Article 2: Participation in the Blessed Eucharist
Can. 912 Any baptised person
who is not forbidden by law may and must be admitted to holy communion.
Can. 913 §1 For holy
communion to be administered to children, it is required that they have sufficient
knowledge and be accurately prepared, so that according to their capacity they understand
what the mystery of Christ means, and are able to receive the Body of the Lord with faith
§2 The blessed Eucharist
may, however, be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the
Body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion with reverence.
Can. 914 It is primarily the
duty of parents and of those who take their place, as it is the duty of the parish priest,
to ensure that children who have reached the use of reason are properly prepared and,
having made their sacramental confession, are nourished by this divine food as soon as
possible. It is also the duty of the parish priest to see that children who have not
reached the use of reason, or whom he has judged to be insufficiently disposed, do not
come to holy communion.
Can. 915 Those upon whom the
penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who
obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion.
Can. 916 Anyone who is
conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the Body of the Lord without
previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is a grave reason and there
is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to
make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon
Can. 917 One who has
received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a
eucharistic celebration in which that person participates, without prejudice to the
provision of can. 921 §2.
Can. 918 It is most strongly
recommended that the faithful receive holy communion in the course of a eucharistic
celebration. If, however, for good reason they ask for it apart from the Mass, it is to be
administered to them, observing the liturgical rites.
Can. 919 §1 Whoever is to
receive the blessed Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion
from all food and drink, with the sole exception of water and medicine.
§2 A priest who, on the
same day, celebrates the blessed Eucharist twice or three times may consume something
before the second or third celebration, even though there is not an hours interval.
§3 The elderly and those
who are suffering from some illness, as well as those who care for them, may receive the
blessed Eucharist even if within the preceding hour they have consumed something.
Can. 920 §1 Once admitted
to the blessed Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at
least once a year.
§2 This precept must be
fulfilled during paschal time, unless for a good reason it is fulfilled at another time
during the year.
Can. 921 §1 Christs
faithful who are in danger of death, from whatever cause, are to be strengthened by holy
communion as Viaticum.
§2 Even if they have
already received holy communion that same day, it is nevertheless strongly suggested that
in danger of death they should communicate again.
§3 While the danger of
death persists, it is recommended that holy communion be administered a number of times,
but on separate days.
Can. 922 Holy Viaticum for
the sick is not to be unduly delayed. Those who have the care of souls are to take
assiduous care that the sick are strengthened by it while they are in full possession of
Can. 923 Christs
faithful may participate in the eucharistic Sacrifice and receive holy communion in any
catholic rite, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 844.
Article 3: The Rites and Ceremonies of the Eucharistic
Can. 924 §1 The most holy
Sacrifice of the Eucharist must be celebrated in bread, and in wine to which a small
quantity of water is to be added.
§2 The bread must be
wheaten only, and recently made, so that there is no danger of corruption.
§3 The wine must be
natural, made from grapes of the vine, and not corrupt.
Can. 925 Holy communion is
to be given under the species of bread alone or, in accordance with the liturgical laws,
under both species or, in case of necessity, even under the species of wine alone.
Can. 926 In the eucharistic
celebration, in accordance with the ancient tradition of the latin Church, the priest is
to use unleavened bread wherever he celebrates Mass.
Can. 927 It is absolutely
wrong, even in urgent and extreme necessity, to consecrate one element without the other,
or even to consecrate both outside the eucharistic celebration.
Can. 928 The eucharistic
celebration is to be carried out either in the latin language or in another language,
provided the liturgical texts have been lawfully approved.
Can. 929 In celebrating and
administering the Eucharist, priests and deacons are to wear the sacred vestments
prescribed by the rubrics.
Can. 930 §1 A priest who is
ill or elderly, if he is unable to stand, may celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice sitting
but otherwise observing the liturgical laws; he may not, however, do so in public except
by permission of the local Ordinary.
§2 A priest who is blind or
suffering from some other infirmity, may lawfully celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice by
using the text of any approved Mass, with the assistance, if need be, of another priest or
deacon or even a properly instructed lay person.
Article 4: The Time and Place of the Eucharistic
Can. 931 The celebration and
distribution of the Eucharist may take place on any day and at any hour, except those
which are excluded by the liturgical laws.
Can. 932 §1 The eucharistic
celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity
requires otherwise; in which case the celebration must be in a fitting place.
§2 The eucharistic
Sacrifice must be carried out at an altar that is dedicated or blessed. Outside a sacred
place an appropriate table may be used, but always with an altar cloth and a corporal.
Can. 933 For a good reason,
with the express permission of the local Ordinary and provided scandal has been
eliminated, a priest may celebrate the Eucharist in a place of worship of any Church or
ecclesial community which is not in full communion with the catholic Church.
Chapter II : THE RESERVATION AND VENERATION OF THE BLESSED
Can. 934 §1 The blessed
1° must be reserved in the
cathedral church or its equivalent, in every parish church, and in the church or oratory
attached to the house of a religious institute or society of apostolic life
2° may be reserved in a
Bishops chapel and, by permission of the local Ordinary, in other churches,
oratories and chapels.
§2 In sacred places where
the blessed Eucharist is reserved there must always be someone who is responsible for it,
and as far as possible a priest is to celebrate Mass there at least twice a month.
Can. 935 It is not lawful
for anyone to keep the blessed Eucharist in personal custody or to carry it around, unless
there is an urgent pastoral need and the prescriptions of the diocesan Bishop are
Can. 936 In a house of a
religious institute or other house of piety, the blessed Eucharist is to be reserved only
in the church or principal oratory attached to the house. For a just reason, however, the
Ordinary can permit it to be reserved also in another oratory of the same house.
Can. 937 Unless there is a
grave reason to the contrary, a church in which the blessed Eucharist is reserved is to be
open to the faithful for at least some hours every day, so that they can pray before the
Can. 938 §1 The blessed
Eucharist is to be reserved habitually in only one tabernacle of a church or oratory.
§2 The tabernacle in which
the blessed Eucharist is reserved should be sited in a distinguished place in the church
or oratory, a place which is conspicuous, suitably adorned and conducive to prayer.
§3 The tabernacle in which
the blessed Eucharist is habitually reserved is to be immovable, made of solid and
non-transparent material, and so locked as to give the greatest security against any
danger of profanation.
§4 For a grave reason,
especially at night, it is permitted to reserve the blessed Eucharist in some other safer
place, provided it is fitting.
§5 The person in charge of
a church or oratory is to see to it that the key of the tabernacle in which the blessed
Eucharist is reserved, is in maximum safe keeping.
Can. 939 Consecrated hosts,
in a quantity sufficient for the needs of the faithful, are to be kept in a pyx or
ciborium, and are to be renewed frequently, the older hosts having been duly consumed.
Can. 940 A special lamp is
to burn continuously before the tabernacle in which the blessed Eucharist is reserved, to
indicate and to honour the presence of Christ.
Can. 941 §1 In churches or
oratories which are allowed to reserve the blessed Eucharist, there may be exposition,
either with the pyx or with the monstrance, in accordance with the norms prescribed in the
§2 Exposition of the
blessed Sacrament may not take place while Mass is being celebrated in the same area of
the church or oratory.
Can. 942 It is recommended
that in these churches or oratories, there is to be each year a solemn exposition of the
blessed Sacrament for an appropriate, even if not for a continuous time, so that the local
community may more attentively meditate on and adore the eucharistic mystery. This
exposition is to take place only if a fitting attendance of the faithful is foreseen, and
the prescribed norms are observed.
Can. 943 The minister of
exposition of the blessed Sacrament and of the eucharistic blessing is a priest or deacon.
In special circumstances the minister of exposition and deposition alone, but without the
blessing, is an acolyte, and extraordinary minister of holy communion, or another person
deputed by the local Ordinary, in accordance with the regulations of the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 944 §1 Wherever in the
judgement of the diocesan Bishop it can be done, a procession through the streets is to be
held, especially on the solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, as a public witness of
veneration of the blessed Eucharist.
§2 It is for the diocesan
Bishop to establish such regulations about processions as will provide for participation
in them and for their being carried out in a dignified manner.
Chapter III : THE OFFERING MADE FOR THE CELEBRATION OF
Can. 945 §1 In accordance
with the approved custom of the Church, any priest who celebrates or concelebrates a Mass
may accept an offering to apply the Mass for a specific intention.
§2 It is earnestly
recommended to priests that, even if they do not receive an offering, they celebrate Mass
for the intentions of Christs faithful, especially of those in need.
Can. 946 The faithful who
make an offering so that Mass can be celebrated for their intention, contribute to the
good of the Church, and by that offering they share in the Churchs concern for the
support of its ministers and its activities.
Can. 947 Even the semblance
of trafficking or trading is to be entirely excluded from Mass offerings.
Can. 948 Separate Masses
must be applied for the intentions of those for whom an individual offering, even if
small, has been made and accepted.
Can. 949 One who is obliged
to celebrate and apply Mass for the intentions of those who made an offering, is bound by
this obligation even if the offering received is lost through no fault of his.
Can. 950 If a sum of money
is offered for the application of Masses, but with no indication of the number of Masses
to be celebrated, their number is to be calculated on the basis of the offering prescribed
in the place where the donor resides, unless the donors intention must lawfully be
presumed to have been otherwise.
Can. 951 §1 A priest who
celebrates a number of Masses on the same day may apply each Mass for the intention for
which an offering was made, subject however to the rule that, apart from Christmas Day, he
may retain for himself the offering for only one Mass; the others he is to transmit to
purposes prescribed by the Ordinary, while allowing for some compensation on the ground of
an extrinsic title.
§2 A priest who on the same
day concelebrates a second Mass may not under any title accept an offering for that Mass.
Can. 952 §1 The provincial
council or the provincial Bishops meeting is to determine by decree, for the whole
of the province, what offering is to be made for the celebration and application of Mass.
Nonetheless, it is permitted to accept, for the application of a Mass, an offering
voluntarily made, which is greater, or even less, than that which has been determined.
§2 Where there is no such
decree, the custom existing in the diocese is to be observed.
§3 Members of religious
institutes of all kinds must abide by the decree or the local custom mentioned in §§1
Can. 953 No one may accept
more offerings for Masses to be celebrated by himself than he can discharge within a year.
Can. 954 If in certain
churches or oratories more Masses are requested than can be celebrated there, these may be
celebrated elsewhere, unless the donors have expressly stipulated otherwise.
Can. 955 §1 One who intends
to transfer to others the celebration of Masses to be applied, is to transfer them as soon
as possible to priests of his own choice, provided he is certain that they are of proven
integrity. He must transfer the entire offering received, unless it is quite certain that
an amount in excess of the diocesan offering was given as a personal gift. Moreover, it is
his obligation to see to the celebration of the Masses until such time as he has received
evidence that the obligation has been undertaken and the offering received.
§2 Unless it is established
otherwise, the time within which Masses are to be celebrated begins from the day the
priest who is to celebrate them receives them.
§3 Those who transfer to
others Masses to be celebrated are without delay to record in a book both the Masses which
they have accepted and those which they have passed on, noting also the offerings for
§4 Each priest must
accurately record the Masses which he has accepted to celebrate and those which he has in
Can. 956 Each and every
administrator of pious causes and those, whether clerics or lay persons, who are in any
way obliged to provide for the celebration of Masses, are to transfer to their Ordinaries,
in a manner to be determined by the latter, such Mass obligations as have not been
discharged within a year.
Can. 957 The duty and the
right to see that Mass obligations are fulfilled belongs, in the case of churches of the
secular clergy, to the local Ordinary; in the case of churches of religious institutes or
societies of apostolic life, to their Superiors.
Can. 958 §1 The parish
priest, as well as the rector of a church or other pious place in which Mass offerings are
usually received, is to have a special book in which he is accurately to record the
number, the intention and the offering of the Masses to be celebrated, and the fact of
§2 The Ordinary is obliged
to inspect these books each year, either personally or through others.
