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Can. 204 §1 Christ’s faithful are those who, since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ. They are called, each according to his or her particular condition, to exercise the mission which God entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world.

§2 This Church, established and ordered in this world as a society, subsists in the catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him.

Can. 205 Those baptized are in full communion with the catholic Church here on earth who are joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance.

Can. 206 §1 Catechumens are linked with the Church in a special way since, moved by the Holy Spirit, they are expressing an explicit desire to be incorporated in the Church. By this very desire, as well as by the life of faith, hope and charity which they lead, they are joined to the Church which already cherishes them as its own.

§2 The Church has a special care for catechumens. While it invites them to lead an evangelical life, and introduces them to the celebration of the sacred rites, it already accords them various prerogatives which are proper to Christians.

Can. 207 §1 By divine institution, among Christ’s faithful there are in the Church sacred ministers, who in law are also called clerics­ the others are called lay people.

§2 Drawn from both groups are those of Christ’s faithful who, professing the evangelical counsels through vows or other sacred bonds recognized and approved by the Church, are consecrated to God in their own special way and promote the salvific mission of the Church. Their state, although it does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church, does pertain to its life and holiness.


Can. 208 Flowing from their rebirth in Christ, there is a genuine equality of dignity and action among all of Christ’s faithful. Because of this equality they all contribute, each according to his or her own condition and office, to the building up of the Body of Christ.

Can. 209 §1 Christ’s faithful are bound to preserve their communion with the Church at all times, even in their external actions.

§2 They are to carry out with great diligence their responsibilities towards both the universal Church and the particular Church to which by law they belong.

Can. 210 All Christ’s faithful, each according to his or her own condition, must make a wholehearted effort to lead a holy life, and to promote the growth of the Church and its continual sanctification.

Can. 211 All Christ’s faithful have the obligation and the right to strive so that the divine message of salvation may more and more reach all people of all times and all places.

Can. 212 §1 Christ’s faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show Christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church.

§2 Christ’s faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.

§3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.

Can. 213 Christ’s faithful have the right to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the sacraments.

Can. 214 Christ’s faithful have the right to worship God according to the provisions of their own rite approved by the lawful Pastors of the Church; they also have the right to follow their own form of spiritual life, provided it is in accord with Church teaching.

Can. 215 Christ’s faithful may freely establish and direct associations which serve charitable or pious purposes or which foster the Christian vocation in the world, and they may hold meetings to pursue these purposes by common effort.

Can. 216 Since they share the Church’s mission, all Christ’s faithful have the right to promote and support apostolic action, by their own initiative, undertaken according to their state and condition. No initiative, however, can lay claim to the title ‘catholic’ without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 217 Since Christ’s faithful are called by baptism to lead a life in harmony with the gospel teaching, they have the right to a Christian education, which genuinely teaches them to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation.

Can. 218 Those who are engaged in fields of sacred study have a just freedom to research matters in which they are expert and to express themselves prudently concerning them, with due allegiance to the Magisterium of the Church.

Can. 219 All Christ’s faithful have the right to immunity from any kind of coercion in choosing a state in life.

Can. 220 No one may unlawfully harm the good reputation which a person enjoys, or violate the right of every person to protect his or her privacy.

Can. 221 §1 Christ’s faithful may lawfully vindicate and defend the rights they enjoy in the Church, before the competent ecclesiastical forum in accordance with the law.

§2 If any members of Christ’s faithful are summoned to trial by the competent authority, they have the right to be judged according to the provisions of the law, to be applied with equity.

§3 Christ’s faithful have the right that no canonical penalties be inflicted upon them except in accordance with the law.

Can. 222 §1 Christ’s faithful have the obligation to provide for the needs of the Church, so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship, for apostolic and charitable work and for the worthy support of its ministers.

§2 They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the Lord’s precept, to help the poor from their own resources.

Can. 223 §1 In exercising their rights, Christ’s faithful, both individually and in associations, must take account of the common good of the Church, as well as the rights of others and their own duties to others.

§2 Ecclesiastical authority is entitled to regulate, in view of the common good, the exercise of rights which are proper to Christ’s faithful.


Can. 224 Lay members of Christ’s faithful have the duties and rights enumerated in the canons of this title, in addition to those duties and rights which are common to all Christ’s faithful and those stated in other canons.

Can. 225 §1 Since lay people, like all Christ’s faithful, are deputed to the apostolate by baptism and confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and they have the right, whether as individuals or in associations, to strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the world. This obligation is all the more insistent in circumstances in which only through them are people able to hear the Gospel and to know Christ.

§2 They have also, according to the condition of each, the special obligation to permeate and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, particularly in conducting secular business and exercising secular functions, they are to give witness to Christ.

Can. 226 §1 Those who are married are bound by the special obligation, in accordance with their own vocation, to strive for the building up of the people of God through their marriage and family.

§2 Because they gave life to their children, parents have the most serious obligation and the right to educate them. It is therefore primarily the responsibility of Christian parents to ensure the Christian education of their children in accordance with the teaching of the Church.

