Is She Excommunicated? So Karl naturally went to speak with his current parish priest about rectifying this situation as soon as possible. (Iuris Canonici Licentiatus, Licentiate of Canon Law) and the J.C.D. The other priest was accused by an adult and shouldn't have been included on the list, as it confined itself to those who allegedly molested minors. A: The Code of Canon Law stipulates that the first steps after receipt of an allegation of the commission of an ecclesiastical crime are usually taken by the local bishop. Failure to permit a defendant to contact a canon lawyer will almost surely lead to the final decision being overturned, if it is subsequently brought to the Vatican’s attention. All requests come through the main office and are confidential. Justice for Priests and Deacons is a nonprofit organization composed of priests, religious, deacons, and laity dedicated to a three-fold purpose: Approved by the Business Board on August 14, 2010. Canon law binds all of us, and so educating oneself about canon law is never off-limits to Catholics. Part II” for a discussion of what convalidation is), and Karl’s marriage is finally valid in the eyes of the Church. This particular priest wasn’t around at the time of Karl’s wedding, and so he is hearing anything that Karl tells him for the first time. Justice for Priests and Deacons seeks to serve the needs of clergy and its canonists are available for consultation and representation. I really don’t think I will get anywhere with this priest…. Canon law permits any priest celebrating or concelebrating to receive an offering to apply the Mass for a special intention (Canon 945). Since Karl is asserting that the priest who married him and his wife either didn’t understand the law, or didn’t care, the sheer irrationality of such a suggestion is nothing short of mind-boggling. So let me phone the diocesan offices right now and discuss all this with a canonist there, and I’ll get his opinion and see what needs to be done. Karl sent an email inquiry to this site and unfortunately, it was easy to confirm that his marriage had indeed been celebrated invalidly. However, all our canonists are active members of the Canon Law Society and some serve on different committees of the society. That, in a nutshell, is what is really going on here. Why is Google hiding the posts on this website in its search results? Why Is This Method of  Baptizing Illicit? At the same time, it may be worthwhile for the bishop also to take a look at any other marriages that may have been wrongly celebrated by the same priest who married Karl, without proper delegation. He tried to marry validly in the Church; and when he discovered that (despite his best efforts) that’s not what happened, he made sure to get all his facts straight before going to the parish priest for help in rectifying the problem. Canon law is subject to interpretation, and some say it deters bishops from turning in miscreant priests because it emphasizes the need to treat them as sinners worthy of redemption. This too was Karl’s right: the law specifically asserts that the Christian faithful are free to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, to the pastors of the Church (c. 212.2). It is thus entirely understandable if Karl’s pastor isn’t fully at home with the complexities of the canons on marriage law that apply in Karl’s situation. Since he had sincerely attempted to celebrate a sacrament, but was effectively prevented from doing so, Karl logically turned to the priest of his parish for help. Unsigned/anonymous questions are not read, much less answered (why is it necessary even to mention this?). Given that he doesn’t want to even hear the legal reasoning or recognize you as a credible source, what do you suggest?—Karl. What Happens When a Religious Who’s Vowed Poverty Becomes a Bishop? Still, the real problem in prosecuting clergy sexual-abuse cases was, according to Cafardi, not canon law itself. Mental reservation is not sanctioned in canon law, experts say, and is infrequently invoked. (Iuris Canonici Doctor, Doctor of Canon Law), and those with a J.C.L. During his first round of mediated settlements in 2002—in which 28 priests of the Diocese of Manchester were accused in claims alleging abuse between the 1950s and 1980s—the news media announced a $5.5 million settlement. Re-post: Confession and General Absolution. Which Mass Fulfills My Sunday Obligation? In other words, educating ourselves as best we can about the Church’s teachings—which is also a key component of forming our consciences, as was discussed in “Can Pro-Abortion Politicians Receive Holy Communion?”—is not only a right, it’s actually an obligation. The law specifically requires that an accused person always have a lawyer, for example; and if he can’t find one (or pay for one) himself, the judge is obliged to provide one for him (cc. The canonist works to defend the rights of and give canonical counsel to the priest or deacon. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Rather, the problem was that bishops adopted a psychological model that excluded canon law, and they routinely sent priests accused of sexual abuse for psychological evaluation and treatment. Justice for Priests and Deacons was founded to create a referral program to advise priests and deacons about their rights under Canon Law and to process appeal cases. The pastor of Karl’s parish doesn’t understand the legal niceties of the situation, and doesn’t have the intellectual honesty to admit it—and so he simply wants Karl to go away. For those who do not possess an advanced degree in theology or who have had no previous training in philosophy, 24 graduate credits in theology (8 courses or two semesters) are required, covering (in general) dogmatic theology, ecclesiology, sacramental theology, and moral theology. In matters involving witness to the faith, we read in effect this: “When they take you before synagogues and before rulers and authorities, do not worry about how or what your defense will be or about what you are to say. For starters, it goes without saying that the parish priest should want to hear what Karl has to say. Many of the everyday decisions of priests and bishops and efforts by dioceses to carry out their mission through diverse ministries are guided by the omnipresent Code of Canon Law. Incredibly, however, there are those in authority positions in the Church who would prefer that the Catholic faithful had no knowledge of the law, or access to a lawyer, so that their possibly illegal decisions can go unchallenged. In these cases, they can be excommunicated, laicized, be removed from … Justice for Priests and Deacons is an independent canon law group and we are not affiliated with the Canon Law Society of America. Speaking of which, it’s important that the bishop be made aware of the way the parish priest has acted in this situation. In North America, four out of five canon lawyers are priests, but in recent years the number of religious men and women as well as lay men and women in canon law has been increasing. Karl’s parish priest should be looking at what the law says, not at the perceived “authority” (or lack thereof) of whoever provided Karl with a professional confirmation. He explained that he had talked to a canon lawyer, showed the priest the relevant canons… and readers can see how the parish priest responded. The dean and chapter are the formal body which has legal … When (and How Much) Can a Bishop Tax a Parish. Instead, as we can see, the parish priest is inexplicably insisting that Karl should be talking to the priest who married him—invalidly—because he’s the one who can assure Karl that everything is fine. Uniquely qualified for the role of chancellor, Mr Mullins is believed to be Australia’s only canon lawyer simultaneously practising as a common lawyer. Most of us can appreciate that it’s not logical to buy a certain type of wristwatch, or a particular brand of ice cream, simply because a beautiful actress or an Olympic athlete tells you it’s great. 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