Images de page

the need of approbation from the Ordinary of the place rendered delegations by anyone else useless, so that for all practical purposes the prohibition really existed. In the Code the distinction between jurisdiction and approbation has disappeared, and the power of delegating is expressly restricted to the Ordinary of the place (c. 874, § 1).



The seventh decision has reference to one of the diriment impediments to admission into a religious institute. The Commission was asked: 'Whether the words qui saectae acatholicae adhaeserunt of Canon 542 are to be understood of those who, moved by the grace of God, have come to the Church from the heresy or schism in which they have been born; or rather of those who have lapsed from the faith and have joined a non-Catholic sect.'

The answer was: 'In the negative to the first part, in the affirmative to the second.'

Amongst those who are prohibited, in Canon 542, from validly entering the novitiate of a religious institute are those who have belonged to a non-Catholic sect' (qui saectae acatholicae adhaeserunt). According to this decision, the prohibition applies only to those who, being originally Catholics, have lapsed from the faith and have become members of a non-Catholic sect, not to those who have been born in heresy or schism. We believe this to be a restrictive interpretation. Even though it may be contended that the word adhaeserunt implies deliberation, still it may be truly predicated of adult members of a non-Catholic sect who have been born therein. The expression 'have belonged,' the official English translation of adhaeserunt, lends colour to the same view; in fact, it implies that even those who have been born in a non-Catholic sect, but who have been brought up as Catholics from their earliest years, are included in the prohibition.

Some doubts may be raised regarding the position of those who have been born and baptized in the Catholic Church, but who, through the lapse of their parents, or for some similar reason, have been brought up from infancy as non-Catholics. In our opinion, such persons are not included in the prohibition. Positively, the decision states that the words apply to those who have fallen away from the faith and attached themselves to a non-Catholic sect. The words defecerunt and adhaeserunt imply, we think, deliberation, and, consequently, they are not applicable to those whose secession from the Church took place before they had attained the use of reason.



The eighth query proposed for solution to the Commission was the following: Whether in accordance with Canon 567, § 1, and Canom

578, n. 1, novices and professed religious with temporary vows, if they are anticipated by death, have a right to the same suffrages as professed with solemn vows or with simple perpetual vows, even though the constitutions previously approved by the Holy See ordain otherwise.' The answer was:

In the affirmative and ad mentem. The mens is this: Orders and religious Congregations can prescribe appropriate and identical suffrages for all novices, temporarily professed religious, and professed religious with solemn vows or with simple perpetual vows, in their constitutions, which are to be corrected and submitted for approbation to the Sacred Congregation of Religious, in accordance with the decree of the same Sacred Congregation of the 26th June, 1918.

Again, there is nothing in this decision which the Code itself does not clearly express. Canon 567, § 1, in regard to novices, and Canon 578, n. 1, in regard to temporarily professed religious, are quite explicit on the point; and in virtue of Canon 489, rules and constitutions opposed to the prescriptions of the Code are abolished. A quotation from our article on Nuns and Sisters,' in the I. E. RECORD of December, 1918, will give some idea of the change which the new regulations on this matter, have effected in the pre-Code discipline :

If they (novices) die during the novitiate, they have a right to the same suffrages as are prescribed for professed members (c. 567). This was not the case hitherto. By a decree published in 1912, novices in serious danger of death were permitted to make their profession, even though the full period of the novitiate had not expired; and thus they became participators in all the suffrages to which professed religious, when dying, had a right. The present disposition, we think, obviates the necessity of such profession—as a matter of fact, there is no mention of it in the Code.



The ninth decision is also concerned with a certain aspect of religious life. The question referred to the Commission was the following: 'Whether the words nisi constitutiones aliud ferant of Canon 569, § 1, refer to the word libere, so that it is lawful to determine by the constitutions for what purpose novices should destine the use and usufruct.'

The answer was: 'Constitutions approved before the promulgation of the Code are to be observed, whether they take away from the novices the right of disposing of the use and usufruct of their property, or limit or define this right.'

A glance at Canon 569, § 1, suffices to show that this interpretation of it is purely declaratory. 'Before the profession of simple vows, whether temporary or perpetual,' it states, the novice must hand over the administration of his property to whomsoever he wishes, for the whole period during which he will be bound by simple vows, and, unless

the constitutions determine otherwise (nisi constitutiones aliud ferant), dispose freely (libere) of its use and usufruct.' This canon, therefore, clearly permits the constitutions to take away or limit a novice's right to dispose of the use and usufruct of his property. It will be noted, however, that no such permission is conceded in regard to the right of determining the person of the administrator.


THE MENDICANTS OF WHOM THERE IS QUESTION IN CANON 621, § 1 The tenth decision concerns mendicants. The query submitted to the Commission was the following:

Whether Canons 621, § 1, is to be understood only of religious who are called mendicants in the strict sense; or is to be understood also of those who are designated by such a title in a wider sense, as are the Brothers of the Order of Preachers.

And in the hypothesis of an affirmative answer to the first part: Do the said mendicants need the permission of the Ordinary, if they wish to collect alms for the building, ornamentation, etc., of their churches?

The answer was: 'In the affirmative to the first part, in the negative to the second. As regards the permission to be obtained from the Ordinary, provision is made in the aforesaid Canon 621, § 1.'

To understand the importance of this decision, it is necessary to have before us briefly the regulations of the Code regarding the collecting of alms by religious. According to Canon 621, § 1, mendicants, to collect alms in the diocese where their house is situated, need only the permission of their own superiors; outside the diocese, however, they require the written permission of the local Ordinary. All other religious belonging to institutes with papal approbation, in virtue of Canon 622, § 1, must obtain not merely the permission of the local Ordinary, but also a special indult from the Holy See. The formalities prescribed for mendicants are, therefore, much less exacting than in the case of other religious; and hence the practical nature of the question.

