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TITLE IX: ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICES
Can. 145 §1 An ecclesiastical
office is any post which by divine or ecclesiastical disposition
is established in a stable manner to further a spiritual purpose.
§2 The duties and rights
proper to each ecclesiastical office are defined either by the
law whereby the office is established, or by a decree of the
competent authority whereby it is at one and at the same time
established and conferred.
CHAPTER I : THE PROVISION OF ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICE
Can. 146 An ecclesiastical
office cannot be validly obtained without canonical provision.
Can. 147 The provision of an
ecclesiastical office is effected: by its being freely conferred
by the competent ecclesiastical authority; by appointment made by
the same authority, where there has been a prior presentation; by
confirmation or admission by the same authority, where there has
been a prior election or postulation; finally, by a simple
election and acceptance of the election, if the election does not
Can. 148 Unless the law
provides otherwise, the provision of an office is the prerogative
of the authority which is competent to establish, change or
suppress the office.
Can. 149 §1 In order to be
promoted to an ecclesiastical office, one must be in communion
with the Church, and be suitable, that is, possessed of those
qualities which are required for that office by universal or
particular law or by the law of the foundation.
§2 The provision of an
ecclesiastical office to a person who lacks the requisite
qualities is invalid only if the qualities are expressly required
for validity by universal or particular law or by the law of the
foundation; otherwise it is valid, but it can be rescinded by a
decree of the competent authority or by a judgement of an
§3 The provision of an office
made as a result of simony, is invalid by virtue of the law
Can. 150 An office which
carries with it the full care of souls, for which the exercise of
the order of priesthood is required, cannot validly be conferred
upon a person who is not yet a priest.
Can. 151 The provision of an
office which carries with it the care of souls is not to be
deferred without grave reason.
Can. 152 Two or more offices
which are incompatible, that is, which cannot be exercised at the
same time by the same person, are not to be conferred upon
Can. 153 §1 The provision of
an office which in law is not vacant is by that very fact
invalid, nor does it become valid by subsequent vacancy.
§2 If, however, there is
question of an office which by law is conferred for a determinate
time, provision can be made within six months before the expiry
of this time, and it takes effect from the day the office falls
§3 The promise of any office,
by whomsoever it is made, has no juridical effect.
Can. 154 An office which in law
is vacant, but which someone unlawfully still holds, may be
conferred, provided that it has been properly declared that such
possession is not lawful, and that mention is made of this
declaration in the letter of conferral.
Can. 155 One who confers an
office in the place of another who is negligent or impeded, does
not thereby acquire any power over the person on whom the office
is conferred; the juridical condition of the latter is the same
as if the provision of the office had been carried out in
accordance with the ordinary norm of law.
Can. 156 The provision of any
office is to be made in writing.
ARTICLE 1: FREE CONFERRAL
Can. 157 Unless the law
expressly states otherwise, it is the prerogative of the diocesan
Bishop to make appointments to ecclesiastical offices in his own
particular Church by free conferral.
ARTICLE 2: PRESENTATION
Can. 158 §1 Presentation to an
ecclesiastical office by a person having the right of
presentation must be made to the authority who is competent to
make an appointment to the office in question; unless it is
otherwise lawfully provided, presentation is to be made within
three months of receiving notification of the vacancy of the
§2 If the right of
presentation belongs to a college or group of persons, the person
to be presented is to be designated according to the provisions
of cann. 165--179.
Can. 159 No one is to be
presented who is unwilling. Accordingly, one who is proposed for
presentation must be consulted, and may be presented if within
eight canonical days a refusal is not entered.
Can. 160 §1 One who has the
right of presentation may present one or more persons, either
simultaneously or successively.
§2 No persons may present
themselves. However a college or a group of persons may present
one of its members.
Can. 161 §1 Unless the law
prescribes otherwise, one who has presented a person who is
judged unsuitable, may within a month present another candidate,
but once only.
§2 If before the appointment
is made the person presented has withdrawn or has died, the one
with the right of presentation may exercise this right again,
within a month of receiving notice of the withdrawal or of the
Can. 162 A person who has not
presented anyone within the canonical time prescribed by can. 158
§1 and can. 161, or who has twice presented a candidate judged
to be unsuitable, loses the right of presentation for that case.
The authority who is competent to appoint may then freely provide
for the vacant office, but with the consent of the proper
Ordinary of the person appointed.
Can. 163 The authority to whom,
in accordance with the law, it belongs to appoint one who is
presented, is to appoint the person lawfully presented whom he
has judged suitable, and who has accepted. If a number lawfully
presented are judged suitable, he is to appoint one of them.