TITLE IV: THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
Can. 959 In the sacrament of
penance the faithful who confess their sins to a lawful minister, are sorry for those sins
and have a purpose of amendment, receive from God, through the absolution given by that
minister, forgiveness of sins they have committed after baptism, and at the same time they
are reconciled with the Church, which by sinning they wounded.
Chapter I : THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT
Can. 960 Individual and
integral confession and absolution constitute the sole ordinary means by which a member of
the faithful who is conscious of grave sin is reconciled with God and with the Church.
Physical or moral impossibility alone excuses from such confession, in which case
reconciliation may be attained by other means also.
Can. 961 §1 General
absolution, without prior individual confession, cannot be given to a number of penitents
1° danger of death
threatens and there is not time for the priest or priests to hear the confessions of the
2° there exists a grave
necessity, that is, given the number of penitents, there are not enough confessors
available properly to hear the individual confessions within an appropriate time, so that
without fault of their own the penitents are deprived of the sacramental grace or of holy
communion for a lengthy period of time. A sufficient necessity is not, however, considered
to exist when confessors cannot be available merely because of a great gathering of
penitents, such as can occur on some major feastday or pilgrimage.
§2 It is for the diocesan
Bishop to judge whether the conditions required in §1, n. 2 are present; mindful of the
criteria agreed with the other members of the Episcopal Conference, he can determine the
cases of such necessity.
Can. 962 §1 For a member of
Christs faithful to benefit validly from a sacramental absolution given to a number
of people simultaneously, it is required not only that he or she be properly disposed, but
be also at the same time personally resolved to confess in due time each of the grave sins
which cannot for the moment be thus confessed.
§2 Christs faithful
are to be instructed about the requirements set out in §1, as far as possible even on the
occasion of general absolution being received. An exhortation that each person should make
an act of contrition is to precede a general absolution, even in the case of danger of
death if there is time.
Can. 963 Without prejudice
to the obligation mentioned in can. 989, a person whose grave sins are forgiven by a
general absolution, is as soon as possible, when the opportunity occurs, to make an
individual confession before receiving another general absolution, unless a just reason
Can. 964 §1 The proper
place for hearing sacramental confessions is a church or oratory.
§2 As far as the
confessional is concerned, norms are to be issued by the Episcopal Conference, with the
proviso however that confessionals, which the faithful who so wish may freely use, are
located in an open place, and fitted with a fixed grille between the penitent and the
§3 Except for a just
reason, confessions are not to be heard elsewhere than in a confessional.
Chapter II : THE MINISTER OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE
Can. 965 Only a priest is
the minister of the sacrament of penance.
Can. 966 §1 For the valid
absolution of sins, it is required that, in addition to the power of order, the minister
has the faculty to exercise that power in respect of the faithful to whom he gives
§2 A priest can be given
this faculty either by the law itself, or by a concession issued by the competent
authority in accordance with can. 969.
Can. 967 §1 Besides the
Roman Pontiff, Cardinals by virtue of the law itself have the faculty to hear the
confessions of Christs faithful everywhere. Likewise, Bishops have this faculty,
which they may lawfully use everywhere, unless in a particular case the diocesan Bishop
§2 Those who have the
faculty habitually to hear confessions, whether by virtue of their office or by virtue of
a concession by the Ordinary of either the place of incardination or that in which they
have a domicile, can exercise that faculty everywhere, unless in a particular case the
local Ordinary has refused, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 974 §§2 and 3.
§3 In respect of the
members and of those others who live day and night in a house of an institute or society,
this same faculty is by virtue of the law itself possessed everywhere by those who have
the faculty to hear confessions, whether by virtue of their office or by virtue of a
special concession of the competent Superior in accordance with cann. 968 §2 and 969 §2.
They may lawfully use this faculty, unless in a particular case some major Superior has,
in respect of his own subjects, refused.
Can. 968 §1 By virtue of
his office, for each within the limits of his jurisdiction, the faculty to hear
confessions belongs to the local Ordinary, to the canon penitentiary, to the parish
priest, and to those others who are in the place of the parish priest.
§2 By virtue of their
office, the faculty to hear the confessions of their own subjects and of those others who
live day and night in the house, belongs to the Superiors of religious institutes or of
societies of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of pontifical right, who in
accordance with the constitutions have executive power of governance, without prejudice
however to the provision of can. 630 §4.
Can. 969 §1 Only the local
Ordinary is competent to give to any priests whomsoever the faculty to hear the
confessions of any whomsoever of the faithful. Priests who are members of religious
institutes may not, however, use this faculty without the permission, at least presumed,
of their Superior.
§2 The Superior of a
religious institute or of a society of apostolic life, mentioned in can. 968 §2, is
competent to give to any priests whomsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of his own
subjects and of those others who live day and night in the house.
Can. 970 The faculty to hear
confessions is not to be given except to priests whose suitability has been established,
either by examination or by some other means.
Can. 971 The local Ordinary
is not to give the faculty habitually to hear confessions to a priest, even to one who has
a domicile or quasi-domicile within his jurisdiction, without first, as far as possible,
consulting that priests own Ordinary.
Can. 972 The faculty to hear
confessions may be given by the competent authority mentioned in can. 969, for either an
indeterminate or a determinate period of time.
Can. 973 The faculty
habitually to hear confessions is to be given in writing.
Can. 974 §1 Neither the
local Ordinary nor the competent Superior may, except for a grave reason, revoke the grant
of a faculty habitually to hear confessions.
§2 If the faculty to hear
confessions granted by the local Ordinary mentioned in can. 967, §2, is revoked by that
Ordinary, the priest loses the faculty everywhere. If the faculty is revoked by another
local Ordinary, the priest loses it only in the territory of the Ordinary who revokes it.
§3 Any local Ordinary who
has revoked a priests faculty to hear confessions is to notify the Ordinary who is
proper to that priest by reason of incardination or, if the priest is a member of a
religious institute, his competent Superior.
§4 If the faculty to hear
confessions is revoked by his own major Superior, the priest loses everywhere the faculty
to hear the confessions of the members of the institute. But if the faculty is revoked by
another competent Superior, the priest loses it only in respect of those subjects who are
in that Superiors jurisdiction.
Can. 975 Apart from
revocation, the faculty mentioned in can. 967 §2 ceases by loss of office, by
excardination, or by loss of domicile.
Can. 976 Any priest, even
though he lacks the faculty to hear confessions, can validly and lawfully absolve any
penitents who are in danger of death, from any censures and sins, even if an approved
priest is present.
Can. 977 The absolution of a
partner in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is invalid, except in
danger of death.
Can. 978 §1 In hearing
confessions the priest is to remember that he is at once both judge and healer, and that
he is constituted by God as a minister of both divine justice and divine mercy, so that he
may contribute to the honour of God and the salvation of souls.
§2 In administering the
sacrament, the confessor, as a minister of the Church, is to adhere faithfully to the
teaching of the magisterium and to the norms laid down by the competent authority.
Can. 979 In asking questions
the priest is to act with prudence and discretion, taking into account the condition and
the age of the penitent, and he is to refrain from enquiring the name of a partner in sin.
Can. 980 If the confessor is
in no doubt about the penitents disposition and the penitent asks for absolution, it
is not to be denied or delayed.
Can. 981 The confessor is to
impose salutary and appropriate penances, in proportion to the kind and number of sins
confessed, taking into account, however, the condition of the penitent. The penitent is
bound personally to fulfil these penances.
Can. 982 A person who
confesses to having falsely denounced to ecclesiastical authority a confessor innocent of
the crime of solicitation to a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, is not
to be absolved unless that person has first formally withdrawn the false denunciation and
is prepared to make good whatever harm may have been done.
Can. 983 §1 The sacramental
seal is inviolable. Accordingly, it is absolutely wrong for a confessor in any way to
betray the penitent, for any reason whatsoever, whether by word or in any other fashion.
§2 An interpreter, if there
is one, is also obliged to observe this secret, as are all others who in any way whatever
have come to a knowledge of sins from a confession.
Can. 984 §1 The confessor
is wholly forbidden to use knowledge acquired in confession to the detriment of the
penitent, even when all danger of disclosure is excluded.
§2 A person who is in
authority may not in any way, for the purpose of external governance, use knowledge about
sins which has at any time come to him from the hearing of confession.
Can. 985 The director and
assistant director of novices, and the rector of a seminary or of any other institute of
education, are not to hear the sacramental confessions of their students resident in the
same house, unless in individual instances the students of their own accord request it.
Can. 986 §1 All to whom by
virtue of office the care of souls is committed, are bound to provide for the hearing of
the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them, who reasonably request confession, and
they are to provide these faithful with an opportunity to make individual confession on
days and at times arranged to suit them.
§2 In an urgent necessity,
every confessor is bound to hear the confessions of Christs faithful, and in danger
of death every priest is so obliged.
Chapter III : THE PENITENT
Can. 987 In order that the
faithful may receive the saving remedy of the sacrament of penance, they must be so
disposed that, repudiating the sins they have committed and having the purpose of amending
their lives, they turn back to God.
Can. 988 §1 The faithful
are bound to confess, in kind and in number, all grave sins committed after baptism, of
which after careful examination of conscience they are aware, which have not yet been
directly pardoned by the keys of the Church, and which have not been confessed in an
§2 The faithful are
recommended to confess also venial sins.
Can. 989 All the faithful
who have reached the age of discretion are bound faithfully to confess their grave sins at
least once a year.
Can. 990 No one is forbidden
to confess through an interpreter, provided however that abuse and scandal are avoided,
and without prejudice to the provision of can. 983 §2.
Can. 991 All Christs
faithful are free to confess their sins to lawfully approved confessors of their own
choice, even to one of another rite.
IV : INDULGENCES
Can. 992 An indulgence is
the remission in the sight of God of the temporal punishment due for sins, the guilt of
which has already been forgiven. A member of Christs faithful who is properly
disposed and who fulfils certain specific conditions, may gain an indulgence by the help
of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies
the treasury of the merits of Christ and the Saints.
Can. 993 An indulgence is
partial or plenary according as it partially or wholly frees a person from the temporal
punishment due for sins.
Can. 994 All members of the
faithful can gain indulgences, partial or plenary, for themselves, or they can apply them
by way of suffrage to the dead.
Can. 995 §1 Apart from the
supreme authority in the Church, only those can grant indulgences to whom this power is
either acknowledged in the law, or given by the Roman Pontiff.
§2 No authority below the
Roman Pontiff can give to others the faculty of granting indulgences, unless this
authority has been expressly given to the person by the Apostolic See.
Can. 996 §1 To be capable
of gaining indulgences a person must be baptised, not excommunicated, and in the state of
grace at least on the completion of the prescribed work.
§2 To gain them, however,
the person who is capable must have at least the intention of gaining them, and must
fulfil the prescribed works at the time and in the manner determined by the terms of the
Can. 997 As far as the
granting and the use of indulgences is concerned, the other provisions contained in the
special laws of the Church must also be observed.
TITLE V : THE SACRAMENT OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK
Can. 998 The anointing of
the sick, by which the Church commends to the suffering and glorified Lord the faithful
who are dangerously ill so that he may support and save them, is conferred by anointing
them with oil and pronouncing the words prescribed in the liturgical books.
Chapter I : THE CELEBRATION OF THE SACRAMENT
Can. 999 The oil to be used
in the anointing of the sick can be blessed not only by a Bishop but also by:
1° those who are in law
equivalent to the diocesan Bishop;
2° in a case of necessity,
any priest but only in the actual celebration of the sacrament.
Can. 1000 §1 The anointings
are to be carried out accurately, with the words and in the order and manner prescribed in
the liturgical books. In a case of necessity, however, a single anointing on the forehead,
or even on another part of the body, is sufficient while the full formula is recited.
§2 The minister is to
anoint with his own hand, unless a grave reason indicates the use of an instrument.