Can. 227 To lay members of Christ’s faithful belongs the right to have acknowledged as theirs that freedom in secular affairs which is common to all citizens. In using this freedom, however, they are to ensure that their actions are permeated with the spirit of the Gospel, and they are to heed the teaching of the Church proposed by the Magisterium, but they must be on guard, in questions of opinion, against proposing their own view as the teaching of the Church.

Can. 228 §1 Lay people who are found to be suitable are capable of being admitted by the sacred Pastors to those ecclesiastical offices and functions which, in accordance with the provisions of law, they can discharge.

§2 Lay people who are outstanding in the requisite knowledge, prudence and integrity, are capable of being experts or advisors, even in councils in accordance with the law, in order to provide assistance to the Pastors of the Church.

Can. 229 §1 Lay people have the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of Christian teaching which is appropriate to each one’s capacity and condition, so that they may be able to live according to this teaching, to proclaim it and if necessary to defend it, and may be capable of playing their part in the exercise of the apostolate.

§2 They also have the right to acquire that fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences which is taught in ecclesiastical universities or faculties or in institutes of religious sciences, attending lectures there and acquiring academic degrees.

§3 Likewise, assuming that the provisions concerning the requisite suitability have been observed, they are capable of receiving from the lawful ecclesiastical authority a mandate to teach the sacred sciences.

Can. 230 §1 Lay men whose age and talents meet the requirements prescribed by decree of the Episcopal Conference, can be given the stable ministry of lector and of acolyte, through the prescribed liturgical rite. This conferral of ministry does not, however, give them a right to sustenance or remuneration from the Church.

§2 Lay people can receive a temporary assignment to the role of lector in liturgical actions. Likewise, all lay people can exercise the roles of commentator, cantor or other such, in accordance with the law.

§3 Where the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law.

Can. 231 §1 Lay people who are pledged to the special service of the Church, whether permanently or for a time, have a duty to acquire the appropriate formation which their role demands, so that they may conscientiously, earnestly and diligently fulfill this role.

§2 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 230 §1, they have the right to a worthy remuneration befitting their condition, whereby, with due regard also to the provisions of the civil law, they can becomingly provide for their own needs and the needs of their families. Likewise, they have the right to have their insurance, social security and medical benefits duly safeguarded.



Can. 232 It is the duty and the proper and exclusive right of the Church to train those who are deputed to sacred ministries.

Can. 233 §1 It is the duty of the whole Christian community to foster vocations so that the needs of the sacred ministry are sufficiently met in the entire Church. In particular, this duty binds Christian families, educators and, in a special way, priests, especially parish priests. Diocesan Bishops, who must show the greatest concern to promote vocations, are to instruct the people entrusted to them on the importance of the sacred ministry and the need for ministers in the Church. They are to encourage and support initiatives to promote vocations, especially movements established for this purpose.

§2 Moreover, priests and especially diocesan Bishops are to be solicitous that men of more mature years who believe they are called to the sacred ministries are prudently assisted by word and deed and are duly prepared.

Can. 234 §1 Minor seminaries and other institutions of a similar nature promote vocations by providing a special religious formation, allied to human and scientific education­ where they exist, they are to be retained and fostered. Indeed, where the diocesan Bishop considers it expedient, he is to provide for the establishment of a minor seminary or similar institution.

§2 Unless the circumstances of certain situations suggest otherwise, young men who aspire to the priesthood are to receive that same human and scientific formation which prepares their peers in their region for higher studies.

Can. 235 §1 Young men who intend to become priests are to receive the appropriate religious formation and instruction in the duties proper to the priesthood in a major seminary, for the whole of the time of formation or, if in the judgment of the diocesan Bishop circumstances require it, for at least four years.

§2 Those who lawfully reside outside the seminary are to be entrusted by the diocesan Bishop to a devout and suitable priest, who will ensure that they are carefully formed in the spiritual life and in discipline.

Can. 236 Those who aspire to the permanent diaconate are to be formed in the spiritual life and appropriately instructed in the fulfillment of the duties proper to that order, in accordance with the provisions made by the Episcopal Conference:

1° young men are to reside for at least three years in a special house unless the diocesan Bishop for grave reasons decides otherwise,

2° men of more mature years, whether celibate or married, are to prepare for three years in a manner determined by the same Episcopal Conference.

Can. 237 §1 Where it is possible and advisable, each diocese is to have a major seminary; otherwise, students preparing for the sacred ministries are to be sent to the seminary of another diocese, or an inter­diocesan seminary is to be established.

§2 An inter­diocesan seminary may not be established unless the prior approval of the Apostolic See has been obtained, both for the establishment of the seminary and for its statutes. Approval is also required from the Episcopal Conference if the seminary is for the whole of its territory; otherwise, from the Bishops concerned.

Can. 238 §1 Seminaries which are lawfully established have juridical personality in the Church by virtue of the law itself.

§2 In the conduct of all its affairs, the rector acts in the person of the seminary, unless for certain matters the competent authority has prescribed otherwise.

Can. 239 §1 In all seminaries there is to be a rector who presides over it, a vice­rector, if circumstances warrant this, and a financial administrator. Moreover, if the students follow their studies in the seminary, there are to be professors who teach the various subjects in a manner suitably coordinated between them.

