|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » The Formation of Clerics
|It is the duty and the proper and exclusive right of the Church to train those who are deputed to sacred ministries.
|§1 It is the duty of the whole christian community to foster vocations so that the needs of the sacred ministry are sufficiently met in the entire Church. In particular, this duty binds christian families, educa tors and, in a special way, priests, especially parish priests. DiocesanBishops, who must show the greatest concern to promote vocations, are to instruct the people entrusted to them on the importance of
the sacred ministry and the need for ministers in the Church. They are to encourage and support initiatives to promote vocations, especially movements established for this purpose.
§2 Moreover, priests and especially diocesan Bishops are to be solicitous that men of more mature years who believe they are called to the sacred ministries are prudently assisted by word and deed and are duly prepared.
|§1 Minor seminaries and other institutions of a similar nature promote vocations by providing a special religious formation, allied to human and scientific education- where they exist, they are to be retained and fostered. Indeed, where the diocesan Bishop considers it expedient, he is to provide for the establishment of a minor seminary or similar institution.
§2 Unless the circumstances of certain situations suggest otherwise, young men who aspire to the priesthood are to receive that same human and scientific formation which prepares their peers in their region for higher studies.
|§1 Young men who intend to become priests are to receive the appropriate religious formation and instruction in the duties proper to the priesthood in a major seminary, for the whole of the time of formation or, if in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop circumstances require it, for at least four years.
§2 Those who lawfully reside outside the seminary are to be entrusted by the diocesan Bishop to a devout and suitable priest, who will ensure that they are carefully formed in the spiritual life and in discipline.
|Those who aspire to the permanent diaconate are to be formed in the spiritual life and appropriately instructed in the fulfilment of the duties proper to that order, in accordance with the provisions made by the Episcopal Conference:
1° young men are to reside for at least three years in a special houseunless the diocesan Bishop for grave reasons decides otherwise,
2° men of more mature years, whether celibate or married, are toprepare for three years in a manner determined by the same Episcopal Conference.
|§1 Where it is possible and advisable, each diocese is to have a major seminary; otherwise, students preparing for the sacred ministries are to be sent to the seminary of another diocese, or an inter-diocesan seminary is to be established.
§2 An interdiocesan seminary is not to be erected unless the conference of bishops, if the seminary is for its entire territory, or the bishops involved have obtained the prior confirmation of the Apostolic See for both the erection of the seminary and its statutes.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
|§1 Seminaries which are lawfully established have juridical personality in the Church by virtue of the law itself.
§2 In the conduct of all its affairs, the rector acts in the person of the seminary, unless for certain matters the competent authority has prescribed otherwise.
|§1 In all seminaries there is to be a rector who presides over it, a vice-rector, if circumstances warrant this, and a financial administrator. Moreover, if the students follow their studies in the seminary, there are to be professors who teach the various subjects in a manner suitably coordinated between them.
§2 In every seminary there is to be at least one spiritual director, though the students are also free to approach other priests who have been deputed to this work by the Bishop.
§3 The seminary statutes are to determine the manner in which the other moderators, the professors and indeed the students themselves, are to participate in the rector’s responsibility, especially in regard to the maintenance of discipline.
|§1 Besides ordinary confessors, other confessors are to come regularly to the seminary; while maintaining seminary discipline, the students are always to be free to approach any confessor, whether inside or outside the seminary.
§2 In deciding about the admission of students to orders, or their dismissal from the seminary, the vote of the spiritual director and the confessors may never be sought.
|§1 The diocesan Bishop is to admit to the major seminary only those whose human, moral, spiritual and intellectual gifts, as well as physical and psychological health and right intention, show that they are capable of dedicating themselves permanently to the sacred ministries.
§2 Before they are accepted, they must submit documentation of their baptism and confirmation, and whatever else is required by the provisions of the Charter of Priestly Formation.