Can. 1001 Pastors of souls
and those who are close to the sick are to ensure that the sick are helped by this
sacrament in good time.
Can. 1002 The communal
celebration of anointing of the sick, for a number of the sick together, who have been
appropriately prepared and are rightly disposed, may be held in accordance with the
regulations of the diocesan Bishop.
Chapter II : THE MINISTER OF ANOINTING OF THE SICK
Can. 1003 §1 Every priest,
but only a priest, can validly administer the anointing of the sick.
§2 All priests to whom has
been committed the care of souls, have the obligation and the right to administer the
anointing of the sick to those of the faithful entrusted to their pastoral care. For a
reasonable cause, any other priest may administer this sacrament if he has the consent, at
least presumed, of the aforementioned priest.
§3 Any priest may carry the
holy oil with him, so that in a case of necessity he can administer the sacrament of
anointing of the sick.
Chapter III : THOSE TO BE ANOINTED
Can. 1004 §1 The anointing
of the sick can be administered to any member of the faithful who, having reached the use
of reason, begins to be in danger of death by reason of illness or old age.
§2 This sacrament can be
repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes seriously ill or if, in the
same illness, the danger becomes more serious.
Can. 1005 If there is any
doubt as to whether the sick person has reached the age of reason, or is dangerously ill,
or is dead, this sacrament is to be administered.
Can. 1006 This sacrament is
to be administered to the sick who, when they were in possession of their faculties, at
least implicitly asked for it.
Can. 1007 The anointing of
the sick is not to be conferred upon those who obstinately persist in a manifestly grave
Can. 1008 By divine
institution some among Christs faithful are, through the sacrament of order, marked
with an indelible character and are thus constituted sacred ministers; thereby they are
consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they fulfil, in the
person of Christ the Head, the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling, and so they
nourish the people of God.
Can. 1009 §1 The orders are
the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate.
§2 They are conferred by
the imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration which the liturgical books
prescribe for each grade.
Chapter I : THE CELEBRATION OF ORDINATION AND THE MINISTER
Can. 1010 An ordination is
to be celebrated during Mass, on a Sunday or holyday of obligation. For pastoral reasons,
however, it may take place on other days also, even on ferial days.
Can. 1011 §1 An ordination
is normally to be celebrated in the cathedral church. For pastoral reasons, however, it
may be celebrated in another church or oratory.
§2 Clerics and other
members of Christs faithful are to be invited to attend an ordination, so that the
greatest possible number may be present at the celebration.
Can. 1012 The minister of
sacred ordination is a consecrated Bishop.
Can. 1013 No Bishop is
permitted to consecrate anyone as Bishop, unless it is first established that a pontifical
mandate has been issued.
Can. 1014 Unless a
dispensation has been granted by the Apostolic See, the principal consecrating Bishop at
an episcopal consecration is to have at least two other consecrating Bishops with him. It
is, however, entirely appropriate that all the Bishops present should join with these in
consecrating the Bishop-elect.
Can. 1015 §1 Each candidate
is to be ordained to the priesthood or to the diaconate by his proper Bishop, or with
lawful dimissorial letters granted by that Bishop.
§2 If not impeded from
doing so by a just reason, a Bishop is himself to ordain his own subjects. He may not,
however, without an apostolic indult lawfully ordain a subject of an oriental rite.
§3 Anyone who is entitled
to give dimissorial letters for the reception of orders may also himself confer these
orders, if he is a Bishop.
Can. 1016 In what concerns
the ordination to the diaconate of those who intend to enrol themselves in the secular
clergy, the proper Bishop is the Bishop of the diocese in which the aspirant has a
domicile, or the Bishop of the diocese to which he intends to devote himself. In what
concerns the priestly ordination of the secular clergy, it is the Bishop of the diocese in
which the aspirant was incardinated by the diaconate.
Can. 1017 A Bishop may not
confer orders outside his own jurisdiction except with the permission of the diocesan
Can. 1018 §1 The following
can give dimissorial letters for the secular clergy:
1° the proper Bishop
mentioned in can. 1016;
2° the apostolic
Administrator; with the consent of the college of consultors, the diocesan Administrator;
with the consent of the council mentioned in can. 495 §2, the Pro-vicar and Pro-prefect
§2 The diocesan
Administrator, the Pro-vicar and Pro-prefect apostolic are not to give dimissorial letters
to those to whom admission to orders was refused by the diocesan Bishop or by the Vicar or
Can. 1019 §1 It belongs to
the major Superior of a clerical religious institute of pontifical right or of a clerical
society of apostolic life of pontifical right to grant dimissorial letters for the
diaconate and for the priesthood to his subjects who are, in accordance with the
constitutions, perpetually or definitively enrolled in the institute or society.
§2 The ordination of all
other candidates of whatever institute or society, is governed by the law applying to the
secular clergy, any indult whatsoever granted to Superiors being revoked.
Can. 1020 Dimissorial
letters are not to be granted unless all the testimonials and documents required by the
law in accordance with cann. 1050 and 1051 have first been obtained.
Can. 1021 Dimissorial
letters may be sent to any Bishop in communion with the Apostolic See, but not to a Bishop
of a rite other than that of the ordinand, unless there is an apostolic indult.
Can. 1022 When the ordaining
Bishop has received the prescribed dimissorial letters, he may proceed to the ordination
only when the authenticity of these letters is established beyond any doubt whatever.
Can. 1023 Dimissorial
letters can be limited or can be revoked by the person granting them or by his successor;
once granted, they do not lapse on the expiry of the grantors authority.
Chapter II : THOSE TO BE ORDAINED
Can. 1024 Only a baptised
man can validly receive sacred ordination.
Can. 1025 §1 In order
lawfully to confer the orders of priesthood or diaconate, it must have been established,
in accordance with the proofs laid down by law, that in the judgement of the proper Bishop
or competent major Superior, the candidate possesses the requisite qualities, that he is
free of any irregularity or impediment, and that he has fulfilled the requirements set out
in can. 1033--1039. Moreover, the documents mentioned in can. 1050 must be to hand, and
the investigation mentioned in can. 1051 must have been carried out.
§2 It is further required
that, in the judgement of the same lawful Superior, the candidate is considered beneficial
to the ministry of the Church.
§3 A Bishop ordaining his
own subject who is destined for the service of another diocese, must be certain that the
ordinand will in fact be attached to that other diocese.
Article 1: The Requirements in those to be Ordained
Can. 1026 For a person to be
ordained, he must enjoy the requisite freedom. It is absolutely wrong to compel anyone, in
any way or for any reason whatsoever, to receive orders, or to turn away from orders
anyone who is canonically suitable.
Can. 1027 Aspirants to the
diaconate and the priesthood are to be formed by careful preparation in accordance with
Can. 1028 The diocesan
Bishop or the competent Superior must ensure that before they are promoted to any order,
candidates are properly instructed concerning the order itself and its obligations.
Can. 1029 Only those are to
be promoted to orders who, in the prudent judgement of the proper Bishop or the competent
major Superior, all things considered, have sound faith, are motivated by the right
intention, are endowed with the requisite knowledge, enjoy a good reputation, and have
moral probity, proven virtue and the other physical and psychological qualities
appropriate to the order to be received.
Can. 1030 The proper Bishop
or the competent major Superior may, but only for a canonical reason, even one which is
occult, forbid admission to the priesthood to deacons subject to them who were destined
for the priesthood, without prejudice to recourse in accordance with the law.
Can. 1031 §1 The priesthood
may be conferred only upon those who have completed their twenty-fifth year of age, and
possess a sufficient maturity; moreover, an interval of at least six months between the
diaconate and the priesthood must have been observed. Those who are destined for the
priesthood are to be admitted to the order of diaconate only when they have completed
their twenty-third year.
§2 A candidate for the
permanent diaconate who is not married may be admitted to the diaconate only when he has
completed at least his twenty-fifth year; if he is married, not until he has completed at
least his thirty-fifth year, and then with the consent of his wife.
§3 Episcopal Conferences
may issue a regulation which requires a later age for the priesthood and for the permanent
§4 A dispensation of more
than a year from the age required by §§1 and 2 is reserved to the Apostolic See.
Can. 1032 §1 Aspirants to
the priesthood may be promoted to the diaconate only when they have completed the fifth
year of the curriculum of philosophical and theological studies.
§2 After completing the
curriculum of studies and before being promoted to the priesthood, deacons are to spend an
appropriate time, to be determined by the Bishop or by the competent major Superior,
exercising the diaconal order and taking part in the pastoral ministry.
§3 An aspirant to the
permanent diaconate is not to be promoted to this order until he has completed the period
Article 2: Prerequisites for Ordination
Can. 1033 Only one who has
received the sacrament of sacred confirmation may lawfully be promoted to orders.
Can. 1034 §1 An aspirant to
the diaconate or to the priesthood is not to be ordained unless he has first, through the
liturgical rite of admission, secured enrolment as a candidate from the authority
mentioned in cann. 1016 and 1019. He must previously have submitted a petition in his own
hand and signed by him, which has been accepted in writing by the same authority.
§2 One who has by vows
become a member of a clerical institute is not obliged to obtain this admission.
Can. 1035 §1 Before anyone
may be promoted to the diaconate, whether permanent or transitory, he must have received
the ministries of lector and acolyte, and have exercised them for an appropriate time.
§2 Between the conferring
of the ministry of acolyte and the diaconate there is to be an interval of at least six
Can. 1036 For a candidate to
be promoted to the order of diaconate or priesthood, he must submit to the proper Bishop
or to the competent major Superior a declaration written in his own hand and signed by
him, in which he attests that he will spontaneously and freely receive the sacred order
and will devote himself permanently to the ecclesiastical ministry, asking at the same
time that he be admitted to receive the order.
Can. 1037 A candidate for
the permanent diaconate who is not married and likewise a candidate for the priesthood, is
not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless he has, in the prescribed rite,
publicly before God and the Church undertaken the obligation of celibacy, or unless he has
taken perpetual vows in a religious institute.
Can. 1038 A deacon who
refuses to be promoted to the priesthood may not be forbidden the exercise of the order he
has received, unless he is constrained by a canonical impediment, or unless there is some
other grave reason, to be estimated by the diocesan Bishop or the competent major Superior
Can. 1039 All who are to be
promoted to any order must make a retreat for at least five days, in a place and in the
manner determined by the Ordinary. Before he proceeds to the ordination, the Bishop must
have assured himself that the candidates have duly made the retreat.
Article 3: Irregularities and other Impediments
Can. 1040 Those bound by an
impediment are to be barred from the reception of orders. An impediment may be simple; or
it may be perpetual, in which case it is called an irregularity. No impediment is
contracted which is not contained in the following canons.
Can. 1041 The following
persons are irregular for the reception of orders:
1° one who suffers from any
form of insanity, or from any other psychological infirmity, because of which he is, after
experts have been consulted, judged incapable of being able to fulfil the ministry;
2° one who has committed
the offence of apostasy, heresy or schism;
3° one who has attempted
marriage, even a civil marriage, either while himself prevented from entering marriage
whether by an existing marriage bond or by a sacred order or by a public and perpetual vow
of chastity, or with a woman who is validly married or is obliged by the same vow;
4° one who has committed
wilful homicide, or one who has actually procured an abortion, and all who have positively
5° one who has gravely and
maliciously mutilated himself or another, or who has attempted suicide;
6° one who has carried out
an act of order which is reserved to those in the order of the episcopate or priesthood,
while himself either not possessing that order or being barred from its exercise by some
canonical penalty, declared or imposed.
Can. 1042 The following are
simply impeded from receiving orders:
1° a man who has a wife,
unless he is lawfully destined for the permanent diaconate;
2° one who exercises an
office or administration forbidden to clerics, in accordance with cann. 285 and 286, of
which he must render an account; the impediment binds until such time as, having
relinquished the office and administration and rendered the account, he has been freed;
3° a neophyte, unless, in
the judgement of the Ordinary, he has been sufficiently tested.
