BOOK I: GENERAL NORMS
Can. 1 The canons of this Code
concern only the latin Church.
Can. 2 For the most part the
Code does not determine the rites to be observed in the
celebration of liturgical actions. Accordingly, liturgical laws
which have been in effect hitherto retain their force, except
those which may be contrary to the canons of the Code.
Can. 3 The canons of the Code
do not abrogate, nor do they derogate from, agreements entered
into by the Apostolic See with nations or other civil entities.
For this reason, these agreements continue in force as hitherto,
notwithstanding any contrary provisions of this Code.
Can. 4 Acquired rights, and
likewise privileges hitherto granted by the Apostolic See to
either physical or juridical persons, which are still in use and
have not been revoked, remain intact, unless they are expressly
revoked by the canons of this Code.
Can. 5 §1 Universal or
particular customs which have been in effect up to now but are
contrary to the provisions of these canons and are reprobated in
the canons of this Code, are completely suppressed, and they may
not be allowed to revive in the future. Other contrary customs
are also to be considered suppressed, unless the Code expressly
provides otherwise, or unless they are centennial or immemorial:
these latter may be tolerated if the Ordinary judges that, in the
circumstances of place and person, they cannot be removed.
§2 Customs apart from the law,
whether universal or particular, which have been in effect
hitherto, are retained.
Can. 6 §1 When this Code comes
into force, the following are abrogated:
1° the Code of Canon Law
promulgated in 1917;
2° other laws, whether
universal or particular, which are contrary to the provisions of
this Code, unless it is otherwise expressly provided in respect
of particular laws;
3° all penal laws enacted by
the Apostolic See, whether universal or particular, unless they
are resumed in this Code itself;
4° any other universal
disciplinary laws concerning matters which are integrally
reordered by this Code.
§2 To the extent that the
canons of this Code reproduce the former law, they are to be
assessed in the light also of canonical tradition.
Can. 7 A law comes into being
when it is promulgated.
Can. 8 §1 Universal
ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the 'Acta
Apostolicae Sedis', unless in particular cases another manner of
promulgation has been prescribed. They come into force only on
the expiry of three months from the date appearing on the
particular issue of the 'Acta', unless because of the nature of
the case they bind at once, or unless a shorter or a longer
interval has been specifically and expressly prescribed m the law
§2 Particular laws are
promulgated in the manner determined by the legislator; they
begin to oblige one month from the date of promulgation, unless a
different period is prescribed in the law itself.
Can. 9 Laws concern matters of
the future, not those of the past, unless provision is made in
them for the latter by name.
Can. 10 Only those laws are to
be considered invalidating or incapacitating which expressly
prescribe that an act is null or that a person is incapable.
Can. 11 Merely ecclesiastical
laws bind those who were baptised in the catholic Church or
received into it, and who have a sufficient use of reason and,
unless the law expressly provides otherwise, who have completed
their seventh year of age.
Can. 12 §1 Universal laws are
binding everywhere on all those for whom they were enacted.
§2 All those actually present
in a particular territory in which certain universal laws are not
in force, are exempt from those laws.
§3 Without prejudice to the
provisions of can. 13, laws enacted for a particular territory
bind those for whom they were enacted and who have a domicile or
quasi-domicile in that territory and are actually residing in it.
Can. 13 §1 Particular laws are
not presumed to be personal, but rather territorial, unless the
contrary is clear.
§2 Peregrini are not bound:
1° by the particular laws of
their own territory while they are absent from it, unless the
transgression of those laws causes harm in their own territory,
or unless the laws are personal
2° by the laws of the
territory in which they are present, except for those laws which
take care of public order, or determine the formalities of legal
acts, or concern immovable property located in the territory.
§3 Vagi are bound by both the
universal and the particular laws which are in force in the place
in which they are present.
Can. 14 Laws, even invalidating
and incapacitating ones, do not oblige when there is a doubt of
law. When there is a doubt of fact, however Ordinaries can
dispense from them provided, if there is question of a reserved
dispensation, it is one which the authority to whom it is
reserved Is accustomed to grant.
Can. 15 §1 Ignorance or error
concerning invalidating or incapacitating laws does not prevent
the effect of those laws, unless it is expressly provided
§2 Ignorance or error is not
presumed about a law, a penalty, a fact concerning oneself, or a
notorious fact concerning another. It is presumed about a fact
concerning another which is not notorious, until the contrary is
Can. 16 §1 Laws are
authentically interpreted by the legislator and by that person to
whom the legislator entrusts the power of authentic
§2 An authentic interpretation
which is presented by way of a law has the same force as the law
itself, and must be promulgated. If it simply declares the sense
of words which are certain in themselves, it has retroactive
force. If it restricts or extends the law or resolves a doubt, it
is not retroactive.
§3 On the other hand, an
interpretation by way of a court judgement or of an
administrative act in a particular case, does not have the force
of law. It binds only those persons and affects only those
matters for which it was given.
Can. 17 Ecclesiastical laws are
to be understood according to the proper meaning of the words
considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains
doubtful or obscure, there must be recourse to parallel places,
if there be any, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and
to the mind of the legislator.
Can. 18 Laws which prescribe a
penalty, or restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an
exception to the law, are to be interpreted strictly.
