Can. 840 The sacraments of the New Testament were instituted by Christ the Lord and
entrusted to the Church. As actions of Christ and of the Church, they are signs and means
by which faith is expressed and strengthened, worship is offered to God and our
sanctification is brought about. Thus they contribute in the most effective manner to
establishing, strengthening and manifesting ecclesiastical communion. Accordingly, in the
celebration of the sacraments both the sacred ministers and all the other members of
Christ's faithful must show great reverence and due care.
Can. 841 Since the sacraments are the same throughout the universal Church, and belong
to the divine deposit of faith, only the supreme authority in the Church can approve or
define what is needed for their validity. It belongs to the same authority, or to another
competent authority in accordance with can. 838 ß3 and 4, to determine what is required
for their lawful celebration, administration and reception and for the order to be
observed in their celebration.
Can. 842 ß1 A person who has not received baptism cannot validly be admitted to the
ß2 The sacraments of baptism, confirmation and the blessed Eucharist so complement one
another that all three are required for full Christian initiation.
Can. 843 ß1 Sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask
for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.
ß2 According to their respective offices in the Church, both pastors of souls and all
other members of Christ's faithful have a duty to ensure that those who ask for the
sacraments are prepared for their reception. This should be done through proper evangelization
and catechetical instruction, in accordance with the norms laid down by the
Can. 844 ß1 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to catholic
members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from catholic
ministers, except as provided in ß2, 3 and 4 of this canon and in can. 861 ß2.
ß2 Whenever necessity requires or a genuine spiritual advantage commends it, and
provided the danger of error or indifferentism is avoided, Christ's faithful for whom it
is physically or morally impossible to approach a catholic minister, may lawfully receive
the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic
ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.
ß3 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments of penance, the Eucharist
and anointing of the sick to members of the eastern Churches not in full communion with
the catholic Church, if they spontaneously ask for them and are properly disposed. The
same applies to members of other Churches which the Apostolic See judges to be in the same
position as the aforesaid eastern Churches so far as the sacraments are concerned.
ß4 If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgment of the diocesan Bishop or of
the Episcopal Conference, there is some other grave and pressing need, catholic ministers
may lawfully administer these same sacraments to other Christians not in full communion
with the catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who
spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect
of these sacraments and are properly disposed.
ß5 In respect of the cases dealt with in ß2, 3 and 4, the diocesan Bishop or the
Episcopal Conference is not to issue general norms except after consultation with the
competent authority, at least at the local level, of the non-Catholic Church or community
Can. 845 ß1 Because they imprint a character, the sacraments of baptism, confirmation
and order cannot be repeated.
ß2 If after diligent enquiry a prudent doubt remains as to whether the sacraments
mentioned in ß1 have been conferred at all, or conferred validly, they are to be
Can. 846 ß1 The liturgical books, approved by the competent authority, are to be
faithfully followed in the celebration of the sacraments. Accordingly, no one may on a
personal initiative add to or omit or alter anything in those books.
ß2 The ministers are to celebrate the sacraments according to their own rite.
Can. 847 ß1 In administering sacraments in which holy oils are to be used, the
minister must use oil made from olives or other plants, which, except as provided in can.
999, n. 2, has recently been consecrated or blessed by a Bishop. Older oil is not to be
used except in a case of necessity.
ß2 The parish priest is to obtain the holy oils from his own Bishop and keep them
carefully in fitting custody.
Can. 848 For the administration of the sacraments the minister may not ask for anything
beyond the offerings which are determined by the competent authority, and he must always
ensure that the needy are not deprived of the help of the sacraments by reason of poverty.
Can. 849 Baptism, the gateway to the sacraments, is necessary for salvation, either by
actual reception or at least by desire. By it people are freed from sins, are born again
as children of God and, made like to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated
into the Church. It is validly conferred only by a washing in real water with the proper
form of words.
Can. 850 Baptism is administered according to the rite prescribed in the approved
liturgical books, except in a case of urgent necessity when only those elements which are
required for the validity of the sacrament must be observed.
Can. 851 The celebration of baptism should be properly prepared. Accordingly:
1ƒ an adult who intends to receive baptism is to be admitted to the catechumenate and,
as far as possible, brought through the various stages to sacramental initiation, in
accordance with the rite of initiation as adapted by the Episcopal Conference and with the
particular norms issued by it;
2ƒ the parents of a child who is to be baptized, and those who are to undertake the
office of sponsors, are to be suitably instructed on the meaning of this sacrament and the
obligations attaching to it. The parish priest is to see to it that either he or others
duly prepare the parents, by means of pastoral advice and indeed by prayer together; a
number of families might be brought together for this purpose and, where possible, each
Can. 852 ß1 The provisions of the canons on adult baptism apply to all those who,
being no longer infants, have reached the use of reason.
ß2 One who is incapable of personal responsibility is regarded as an infant even in
regard to baptism.
Can. 853 Apart from a case of necessity, the water to be used in conferring baptism is
to be blessed, in accordance with the provisions of the liturgical books.
Can. 854 Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring, in accordance
with the provisions of the Episcopal Conference.
Can. 855 Parents, sponsors and parish priests are to take care that a name is not given
which is foreign to Christian sentiment.
Can. 856 Though baptism may be celebrated on any day, it is recommended that normally
it be celebrated on a Sunday or, if possible, on the vigil of Easter.
Can. 857 ß1 Apart from a case of necessity, the proper place for baptism is a church
or an oratory.
ß2 As a rule and unless a just reason suggests otherwise, an adult is to be baptized
in his or her proper parish church, and an infant in the proper parish church of the
Can. 858 ß1 Each parish church is to have a baptismal font, without prejudice to the
same right already acquired by other churches.
ß2 The local Ordinary, after consultation with the local parish priest, may for the
convenience of the faithful permit or order that a baptismal font be placed also in
another church or oratory within the parish.
Can. 859 If, because of distance or other circumstances, the person to be baptized
cannot without grave inconvenience go or be brought to the parish church or the oratory
mentioned in can. 858 ß2, baptism may and must be conferred in some other church or
oratory which is nearer, or even in some other fitting place.
Can. 860 ß1 Apart from a case of necessity, baptism is not to be conferred in private
houses, unless the local Ordinary should for a grave reason permit it.
ß2 Unless the diocesan Bishop has decreed otherwise, baptism is not to be conferred in
hospital, except in a case of necessity or for some other pressing pastoral reason.
Can. 861 ß1 The ordinary minister of baptism is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon,
without prejudice to the provision of can. 530, n. 1.
ß2 If the ordinary minister is absent or impeded, a catechist or some other person
deputed to this office by the local Ordinary, may lawfully confer baptism; indeed, in a
case of necessity, any person who has the requisite intention may do so. Pastors of souls,
especially parish priests, are to be diligent in ensuring that Christ's faithful are
taught the correct way to baptize.
Can. 862 Except in a case of necessity, it is unlawful for anyone without due
permission to confer baptism outside his own territory, not even upon his own subjects.
Can. 863 The baptism of adults, at least of those who have completed their fourteenth
year, is to be referred to the Bishop, so that he himself may confer it if he judges this
Can. 864 Every unapprised person, and only such a person, can be baptized.
Can. 865 ß1 To be admitted to baptism, an adult must have manifested the intention to
receive baptism, must be adequately instructed in the truths of the faith and in the
duties of a Christian, and tested in the Christian life over the course of the
catechumenate. The person must moreover be urged to have sorrow for personal sins.
ß2 An adult in danger of death may be baptized if, with some knowledge of the
principal truths of the faith, he or she has in some manner manifested the intention to
receive baptism and promises to observe the requirements of the Christian religion.
Can. 866 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, immediately after receiving
baptism an adult is to be confirmed, to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist
and to receive holy communion.
Can. 867 ß1 Parents are obliged to see that their infants are baptized within the
first few weeks. As soon as possible after the birth, indeed even before it, they are to
approach the parish priest to ask for the sacrament for their child, and to be themselves
duly prepared for it.
ß2 If the infant is in danger of death, it is to be baptized without any delay.
Can. 868 ß1 For an infant to be baptized lawfully it is required:
1ƒ that the parents, or at least one of them, or the person who lawfully holds their
place, give their consent;
2ƒ that there be a well‚founded hope that the child will be brought up in the
catholic religion. If such hope is truly lacking, the baptism is, in accordance with the
provisions of particular law, to be deferred and the parents advised of the reason for
ß2 An infant of catholic parents, indeed even of non-Catholic parents, may in danger
of death be baptized even if the parents are opposed to it.
Can. 869 ß1 If there is doubt as to whether a person was baptized or whether a baptism
was conferred validly, and after serious enquiry this doubt persists, the person is to be
ß2 Those baptized in a non-Catholic ecclesial community are not to be baptized
conditionally unless there is a serious reason for doubting the validity of their baptism,
on the ground of the matter or the form of words used in the baptism, or of the intention
of the adult being baptized or of that of the baptizing minister.
ß3 If in the cases mentioned in ß1 and 2 a doubt remains about the conferring of
the baptism or its validity, baptism is not to be conferred until the doctrine of the
sacrament of baptism is explained to the person to be baptized, if that person is an
adult. Moreover, the reasons for doubting the validity of the earlier baptism should be
given to the person or, where an infant is concerned, to the parents.
Can. 870 An abandoned infant or a foundling is to be baptized unless diligent enquiry
establishes that it has already been baptized.
Can. 871 Aborted fetuses, if they are alive, are to be baptized, in so far as this is
Can. 872 In so far as possible, a person being baptized is to be assigned a sponsor. In
the case of an adult baptism, the sponsor's role is to assist the person in Christian
initiation. In the case of an infant baptism, the role is together with the parents to
present the child for baptism, and to help it to live a Christian life befitting the
baptized and faithfully to fulfill the duties inherent in baptism.
Can. 873 One sponsor, male or female, is sufficient; but there may be two, one of each
Can. 874 ß1 To be admitted to undertake the office of sponsor, a person must:
1ƒ be appointed by the candidate for baptism, or by the parents or whoever stands in
their place, or failing these, by the parish priest or the minister; to be appointed the
person must be suitable for this role and have the intention of fulfilling it;
2ƒ be not less than sixteen years of age, unless a different age has been stipulated
by the diocesan Bishop, or unless the parish priest or the minister considers that there
is a just reason for an exception to be made;
3ƒ be a catholic who has been confirmed and has received the blessed Eucharist, and
who lives a life of faith which befits the role to be undertaken;
4ƒ not labor under a canonical penalty, whether imposed or declared;
5ƒ not be either the father or the mother of the person to be baptized.
ß2 A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community may be
admitted only in company with a catholic sponsor, and then simply as a witness to the
Can. 875 Whoever administers baptism is to take care that if there is not a sponsor
present, there is at least one witness who can prove that the baptism was conferred.
Can. 876 To prove that baptism has been conferred, if there is no conflict of interest,
it is sufficient to have either one unexceptionable witness or, if the baptism was
conferred upon an adult, the sworn testimony of the baptized person.
Can. 877 ß1 The parish priest of the place in which the baptism was conferred must
carefully and without delay record in the register of baptism the names of the baptized,
the minister, the parents, the sponsors and, if there were such, the witnesses, and the
place and date of baptism. He must also enter the date and place of birth.
ß2 In the case of a child of an unmarried mother, the mother's name is to be entered
if her maternity is publicly known or if, either in writing or before two witnesses, she
freely asks that this be done. Similarly, the name of the father is to be entered, if his
paternity is established either by some public document or by his own declaration in the
presence of the parish priest and two witnesses. In all other cases, the name of the
baptized person is to be registered, without any indication of the name of the father or
of the parents.