Can. 1043 Christs
faithful are bound to reveal, before ordination, to the Ordinary or to the parish priest,
such impediments to sacred orders as they may know about.
Can. 1044 §1 The following
are irregular for the exercise of orders already received:
1° one who, while bound by
an irregularity for the reception of orders, unlawfully received orders;
2° one who committed the
offence mentioned in can. 1041, n. 2, if the offence is public
3° one who committed any of
the offences mentioned in can. 1041, nn. 3, 4,5,6.
§2 The following are
impeded from the exercise of orders:
1° one who, while bound by
an impediment to the reception of orders, unlawfully received orders;
2° one who suffers from
insanity or from some other psychological infirmity mentioned in can. 1041, n. 1, until
such time as the Ordinary, having consulted an expert, has allowed the exercise of the
order in question.
Can. 1045 Ignorance of
irregularities and impediments does not exempt from them.
Can. 1046 Irregularities and
impediments are multiplied if they arise from different causes, not however from the
repetition of the same cause, unless it is a question of the irregularity arising from the
commission of wilful homicide or from having actually procured an abortion.
Can. 1047 §1 If the fact on
which they are based has been brought to the judicial forum, dispensation from all
irregularities is reserved to the Apostolic See alone.
§2 Dispensation from the
following irregularities and impediments to the reception of orders is also reserved to
the Apostolic See:
1° irregularities arising
from the offences mentioned in can. 1041, nn. 2 and 3, if they are public;
2° an irregularity arising
from the offence, whether public or occult, mentioned in can. 1041, n. 4;
3° the impediment mentioned
in can. 1042, n. 1.
§3 To the Apostolic See is
also reserved the dispensation from the irregularities for the exercise of an order
received mentioned in can. 1041, n.3 but only in public cases, and in n. 4 of the same
canon even in occult cases.
§4 The Ordinary can
dispense from irregularities and impediments not reserved to the Holy See.
Can. 1048 In the more urgent
occult cases, if the Ordinary or, in the case of the irregularities mentioned in can.
1041, nn. 3 and 4, the Penitentiary cannot be approached, and if there is imminent danger
of serious harm or loss of reputation, the person who is irregular for the exercise of an
order may exercise it. There remains, however, the obligation of his having recourse as
soon as possible to the Ordinary or the Penitentiary, without revealing his name, and
through a confessor.
Can. 1049 §1 In a petition
to obtain a dispensation from irregularities or impediments, all irregularities and
impediments are to be mentioned. However, a general dispensation is valid also for those
omitted in good faith, with the exception of the irregularities mentioned in can. 1041, n.
4, or of others which have been brought to the judicial forum; it is not, however, valid
for those concealed in bad faith.
§2 If it is question of an
irregularity arising from wilful homicide or from a procured abortion, for the validity of
the dispensation even the number of offences must be stated.
§3 A general dispensation
from irregularities and impediments to the reception of orders is valid for all orders.
Article 4: Documents required and the Investigation
Can. 1050 For a person to be
promoted to sacred orders, the following documents are required:
1° a certificate of studies
duly completed in accordance with can. 1032;
2" for those to be
ordained to the priesthood, a certificate of the reception of the diaconate
3° for those to be promoted
to the diaconate, certificates of the reception of baptism, of confirmation and of the
ministries mentioned in can. 1035, and a certificate that the declaration mentioned in
can. 1036 has been made, if an ordinand to be promoted to the permanent diaconate is
married, a certificate of his marriage and testimony of his wifes consent.
Can. 1051 In the
investigation of the requisite qualities of one who is to be ordained, the following
provisions are to be observed:
1° there is to be a
certificate from the rector of the seminary or of the house of formation, concerning the
qualities required in the candidate for the reception of the order, namely sound doctrine,
genuine piety, good moral behaviour, fitness for the exercise of the ministry, likewise,
after proper investigation, a certificate of the candidates state of physical and
2° the diocesan Bishop or
the major Superior may, in order properly to complete the investigation, use other means
which, taking into account the circumstances of time and place, may seem useful, such as
testimonial letters, public notices or other sources of information.
Can. 1052 §1 For a Bishop
to proceed to an ordination which he is to confer by his own right, he must be satisfied
that the documents mentioned in can. 1050 are at hand and that, as a result of the
investigations prescribed by law, the suitability of the candidate has been positively
§2 For a Bishop to proceed
to the ordination of someone not his own subject, it is sufficient that the dimissorial
letters state that those documents are at hand, that the investigation has been conducted
in accordance with the law, and that the candidates suitability has been
established. If the ordinand is a member of a religious institute or a society of
apostolic life, these letters must also testify that he has been definitively enrolled in
the institute or society and that he is a subject of the Superior who gives the letters.
§3 If, not withstanding all
this, the Bishop has definite reasons for doubting that the candidate is suitable to
receive orders, he is not to promote him.
Chapter III : THE REGISTRATION AND EVIDENCE OF ORDINATION
Can. 1053 §1 After an
ordination, the names of the individuals ordained, the name of the ordaining minister, and
the place and date of ordination are to be entered in a special register which is to be
carefully kept in the curia of the place of ordination. All the documents of each
ordination are to be accurately preserved.
§2 The ordaining Bishop is
to give to each person ordained an authentic certificate of the ordination received. Those
who, with dimissorial letters, have been promoted by a Bishop other than their own, are to
submit the certificate to their proper Ordinary for the registration of the ordination in
a special register, to be kept in the archive.
Can. 1054 The local
Ordinary, if it concerns the secular clergy, or the competent major Superior, if it
concerns his subjects, is to send a notification of each ordination to the parish priest
of the place of baptism. The parish priest is to record the ordination in the baptismal
register in accordance with can. 535 §2.
Can. 1055 §1 The marriage
covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between themselves a partnership of their
whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses
and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptised, been raised
by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
§2 Consequently, a valid
marriage contract cannot exist between baptised persons without its being by that very
fact a sacrament.
Can. 1056 The essential
properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility; in christian marriage they acquire a
distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament.
Can. 1057 §1 A marriage is
brought into being by the lawfully manifested consent of persons who are legally capable.
This consent cannot be supplied by any human power.
§2 Matrimonial consent is
an act of will by which a man and a woman by an irrevocable covenant mutually give and
accept one another for the purpose of establishing a marriage.
Can. 1058 All can contract
marriage who are not prohibited by law.
Can. 1059 The marriage of
catholics, even if only one party is baptised, is governed not only by divine law but also
by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of the civil authority in respect of the
merely civil effects of the marriage.
Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys
the favour of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a marriage must be upheld until
the contrary is proven.
Can. 1061 §1 A valid
marriage between baptised persons is said to be merely ratified, if it is not consummated;
ratified and consummated, if the spouses have in a human manner engaged together in a
conjugal act in itself apt for the generation of offspring. To this act marriage is by its
nature ordered and by it the spouses become one flesh.
§2 If the spouses have
lived together after the celebration of their marriage, consummation is presumed until the
contrary is proven.
§3 An invalid marriage is
said to be putative if it has been celebrated in good faith by at least one party. It
ceases to be such when both parties become certain of its nullity.
Can. 1062 §1 A promise of
marriage, whether unilateral or bilateral, called an engagement, is governed by the
particular law which the Episcopal Conference has enacted, after consideration of such
customs and civil laws as may exist.
§2 No right of action to
request the celebration of marriage arises from a promise of marriage, but there does
arise an action for such reparation of damages as may be due.
Chapter I : PASTORAL CARE AND THE PREREQUISITES FOR THE
CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE
Can. 1063 Pastors of souls
are obliged to ensure that their own church community provides for Christs faithful
the assistance by which the married state is preserved in its christian character and
develops in perfection. This assistance is to be given principally:
1° by preaching, by
catechetical instruction adapted to children, young people and adults, indeed by the use
of the means of social communication, so that Christs faithful are instructed in the
meaning of christian marriage and in the role of christian spouses and parents;
2° by personal preparation
for entering marriage, so that the spouses are disposed to the holiness and the
obligations of their new state;
3° by the fruitful
celebration of the marriage liturgy, so that it clearly emerges that the spouses manifest,
and participate in, the mystery of the unity and fruitful love between Christ and the
4° by the help given to
those who have entered marriage, so that by faithfully observing and protecting their
conjugal covenant, they may day by day achieve a holier and a fuller family life.
Can. 1064 It is the
responsibility of the local Ordinary to ensure that this assistance is duly organised. If
it is considered opportune, he should consult with men and women of proven experience and
Can. 1065 §1 Catholics who
have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before being
admitted to marriage, if this can be done without grave inconvenience.
§2 So that the sacrament of
marriage may be fruitfully received, spouses are earnestly recommended that they approach
the sacraments of penance and the blessed Eucharist.
Can. 1066 Before a marriage
takes place, it must be established that nothing stands in the way of its valid and lawful
Can. 1067 The Episcopal
Conference is to lay down norms concerning the questions to be asked of the parties, the
publication of marriage banns, and the other appropriate means of enquiry to be carried
out before marriage. Only when he has carefully observed these norms may the parish priest
assist at a marriage.
Can. 1068 In danger of
death, if other proofs are not available, it suffices, unless there are contrary
indications, to have the assertion of the parties, sworn if need be, that they are
baptised and free of any impediment.
Can. 1069 Before the
celebration of a marriage, all the faithful are bound to reveal to the parish priest or
the local Ordinary such impediments as they may know about.
Can. 1070 If someone other
than the parish priest whose function it is to assist at the marriage has made the
investigations, he is by an authentic document to inform that parish priest of the outcome
of these enquiries as soon as possible.
Can. 1071 §1 Except in a
case of necessity, no one is to assist without the permission of the local Ordinary at:
1° a marriage of vagi;
2° a marriage which cannot
be recognised by the civil law or celebrated in accordance with it;
3° a marriage of a person
for whom a previous union has created natural obligations towards a third party or towards
4° a marriage of a person
who has notoriously rejected the catholic faith;
5° a marriage of a person
who is under censure;
6° a marriage of a minor
whose parents are either unaware of it or are reasonably opposed to it;
7° a marriage to be entered
by proxy, as mentioned in can. 1105.
§2 The local Ordinary is
not to give permission to assist at the marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected
the Catholic faith unless, with the appropriate adjustments, the norms of can. 1125 have
Can. 1072 Pastors of souls
are to see to it that they dissuade young people from entering marriage before the age
customarily accepted in the region.
Chapter II : DIRIMENT IMPEDIMENTS IN GENERAL
Can. 1073 A diriment
impediment renders a person incapable of validly contracting a marriage.
Can. 1074 An impediment is
said to be public, when it can be proved in the external forum; otherwise, it is occult.
Can. 1075 §1 Only the
supreme authority in the Church can authentically declare when the divine law prohibits or
invalidates a marriage.
§2 Only the same supreme
authority has the right to establish other impediments for those who are baptised.
Can. 1076 A custom which
introduces a new impediment, or is contrary to existing impediments, is to be reprobated.
Can. 1077 §1 The local
Ordinary can in a specific case forbid a marriage of his own subjects, wherever they are
residing, or of any person actually present in his territory; he can do this only for a
time, for a grave reason and while that reason persists.
§2 Only the supreme
authority in the Church can attach an invalidating clause to a prohibition.
Can. 1078 §1 The local
Ordinary can dispense his own subjects wherever they are residing, and all who are
actually present in his territory, from all impediments of ecclesiastical law, except for
those whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic See.
§2 The impediments whose
dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic See are:
1° the impediment arising
from sacred orders or from a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute of
2° the impediment of crime
mentioned in can. 1090.
§3 A dispensation is never
given from the impediment of consanguinity in the direct line or in the second degree of
the collateral line.