Can. 19 If on a particular
matter there is not an express provision of either universal or
particular law, nor a custom, then, provided it is not a penal
matter, the question is to be decided by taking into account laws
enacted in similar matters, the general principles of law
observed with canonical equity, the jurisprudence and practice of
the Roman Curia, and the common and constant opinion of learned
Can. 20 A later law abrogates
or derogates from an earlier law, if it expressly so states, or
if it is directly contrary to that law, or if it integrally
reorders the whole subject matter of the earlier law. A universal
law, however, does not derogate from a particular or from a
special law, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
Can. 21 In doubt, the
revocation of a previous law is not presumed; rather, later laws
are to be related to earlier ones and, as far as possible,
harmonised with them.
Can. 22 When the law of the
Church remits some issue to the civil law, the latter is to be
observed with the same effects in canon law, insofar as it is not
contrary to divine law, and provided it is not otherwise
stipulated in canon law.
TITLE II: CUSTOM
Can. 23 A custom introduced by
a community of the faithful has the force of law only if it has
been approved by the legislator, in accordance with the following
Can. 24 §1 No custom which is
contrary to divine law can acquire the force of law.
§2 A custom which is contrary
to or apart from canon law, cannot acquire the force of law
unless it is reasonable; a custom which is expressly reprobated
in the law is not reasonable.
Can. 25 No custom acquires the
force of law unless it has been observed, with the intention of
introducing a law, by a community capable at least of receiving a
Can. 26 Unless it has been
specifically approved by the competent legislator, a custom which
is contrary to the canon law currently in force, or is apart from
the canon law, acquires the force of law only when it has been
lawfully observed for a period of thirty continuous and complete
years. Only a centennial or immemorial custom can prevail over a
canonical law which carries a clause forbidding future customs.
Can. 27 Custom is the best
interpreter of laws.
Can. 28 Without prejudice to
the provisions of can. 5, a custom, whether contrary to or apart
from the law, is revoked by a contrary custom or law. But unless
the law makes express mention of them, it does not revoke
centennial or immemorial customs, nor does a universal law revoke
TITLE III: GENERAL DECREES AND INSTRUCTIONS
Can. 29 General decrees, by
which a competent legislator makes common provisions for a
community capable of receiving a law, are true laws and are
regulated by the provisions of the canons on laws.
Can. 30 A general decree, as in
can. 29, cannot be made by one who has only executive power,
unless in particular cases this has been expressly authorised by
the competent legislator in accordance with the law, and provided
the conditions prescribed in the act of authorisation are
Can. 31 §1 Within the limits
of their competence, those who have executive power can issue
general executory decrees, that is, decrees which define more
precisely the manner of applying a law, or which urge the
observance of laws.
§2 The provisions of can. 8 are to be
observed in regard to the promulgation, and to the interval
before the coming into effect, of the decrees mentioned in §1.
Can. 32 General executory
decrees which define the manner of application or urge the
observance of laws, bind those who are bound by the laws.
Can. 33 §1 General executory
decrees, even if published in directories or other such
documents, do not derogate from the law, and any of their
provisions which are contrary to the law have no force.
§2 These decrees cease to have force by explicit or implicit revocation by
the competent authority, and by the cessation of the law for
whose execution they were issued. They do not cease on the expiry
of the authority of the person who issued them, unless the
contrary is expressly provided.
Can. 34 §1 Instructions,
namely, which set out the provisions of a law and develop the
manner in which it is to be put into effect, are given for the
benefit of those whose duty it is to execute the law, and they
bind them in executing the law. Those who have executive power
may, within the limits of their competence, lawfully publish such
§2 The regulations of an
instruction do not derogate from the law, and if there are any
which cannot be reconciled with the provisions of the law they
have no force.
§3 Instructions cease to have
force not only by explicit or implicit revocation by the
competent authority who published them or by that authority's
superior, but also by the cessation of the law which they were
designed to set out and execute.
TITLE IV: SINGULAR ADMINISTRATIVE ACTS
CHAPTER I : COMMON NORMS
Can. 35 Within the limits of
his or her competence, one who has executive power can issue a
singular administrative act, either by decree or precept, or by
rescript, without prejudice to can. 76 §1.
Can. 36 §1 An administrative
act is to be understood according to the proper meaning of the
words and the common manner of speaking. In doubt, a strict
interpretation is to be given to those administrative acts which
concern litigation or threaten or inflict penalties, or restrict
the rights of persons, or harm the acquired rights of others, or
run counter to a law in favour of private persons; all other
administrative acts are to be widely interpreted.
§2 Administrative acts must
not be extended to cases other than those expressly stated.
Can. 37 An administrative act
which concerns the external forum is to be effected in writing;
likewise, if it requires an executor, the act of execution is to
be in writing.
Can. 38 An administrative act,
even if there is question of a rescript given Motu proprio, has
no effect in so far as it harms the acquired right of another, or
is contrary to a law or approved custom, unless the competent
authority has expressly added a derogatory clause.
Can. 39 Conditions attached to
an administrative act are considered to concern validity only
when they are expressed by the particles 'if', 'unless',
Can. 40 The executor of any
administrative act cannot validly carry out this office before
receiving the relevant document and establishing its authenticity
and integrity, unless prior notice of this document has been
conveyed to the executor on the authority of the person who
issued the administrative act.