§3 If there is question of admitting those who have been dismissed from another seminary or religious institute, there is also required the testimony of the respective superior, especially concerning the reason for their dismissal or departure.
|§1 Each nation is to have a programme of priestly formation which is to be established by the conference of bishops, attentive to the norms issued by the supreme authority of the Church, and which is to be confirmed by the Holy See. This programme is to be adapted to new circumstances, also with the confirmation of the Holy See, and is to define the main principles of the instruction to be given in the seminary and general norms adapted to the pastoral needs of each region or province.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
§2 The norms of the Charter mentioned in §1 are to be observed in all seminaries, whether diocesan or inter-diocesan.
|In addition, each seminary is to have its own rule, approved by the diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter-diocesan seminary, by the Bishops concerned. In this, the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation are to be adapted to the particular circumstances and developed in greater detail, especially on points of discipline affecting the daily life of the students and the good order of the entire seminary.
|The spiritual formation and the doctrinal instruction of the students in a seminary are to be harmoniously blended. They are to be so planned that the students, each according to his talents, simultaneously develop the requisite human maturity and acquire the spirit of the Gospel and a close relationship with Christ.
|§1 Through their spiritual formation students are to be fitted for the fruitful exercise of the pastoral ministry, and are to be inculcated with a sense of mission. They are to learn that a ministry which is always exercised with lively faith and charity contributes effectively to their personal sanctification. They are to learn to cultivate those virtues which are highly valued in human relationships, in such a way that they can arrive at an appropriate harmony between human and supernatural values.
§2 Students are to be so trained that, filled with love for Christ’s Church, they are linked to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, in humble and filial charity, to their own Bishop as his faithful co-workers and to their brethren in friendly cooperation. Through the common life in the seminary, and by developing relationships of friendship and of association with others, they are to be prepared for the fraternal unity of the diocesan presbyterium, in whose service of the Church they will share.
|§1 The celebration of the Eucharist is to be the centre of the whole life of the seminary, so that the students, participating in the very charity of Christ, may daily draw strength of soul for their apostolic labour and for their spiritual life particularly from this richest of sources.
§2 They are to be formed in the celebration of the liturgy of the hours, by which the ministers of God, in the name of the Church, intercede with Him for all the people entrusted to them, and indeed for the whole world.
§3 Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, including the rosary, mental prayer and other exercises of piety are to be fostered, so that the students may acquire the spirit of prayer and be strengthened in their vocation.
§4 The students are to become accustomed to approach the sacrament of penance frequently. It is recommended that each should have a director of his spiritual life, freely chosen, to whom he can trustfully reveal his conscience.
§5 Each year the students are to make a spiritual retreat.
|§1 By appropriate instruction they are to be prepared to observe celibacy and to learn to hold it in honour as a special gift of God.
§2 The students are to be given all the requisite knowledge concerning the duties and burdens which are proper to the sacred ministers of the Church, concealing none of the difficulties of the priestly life.
|The doctrinal formation given is to be so directed that the students may acquire a wide and solid teaching in the sacred sciences, together with a general culture which is appropriate to the needs of place and time. As a result, with their own faith founded on and nourished by this teaching, they ought to be able properly to proclaim the Gospel to the people of their own time, in a fashion suited to the manner of the people’s thinking.
|The Charter of Priestly Formation is to provide that the students are not only taught their native language accurately, but are also well versed in latin, and have a suitable knowledge of other languages which would appear to be necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of their pastoral ministry.
|The philosophical and theological studies which are organised in the seminary itself may be conducted either in succession or conjointly, in accordance with the Charter of Priestly Formation. These studies are to take at least six full years, in such a way that the time given to philosophical studies amounts to two full years and that allotted to theological studies to four full years.
|Philosophical formation must be based on the philosophical heritage that is perennially valid, and it is also to take account of philosophical investigations over the course of time. It is to be so given that it furthers the human formation of the students, sharpens their mental edge and makes them more fitted to engage in theological studies.
|§1 Theological formation, given in the light of faith and under the guidance of the magisterium, is to be imparted in such a way that the students learn the whole of catholic teaching, based on divine Revelation, that they make it a nourishment of
their own spiritual lives, and that in the exercise of the ministry they may be able properly to proclaim and defend it.
§2 Students are to be instructed with special care in sacred Scripture, so that they may acquire an insight into the whole of sacred Scripture.
§3 Lectures are to be given in dogmatic theology, based always on the written word of God and on sacred Tradition; through them the students are to learn to penetrate more deeply into the mysteries of salvation, with St. Thomas in particular as their teacher. Lectures are also to be given in moral and pastoral theology, canon law, liturgy, ecclesiastical history, and other auxiliary and special disciplines, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter on Priestly Formation.
|§1 The Bishop or the Bishops concerned are to appoint as teachers in philosophical, theological and juridical subjects only those who are of outstanding virtue and have a doctorate or a licentiate from a university or faculty recognised by the Holy See.
§2 Care is to be taken that different professors are appointed for sacred Scripture, dogmatic theology, moral theology, liturgy, philosophy, canon law and church history, and for other disciplines which are to be taught by their own distinctive methods.