Can. 1079 §1 When danger of
death threatens, the local Ordinary can dispense his own subjects, wherever they are
residing, and all who are actually present in his territory, both from the form to be
observed in the celebration of marriage, and from each and every impediment of
ecclesiastical law, whether public or occult, with the exception of the impediment arising
from the sacred order of priesthood.
§2 In the same
circumstances mentioned in §1, but only for cases in which not even the local Ordinary
can be approached, the same faculty of dispensation is possessed by the parish priest, by
a properly delegated sacred minister, and by the priest or deacon who assists at the
marriage in accordance with can. 1116 §2.
§3 In danger of death, the
confessor has the power to dispense from occult impediments for the internal forum,
whether within the act of sacramental confession or outside it.
§4 In the case mentioned in
§2, the local Ordinary is considered unable to be approached if he can be reached only by
telegram or by telephone.
Can. 1080 §1 Whenever an
impediment is discovered after everything has already been prepared for a wedding and the
marriage cannot without probable danger of grave harm be postponed until a dispensation is
obtained from the competent authority, the power to dispense from all impediments, except
those mentioned in can. 1078 §2, n. 1, is possessed by the local Ordinary and, provided
the case is occult, by all those mentioned in can. 1079 §§2-3, the conditions prescribed
therein having been observed.
§2 This power applies also
to the validation of a marriage when there is the same danger in delay and there is no
time to have recourse to the Apostolic See or, in the case of impediments from which he
can dispense, to the local Ordinary.
Can. 1081 The parish priest
or the priest or deacon mentioned in can. 1079 §2, should inform the local Ordinary
immediately of a dispensation granted for the external forum, and this dispensation is to
be recorded in the marriage register.
Can. 1082 Unless a rescript
of the Penitentiary provides otherwise, a dispensation from an occult impediment granted
in the internal nonsacramental forum, is to be recorded in the book to be kept in the
secret archive of the curia. No other dispensation for the external forum is necessary if
at a later stage the occult impediment becomes public.
Chapter III : INDIVIDUAL DIRIMENT IMPEDIMENTS
Can. 1083 §1 A man cannot
validly enter marriage before the completion of his sixteenth year of age, nor a woman
before the completion of her fourteenth year.
§2 The Episcopal Conference
may establish a higher age for the lawful celebration of marriage.
Can. 1084 §1 Antecedent and
perpetual impotence to have sexual intercourse, whether on the part of the man or on that
of the woman, whether absolute or relative, by its very nature invalidates marriage.
§2 If the impediment of
impotence is doubtful, whether the doubt be one of law or one of fact, the marriage is not
to be prevented nor, while the doubt persists, is it to be declared null.
§3 Without prejudice to the
provisions of can. 1098, sterility neither forbids nor invalidates a marriage.
Can. 1085 §1 A person bound
by the bond of a previous marriage, even if not consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.
§2 Even though the previous
marriage is invalid or for any reason dissolved, it is not thereby lawful to contract
another marriage before the nullity or the dissolution of the previous one has been
established lawfully and with certainty.
Can. 1086 §1 A marriage is
invalid when one of the two persons was baptised in the catholic Church or received into
it and has not by a formal act defected from it, and the other was not baptised.
§2 This impediment is not
to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in cann. 1125 and 1126 have been
§3 If at the time the
marriage was contracted one party was commonly understood to be baptised, or if his or her
baptism was doubtful, the validity of the marriage is to be presumed in accordance with
can. 1060, until it is established with certainty that one party was baptised and the
other was not.
Can. 1087 Those who are in
sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.
Can. 1088 Those who are
bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious institute invalidly attempt
Can. 1089 No marriage can
exist between a man and a woman who has been abducted, or at least detained, with a view
to contracting a marriage with her, unless the woman, after she has been separated from
her abductor and established in a safe and free place, chooses marriage of her own accord.
Can. 1090 §1 One who, with
a view to entering marriage with a particular person, has killed that persons
spouse, or his or her own spouse, invalidly attempts this marriage.
§2 They also invalidly
attempt marriage with each other who, by mutual physical or moral action, brought about
the death of eithers spouse.
Can. 1091 §1 Marriage is
invalid between those related by consanguinity in all degrees of the direct line, whether
ascending or descending, legitimate or natural.
§2 In the collateral line,
it is invalid up to the fourth degree inclusive.
§3 The impediment of
consanguinity is not multiplied.
§4 A marriage is never to
be permitted if a doubt exists as to whether the parties are related by consanguinity in
any degree of the direct line, or in the second degree of the collateral line.
Can. 1092 Affinity in any
degree of the direct line invalidates marriage.
Can. 1093 The impediment of
public propriety arises when a couple live together after an invalid marriage, or from a
notorious or public concubinage. It invalidates marriage in the first degree of the direct
line between the man and those related by consanguinity to the woman, and vice versa.
Can. 1094 Those who are
legally related by reason of adoption cannot validly marry each other if their
relationship is in the direct line or in the second degree of the collateral line.
Chapter IV : MATRIMONIAL CONSENT
Can. 1095 The following are
incapable of contracting marriage:
1° those who lack
sufficient use of reason;
2° those who suffer from a
grave lack of discretionary judgement concerning the essential matrimonial rights and
obligations to be mutually given and accepted;
3° those who, because of
causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the essential obligations of
Can. 1096 §1 For
matrimonial consent to exist, it is necessary that the contracting parties be at least not
ignorant of the fact that marriage is a permanent partnership between a man and a woman,
ordered to the procreation of children through some form of sexual cooperation.
§2 This ignorance is not
presumed after puberty.
Can. 1097 §1 Error about a
person renders a marriage invalid.
§2 Error about a quality of
the person, even though it be the reason for the contract, does not render a marriage
invalid unless this quality is directly and principally intended.
Can. 1098 A person contracts
invalidly who enters marriage inveigled by deceit, perpetrated in order to secure consent,
concerning some quality of the other party, which of its very nature can seriously disrupt
the partnership of conjugal life.
Can. 1099 Provided it does
not determine the will, error concerning the unity or the indissolubility or the
sacramental dignity of marriage does not vitiate matrimonial consent.
Can. 1100 Knowledge of or
opinion about the nullity of a marriage does not necessarily exclude matrimonial consent.
Can. 1101 §1 The internal
consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words or the signs used in the
celebration of a marriage.
§2 If, however, either or
both of the parties should by a positive act of will exclude marriage itself or any
essential element of marriage or any essential property, such party contracts invalidly.
Can. 1102 §1 Marriage
cannot be validly contracted subject to a condition concerning the future.
§2 Marriage entered into
subject to a condition concerning the past or the present is valid or not, according as
whatever is the basis of the condition exists or not.
§3 However, a condition as
mentioned in §2 may not lawfully be attached except with the written permission of the
Can. 1103 A marriage is
invalid which was entered into by reason of force or of grave fear imposed from outside,
even if not purposely, from which the person has no escape other than by choosing
Can. 1104 §1 To contract
marriage validly it is necessary that the contracting parties be present together, either
personally or by proxy
§2 The spouses are to
express their matrimonial consent in words; if, however, they cannot speak, then by
Can. 1105 §1 For a marriage
by proxy to be valid, it is required:
1° that there be a special
mandate to contract with a specific person;
2° that the proxy be
designated by the mandator and personally discharge this function;
§2 For the mandate to be
valid, it is to be signed by the mandator, and also by the parish priest or local Ordinary
of the place in which the mandate is given or by a priest delegated by either of them or
by at least two witnesses, or it is to be drawn up in a document which is authentic
according to the civil law.
§3 If the mandator cannot
write, this is to be recorded in the mandate and another witness added who is also to sign
the document; otherwise, the mandate is invalid.
§4 If the mandator revokes
the mandate, or becomes insane, before the proxy contracts in his or her name, the
marriage is invalid, even though the proxy or the other contracting party is unaware of
Can. 1106 Marriage can be
contracted through an interpreter, but the parish priest may not assist at such a marriage
unless he is certain of the trustworthiness of the interpreter.
Can. 1107 Even if a marriage
has been entered into invalidly by reason of an impediment or defect of form, the consent
given is presumed to persist until its withdrawal has been established.
Chapter V : THE FORM OF THE CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE
Can. 1108 §1 Only those
marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local Ordinary or parish
priest or of the priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who, in the presence of two
witnesses, assists, in accordance however with the rules set out in the following canons,
and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in cann. 144, 1112 §1, 1116 and 1127
§2 Only that person who,
being present, asks the contracting parties to manifest their consent and in the name of
the Church receives it, is understood to assist at a marriage.
Can. 1109 Within the limits
of their territory, the local Ordinary and the parish priest by virtue of their office
validly assist at the marriages not only of their subjects, but also of non-subjects,
provided one or other of the parties is of the latin rite. They cannot assist if by
sentence or decree they have been excommunicated, placed under interdict or suspended from
office, or been declared to be such.
Can. 1110 A personal
Ordinary and a personal parish priest by virtue of their office validly assist, within the
confines of their jurisdiction, at the marriages only of those of whom at least one party
is their subject.
Can. 1111 §1 As long as
they validly hold office, the local Ordinary and the parish priest can delegate to priests
and deacons the faculty, even the general faculty, to assist at marriages within the
confines of their territory.
§2 In order that the
delegation of the faculty to assist at marriages be valid, it must be expressly given to
specific persons; if there is question of a special delegation, it is to be given for a
specific marriage; if however there is question of a general delegation, it is to be given
Can. 1112 §1 Where there
are no priests and deacons, the diocesan Bishop can delegate lay persons to assist at
marriages, if the Episcopal Conference has given its prior approval and the permission of
the Holy See has been obtained.
§2 A suitable lay person is
to be selected, capable of giving instruction to those who are getting married, and fitted
to conduct the marriage liturgy properly.
Can. 1113 §1 Before a
special delegation is granted, provision is to be made for all those matters which the law
prescribes to establish the freedom to marry.
Can. 1114 One who assists at
a marriage acts unlawfully unless he has satisfied himself of the parties freedom to
marry in accordance with the law and, whenever he assists by virtue of a general
delegation, has satisfied himself of the parish priests permission, if this is
Can. 1115 Marriages are to
be celebrated in the parish in which either of the contracting parties has a domicile or a
quasi-domicile or a months residence or, if there is question of vagi, in the parish
in which they are actually residing. With the permission of the proper Ordinary or the
proper parish priest, marriages may be celebrated elsewhere.
Can. 1116 §1 If one who, in
accordance with the law, is competent to assist, cannot be present or be approached
without grave inconvenience, those who intend to enter a true marriage can validly and
lawfully contract in the presence of witnesses only:
1° in danger of death;
2° apart from danger of
death, provided it is prudently foreseen that this state of affairs will continue for a
§2 In either case, if
another priest or deacon is at hand who can be present, he must be called upon and,
together with the witnesses, be present at the celebration of the marriage, without
prejudice to the validity of the marriage in the presence of only the witnesses.
Can. 1117 The form
prescribed above is to be observed if at least one of the parties contracting marriage was
baptised in the catholic Church or received into it and has not by a formal act defected
from it, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1127 §2.
Can. 1118 §1 A marriage
between catholics, or between a catholic party and a baptised non-catholic, is to be
celebrated in the parish church. By permission of the local Ordinary or of the parish
priest, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory.
§2 The local Ordinary can
allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
§3 A marriage between a
catholic party and an unbaptised party may be celebrated in a church or in another
Can. 1119 Apart from a case
of necessity, in the celebration of marriage those rites are to be observed which are
prescribed in the liturgical books approved by the Church, or which are acknowledged by
Can. 1120 The Episcopal
Conference can draw up its own rite of marriage, in keeping with those usages of place and
people which accord with the christian spirit; it is to be reviewed by the Holy See, and
it is without prejudice to the law that the person who is present to assist at the
marriage is to ask for and receive the expression of the consent of the contracting
Can. 1121 §1 As soon as
possible after the celebration of a marriage, the parish priest of the place of
celebration or whoever takes his place, even if neither has assisted at the marriage, is
to record in the marriage register the names of the spouses, of the person who assisted
and of the witnesses, and the place and date of the celebration of the marriage; this is
to be done in the manner prescribed by the Episcopal Conference or by the diocesan Bishop.
