Can. 35 Within the limits of his or her competence, one who has executive power can
issue a singular administrative act, either by decree or precept, or by rescript, without
prejudice to can. 76 ▀1.
Can. 36 ▀1 An administrative act is to be understood according to the proper meaning
of the words and the common manner of speaking. In doubt, a strict interpretation is to be
given to those administrative acts which concern litigation or threaten or inflict
penalties, or restrict the rights of persons, or harm the acquired rights of others, or
run counter to a law in favor of private persons; all other administrative acts are to be
▀2 Administrative acts must not be extended to cases other than those expressly
Can. 37 An administrative act which concerns the external forum is to be effected in
writing; likewise, if it requires an executor, the act of execution is to be in writing.
Can. 38 An administrative act, even if there is question of a rescript given Motu
proprio, has no effect in so far as it harms the acquired right of another, or is contrary
to a law or approved custom, unless the competent authority has expressly added a
Can. 39 Conditions attached to an administrative act are considered to concern validity
only when they are expressed by the particles 'if', 'unless', 'provided that'.
Can. 40 The executor of any administrative act cannot validly carry out this office
before receiving the relevant document and establishing its authenticity and integrity,
unless prior notice of this document has been conveyed to the executor on the authority of
the person who issued the administrative act.
Can. 41 The executor of an administrative act to whom the task of execution only is
entrusted, cannot refuse to execute it, unless it is quite clear that the act itself is
null, or that it cannot for some other grave reason be sustained, or that the conditions
attached to the administrative act itself have not been fulfilled. If, however, the
execution of the administrative act would appear to be inopportune, by reason of the
circumstances of person or place, the executor is to desist from the execution, and
immediately inform the person who issued the act.
Can. 42 The executor of an administrative act must proceed in accordance with the
mandate. If, however, the executor has not fulfilled essential conditions attached to the
document, or has not observed the substantial form of procedure, the execution is invalid.
Can. 43 The executor of an administrative act may in his prudent judgment substitute
another for himself, unless substitution has been forbidden, or he has been deliberately
chosen as the only person to be executor, or a specific person has been designated as
substitute; however, in these cases the executor may commit the preparatory acts to
Can. 44 An administrative act can also be executed by the executor's successor in
office, unless the first had been chosen deliberately as the only person to be executor.
Can. 45 If there has been any error in the execution of an administrative act, the
executor may execute it again.
Can. 46 An administrative act does not cease on the expiry of the authority of the
person issuing it, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.
Can. 47 The revocation of an administrative act by another administrative act of the
competent authority takes effect only from the moment at which the person to whom it was
issued is lawfully notified.
Can. 48 A singular decree is an administrative act issued by a competent executive
authority, whereby in accordance with the norms of law a decision is given or a provision
made for a particular case; of its nature this decision or provision does not presuppose
that a petition has been made by anyone.
Can. 49 A singular precept is a decree by which an obligation is directly and lawfully
imposed on a specific person or persons to do or to omit something, especially in order to
urge the observance of a law.
Can. 50 Before issuing a singular decree, the person in authority is to seek the
necessary information and proof and, as far as possible, is to consult those whose rights
could be harmed.
Can. 51 A decree is to be issued in writing. When it is a decision, it should express,
at least in summary form, the reasons for the decision.
Can. 52 A singular decree has effect in respect only of those matters it determines and
of those persons to whom it was issued; it obliges such persons everywhere, unless it is
Can. 53 If decrees are contrary one to another, where specific matters are expressed,
the specific prevails over the general; if both are equally specific or equally general,
the one later in time abrogates the earlier insofar as it is contrary to it.
Can. 54 ▀1 A singular decree whose application is entrusted to an executor, has effect
from the moment of execution; otherwise, from the moment when it is made known to the
person on the authority of the one who issued it.
▀2 For a singular decree to be enforceable, it must be made known by a lawful document
in accordance with the law.
Can. 55 Without prejudice to canon 37 and 51, whenever a very grave reason prevents the
handing over of the written text of a decree, the decree is deemed to have been made known
if it is read to the person to whom it is directed, in the presence of a notary or two
witnessesé a record of the occasion is to be drawn up and signed by all present.
Can. 56 A decree is deemed to have been made known if the person to whom it is directed
has been duly summoned to receive or to hear the decree, and without a just reason has not
appeared or has refused to sign.
Can. 57 ▀1 Whenever the law orders a decree to be issued, or when a person who is
concerned lawfully requests a decree or has recourse to obtain one, the competent
authority is to provide for the situation within three months of having received the
petition or recourse, unless a different period of time is prescribed by law.