The Commission has decided that Canon 621, § 1, is to be understood only of mendicants in the strict sense of the term. Now, mendicants in the strict sense are those only who are incapable of holding property, not merely as individuals, but also in common as a community. Originally there were several Orders of this description. The Council of Trent, however, conferred upon them all, with the exception of the Friars Minors of the Strict Observance and the Capuchins, the privilege of holding property in common. Afterwards two other Orders, the Discalced Carmelites and the Jesuits, renounced this privilege; so that, at the present time, there seem to be only four Orders that can be called mendicant, in the strict sense-the Friars Minors of the Strict Observance, the Capuchins, the Discalced Carmelites, and the Jesuits. All the others, such as

1 Sess. XXV. c. 3, de Regul.

• Cf. Wernz, tom. iii. n. 597.

the Dominicans, who are commonly called mendicants, are such only in a wide sense, and are consequently, in this matter of collecting alms, subject to the same regulations as the non-mendicant institutes.


REV. DEAR SIR,--Would you kindly tell me whether an illegitimate girl can become a nun, and what steps she must take before entering. A nun of my acquaintance is in communication with two girls who are anxious to become lay-sisters in a foreign convent. This nun asked me could they be received. I said, Yes, with a dispensation, but added that I would give more definite information later. I find in the new Code no mention of a dispensation. I wish you, therefore, to give me light on the question. The case of one of these girls is a little more complicated. She was born of a Catholic mother, and was very probably baptized a Catholic, but was afterwards taken by a Protestant woman, and was apparently a Protestant until she reached the age of eight. Then she, of her own accord, became a Catholic, and was re-baptized conditionally by the priest. The certificate of this baptism is the only one available. As these are practical questions of general interest, you may publish them in the I. E. RECORD.


The Code of Canon Law does not mention illegitimacy amongst the impediments which prevent valid or lawful entrance into the religious life. 1 In regard, indeed, to those intended for the priesthood in a religious institute, any irregularity, and therefore illegitimacy, constitutes an impedient impediment; but this point, however, has no bearing upon the present case. So far as general law is concerned, therefore, it is quite certain that an illegitimate girl may become a nun or sister. This really marks no change in the pre-Code discipline.

Whilst illegitimacy is not, and has not been, as a rule, an impediment to entrance into the religious life by general law, it may be such in virtue of the particular constitutions of individual institutes. As a matter of fact, the Normae, to which new Congregations were to conform, put 'illegitimates not properly legitimated '2 amongst those who were not to be admitted to the religious life. We may conclude, therefore, that all Congregations founded since 1900, the year in which the Normae were published, and very many founded previously, have a constitution of this nature. It is hardly necessary to remark that subsequent marriage in accordance with the terms of Canon 1116, suffices for legitimation.

The constitutions of the institute which these girls intend to join should, therefore, be examined; and, if it is found that they refuse admission to illegitimates, a dispensation must be sought from the competent authority; otherwise, of course, no special permission is needed. According to Canon 542, n. 1, those who have belonged to a nonCatholic sect cannot be validly admitted to the novitiate of a religious 1 Cf. Canon 542. 2 Norma, § 61—' Illegitimi non rite legitimati.'

institute. Whatever difficulties might have been hitherto experienced in applying this prohibition to the second case submitted by our correspondent, they have disappeared with the publication of the interpretation of this particular section of the Code which has been recently given by the Commission. As we saw above, the Commission has declared that the words qui saectae acatholicae adhaeserunt of Canon 542, n. 1, are applicable, not to those who have been born in heresy or schism, but rather to those who lapsed from the faith and joined a non-Catholic sect. We saw further that the lapse of which there is question in this decision is a deliberate one, and consequently cannot be verified in the case of those whose secession from the faith took place before they attained the use of reason. In our opinion, therefore, this girl is quite free, so far as this prohibition is concerned, to enter any religious institute.


REV. DEAR SIR,-There is a small farm, value for about £500, attached to this parish, which it is desired to alienate for the purpose of obtaining funds to repair the parish church and the curate's house. Is it necessary for this purpose to obtain an indult from the Holy See? Or does the permission of the local authorities suffice?


If the value of the property were the only point that had to be considered, the local authorities would be quite competent. According to Canon 1532, § 1, n. 2, permission from the Holy See is not necessary unless the value exceeds 30,000 francs, which, in normal exchange, is equivalent to about £1,200. There is, however, another factor in this case which must be taken into account. The purpose of the alienation is to expend the proceeds in repairing the parish church and the curate's house. Now, Canon 1531, § 3, states clearly that the money derived from the alienation of ecclesiastical property should be invested in safe securities; and as this is a general law, and as no powers over it are conceded to local authorities, the Holy See alone can dispense from it. It is evident, therefore, that in the present case an indult must be obtained from Rome, not so much, indeed, for the alienation, as for permission to have the money expended in the way specified.

The Acta Apostolicae Sedis for November last, publishes a case decided by the Congregation of the Council, which involved the point at issue in the present query. The matter is dealt with so clearly and succinctly in the preliminary discussion, that a quotation cannot fail to be useful. Lest the technical nature of some of the expressions employed should lose some of their force, we shall give the relevant paragraph in the original :—

Quibus positis, sequeretur etiam res pretiosas quae mille libellarum valorem non excedunt, alienari ab Ordinariis posse, servatis solemnitatibus prasecriptis in Can. 1530-1532, ex quibus potissimum attendenda est, ad casum nostrum, clausula can. 1531, § 3: Pecunia ex alienatione percepta, caute, tuto et utiliter in commodum Ecclesiae collocetur':

« PrécédentContinuer »