Can. 41 The executor of an
administrative act to whom the task of execution only is
entrusted, cannot refuse to execute it, unless it is quite clear
that the act itself is null, or that it cannot for some other
grave reason be sustained, or that the conditions attached to the
administrative act itself have not been fulfilled. If, however,
the execution of the administrative act would appear to be
inopportune, by reason of the circumstances of person or place,
the executor is to desist from the execution, and immediately
inform the person who issued the act.
Can. 42 The executor of an
administrative act must proceed in accordance with the mandate.
If, however, the executor has not fulfilled essential conditions
attached to the document, or has not observed the substantial
form of procedure, the execution is invalid.
Can. 43 The executor of an
administrative act may in his prudent judgement substitute
another for himself, unless substitution has been forbidden, or
he has been deliberately chosen as the only person to be
executor, or a specific person has been designated as substitute;
however, in these cases the executor may commit the preparatory
acts to another.
Can. 44 An administrative act
can also be executed by the executor's successor in office,
unless the first had been chosen deliberately as the only person
to be executor.
Can. 45 If there has been any
error in the execution of an administrative act, the executor may
execute it again.
Can. 46 An administrative act
does not cease on the expiry of the authority of the person
issuing it, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
Can. 47 The revocation of an
administrative act by another administrative act of the competent
authority takes effect only from the moment at which the person
to whom it was issued is lawfully notified.
CHAPTER II : SINGULAR DECREES AND PRECEPTS
Can. 48 A singular decree is an
administrative act issued by a competent executive authority,
whereby in accordance with the norms of law a decision is given
or a provision made for a particular case; of its nature this
decision or provision does not presuppose that a petition has
been made by anyone.
Can. 49 A singular precept is a
decree by which an obligation is directly and lawfully imposed on
a specific person or persons to do or to omit something,
especially in order to urge the observance of a law.
Can. 50 Before issuing a
singular decree, the person in authority is to seek the necessary
information and proof and, as far as possible, is to consult
those whose rights could be harmed.
Can. 51 A decree is to be
issued in writing. When it is a decision, it should express, at
least in summary form, the reasons for the decision.
Can. 52 A singular decree has
effect in respect only of those matters it determines and of
those persons to whom it was issued; it obliges such persons
everywhere, unless it is otherwise clear.
Can. 53 If decrees are contrary
one to another, where specific matters are expressed, the
specific prevails over the general; if both are equally specific
or equally general, the one later in time abrogates the earlier
insofar as it is contrary to it.
Can. 54 §1 A singular decree
whose application is entrusted to an executor, has effect from
the moment of execution; otherwise, from the moment when it is
made known to the person on the authority of the one who issued
§2 For a singular decree to be
enforceable, it must be made known by a lawful document in
accordance with the law.
Can. 55 Without prejudice to
cann. 37 and 51, whenever a very grave reason prevents the
handing over of the written text of a decree, the decree is
deemed to have been made known if it is read to the person to
whom it is directed, in the presence of a notary or two
witnesses - a record of the occasion is to be drawn up and signed
by all present.
Can. 56 A decree is deemed to
have been made known if the person to whom it is directed has
been duly summoned to receive or to hear the decree, and without
a just reason has not appeared or has refused to sign.
Can. 57 §1 Whenever the law
orders a decree to be issued, or when a person who is concerned
lawfully requests a decree or has recourse to obtain one, the
competent authority is to provide for the situation within three
months of having received the petition or recourse, unless a
different period of time is prescribed by law.
§2 If this period of time has
expired and the decree has not yet been given, then as far as
proposing a further recourse is concerned, the reply is presumed
to be negative.
§3 A presumed negative reply
does not relieve the competent authority of the obligation of
issuing the decree, and, in accordance with can. 128, of
repairing any harm done.
Can. 58 §1 A singular decree
ceases to have force when it is lawfully revoked by the competent
authority, or when the law ceases for whose execution it was
§2 A singular precept, which
was not imposed by a lawful document, ceases on the expiry of the
authority of the person who issued it.
CHAPTER III : RESCRIPTS
Can. 59 §1 A rescript is an
administrative act issued in writing by a competent authority, by
which of its very nature a privilege, dispensation or other
favour is granted at someone's request.
§2 Unless it is otherwise
established, provisions laid down concerning rescripts apply also
to the granting of permission and to the granting of favors by
word of mouth.
Can. 60 Any rescript can be
obtained by all who are not expressly prohibited.
Can. 61 Unless it is otherwise
established, a rescript can be obtained for another, even without
that person's consent, and it is valid before its acceptance,
without prejudice to contrary clauses.
Can. 62 A rescript in which
there is no executor, has effect from the moment the document was
issued; the others have effect from the moment of execution.
Can. 63 §1 Except where there
is question of a rescript which grants a favor Motu proprio,
subreption, that is, the withholding of the truth, renders a
rescript invalid if the request does not express that which,
according to canonical law, style and practice, must for validity
§2 Obreption, that is, the
making of a false statement, renders a rescript invalid if not
even one of the motivating reasons submitted is true.
§3 In rescripts of which there
is no executor, the motivating reason must be true at the time
the rescript is issued; in the others, at the time of execution.
Can. 64 Without prejudice to
the right of the Penitentiary for the internal forum, a favor
refused by any department of the Roman Curia cannot validly be
granted by another department of the same Curia, or by any other
competent authority below the Roman Pontiff, without the approval
of the department which was first approached.