▀2 If this period of time has expired and the decree has not yet been given, then as
far as proposing a further recourse is concerned, the reply is presumed to be negative.
▀3 A presumed negative reply does not relieve the competent authority of the
obligation of issuing the decree, and, in accordance with can. 128, of repairing any harm
Can. 58 ▀1 A singular decree ceases to have force when it is lawfully revoked by the
competent authority, or when the law ceases for whose execution it was issued.
▀2 A singular precept, which was not imposed by a lawful document, ceases on the
expiry of the authority of the person who issued it.
Can. 59 ▀1 A rescript is an administrative act issued in writing by a competent
authority, by which of its very nature a privilege, dispensation or other favor is
granted at someone's request.
▀2 Unless it is otherwise established, provisions laid down concerning rescripts apply
also to the granting of permission and to the granting of favors by word of mouth.
Can. 60 Any rescript can be obtained by all who are not expressly prohibited.
Can. 61 Unless it is otherwise established, a rescript can be obtained for another,
even without that person's consent, and it is valid before its acceptance, without
prejudice to contrary clauses.
Can. 62 A rescript in which there is no executor, has effect from the moment the
document was issued; the others have effect from the moment of execution.
Can. 63 ▀1 Except where there is question of a rescript which grants a favor
proprio, subreption, that is, the withholding of the truth, renders a rescript invalid if
the request does not express that which, according to canonical law, style and practice,
must for validity be expressed.
▀2 Obreption, that is, the making of a false statement, renders a rescript invalid if
not even one of the motivating reasons submitted is true.
▀3 In rescripts of which there is no executor, the motivating reason must be true at
the time the rescript is issued; in the others, at the time of execution.
Can. 64 Without prejudice to the right of the Penitentiary for the internal forum, a
favor refused by any department of the Roman Curia cannot validly be granted by another
department of the same Curia, or by any other competent authority below the Roman Pontiff,
without the approval of the department which was first approached.
Can. 65 ▀1 Without prejudice to the provisions of ▀▀2 and 3, no one is to seek from
another Ordinary a favor which was refused by that person's proper Ordinary, unless
mention is made of the refusal. When the refusal is mentioned, the Ordinary is not to
grant the favor unless he has learned from the former Ordinary the reasons for the
▀2 A favor refused by a Vicar general or an episcopal Vicar cannot be validly granted
by another Vicar of the same Bishop, even when he has learned from the Vicar who refused
the reasons for the refusal.
▀3 A favor refused by a Vicar general or an episcopal Vicar and later, without any
mention being made of this refusal, obtained from the diocesan Bishop, is invalid. A
favor refused by the diocesan Bishop cannot, without the Bishop's consent, validly be
obtained from his Vicar general or episcopal Vicar, even though mention is made of the
Can. 66 A rescript is not rendered invalid because of an error in the name of the
person to whom it is given or by whom it is issued, or of the place in which such person
resides, or of the matter concerned, provided that in the judgment of the Ordinary there
is no doubt about the person or the matter in question.
Can. 67 ▀1 If it should happen that two contrary rescripts are obtained for one and
the same thing, where specific matters are expressed, the specific prevails over the
▀2 If both are equally specific or equally general, the one earlier in time prevails
over the later, unless in the later one there is an express mention of the earlier, or
unless the person who first obtained the rescript has not used it by reason of deceit or
of notable personal negligence.
▀3 In doubt as to whether a rescript is invalid or not, recourse is to be made to the
Can. 68 A rescript of the Apostolic See in which there is no executor must be presented
to the Ordinary of the person who obtains it only when this is prescribed in the rescript,
or when there is question of public affairs, or when it is necessary to have the
Can. 69 A rescript for whose presentation no time is determined, may be submitted to
the executor at any time, provided there is no fraud or deceit.
Can. 70 If in a rescript the very granting of the favor is entrusted to the executor,
it is a matter for the executor's prudent judgment and conscience to grant or to refuse
Can. 71 No one is obliged to use a rescript granted in his or her favor only, unless
bound by a canonical obligation from another source to do so .
Can. 72 Rescripts granted by the Apostolic See which have expired, can for a just
reason be extended by the diocesan Bishop, but once only and not beyond three months.
Can. 73 No rescripts are revoked by a contrary law, unless it is otherwise provided in
the law itself.
Can. 74 Although one who has been granted a favor orally may use it in the internal
forum, that person is obliged to prove the favor for the external forum whenever this is
Can. 75 If a rescript contains a privilege or a dispensation, the provision of the
following canons are also to be observed.
