Canon Law: PART V : THE MANNER OF PROCEDURE
PART V : THE MANNER OF PROCEDURE IN ADMINISTRATIVE RECOURSE AND IN THE REMOVAL OR TRANSFER OF PARISH PRIESTS
SECTION I : RECOURSE AGAINST ADMINISTRATIVE DECREES
Can. 1732 Whatever is laid down in the canons of this section concerning decrees, is also to be applied to all singular administrative acts given in the external forum outside a judicial trial, except for those given by the Roman Pontiff himself or by an Ecumenical Council.
Can. 1733 §1 When a person believes that he or she has been injured by a decree, it is greatly to be desired that contention between that person and the author of the decree be avoided, and that care be taken to reach an equitable solution by mutual consultation, possibly using the assistance of serious-minded persons to mediate and study the matter. In this way, the controversy may by some suitable method be avoided or brought to an end.
§2 The Episcopal Conference can prescribe that in each diocese there be established a permanent office or council which would have the duty, in accordance with the norms laid down by the Conference, of seeking and suggesting equitable solutions. Even if the Conference has not demanded this, the Bishop may establish such an office or council.
§3 The office or council mentioned in §2 is to be diligent in its work principally when the revocation of a decree is sought in accordance with Can. 1734 and the time limit for recourse has not elapsed. If recourse is proposed against a decree, the Superior who would have to decide the recourse is to encourage both the person having recourse and the author of the decree to seek this type of solution, whenever the prospect of a satisfactory outcome is discerned.
Can. 1734 §1 Before having recourse, the person must seek in writing from its author the revocation or amendment of the decree. Once this petition has been lodged, it is by that very fact understood that the suspension of the execution of the decree is also being sought.
§2 The petition must be made within the peremptory time limit of ten canonical days from the time the decree was lawfully notified.
§3 The norms in §§1 and 2 do not apply:
1° in having recourse to the Bishop against decrees given by authorities who are subject to him;
2° in having recourse against the decree by which a hierarchical recourse is decided, unless the decision was given by the Bishop himself ;
3° in having recourse in accordance with canon. 57 and 1735.
Can. 1735 If, within thirty days from the time the petition mentioned in Can. 1734 reaches the author of the decree, the latter communicates a new decree by which either the earlier decree is amended or it is determined that the petition is to be rejected, the period within which to have recourse begins from the notification of the new decree. If, however, the author of the decree makes no decision within thirty days, the time limit begins to run from the thirtieth day.
Can. 1736 §1 In those matters in which hierarchical recourse suspends the execution of a decree, even the petition mentioned in Can. 1734 has the same effect.
§2 In other cases, unless within ten days of receiving the petition mentioned in Can. 1734 the author of the decree has decreed its suspension, an interim suspension can be sought from the author's hierarchical Superior. This Superior can decree the suspension only for serious reasons and must always take care that the salvation of souls suffers no harm.
§3 If the execution of the decree is suspended in accordance with §2 and recourse is subsequently proposed, the person who must decide the recourse is to determine, in accordance with Can. 1737 §3, whether the suspension is to be confirmed or revoked.
§4 If no recourse is proposed against the decree within the time limit established, an interim suspension of execution in accordance with §§1 and 2 automatically lapses.
Can. 1737 §1 A person who contends that he or she has been injured by a decree, can for any just motive have recourse to the hierarchical Superior of the one who issued the decree. The recourse can be proposed before the author of the decree, who must immediately forward it to the competent hierarchical Superior.
§2 The recourse is to be proposed within the peremptory time limit of fifteen canonical days. In the cases mentioned in Can. 1734 §3, the time limit begins to run from the day the decree was notified; in other cases, it runs in accordance with Can. 1735.
§3 Even in those cases in which recourse does not by law suspend the execution of the decree, or in which the suspension is decreed in accordance with Can. 1736 §2, the Superior can for a serious reason order that the execution be suspended, but is to take care that the salvation of souls suffers no harm.
Can. 1738 The person having recourse always has the right to the services of an advocate or procurator, but is to avoid futile delays. Indeed, an advocate is to be appointed ex officio if the person does not have one and the Superior considers it necessary. The Superior, however, can always order that the one having recourse appear in person to answer questions.
Can. 1739 In so far as the case demands, it is lawful for the Superior who must decide the recourse, not only to confirm the decree or declare that it is invalid, but also to rescind or revoke it or, if it seems to the Superior to be more expedient, to amend it, to substitute for it, or to abrogate it.