ARTICLE 3: ELECTION
Can. 164 Unless it has been
otherwise provided in the law, the provisions of the following
canons are to be observed in canonical elections.
Can. 165 Unless it is otherwise
provided in the law or in the statutes of the college or group,
if a college or a group of persons enjoys the right to elect to
an office, the election is not to be deferred beyond three
canonical months, to be reckoned from the receipt of notification
of the vacancy of the office. If the election does not take place
within that time, the ecclesiastical authority who has the right
of confirming the election or the right to make provision
otherwise, is freely to provide for the vacant office.
Can. 166 §1 The one who
presides over the college or group is to summon all those who
belong to the college or group. When it has to be personal, the
summons is valid if it is made in the place of domicile or
quasi-domicile or in the place of residence.
§2 If someone who should have
been summoned was overlooked and was therefore absent, the
election is valid. However, if that person insists and gives
proof of being overlooked and of absence, the election, even if
confirmed, must be rescinded by the competent authority, provided
it is juridically established that the recourse was submitted
within no more than three days of having received notification of
§3 If more than one third of
the voters were overlooked, the election is invalid by virtue of
the law itself, unless all those overlooked were in fact present.
Can. 167 §1 When the summons
has been lawfully made, those who are present on the day and in
the place specified in the summons have the right to vote. Unless
it is otherwise lawfully provided in the statutes, votes cast by
letter or by proxy cannot be admitted.
§2 If an elector is present in
the building in which the election is being held, but because of
infirmity is unable to be present at the election, a written vote
is to be sought from that person by the scrutineers.
Can. 168 Even if someone has a
right to vote in his or her own name by reason of a number of
titles, that person may cast only one vote.
Can. 169 In order that an
election be valid, no one may be allowed to vote who does not
belong to the college or group.
Can. 170 If the freedom of an
election has in any way been in fact impeded, the election is
invalid by virtue of the law itself.
Can. 171 §1 The following are
legally incapable of casting a vote:
1° one incapable of a human
2° one lacking active voice;
3° one who is excommunicated,
whether by judgement of a court or by a decree whereby this
penalty is imposed or declared;
4° one who notoriously
defected from communion with the Church.
§2 If any of the above persons
is admitted, the vote cast is invalid. The election, however, is
valid, unless it is established that, without this vote, the
person elected would not have gained the requisite number of
Can. 172 §1 For a vote to be
valid, it must be:
1° free; a vote is therefore
invalid if, through grave fear or deceit, someone was directly or
indirectly made to choose a certain person or several persons
2° secret, certain, absolute
§2 Conditions attached to a
vote before an election are to be considered non-existent.
Can. 173 §1 Before an election
begins, at least two scrutineers are to be appointed from among
the college or group.
§2 The scrutineers are to
collect the votes and, in the presence of the one who presides at
the election, to check whether the number of votes corresponds to
the number of electors; they are then to examine the votes and to
announce how many each person has received.
§3 If the number of votes
exceeds the number of electors, the act is null.
§4 All the proceedings of an
election are to be accurately recorded by the one who acts as
notary. They are to be signed at least by that notary, by the
person who presides and by the scrutineers, and they are to be
carefully preserved in the archive of the college.
Can. 174 §1 Unless the law or
the statutes provide otherwise, an election can be made by
compromise, that is the electors by unanimous and written consent
transfer the right of election for this occasion to one or more
suitable persons, whether they belong to the college or are
outside it, who in virtue of this authority are to elect in the
name of all.
§2 If the college or group
consists solely of clerics, the persons to whom the power of
election is transferred must be in sacred orders; otherwise the
election is invalid.
§3 Those to whom the power of
election is transferred must observe the provisions of law
concerning an election and, for the validity of the election,
they must observe the conditions attached to the compromise,
unless these conditions are contrary to the law. Conditions which
are contrary to the law are to be regarded as non-existent.
Can. 175 A compromise ceases,
and the right to vote reverts to those who transferred it, when:
1° it is revoked by the
college or group before it has been put into effect;
2° a condition attached to the
compromise has not been fulfilled;
3° the election has been held,
Can. 176 Unless it is otherwise
provided in the law or the statutes, the person who has received
the requisite number of votes in accordance with can. 119, n. 1,
is deemed elected and is to be proclaimed by the person who
presides over the college or group.
Can. 177 §1 The election is to
be notified immediately to the person elected who must, within
eight canonical days from the receipt of notification of the
election, intimate to the person who presides over the college or
group whether or not he or she accepts the election; otherwise,
the election has no effect.
