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Canons of the seven ecumenical councils

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3.

 It is come to the (knowledge of the) Council that some of those who had been listed in the roll of the Clergy hire other men’s estates for the sake of filthy lucre, and undertake to negotiate secular affairs, to the neglect of the Divine liturgy, and betake themselves to the families of secular men, whose estates they undertake to manage out of love of money. Therefore the holy and great Council decrees that no Bishop, Clergyman, or Monk shall henceforth be allowed to farm any estate or office, or to involve himself in secular cares, unless he be unavoidably called by laws to the guardianship of minors, or the Bishop permit him to take care of the affairs of the church, or of those of orphans or widows unprovided for, and of persons in especial need of ecclesiastical assistance, for the fear of God. If anyone presume to transgress hereafter any of the rules herein decreed, that per son shall be liable to ecclesiastical penalties (or penances).

(Ap. cc. VI, LXXXI, LXXXIII; c. VII of the 4th; c. XI of the lst-&-2nd; c. XVIII of Carthage; and c. X of the 7th.)

 

Interpretation.

The present Canon decrees that inasmuch as it has come to the ears of the Council that some clergymen, for the sake of making a shameful profit, are wont to rent the real estate of others, and to undertake outside work as contractors,[87] or, in other words, to involve themselves in secular affairs for pecuniary profit, while neglecting the services attached to holy orders, and, on the other hand, entering the homes of secular persons and assuming the management of their property on account of avarice. For this reason this holy Council has decreed that henceforth no bishop or clergyman or monk shall rent real estate or involve himself in the management of secular affairs, except only in case he should be called upon by the laws to become a guardian of minors[88] (children are called minors from the time they are born until the fourteenth years of their age), or a curator, by which term is meant one who takes care of and attends to the needs of adolescents (persons are called adolescents from the fourteenth to the twenty-fifth years of their age), and unless the bishop of the city should urge him to take care of the affairs of the church, or orphans, and widows unprovided for, and other persons that are in especial need of ecclesiastical help and assistance, nor for the sake of any profit or gain, but only for the fear of God. If anyone, on the other hand, should dare at any time hereafter to transgress these rules, such person shall become liable to the ecclesiastical penalties. But what are these? They are those prescribed by the Apostolical Canons. Their forfeiture, that is to say, of the clericate. Read also Ap. c. VI.

 

 




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