Can. 65 §1 Without prejudice
to the provisions of §§2 and 3, no one is to seek from another
Ordinary a favor which was refused by that person's proper
Ordinary, unless mention is made of the refusal. When the refusal
is mentioned, the Ordinary is not to grant the favor unless he
has learned from the former Ordinary the reasons for the refusal.
§2 A favor refused by a Vicar
general or an episcopal Vicar cannot be validly granted by
another Vicar of the same Bishop, even when he has learned from
the Vicar who refused the reasons for the refusal.
§3 A favor refused by a Vicar
general or an episcopal Vicar and later, without any mention
being made of this refusal, obtained from the diocesan Bishop, is
invalid. A favor refused by the diocesan Bishop cannot, without
the Bishop's consent, validly be obtained from his Vicar general
or episcopal Vicar, even though mention is made of the refusal.
Can. 66 A rescript is not
rendered invalid because of an error in the name of the person to
whom it is given or by whom it is issued, or of the place in
which such person resides, or of the matter concerned, provided
that in the judgement of the Ordinary there is no doubt about the
person or the matter in question.
Can. 67 §1 If it should happen
that two contrary rescripts are obtained for one and the same
thing, where specific matters are expressed, the specific
prevails over the general.
§2 If both are equally
specific or equally general, the one earlier in time prevails
over the later, unless in the later one there is an express
mention of the earlier, or unless the person who first obtained
the rescript has not used it by reason of deceit or of notable
§3 In doubt as to whether a
rescript is invalid or not, recourse is to be made to the issuing
Can. 68 A rescript of the
Apostolic See in which there is no executor must be presented to
the Ordinary of the person who obtains it only when this is
prescribed in the rescript, or when there is question of public
affairs, or when it is necessary to have the conditions verified.
Can. 69 A rescript for whose
presentation no time is determined, may be submitted to the
executor at any time, provided there is no fraud or deceit.
Can. 70 If in a rescript the
very granting of the favor is entrusted to the executor, it is a
matter for the executor's prudent judgement and conscience to
grant or to refuse the favor.
Can. 71 No one is obliged to
use a rescript granted in his or her favor only, unless bound by
a canonical obligation from another source to do so .
Can. 72 Rescripts granted by
the Apostolic See which have expired, can for a just reason be
extended by the diocesan Bishop, but once only and not beyond
Can. 73 No rescripts are
revoked by a contrary law, unless it is otherwise provided in the
Can. 74 Although one who has
been granted a favor orally may use it in the internal forum,
that person is obliged to prove the favor for the external forum
whenever this is lawfully requested.
Can. 75 If a rescript contains
a privilege or a dispensation, the provision of the following
canons are also to be observed.
CHAPTER IV : PRIVILEGES
Can. 76 §1 A privilege is a
favor given by a special act for the benefit of certain persons,
physical or juridical; it can be granted by the legislator, and
by an executive authority to whom the legislator has given this
§2 Centennial or immemorial
possession of a privilege gives rise to the presumption that it
has been granted.
Can. 77 A privilege is to be
interpreted in accordance with can. 36 §1. The interpretation
must, however, always be such that the beneficiaries of the
privilege do in fact receive some favor.
Can. 78 §1 A privilege is
presumed to be perpetual, unless the contrary is proved.
§2 A personal privilege,
namely one which attaches to a person, is extinguished with the
§3 A real privilege ceases on
the total destruction of the thing or place; a local privilege,
however, revives if the place is restored within fifty years.
Can. 79 Without prejudice to
can. 46, a privilege ceases by revocation on the part of the
competent authority in accordance with can. 47.
Can. 80 §1 No privilege ceases
by renunciation unless this has been accepted by the competent
§2 Any physical person may
renounce a privilege granted in his or her favor only.
§3 Individual persons cannot
renounce a privilege granted to a juridical person, or granted by
reason of the dignity of a place or thing. Nor can a juridical
person renounce a privilege granted to it, if the renunciation
would be prejudicial to the Church or to others.
Can. 81 A privilege is not
extinguished on the expiry of the authority of the person who
granted it, unless it was given with the clause 'at our pleasure'
or another equivalent expression.
Can. 82 A privilege which does
not burden others does not lapse through non-use or contrary use;
if it does cause an inconvenience for others, it is lost if
lawful prescription intervenes.
Can. 83 §1 Without prejudice
to can. 142 §2, a privilege ceases on the expiry of the time or
the completion of the number of cases for which it was granted.
§2 It ceases also if in the
judgement of the competent authority circumstances are so changed
with the passage of time that it has become harmful, or that its
use becomes unlawful.
Can. 84 A person who abuses a
power given by a privilege deserves to be deprived of the
privilege itself. Accordingly, after a warning which has been in
vain, the Ordinary, if it was he who granted it, is to deprive
the person of the privilege which he or she is gravely abusing;
if the privilege has been granted by the Apostolic See, the
Ordinary is obliged to make the matter known to it.
CHAPTER V : DISPENSATIONS
Can. 85 A dispensation, that
is, the relaxation of a merely ecclesiastical law in a particular
case, can be granted, within the limits of their competence, by
those who have executive power, and by those who either
explicitly or implicitly have the power of dispensing, whether by
virtue of the law itself or by lawful delegation.
Can. 86 In so far as laws
define those elements which are essentially constitutive of
institutes or of juridical acts, they are not subject to
Can. 87 §1 Whenever he judges
that it contributes to their spiritual welfare, the diocesan
Bishop can dispense the faithful from disciplinary laws, both
universal laws and those particular laws made by the supreme
ecclesiastical authority for his territory or his subjects. He
cannot dispense from procedural laws or from penal laws, nor from
those whose dispensation is specially reserved to the Apostolic
See or to some other authority.