§2 In every seminary there is to be at least one spiritual director, though the students are also free to approach other priests who have been deputed to this work by the Bishop.

§3 The seminary statutes are to determine the manner in which the other moderators, the professors and indeed the students themselves, are to participate in the rector’s responsibility, especially in regard to the maintenance of discipline.

Can. 240 §1 Besides ordinary confessors, other confessors are to come regularly to the seminary; while maintaining seminary discipline, the students are always to be free to approach any confessor, whether inside or outside the seminary.

§2 In deciding about the admission of students to orders, or their dismissal from the seminary, the vote of the spiritual director and the confessors may never be sought.

Can. 241 §1 The diocesan Bishop is to admit to the major seminary only those whose human, moral, spiritual and intellectual gifts, as well as physical and psychological health and right intention, show that they are capable of dedicating themselves permanently to the sacred ministries.

§2 Before they are accepted, they must submit documentation of their baptism and confirmation, and whatever else is required by the provisions of the Charter of Priestly Formation.

§3 If there is question of admitting those who have been dismissed from another seminary or religious institute, there is also required the testimony of the respective superior, especially concerning the reason for their dismissal or departure.

Can. 242 §1 In each country there is to be a Charter of Priestly Formation. It is to be drawn up by the Episcopal Conference, taking account of the norms issued by the supreme ecclesiastical authority, and it is to be approved by the Holy See; moreover, it is to be adapted to new circumstances, likewise with the approval of the Holy See. This Charter is to define the overall principles governing formation in the seminary and the general norms which take account of the pastoral needs of each region or province.

§2 The norms of the Charter mentioned in §1 are to be observed in all seminaries, whether diocesan or inter­diocesan.

Can. 243 In addition, each seminary is to have its own rule, approved by the diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter­diocesan seminary, by the Bishops concerned. In this, the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation are to be adapted to the particular circumstances and developed in greater detail, especially on points of discipline affecting the daily life of the students and the good order of the entire seminary.

Can. 244 The spiritual formation and the doctrinal instruction of the students in a seminary are to be harmoniously blended. They are to be so planned that the students, each according to his talents, simultaneously develop the requisite human maturity and acquire the spirit of the Gospel and a close relationship with Christ.

Can. 245 §1 Through their spiritual formation students are to be fitted for the fruitful exercise of the pastoral ministry, and are to be inculcated with a sense of mission. They are to learn that a ministry which is always exercised with lively faith and charity contributes effectively to their personal sanctification. They are to learn to cultivate those virtues which are highly valued in human relationships, in such a way that they can arrive at an appropriate harmony between human and supernatural values.

§2 Students are to be so trained that, filled with love for Christ’s Church, they are linked to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, in humble and filial charity, to their own Bishop as his faithful co­workers and to their brethren in friendly cooperation. Through the common life in the seminary, and by developing relationships of friendship and of association with others, they are to be prepared for the fraternal unity of the diocesan presbyterium, in whose service of the Church they will share.

Can. 246 §1 The celebration of the Eucharist is to be the center of the whole life of the seminary, so that the students, participating in the very charity of Christ, may daily draw strength of soul for their apostolic labor and for their spiritual life particularly from this richest of sources.

§2 They are to be formed in the celebration of the liturgy of the hours, by which the ministers of God, in the name of the Church, intercede with Him for all the people entrusted to them, and indeed for the whole world.

§3 Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, including the rosary, mental prayer and other exercises of piety are to be fostered, so that the students may acquire the spirit of prayer and be strengthened in their vocation.

§4 The students are to become accustomed to approach the sacrament of penance frequently. It is recommended that each should have a director of his spiritual life, freely chosen, to whom he can trustfully reveal his conscience.

§5 Each year the students are to make a spiritual retreat.

Can. 247 §1 By appropriate instruction they are to be prepared to observe celibacy and to learn to hold it in honor as a special gift of God.

§2 The students are to be given all the requisite knowledge concerning the duties and burdens which are proper to the sacred ministers of the Church, concealing none of the difficulties of the priestly life.

Can. 248 The doctrinal formation given is to be so directed that the students may acquire a wide and solid teaching in the sacred sciences, together with a general culture which is appropriate to the needs of place and time. As a result, with their own faith founded on and nourished by this teaching, they ought to be able properly to proclaim the Gospel to the people of their own time, in a fashion suited to the manner of the people’s thinking.

Can. 249 The Charter of Priestly Formation is to provide that the students are not only taught their native language accurately, but are also well versed in Latin, and have a suitable knowledge of other languages which would appear to be necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of their pastoral ministry.

Can. 250 The philosophical and theological studies which are organized in the seminary itself may be conducted either in succession or conjointly, in accordance with the Charter of Priestly Formation. These studies are to take at least six full years, in such a way that the time given to philosophical studies amounts to two full years and that allotted to theological studies to four full years.

Can. 251 Philosophical formation must be based on the philosophical heritage that is perennially valid, and it is also to take account of philosophical investigations over the course of time. It is to be so given that it furthers the human formation of the students, sharpens their mental edge and makes them more fitted to engage in theological studies.