§2 Whenever a marriage is
contracted in accordance with can. 1116, the priest or deacon, if he was present at the
celebration, otherwise the witnesses, are bound jointly with the contracting parties as
soon as possible to inform the parish priest or the local Ordinary about the marriage
§3 In regard to a marriage
contracted with a dispensation from the canonical form, the local Ordinary who granted the
dispensation is to see to it that the dispensation and the celebration are recorded in the
marriage register both of the curia, and of the proper parish of the catholic party whose
parish priest carried out the inquiries concerning the freedom to marry. The catholic
spouse is obliged as soon as possible to notify that same Ordinary and parish priest of
the fact that the marriage was cele brated, indicating also the place of celebration and
the public form whichwas observed.
Can. 1122 §1 A marriage
which has been contracted is to be recorded also in the baptismal registers in which the
baptism of the spouses was entered.
§2 If a spouse contracted
marriage elsewhere than in the parish of baptism, the parish priest of the place of
celebration is to send a notification of the marriage as soon as possible to the parish
priest of the place of baptism.
Can. 1123 Whenever a
marriage is validated for the external forum, or declared invalid, or lawfully dissolved
other than by death, the parish priest of the place of the celebration of the marriage
must be informed, so that an entry may be duly made in the registers of marriage and of
Chapter VI : MIXED MARRIAGES
Can. 1124 Without the
express permission of the competent authority, marriage is prohibited between two baptised
persons, one of whom was baptised in the catholic Church or received into it after baptism
and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other of whom belongs to a Church or
ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic Church.
Can. 1125 The local Ordinary
can grant this permission if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it
unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
1° the catholic party is to
declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is
to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be
baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;
2° the other party is to be
informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is
certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic
3° both parties are to be
instructed about the purposes and essential properties of marriage, which are not to be
excluded by either contractant.
Can. 1126 It is for the
Episcopal Conference to prescribe the manner in which these declarations and promises,
which are always required, are to be made, and to determine how they are to be established
in the external forum, and how the non-catholic party is to be informed of them.
Can. 1127 §1 The provisions
of can. 1108 are to be observed in regard to the form to be used in a mixed marriage. If,
however, the catholic party contracts marriage with a non-catholic party of oriental rite,
the canonical form of celebration is to be observed for lawfulness only; for validity,
however, the intervention of a sacred minister is required, while observing the other
requirements of law.
§2 If there are grave
difficulties in the way of observing the canonical form, the local Ordinary of the
catholic party has the right to dispense from it in individual cases, having however
consulted the Ordinary of the place of the celebration of the marriage; for validity,
however, some public form of celebration is required. It is for the Episcopal Conference
to establish norms whereby this dispensation may be granted in a uniform manner.
§3 It is forbidden to have,
either before or after the canonical celebration in accordance with §1, another religious
celebration of the same marriage for the purpose of giving or renewing matrimonial
consent. Likewise, there is not to be a religious celebration in which the catholic
assistant and a non-catholic minister, each performing his own rite, ask for the consent
of the parties.
Can. 1128 Local Ordinaries
and other pastors of souls are to see to it that the catholic spouse and the children born
of a mixed marriage are not without the spiritual help needed to fulfil their obligations;
they are also to assist the spouses to foster the unity of conjugal and family life.
Can. 1129 The provisions of
cann. 1127 and 1128 are to be applied also to marriages which are impeded by the
impediment of disparity of worship mentioned in can. 1086 §1.
Chapter VII : THE SECRET CELEBRATION OF MARRIAGE
Can. 1130 For a grave and
urgent reason, the local Ordinary may permit that a marriage be celebrated in secret.
Can. 1131 Permission to
celebrate a marriage in secret involves:
1° that the investigations
to be made before the marriage are carried out in secret;
2° that the secret in
regard to the marriage which has been celebrated is observed by the local Ordinary, by
whoever assists, by the witnesses and by the spouses.
Can. 1132 The obligation of
observing the secret mentioned in can. 1131 n. 2 ceases for the local Ordinary if from its
observance a threat arises of grave scandal or of grave harm to the sanctity of marriage.
This fact is to be made known to the parties before the celebration of the marriage.
Can. 1133 A marriage
celebrated in secret is to be recorded only in a special register which is to be kept in
the secret archive of the curia.
Chapter VIII : THE EFFECTS OF MARRIAGE
Can. 1134 From a valid
marriage there arises between the spouses a bond which of its own nature is permanent and
exclusive. Moreover, in christian marriage the spouses are by a special sacrament
strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the dignity of their state.
Can. 1135 Each spouse has an
equal obligation and right to whatever pertains to the partnership of conjugal life.
Can. 1136 Parents have the
most grave obligation and the primary right to do all in their power to ensure their
childrens physical, social, cultural, moral and religious upbringing.
Can. 1137 Children who are
conceived or born of a valid or of a putative marriage are legitimate.
Can. 1138 §1 The father is
he who is identified by a lawful marriage, unless by clear arguments the contrary is
§2 Children are presumed
legitimate who are born at least 180 days after the date the marriage was celebrated, or
within 300 days from the date of the dissolution of conjugal life.
Can. 1139 Illegitimate
children are legitimated by the subsequent marriage of their parents, whether valid or
putative, or by a rescript of the Holy See.
Can. 1140 As far as
canonical effects are concerned, legitimated children are equivalent to legitimate
children in all respects, unless it is otherwise expressly provided by the law.
Chapter IX : THE SEPARATION OF THE SPOUSES
Article 1: The Dissolution of the Bond
Can. 1141 A marriage which
is ratified and consummated cannot be dissolved by any human power or by any cause other
Can. 1142 A non-consummated
marriage between baptised persons or between a baptised party and an unbaptised party can
be dissolved by the Roman Pontiff for a just reason, at the request of both parties or of
either party, even if the other is unwilling.
Can. 1143 §1 In virtue of
the pauline privilege, a marriage entered into by two unbaptised persons is dissolved in
favour of the faith of the party who received baptism, by the very fact that a new
marriage is contracted by that same party, provided the unbaptised party departs.
§2 The unbaptised party is
considered to depart if he or she is unwilling to live with the baptised party, or to live
peacefully without offence to the Creator, unless the baptised party has, after the
reception of baptism, given the other just cause to depart.
Can. 1144 §1 For the
baptised person validly to contract a new marriage, the unbaptised party must always be
1° he or she also wishes to
2° he or she at least is
willing to live peacefully with the baptised party without offence to the Creator.
§2 This interpellation is
to be done after baptism. However, the local Ordinary can for a grave reason permit that
the interpellation be done before baptism; indeed he can dispense from it, either before
or after baptism, provided it is established, by at least a summary and extrajudicial
procedure, that it cannot be made or that it would be useless.
Can. 1145 As a rule, the
interpellation is to be done on the authority of the local Ordinary of the converted
party. A period of time for reply is to be allowed by this Ordinary to the other party, if
indeed he or she asks for it, warning the person however that if the period passes without
any reply, silence will be taken as a negative response.
§2 Even an interpellation
made privately by the converted party is valid, and indeed it is lawful if the form
prescribed above cannot be observed.
§3 In both cases there must
be lawful proof in the external forum of the interpellation having been done and of its
Can. 1146 The baptised party
has the right to contract a new marriage with a catholic:
1° if the other party has
replied in the negative to the interpellation, or if the interpellation has been lawfully
2° if the unbaptised
person, whether already interpellated or not, who at first persevered in peaceful
cohabitation without offence to the Creator, has subsequently departed without just cause,
without prejudice to the provisions of cann. 1144 and 1145.
Can. 1147 However, the local
Ordinary can for a grave reason allow the baptised party, using the pauline privilege, to
contract marriage with a non-catholic party, whether baptised or unbaptised; in this case,
the provisions of the canons on mixed marriages must also be observed.
Can. 1148 §1 When an
unbaptised man who simultaneously has a number of unbaptised wives, has received baptism
in the catholic Church, if it would be a hardship for him to remain with the first of the
wives, he may retain one of them, having dismissed the others. The same applies to an
unbaptised woman who simultaneously has a number of unbaptised husbands.
§2 In the cases mentioned
in §1, when baptism has been received, the marriage is to be contracted in the legal
form, with due observance, if need be, of the provisions concerning mixed marriages and of
other provisions of law.
§3 In the light of the
moral, social and economic circumstances of place and person, the local Ordinary is to
ensure that adequate provision is made, in accordance with the norms of justice, christian
charity and natural equity, for the needs of the first wife and of the others who have
Can. 1149 An unbaptised
person who, having received baptism in the catholic Church, cannot re-establish
cohabitation with his or her unbaptised spouse by reason of captivity or persecution, can
contract another marriage, even if the other party has in the meantime received baptism,
without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1141.
Can. 1150 In a doubtful
matter the privilege of the faith enjoys the favour of law.
Article 2: Separation while the Bond remains
Can. 1151 Spouses have the
obligation and the right to maintain their common conjugal life, unless a lawful reason
Can. 1152 §1 It is
earnestly recommended that a spouse, motivated by christian charity and solicitous for the
good of the family, should not refuse to pardon an adulterous partner and should not
sunder the conjugal life. Nevertheless, if that spouse has not either expressly or tacitly
condoned the others fault, he or she has the right to sever the common conjugal
life, provided he or she has not consented to the adultery, nor been the cause of it, nor
also committed adultery.
§2 Tacit condonation occurs
if the innocent spouse, after becoming aware of the adultery, has willingly engaged in a
marital relationship with the other spouse; it is presumed, however, if the innocent
spouse has maintained the common conjugal life for six months, and has not had recourse to
ecclesiastical or to civil authority.
§3 Within six months of
having spontaneously terminated the common conjugal life, the innocent spouse is to bring
a case for separation to the competent ecclesiastical authority. Having examined all the
circumstances, this authority is to consider whether the innocent spouse can be brought to
condone the fault and not prolong the separation permanently.
Can. 1153 §1 A spouse who
occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or otherwise makes
the common life unduly difficult, provides the other spouse with a reason to leave, either
by a decree of the local Ordinary or, if there is danger in delay, even on his or her own
§2 In all cases, when the
reason for separation ceases, the common conjugal life is to be restored, unless otherwise
provided by ecclesiastical authority.
Can. 1154 When a separation
of spouses has taken place, provision is always, and in good time, to be made for the due
maintenance and upbringing of the children.
Can. 1155 The innocent
spouse may laudably readmit the other spouse to the conjugal life, in which case he or she
renounces the right to separation .
Chapter X : THE VALIDATION OF MARRIAGE
Article 1: Simple Validation
Can. 1156 §1 To validate a
marriage which is invalid because of a diriment impediment, it is required that the
impediment cease or be dispensed, and that at least the party aware of the impediment
§2 This renewal is required
by ecclesiastical law for the validity of the validation, even if at the beginning both
parties had given consent and had not afterwards withdrawn it.
Can. 1157 The renewal of
consent must be a new act of will consenting to a marriage which the renewing party knows
or thinks was invalid from the beginning.
Can. 1158 §1 If the
impediment is public, consent is to be renewed by both parties in the canonical form,
without prejudice to the provision of Can. 1127 §3.
§2 If the impediment cannot
be proved, it is sufficient that consent be renewed privately and in secret, specifically
by the party who is aware of the impediment provided the other party persists in the
consent given, or by both parties if the impediment is known to both.
Can. 1159 §1 A marriage
invalid because of a defect of consent is validated if the party who did not consent, now
does consent, provided the consent given by the other party persists.
2- If the defect of the
consent cannot be proven, it is sufficient that the party who did not consent, gives
consent privately and in secret.