§2 If recourse to the Holy See
is difficult, and at the same time there is danger of grave harm
in delay, any Ordinary can dispense from these laws, even if the
dispensation is reserved to the Holy See, provided the
dispensation is one which the Holy See customarily grants in the
same circumstances, and without prejudice to can. 291.
Can. 88 The local Ordinary can
dispense from diocesan laws and, whenever he judges that it
contributes to the spiritual welfare of the faithful, from laws
made by a plenary or a provincial Council or by the Episcopal
Can. 89 Parish priests and
other priests or deacons cannot dispense from universal or
particular law unless this power is expressly granted to them.
Can. 90 §1 A dispensation from
an ecclesiastical law is not to be given without a just and
reasonable cause, taking into account the circumstances of the
case and the importance of the law from which the dispensation is
given; otherwise the dispensation is unlawful and, unless given
by the legislator or his superior, it is also invalid.
§2 A dispensation given in
doubt about the sufficiency of its reason is valid and lawful.
Can. 91 In respect of their
subjects, even if these are outside the territory, those who have
the power of dispensing can exercise it even if they themselves
are outside their territory; unless the contrary is expressly
provided, they can exercise it also in respect of peregrini
actually present in the territory; they can exercise it too in
respect of themselves.
Can. 92 A strict interpretation
is to be given not only to a dispensation in accordance with can.
36 §1, but also to the very power of dispensing granted for a
Can. 93 A dispensation capable
of successive applications ceases in the same way as a privilege.
It also ceases by the certain and complete cessation of the
TITLE V: STATUTES AND ORDINANCES
Can. 94 §1 Statutes properly
so called are regulations which are established in accordance
with the law in aggregates of persons or of things, whereby the
purpose, constitution, governance and manner of acting of these
bodies are defined.
§2 The statutes of an
aggregate of persons bind only those persons who are lawfully
members of it; the statutes of an aggregate of things bind those
who direct it.
§3 The provisions of statutes
which are established and promulgated by virtue of legislative
power, are regulated by the provisions of the canons concerning
Can. 95 §1 Ordinances are
rules or norms to be observed both in assemblies of persons,
whether these assemblies are convened by ecclesiastical authority
or are freely convoked by the faithful, and in other
celebrations: they define those matters which concern their
constitution, direction and agenda.
§2 In assemblies or
celebrations, those who take part are bound by these rules of
TITLE VI: PHYSICAL AND JURIDICAL PERSONS
CHAPTER I : THE CANONICAL STATUS OF PHYSICAL PERSONS
Can. 96 By baptism one is
incorporated into the Church of Christ and constituted a person
in it, with the duties and the rights which, in accordance with
each one's status, are proper to christians, in so far as they
are in ecclesiastical communion and unless a lawfully issued
Can. 97 §1 A person who has
completed the eighteenth year of age, has attained majority;
below this age, a person is a minor.
§2 A minor who has not
completed the seventh year of age is called an infant and is
considered incapable of personal responsibility; on completion of
the seventh year, however, the minor is presumed to have the use
Can. 98 §1 A person who has
attained majority has the full exercise of his or her rights.
§2 In the exercise of rights a
minor remains subject to parents or guardians, except for those
matters in which by divine or by canon law minors are exempt from
such authority. In regard to the appointment of guardians and the
determination of their powers, the provisions of civil law are to
be observed, unless it is otherwise provided in canon law or
unless, in specific cases and for a just reason, the diocesan
Bishop has decided that the matter is to be catered for by the
appointment of another guardian.
Can. 99 Whoever habitually
lacks the use of reason is considered as incapable of personal
responsibility and is regarded as an infant.
Can. 100 A person is said to
be: an incola, in the place where he or she has a domicile; an
advena, in the place of quasi-domicile; a peregrinus, if away
from the domicile or quasi-domicile which is still retained; a
vagus, if the person has nowhere a domicile or quasi-domicile.
Can. 101 §1 The place of
origin of a child, and even of a neophyte, is that in which the
parents had a domicile or, lacking that, a quasi-domicile when
the child was born; if the parents did not have the same domicile
or quasi-domicile, it is that of the mother.
§2 In the case of a child of
vagi, the place of origin is the actual place of birth; in the
case of a foundling, it is the place where it was found.
Can. 102 §1 Domicile is
acquired by residence in the territory of a parish, or at least
of a diocese, which is either linked to the intention of
remaining there permanently if nothing should occasion its
withdrawal, or in fact protracted for a full five years.
§2 Quasi-domicile is acquired
by residence in the territory of a parish, or at least of a
diocese, which is either linked to the intention of remaining
there for three months if nothing should occasion its withdrawal,
or in fact protracted for three months.
§3 Domicile or quasi-domicile
in the territory of a parish is called parochial; in the
territory of a diocese, even if not in a parish, it is called
Can. 103 Members of religious
institutes and of societies of apostolic life acquire a domicile
in the place where the house to which they belong is situated.
They acquire a quasi-domicile in the house in which, in
accordance with can. 102 §2, they reside.
Can. 104 Spouses are to have a
common domicile or quasi-domicile. By reason of lawful separation
or for some other just reason, each may have his or her own
domicile or quasi-domicile.
