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Code of Canon Law

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  • BOOK II : THE PEOPLE OF GOD
    • PART I : CHRIST'S FAITHFUL (Cann. 204 - 207)
        • TITLE III: SACRED MINISTERS OR CLERICS (Cann. 232 - 293)
          • CHAPTER III : THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF CLERICS
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CHAPTER III : THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF CLERICS

Can. 273 Clerics have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to their own Ordinary.

Can. 274 §1 Only clerics can obtain offices the exercise of which requires the power of order or the power of ecclesiastical governance.

§2 Unless excused by a lawful impediment, clerics are obliged to accept and faithfully fulfil the office committed to them by their Ordinary.

Can. 275 §1 Since all clerics are working for the same purpose, namely the building up of the body of Christ, they are to be united with one another in the bond of brotherhood and prayer. They are to seek to cooperate with one another, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.

§2 Clerics are to acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercises in the Church and in the world.

Can. 276 §1 Clerics have a special obligation to seek holiness in their lives, because they are consecrated to God by a new title through the reception of orders, and are stewards of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.

§2 In order that they can pursue this perfection:

they are in the first place faithfully and untiringly to fulfil the obligations of their pastoral ministry;

they are to nourish their spiritual life at the twofold table of the sacred Scripture and the Eucharist; priests are therefore earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic Sacrifice daily, and deacons to participate daily in the offering;

priests, and deacons aspiring to the priesthood, are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily, in accordance with their own approved liturgical books; permanent deacons are to recite that part of it determined by the Episcopal Conference;

they are also obliged to make spiritual retreats, in accordance with the provision of particular law;

they are exhorted to engage regularly in mental prayer, to approach the sacrament of penance frequently, to honour the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and to use other general and special means to holiness.

Can. 277 §1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy. Celibacy is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can more easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and can dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and their neighbour.

§2 Clerics are to behave with due prudence in relation to persons whose company can be a danger to their obligation of preserving continence or can lead to scandal of the faithful.

§3 The diocesan Bishop has authority to establish more detailed rules concerning this matter, and to pass judgement on the observance of the obligation in particular cases.

Can. 278 §1 The secular clergy have the right of association with others for the achievement of purposes befitting the clerical state.

§2 The secular clergy are to hold in high esteem those associations especially whose statutes are recognised by the competent authority and which, by a suitable and well tried rule of life and by fraternal support, promote holiness in the exercise of their ministry and foster the unity of the clergy with one another and with their Bishop.

§3 Clerics are to refrain from establishing or joining associations whose purpose or activity cannot be reconciled with the obligations proper to the clerical state, or which can hinder the diligent fulfilment of the office entrusted to them by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 279 §1 Clerics are to continue their sacred studies even after ordination to the priesthood. They are to hold to that solid doctrine based on sacred Scripture which has been handed down by our forebears and which is generally received in the Church, as set out especially in the documents of the Councils and of the Roman Pontiffs. They are to avoid profane novelties and pseudo-science.

§2 Priests are to attend pastoral courses to be arranged for them after their ordination, in accordance with the provisions of particular law. At times determined by the same law, they are to attend other courses, theological meetings or conferences, which offer them an occasion to acquire further knowledge of the sacred sciences and of pastoral methods.

§3 They are also to seek a knowledge of other sciences, especially those linked to the sacred sciences, particularly insofar as they benefit the exercise of the pastoral ministry.

Can. 280 Some manner of common life is highly recommended to clerics; where it exists, it is as far as possible to be maintained.

Can. 281 §1 Since clerics dedicate themselves to the ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve the remuneration that befits their condition, taking into account both the nature of their office and the conditions of time and place. It is to be such that it provides for the necessities of their life and for the just remuneration of those whose services they need.

§2 Suitable provision is likewise to be made for such social welfare as they may need in infirmity, sickness or old age.

§3 Married deacons who dedicate themselves full-time to the ecclesiastical ministry deserve remuneration sufficient to provide for themselves and their families. Those, however, who receive a remuneration by reason of a secular profession which they exercise or exercised, are to see to their own and to their families' needs from that income.

Can. 282 §1 Clerics are to follow a simple way of life and avoid anything which smacks of worldliness.

§2 Goods which they receive on the occasion of the exercise of an ecclesiastical office, and which are over and above what is necessary for their worthy upkeep and the fulfilment of all the duties of their state, they may well wish to use for the good of the Church and for charitable works.

Can. 283 §1 Clerics, even if they do not have a residential office, are not to be absent from their diocese for a considerable time, to be determined by particular law, without the at least presumed permission of their proper Ordinary.

§2 They may, however, take a rightful and sufficient holiday every year, for the length of time determined by general or by particular law.

Can. 284 Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and legitimate local custom.

Can. 285 §1 Clerics are to shun completely everything that is unbecoming to their state, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.

§2 Clerics are to avoid whatever is foreign to their state, even when it is not unseemly.

§3 Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.

§4 Without the permission of their Ordinary, they may not undertake the administration of goods belonging to lay people, or secular offices which involve the obligation to render an account. They are forbidden to act as surety, even concerning their own goods, without consulting their proper Ordinary. They are not to sign promissory notes which involve the payment of money but do not state the reasons for the payment.

Can. 286 Clerics are forbidden to practise commerce or trade, either personally or through another, for their own or another's benefit, except with the permission of the lawful ecclesiastical authority.

Can. 287 §1 Clerics are always to do their utmost to foster among people peace and harmony based on justice.

§2 They are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgement of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defence of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.

Can. 288 Permanent deacons are not bound by the provisions of cann. 284, 285 §§3 and 4, 286, 287 §2, unless particular law states otherwise.

Can. 289 §1 As military service ill befits the clerical state, clerics and candidates for sacred orders are not to volunteer for the armed services without the permission of their Ordinary.

§2 Clerics are to take advantage of exemptions from exercising functions and public civil offices foreign to the clerical state, which are granted in their favour by law, agreements or customs, unless their proper Ordinary has in particular cases decreed otherwise.




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