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Code of Canon Law

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  • BOOK I : GENERAL NORMS (Cann. 1 - 6)
        • TITLE I: ECCLESIASTICAL LAWS (Cann. 7 - 22)
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TITLE I: ECCLESIASTICAL LAWS (Cann. 7 - 22)

Can. 7 A law comes into being when it is promulgated.

Can. 8 §1 Universal ecclesiastical laws are promulgated by publication in the 'Acta Apostolicae Sedis', unless in particular cases another manner of promulgation has been prescribed. They come into force only on the expiry of three months from the date appearing on the particular issue of the 'Acta', unless because of the nature of the case they bind at once, or unless a shorter or a longer interval has been specifically and expressly prescribed in the law itself.

§2 Particular laws are promulgated in the manner determined by the legislator; they begin to oblige one month from the date of promulgation, unless a different period is prescribed in the law itself.

Can. 9 Laws concern matters of the future, not those of the past, unless provision is made in them for the latter by name.

Can. 10 Only those laws are to be considered invalidating or incapacitating which expressly prescribe that an act is null or that a person is incapable.

Can. 11 Merely ecclesiastical laws bind those who were baptised in the catholic Church or received into it, and who have a sufficient use of reason and, unless the law expressly provides otherwise, who have completed their seventh year of age.

Can. 12 §1 Universal laws are binding everywhere on all those for whom they were enacted.

§2 All those actually present in a particular territory in which certain universal laws are not in force, are exempt from those laws.

§3 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 13, laws enacted for a particular territory bind those for whom they were enacted and who have a domicile or quasi-domicile in that territory and are actually residing in it.

Can. 13 §1 Particular laws are not presumed to be personal, but rather territorial, unless the contrary is clear.

§2 Peregrini are not bound:

by the particular laws of their own territory while they are absent from it, unless the transgression of those laws causes harm in their own territory, or unless the laws are personal

by the laws of the territory in which they are present, except for those laws which take care of public order, or determine the formalities of legal acts, or concern immovable property located in the territory.

§3 Vagi are bound by both the universal and the particular laws which are in force in the place in which they are present.

Can. 14 Laws, even invalidating and incapacitating ones, do not oblige when there is a doubt of law. When there is a doubt of fact, however Ordinaries can dispense from them provided, if there is question of a reserved dispensation, it is one which the authority to whom it is reserved Is accustomed to grant.

Can. 15 §1 Ignorance or error concerning invalidating or incapacitating laws does not prevent the effect of those laws, unless it is expressly provided otherwise.

§2 Ignorance or error is not presumed about a law, a penalty, a fact concerning oneself, or a notorious fact concerning another. It is presumed about a fact concerning another which is not notorious, until the contrary is proved.

Can. 16 §1 Laws are authentically interpreted by the legislator and by that person to whom the legislator entrusts the power of authentic interpretation.

§2 An authentic interpretation which is presented by way of a law has the same force as the law itself, and must be promulgated. If it simply declares the sense of words which are certain in themselves, it has retroactive force. If it restricts or extends the law or resolves a doubt, it is not retroactive.

§3 On the other hand, an interpretation by way of a court judgement or of an administrative act in a particular case, does not have the force of law. It binds only those persons and affects only those matters for which it was given.

Can. 17 Ecclesiastical laws are to be understood according to the proper meaning of the words considered in their text and context. If the meaning remains doubtful or obscure, there must be recourse to parallel places, if there be any, to the purpose and circumstances of the law, and to the mind of the legislator.

Can. 18 Laws which prescribe a penalty, or restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception to the law, are to be interpreted strictly.

Can. 19 If on a particular matter there is not an express provision of either universal or particular law, nor a custom, then, provided it is not a penal matter, the question is to be decided by taking into account laws enacted in similar matters, the general principles of law observed with canonical equity, the jurisprudence and practice of the Roman Curia, and the common and constant opinion of learned authors.

Can. 20 A later law abrogates or derogates from an earlier law, if it expressly so states, or if it is directly contrary to that law, or if it integrally reorders the whole subject matter of the earlier law. A universal law, however, does not derogate from a particular or from a special law, unless the law expressly provides otherwise.

Can. 21 In doubt, the revocation of a previous law is not presumed; rather, later laws are to be related to earlier ones and, as far as possible, harmonised with them.

Can. 22 When the law of the Church remits some issue to the civil law, the latter is to be observed with the same effects in canon law, insofar as it is not contrary to divine law, and provided it is not otherwise stipulated in canon law.




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