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  Normae De Gravioribus Delictis , 15.07.2010

The Vaticano
July 15, 2010

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Art. 1

1. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to art. 52 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus1, judges delicts against the faith, as well as the more grave delicts committed against morals and in the celebration of the sacraments and, whenever necessary, proceeds to declare or impose canonical sanctions according to the norm of both common and proper law, with due regard for the competence of the Apostolic Penitentiary2 and in keeping with Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine. 3

2. With regard to the delicts mentioned above in 1, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, by mandate of the Roman Pontiff, may judge Cardinals, Patriarchs, Legates of the Apostolic See, Bishops as well as other physical persons mentioned in can. 1405 3 of the Code of Canon Law4, and in can. 1061 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.5



3. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith judges the reserved delicts mentioned in 1 according to the following norms.

Art. 2

1. The delicts against the faith referred to in art. 1 are heresy, apostasy and schism according to the norm of can. 7516 and 13647 of the Code of Canon Law, and can. 14368 and 14379 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.

2. In the abovementioned cases referred to in 1, it pertains to the Ordinary or Hierarch to remit, by norm of law, if it be the case, the latae sententiae excommunication and likewise to undertake a judicial trial in the first instance or issue an extrajudicial decree, with due regard for the right of appeal or of recourse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Art. 3

1. The more grave delicts against the sanctity of the most Holy Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for judgment are:

1∞ the taking or retaining for a sacrilegious purpose or the throwing away of the consecrated species10, as mentioned in can. 1367 of the Code of Canon Law11, and in can. 1442 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches12;

2∞ attempting the liturgical action of the Eucharistic Sacrifice spoken of in can. 1378 2, n. 1, of the Code of Canon Law13;



3∞ the simulation of the same, spoken of in can. 1379 of the Code of Canon Law14 and in can. 1443 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches15;

4∞ the concelebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice prohibited in can. 908 of the Code of Canon Law16, and in can. 702 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches17, spoken of in can. 1365 of the Code of Canon Law18, and in can. 1440 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches19, with ministers of ecclesial communities which do not have apostolic succession and do not acknowledge the sacramental dignity of priestly ordination.

2. Also reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the delict which consists in the consecration for a sacrilegious purpose of one matter without the other or even of both, either within or outside of the eucharistic celebration20. One who has perpetrated this delict is to be punished according to the gravity of the crime, not excluding dismissal or deposition.

Art. 4

1. The more grave delicts against the sanctity of the Sacrament of Penance reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are:

1∞ the absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, mentioned in can. 1378 1 of the Code of Canon Law21, and in can. 1457 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches22;

2∞ attempted sacramental absolution or the prohibited hearing of confession, mentioned in can. 1378 2, 2∞ of the Code of Canon Law23;

3∞ simulated sacramental absolution, mentioned in can. 1379 of the Code of Canon Law24, and in can. 1443 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 25;

4∞ the solicitation to a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue in the act, on the occasion, or under the pretext of confession, as mentioned in can. 1387 of the Code of Canon Law26, and in can. 1458 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 27, if it is directed to sinning with the confessor himself;

5∞ the direct and indirect violation of the sacramental seal, mentioned in can. 1388 1 of the Code of Canon Law28, and in can. 1456 1 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches29;

2. With due regard for 1, n. 5, also reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the more grave delict which consists in the recording, by whatever technical means, or in the malicious diffusion through communications media, of what is said in sacramental confession, whether true or false, by the confessor or the penitent. Anyone who commits such a delict is to punished according to the gravity of the crime, not excluding, if he be a cleric, dismissal or deposition30.

Art. 5

The more grave delict of the attempted sacred ordination of a woman is also reserved to the

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:

1∞ With due regard for can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, both the one who attempts to confer sacred ordination on a woman, and she who attempts to receive sacred ordination, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

2∞ If the one attempting to confer sacred ordination, or the woman who attempts to receive sacred ordination, is a member of the Christian faithful subject to the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, with due regard for can. 1443 of that Code, he or she is to be punished by major excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.

3∞ If the guilty party is a cleric he may be punished by dismissal or deposition31.