§2 The person elected who has
not accepted loses every right deriving from the election, nor is
any right revived by subsequent acceptance; the person may,
however, be elected again. The college or group must proceed to a
new election within a month of being notified of non-acceptance.
Can. 178 If the election does
not require confirmation, by accepting the election the person
elected immediately obtains the office with all its rights;
otherwise, he or she acquires only a right to the office.
Can. 179 §1 If the election
requires confirmation, the person elected must, either personally
or through another, ask for confirmation by the competent
authority within eight canonical days of acceptance of the
office - otherwise that person is deprived of every right, unless
he or she has established that there was just reason which
prevented confirmation being sought.
§2 The competent authority
cannot refuse confirmation if he has found the person elected
suitable in accordance with can. 149 §1, and the election has
been carried out in accordance with the law.
§3 Confirmation must be given
§4 Before receiving notice of
the confirmation, the person elected may not become involved in
the administration of the office, neither in spiritual nor in
material affairs; any acts possibly performed by that person are
§5 When confirmation has been
notified, the person elected obtains full right to the office,
unless the law provides otherwise.
ARTICLE 4: POSTULATION
Can. 180 §1 If a canonical
impediment, from which a dispensation is possible and customary,
stands in the way of the election of a person whom the electors
judge more suitable and prefer, they can, unless the law provides
otherwise, postulate that person from the competent authority.
§2 Those to whom the power of
electing has been transferred by compromise may not make a
postulation, unless this is expressly stated in the terms of the
Can. 181 §1 For a postulation
to have effect, at least two thirds of the votes are required.
§2 A vote for postulation must
be expressed by the term 'I postulate', or an equivalent. The
formula 'I elect or postulate', or its equivalent, is valid for
election if there is no impediment; otherwise, it is valid for
Can. 182 §1 The postulation
must be sent, within eight canonical days, by the person who
presides to the authority which is competent to confirm the
election, to whom it belongs to grant the dispensation from the
impediment or, if he has not this authority, to seek the
dispensation from a superior authority. If confirmation is not
required, the postulation must be sent to the authority which is
competent to grant the dispensation.
§2 If the postulation is not
forwarded within the prescribed time, it is by that very fact
invalid, and the college or group is for that occasion deprived
of the right of election or of postulation, unless it is proved
that the person presiding was prevented by a just impediment from
forwarding the postulation, or did not do so in due time because
of deceit or negligence.
§3 The person postulated does
not acquire any right from the postulation; the competent
authority is not obliged to admit the postulation.
§4 The electors may not revoke
a postulation made to the competent authority, except with the
consent of that authority.
Can. 183 §1 If a postulation
is not admitted by the competent authority the right of election
reverts to the college or group.
§2 If the postulation has been
admitted, this is to be notified to the person postulated, who
must reply in accordance with can. 177 §1.
§3 The person who accepts a
postulation which has been admitted immediately obtains full
right to the office.
CHAPTER II : LOSS OF ECCLESIASTICAL OFFICE
Can. 184 §1 An ecclesiastical
office is lost on the expiry of a predetermined time; on reaching
the age limit defined by law; by resignation; by transfer; by
removal; by deprivation.
§2 An ecclesiastical office is
not lost on the expiry, in whatever way, of the authority of the
one by whom it was conferred, unless the law provides otherwise.
§3 The loss of an office, once
it has taken effect, is to be notified as soon as possible to
those who have any right in regard to the provision of the
Can. 185 The title 'emeritus'
may be conferred on one who loses office by reason of age, or of
resignation which has been accepted.
Can. 186 Loss of office by
reason of the expiry of a predetermined time or of reaching the
age limit, has effect only from the moment that this is
communicated in writing by the competent authority.
ARTICLE 1: RESIGNATION
Can. 187 Anyone who is capable
of personal responsibility can resign from an ecclesiastical
office for a just reason.
Can. 188 A resignation which is
made as a result of grave fear unjustly inflicted, or of deceit,
or of substantial error, or of simony, is invalid by virtue of
the law itself.
Can. 189 §1 For a resignation
to be valid, whether it requires acceptance or not, it must be
made to the authority which is competent to provide for the
office in question, and it must be made either in writing, or
orally before two witnesses.
§2 The authority is not to
accept a resignation which is not based on a just and
§3 A resignation which
requires acceptance has no force unless it is accepted within
three months. One which does not require acceptance takes effect
when the person resigning communicates it in accordance with the
§4 Until a resignation takes
effect, it can be revoked by the person resigning. Once it has
taken effect, it cannot be revoked, but the person who resigned
can obtain the office on the basis of another title.
