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Lateran IV

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  • CANON 44
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CANON 44

Summary. Alienation of ecclesiastical properties by laymen without the legitimate 3sent of ecclesiastical authority is forbidden.

Text. Since no power to dispose of ecclesiastical properties has been given to laymen, even though they be pious, their duty being to obey, not to command, we regret that in some of them charity has grown so cold that they do not fear in their laws or rather monstrosities (confictionibus) to attack the immunity of ecclesiastical property, which not only the holy fathers but also the secular princes have fortified with many privileges; presuming illicitly that power not only in the matter of the alienation of fiefs and other ecclesiastical possessions and of the usurpation of jurisdictions, but also in the matter of mortuaries and other things that seem annexed to the spiritual right. Wishing, therefore, in this matter to secure the churches against loss and to provide against such injustice, we decree with the approval of the sacred council that laws of this kind and appropriations of fiefs and other ecclesiastical properties made without the legitimate consent of ecclesiastical persons under pretext of lay power, do not hold, since they cannot be called laws but rather want of law or destruction and usurpation of jurisdiction, and those having recourse to such presumptions are to be checked ecclesiastical censure.




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