Can. 252 §1 Theological formation, given in the light of faith and under the guidance of the Magisterium, is to be imparted in such a way that the students learn the whole of catholic teaching, based on divine Revelation, that they make it a nourishment of their own spiritual lives, and that in the exercise of the ministry they may be able properly to proclaim and defend it.

§2 Students are to be instructed with special care in sacred Scripture, so that they may acquire an insight into the whole of sacred Scripture.

§3 Lectures are to be given in dogmatic theology, based always on the written word of God and on sacred Tradition; through them the students are to learn to penetrate more deeply into the mysteries of salvation, with St. Thomas in particular as their teacher. Lectures are also to be given in moral and pastoral theology, canon law, liturgy, ecclesiastical history, and other auxiliary and special disciplines, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter on Priestly Formation.

Can. 253 §1 The Bishop or the Bishops concerned are to appoint as teachers in philosophical, theological and juridical subjects only those who are of outstanding virtue and have a doctorate or a licentiate from a university or faculty recognized by the Holy See.

§2 Care is to be taken that different professors are appointed for sacred Scripture, dogmatic theology, moral theology, liturgy, philosophy, canon law and church history, and for other disciplines which are to be taught by their own distinctive methods.

§3 A professor who seriously fails in his or her duty is to be removed by the authority mentioned in §1.

Can. 254 §1 In their lectures, the professors are to be continuously attentive to the intimate unity and harmony of the entire doctrine of faith, so that the students are aware that they are learning one science. To ensure this, there is to be someone in the seminary who is in charge of the overall organization of studies.

§2 The students are to be taught in such a way that they themselves are enabled to research various questions in the scientific way appropriate to each question. There are, therefore, to be assignments in which, under the guidance of the professors, the students learn to work out certain subjects by their own efforts.

Can. 255 Although the whole formation of students in the seminary has a pastoral purpose, a specifically pastoral formation is also to be provided there; in this the students are to learn the principles and the techniques which, according to the needs of place and time, are relevant to the ministry of teaching, sanctifying and ruling the people of God.

Can. 256 §1 Students are to be carefully instructed in whatever especially pertains to the sacred ministry, particularly in catechetics and homiletics, in divine worship and in a special way in the celebration of the sacraments, in dealing with people, including non-Catholics and unbelievers, in parish administration and in the fulfillment of other tasks.

§2 The students are to be instructed about the needs of the universal Church, so that they may have a solicitude for encouraging vocations, for missionary and ecumenical questions, and for other pressing matters, including social problems.

Can. 257 §1 The formation of students is to ensure that they are concerned not only for the particular Church in which they are incardinated, but also for the universal Church, and that they are ready to devote themselves to particular Churches which are beset by grave need.

§2 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that clerics who intend to move from their own particular Church to a particular Church in another region, are suitably prepared to exercise the sacred ministry there, that is, that they learn the language of the region, and have an understanding of its institutions, social conditions, usages and customs.

Can. 258 In order that the students may also by practice learn the art of exercising the apostolate, they are in the course of their studies, and especially during holiday time, to be initiated into pastoral practice by suitable assignments, always under the supervision of an experienced priest. These assignments, appropriate to the age of the student and the conditions of the place, are to be determined by the Ordinary.

Can. 259 §1 It belongs to the diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter­diocesan seminary, to the Bishops concerned to determine those matters which concern the overall control and administration of the seminary.

§2 The diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter­diocesan seminary, the Bishops concerned, are frequently to visit the seminary in person. They are to oversee the formation of their students, and the philosophical and theological instruction given in the seminary. They are to inform themselves about the vocation, character, piety and progress of the students, in view particularly to the conferring of sacred orders.

Can. 260 In the fulfillment of their duties, all must obey the rector, who is responsible for the day to day direction of the seminary, in accordance with the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation and the rule of the seminary.

Can. 261 §1 The rector of the seminary is to ensure that the students faithfully observe the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation and the rule of the seminary; under his authority, and according to their different positions, the moderators and professors have the same responsibility.

Can. 262 The seminary is to be exempt from parochial governance. For all those in the seminary, the function of the parish priest is to be discharged by the rector of the seminary or his delegate, with the exception of matters concerning marriage and without prejudice to the provisions of can. 985.

Can. 263 The diocesan Bishop must ensure that the building and maintenance of the seminary, the support of the students, the remuneration of the teachers and the other needs of the seminary are provided for. In an inter­diocesan seminary this responsibility devolves upon the Bishops concerned, each to the extent allotted by their common agreement.

Can. 264 §1 To provide for the needs of the seminary, the Bishop can, apart from the collection mentioned in can. 1266, impose a levy in the diocese.

§2 Every ecclesiastical juridical person is subject to the levy for the seminary, including even private juridical persons, which have a center in the diocese. Exception is made for those whose sole support comes from alms, or in which there is actually present a college of students or of teachers for furthering the common good of the Church. This levy should be general, proportionate to the revenue of those who are subject to it and calculated according to the needs of the seminary.


Can. 265 Every cleric must be incardinated in a particular church, or in a personal Prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or a society which has this faculty: accordingly, acephalous or ‘wandering’ clergy are in no way to be allowed.

Can. 266 §1 By the reception of the diaconate a person becomes a cleric, and is incardinated in the particular Church or personal Prelature for whose service he is ordained.