ARTICLE 2: TRANSFER
Can. 190 §1 A transfer can be
made only by the person who has the right to provide both for the
office which is lost and at the same time for the office which is
§2 A grave reason is required
if a transfer is made against the will of the holder of an office
and, always without prejudice to the right to present reasons
against the transfer, the procedure prescribed by law is to be
§3 For a transfer to have
effect, it must be notified in writing.
Can. 191 §1 In the process of
transfer, the first office is vacated by the taking of canonical
possession of the other office, unless the law or the competent
authority has prescribed otherwise.
§2 The person transferred
receives the remuneration attached to the previous office until
the moment of obtaining canonical possession of the other office.
ARTICLE 3: REMOVAL
Can. 192 One is removed from
office either by a decree of the competent authority lawfully
issued, observing of course the rights possibly acquired from a
contract, or by virtue of the law in accordance with can. 194.
Can. 193 §1 No one may be
removed from an office which is conferred on a person for an
indeterminate time, except for grave reasons and in accordance
with the procedure defined by law.
§2 This also applies to the
removal from office before time of a person on whom an office is
conferred for a determinate time, without prejudice to can. 624
§3 When in accordance with the
provisions of law an office is conferred upon someone at the
prudent discretion of the competent authority, that person may,
upon the judgement of the same authority, be removed from the
office for a just reason.
§4 For a decree of removal to
be effective, it must be notified in writing.
Can. 194 §1 The following are
removed from ecclesiastical office by virtue of the law itself:
1° one who has lost the
2° one who has publicly
defected from the catholic faith or from communion with the
3° a cleric who has attempted
marriage, even a civil one.
§2 The removal mentioned in
nn. 2 and 3 can be insisted upon only if it is established by a
declaration of the competent authority.
Can. 195 If by a decree of the
competent authority, and not by the law itself, someone is
removed from an office on which that person's livelihood depends,
the same authority is to ensure that the person's livelihood is
secure for an appropriate time, unless this has been provided for
in some other way.
ARTICLE 4: DEPRIVATION
Can. 196 §1 Deprivation of
office, that is, as a punishment for an offence, may be effected
only in accordance with the law.
§2 Deprivation takes effect in
accordance with the provisions of the canons concerning penal
TITLE X: PRESCRIPTION
Can. 197 Prescription, as a
means of acquiring or of losing a subjective right, or as a means
of freeing oneself from obligations, is, apart from the
exceptions prescribed in the canons of this Code, accepted by the
Church in the manner in which it is adopted in the civil
legislation of each country.
Can. 198 No prescription is
valid unless it is based on good faith, not only in its
beginning, but throughout the whole time required for the
prescription, without prejudice to can. 1362.
Can. 199 The following are not
affected by prescription:
1° rights and obligations
which are of divine law, whether natural or positive;
2° rights which can be
obtained only by apostolic privilege;
3° rights and obligations
which bear directly on the spiritual life of Christ's faithful;
4° the certain and undisputed
boundaries of ecclesiastical territories;
5° Mass offerings and
6° the provision of an
ecclesiastical office which, in accordance with the law, requires
the exercise of a sacred order;
7° the right of visitation and
the obligation of obedience, so that Christ's faithful could not
be visited by an ecclesiastical authority and would no longer be
subject to any authority.
TITLE XI: THE RECKONING OF TIME
Can. 200 Unless the law
provides otherwise, time is to be reckoned in accordance with the
Can. 201 §1 Continuous time
means unbroken time.
§2 Canonical time is time
which a person can so use to exercise or to pursue a right that
it does not run when one is unaware, or when one is unable to
Can. 202 §1 In law, a day is
understood to be a space of twenty-four hours, to be reckoned
continuously and, unless expressly provided otherwise, it begins
at midnight; a week is a space of seven days - a month is a space
of thirty days, and a year a space of three hundred and
sixty-five days, unless it is stated that the month and the year
are to be taken as in the calendar.
§2 If time is continuous, the
month and the year are always to be taken as in the calendar.
Can. 203 §1 The first day is
not to be counted in the total, unless its beginning coincides
with the beginning of the day, or unless the law expressly
§2 Unless the contrary is
prescribed, the final day is to be reckoned within the total; if
the total time is one or more months, one or more years, one or
more weeks, it finishes on completion of the last day bearing the
same number or, if the month does not have the same number, on
the completion of the last day of that month.
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