Can. 105 §1 A minor
necessarily retains the domicile or quasi-domicile of the person
to whose authority the minor is subject. A minor who is no longer
an infant can acquire a quasi-domicile of his or her own and, if
lawfully emancipated in accordance with the civil law, a domicile
§2 One who for a reason other
than minority is lawfully entrusted to the guardianship or
tutelage of another, has the domicile and quasidomicile of the
guardian or curator.
Can. 106 Domicile or
quasi-domicile is lost by departure from the place with the
intention of not returning, without prejudice to the provisions
of can. 105.
Can. 107 §1 Both through
domicile and through quasi-domicile everyone acquires his or her
own parish priest and Ordinary.
§2 The proper parish priest or
Ordinary of a vagus is the parish priest or Ordinary of the place
where the vagus is actually residing.
§3 The proper parish priest of
one who has only a diocesan domicile or quasi-domicile is the
parish priest of the place where that person is actually
Can. 108 §1 Consanguinity is
reckoned by lines and degrees.
§2 In the direct line there
are as many degrees as there are generations, that is, as there
are persons, not counting the common ancestor.
§3 In the collateral line
there are as many degrees as there are persons in both lines
together, not counting the common ancestor.
Can. 109 §1 Affinity arises
from a valid marriage, even if not consummated, and it exists
between the man and the blood relations of the woman, and
likewise between the woman and the blood relations of the man.
§2 It is reckoned in such a
way that the blood relations of the man are related by affinity
to the woman in the same line and the same degree, and vice
Can. 110 Children who have been
adopted in accordance with the civil law are considered the
children of that person or those persons who have adopted them.
Can. 111 §1 Through the
reception of baptism a child becomes a member of the latin Church
if the parents belong to that Church or, should one of them not
belong to it, if they have both by common consent chosen that the
child be baptised in the latin Church: if that common consent is
lacking, the child becomes a member of the ritual Church to which
the father belongs.
§2 Any candidate for baptism
who has completed the fourteenth year of age may freely choose to
be baptised either in the latin Church or in another autonomous
ritual Church; in which case the person belongs to the Church
which he or she has chosen.
Can. 112 §1 After the
reception of baptism, the following become members of another
autonomous ritual Church:
1° those who have obtained
permission from the Apostolic See;
2° a spouse who, on entering
marriage or during its course, has declared that he or she is
transferring to the autonomous ritual
Church of the other spouse; on
the dissolution of the marriage, however, that person may freely
return to the latin Church;
3° the children of those
mentioned in nn. 1 and 2 who have not completed their fourteenth
year, and likewise in a mixed marriage the children of a catholic
party who has lawfully transferred to another ritual Church; on
completion of their fourteenth year, however, they may return to
the latin Church.
§2 The practice, however long
standing, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of an
autonomous ritual Church, does not bring with it membership of
CHAPTER II : JURIDICAL PERSONS
Can. 113 §1 The catholic
Church and the Apostolic See have the status of a moral person by
§2 In the Church, besides
physical persons, there are also juridical persons, that is, in
canon law subjects of obligations and rights which accord with
Can. 114 §1 Aggregates of
persons or of things which are directed to a purpose befitting
the Church's mission, which transcends the purpose of the
individuals, are constituted juridical persons either by a
provision of the law itself or by a special concession given in
the form of a decree by the competent authority.
§2 The purposes indicated in
§1 are understood to be those which concern works of piety, of
the apostolate or of charity, whether spiritual or temporal.
§3 The competent
ecclesiastical authority is not to confer juridical personality
except on those aggregates of persons or of things which aim at a
genuinely useful purpose and which, all things considered, have
the means which are foreseen to be sufficient to achieve the
purpose in view.
Can. 115 §1 Juridical persons
in the Church are either aggregates of persons or aggregates of
§2 An aggregate of persons,
which must be made up of at least three persons, is collegial if
the members decide its conduct by participating together in
making its decisions, whether by equal right or not, in
accordance with the law and the statutes; otherwise, it is
§3 An aggregate of things, or
an autonomous foundation, consists of goods or things, whether
spiritual or material, and is directed, in accordance with the
law and the statutes, by one or more physical persons or by a
Can. 116 §1 Public juridical
persons are aggregates of persons or of things which are
established by the competent ecclesiastical authority so that,
within the limits allotted to them in the name of the Church, and
in accordance with the provisions of law, they might fulfil the
specific task entrusted to them for the public good. Other
juridical persons are private.
§2 Public juridical persons
are given this personality either by the law itself or by a
special decree of the competent authority expressly granting it.
Private juridical persons are given this personality only by a
special decree of the competent authority expressly granting it.
Can. 117 No aggregate of
persons or of things seeking juridical personality can acquire it
unless its statutes are approved by the competent authority.
Can. 118 Those persons
represent, and act in the name of, a public juridical person
whose competence to do so is acknowledged by universal or
particular law, or by their own statutes; those persons represent
a private juridical person who are given this competence by their
Can. 119 In regard to collegial
acts, unless the law or the statutes provide otherwise:
1° in regard to elections,
provided a majority of those who must be summoned are present,
what is decided by an absolute majority of those present has the
force of law. If there have been two inconclusive scrutinies, a
vote is to be taken between the two candidates with the greatest
number of votes or, if there are more than two, between the two
senior by age. After a third inconclusive scrutiny, that person
is deemed elected who is senior by age;
2° in regard to other matters,
provided a majority of those who must be summoned are present,
what is decided by an absolute majority of those present has the
force of law. If the votes are equal after two scrutinies, the
person presiding can break the tie with a casting vote;
3° that which affects all as
individuals must be approved by all.