ß3 In the case of an adopted child, the names of the adopting parents are to be
registered and, at least if this is done in the local civil registration, the names of the
natural parents in accordance with ß1 and 2 subject however to the rulings of the
Can. 878 If baptism was administered neither by the parish priest nor in his presence,
the minister of baptism, whoever that was, must notify the parish priest of the parish in
which the baptism was administered, so that he may register the baptism in accordance with
can. 877 ß1.
Can. 879 The sacrament of confirmation confers a character. By it the baptized
their path of Christian initiation. They are enriched with the gift of the Holy Spirit,
and are more closely linked to the Church. They are made strong and more firmly obliged by
word and deed to witness to Christ and to spread and defend the faith.
Can. 880 ß1 The sacrament of confirmation is conferred by anointing with chrism on the
forehead in a laying on of hands, and by the words prescribed in the approved liturgical
ß2 The chrism to be used in the sacrament of confirmation must have been consecrated
by a Bishop, even when the sacrament is administered by a priest.
Can. 881 It is desirable that the sacrament of confirmation be celebrated in a church
and indeed during Mass. However, for a just and reasonable cause it may be celebrated
apart from Mass and in any fitting place.
Can. 882 The ordinary minister of confirmation is a Bishop. A priest can also validly
confer this sacrament if he has the faculty to do so, either from the general law or by
way of a special grant from the competent authority.
Can. 883 The following have, by law, the faculty to administer confirmation:
1ƒ within the confines of their jurisdiction, those who in law are equivalent to a
2ƒ in respect of the person to be confirmed, the priest who by virtue of his office or
by mandate of the diocesan Bishop baptizes an adult or admits a baptized adult into full
communion with the catholic Church;
3ƒ in respect of those in danger of death, the parish priest or indeed any priest.
Can. 884 ß1 The diocesan Bishop is himself to administer confirmation or to ensure
that it is administered by another Bishop. If necessity so requires, he may grant to one
or several specified priests the faculty to administer this sacrament.
ß2 For a grave reason the Bishop, or the priest who by law or by special grant of the
competent authority has the faculty to confirm, may in individual cases invite other
priests to join with him in administering the sacrament.
Can. 885 ß1 The diocesan Bishop is bound to ensure that the sacrament of confirmation
is conferred upon his subjects who duly and reasonably request it.
ß2 A priest who has this faculty must use it for those in whose favor it was granted.
Can. 886 ß1 A Bishop in his own diocese may lawfully administer the sacrament of
confirmation even to the faithful who are not his subjects, unless there is an express
prohibition by their own Ordinary.
ß2 In order lawfully to administer confirmation in another diocese, unless it be to
his own subjects, a Bishop needs the permission, at least reasonably presumed, of the
Can. 887 A priest who has the faculty to administer confirmation may, within the
territory assigned to him, lawfully administer this sacrament even to those from outside
the territory, unless there is a prohibition by their own Ordinary. He cannot, however,
validly confirm anyone in another territory, without prejudice to the provision of can.
Can. 888 Within the territory in which they can confer confirmation, ministers may
confirm even in exempt places.
Can. 889 ß1 Every baptized person who is not confirmed, and only such a person, is
capable of receiving confirmation.
ß2 Apart from the danger of death, to receive confirmation lawfully a person who has
the use of reason must be suitably instructed, properly disposed and able to renew the
Can. 890 The faithful are bound to receive this sacrament at the proper time. Parents
and pastors of souls, especially parish priests, are to see that the faithful are properly
instructed to receive the sacrament and come to it at the opportune time.
Can. 891 The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the
age of discretion, unless the Episcopal Conference has decided on a different age, or
there is a danger of death or, in the judgment of the minister, a grave reason suggests
Can. 892 As far as possible the person to be confirmed is to have a sponsor. The
sponsor's function is to take care that the person confirmed behaves as a true witness of
Christ and faithfully fulfils the duties inherent in this sacrament.
Can. 893 ß1 A person who would undertake the office of sponsor must fulfill the
conditions mentioned in can. 874.
ß2 It is desirable that the sponsor chosen be the one who undertook this role at
Can. 894 To establish that confirmation has been conferred, the provisions of can. 876
are to be observed.
Can. 895 The names of those confirmed, the minister, the parents, the sponsors and the
place and date of the confirmation are to be recorded in the confirmation register of the
diocesan curia or, wherever this has been prescribed by the Episcopal Conference or by the
diocesan Bishop, in the register to be kept in the parochial archive. The parish priest
must notify the parish priest of the place of the baptism that the confirmation was
conferred, so that it be recorded in the baptismal register, in accordance with can. 535
Can. 896 If the parish priest of the place was not present, the minister, personally or
through someone else, is to notify him as soon as possible that the confirmation was
Can. 897 The most venerable sacrament is the blessed Eucharist, in which Christ the
Lord himself is contained, offered and received, and by which the Church continually lives
and grows. The eucharistic Sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the
Lord, in which the Sacrifice of the cross is forever perpetuated, is the summit and the
source of all worship and Christian life. By means of it the unity of God's people is
signified and brought about, and the building up of the body of Christ is perfected. The
other sacraments and all the apostolic works of Christ are bound up with, and directed to,
the blessed Eucharist.
Can. 898 Christ's faithful are to hold the blessed Eucharist in the highest honor.
They should take an active part in the celebration of the most august Sacrifice of the
Mass; they should receive the sacrament with great devotion and frequently, and should
reverence it with the greatest adoration. In explaining the doctrine of this sacrament,
pastors of souls are assiduously to instruct the faithful about their obligation in this
Can. 899 ß1 The celebration of the Eucharist is an action of Christ himself and of the
Church. In it Christ the Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself,
substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine, to God the Father, and
gives himself as spiritual nourishment to the faithful who are associated with him in his
ß2 In the eucharistic assembly the people of God are called together under the
presidency of the Bishop or of a priest authorized by him, who acts in the person of
Christ. All the faithful present, whether clerics or lay people, unite to participate in
their own way, according to their various orders and liturgical roles.
ß3 The eucharistic celebration is to be so ordered that all the participants derive
from it the many fruits for which Christ the Lord instituted the eucharistic Sacrifice.
Can. 900 ß1 The only minister who, in the person of Christ, can bring into being the
sacrament of the Eucharist, is a validly ordained priest.
ß2 Any priest who is not debarred by canon law may lawfully celebrate the Eucharist,
provided the provisions of the following canons are observed.
Can. 901 A priest is entitled to offer Mass for anyone, living or dead.
Can. 902 Unless the benefit of Christ's faithful requires or suggests otherwise,
priests may concelebrate the Eucharist; they are, however, fully entitled to celebrate the
Eucharist individually, but not while a celebration is taking place in the same church or
Can. 903 A priest is to be permitted to celebrate the Eucharist, even if he is not
known to the rector of the church, provided either that he presents commendatory letters,
not more than a year old, from his own Ordinary or Superior, or that it can be prudently
judged that he is not debarred from celebrating.
Can. 904 Remembering always that in the mystery of the eucharistic Sacrifice the work
of redemption is continually being carried out, priests are to celebrate frequently.
Indeed, daily celebration is earnestly recommended, because, even if it should not be
possible to have the faithful present, it is an action of Christ and of the Church in
which priests fulfill their principal role.
Can. 905 ß1 Apart from those cases in which the law allows him to celebrate or
concelebrate the Eucharist a number of times on the same day, a priest may not celebrate
more than once a day.
ß2 If there is a scarcity of priests, the local Ordinary may for a good reason allow
priests to celebrate twice in one day or even, if pastoral need requires it, three times
on Sundays or holydays of obligation.
Can. 906 A priest may not celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice without the participation
of at least one of the faithful, unless there is a good and reasonable cause for doing so.
Can. 907 In the celebration of the Eucharist, deacons and lay persons are not permitted
to say the prayers, especially the eucharistic prayer, nor to perform the actions which
are proper to the celebrating priest.
Can. 908 Catholic priests are forbidden to concelebrate the Eucharist with priests or
ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the
Can. 909 A priest is not to omit dutifully to prepare himself by prayer before the
celebration of the Eucharist, nor afterwards to omit to make thanksgiving to God.
Can. 910 ß1 The ordinary minister of holy communion is a Bishop, a priest or a deacon.
ß2 The extraordinary minister of holy communion is an acolyte, or another of Christ's
faithful deputed in accordance with can. 230 ß3.
Can. 911 ß1 The duty and right to bring the blessed Eucharist to the sick as Viaticum
belongs to the parish priest, to assistant priests, to chaplains and, in respect of all
who are in the house, to the community Superior in clerical religious institutes or
societies of apostolic life.
ß2 In a case of necessity, or with the permission at least presumed of the parish
priest, chaplain or Superior, who must subsequently be notified, any priest or other
minister of holy communion must do this.
Can. 912 Any baptized person who is not forbidden by law may and must be admitted to
Can. 913 ß1 For holy communion to be administered to children, it is required that
they have sufficient knowledge and be accurately prepared, so that according to their
capacity they understand what the mystery of Christ means, and are able to receive the
Body of the Lord with faith and devotion.
ß2 The blessed Eucharist may, however, be administered to children in danger of death
if they can distinguish the Body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion with
Can. 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and of those who take their place, as it
is the duty of the parish priest, to ensure that children who have reached the use of
reason are properly prepared and, having made their sacramental confession, are nourished
by this divine food as soon as possible. It is also the duty of the parish priest to see
that children who have not reached the use of reason, or whom he has judged to be
insufficiently disposed, do not come to holy communion.
Can. 915 Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed
or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be
admitted to holy communion.
Can. 916 Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not celebrate Mass or receive the
Body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession, unless there is
a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to
remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve
to go to confession as soon as possible.
Can. 917 One who has received the blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same
day only within a eucharistic celebration in which that person participates, without
prejudice to the provision of can. 921 ß2.
Can. 918 It is most strongly recommended that the faithful receive holy communion in
the course of a eucharistic celebration. If, however, for good reason they ask for it
apart from the Mass, it is to be administered to them, observing the liturgical rites.
Can. 919 ß1 Whoever is to receive the blessed Eucharist is to abstain for at least one
hour before holy communion from all food and drink, with the sole exception of water and
ß2 A priest who, on the same day, celebrates the blessed Eucharist twice or three
times may consume something before the second or third celebration, even though there is
not an hour's interval.
ß3 The elderly and those who are suffering from some illness, as well as those who
care for them, may receive the blessed Eucharist even if within the preceding hour they
have consumed something.
Can. 920 ß1 Once admitted to the blessed Eucharist, each of the faithful is obliged to
receive holy communion at least once a year.
ß2 This precept must be fulfilled during paschal time, unless for a good reason it is
fulfilled at another time during the year.
Can. 921 ß1 Christ's faithful who are in danger of death, from whatever cause, are to
be strengthened by holy communion as Viaticum.
ß2 Even if they have already received holy communion that same day, it is nevertheless
strongly suggested that in danger of death they should communicate again.
ß3 While the danger of death persists, it is recommended that holy communion be
administered a number of times, but on separate days.
Can. 922 Holy Viaticum for the sick is not to be unduly delayed. Those who have the
care of souls are to take assiduous care that the sick are strengthened by it while they
are in full possession of their faculties.
Can. 923 Christ's faithful may participate in the eucharistic Sacrifice and receive
holy communion in any catholic rite, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 844.
Can. 924 ß1 The most holy Sacrifice of the Eucharist must be celebrated in bread, and
in wine to which a small quantity of water is to be added.