§2 A member who is perpetually professed in a religious institute, or who is definitively incorporated into a clerical society of apostolic life, is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated as a cleric in that institute or society unless, in the case of a society, the constitutions determine otherwise.

§3 A member of a secular institute is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated into the particular Church for whose service he was ordained, unless by virtue of a concession of the Apostolic See he is incardinated into the institute itself.

Can. 267 §1 To be validly incardinated in another particular Church, a cleric who is already incardinated must obtain a letter of excardination signed by the diocesan Bishop, and in the same way a letter of incardination signed by the diocesan Bishop of the particular Church in which he wishes to be incardinated.

§2 Excardination granted in this way does not take effect until incardination is obtained in the other particular Church.

Can. 268 §1 A cleric who has lawfully moved from his own particular Church to another is, by virtue of the law itself, incardinated in that latter Church after five years, if he has declared this intention in writing to both the diocesan Bishop of the host diocese and his own diocesan Bishop, and neither of the two Bishops has indicated opposition in writing within four months of receiving the cleric’s written request.

§2 By perpetual or definitive admission into an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, a cleric who in accordance with can. 266 is incardinated in that institute or society, is excardinated from his own particular Church.

Can. 269 A diocesan Bishop is not to incardinate a cleric unless:

1° the need or the advantage of his particular Church requires it and the provisions of law concerning the worthy support of the cleric are observed;

2° he knows by a lawful document that excardination has been granted, and has also obtained from the excardinating Bishop, under secrecy if need be, appropriate testimonials concerning the cleric’s life, behavior and studies;

3° the cleric declares in writing to the same Bishop that he wishes to enter the service of the new particular Church in accordance with the norms of law.

Can. 270 Excardination can be lawfully granted only for a just reason, such as the advantage of the Church or the good of the cleric. It may not, however, be refused unless grave reasons exist; it is lawful for a cleric who considers himself to be unfairly treated and who has a Bishop to receive him, to have recourse against the decision.

Can. 271 §1 Except for a grave need of his own particular Church, a Bishop is not to refuse clerics seeking permission to move whom he knows to be prepared and considers suitable to exercise the ministry in regions which suffer from a grave shortage of clergy. He is to ensure, however, that the rights and duties of these clerics are determined by written agreement with the diocesan Bishop of the place to which they wish to move.

§2 A Bishop can give permission to his clerics to move to another particular Church for a specified time. Such permission can be renewed several times, but in such a way that the clerics remain incardinated in their own particular Church, and on returning there enjoy all the rights which they would have had if they had ministered there.

§3 A cleric who lawfully moves to another particular Church while remaining incardinated in his own, may for a just reason be recalled by his own Bishop, provided the agreements entered into with the other Bishop are honored and natural equity is observed. Under the same conditions, the Bishop of the other particular Church can for a just reason refuse the cleric permission to reside further in his territory.

Can. 272 The diocesan Administrator cannot grant excardination nor incardination, nor permission to move to another particular Church, unless the episcopal see has been vacant for a year, and he has the consent of the college of consultors.


Can. 273 Clerics have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to their own Ordinary.

Can. 274 §1 Only clerics can obtain offices the exercise of which requires the power of order or the power of ecclesiastical governance.

§2 Unless excused by a lawful impediment, clerics are obliged to accept and faithfully fulfill the office committed to them by their Ordinary.

Can. 275 §1 Since all clerics are working for the same purpose, namely the building up of the body of Christ, they are to be united with one another in the bond of brotherhood and prayer. They are to seek to cooperate with one another, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.

§2 Clerics are to acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercises in the Church and in the world.

Can. 276 §1 Clerics have a special obligation to seek holiness in their lives, because they are consecrated to God by a new title through the reception of orders, and are stewards of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.

§2 In order that they can pursue this perfection:

1° they are in the first place faithfully and untiringly to fulfill the obligations of their pastoral ministry;

2° they are to nourish their spiritual life at the twofold table of the sacred Scripture and the Eucharist; priests are therefore earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic Sacrifice daily, and deacons to participate daily in the offering;

3° priests, and deacons aspiring to the priesthood, are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily, in accordance with their own approved liturgical books; permanent deacons are to recite that part of it determined by the Episcopal Conference;

4° they are also obliged to make spiritual retreats, in accordance with the provision of particular law;

5° they are exhorted to engage regularly in mental prayer, to approach the sacrament of penance frequently, to honor the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and to use other general and special means to holiness.

Can. 277 §1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy. Celibacy is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can more easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and can dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and their neighbor.

§2 Clerics are to behave with due prudence in relation to persons whose company can be a danger to their obligation of preserving continence or can lead to scandal of the faithful.

§3 The diocesan Bishop has authority to establish more detailed rules concerning this matter, and to pass judgment on the observance of the obligation in particular cases.

Can. 278 §1 The secular clergy have the right of association with others for the achievement of purposes befitting the clerical state.

§2 The secular clergy are to hold in high esteem those associations especially whose statutes are recognized by the competent authority and which, by a suitable and well tried rule of life and by fraternal support, promote holiness in the exercise of their ministry and foster the unity of the clergy with one another and with their Bishop.