Can. 120 §1 A juridical person
is by its nature perpetual. It ceases to exist, however, if it is
lawfully suppressed by the competent authority, or if it has been
inactive for a hundred years. A private juridical person also
ceases to exist if the association itself is dissolved in
accordance with the statutes, or if, in the judgement of the
competent authority, the foundation itself has, in accordance
with the statutes, ceased to exist.
§2 If even a single member of
a collegial juridical person survives, and the aggregate of
persons has not, according to the statutes, ceased to exist, the
exercise of all the rights of the aggregate devolves upon that
Can. 121 When aggregates of
persons or of things which are public juridical persons are so
amalgamated that one aggregate, itself with a juridical
personality, is formed, this new juridical person obtains the
patrimonial goods and rights which belonged to the previous
aggregates; it also accepts the liabilities of the previous
aggregates. In what concerns particularly the arrangements for
the goods and the discharge of obligations, the wishes of the
founders and benefactors, and any acquired rights must be
Can. 122 When an aggregate
which is a public juridical person is divided in such a way that
part of it is joined to another juridical person or a distinct
public juridical person is established from one part of it, the
first obligation is to observe the wishes of the founders and
benefactors, the demands of acquired rights and the requirements
of the approved statutes. Then the competent ecclesiastical
authority, either personally or through an executor, is to
1° that the divisible common
patrimonial goods and rights, the monies owed and the other
liabilities, are divided between the juridical persons in
question in due proportion, in a fashion which is equitable and
right, taking account of all the circumstances and needs of both;
2° that the use and enjoyment
of the common goods which cannot be divided, be given to each
juridical person, and also that the liabilities which are proper
to each are the responsibility of each, in due proportion, in a
fashion which is equitable and right.
Can. 123 On the extinction of a
public juridical person, the arrangements for its patrimonial
goods and rights, and for its liabilities, are determined by law
and the statutes. If these do not deal with the matter, the
arrangements devolve upon the next higher juridical person,
always with due regard for the wishes of the founders or
benefactors and for acquired rights. On the extinction of a
private juridical person, the arrangements for its goods and
liabilities are governed by its own statutes.
TITLE VII: JURIDICAL ACTS
Can. 124 §1 For the validity
of a juridical act, it is required that it be performed by a
person who is legally capable, and it must contain those elements
which constitute the essence of the act, as well as the
formalities and requirements which the law prescribes for the
validity of the act.
§2 A juridical act which, as
far as its external elements are concerned, is properly
performed, is presumed to be valid.
Can. 125 §1 An act is invalid
if performed as a result of force imposed from outside on a
person who was quite unable to resist it.
§2 An act performed as a
result of fear which is grave and unjustly inflicted, or as a
result of deceit, is valid, unless the law provides otherwise.
However, it can be rescinded by a court judgement, either at the
instance of the injured party or that party's successors in law,
or ex officio.
Can. 126 An act is invalid when
performed as a result of ignorance or of error which concerns the
substance of the act, or which amounts to a condition sine qua
non; otherwise it is valid, unless the law provides differently.
But an act done as a result of ignorance or error can give rise
to a rescinding action in accordance with the law.
Can. 127 §1 When the law
prescribes that, in order to perform a juridical act, a Superior
requires the consent or the advice of some college or group of
persons, the college or group must be convened in accordance with
can. 166, unless, if there is question of seeking advice only,
particular or proper law provides otherwise. For the validity of
the act, it is required that the consent be obtained of an
absolute majority of those present, or that the advice of all be
§2 When the law prescribes
that, in order to perform a juridical act, a Superior requires
the consent or advice of certain persons as individuals:
1° if consent is required, the
Superior's act is invalid if the Superior does not seek the
consent of those persons, or acts against the vote of all or of
any of them;
2° if advice is required, the
Superior's act is invalid if the Superior does not hear those
persons. The Superior is not in any way bound to accept their
vote, even if it is unanimous; nevertheless, without what is, in
his or her judgement, an overriding reason, the Superior is not
to act against their vote, especially if it is a unanimous one.
§3 All whose consent or advice
is required are obliged to give their opinions sincerely. If the
seriousness of the matter requires it, they are obliged carefully
to maintain secrecy, and the Superior can insist on this
Can. 128 Whoever unlawfully
causes harm to another by a juridical act, or indeed by any other
act which is deceitful or culpable, is obliged to repair the
TITLE VIII: POWER OF GOVERNANCE
Can. 129 §1 Those who are in
sacred orders are, in accordance with the provisions of law,
capable of the power of governance, which belongs to the Church
by divine institution. This power is also called the power of
§2 Lay members of Christ's
faithful can cooperate in the exercise of this same power in
accordance with the law.
Can. 130 Of itself the power of
governance is exercised for the external forum; sometimes however
it is exercised for the internal forum only, but in such a way
that the effects which its exercise is designed to have in the
external forum are not acknowledged in that forum, except in so
far as the law prescribes this for determinate cases.
Can. 131 §1 Ordinary power of
governance is that which by virtue of the law itself is attached
to a given office; delegated power is that which is granted to a
person other than through an office.