ß2 The bread must be wheaten only, and recently made, so that there is no danger of
ß3 The wine must be natural, made from grapes of the vine, and not corrupt.
Can. 925 Holy communion is to be given under the species of bread alone or, in
accordance with the liturgical laws, under both species or, in case of necessity, even
under the species of wine alone.
Can. 926 In the eucharistic celebration, in accordance with the ancient tradition of
the Latin Church, the priest is to use unleavened bread wherever he celebrates Mass.
Can. 927 It is absolutely wrong, even in urgent and extreme necessity, to consecrate
one element without the other, or even to consecrate both outside the eucharistic
Can. 928 The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out either in the Latin
or in another language, provided the liturgical texts have been lawfully approved.
Can. 929 In celebrating and administering the Eucharist, priests and deacons are to
wear the sacred vestments prescribed by the rubrics.
Can. 930 ß1 A priest who is ill or elderly, if he is unable to stand, may celebrate
the eucharistic Sacrifice sitting but otherwise observing the liturgical laws; he may not,
however, do so in public except by permission of the local Ordinary.
ß2 A priest who is blind or suffering from some other infirmity, may lawfully
celebrate the eucharistic Sacrifice by using the text of any approved Mass, with the
assistance, if need be, of another priest or deacon or even a properly instructed lay
Can. 931 The celebration and distribution of the Eucharist may take place on any day
and at any hour, except those which are excluded by the liturgical laws.
Can. 932 ß1 The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless
in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in which case the celebration must be
in a fitting place.
ß2 The eucharistic Sacrifice must be carried out at an altar that is dedicated or
blessed. Outside a sacred place an appropriate table may be used, but always with an altar
cloth and a corporal.
Can. 933 For a good reason, with the express permission of the local Ordinary and
provided scandal has been eliminated, a priest may celebrate the Eucharist in a place of
worship of any Church or ecclesial community which is not in full communion with the
Can. 934 ß1 The blessed Eucharist:
1ƒ must be reserved in the cathedral church or its equivalent, in every parish church,
and in the church or oratory attached to the house of a religious institute or society of
2ƒ may be reserved in a Bishop's chapel and, by permission of the local Ordinary, in
other churches, oratories and chapels.
ß2 In sacred places where the blessed Eucharist is reserved there must always be
someone who is responsible for it, and as far as possible a priest is to celebrate Mass
there at least twice a month.
Can. 935 It is not lawful for anyone to keep the blessed Eucharist in personal custody
or to carry it around, unless there is an urgent pastoral need and the prescriptions of
the diocesan Bishop are observed.
Can. 936 In a house of a religious institute or other house of piety, the blessed
Eucharist is to be reserved only in the church or principal oratory attached to the house.
For a just reason, however, the Ordinary can permit it to be reserved also in another
oratory of the same house.
Can. 937 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, a church in which the blessed
Eucharist is reserved is to be open to the faithful for at least some hours every day, so
that they can pray before the blessed Sacrament.
Can. 938 ß1 The blessed Eucharist is to be reserved habitually in only one tabernacle
of a church or oratory.
ß2 The tabernacle in which the blessed Eucharist is reserved should be sited in a
distinguished place in the church or oratory, a place which is conspicuous, suitably
adorned and conducive to prayer.
ß3 The tabernacle in which the blessed Eucharist is habitually reserved is to be
immovable, made of solid and non‚transparent material, and so locked as to give the
greatest security against any danger of profanation.
ß4 For a grave reason, especially at night, it is permitted to reserve the blessed
Eucharist in some other safer place, provided it is fitting.
ß5 The person in charge of a church or oratory is to see to it that the key of the
tabernacle in which the blessed Eucharist is reserved, is in maximum safe keeping.
Can. 939 Consecrated hosts, in a quantity sufficient for the needs of the faithful, are
to be kept in a pyx or ciborium, and are to be renewed frequently, the older hosts having
been duly consumed.
Can. 940 A special lamp is to burn continuously before the tabernacle in which the
blessed Eucharist is reserved, to indicate and to honor the presence of Christ.
Can. 941 ß1 In churches or oratories which are allowed to reserve the blessed
Eucharist, there may be exposition, either with the pyx or with the monstrance, in
accordance with the norms prescribed in the liturgical books.
ß2 Exposition of the blessed Sacrament may not take place while Mass is being
celebrated in the same area of the church or oratory.
Can. 942 It is recommended that in these churches or oratories, there is to be each
year a solemn exposition of the blessed Sacrament for an appropriate, even if not for a
continuous time, so that the local community may more attentively meditate on and adore
the eucharistic mystery. This exposition is to take place only if a fitting attendance of
the faithful is foreseen, and the prescribed norms are observed.
Can. 943 The minister of exposition of the blessed Sacrament and of the eucharistic
blessing is a priest or deacon. In special circumstances the minister of exposition and
deposition alone, but without the blessing, is an acolyte, and extraordinary minister of
holy communion, or another person deputed by the local Ordinary, in accordance with the
regulations of the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 944 ß1 Wherever in the judgment of the diocesan Bishop it can be done, a
procession through the streets is to be held, especially on the solemnity of the Body and
Blood of Christ, as a public witness of veneration of the blessed Eucharist.
ß2 It is for the diocesan Bishop to establish such regulations about processions as
will provide for participation in them and for their being carried out in a dignified
Can. 945 ß1 In accordance with the approved custom of the Church, any priest who
celebrates or concelebrates a Mass may accept an offering to apply the Mass for a specific
ß2 It is earnestly recommended to priests that, even if they do not receive an
offering, they celebrate Mass for the intentions of Christ's faithful, especially of those
Can. 946 The faithful who make an offering so that Mass can be celebrated for their
intention, contribute to the good of the Church, and by that offering they share in the
Church's concern for the support of its ministers and its activities.
Can. 947 Even the semblance of trafficking or trading is to be entirely excluded from
Can. 948 Separate Masses must be applied for the intentions of those for whom an
individual offering, even if small, has been made and accepted.
Can. 949 One who is obliged to celebrate and apply Mass for the intentions of those who
made an offering, is bound by this obligation even if the offering received is lost
through no fault of his.
Can. 950 If a sum of money is offered for the application of Masses, but with no
indication of the number of Masses to be celebrated, their number is to be calculated on
the basis of the offering prescribed in the place where the donor resides, unless the
donor's intention must lawfully be presumed to have been otherwise.
Can. 951 ß1 A priest who celebrates a number of Masses on the same day may apply each
Mass for the intention for which an offering was made, subject however to the rule that,
apart from Christmas Day, he may retain for himself the offering for only one Mass; the
others he is to transmit to purposes prescribed by the Ordinary, while allowing for some
compensation on the ground of an extrinsic title.
ß2 A priest who on the same day concelebrates a second Mass may not under any title
accept an offering for that Mass.
Can. 952 ß1 The provincial council or the provincial Bishops' meeting is to determine
by decree, for the whole of the province, what offering is to be made for the celebration
and application of Mass. Nonetheless, it is permitted to accept, for the application of a
Mass, an offering voluntarily made, which is greater, or even less, than that which has
ß2 Where there is no such decree, the custom existing in the diocese is to be
ß3 Members of religious institutes of all kinds must abide by the decree or the local
custom mentioned in ß1 and 2.
Can. 953 No one may accept more offerings for Masses to be celebrated by himself than
he can discharge within a year.
Can. 954 If in certain churches or oratories more Masses are requested than can be
celebrated there, these may be celebrated elsewhere, unless the donors have expressly
Can. 955 ß1 One who intends to transfer to others the celebration of Masses to be
applied, is to transfer them as soon as possible to priests of his own choice, provided he
is certain that they are of proven integrity. He must transfer the entire offering
received, unless it is quite certain that an amount in excess of the diocesan offering was
given as a personal gift. Moreover, it is his obligation to see to the celebration of the
Masses until such time as he has received evidence that the obligation has been undertaken
and the offering received.
ß2 Unless it is established otherwise, the time within which Masses are to be
celebrated begins from the day the priest who is to celebrate them receives them.
ß3 Those who transfer to others Masses to be celebrated are without delay to record in
a book both the Masses which they have accepted and those which they have passed on,
noting also the offerings for these Masses.
ß4 Each priest must accurately record the Masses which he has accepted to celebrate
and those which he has in fact celebrated.
Can. 956 Each and every administrator of pious causes and those, whether clerics or lay
persons, who are in any way obliged to provide for the celebration of Masses, are to
transfer to their Ordinaries, in a manner to be determined by the latter, such Mass
obligations as have not been discharged within a year.
Can. 957 The duty and the right to see that Mass obligations are fulfilled belongs, in
the case of churches of the secular clergy, to the local Ordinary; in the case of churches
of religious institutes or societies of apostolic life, to their Superiors.
Can. 958 ß1 The parish priest, as well as the rector of a church or other pious place
in which Mass offerings are usually received, is to have a special book in which he is
accurately to record the number, the intention and the offering of the Masses to be
celebrated, and the fact of their celebration.
ß2 The Ordinary is obliged to inspect these books each year, either personally or
Can. 959 In the sacrament of penance the faithful who confess their sins to a lawful
minister, are sorry for those sins and have a purpose of amendment, receive from God,
through the absolution given by that minister, forgiveness of sins they have committed
after baptism, and at the same time they are reconciled with the Church, which by sinning
Can. 960 Individual and integral confession and absolution constitute the sole ordinary
means by which a member of the faithful who is conscious of grave sin is reconciled with
God and with the Church. Physical or moral impossibility alone excuses from such
confession, in which case reconciliation may be attained by other means also.
Can. 961 ß1 General absolution, without prior individual confession, cannot be given
to a number of penitents together, unless:
1ƒ danger of death threatens and there is not time for the priest or priests to hear
the confessions of the individual penitents;
2ƒ there exists a grave necessity, that is, given the number of penitents, there are
not enough confessors available properly to hear the individual confessions within an
appropriate time, so that without fault of their own the penitents are deprived of the
sacramental grace or of holy communion for a lengthy period of time. A sufficient
necessity is not, however, considered to exist when confessors cannot be available merely
because of a great gathering of penitents, such as can occur on some major feast day
ß2 It is for the diocesan Bishop to judge whether the conditions required in ß1, n. 2
are present; mindful of the criteria agreed with the other members of the Episcopal
Conference, he can determine the cases of such necessity.
Can. 962 ß1 For a member of Christ's faithful to benefit validly from a sacramental
absolution given to a number of people simultaneously, it is required not only that he or
she be properly disposed, but be also at the same time personally resolved to confess in
due time each of the grave sins which cannot for the moment be thus confessed.
ß2 Christ's faithful are to be instructed about the requirements set out in ß1, as
far as possible even on the occasion of general absolution being received. An exhortation
that each person should make an act of contrition is to precede a general absolution, even
in the case of danger of death if there is time.
Can. 963 Without prejudice to the obligation mentioned in can. 989, a person whose
grave sins are forgiven by a general absolution, is as soon as possible, when the
opportunity occurs, to make an individual confession before receiving another general
absolution, unless a just reason intervenes.
Can. 964 ß1 The proper place for hearing sacramental confessions is a church or
ß2 As far as the confessional is concerned, norms are to be issued by the Episcopal
Conference, with the proviso however that confessionals, which the faithful who so wish
may freely use, are located in an open place, and fitted with a fixed grille between the
penitent and the confessor.
ß3 Except for a just reason, confessions are not to be heard elsewhere than in a
Can. 965 Only a priest is the minister of the sacrament of penance.
Can. 966 ß1 For the valid absolution of sins, it is required that, in addition to the
power of order, the minister has the faculty to exercise that power in respect of the
faithful to whom he gives absolution.
