Category Archives: Canon Law (Church Law)

Formerly ex-communicated saints

Much is made of canonization of Saint Mary MacKillop with her sordid past of being an ex-communicated Catholic.
Whether by ex-communicated we mean official ecclesiastical punishment or a punishment imposed by a religious superior. One’s being cut off from the Christian community sacramentally is strikingly painful but sometimes a needed medicine for the cure of some spiritual sickness typically demonstrated in an act of disobedience to the Church’s authority based on intellectual separation from some dogma or doctrine of the Church. You’ll see this with matters pertaining to abortion and certain healthcare matters. One simple example is that the medicine of excommunication is automatically imposed by the act itself for threatening the life of the pope. For more information see Book VI of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, canons 1364-99 outline
Some good examples of saints who were once excommunicated and then restored to communication in the Church are:
Saint Cyprian
Saint Hippolytus of Rome
Saint Joan of Arc
Saint Gerard Majella – by St Alphonsus Liguori
Saint Mary of the Cross MacKillop – by the bishop in Australia
Saint Theodore Guerin by her bishop

Pope appoints council for Financial Information Authority

Pope Benedict
XVI appointed  Attilio Cardinal Nicora, as president of the newly
created Financial Information Authority (FIA). Until now, the cardinal has been the
head of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See. Also appointed on
Wednesday were the members of the executive council of the FIA: 

  • Claudio
    Bianchi, former professor of accounting at Rome’s La Sapienza University; 
  • Marcello Condemi, associate professor of economic law at Rome’s G. Marconi
  • Giuseppe Dalla Torre del Tempio di Sanguinetto, rector of Rome’s
    LUMSA University;
  • Cesare Testa, former president of the Central
    Institute for the Sustenance of the Clergy.

Surprisingly, no North
Americans were appointed.

The Financial Information Authority was formed on December
30 as an “autonomous and independent body with the specific task of
preventing and countering the laundering of money and the financing of
terrorism with respect to each subject, both legal and physical, entity and
institution of whatever nature, of Vatican City State, of the Dicasteries of
the Roman Curia and of all the other institutions and entities dependent on the
Holy See.”

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Decree of erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Decree of
erection of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

The supreme law
of the Church is the salvation of souls. As such, throughout its history, the
Church has always found the pastoral and juridical means to care for the good
of the faithful.

With the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus,
promulgated on 4 November 2009, the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, provided
for the establishment of Personal ordinariates through which Anglican faithful
may enter, even in a corporate manner, into full communion with the Catholic
Church. On the same date, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
published Complementary Norms relating to such Ordinariates.

Read more ...

Deacons are to be sexually continent, too!

The lay –and married– canon lawyer Ed Peters wrote a piece indicating the permanent deacons are to be sexually abstinent (continent) permanently. This is the teaching and law of the Church. Men in studies seeking ordination to the Diaconate, that is, to be a permanent deacon, should have been taught this by the formators but lets concede the fact that those in charge of the diaconate program skipped or mis-represented the Church’s teaching in this matter. It is widely seen, however, to an unenforceable church law. Ed Peters quotes the phrase, “perfect and perpetual” from Canon 277 §1 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law to explain the behavior of the permanent deacon. The first premise is paragraph 1, even with the presence of a possible dispensation seen in paragraph 3. The expectation is that all clerics are sexually continent. Conclusion: all men called to holy orders are expected to refrain from sex! The Catholic Church doesn’t have a double standard, one for priests and one for deacons. For the 15K deacons in the USA: amend your life.

The academic article in Studia Canonica of 2005, “Canonical Considerations of Diaconal Continence,” in which Peters’ argues that married permanent deacons are by Church law to refrain from sexual intercourse with their wife, that is, the deacon remains sexually continent. The article can be read at this link: Ed Peters Studia c. 277 Diaconal Sexual Continence.pdf
Thomas Peters, Ed Peters’ son and blogger, posted this piece on his blog.

Pope issues new laws to conform Vatican to European financial controls


Pope Benedict XVI issued sweeping financial reforms for the Vatican City State and the Holy See in the aftermath of great confusion over perceived financial irregularities between the Italian State and the Institute of Religious Works (IOR). For the last six months the Pope has been dogged by accusations of another Vatican coverup of bad money deals causing unnecessary distractions. Recent mega-problems with financial and real estate matters at the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, especially under the leadership of Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, now the cardinal-archbishop of Naples, heightened papal awareness.
Clearly and consistently Benedict is interested in reform and renewal of the Church in all sectors and he sees this restructuring as part of the change needed. The Pope is cleaning a very dusty house. The new Laws conform to the Laws and principles in force in the European Union. A monetary agreement between the European Union and Vatican City State was signed on December 17, 2009. What’s at issue are the questions on how the various Vatican agencies use money. Particularly, “self-money-laundering, the controls on cash entering or leaving Vatican City State, the obligations regarding the transfer of funds, and the heavy administrative sanctions that are applicable not only to legal persons and entities but also to the physical persons who act on their behalf, by means of the binding recourse action.” Several other issues at hand are dealt with here: fraud and counterfeiting, protection of copyrights of money and circulation. None of the offices of the Vatican or the Holy See are going to exempt from financial oversight. Civil penalties will be imposed for violators. The Pope’s new laws take effect April 1, 2011.
Benedict created a new governing agency for money matters: the Financial Information Authority (FIA) –which will look to prevent and combat money laundering. Essentially, the Authority is a Vatican watch dog for money and other tangible assets.
The mindset of the Pope and his assistants is: “The Holy See welcomes this new commitment and will make these material resources that are necessary to the mission and duties of Vatican City State.” This is a moral and pastoral overhaul for the whole Vatican system.
For His Holiness, as the Communiqué says, “These new Laws are part of the Apostolic See’s efforts to build a just and honest social order. At no time may the great principles of social ethics like transparency, honesty and responsibility be neglected or weakened (cf. Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate, 36)
The Apostolic Letter in the Form of a Motu Proprio for the Prevention and Countering of Illegal Activities in the Financial and Monetary Sectors

You can read the Communiqué of the Secretariat of State regarding the new legislation for the prevention and countering of illegal activities in the financial and monetary sectors

The Director of the Vatican Press Office, Father Lombardi comments
A video clip from Rome Reports on the revision of the laws.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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