§3 Clerics are to refrain from establishing or joining associations whose purpose or activity cannot be reconciled with the obligations proper to the clerical state, or which can hinder the diligent fulfillment of the office entrusted to them by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 279 §1 Clerics are to continue their sacred studies even after ordination to the priesthood. They are to hold to that solid doctrine based on sacred Scripture which has been handed down by our forebears and which is generally received in the Church, as set out especially in the documents of the Councils and of the Roman Pontiffs. They are to avoid profane novelties and pseudo­science.

§2 Priests are to attend pastoral courses to be arranged for them after their ordination, in accordance with the provisions of particular law. At times determined by the same law, they are to attend other courses, theological meetings or conferences, which offer them an occasion to acquire further knowledge of the sacred sciences and of pastoral methods.

§3 They are also to seek a knowledge of other sciences, especially those linked to the sacred sciences, particularly insofar as they benefit the exercise of the pastoral ministry.

Can. 280 Some manner of common life is highly recommended to clerics; where it exists, it is as far as possible to be maintained.

Can. 281 §1 Since clerics dedicate themselves to the ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve the remuneration that befits their condition, taking into account both the nature of their office and the conditions of time and place. It is to be such that it provides for the necessities of their life and for the just remuneration of those whose services they need.

§2 Suitable provision is likewise to be made for such social welfare as they may need in infirmity, sickness or old age.

§3 Married deacons who dedicate themselves full­time to the ecclesiastical ministry deserve remuneration sufficient to provide for themselves and their families. Those, however, who receive a remuneration by reason of a secular profession which they exercise or exercised, are to see to their own and to their families’ needs from that income.

Can. 282 §1 Clerics are to follow a simple way of life and avoid anything which smacks of worldliness.

§2 Goods which they receive on the occasion of the exercise of an ecclesiastical office, and which are over and above what is necessary for their worthy upkeep and the fulfillment of all the duties of their state, they may well wish to use for the good of the Church and for charitable works.

Can. 283 §1 Clerics, even if they do not have a residential office, are not to be absent from their diocese for a considerable time, to be determined by particular law, without the at least presumed permission of their proper Ordinary.

§2 They may, however, take a rightful and sufficient holiday every year, for the length of time determined by general or by particular law.

Can. 284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and legitimate local custom.

Can. 285 §1 Clerics are to shun completely everything that is unbecoming to their state, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.

§2 Clerics are to avoid whatever is foreign to their state, even when it is not unseemly.

§3 Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.

§4 Without the permission of their Ordinary, they may not undertake the administration of goods belonging to lay people, or secular offices which involve the obligation to render an account. They are forbidden to act as surety, even concerning their own goods, without consulting their proper Ordinary. They are not to sign promissory notes which involve the payment of money but do not state the reasons for the payment.

Can. 286 Clerics are forbidden to practise commerce or trade, either personally or through another, for their own or another’s benefit, except with the permission of the lawful ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 287 §1 Clerics are always to do their utmost to foster among people peace and harmony based on justice.

§2 They are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgment of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defense of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.

Can. 288 Permanent deacons are not bound by the provisions of canon 284, 285 §§3 and 4, 286, 287 §2, unless particular law states otherwise.

Can. 289 §1 As military service ill befits the clerical state, clerics and candidates for sacred orders are not to volunteer for the armed services without the permission of their Ordinary.

§2 Clerics are to take advantage of exemptions from exercising functions and public civil offices foreign to the clerical state, which are granted in their favor by law, agreements or customs, unless their proper Ordinary has in particular cases decreed otherwise.


Can. 290 Sacred ordination once validly received never becomes invalid. A cleric, however, loses the clerical state:

1° by a judgment of a court or an administrative decree, declaring the ordination invalid;

2° by the penalty of dismissal lawfully imposed;

3° by a rescript of the Apostolic See; this rescript, however, is granted to deacons only for grave reasons and to priests only for the gravest of reasons.

Can. 291 Apart from the cases mentioned in can. 290, n. 1, the loss of the clerical state does not carry with it a dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, which is granted solely by the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 292 A cleric who loses the clerical state in accordance with the law, loses thereby the rights that are proper to the clerical state and is no longer bound by any obligations of the clerical state, without prejudice to can. 291. He is prohibited from exercising the power of order, without prejudice to can. 976. He is automatically deprived of all offices and roles and of any delegated power.

Can. 293 A cleric who has lost the clerical state cannot be enrolled as a cleric again save by rescript of the Apostolic See.


Can. 294 Personal prelatures may be established by the Apostolic See after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned. They are composed of deacons and priests of the secular clergy. Their purpose is to promote an appropriate distribution of priests, or to carry out special pastoral or missionary enterprises in different regions or for different social groups.

Can. 295 §1 A personal prelature is governed by statutes laid down by the Apostolic See. It is presided over by a Prelate as its proper Ordinary. He has the right to establish a national or an international seminary, and to incardinate students and promote them to orders with the title of service of the prelature.

§2 The Prelate must provide both for the spiritual formation of those who are ordained with this title, and for their becoming support.

Can. 296 Lay people can dedicate themselves to the apostolic work of a personal prelature by way of agreements made with the prelature. The manner of this organic cooperation and the principal obligations and rights associated with it, are to be duly defined in the statutes.