§3 A professor who seriously fails in his or her duty is to be removed by the authority mentioned in §1.
|§1 In their lectures, the professors are to be continuously attentive to the intimate unity and harmony of the entire doctrine of faith, so that the students are aware that they are learning one science. To ensure this, there is to be someone in the seminary who is in charge of the overall organisation of studies.
§2 The students are to be taught in such a way that they themselves are enabled to research various questions in the scientific way appropriate to each question. There are, therefore, to be assignments in which, under the guidance of the professors, the students learn to work out certain subjects by their own efforts.
|Although the whole formation of students in the seminary has a pastoral purpose, a specifically pastoral formation is also to be provided there; in this the students are to learn the principles and the techniques which, according to the needs of place and time, are relevant to the ministry of teaching, sanctifying and ruling the people of God.
|§1 Students are to be carefully instructed in whatever especially pertains to the sacred ministry, particularly in catechetics and homiletics, in divine worship and in a special way in the celebration of the sacraments, in dealing with people,
including non-catholics and unbelievers, in parish administration and in the fulfilment of other tasks.
§2 The students are to be instructed about the needs of the universal Church, so that they may have a solicitude for encouraging vocations, for missionary and ecumenical questions, and for other pressing matters, including social problems.
|§1 The formation of students is to ensure that they are concerned not only for the particular Church in which they are incardinated, but also for the universal Church, and that they are ready to devote themselves to particular Churches which are beset by grave need.
§2 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that clerics who intend to move from their own particular Church to a particular Church in another region, are suitably prepared to exercise the sacred ministry there, that is, that they learn the language of the region, and have an understanding of its institutions, social conditions, usages and customs.
|In order that the students may also by practice learn the art of exercising the apostolate, they are in the course of their studies, and especially during holiday time, to be initiated into pastoral practice by suitable assignments, always under the supervision of an experienced priest. These assignments, appropriate to the age of the student and the conditions of the place, are to be determined by the Ordinary.
|§1 It belongs to the diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter-diocesan seminary, to the Bishops concerned to determine those matters which concern the overall control and administration of the seminary.
§2 The diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter-diocesan seminary, the Bishops concerned, are frequently to visit the seminary in person. They are to oversee the formation of their students, and the philosophical and theological instruction given in the seminary. They are to inform themselves about the vocation, character, piety and progress of the students, in view particularly to the conferring of sacred orders.
|In the fulfilment of their duties, all must obey the rector, who is responsible for the day to day direction of the seminary, in accordance with the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation and the rule of the seminary.
|§1 The rector of the seminary is to ensure that the students faithfully observe the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation and the rule of the seminary; under his authority, and according to their different positions, the moderators and professors have the same responsibility.
|The seminary is to be exempt from parochial governance. For all those in the seminary, the function of the parish priest is to be discharged by the rector of the
seminary or his delegate, with the exception of matters concerning marriage and without prejudice to the provisions of can. 985.
|The diocesan Bishop must ensure that the building and maintenance of the seminary, the support of the students, the remuneration of the teachers and the other needs of the seminary are provided for. In an inter-diocesan seminary this responsibility devolves upon the Bishops concerned, each to the extent allotted by their common agreement.
|§1 To provide for the needs of the seminary, the Bishop can, apart from the collection mentioned in can. 1266, impose a levy in the diocese.
§2 Every ecclesiastical juridical person is subject to the levy for the seminary, including even private juridical persons, which have a centre in the diocese. Exception is made for those whose sole support comes from alms, or in which there is actually present a college of students or of teachers for furthering the common good of the Church. This levy should be general, proportionate to the revenue of those who are subject to it and calculated according to the needs of the seminary.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » The Enrollment, or Incardination, of Clerics
|Every cleric must be incardinated either in a particular church or personal prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or society endowed with this faculty, or also in a public clerical association which has obtained that faculty from the Apostolic See, in such a way that unattached or transient clerics are not allowed at all.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
|§1 By the reception of the diaconate a person becomes a cleric, and is incardinated in the particular Church or personal Prelature for whose service he is ordained.
§2 A member who is perpetually professed in a religious institute, or who is definitively incorporated into a clerical society of apostolic life, is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated as a cleric in that institute or society unless, in the case of a society, the constitutions determine otherwise.
§3 A member of a secular institute is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated into the particular Church for whose service he was ordained, unless by virtue of a concession of the Apostolic See he is incardinated into the institute itself.
|§1 To be validly incardinated in another particular Church, a cleric who is already incardinated must obtain a letter of excardination signed by the diocesan Bishop, and in the same way a letter of incardination signed by the diocesan Bishop of the particular Church in which he wishes to be incardinated.