ß2 A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself, or by a concession
issued by the competent authority in accordance with can. 969.
Can. 967 ß1 Besides the Roman Pontiff, Cardinals by virtue of the law itself have the
faculty to hear the confessions of Christ's faithful everywhere. Likewise, Bishops have
this faculty, which they may lawfully use everywhere, unless in a particular case the
diocesan Bishop has refused.
ß2 Those who have the faculty habitually to hear confessions, whether by virtue of
their office or by virtue of a concession by the Ordinary of either the place of
incardination or that in which they have a domicile, can exercise that faculty everywhere,
unless in a particular case the local Ordinary has refused, without prejudice to the
provisions of can. 974 ß2 and 3.
ß3 In respect of the members and of those others who live day and night in a house of
an institute or society, this same faculty is by virtue of the law itself possessed
everywhere by those who have the faculty to hear confessions, whether by virtue of their
office or by virtue of a special concession of the competent Superior in accordance with
canon 968 ß2 and 969 ß2. They may lawfully use this faculty, unless in a particular case
some major Superior has, in respect of his own subjects, refused.
Can. 968 ß1 By virtue of his office, for each within the limits of his jurisdiction,
the faculty to hear confessions belongs to the local Ordinary, to the canon penitentiary,
to the parish priest, and to those others who are in the place of the parish priest.
ß2 By virtue of their office, the faculty to hear the confessions of their own
subjects and of those others who live day and night in the house, belongs to the Superiors
of religious institutes or of societies of apostolic life, if they are clerical and of
pontifical right, who in accordance with the constitutions have executive power of
governance, without prejudice however to the provision of can. 630 ß4.
Can. 969 ß1 Only the local Ordinary is competent to give to any priests whomsoever the
faculty to hear the confessions of any whomsoever of the faithful. Priests who are members
of religious institutes may not, however, use this faculty without the permission, at
least presumed, of their Superior.
ß2 The Superior of a religious institute or of a society of apostolic life, mentioned
in can. 968 ß2, is competent to give to any priests whomsoever the faculty to hear the
confessions of his own subjects and of those others who live day and night in the house.
Can. 970 The faculty to hear confessions is not to be given except to priests whose
suitability has been established, either by examination or by some other means.
Can. 971 The local Ordinary is not to give the faculty habitually to hear confessions
to a priest, even to one who has a domicile or quasi‚domicile within his jurisdiction,
without first, as far as possible, consulting that priest's own Ordinary.
Can. 972 The faculty to hear confessions may be given by the competent authority
mentioned in can. 969, for either an indeterminate or a determinate period of time.
Can. 973 The faculty habitually to hear confessions is to be given in writing.
Can. 974 ß1 Neither the local Ordinary nor the competent Superior may, except for a
grave reason, revoke the grant of a faculty habitually to hear confessions.
ß2 If the faculty to hear confessions granted by the local Ordinary mentioned in can.
967, ß2, is revoked by that Ordinary, the priest loses the faculty everywhere. If the
faculty is revoked by another local Ordinary, the priest loses it only in the territory of
the Ordinary who revokes it.
ß3 Any local Ordinary who has revoked a priest's faculty to hear confessions is to
notify the Ordinary who is proper to that priest by reason of incardination or, if the
priest is a member of a religious institute, his competent Superior.
ß4 If the faculty to hear confessions is revoked by his own major Superior, the priest
loses everywhere the faculty to hear the confessions of the members of the institute. But
if the faculty is revoked by another competent Superior, the priest loses it only in
respect of those subjects who are in that Superior's jurisdiction.
Can. 975 Apart from revocation, the faculty mentioned in can. 967 ß2 ceases by loss of
office, by excardination, or by loss of domicile.
Can. 976 Any priest, even though he lacks the faculty to hear confessions, can validly
and lawfully absolve any penitents who are in danger of death, from any censures and sins,
even if an approved priest is present.
Can. 977 The absolution of a partner in a sin against the sixth commandment of the
Decalogue is invalid, except in danger of death.
Can. 978 ß1 In hearing confessions the priest is to remember that he is at once both
judge and healer, and that he is constituted by God as a minister of both divine justice
and divine mercy, so that he may contribute to the honor of God and the salvation of
ß2 In administering the sacrament, the confessor, as a minister of the Church, is to
adhere faithfully to the teaching of the Magisterium and to the norms laid down by the
Can. 979 In asking questions the priest is to act with prudence and discretion, taking
into account the condition and the age of the penitent, and he is to refrain from
enquiring the name of a partner in sin.
Can. 980 If the confessor is in no doubt about the penitent's disposition and the
penitent asks for absolution, it is not to be denied or delayed.
Can. 981 The confessor is to impose salutary and appropriate penances, in proportion to
the kind and number of sins confessed, taking into account, however, the condition of the
penitent. The penitent is bound personally to fulfill these penances.
Can. 982 A person who confesses to having falsely denounced to ecclesiastical authority
a confessor innocent of the crime of solicitation to a sin against the sixth commandment
of the Decalogue, is not to be absolved unless that person has first formally withdrawn
the false denunciation and is prepared to make good whatever harm may have been done.
Can. 983 ß1 The sacramental seal is inviolable. Accordingly, it is absolutely wrong
for a confessor in any way to betray the penitent, for any reason whatsoever, whether by
word or in any other fashion.
ß2 An interpreter, if there is one, is also obliged to observe this secret, as are all
others who in any way whatever have come to a knowledge of sins from a confession.
Can. 984 ß1 The confessor is wholly forbidden to use knowledge acquired in confession
to the detriment of the penitent, even when all danger of disclosure is excluded.
ß2 A person who is in authority may not in any way, for the purpose of external
governance, use knowledge about sins which has at any time come to him from the hearing of
Can. 985 The director and assistant director of novices, and the rector of a seminary
or of any other institute of education, are not to hear the sacramental confessions of
their students resident in the same house, unless in individual instances the students of
their own accord request it.
Can. 986 ß1 All to whom by virtue of office the care of souls is committed, are bound
to provide for the hearing of the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them, who
reasonably request confession, and they are to provide these faithful with an opportunity
to make individual confession on days and at times arranged to suit them.
ß2 In an urgent necessity, every confessor is bound to hear the confessions of
Christ's faithful, and in danger of death every priest is so obliged.
Can. 987 In order that the faithful may receive the saving remedy of the sacrament of
penance, they must be so disposed that, repudiating the sins they have committed and
having the purpose of amending their lives, they turn back to God.
Can. 988 ß1 The faithful are bound to confess, in kind and in number, all grave sins
committed after baptism, of which after careful examination of conscience they are aware,
which have not yet been directly pardoned by the keys of the Church, and which have not
been confessed in an individual confession.
ß2 The faithful are recommended to confess also venial sins.
Can. 989 All the faithful who have reached the age of discretion are bound faithfully
to confess their grave sins at least once a year.
Can. 990 No one is forbidden to confess through an interpreter, provided however that
abuse and scandal are avoided, and without prejudice to the provision of can. 983 ß2.
Can. 991 All Christ's faithful are free to confess their sins to lawfully approved
confessors of their own choice, even to one of another rite.
Can. 992 An indulgence is the remission in the sight of God of the temporal punishment
due for sins, the guilt of which has already been forgiven. A member of Christ's faithful
who is properly disposed and who fulfils certain specific conditions, may gain an
indulgence by the help of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, authoritatively
dispenses and applies the treasury of the merits of Christ and the Saints.
Can. 993 An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it partially or wholly frees
a person from the temporal punishment due for sins.
Can. 994 All members of the faithful can gain indulgences, partial or plenary, for
themselves, or they can apply them by way of suffrage to the dead.
Can. 995 ß1 Apart from the supreme authority in the Church, only those can grant
indulgences to whom this power is either acknowledged in the law, or given by the Roman
ß2 No authority below the Roman Pontiff can give to others the faculty of granting
indulgences, unless this authority has been expressly given to the person by the Apostolic
Can. 996 ß1 To be capable of gaining indulgences a person must be baptized, not
excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least on the completion of the prescribed
ß2 To gain them, however, the person who is capable must have at least the intention
of gaining them, and must fulfill the prescribed works at the time and in the manner
determined by the terms of the grant.
Can. 997 As far as the granting and the use of indulgences is concerned, the other
provisions contained in the special laws of the Church must also be observed.
Can. 998 The anointing of the sick, by which the Church commends to the suffering and
glorified Lord the faithful who are dangerously ill so that he may support and save them,
is conferred by anointing them with oil and pronouncing the words prescribed in the
Can. 999 The oil to be used in the anointing of the sick can be blessed not only by a
Bishop but also by:
1ƒ those who are in law equivalent to the diocesan Bishop;
2ƒ in a case of necessity, any priest but only in the actual celebration of the
Can. 1000 ß1 The anointings are to be carried out accurately, with the words and in
the order and manner prescribed in the liturgical books. In a case of necessity, however,
a single anointing on the forehead, or even on another part of the body, is sufficient
while the full formula is recited.
ß2 The minister is to anoint with his own hand, unless a grave reason indicates the
use of an instrument.
Can. 1001 Pastors of souls and those who are close to the sick are to ensure that the
sick are helped by this sacrament in good time.
Can. 1002 The communal celebration of anointing of the sick, for a number of the sick
together, who have been appropriately prepared and are rightly disposed, may be held in
accordance with the regulations of the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 1003 ß1 Every priest, but only a priest, can validly administer the anointing of
ß2 All priests to whom has been committed the care of souls, have the obligation and
the right to administer the anointing of the sick to those of the faithful entrusted to
their pastoral care. For a reasonable cause, any other priest may administer this
sacrament if he has the consent, at least presumed, of the aforementioned priest.
ß3 Any priest may carry the holy oil with him, so that in a case of necessity he can
administer the sacrament of anointing of the sick.
Can. 1004 ß1 The anointing of the sick can be administered to any member of the
faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger of death by reason
of illness or old age.
ß2 This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes
seriously ill or if, in the same illness, the danger becomes more serious.
Can. 1005 If there is any doubt as to whether the sick person has reached the age of
reason, or is dangerously ill, or is dead, this sacrament is to be administered.
Can. 1006 This sacrament is to be administered to the sick who, when they were in
possession of their faculties, at least implicitly asked for it.
Can. 1007 The anointing of the sick is not to be conferred upon those who obstinately
persist in a manifestly grave sin.
Can. 1008 By divine institution some among Christ's faithful are, through the sacrament
of order, marked with an indelible character and are thus constituted sacred ministers;
thereby they are consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they
fulfill, in the person of Christ the Head, the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling,
and so they nourish the people of God.
Can. 1009 ß1 The orders are the episcopate, the priesthood and the diaconate.
ß2 They are conferred by the imposition of hands and the prayer of consecration which
the liturgical books prescribe for each grade.
Can. 1010 An ordination is to be celebrated during Mass, on a Sunday or holyday of
obligation. For pastoral reasons, however, it may take place on other days also, even on
Can. 1011 ß1 An ordination is normally to be celebrated in the cathedral church. For
pastoral reasons, however, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory.
ß2 Clerics and other members of Christ's faithful are to be invited to attend an
ordination, so that the greatest possible number may be present at the celebration.
Can. 1012 The minister of sacred ordination is a consecrated Bishop.
Can. 1013 No Bishop is permitted to consecrate anyone as Bishop, unless it is first
established that a pontifical mandate has been issued.
Can. 1014 Unless a dispensation has been granted by the Apostolic See, the principal
consecrating Bishop at an episcopal consecration is to have at least two other
consecrating Bishops with him. It is, however, entirely appropriate that all the Bishops
present should join with these in consecrating the Bishop‚elect.