§2 Ordinary power of
governance may be proper or vicarious.
§3 One who claims to have been
delegated has the onus of proving the delegation.
Can. 132 §1 Habitual faculties
are governed by the provisions concerning delegated power.
§2 However, unless the grant
has expressly provided otherwise, or the Ordinary was
deliberately chosen as the only one to exercise the faculty, an
habitual faculty granted to an Ordinary does not lapse on the
expiry of the authority of the Ordinary to whom it was given,
even if he has already begun to exercise the faculty, but it
passes to the Ordinary who succeeds him in governance.
Can. 133 §1 A delegate who
exceeds the limits of the mandate, with regard either to things
or to persons, performs no act at all.
§2 A delegate is not
considered to have exceeded the mandate when what was delegated
is carried out, but in a manner different to that determined in
the mandate, unless the manner was prescribed for validity by the
Can. 134 §1 In law the term
Ordinary means, apart from the Roman Pontiff, diocesan Bishops
and all who, even for a time only, are set over a particular
Church or a community equivalent to it in accordance with can.
368, and those who in these have general ordinary executive
power, that is, Vicars general and episcopal Vicars; likewise,
for their own members, it means the major Superiors of clerical
religious institutes of pontifical right and of clerical
societies of apostolic life of pontifical right, who have at
least ordinary executive power.
§2 The term local Ordinary
means all those enumerated in §1, except Superiors of religious
institutes and of societies of apostolic life.
§3 Whatever in the canons, in
the context of executive power, is attributed to the diocesan
Bishop, is understood to belong only to the diocesan Bishop and
to those others in can. 381 §2 who are equivalent to him, to the
exclusion of the Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar except by
Can. 135 §1 The power of
governance is divided into legislative, executive and judicial
§2 Legislative power is to be
exercised in the manner prescribed by law; that which in the
Church a legislator lower than the supreme authority has cannot
be delegated, unless the law explicitly provides otherwise. A
lower legislator cannot validly make a law which is contrary to
that of a higher legislator.
§3 Judicial power, which is
possessed by judges and judicial colleges, is to be exercised in
the manner prescribed by law, and it cannot be delegated except
for the performance of acts preparatory to some decree or
§4 As far as the exercise of
executive power is concerned, the provisions of the following
canons are to be observed.
Can. 136 Persons may exercise
executive power over their subjects, even when either they
themselves or their subjects are outside the territory, unless it
is otherwise clear from the nature of things or from the
provisions of law. They can exercise this power over peregrini
who are actually living in the territory, if it is a question of
granting favours, or of executing universal or particular laws by
which the peregrini are bound in accordance with can. 13 §2, n.
Can. 137 §1 Ordinary executive
power can be delegated either for an individual case or for all
cases, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
§2 Executive power delegated
by the Apostolic See can be subdelegated, either for an
individual case or for all cases, unless the delegation was
deliberately given to the individual alone, or unless
subdelegation was expressly prohibited.
§3 Executive power delegated
by another authority having ordinary power, if delegated for all
cases, can be subdelegated only for individual cases; if
delegated for a determinate act or acts, it cannot be
subdelegated, except by the express grant of the person
§4 No subdelegated power can
again be subdelegated, unless this was expressly granted by the
Can. 138 Ordinary executive
power, and power delegated for all cases, are to be interpreted
widely; any other power is to be interpreted strictly. Delegation
of power to a person is understood to include everything
necessary for the exercise of that power.
Can. 139 §1 Unless the law
prescribes otherwise, the fact that a person approaches some
competent authority, even a higher one, does not mean that the
executive power of another competent authority is suspended,
whether that be ordinary or delegated.
§2 A lower authority, however,
is not to interfere in cases referred to higher authority, except
for a grave and urgent reason; in which case the higher authority
is to be notified immediately.
Can. 140 §1 When several
people are together delegated to act in the same matter, the
person who has begun to deal with it excludes the others from
acting, unless that person is subsequently impeded, or does not
wish to proceed further with the matter.
§2 When several people are
delegated to act as a college in a certain matter, all must
proceed in accordance with can. 119, unless the mandate provides
§3 Executive power delegated
to several people is presumed to be delegated to them together.
Can. 141 If several people are
successively delegated, that person is to deal with the matter
whose mandate was the earlier and was not subsequently revoked.
Can. 142 §1 Delegated power
lapses: on the completion of the mandate; on the expiry of the
time or the completion of the number of cases for which it was
granted; on the cessation of the motivating reason for the
delegation; on its revocation by the person delegating, when
communicated directly to the person delegated; and on the
retirement of the person delegated, when communicated to and
accepted by the person delegating. It does not lapse on the
expiry of the authority of the person delegating, unless this
appears from clauses attached to it.
§2 An act of delegated power
exercised for the internal forum only, which is inadvertently
performed after the time limit of the delegation, is valid.
Can. 143 §1 Ordinary power
ceases on the loss of the office to which it is attached.
§2 Unless the law provides
otherwise, ordinary power is suspended if an appeal or a recourse
is lawfully made against a deprivation of, or removal from,
Can. 144 §1 In common error,
whether of fact or of law, and in positive and probable doubt,
whether of law or of fact, the Church supplies executive power of
governance for both the external and the internal forum.
§2 The same norm applies to
the faculties mentioned in cann. 883, 966, and 1111 §1.
General Norms, Part 2