§2 Excardination granted in this way does not take effect until incardination is obtained in the other particular Church.
|§1 A cleric who has lawfully moved from his own particular Church to another is, by virtue of the law itself, incardinated in that latter Church after five years, if he has declared this intention in writing to both the diocesan Bishop of the host diocese and his own diocesan Bishop, and neither of the two Bishops has indicated opposition in writing within four months of receiving the cleric’s written request.
§2 By perpetual or definitive admission into an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, a cleric who in accordance with can. 266 is incardinated in that institute or society, is excardinated from his own particular Church.
|A diocesan Bishop is not to incardinate a cleric unless:
1° the need or the advantage of his particular Church requires it and the provisions of law concerning the worthy support of the cleric are observed;
2° he knows by a lawful document that excardination has been granted, and has also obtained from the excardinating Bishop, under secrecy if need be, appropriate testimonials concerning the cleric’s life, behaviour and studies;
3° the cleric declares in writing to the same Bishop that he wishes to enter the service of the new particular Church in accordance with the norms of law.
|Excardination can be lawfully granted only for a just reason, such as the advantage of the Church or the good of the cleric. It may not, however, be refused unless grave reasons exist; it is lawful for a cleric who considers himself to be unfairly treated and who has a Bishop to receive him, to have recourse against the decision.
|§1 Except for a grave need of his own particular Church, a Bishop is not to refuse clerics seeking permission to move whom he knows to be prepared and considers suitable to exercise the ministry in regions which suffer from a grave shortage of clergy. He is to ensure, however, that the rights and duties of these clerics are determined by written agreement with the diocesan Bishop of the place to which they wish to move.
§2 A Bishop can give permission to his clerics to move to another particular Church for a specified time. Such permission can be renewed several times, but in such a way that the clerics remain incardinated in their own particular Church, and on returning there enjoy all the rights which they would have had if they had ministered there.
§3 A cleric who lawfully moves to another particular Church while remaining incardinated in his own, may for a just reason be recalled by his own Bishop, provided the agreements entered into with the other Bishop are honoured and natural equity is observed. Under the same conditions, the Bishop of the other particular Church can for a just reason refuse the cleric permission to reside further in his territory.
|The diocesan Administrator cannot grant excardination nor incardination, nor permission to move to another particular Church, unless the episcopal see has been vacant for a year, and he has the consent of the college of consultors.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » The Obligations and Rights of Clerics
|Clerics have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to their own Ordinary.
|§1 Only clerics can obtain offices the exercise of which requires the power of order or the power of ecclesiastical governance.
§2 Unless excused by a lawful impediment, clerics are obliged to accept and faithfully fulfil the office committed to them by their Ordinary.
|§1 Since all clerics are working for the same purpose, namely the building up of the body of Christ, they are to be united with one another in the bond of brotherhood and prayer. They are to seek to cooperate with one another, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.
§2 Clerics are to acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercises in the Church and in the world.
|§1 Clerics have a special obligation to seek holiness in their lives, because they are consecrated to God by a new title through the reception of orders, and are stewards of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.
§2 In order that they can pursue this perfection:
1° they are in the first place faithfully and untiringly to fulfil the obligations of their pastoral ministry;
2° they are to nourish their spiritual life at the twofold table of the sacred Scripture and the Eucharist; priests are therefore earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic Sacrifice daily, and deacons to participate daily in the offering;
3° priests, and deacons aspiring to the priesthood, are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily, in accordance with their own approved liturgical books; permanent deacons are to recite that part of it determined by the Episcopal
4° they are also obliged to make spiritual retreats, in accordance with the provision of particular law;
5° they are exhorted to engage regularly in mental prayer, to approach the sacrament of penance frequently, to honour the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and to use other general and special means to holiness.
|§1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy. Celibacy is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can more easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and can dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and their neighbour.
§2 Clerics are to behave with due prudence in relation to persons whose company can be a danger to their obligation of preserving continence or can lead to scandal of the faithful.
§3 The diocesan Bishop has authority to establish more detailed rules concerning this matter, and to pass judgement on the observance of the obligation in particular cases.
|§1 The secular clergy have the right of association with others for the achievement of purposes befitting the clerical state.
§2 The secular clergy are to hold in high esteem those associations especially whose statutes are recognised by the competent authority and which, by a suitable and well tried rule of life and by fraternal support, promote holiness in the exercise of their ministry and foster the unity of the clergy with one another and with their Bishop.