Art. 6

1. The more grave delicts against morals which are reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are:

1∞ the delict against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue committed by a cleric with a minor below the age of eighteen years; in this case, a person who habitually lacks the use of reason is to be considered equivalent to a minor.

2∞ the acquisition, possession, or distribution by a cleric of pornographic images of minors under the age of fourteen, for purposes of sexual gratification, by whatever means or using whatever technology;

2. A cleric who commits the delicts mentioned above in 1 is to be punished according to the gravity of his crime, not excluding dismissal or deposition.

Art. 7

1. A criminal action for delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is extinguished by prescription after twenty years, with due regard to the right of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to derogate from prescription in individual cases.

2. Prescription runs according to the norm of can. 1362 2 of the Code of Canon Law32, and can. 1152 3 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches 33. However, in the delict mentioned in art. 6 1 n. 1, prescription begins to run from the day on which a minor completes his eighteenth year of age.

Part Two

PROCEDURAL NORMS

Title I

The Constitution and Competence of the Tribunal

Art. 8

1. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the Supreme Apostolic Tribunal for the Latin Church as well as the Eastern Catholic Churches, for the judgment of the delicts defined in the preceding articles.

2. This Supreme Tribunal also judges other delicts of which a defendant is accused by the Promotor of Justice, by reason of connection of person and complicity.

3. The sentences of this Supreme Tribunal, rendered within the limits of its proper competence, do not need to be submitted for the approval of the Supreme Pontiff.

Art. 9

1. The Members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are ipso iure the judges of this Supreme Tribunal.

2. The Prefect of the Congregation presides as first among equals over the college of the Members, and if the office of Prefect is vacant or if the Prefect himself is impeded, the Secretary of the Congregation carries out his duties.

3. It is the responsibility of the Prefect of the Congregation to nominate additional stable or deputed judges.

Art. 10

It is necessary that such appointed judges be priests, of mature age, possessing a doctorate in canon law, outstanding in good morals, prudence and expertise in the law. Such priests may at the same time exercise a judicial or consultative function before another Dicastery of the Roman Curia.

Art. 11

To present and sustain an accusation a Promotor of Justice is to be appointed, who is to be a priest, possessing a doctorate in canon law, outstanding in good morals, prudence, and expertise in the law. He is to carry out his office in all grades of judgment.

Art. 12

For the functions of Notary and Chancellor, priests are appointed, whether or not they are officials of this Congregation.

Art. 13

The role of Advocate or Procurator is carried out by a priest possessing a doctorate in canon law. He is to be approved by the presiding judge of the college.

Art. 14

Indeed, in the other tribunals dealing with cases under these norms, only priests can validly carry out the functions of Judge, Promotor of Justice, Notary, and Patron [Procurator and Advocate].

Art 15

With regard to the provisions of can. 1421 of the Code of Canon Law34

,and can. 1087 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches35, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may dispense from the requirements of the priesthood and of a doctorate in Canon Law.

Art. 16

Whenever the Ordinary or Hierarch receives a report of a more grave delict, which has at least the semblance of truth, once the preliminary investigation has been completed, he is to communicate the matter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which, unless it calls the case to itself due to particular circumstances, will direct the Ordinary or Hierarch how to proceed further, with due regard, however, for the right to appeal, if the case warrents, against a sentence of the first instance only to the Supreme Tribunal of this same Congregation.

Art. 17

If a case is referred directly to the Congregation without a preliminary investigation having been undertaken, the steps preliminary to the process, which fall by common law to the Ordinary or Hierarch, may be carried out by the Congregation itself.

Art. 18

With full respect for the right of defense, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith may sanate acts in cases lawfully presented to it if merely procedural laws have been violated by lower Tribunals acting by mandate of the same Congregation or according to art. 16.

Art. 19

With due regard for the right of the Ordinary to impose from the outset of the preliminary investigation those measures which are established in can. 1722 of the Code of Canon Law36, or in can. 1473 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches37, the respective presiding judge may, at the request of the Promotor of Justice, exercise the same power under the same conditions determined in the canons themselves.

Art. 20

The Supreme Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith judges in second instance:

1∞ cases adjudicated in first instance by lower tribunals;

2∞ cases decided by this same Supreme Apostolic Tribunal in first instance.

 
 

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