SECTION II: THE PROCEDURE FOR THE REMOVAL OR TRANSFER OF PARISH PRIESTS
CHAPTER I : THE PROCEDURE FOR THE REMOVAL OF PARISH PRIESTS
Can. 1740 When the ministry of any parish priest has for some reason become harmful or at least ineffective, even though this occurs without any serious fault on his part, he can be removed from the parish by the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 1741 The reasons for which a parish priest can lawfully be removed from his parish are principally:
1° a manner of acting which causes grave harm or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion;
2° ineptitude or permanent illness of mind or body, which makes the parish priest unequal to the task of fulfilling his duties satisfactorily;
3° the loss of the parish priest's good name among upright and serious-minded parishioners, or aversion to him, when it can be foreseen that these factors will not quickly come to an end
4° grave neglect or violation of parochial duties, which persists after a warning;
5° bad administration of temporal goods with grave harm to the Church, when no other remedy can be found to eliminate this harm.
Can. 1742 §1 If an investigation shows that there exists a reason mentioned in Can. 1740, the Bishop is to discuss the matter with two parish priests from a group stably chosen for this purpose by the council of priests, at the proposal of the Bishop. If he then believes that he should proceed with the removal, the Bishop must, for validity, indicate to the parish priest the reason and the arguments, and persuade him in a fatherly manner to resign his parish within fifteen days.
§2 For parish priests who are members of a religious institute or a society of apostolic life, the provision of Can. 682 §2 is to be observed.
Can. 1743 The resignation of the parish priest can be given not only purely and simply, but even upon a condition, provided the condition is one which the Bishop can lawfully accept and does in fact accept.
Can. 1744 §1 If the parish priest has not replied within the days prescribed, the Bishop is to renew his invitation and extend the canonical time within which a reply is to be made.
§2 If it is clear to the Bishop that the parish priest has received this second invitation but has not replied, even though not prevented from doing so by any impediment, or if the parish priest refuses to resign and gives no reasons for this, the Bishop is to issue a decree of removal.
Can. 1745 If, however, the parish priest opposes the case put forward and the reasons given in it, but advances arguments which seem to the Bishop to be insufficient, to act validly the Bishop must:
1° invite him to inspect the acts of the case and put together his objections in a written answer, indeed to produce contrary evidence if he has any;
2° after this, complete the instruction of the case, if this is necessary, and weigh the matter with the same parish priests mentioned in Can. 1742 §1, unless, because of some impossibility on their part, others are to be designated;
3° finally, decide whether or not the parish priest is to be removed, and without delay issue the appropriate decree.
Can. 1746 When the parish priest has been removed, the Bishop is to ensure that he is either assigned to another office, if he is suitable for one, or is given a pension in so far as the case requires this and the circumstances permit.
Can. 1747 §1 A parish priest who has been removed must abstain from exercising the function of a parish priest, leave the parochial house free as soon as possible, and hand over everything pertaining to the parish to the person to whom the Bishop has entrusted it.
§2 If, however, it is a question of a sick man who cannot be transferred elsewhere from the parochial house without inconvenience, the Bishop is to leave to him the use, even the exclusive use, of the parochial house for as long as this necessity lasts.
§3 While recourse against a decree of removal is pending, the Bishop cannot appoint a new parish priest, but is to make provision in the meantime by way of a parochial administrator.
CHAPTER II : THE PROCEDURE FOR THE TRANSFER OF PARISH PRIESTS
Can. 1748 The good of souls or the necessity or advantage of the
Church may demand that a parish priest be transferred from his own parish, which he governs satisfactorily, to another parish or another office. In these circumstances, the Bishop is to propose the transfer to him in writing and persuade him to consent, for the love of God and of souls.
Can. 1749 If the parish priest proposes not to acquiesce in the Bishop's advice and persuasion, he is to give his reasons in writing.
Can. 1750 Despite the reasons put forward, the Bishop may judge that he should not withdraw from his proposal. In this case, together with two parish priests chosen in accordance with Can. 1742 §1, he is to weigh the reasons which favor and those which oppose the transfer. If the Bishop still considers that the transfer should proceed, he is again to renew his fatherly exhortation to the parish priest.
Can. 1751 §1 If, when these things have been done, the parish priest still refuses and the Bishop still believes that a transfer ought to take place, the Bishop is to issue a decree of transfer stating that, when a prescribed time has elapsed, the parish shall be vacant.
§2 When this time has elapsed without result, he is to declare the parish vacant.
Can. 1752 In cases of transfer, the provisions of Can. 1747 are to be applied, always observing canonical equity and keeping in mind the salvation of souls, which in the Church must always be the supreme law.