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Code of Canon Law
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§2 In arrangements mortis causa in favour of the Church, the formalities of the civil law are as far as possible to be observed. If these formalities have been omitted, the heirs must be advised of their obligation to fulfil the intention of the testator.
Can. 1300 The intentions of the faithful who give or leave goods to pious causes, whether by an act inter vivos or by an act mortis causa, once lawfully accepted, are to be most carefully observed, even in the manner of the administration and the expending of the goods, without prejudice to the provisions of Can. 1301 §3.
Can. 1302 §1 Anyone who receives goods in trust for pious causes, whether by an act inter vivos or by last will, must inform the Ordinary about the trust, as well as about the goods in question, both movable and immovable, and about any obligations attached to them. If the donor has expressly and totally forbidden this, the trust is not to be accepted.
§3 When goods given in trust to a member of a religious institute or society of apostolic life, are destined for a particular place or diocese or their inhabitants, or for pious causes, the Ordinary mentioned in §§1 and 2 is the local Ordinary. Otherwise, when the person is a member of a pontifical clerical institute or of a pontifical clerical society of apostolic life, it is the major Superior; when of other religious institutes, it is the member's proper Ordinary.
2° non-autonomous pious foundations, that is, temporal goods given in any way to a public juridical person and carrying with them a long-term obligation, such period to be determined by particular law. The obligation is for the juridical person, from the annual income, to celebrate Masses, or to perform other determined ecclesiastical functions, or in some other way to fulfil the purposes mentioned in Can. 114 §2.
§2 If the goods of a non-autonomous pious foundation are entrusted to a juridical person subject to the diocesan Bishop, they are, on the expiry of the time, to be sent to the fund mentioned in Can. 1274 §1, unless some other intention was expressly manifested by the donor. Otherwise, the goods fall to the juridical person itself.
Can. 1304 §1 For the valid acceptance of a pious foundation by a juridical person, the written permission of the Ordinary is required. He is not to give this permission until he has lawfully established that the juridical person can satisfy not only the new obligations to be undertaken, but also any already undertaken. The Ordinary is to take special care that the revenue fully corresponds to the obligations laid down, taking into account the customs of the region or place.
Can. 1305 Money and movable goods which are assigned as a dowry are immediately to be put in a safe place approved by the Ordinary, so that the money or the value of the movable goods is safeguarded; as soon as possible, they are to be carefully and profitably invested for the good of the foundation, with an express and individual mention of the obligation undertaken, in accordance with the prudent judgement of the Ordinary when he has consulted those concerned and his own finance committee.
Can. 1307 §1 When the provisions of cann. 13001302 and 1287 have been observed, a document showing the obligations arising from the pious foundations is to be drawn up. This is to be displayed in a conspicuous place, so that the obligations to be fulfilled are not forgotten.
§2 Apart from the book mentioned in Can. 958 §1, another book is to be kept by the parish priest or rector, in which each of the obligations, their fulfilment and the offering given, is to be recorded.
§3 In the cases of Masses given in legacies or in foundations of any kind, which are solely for the purpose of Masses, the diocesan Bishop has the power, because of the diminution of income and for as long as this persists, to reduce the obligations to the level of the offering lawfully current in the diocese. He may do this, however, only if there is no one who has an obligation to increase the offering and can actually be made to do so.
§4 The diocesan Bishop has the power to reduce the obligations or legacies of Masses which bind an ecclesiastical institute, if the revenue has become insufficient to achieve in a fitting manner the proper purpose of the institute.
Can. 1310 §1 The intentions of the faithful in pious cases may be reduced, directed or changed by the Ordinary, if the donor has expressly conceded this power to him, but only for a just and necessary reason.
§2 If it has become impossible to carry out the obligations because of reduced income, or for any other reason arising without fault on the part of the administrators, the Ordinary can diminish these obligations in an equitable manner, with the exception of the reduction of Masses, which is governed by the provisions of Can. 1308. He may do so only after consulting those concerned and his own finance committee, keeping in the best way possible to the intention of the donor.
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