|Sanctions in the Church » Offenses and Penalties in General » The Application of Penalties
|Even though the law may use obligatory words, the judge may, according to his own conscience and prudence:
1° defer the imposition of the penalty to a more opportune time, if it is foreseen that greater evils may arise from a too hasty punishment of the offender, unless there is an urgent need to repair scandal;
2° abstain from imposing the penalty or substitute a milder penalty or a penance, if the offender has repented, as well as having repaired any scandal and harm caused, or if the offender has been or foreseeably will be sufficiently punished by the civil authority;
3° may suspend the obligation of observing an expiatory penalty, if the person is a first- offender after a hitherto blameless life, and there is no urgent need to repair scandal; this is, however, to be done in such a way that if the person again commits an offence within a time laid down by the judge, then that person must pay the penalty for both offences, unless in the meanwhile the time for prescription of a penal action in respect of the former offence has expired.
|Whenever the offender had only an imperfect use of reason, or committed the offence out of necessity or grave fear or in the heat of passion or, without prejudice to the provision of can. 1326 §1 n. 4, with a mind disturbed by drunkenness or a similar cause, the judge can refrain from inflicting any punishment if he considers that the person’s reform may be better accomplished in some other way; the offender, however, must be punished if there is no other way to provide for the restoration of justice and the repair of any scandal that may have been caused.
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