§3 If the defect of consent
can be proven, it is necessary that consent be given in the canonical form.
Can. 1160 For a marriage
which is invalid because of defect of form to become valid, it must be contracted anew in
the canonical form, without prejudice to the provisions of Can. 1127 §3.
Article 2: Retroactive Validation
Can. 1161 §1 The
retroactive validation of an invalid marriage is its validation without the renewal of
consent, granted by the competent authority. It involves a dispensation from an impediment
if there is one and from the canonical form if it had not been observed, as well as a
referral back to the past of the canonical effects.
§2 The validation takes
place from the moment the favour is granted; the referral back, however, is understood to
have been made to the moment the marriage was celebrated, unless it is otherwise expressly
§3 A retroactive validation
is not to be granted unless it is probable that the parties intend to persevere in
Can. 1162 §1 If consent is
lacking in either or both of the parties, a marriage cannot be rectified by a retroactive
validation, whether consent was absent from the beginning or, though given at the
beginning, was subsequently revoked.
§2 If the consent was
indeed absent from the beginning but was subsequently given, a retroactive validation can
be granted from the moment the consent was given.
Can. 1163 §1 A marriage
which is invalid because of an impediment or because of defect of the legal form, can be
validated retroactively, provided the consent of both parties persists.
§2 A marriage which is
invalid because of an impediment of the natural law or of the divine positive law, can be
validated retroactively only after the impediment has ceased.
Can. 1164 A retroactive
validation may validly be granted even if one or both of the parties is unaware of it; it
is not, however, to be granted except for a grave reason.
Can. 1165 §1 Retroactive
validation can be granted by the Apostolic See.
§2 It can be granted by the
diocesan Bishop in individual cases, even if a number of reasons for nullity occur
together in the same marriage, assuming that for a retroactive validation of a mixed
marriage the conditions of Can. 1125 will have been fulfilled. It cannot, however, be
granted by him if there is an impediment whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic
See in accordance with Can. 1078 §2, or if there is question of an impediment of the
natural law or of the divine positive law which has now ceased.
Part II : THE OTHER ACTS OF DIVINE WORSHIP
TITLE I: SACRAMENTALS
Can. 1166 Sacramentals are
sacred signs which in a sense imitate the sacraments. They signify certain effects,
especially spiritual ones, and they achieve these effects through the intercession of the
Can. 1167 §1 Only the
Apostolic See can establish new sacramentals, or authentically interpret, suppress or
change existing ones.
§2 The rites and the
formulae approved by ecclesiastical authority are to be accurately observed when
celebrating or administering sacramentals.
Can. 1168 The minister of
the sacramentals is a cleric who has the requisite power. In accordance with the
liturgical books and subject to the judgement of the local Ordinary, certain sacramentals
can also be administered by lay people who possess the appropriate qualities.
Can. 1169 §1 Consecrations
and dedications can be validly carried out by those who are invested with the episcopal
character, and by priests who are permitted to do so by law or by legitimate grant.
§2 Any priest can impart
blessings, except for those reserved to the Roman Pontiff or to Bishops.
§3 A deacon can impart only
those blessings which are expressly permitted to him by law.
Can. 1170 While blessings
are to be imparted primarily to catholics, they may be given also to catechumens and,
unless there is a prohibition by the Church, even to non-catholics.
Can. 1171 Sacred objects,
set aside for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated with reverence.
They are not to be made over to secular or inappropriate use, even though they may belong
to private persons.
Can. 1172 §1 No one may
lawfully exorcise the possessed without the special and express permission of the local
§2 This permission is to be
granted by the local Ordinary only to a priest who is endowed with piety, knowledge,
prudence and integrity of life.
TITLE II: THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS
Can. 1173 In fulfilment of
the priestly office of Christ, the Church celebrates the liturgy of the hours, wherein it
listens to God speaking to his people and recalls the mystery of salvation. In this way,
the Church praises God without ceasing, in song and prayer, and it intercedes with him for
the salvation of the whole world.
Can. 1174 §1 Clerics are
obliged to recite the liturgy of the hours, in accordance with Can. 276, §2, n. 3;
members of institutes of consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life are obliged
in accordance with their constitutions.
§2 Others also of
Christs faithful are earnestly invited, according to circumstances, to take part in
the liturgy of the hours as an action of the Church.
Can. 1175 In carrying out
the liturgy of the hours, each particular hour is, as far as possible, to be recited at
the time assigned to it.
TITLE III: CHURCH FUNERALS
Can. 1176 §1 Christs
faithful who have died are to be given a Church funeral according to the norms of law.
§2 Church funerals are to
be celebrated according to the norms of the liturgical books. In these funeral rites the
Church prays for the spiritual support of the dead, it honours their bodies, and at the
same time it brings to the living the comfort of hope.
§3 The Church earnestly
recommends that the pious custom of burial be retained; but it does not forbid cremation,
unless this is chosen for reasons which are contrary to christian teaching.
Chapter I : THE CELEBRATION OF FUNERALS
Can. 1177 §1 The funeral of
any deceased member of the faithful should normally be celebrated in the church of that
persons proper parish.
§2 However, any member of
the faithful, or those in charge of the deceased persons funeral, may choose another
church; this requires the consent of whoever is in charge of that church and a
notification to the proper parish priest of the deceased.
§3 When death has occurred
outside the persons proper parish, and the body is not returned there, and another
church has not been chosen, the funeral rites are to be celebrated in the church of the
parish where the death occurred, unless another church is determined by particular law.
Can. 1178 The funeral
ceremonies of a diocesan Bishop are to be celebrated in his own cathedral church, unless
he himself has chosen another church.
Can. 1179 Normally, the
funerals of religious or of members of a society of apostolic life are to be celebrated in
their proper church or oratory: by the Superior, if the institute or society is a clerical
one; otherwise, by the chaplain.
Can. 1180 §1 If a parish
has its own cemetery, the deceased faithful are to be buried there, unless another
cemetery has lawfully been chosen by the deceased person, or by those in charge of that
§2 All may, however, choose
their cemetery of burial unless prohibited by law from doing so.
Can. 1181 The provisions of
Can. 1264 are to be observed in whatever concerns the offerings made on the occasion of
funerals. Moreover, care is to be taken that at funerals there is to be no preference of
persons, and that the poor are not deprived of proper funeral rites.
Can. 1182 After the burial
an entry is to be made in the register of the dead, in accordance with particular law.
Chapter II : THOSE TO WHOM CHURCH FUNERALS ARE TO BE
ALLOWED OR DENIED
Can. 1183 §1 As far as
funeral rites are concerned, catechumens are to be reckoned among Christs faithful.
§2 Children whose parents
had intended to have them baptised but who died before baptism, may be allowed Church
funeral rites by the local Ordinary.
§3 Provided their own
minister is not available, baptised persons belonging to a non-catholic Church or
ecclesial community may, in accordance with the prudent judgement of the local Ordinary,
be allowed Church funeral rites, unless it is established that they did not wish this.
Can. 1184 §1 Church funeral
rites are to be denied to the following, unless they gave some signs of repentance before
1° notorious apostates,
heretics and schismatics;
2° those who for
anti-christian motives chose that their bodies be cremated;
3° other manifest sinners
to whom a Church funeral could not be granted without public scandal to the faithful.
§2 If any doubt occurs, the
local Ordinary is to be consulted and his judgement followed.
Can. 1185 Any form of
funeral Mass is also to be denied to a person who has been excluded from a Church funeral.
TITLE IV : THE CULT OF THE SAINTS, OF SACRED IMAGES AND OF
Can. 1186 To foster the
sanctification of the people of God, the Church commends to the special and filial
veneration of Christs faithful the Blessed Mary ever-Virgin, the Mother of God, whom
Christ constituted the Mother of all. The Church also promotes the true and authentic cult
of the other Saints, by whose example the faithful are edified and by whose intercession
they are supported.
Can. 1187 Only those
servants of God may be venerated by public cult who have been numbered by ecclesiastical
authority among the Saints or the Blessed.
Can. 1188 The practice of
exposing sacred images in churches for the veneration of the faithful is to be retained.
However, these images are to be displayed in moderate numbers and in suitable fashion, so
that the christian people are not disturbed, nor is occasion given for less than
Can. 1189 The written
permission of the Ordinary is required to restore precious images needing repair: that is,
those distinguished by reason of age, art or cult, which are exposed in churches and
oratories to the veneration of the faithful. Before giving such permission, the Ordinary
is to seek the advice of experts.
Can. 1190 §1 It is
absolutely wrong to sell sacred relics.
§2 Distinguished relics,
and others which are held in great veneration by the people, may not validly be in any way
alienated nor transferred on a permanent basis, without the permission of the Apostolic
§3 The provision of §2
applies to images which are greatly venerated in any church by the people.
TITLE V: VOWS AND OATHS
I : VOWS
Can. 1191 §1 A vow is a
deliberate and free promise made to God, concerning some good which is possible and
better. The virtue of religion requires that it be fulfilled.
§2 Unless they are
prohibited by law, all who have an appropriate use of reason are capable of making a vow.
§3 A vow made as a result
of grave and unjust fear or of deceit is by virtue of the law itself invalid.
Can. 1192 §1 A vow is
public if it is accepted in the name of the Church by a lawful Superior; otherwise, it is
§2 It is solemn if it is
recognised by the Church as such; otherwise, it is simple.
§3 It is personal if it
promises an action by the person making the vow; real, if it promises some thing; mixed,
if it has both a personal and a real aspect.
Can. 1193 Of its nature a
vow obliges only the person who makes it.
Can. 1194 A vow ceases by
lapse of the time specified for the fulfilment of the obligation, or by a substantial
change in the matter promised, or by cessation of a condition upon which the vow depended
or of the purpose of the vow, or by dispensation, or by commutation.
Can. 1195 A person who has
power over the matter of a vow can suspend the obligation of the vow for such time as the
fulfilment of the vow would affect that person adversely.
Can. 1196 Besides the Roman
Pontiff, the following can dispense from private vows, provided the dispensation does not
injure the acquired rights of others;
1° the local Ordinary and
the parish priest, in respect of all their own subjects and also of peregrini;
2° the Superior of a
religious institute or of a society of apostolic life, if these are clerical and of
pontifical right, in respect of members, novices and those who reside day and night in a
house of the institute or society;
3° those to whom the
faculty of dispensing has been delegated by the Apostolic See or by the local Ordinary.
Can. 1197 What has been
promised by private vow can be commuted into something better or equally good by the
person who made the vow. It can be commuted into something less good by one who has
authority to dispense in accordance with Can. 1196.
Can. 1198 Vows taken before
religious profession are suspended as long as the person who made the vow remains in the
II : OATHS
Can. 1199 §1 An oath is the
invocation of the divine Name as witness to the truth. It cannot be taken except in truth,
judgement and justice.
§2 An oath which is
required or accepted by the canons cannot validly be taken by proxy.
Can. 1200 §1 A person who
freely swears on oath to do something is specially obliged by the virtue of religion to
fulfil that which he or she asserted by the oath.
§2 An oath extorted by
deceit, force or grave fear is by virtue of the law itself invalid.
Can. 1201 §1 A promissory
oath is determined by the nature and condition of the act to which it is attached.
§2 An act which directly
threatens harm to others or is prejudicial to the public good or to eternal salvation, is
in no way reinforced by an oath sworn to do that act.
Can. 1202 §1 The obligation
of a promissory oath ceases:
1° if it is remitted by the
person in whose favour the oath was sworn;
2° if what was sworn is
substantially changed or, because of altered circumstances, becomes evil or completely
irrelevant, or hinders a greater good;
3° if the purpose or the
condition ceases under which the oath may have been made;
4° by dispensation or
commutation in accordance with Can. 1203.