Can. 1015 ß1 Each candidate is to be ordained to the priesthood or to the diaconate by
his proper Bishop, or with lawful dimissorial letters granted by that Bishop.
ß2 If not impeded from doing so by a just reason, a Bishop is himself to ordain his
own subjects. He may not, however, without an apostolic indult lawfully ordain a subject
of an oriental rite.
ß3 Anyone who is entitled to give dimissorial letters for the reception of orders may
also himself confer these orders, if he is a Bishop.
Can. 1016 In what concerns the ordination to the diaconate of those who intend to
enroll themselves in the secular clergy, the proper Bishop is the Bishop of the diocese in which
the aspirant has a domicile, or the Bishop of the diocese to which he intends to devote
himself. In what concerns the priestly ordination of the secular clergy, it is the Bishop
of the diocese in which the aspirant was incardinated by the diaconate.
Can. 1017 A Bishop may not confer orders outside his own jurisdiction except with the
permission of the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 1018 ß1 The following can give dimissorial letters for the secular clergy:
1ƒ the proper Bishop mentioned in can. 1016;
2ƒ the apostolic Administrator; with the consent of the college of consultors, the
diocesan Administrator; with the consent of the council mentioned in can. 495 ß2, the
Pro‚vicar and Pro‚prefect apostolic.
ß2 The diocesan Administrator, the Pro‚vicar and Pro‚prefect apostolic are not to
give dimissorial letters to those to whom admission to orders was refused by the diocesan
Bishop or by the Vicar or Prefect apostolic.
Can. 1019 ß1 It belongs to the major Superior of a clerical religious institute of
pontifical right or of a clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right to grant
dimissorial letters for the diaconate and for the priesthood to his subjects who are, in
accordance with the constitutions, perpetually or definitively enrolled in the institute
ß2 The ordination of all other candidates of whatever institute or society, is
governed by the law applying to the secular clergy, any indult whatsoever granted to
Superiors being revoked.
Can. 1020 Dimissorial letters are not to be granted unless all the testimonials and
documents required by the law in accordance with canon 1050 and 1051 have first been
Can. 1021 Dimissorial letters may be sent to any Bishop in communion with the Apostolic
See, but not to a Bishop of a rite other than that of the ordinand, unless there is an
Can. 1022 When the ordaining Bishop has received the prescribed dimissorial letters, he
may proceed to the ordination only when the authenticity of these letters is established
beyond any doubt whatever.
Can. 1023 Dimissorial letters can be limited or can be revoked by the person granting
them or by his successor; once granted, they do not lapse on the expiry of the grantor's
Can. 1024 Only a baptized man can validly receive sacred ordination.
Can. 1025 ß1 In order lawfully to confer the orders of priesthood or diaconate, it
must have been established, in accordance with the proofs laid down by law, that in the
judgment of the proper Bishop or competent major Superior, the candidate possesses the
requisite qualities, that he is free of any irregularity or impediment, and that he has
fulfilled the requirements set out in can. 1033‚‚1039. Moreover, the documents mentioned
in can. 1050 must be to hand, and the investigation mentioned in can. 1051 must have been
ß2 It is further required that, in the judgment of the same lawful Superior, the
candidate is considered beneficial to the ministry of the Church.
ß3 A Bishop ordaining his own subject who is destined for the service of another
diocese, must be certain that the ordinand will in fact be attached to that other diocese.
Can. 1026 For a person to be ordained, he must enjoy the requisite freedom. It is
absolutely wrong to compel anyone, in any way or for any reason whatsoever, to receive
orders, or to turn away from orders anyone who is canonically suitable.
Can. 1027 Aspirants to the diaconate and the priesthood are to be formed by careful
preparation in accordance with the law.
Can. 1028 The diocesan Bishop or the competent Superior must ensure that before they
are promoted to any order, candidates are properly instructed concerning the order itself
and its obligations.
Can. 1029 Only those are to be promoted to orders who, in the prudent judgment
proper Bishop or the competent major Superior, all things considered, have sound faith,
are motivated by the right intention, are endowed with the requisite knowledge, enjoy a
good reputation, and have moral probity, proven virtue and the other physical and
psychological qualities appropriate to the order to be received.
Can. 1030 The proper Bishop or the competent major Superior may, but only for a
canonical reason, even one which is occult, forbid admission to the priesthood to deacons
subject to them who were destined for the priesthood, without prejudice to recourse in
accordance with the law.
Can. 1031 ß1 The priesthood may be conferred only upon those who have completed their
twenty‚fifth year of age, and possess a sufficient maturity; moreover, an interval of at
least six months between the diaconate and the priesthood must have been observed. Those
who are destined for the priesthood are to be admitted to the order of diaconate only when
they have completed their twenty‚third year.
ß2 A candidate for the permanent diaconate who is not married may be admitted to the
diaconate only when he has completed at least his twenty‚fifth year; if he is married,
not until he has completed at least his thirty‚fifth year, and then with the consent of
ß3 Episcopal Conferences may issue a regulation which requires a later age for the
priesthood and for the permanent diaconate.
ß4 A dispensation of more than a year from the age required by ß1 and 2 is reserved
to the Apostolic See.
Can. 1032 ß1 Aspirants to the priesthood may be promoted to the diaconate only when
they have completed the fifth year of the curriculum of philosophical and theological
ß2 After completing the curriculum of studies and before being promoted to the
priesthood, deacons are to spend an appropriate time, to be determined by the Bishop or by
the competent major Superior, exercising the diaconal order and taking part in the
ß3 An aspirant to the permanent diaconate is not to be promoted to this order until he
has completed the period of formation.
Can. 1033 Only one who has received the sacrament of sacred confirmation may lawfully
be promoted to orders.
Can. 1034 ß1 An aspirant to the diaconate or to the priesthood is not to be ordained
unless he has first, through the liturgical rite of admission, secured enrolment as a
candidate from the authority mentioned in canon 1016 and 1019. He must previously have
submitted a petition in his own hand and signed by him, which has been accepted in writing
by the same authority.
ß2 One who has by vows become a member of a clerical institute is not obliged to
obtain this admission.
Can. 1035 ß1 Before anyone may be promoted to the diaconate, whether permanent or
transitory, he must have received the ministries of lector and acolyte, and have exercised
them for an appropriate time.
ß2 Between the conferring of the ministry of acolyte and the diaconate there is to be
an interval of at least six months.
Can. 1036 For a candidate to be promoted to the order of diaconate or priesthood, he
must submit to the proper Bishop or to the competent major Superior a declaration written
in his own hand and signed by him, in which he attests that he will spontaneously and
freely receive the sacred order and will devote himself permanently to the ecclesiastical
ministry, asking at the same time that he be admitted to receive the order.
Can. 1037 A candidate for the permanent diaconate who is not married and likewise a
candidate for the priesthood, is not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless he
has, in the prescribed rite, publicly before God and the Church undertaken the obligation
of celibacy, or unless he has taken perpetual vows in a religious institute.
Can. 1038 A deacon who refuses to be promoted to the priesthood may not be forbidden
the exercise of the order he has received, unless he is constrained by a canonical
impediment, or unless there is some other grave reason, to be estimated by the diocesan
Bishop or the competent major Superior
Can. 1039 All who are to be promoted to any order must make a retreat for at least five
days, in a place and in the manner determined by the Ordinary. Before he proceeds to the
ordination, the Bishop must have assured himself that the candidates have duly made the
Can. 1040 Those bound by an impediment are to be barred from the reception of orders.
An impediment may be simple; or it may be perpetual, in which case it is called an
irregularity. No impediment is contracted which is not contained in the following canons.
Can. 1041 The following persons are irregular for the reception of orders:
1ƒ one who suffers from any form of insanity, or from any other psychological
infirmity, because of which he is, after experts have been consulted, judged incapable of
being able to fulfill the ministry;
2ƒ one who has committed the offence of apostasy, heresy or schism;
3ƒ one who has attempted marriage, even a civil marriage, either while himself
prevented from entering marriage whether by an existing marriage bond or by a sacred order
or by a public and perpetual vow of chastity, or with a woman who is validly married or is
obliged by the same vow;
4ƒ one who has committed willful homicide, or one who has actually procured an
abortion, and all who have positively cooperated;
5ƒ one who has gravely and maliciously mutilated himself or another, or who has
6ƒ one who has carried out an act of order which is reserved to those in the order of
the episcopate or priesthood, while himself either not possessing that order or being
barred from its exercise by some canonical penalty, declared or imposed.
Can. 1042 The following are simply impeded from receiving orders:
1ƒ a man who has a wife, unless he is lawfully destined for the permanent diaconate;
2ƒ one who exercises an office or administration forbidden to clerics, in accordance
with canon 285 and 286, of which he must render an account; the impediment binds until
such time as, having relinquished the office and administration and rendered the account,
he has been freed;
3ƒ a neophyte, unless, in the judgment of the Ordinary, he has been sufficiently
Can. 1043 Christ's faithful are bound to reveal, before ordination, to the Ordinary or
to the parish priest, such impediments to sacred orders as they may know about.
Can. 1044 ß1 The following are irregular for the exercise of orders already received:
1ƒ one who, while bound by an irregularity for the reception of orders, unlawfully
2ƒ one who committed the offence mentioned in can. 1041, n. 2, if the offence is
3ƒ one who committed any of the offences mentioned in can. 1041, nn. 3, 4,5,6.
ß2 The following are impeded from the exercise of orders:
1ƒ one who, while bound by an impediment to the reception of orders, unlawfully
2ƒ one who suffers from insanity or from some other psychological infirmity mentioned
in can. 1041, n. 1, until such time as the Ordinary, having consulted an expert, has
allowed the exercise of the order in question.
Can. 1045 Ignorance of irregularities and impediments does not exempt from them.
Can. 1046 Irregularities and impediments are multiplied if they arise from different
causes, not however from the repetition of the same cause, unless it is a question of the
irregularity arising from the commission of willful homicide or from having actually
procured an abortion.
Can. 1047 ß1 If the fact on which they are based has been brought to the judicial
forum, dispensation from all irregularities is reserved to the Apostolic See alone.
ß2 Dispensation from the following irregularities and impediments to the reception of
orders is also reserved to the Apostolic See:
1ƒ irregularities arising from the offences mentioned in can. 1041, nn. 2 and 3, if
they are public;
2ƒ an irregularity arising from the offence, whether public or occult, mentioned in
can. 1041, n. 4;
3ƒ the impediment mentioned in can. 1042, n. 1.
ß3 To the Apostolic See is also reserved the dispensation from the irregularities for
the exercise of an order received mentioned in can. 1041, n.3 but only in public cases,
and in n. 4 of the same canon even in occult cases.
ß4 The Ordinary can dispense from irregularities and impediments not reserved to the
Can. 1048 In the more urgent occult cases, if the Ordinary or, in the case of the
irregularities mentioned in can. 1041, nn. 3 and 4, the Penitentiary cannot be approached,
and if there is imminent danger of serious harm or loss of reputation, the person who is
irregular for the exercise of an order may exercise it. There remains, however, the
obligation of his having recourse as soon as possible to the Ordinary or the Penitentiary,
without revealing his name, and through a confessor.
Can. 1049 ß1 In a petition to obtain a dispensation from irregularities or
impediments, all irregularities and impediments are to be mentioned. However, a general
dispensation is valid also for those omitted in good faith, with the exception of the
irregularities mentioned in can. 1041, n. 4, or of others which have been brought to the
judicial forum; it is not, however, valid for those concealed in bad faith.