Can. 76 ▀1 A privilege is a favor given by a special act for the benefit of certain
persons, physical or juridical; it can be granted by the legislator, and by an executive
authority to whom the legislator has given this power.
▀2 Centennial or immemorial possession of a privilege gives rise to the presumption
that it has been granted.
Can. 77 A privilege is to be interpreted in accordance with can. 36 ▀1. The
interpretation must, however, always be such that the beneficiaries of the privilege do in
fact receive some favor.
Can. 78 ▀1 A privilege is presumed to be perpetual, unless the contrary is proved.
▀2 A personal privilege, namely one which attaches to a person, is extinguished with
▀3 A real privilege ceases on the total destruction of the thing or place; a local
privilege, however, revives if the place is restored within fifty years.
Can. 79 Without prejudice to can. 46, a privilege ceases by revocation on the part of
the competent authority in accordance with can. 47.
Can. 80 ▀1 No privilege ceases by renunciation unless this has been accepted by the
▀2 Any physical person may renounce a privilege granted in his or her favor only.
▀3 Individual persons cannot renounce a privilege granted to a juridical person, or
granted by reason of the dignity of a place or thing. Nor can a juridical person renounce
a privilege granted to it, if the renunciation would be prejudicial to the Church or to
Can. 81 A privilege is not extinguished on the expiry of the authority of the person
who granted it, unless it was given with the clause 'at our pleasure' or another
Can. 82 A privilege which does not burden others does not lapse through nonéuse or
contrary use; if it does cause an inconvenience for others, it is lost if lawful
Can. 83 ▀1 Without prejudice to can. 142 ▀2, a privilege ceases on the expiry of the
time or the completion of the number of cases for which it was granted.
▀2 It ceases also if in the judgment of the competent authority circumstances are so
changed with the passage of time that it has become harmful, or that its use becomes
Can. 84 A person who abuses a power given by a privilege deserves to be deprived of the
privilege itself. Accordingly, after a warning which has been in vain, the Ordinary, if it
was he who granted it, is to deprive the person of the privilege which he or she is
gravely abusing; if the privilege has been granted by the Apostolic See, the Ordinary is
obliged to make the matter known to it.
Can. 85 A dispensation, that is, the relaxation of a merely ecclesiastical law in a
particular case, can be granted, within the limits of their competence, by those who have
executive power, and by those who either explicitly or implicitly have the power of
dispensing, whether by virtue of the law itself or by lawful delegation.
Can. 86 In so far as laws define those elements which are essentially constitutive of
institutes or of juridical acts, they are not subject to dispensation.
Can. 87 ▀1 Whenever he judges that it contributes to their spiritual welfare, the
diocesan Bishop can dispense the faithful from disciplinary laws, both universal laws and
those particular laws made by the supreme ecclesiastical authority for his territory or
his subjects. He cannot dispense from procedural laws or from penal laws, nor from those
whose dispensation is specially reserved to the Apostolic See or to some other authority.
▀2 If recourse to the Holy See is difficult, and at the same time there is danger of
grave harm in delay, any Ordinary can dispense from these laws, even if the dispensation
is reserved to the Holy See, provided the dispensation is one which the Holy See
customarily grants in the same circumstances, and without prejudice to can. 291.
Can. 88 The local Ordinary can dispense from diocesan laws and, whenever he judges that
it contributes to the spiritual welfare of the faithful, from laws made by a plenary or a
provincial Council or by the Episcopal Conference.
Can. 89 Parish priests and other priests or deacons cannot dispense from universal or
particular law unless this power is expressly granted to them.
Can. 90 ▀1 A dispensation from an ecclesiastical law is not to be given without a just
and reasonable cause, taking into account the circumstances of the case and the importance
of the law from which the dispensation is given; otherwise the dispensation is unlawful
and, unless given by the legislator or his superior, it is also invalid.
▀2 A dispensation given in doubt about the sufficiency of its reason is valid and
Can. 91 In respect of their subjects, even if these are outside the territory, those
who have the power of dispensing can exercise it even if they themselves are outside their
territory; unless the contrary is expressly provided, they can exercise it also in respect
of peregrini actually present in the territory; they can exercise it too in respect of
Can. 92 A strict interpretation is to be given not only to a dispensation in accordance
with can. 36 ▀1, but also to the very power of dispensing granted for a specific case.
Can. 93 A dispensation capable of successive applications ceases in the same way as a
privilege. It also ceases by the certain and complete cessation of the motivating reason.