Can. 1203 Those who can
suspend, dispense or commute a vow have, in the same measure, the same power over a
promissory oath. But if dispensation from an oath would tend to harm others and they
refuse to remit the obligation, only the Apostolic See can dispense the oath.
Can. 1204 An oath is subject
to strict interpretation, in accordance with the law and with the intention of the person
taking the oath or, if that person acts deceitfully, in accordance with the intention of
the person in whose presence the oath is taken.
Part III : SACRED PLACES AND TIMES
TITLE I: SACRED PLACES
Can. 1205 Sacred places are
those which are assigned to divine worship or to the burial of the faithful by the
dedication or blessing which the liturgical books prescribe for this purpose.
Can. 1206 The dedication of
a place belongs to the diocesan Bishop and to those equivalent to him in law. For a
dedication in their own territory they can depute any Bishop or, in exceptional cases, a
Can. 1207 Sacred places are
blessed by the Ordinary, but the blessing of churches is reserved to the diocesan Bishop.
Both may, however, delegate another priest for the purpose.
Can. 1208 A document is to
be drawn up to record the dedication or blessing of a church, or the blessing of a
cemetery. One copy is to be kept in the diocesan curia, the other in the archive of the
Can. 1209 The dedication or
the blessing of a place is sufficiently established even by a single unexceptionable
witness, provided no one is harmed thereby.
Can. 1210 In a sacred place
only those things are to be permitted which serve to exercise or promote worship, piety
and religion. Anything out of harmony with the holiness of the place is forbidden. The
Ordinary may however, for individual cases, permit other uses, provided they are not
contrary to the sacred character of the place.
Can. 1211 Sacred places are
desecrated by acts done in them which are gravely injurious and give scandal to the
faithful when, in the judgement of the local Ordinary, these acts are so serious and so
contrary to the sacred character of the place that worship may not be held there until the
harm is repaired by means of the penitential rite which is prescribed in the liturgical
Can. 1212 Sacred places lose
their dedication or blessing if they have been in great measure destroyed, or if they have
been permanently made over to secular usage, whether by decree of the competent Ordinary
or simply in fact.
Can. 1213 Ecclesiastical
authority freely exercises its powers and functions in sacred places.
I : CHURCHES
Can. 1214 The term church
means a sacred building intended for divine worship, to which the faithful have right of
access for the exercise, especially the public exercise, of divine worship.
Can. 1215 §1 No church is
to be built without the express and written consent of the diocesan Bishop.
§2 The diocesan Bishop is
not to give his consent until he has consulted the council of priests and the rectors of
neighbouring churches, and then decides that the new church can serve the good of souls
and that the necessary means will be available to build the church and to provide for
§3 Even though they have
received the diocesan Bishops consent to establish a new house in a diocese or city,
religious institutes must obtain the same Bishops permission before they may build a
church in a specific and determined place.
Can. 1216 In the building
and restoration of churches the advice of experts is to be used, and the principles and
norms of liturgy and of sacred art are to be observed.
Can. 1217 §1 As soon as
possible after completion of the building the new church is to be dedicated or at least
blessed, following the laws of the sacred liturgy.
§2 Churches, especially
cathedrals and parish churches, are to be dedicated by a solemn rite.
Can. 1218 Each church is to
have its own title. Once the church has been dedicated this title cannot be changed.
Can. 1219 All acts of divine
worship may be carried out in a church which has been lawfully dedicated or blessed,
without prejudice to parochial rights.
Can. 1220 §1 Those
responsible are to ensure that there is in churches such cleanliness and ornamentation as
befits the house of God, and that anything which is discordant with the sacred character
of the place is excluded.
§2 Ordinary concern for
preservation and appropriate means of security are to be employed to safeguard sacred and
Can. 1221 Entry to a church
at the hours of sacred functions is to be open and free of charge.
Can. 1222 §1 If a church
cannot in any way be used for divine worship and there is no possibility of its being
restored, the diocesan Bishop may allow it to be used for some secular but not unbecoming
§2 Where other grave
reasons suggest that a particular church should no longer be used for divine worship, the
diocesan Bishop may allow it to be used for a secular but not unbecoming purpose. Before
doing so, he must consult the council of priests; he must also have the consent of those
who could lawfully claim rights over that church, and be sure that the good of souls would
not be harmed by the transfer.
Chapter II : ORATORIES AND PRIVATE CHAPELS
Can. 1223 An oratory means a
place which, by permission of the Ordinary, is set aside for divine worship, for the
convenience of some community or group of the faithful who assemble there, to which
however other members of the faithful may, with the consent of the competent Superior,
Can. 1224 §1 The Ordinary
is not to give the permission required for setting up an oratory unless he has first,
personally or through another, inspected the place destined for the oratory and found it
to be becomingly arranged.
§2 Once this permission has
been given, the oratory cannot be converted to a secular usage without the authority of
the same Ordinary.
Can. 1225 All sacred
services may be celebrated in a lawfully constituted oratory, apart from those which are
excluded by the law, by a provision of the local Ordinary, or by liturgical laws.
Can. 1226 The term private
chapel means a place which, by permission of the local Ordinary, is set aside for divine
worship, for the convenience of one or more individuals.
Can. 1227 Bishops can set up
for their own use a private chapel which enjoys the same rights as an oratory.
Can. 1228 Without prejudice
to the provision of Can. 1227, the permission of the local Ordinary is required for the
celebration of Mass and of other sacred functions in any private chapel.
Can. 1229 It is appropriate
that oratories and private chapels be blessed according to the rite prescribed in the
liturgical books. They must, however, be reserved for divine worship only and be freed
from all domestic use.
III : SHRINES
Can. 1230 The term shrine
means a church or other sacred place which, with the approval of the local Ordinary, is by
reason of special devotion frequented by the faithful as pilgrims.
Can. 1231 For a shrine to be
described as national, the approval of the Episcopal Conference is necessary. For it to be
described as international, the approval of the Holy See is required.
Can. 1232 §1 The local
Ordinary is competent to approve the statutes of a diocesan shrine; the Episcopal
Conference, those of a national shrine; the Holy See alone, those of an international
§2 The statutes of a shrine
are to determine principally its purpose, the authority of the rector, and the ownership
and administration of its property.
Can. 1233 Certain privileges
may be granted to shrines when the local circumstances, the number of pilgrims and
especially the good of the faithful would seem to make this advisable.
Can. 1234 §1 At shrines the
means of salvation are to be more abundantly made available to the faithful: by sedulous
proclamation of the word of God, by suitable encouragement of liturgical life, especially
by the celebration of the Eucharist and penance, and by the fostering of approved forms of
§2 In shrines or in places
adjacent to them, votive offerings of popular art and devotion are to be displayed and
IV : ALTARS
Can. 1235 §1 The altar or
table on which the eucharistic Sacrifice is celebrated is termed fixed if it is so
constructed that it is attached to the floor and therefore cannot be moved; it is termed
movable, if it can be removed.
§2 It is proper that in
every church there should be a fixed altar. In other places which are intended for the
celebration of sacred functions, the altar may be either fixed or movable.
Can. 1236 §1 In accordance
with the traditional practice of the Church, the table of a fixed altar is to be of stone,
indeed of a single natural stone. However, even some other worthy and solid material may
be used, if the Episcopal Conference so judges. The support or the base can be made from
§2 A movable altar can be
made of any solid material which is suitable for liturgical use.
Can. 1237 §1 Fixed altars
are to be dedicated, movable ones either dedicated or blessed, according to the rites
prescribed in the liturgical books.
§2 The ancient tradition of
placing relics of Martyrs or of other Saints within a fixed altar is to be retained, in
accordance with the rites prescribed in the liturgical books.
Can. 1238 §1 An altar loses
its dedication or blessing in accordance with Can. 1212.
§2 Altars, whether fixed or
movable, do not lose their dedication or blessing as a result of a church or other sacred
place being made over to secular usage.
Can. 1239 §1 An altar,
whether fixed or movable, is to be reserved for divine worship alone, to the exclusion of
any secular usage.
§2 No corpse is to be
buried beneath an altar; otherwise, it is not lawful to celebrate Mass at that altar.
V : CEMETERIES
Can. 1240 §1 Where
possible, the Church is to have its own cemeteries, or at least an area in public
cemeteries which is duly blessed and reserved for the deceased faithful.
§2 If, however, this is not
possible, then individual graves are to be blessed in due form on each occasion.
Can. 1241 §1 Parishes and
religious institutes may each have their own cemetery.
§2 Other juridical persons
or families may each have their own special cemetery or burial place which, if the local
Ordinary judges accordingly, is to be blessed.
Can. 1242 Bodies are not to
be buried in churches, unless it is a question of the Roman Pontiff or of Cardinals or, in
their proper Churches, of diocesan Bishops even retired.
Can. 1243 Appropriate norms
are to be enacted by particular law for the management of cemeteries, especially in what
concerns the protection and the fostering of their sacred character.
TITLE II: SACRED TIMES
Can. 1244 §1 Only the
supreme ecclesiastical authority can establish, transfer or suppress holydays or days of
penance which are applicable to the universal Church, without prejudice to the provisions
of Can. 1246 §2.
§2 Diocesan Bishops can
proclaim special holydays or days of penance for their own dioceses or territories, but
only for individual occasions.
Can. 1245 Without prejudice
to the right of diocesan Bishops as in Can. 87, a parish priest, in individual cases, for
a just reason and in accordance with the prescriptions of the diocesan Bishop, can give a
dispensation from the obligation of observing a holyday or day of penance, or commute the
obligation into some other pious works. The Superior of a pontifical clerical religious
institute or society of apostolic life has the same power in respect of his own subjects
and of those who reside day and night in a house of the institute or society.
I : FEAST DAYS
Can. 1246 §1 The
Lords Day, on which the paschal mystery is celebrated, is by apostolic tradition to
be observed in the universal Church as the primary holyday of obligation. In the same way
the following holydays are to be observed: the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the
Epiphany, the Ascension of Christ, the feast of the Body and Blood of Christ, the feast of
Mary the Mother of God, her Immaculate Conception, her Assumption, the feast of St Joseph,
the feast of the Apostles SS Peter and Paul, and the feast of All Saints.
§2 However, the Episcopal
Conference may, with the prior approval of the Apostolic See, suppress certain holydays of
obligation or transfer them to a Sunday.
Can. 1247 On Sundays and
other holydays of obligation, the faithful are obliged to assist at Mass. They are also to
abstain from such work or business that would inhibit the worship to be given to God, the
joy proper to the Lords Day, or the due relaxation of mind and body.
Can. 1248 §1 The obligation
of assisting at Mass is satisfied wherever Mass is celebrated in a catholic rite either on
a holyday itself or on the evening of the previous day.
§2 If it is impossible to
assist at a eucharistic celebration, either because no sacred minister is available or for
some other grave reason, the faithful are strongly recommended to take part in a liturgy
of the Word, if there be such in the parish church or some other sacred place, which is
celebrated in accordance with the provisions laid down by the diocesan Bishop; or to spend
an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family or, as occasion presents,
in a group of families.
Chapter II : DAYS OF PENANCE
Can. 1249 All Christs
faithful are obliged by divine law, each in his or her own way, to do penance. However, so
that all may be joined together in a certain common practice of penance, days of penance
are prescribed. On these days the faithful are in a special manner to devote themselves to
prayer, to engage in works of piety and charity, and to deny themselves, by fulfilling
their obligations more faithfully and especially by observing the fast and abstinence
which the following canons prescribe.
Can. 1250 The days and times
of penance for the universal Church are each Friday of the whole year and the season of
Can. 1251 Abstinence from
meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed
on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to
be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Can. 1252 The law of
abstinence binds those who have completed their fourteenth year. The law of fasting binds
those who have attained their majority, until the beginning of their sixtieth year.
Pastors of souls and parents are to ensure that even those who by reason of their age are
not bound by the law of fasting and abstinence, are taught the true meaning of penance.
Can. 1253 The Episcopal
Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be
observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other
forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.