ß2 If it is question of an irregularity arising from willful homicide or from a
procured abortion, for the validity of the dispensation even the number of offences must
ß3 A general dispensation from irregularities and impediments to the reception of
orders is valid for all orders.
Can. 1050 For a person to be promoted to sacred orders, the following documents are
1ƒ a certificate of studies duly completed in accordance with can. 1032;
2" for those to be ordained to the priesthood, a certificate of the reception of
3ƒ for those to be promoted to the diaconate, certificates of the reception of
baptism, of confirmation and of the ministries mentioned in can. 1035, and a certificate
that the declaration mentioned in can. 1036 has been made, if an ordinand to be promoted
to the permanent diaconate is married, a certificate of his marriage and testimony of his
Can. 1051 In the investigation of the requisite qualities of one who is to be ordained,
the following provisions are to be observed:
1ƒ there is to be a certificate from the rector of the seminary or of the house of
formation, concerning the qualities required in the candidate for the reception of the
order, namely sound doctrine, genuine piety, good moral behavior, fitness for the
exercise of the ministry, likewise, after proper investigation, a certificate of the
candidate's state of physical and psychological health;
2ƒ the diocesan Bishop or the major Superior may, in order properly to complete the
investigation, use other means which, taking into account the circumstances of time and
place, may seem useful, such as testimonial letters, public notices or other sources of
Can. 1052 ß1 For a Bishop to proceed to an ordination which he is to confer by his own
right, he must be satisfied that the documents mentioned in can. 1050 are at hand and
that, as a result of the investigations prescribed by law, the suitability of the
candidate has been positively established.
ß2 For a Bishop to proceed to the ordination of someone not his own subject, it is
sufficient that the dimissorial letters state that those documents are at hand, that the
investigation has been conducted in accordance with the law, and that the candidate's
suitability has been established. If the ordinand is a member of a religious institute or
a society of apostolic life, these letters must also testify that he has been definitively
enrolled in the institute or society and that he is a subject of the Superior who gives
ß3 If, not withstanding all this, the Bishop has definite reasons for doubting that
the candidate is suitable to receive orders, he is not to promote him.
Can. 1053 ß1 After an ordination, the names of the individuals ordained, the name of
the ordaining minister, and the place and date of ordination are to be entered in a
special register which is to be carefully kept in the curia of the place of ordination.
All the documents of each ordination are to be accurately preserved.
ß2 The ordaining Bishop is to give to each person ordained an authentic certificate of
the ordination received. Those who, with dimissorial letters, have been promoted by a
Bishop other than their own, are to submit the certificate to their proper Ordinary for
the registration of the ordination in a special register, to be kept in the archive.
Can. 1054 The local Ordinary, if it concerns the secular clergy, or the competent major
Superior, if it concerns his subjects, is to send a notification of each ordination to the
parish priest of the place of baptism. The parish priest is to record the ordination in
the baptismal register in accordance with can. 535 ß2.
Can. 1055 ß1 The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish between
themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered
to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children, has,
between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament.
ß2 Consequently, a valid marriage contract cannot exist between baptized persons
without its being by that very fact a sacrament.
Can. 1056 The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility; in
Christian marriage they acquire a distinctive firmness by reason of the sacrament.
Can. 1057 ß1 A marriage is brought into being by the lawfully manifested consent of
persons who are legally capable. This consent cannot be supplied by any human power.
ß2 Matrimonial consent is an act of will by which a man and a woman by an irrevocable
covenant mutually give and accept one another for the purpose of establishing a marriage.
Can. 1058 All can contract marriage who are not prohibited by law.
Can. 1059 The marriage of Catholics, even if only one party is baptized, is governed
not only by divine law but also by canon law, without prejudice to the competence of the
civil authority in respect of the merely civil effects of the marriage.
Can. 1060 Marriage enjoys the favor of law. Consequently, in doubt the validity of a
marriage must be upheld until the contrary is proven.
Can. 1061 ß1 A valid marriage between baptized persons is said to be merely ratified,
if it is not consummated; ratified and consummated, if the spouses have in a human manner
engaged together in a conjugal act in itself apt for the generation of offspring. To this
act marriage is by its nature ordered and by it the spouses become one flesh.
ß2 If the spouses have lived together after the celebration of their marriage,
consummation is presumed until the contrary is proven.
ß3 An invalid marriage is said to be putative if it has been celebrated in good faith
by at least one party. It ceases to be such when both parties become certain of its
Can. 1062 ß1 A promise of marriage, whether unilateral or bilateral, called an
engagement, is governed by the particular law which the Episcopal Conference has enacted,
after consideration of such customs and civil laws as may exist.
ß2 No right of action to request the celebration of marriage arises from a promise of
marriage, but there does arise an action for such reparation of damages as may be due.
Can. 1063 Pastors of souls are obliged to ensure that their own church community
provides for Christ's faithful the assistance by which the married state is preserved in
its Christian character and develops in perfection. This assistance is to be given
1ƒ by preaching, by catechetical instruction adapted to children, young people and
adults, indeed by the use of the means of social communication, so that Christ's faithful
are instructed in the meaning of Christian marriage and in the role of Christian
2ƒ by personal preparation for entering marriage, so that the spouses are disposed to
the holiness and the obligations of their new state;
3ƒ by the fruitful celebration of the marriage liturgy, so that it clearly emerges
that the spouses manifest, and participate in, the mystery of the unity and fruitful love
between Christ and the Church;
4ƒ by the help given to those who have entered marriage, so that by faithfully
observing and protecting their conjugal covenant, they may day by day achieve a holier and
a fuller family life.
Can. 1064 It is the responsibility of the local Ordinary to ensure that this assistance
is duly organized. If it is considered opportune, he should consult with men and women of
proven experience and expertise.
Can. 1065 ß1 Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to
receive it before being admitted to marriage, if this can be done without grave
ß2 So that the sacrament of marriage may be fruitfully received, spouses are earnestly
recommended that they approach the sacraments of penance and the blessed Eucharist.
Can. 1066 Before a marriage takes place, it must be established that nothing stands in
the way of its valid and lawful celebration.
Can. 1067 The Episcopal Conference is to lay down norms concerning the questions to be
asked of the parties, the publication of marriage banns, and the other appropriate means
of enquiry to be carried out before marriage. Only when he has carefully observed these
norms may the parish priest assist at a marriage.
Can. 1068 In danger of death, if other proofs are not available, it suffices, unless
there are contrary indications, to have the assertion of the parties, sworn if need be,
that they are baptized and free of any impediment.
Can. 1069 Before the celebration of a marriage, all the faithful are bound to reveal to
the parish priest or the local Ordinary such impediments as they may know about.
Can. 1070 If someone other than the parish priest whose function it is to assist at the
marriage has made the investigations, he is by an authentic document to inform that parish
priest of the outcome of these enquiries as soon as possible.
Can. 1071 ß1 Except in a case of necessity, no one is to assist without the permission
of the local Ordinary at:
1ƒ a marriage of vagi;
2ƒ a marriage which cannot be recognized by the civil law or celebrated in accordance
3ƒ a marriage of a person for whom a previous union has created natural obligations
towards a third party or towards children;
4ƒ a marriage of a person who has notoriously rejected the catholic faith;
5ƒ a marriage of a person who is under censure;
6ƒ a marriage of a minor whose parents are either unaware of it or are reasonably
opposed to it;
7ƒ a marriage to be entered by proxy, as mentioned in can. 1105.
ß2 The local Ordinary is not to give permission to assist at the marriage of a person
who has notoriously rejected the Catholic faith unless, with the appropriate adjustments,
the norms of can. 1125 have been observed.
Can. 1072 Pastors of souls are to see to it that they dissuade young people from
entering marriage before the age customarily accepted in the region.
Can. 1073 A diriment impediment renders a person incapable of validly contracting a
Can. 1074 An impediment is said to be public, when it can be proved in the external
forum; otherwise, it is occult.
Can. 1075 ß1 Only the supreme authority in the Church can authentically declare when
the divine law prohibits or invalidates a marriage.
ß2 Only the same supreme authority has the right to establish other impediments for
those who are baptized.
Can. 1076 A custom which introduces a new impediment, or is contrary to existing
impediments, is to be reprobated.
Can. 1077 ß1 The local Ordinary can in a specific case forbid a marriage of his own
subjects, wherever they are residing, or of any person actually present in his territory;
he can do this only for a time, for a grave reason and while that reason persists.
ß2 Only the supreme authority in the Church can attach an invalidating clause to a
Can. 1078 ß1 The local Ordinary can dispense his own subjects wherever they are
residing, and all who are actually present in his territory, from all impediments of
ecclesiastical law, except for those whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic See.
ß2 The impediments whose dispensation is reserved to the Apostolic See are:
1ƒ the impediment arising from sacred orders or from a public perpetual vow of
chastity in a religious institute of pontifical right
2ƒ the impediment of crime mentioned in can. 1090.
ß3 A dispensation is never given from the impediment of consanguinity in the direct
line or in the second degree of the collateral line.
Can. 1079 ß1 When danger of death threatens, the local Ordinary can dispense his own
subjects, wherever they are residing, and all who are actually present in his territory,
both from the form to be observed in the celebration of marriage, and from each and every
impediment of ecclesiastical law, whether public or occult, with the exception of the
impediment arising from the sacred order of priesthood.
ß2 In the same circumstances mentioned in ß1, but only for cases in which not even
the local Ordinary can be approached, the same faculty of dispensation is possessed by the
parish priest, by a properly delegated sacred minister, and by the priest or deacon who
assists at the marriage in accordance with can. 1116 ß2.
ß3 In danger of death, the confessor has the power to dispense from occult impediments
for the internal forum, whether within the act of sacramental confession or outside it.
ß4 In the case mentioned in ß2, the local Ordinary is considered unable to be
approached if he can be reached only by telegram or by telephone.
Can. 1080 ß1 Whenever an impediment is discovered after everything has already been
prepared for a wedding and the marriage cannot without probable danger of grave harm be
postponed until a dispensation is obtained from the competent authority, the power to
dispense from all impediments, except those mentioned in can. 1078 ß2, n. 1, is possessed
by the local Ordinary and, provided the case is occult, by all those mentioned in can.
1079 ß2‚3, the conditions prescribed therein having been observed.
ß2 This power applies also to the validation of a marriage when there is the same
danger in delay and there is no time to have recourse to the Apostolic See or, in the case
of impediments from which he can dispense, to the local Ordinary.
Can. 1081 The parish priest or the priest or deacon mentioned in can. 1079 ß2, should
inform the local Ordinary immediately of a dispensation granted for the external forum,
and this dispensation is to be recorded in the marriage register.
Can. 1082 Unless a rescript of the Penitentiary provides otherwise, a dispensation from
an occult impediment granted in the internal nonsacramental forum, is to be recorded in
the book to be kept in the secret archive of the curia. No other dispensation for the
external forum is necessary if at a later stage the occult impediment becomes public.
Can. 1083 ß1 A man cannot validly enter marriage before the completion of his
sixteenth year of age, nor a woman before the completion of her fourteenth year.
ß2 The Episcopal Conference may establish a higher age for the lawful celebration of
Can. 1084 ß1 Antecedent and perpetual impotence to have sexual intercourse, whether on
the part of the man or on that of the woman, whether absolute or relative, by its very
nature invalidates marriage.
ß2 If the impediment of impotence is doubtful, whether the doubt be one of law or one
of fact, the marriage is not to be prevented nor, while the doubt persists, is it to be
ß3 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1098, sterility neither forbids nor
invalidates a marriage.
Can. 1085 ß1 A person bound by the bond of a previous marriage, even if not
consummated, invalidly attempts marriage.