Can. 297 The statutes are likewise to define the relationships of the prelature with the local Ordinaries in whose particular Churches the prelature, with the prior consent of the diocesan Bishop, exercises or wishes to exercise its pastoral or missionary activity.



Can. 298 §1 In the Church there are associations which are distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life. In these associations, Christ’s faithful, whether clerics or laity, or clerics and laity together, strive with a common effort to foster a more perfect life, or to promote public worship or Christian teaching. They may also devote themselves to other works of the apostolate, such as initiatives for evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit.

§2 Christ’s faithful are to join especially those associations which have been established, praised or recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 299 §1 By private agreement among themselves, Christ’s faithful have the right to constitute associations for the purposes mentioned in can. 298 §1, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 301 §1.

§2 Associations of this kind, even though they may be praised or commended by ecclesiastical authority, are called private associations.

§3 No private association of Christ’s faithful is recognized in the Church unless its statutes have been reviewed by the competent authority.

Can. 300 No association may call itself ‘catholic’ except with the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with can. 312.

Can. 301 §1 It is for the competent ecclesiastical authority alone to establish associations of Christ’s faithful which intend to impart Christian teaching in the name of the Church, or to promote public worship, or which are directed to other ends whose pursuit is of its nature reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority.

§2 The competent ecclesiastical authority, if it judges it expedient, can also establish associations of Christ’s faithful to pursue, directly or indirectly, other spiritual ends whose attainment is not adequately provided for by private initiatives.

§3 Associations of Christ’s faithful which are established by the competent ecclesiastical authority are called public associations.

Can. 302 Associations of Christ’s faithful are called clerical when they are under the direction of clerics, presuppose the exercise of sacred orders, and are acknowledged as such by the competent authority.

Can. 303 Associations whose members live in the world but share in the spirit of some religious institute, under the overall direction of the same institute, and who lead an apostolic life and strive for Christian perfection, are known as third orders, or are called by some other suitable title.

Can. 304 §1 All associations of Christ’s faithful, whether public or private, by whatever title or name they are called, are to have their own statutes. These are to define the purpose or social objective of the association, its center, its governance and the conditions of membership. They are also to specify the manner of action of the association, paying due regard to what is necessary or useful in the circumstances of the time and place.

§2 Associations are to select for themselves a title or name which is in keeping with the practices of the time and place, especially one derived from the purpose they intend.

Can. 305 §1 All associations of Christ’s faithful are subject to the supervision of the competent ecclesiastical authority. This authority is to ensure that integrity of faith and morals is maintained in them and that abuses in ecclesiastical discipline do not creep in. The competent authority has therefore the duty and the right to visit these associations, in accordance with the law and the statutes. Associations are also subject to the governance of the same authority in accordance with the provisions of the canons which follow.

§2 Associations of every kind are subject to the supervision of the Holy See. Diocesan associations are subject to the supervision of the local Ordinary, as are other associations to the extent that they work in the diocese.

Can. 306 To enjoy the rights and privileges, indulgences and other spiritual favors granted to an association, it is necessary and sufficient that a person be validly received into the association in accordance with the provisions of the law and with the association’s own statutes, and be not lawfully dismissed from it.

Can. 307 §1 The admission of members is to take place in accordance with the law and with the statutes of each association.

§2 The same person can be enrolled in several associations.

§3 In accordance with their own law, members of religious institutes may, with the consent of their Superior, join associations.

Can. 308 No one who was lawfully admitted is to be dismissed from an association except for a just reason, in accordance with the law and the statutes.

Can. 309 Associations that are lawfully established have the right, in accordance with the law and the statutes, to make particular norms concerning the association, for the holding of meetings, and for the appointment of moderators, officials, ministers and administrators of goods.

Can. 310 A private association which has not been constituted a juridical person cannot, as such, be the subject of duties and rights. However the faithful who are joined together in it can jointly contract obligations. As joint owners and joint possessors they can acquire and possess rights and goods. They can exercise these rights and obligations through a delegate or a proxy.

Can. 311 Members of institutes of consecrated life who preside over or assist associations which are joined in some way to their institute, are to ensure that these associations help the apostolic works existing in the diocese. They are especially to cooperate, under the direction of the local Ordinary, with associations which are directed to the exercise of the apostolate in the diocese.


Can. 312 §1 The authority which is competent to establish public associations is:

1° the Holy See, for universal and international associations

2° the Episcopal Conference in its own territory, for national associations which by their very establishment are intended for work throughout the whole nation;

3° the diocesan Bishop, each in his own territory, but not the diocesan Administrator, for diocesan associations, with the exception, however, of associations the right to whose establishment is reserved to others by apostolic privilege.

§2 The written consent of the diocesan Bishop is required for the valid establishment of an association or branch of an association in the diocese even though it is done in virtue of an apostolic privilege. Permission, however, which is given by the diocesan Bishop for the foundation of a house of a religious institute, is valid also for the establishment in the same house, or in a church attached to it, of an association which is proper to that institute.

