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Code of Canon Law
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BOOK IVFUNCTION OF THE CHURCH (Cann. 834 – 848)
LIBER IV. DE ECCLESIAE MUNERE SANCTIFICANDI
Can. 834 §1. The Church fulfills its sanctifying function in a particular way through the sacred liturgy, which is an
exercise of the priestly function of Jesus Christ. In the sacred liturgy the sanctification of humanity is signified
through sensible signs and effected in a manner proper to each sign. In the sacred liturgy, the whole public worship
of God is carried out by the Head and members of the mystical Body of Jesus Christ.
§2. Such worship takes place when it is carried out in the name of the Church by persons legitimately
designated and through acts approved by the authority of the Church.
Can. 835 §1. The bishops in the first place exercise the sanctifying function; they are the high priests, the principal
dispensers of the mysteries of God, and the directors, promoters, and guardians of the entire liturgical life in the
church entrusted to them.
§2. Presbyters also exercise this function; sharing in the priesthood of Christ and as his ministers under the
authority of the bishop, they are consecrated to celebrate divine worship and to sanctify the people.
§3. Deacons have a part in the celebration of divine worship according to the norm of the prescripts of the law.
§4. The other members of the Christian faithful also have their own part in the function of sanctifying by
participating actively in their own way in liturgical celebrations, especially the Eucharist. Parents share in a particular
way in this function by leading a conjugal life in a Christian spirit and by seeing to the Christian education of their
Can. 836 Since Christian worship, in which the common priesthood of the Christian faithful is carried out, is a work
which proceeds from faith and is based on it, sacred ministers are to take care to arouse and enlighten this faith
diligently, especially through the ministry of the word, which gives birth to and nourishes the faith.
Can. 837 §1. Liturgical actions are not private actions but celebrations of the Church itself which is the sacrament
of unity, that is, a holy people gathered and ordered under the bishops. Liturgical actions therefore belong to the
whole body of the Church and manifest and affect it; they touch its individual members in different ways, however,
according to the diversity of orders, functions, and actual participation.
§2. Inasmuch as liturgical actions by their nature entail a common celebration, they are to be celebrated with
the presence and active participation of the Christian faithful where possible.
Can. 838 §1. The direction of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church which resides in the
Apostolic See and, according to the norm of law, the diocesan bishop.
§2. It is for the Apostolic See to order the sacred liturgy of the universal Church, publish liturgical books and
review their translations in vernacular languages, and exercise vigilance that liturgical regulations are observed
§3. It pertains to the conferences of bishops to prepare and publish, after the prior review of the Holy See,
translations of liturgical books in vernacular languages, adapted appropriately within the limits defined in the
liturgical books themselves.
§4. Within the limits of his competence, it pertains to the diocesan bishop in the Church entrusted to him to
issue liturgical norms which bind everyone.
Can. 839 §1. The Church carries out the function of sanctifying also by other means, both by prayers in which it
asks God to sanctify the Christian faithful in truth, and by works of penance and charity which greatly help to root
and strengthen the kingdom of Christ in souls and contribute to the salvation of the world.
§2. Local ordinaries are to take care that the prayers and pious and sacred exercises of the Christian people
are fully in keeping with the norms of the Church.