ß2 Even though the previous marriage is invalid or for any reason dissolved, it is not
thereby lawful to contract another marriage before the nullity or the dissolution of the
previous one has been established lawfully and with certainty.
Can. 1086 ß1 A marriage is invalid when one of the two persons was baptized in the
catholic Church or received into it and has not by a formal act defected from it, and the
other was not baptized.
ß2 This impediment is not to be dispensed unless the conditions mentioned in
canon 1125 and 1126 have been fulfilled.
ß3 If at the time the marriage was contracted one party was commonly understood to be
baptized, or if his or her baptism was doubtful, the validity of the marriage is to be
presumed in accordance with can. 1060, until it is established with certainty that one
party was baptized and the other was not.
Can. 1087 Those who are in sacred orders invalidly attempt marriage.
Can. 1088 Those who are bound by a public perpetual vow of chastity in a religious
institute invalidly attempt marriage.
Can. 1089 No marriage can exist between a man and a woman who has been abducted, or at
least detained, with a view to contracting a marriage with her, unless the woman, after
she has been separated from her abductor and established in a safe and free place, chooses
marriage of her own accord.
Can. 1090 ß1 One who, with a view to entering marriage with a particular person, has
killed that person's spouse, or his or her own spouse, invalidly attempts this marriage.
ß2 They also invalidly attempt marriage with each other who, by mutual physical or
moral action, brought about the death of either's spouse.
Can. 1091 ß1 Marriage is invalid between those related by consanguinity in all degrees
of the direct line, whether ascending or descending, legitimate or natural.
ß2 In the collateral line, it is invalid up to the fourth degree inclusive.
ß3 The impediment of consanguinity is not multiplied.
ß4 A marriage is never to be permitted if a doubt exists as to whether the parties are
related by consanguinity in any degree of the direct line, or in the second degree of the
Can. 1092 Affinity in any degree of the direct line invalidates marriage.
Can. 1093 The impediment of public propriety arises when a couple live together after
an invalid marriage, or from a notorious or public concubinage. It invalidates marriage in
the first degree of the direct line between the man and those related by consanguinity to
the woman, and vice versa.
Can. 1094 Those who are legally related by reason of adoption cannot validly marry each
other if their relationship is in the direct line or in the second degree of the
Can. 1095 The following are incapable of contracting marriage:
1ƒ those who lack sufficient use of reason;
2ƒ those who suffer from a grave lack of discretionary judgment concerning the
essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted;
3ƒ those who, because of causes of a psychological nature, are unable to assume the
essential obligations of marriage.
Can. 1096 ß1 For matrimonial consent to exist, it is necessary that the contracting
parties be at least not ignorant of the fact that marriage is a permanent partnership
between a man and a woman, ordered to the procreation of children through some form of
ß2 This ignorance is not presumed after puberty.
Can. 1097 ß1 Error about a person renders a marriage invalid.
ß2 Error about a quality of the person, even though it be the reason for the contract,
does not render a marriage invalid unless this quality is directly and principally
Can. 1098 A person contracts invalidly who enters marriage inveigled by deceit,
perpetrated in order to secure consent, concerning some quality of the other party, which
of its very nature can seriously disrupt the partnership of conjugal life.
Can. 1099 Provided it does not determine the will, error concerning the unity or the
indissolubility or the sacramental dignity of marriage does not vitiate matrimonial
Can. 1100 Knowledge of or opinion about the nullity of a marriage does not necessarily
exclude matrimonial consent.
Can. 1101 ß1 The internal consent of the mind is presumed to conform to the words or
the signs used in the celebration of a marriage.
ß2 If, however, either or both of the parties should by a positive act of will exclude
marriage itself or any essential element of marriage or any essential property, such party
Can. 1102 ß1 Marriage cannot be validly contracted subject to a condition concerning
ß2 Marriage entered into subject to a condition concerning the past or the present is
valid or not, according as whatever is the basis of the condition exists or not.
ß3 However, a condition as mentioned in ß2 may not lawfully be attached except with
the written permission of the local Ordinary.
Can. 1103 A marriage is invalid which was entered into by reason of force or of grave
fear imposed from outside, even if not purposely, from which the person has no escape
other than by choosing marriage.
Can. 1104 ß1 To contract marriage validly it is necessary that the contracting parties
be present together, either personally or by proxy
ß2 The spouses are to express their matrimonial consent in words; if, however, they
cannot speak, then by equivalent signs.
Can. 1105 ß1 For a marriage by proxy to be valid, it is required:
1ƒ that there be a special mandate to contract with a specific person;
2ƒ that the proxy be designated by the mandator and personally discharge this
ß2 For the mandate to be valid, it is to be signed by the mandator, and also by the
parish priest or local Ordinary of the place in which the mandate is given or by a priest
delegated by either of them or by at least two witnesses, or it is to be drawn up in a
document which is authentic according to the civil law.
ß3 If the mandator cannot write, this is to be recorded in the mandate and another
witness added who is also to sign the document; otherwise, the mandate is invalid.
ß4 If the mandator revokes the mandate, or becomes insane, before the proxy contracts
in his or her name, the marriage is invalid, even though the proxy or the other
contracting party is unaware of the fact.
Can. 1106 Marriage can be contracted through an interpreter, but the parish priest may
not assist at such a marriage unless he is certain of the trustworthiness of the
Can. 1107 Even if a marriage has been entered into invalidly by reason of an impediment
or defect of form, the consent given is presumed to persist until its withdrawal has been
Can. 1108 ß1 Only those marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of
the local Ordinary or parish priest or of the priest or deacon delegated by either of
them, who, in the presence of two witnesses, assists, in accordance however with the rules
set out in the following canons, and without prejudice to the exceptions mentioned in
canon 144, 1112 ß1, 1116 and 1127 ß2‚3.
ß2 Only that person who, being present, asks the contracting parties to manifest their
consent and in the name of the Church receives it, is understood to assist at a marriage.
Can. 1109 Within the limits of their territory, the local Ordinary and the parish
priest by virtue of their office validly assist at the marriages not only of their
subjects, but also of non‚subjects, provided one or other of the parties is of the
Latin rite. They cannot assist if by sentence or decree they have been excommunicated, placed
under interdict or suspended from office, or been declared to be such.
Can. 1110 A personal Ordinary and a personal parish priest by virtue of their office
validly assist, within the confines of their jurisdiction, at the marriages only of those
of whom at least one party is their subject.
Can. 1111 ß1 As long as they validly hold office, the local Ordinary and the parish
priest can delegate to priests and deacons the faculty, even the general faculty, to
assist at marriages within the confines of their territory.
ß2 In order that the delegation of the faculty to assist at marriages be valid, it
must be expressly given to specific persons; if there is question of a special delegation,
it is to be given for a specific marriage; if however there is question of a general
delegation, it is to be given in writing.
Can. 1112 ß1 Where there are no priests and deacons, the diocesan Bishop can delegate
lay persons to assist at marriages, if the Episcopal Conference has given its prior
approval and the permission of the Holy See has been obtained.
ß2 A suitable lay person is to be selected, capable of giving instruction to those who
are getting married, and fitted to conduct the marriage liturgy properly.
Can. 1113 ß1 Before a special delegation is granted, provision is to be made for all
those matters which the law prescribes to establish the freedom to marry.
Can. 1114 One who assists at a marriage acts unlawfully unless he has satisfied himself
of the parties' freedom to marry in accordance with the law and, whenever he assists by
virtue of a general delegation, has satisfied himself of the parish priest's permission,
if this is possible.
Can. 1115 Marriages are to be celebrated in the parish in which either of the
contracting parties has a domicile or a quasi‚domicile or a month's residence or, if
there is question of vagi, in the parish in which they are actually residing. With the
permission of the proper Ordinary or the proper parish priest, marriages may be celebrated
Can. 1116 ß1 If one who, in accordance with the law, is competent to assist, cannot be
present or be approached without grave inconvenience, those who intend to enter a true
marriage can validly and lawfully contract in the presence of witnesses only:
1ƒ in danger of death;
2ƒ apart from danger of death, provided it is prudently foreseen that this state of
affairs will continue for a month.
ß2 In either case, if another priest or deacon is at hand who can be present, he must
be called upon and, together with the witnesses, be present at the celebration of the
marriage, without prejudice to the validity of the marriage in the presence of only the
Can. 1117 The form prescribed above is to be observed if at least one of the parties
contracting marriage was baptized in the catholic Church or received into it and has not
by a formal act defected from it, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1127 ß2.
Can. 1118 ß1 A marriage between Catholics, or between a catholic party and a
baptized non-Catholic, is to be celebrated in the parish church. By permission of the local
Ordinary or of the parish priest, it may be celebrated in another church or oratory.
ß2 The local Ordinary can allow a marriage to be celebrated in another suitable place.
ß3 A marriage between a catholic party and an unapprised party may be celebrated in a
church or in another suitable place.
Can. 1119 Apart from a case of necessity, in the celebration of marriage those rites
are to be observed which are prescribed in the liturgical books approved by the Church, or
which are acknowledged by lawful customs.
Can. 1120 The Episcopal Conference can draw up its own rite of marriage, in keeping
with those usages of place and people which accord with the Christian spirit; it is to be
reviewed by the Holy See, and it is without prejudice to the law that the person who is
present to assist at the marriage is to ask for and receive the expression of the consent
of the contracting parties.
Can. 1121 ß1 As soon as possible after the celebration of a marriage, the parish
priest of the place of celebration or whoever takes his place, even if neither has
assisted at the marriage, is to record in the marriage register the names of the spouses,
of the person who assisted and of the witnesses, and the place and date of the celebration
of the marriage; this is to be done in the manner prescribed by the Episcopal Conference
or by the diocesan Bishop.
ß2 Whenever a marriage is contracted in accordance with can. 1116, the priest or
deacon, if he was present at the celebration, otherwise the witnesses, are bound jointly
with the contracting parties as soon as possible to inform the parish priest or the local
Ordinary about the marriage entered into.
ß3 In regard to a marriage contracted with a dispensation from the canonical form, the
local Ordinary who granted the dispensation is to see to it that the dispensation and the
celebration are recorded in the marriage register both of the curia, and of the proper
parish of the catholic party whose parish priest carried out the inquiries concerning the
freedom to marry. The catholic spouse is obliged as soon as possible to notify that same
Ordinary and parish priest of the fact that the marriage was celebrated, indicating also
the place of celebration and the public form which was observed.
Can. 1122 ß1 A marriage which has been contracted is to be recorded also in the
baptismal registers in which the baptism of the spouses was entered.
ß2 If a spouse contracted marriage elsewhere than in the parish of baptism, the parish
priest of the place of celebration is to send a notification of the marriage as soon as
possible to the parish priest of the place of baptism.
Can. 1123 Whenever a marriage is validated for the external forum, or declared invalid,
or lawfully dissolved other than by death, the parish priest of the place of the
celebration of the marriage must be informed, so that an entry may be duly made in the
registers of marriage and of baptism.
Can. 1124 Without the express permission of the competent authority, marriage is
prohibited between two baptized persons, one of whom was baptized in the catholic Church
or received into it after baptism and has not defected from it by a formal act, the other
of whom belongs to a Church or ecclesial community not in full communion with the catholic
Can. 1125 The local Ordinary can grant this permission if there is a just and
reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions are fulfilled:
1ƒ the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of
defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power
in order that all the children be baptized and brought up in the catholic Church;
2ƒ the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the
catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of
the obligation of the catholic party
3ƒ both parties are to be instructed about the purposes and essential properties of
marriage, which are not to be excluded by either contractant.