Can. 313 A public association or a confederation of public associations is constituted a juridical person by the very decree by which it is established by the authority competent in accordance with can. 312. Moreover, insofar as is required, it thereby receives its mission to pursue, in the name of the Church, those ends which it proposes for itself.

Can. 314 The statutes of any public association require the approval of the authority which, in accordance with can. 312 §1, is competent to establish the association; this approval is also required for a revision of, or a change in, the statutes.

Can. 315 Public associations can, on their own initiative, undertake projects which are appropriate to their character, and they are governed by the statutes, but under the overall direction of the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1.

Can. 316 §1 A person who has publicly rejected the catholic faith, or has defected from ecclesiastical communion, or upon whom an excommunication has been imposed or declared, cannot validly be received into public associations.

§2 Those who have been lawfully enrolled but who fall into one of the categories mentioned in §1, having been previously warned, are to be dismissed, in accordance with the statutes of the association, without prejudice to their right of recourse to the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1.

Can. 317 §1 Unless the statutes provide otherwise, it belongs to the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1 to confirm the moderator of a public association on election, or to appoint the moderator on presentation, or by his own right to appoint the moderator. The same authority appoints the chaplain or ecclesiastical assistant, after consulting the senior officials of the association, wherever this is expedient.

§2 The norm of §1 is also valid for associations which members of religious institutes, by apostolic privilege, establish outside their own churches or houses. In associations which members of religious institutes establish in their own church or house, the appointment or confirmation of the moderator and chaplain belongs to the Superior of the institute, in accordance with the statutes.

§3 The laity can be moderators of associations which are not clerical. The chaplain or ecclesiastical assistant is not to be the moderator, unless the statutes provide otherwise.

§4 Those who hold an office of direction in political parties are not to be moderators in public associations of the faithful which are directly ordered to the exercise of the apostolate.

Can. 318 §1 In special circumstances, when serious reasons so require the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1 can appoint a commissioner to direct the association in his name for the time being.

§2 The moderator of a public association may be removed for a just reason, by the person who made the appointment or the confirmation, but the Moderator himself and the senior officials of the association must be consulted, in accordance with the statutes. The chaplain can, however, be removed by the person who appointed him, in accordance with canon 192­­195.

Can. 319 §1 Unless otherwise provided, a lawfully established public association administers the goods it possesses, in accordance with the statutes, and under the overall direction of the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1. It must give a yearly account to this authority.

§2 The association must also faithfully account to the same authority for the disbursement of contributions and alms which it has collected.

Can. 320 §1 Associations established by the Holy See can be suppressed only by the Holy See.

§2 For grave reasons, associations established by the Episcopal Conference can be suppressed by it. The diocesan Bishop can suppress those he has established, and also those which members of religious institutes have established by apostolic indult with the consent of the diocesan Bishop.

§3 A public association is not to be suppressed by the competent authority unless the moderator and other senior officials have been consulted.


Can. 321 Christ’s faithful direct and moderate private associations according to the provisions of the statutes.

Can. 322 §1 A private association of Christ’s faithful can acquire juridical personality by a formal decree of the competent ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312.

§2 No private association of Christ’s faithful can acquire juridical personality unless its statutes are approved by the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1. The approval of the statutes does not, however, change the private nature of the association.

Can. 323 §1 Although private associations of Christ’s faithful enjoy their own autonomy in accordance with can. 321, they are subject to the supervision of ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with can. 305, and also to the governance of the same authority.

§2 It is also the responsibility of ecclesiastical authority, with due respect for the autonomy of private associations, to oversee and ensure that there is no dissipation of their forces, and that the exercise of their apostolate is directed to the common good.

Can. 324 §1 A private association of Christ’s faithful can freely designate for itself a moderator and officers, in accordance with the statutes.

§2 If a private association of Christ’s faithful wishes to have a spiritual counselor, it can freely choose one for itself from among the priests who lawfully exercise a ministry in the diocese, but the priest requires the confirmation of the local Ordinary.

Can. 325 §1 A private association of Christ’s faithful is free to administer any goods it possesses, according to the provisions of the statutes, but the competent ecclesiastical authority has the right to ensure that the goods are applied to the purposes of the association.

§2 In accordance with can. 1301, the association is subject to the authority of the local Ordinary in whatever concerns the administration and distribution of goods which are donated or left to it for pious purposes.

Can. 326 §1 A private association of Christ’s faithful is extinguished in accordance with the norms of the statutes. It can also be suppressed by the competent authority if its activity gives rise to grave harm to ecclesiastical teaching or discipline, or is a scandal to the faithful.

§2 The fate of the goods of a private association which ceases to exist is to be determined in accordance with the statutes, without prejudice to acquired rights and to the wishes of donors.


Can. 327 Lay members of Christ’s faithful are to hold in high esteem associations established for the spiritual purposes mentioned in can. 298. They should especially esteem those associations whose aim is to animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit, and thus greatly foster an intimate union between faith and life.

Can. 328 Those who head lay associations, even those established by apostolic privilege, are to ensure that their associations cooperate with other associations of Christ’s faithful, where this is expedient. They are to give their help freely to various Christian works, especially those in the same territory.

Can. 329 Moderators of lay associations are to ensure that the members receive due formation, so that they may carry out the apostolate which is proper to the laity.

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