§3 Clerics are to refrain from establishing or joining associations whose purpose or activity cannot be reconciled with the obligations proper to the clerical state, or which can hinder the diligent fulfilment of the office entrusted to them by the competent ecclesiastical authority.
|§1 Clerics are to continue their sacred studies even after ordination to the priesthood. They are to hold to that solid doctrine based on sacred Scripture which has been handed down by our forebears and which is generally received in the Church, as set out especially in the documents of the Councils and of the Roman Pontiffs. They are to avoid profane novelties and pseudo-science.
§2 Priests are to attend pastoral courses to be arranged for them after their ordination, in accordance with the provisions of particular law. At times determined by the same law, they are to attend other courses, theological meetings or conferences, which offer them an occasion to acquire further knowledge of the sacred sciences and of pastoral methods.
§3 They are also to seek a knowledge of other sciences, especially those linked to the sacred sciences, particularly insofar as they benefit the exercise of the pastoral ministry.
|Some manner of common life is highly recommended to clerics; where it exists, it is as far as possible to be maintained.
|§1 Since clerics dedicate themselves to the ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve the remuneration that befits their condition, taking into account both the nature of their office and the conditions of time and place. It is to be such that it provides for the necessities of their life and for the just remuneration of those whose services they need.
§2 Suitable provision is likewise to be made for such social welfare as they may need in infirmity, sickness or old age.
§3 Married deacons who dedicate themselves full-time to the ecclesiastical ministry deserve remuneration sufficient to provide for themselves and their families. Those, however, who receive a remuneration by reason of a secular profession which they exercise or exercised, are to see to their own and to their families’ needs from that income.
|§1 Clerics are to follow a simple way of life and avoid anything which smacks of worldliness.
§2 Goods which they receive on the occasion of the exercise of an ecclesiastical office, and which are over and above what is necessary for their worthy upkeep and the fulfilment of all the duties of their state, they may well wish to use for the good of the Church and for charitable works.
|§1 Clerics, even if they do not have a residential office, are not to be absent from their diocese for a considerable time, to be determined by particular law, without the at least presumed permission of their proper Ordinary.
§2 They may, however, take a rightful and sufficient holiday every year, for the length of time determined by general or by particular law.
|Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and legitimate local custom.
|§1 Clerics are to shun completely everything that is unbecoming to their state, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.
§2 Clerics are to avoid whatever is foreign to their state, even when it is not unseemly.
§3 Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.
§4 Without the permission of their Ordinary, they may not undertake the administration of goods belonging to lay people, or secular offices which involve the obligation to render an account. They are forbidden to act as surety, even concerning their own goods, without consulting their proper Ordinary. They are not to sign promissory notes which involve the payment of money but do not state the reasons for the payment.
|Clerics are forbidden to practise commerce or trade, either personally or through another, for their own or another’s benefit, except with the permission of the lawful ecclesiastical authority.
|§1 Clerics are always to do their utmost to foster among people peace and harmony based on justice.
§2 They are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgement of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defence of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.
|Permanent deacons are not bound by the provisions of cann. 284, 285 §§3 and 4, 286, 287 §2, unless particular law states otherwise.
|§1 As military service ill befits the clerical state, clerics and candidates for sacred orders are not to volunteer for the armed services without the permission of their Ordinary.
§2 Clerics are to take advantage of exemptions from exercising functions and public civil offices foreign to the clerical state, which are granted in their favour by law, agreements or customs, unless their proper Ordinary has in particular cases decreed otherwise.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » Loss of the Clerical State
|Sacred ordination once validly received never becomes invalid. A cleric, however, loses the clerical state:
1° by a judgement of a court or an administrative decree, declaring the ordination invalid;
2° by the penalty of dismissal lawfully imposed;
3° by a rescript of the Apostolic See; this rescript, however, is granted to deacons only for grave reasons and to priests only for the gravest of reasons.
|Apart from the cases mentioned in can. 290, n. 1, the loss of the clerical state does not carry with it a dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, which is granted solely by the Roman Pontiff.
|A cleric who loses the clerical state in accordance with the law, loses thereby the rights that are proper to the clerical state and is no longer bound by any obligations of the clerical state, without prejudice to can. 291. He is prohibited from exercising the power of order, without prejudice to can. 976. He is automatically deprived of all offices and roles and of any delegated power.
|A cleric who has lost the clerical state cannot be enrolled as a cleric again save by rescript of the Apostolic See.
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