Can. 1126 It is for the Episcopal Conference to prescribe the manner in which these
declarations and promises, which are always required, are to be made, and to determine how
they are to be established in the external forum, and how the non-Catholic party is to be
informed of them.
Can. 1127 ß1 The provisions of can. 1108 are to be observed in regard to the form to
be used in a mixed marriage. If, however, the catholic party contracts marriage with a
non-Catholic party of oriental rite, the canonical form of celebration is to be observed
for lawfulness only; for validity, however, the intervention of a sacred minister is
required, while observing the other requirements of law.
ß2 If there are grave difficulties in the way of observing the canonical form, the
local Ordinary of the catholic party has the right to dispense from it in individual
cases, having however consulted the Ordinary of the place of the celebration of the
marriage; for validity, however, some public form of celebration is required. It is for
the Episcopal Conference to establish norms whereby this dispensation may be granted in a
ß3 It is forbidden to have, either before or after the canonical celebration in
accordance with ß1, another religious celebration of the same marriage for the purpose of
giving or renewing matrimonial consent. Likewise, there is not to be a religious
celebration in which the catholic assistant and a non-Catholic minister, each performing
his own rite, ask for the consent of the parties.
Can. 1128 Local Ordinaries and other pastors of souls are to see to it that the
catholic spouse and the children born of a mixed marriage are not without the spiritual
help needed to fulfill their obligations; they are also to assist the spouses to foster the
unity of conjugal and family life.
Can. 1129 The provisions of canon 1127 and 1128 are to be applied also to marriages
which are impeded by the impediment of disparity of worship mentioned in can. 1086 ß1.
Can. 1130 For a grave and urgent reason, the local Ordinary may permit that a marriage
be celebrated in secret.
Can. 1131 Permission to celebrate a marriage in secret involves:
1ƒ that the investigations to be made before the marriage are carried out in secret;
2ƒ that the secret in regard to the marriage which has been celebrated is observed by
the local Ordinary, by whoever assists, by the witnesses and by the spouses.
Can. 1132 The obligation of observing the secret mentioned in can. 1131 n. 2 ceases for
the local Ordinary if from its observance a threat arises of grave scandal or of grave
harm to the sanctity of marriage. This fact is to be made known to the parties before the
celebration of the marriage.
Can. 1133 A marriage celebrated in secret is to be recorded only in a special register
which is to be kept in the secret archive of the curia.
Can. 1134 From a valid marriage there arises between the spouses a bond which of its
own nature is permanent and exclusive. Moreover, in Christian marriage the spouses are by
a special sacrament strengthened and, as it were, consecrated for the duties and the
dignity of their state.
Can. 1135 Each spouse has an equal obligation and right to whatever pertains to the
partnership of conjugal life.
Can. 1136 Parents have the most grave obligation and the primary right to do all in
their power to ensure their children's physical, social, cultural, moral and religious
Can. 1137 Children who are conceived or born of a valid or of a putative marriage are
Can. 1138 ß1 The father is he who is identified by a lawful marriage, unless by clear
arguments the contrary is proven.
ß2 Children are presumed legitimate who are born at least 180 days after the date the
marriage was celebrated, or within 300 days from the date of the dissolution of conjugal
Can. 1139 Illegitimate children are legitimated by the subsequent marriage of their
parents, whether valid or putative, or by a rescript of the Holy See.
Can. 1140 As far as canonical effects are concerned, legitimated children are
equivalent to legitimate children in all respects, unless it is otherwise expressly
provided by the law.
Can. 1141 A marriage which is ratified and consummated cannot be dissolved by any human
power or by any cause other than death.
Can. 1142 A non‚consummated marriage between baptized persons or between a baptized
party and an unapprised party can be dissolved by the Roman Pontiff for a just reason, at
the request of both parties or of either party, even if the other is unwilling.
Can. 1143 ß1 In virtue of the Pauline privilege, a marriage entered into by two
unapprised persons is dissolved in favor of the faith of the party who received baptism,
by the very fact that a new marriage is contracted by that same party, provided the
unapprised party departs.
ß2 The unapprised party is considered to depart if he or she is unwilling to live with
the baptized party, or to live peacefully without offence to the Creator, unless the
baptized party has, after the reception of baptism, given the other just cause to depart.
Can. 1144 ß1 For the baptized person validly to contract a new marriage, the
unapprised party must always be interpellated whether:
1ƒ he or she also wishes to receive baptism;
2ƒ he or she at least is willing to live peacefully with the baptized party without
offence to the Creator.
ß2 This interpellation is to be done after baptism. However, the local Ordinary can
for a grave reason permit that the interpellation be done before baptism; indeed he can
dispense from it, either before or after baptism, provided it is established, by at least
a summary and extrajudicial procedure, that it cannot be made or that it would be useless.
Can. 1145 As a rule, the interpellation is to be done on the authority of the local
Ordinary of the converted party. A period of time for reply is to be allowed by this
Ordinary to the other party, if indeed he or she asks for it, warning the person however
that if the period passes without any reply, silence will be taken as a negative response.
ß2 Even an interpellation made privately by the converted party is valid, and indeed
it is lawful if the form prescribed above cannot be observed.
ß3 In both cases there must be lawful proof in the external forum of the
interpellation having been done and of its outcome.
Can. 1146 The baptized party has the right to contract a new marriage with a catholic:
1ƒ if the other party has replied in the negative to the interpellation, or if the
interpellation has been lawfully omitted;
2ƒ if the unapprised person, whether already interpellated or not, who at first
persevered in peaceful cohabitation without offence to the Creator, has subsequently
departed without just cause, without prejudice to the provisions of canon 1144 and 1145.
Can. 1147 However, the local Ordinary can for a grave reason allow the baptized
using the Pauline privilege, to contract marriage with a non-Catholic party, whether
baptized or unapprised; in this case, the provisions of the canons on mixed marriages must
also be observed.
Can. 1148 ß1 When an unapprised man who simultaneously has a number of unapprised
wives, has received baptism in the catholic Church, if it would be a hardship for him to
remain with the first of the wives, he may retain one of them, having dismissed the
others. The same applies to an unapprised woman who simultaneously has a number of
ß2 In the cases mentioned in ß1, when baptism has been received, the marriage is to
be contracted in the legal form, with due observance, if need be, of the provisions
concerning mixed marriages and of other provisions of law.
ß3 In the light of the moral, social and economic circumstances of place and person,
the local Ordinary is to ensure that adequate provision is made, in accordance with the
norms of justice, Christian charity and natural equity, for the needs of the first wife
and of the others who have been dismissed.
Can. 1149 An unapprised person who, having received baptism in the catholic Church,
cannot re‚establish cohabitation with his or her unapprised spouse by reason of captivity
or persecution, can contract another marriage, even if the other party has in the meantime
received baptism, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 1141.
Can. 1150 In a doubtful matter the privilege of the faith enjoys the favor of law.
Can. 1151 Spouses have the obligation and the right to maintain their common conjugal
life, unless a lawful reason excuses them.
Can. 1152 ß1 It is earnestly recommended that a spouse, motivated by Christian
and solicitous for the good of the family, should not refuse to pardon an adulterous
partner and should not sunder the conjugal life. Nevertheless, if that spouse has not
either expressly or tacitly condoned the other's fault, he or she has the right to sever
the common conjugal life, provided he or she has not consented to the adultery, nor been
the cause of it, nor also committed adultery.
ß2 Tacit condonation occurs if the innocent spouse, after becoming aware of the
adultery, has willingly engaged in a marital relationship with the other spouse; it is
presumed, however, if the innocent spouse has maintained the common conjugal life for six
months, and has not had recourse to ecclesiastical or to civil authority.
ß3 Within six months of having spontaneously terminated the common conjugal life, the
innocent spouse is to bring a case for separation to the competent ecclesiastical
authority. Having examined all the circumstances, this authority is to consider whether
the innocent spouse can be brought to condone the fault and not prolong the separation
Can. 1153 ß1 A spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to
the children, or otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult, provides the other
spouse with a reason to leave, either by a decree of the local Ordinary or, if there is
danger in delay, even on his or her own authority.
ß2 In all cases, when the reason for separation ceases, the common conjugal life is to
be restored, unless otherwise provided by ecclesiastical authority.
Can. 1154 When a separation of spouses has taken place, provision is always, and in
good time, to be made for the due maintenance and upbringing of the children.
Can. 1155 The innocent spouse may laudably readmit the other spouse to the conjugal
life, in which case he or she renounces the right to separation .
Can. 1156 ß1 To validate a marriage which is invalid because of a diriment impediment,
it is required that the impediment cease or be dispensed, and that at least the party
aware of the impediment renews consent.
ß2 This renewal is required by ecclesiastical law for the validity of the validation,
even if at the beginning both parties had given consent and had not afterwards withdrawn
Can. 1157 The renewal of consent must be a new act of will consenting to a marriage
which the renewing party knows or thinks was invalid from the beginning.
Can. 1158 ß1 If the impediment is public, consent is to be renewed by both parties in
the canonical form, without prejudice to the provision of Can. 1127 ß3.
ß2 If the impediment cannot be proved, it is sufficient that consent be renewed
privately and in secret, specifically by the party who is aware of the impediment provided
the other party persists in the consent given, or by both parties if the impediment is
known to both.
Can. 1159 ß1 A marriage invalid because of a defect of consent is validated if the
party who did not consent, now does consent, provided the consent given by the other party
2‚ If the defect of the consent cannot be proven, it is sufficient that the party who
did not consent, gives consent privately and in secret.
ß3 If the defect of consent can be proven, it is necessary that consent be given in
the canonical form.
Can. 1160 For a marriage which is invalid because of defect of form to become valid, it
must be contracted anew in the canonical form, without prejudice to the provisions of Can.
1127 ß3  .
Can. 1161 ß1 The retroactive validation of an invalid marriage is its validation
without the renewal of consent, granted by the competent authority. It involves a
dispensation from an impediment if there is one and from the canonical form if it had not
been observed, as well as a referral back to the past of the canonical effects.
ß2 The validation takes place from the moment the favor is granted; the referral
back, however, is understood to have been made to the moment the marriage was celebrated,
unless it is otherwise expressly provided.
ß3 A retroactive validation is not to be granted unless it is probable that the
parties intend to persevere in conjugal life.
Can. 1162 ß1 If consent is lacking in either or both of the parties, a marriage cannot
be rectified by a retroactive validation, whether consent was absent from the beginning
or, though given at the beginning, was subsequently revoked.
ß2 If the consent was indeed absent from the beginning but was subsequently given, a
retroactive validation can be granted from the moment the consent was given.
Can. 1163 ß1 A marriage which is invalid because of an impediment or because of defect
of the legal form, can be validated retroactively, provided the consent of both parties
ß2 A marriage which is invalid because of an impediment of the natural law or of the
divine positive law, can be validated retroactively only after the impediment has ceased.
Can. 1164 A retroactive validation may validly be granted even if one or both of the
parties is unaware of it; it is not, however, to be granted except for a grave reason.
Can. 1165 ß1 Retroactive validation can be granted by the Apostolic See.
ß2 It can be granted by the diocesan Bishop in individual cases, even if a number of
reasons for nullity occur together in the same marriage, assuming that for a retroactive
validation of a mixed marriage the conditions of Can. 1125 will have been fulfilled. It
cannot, however, be granted by him if there is an impediment whose dispensation is
reserved to the Apostolic See in accordance with Can. 1078 ß2, or if there is question of
an impediment of the natural law or of the divine positive law which has now ceased.
FOOTNOTES4 Translators' note: It would appear that this reference should read 'Can. 1127 2'.