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Lateran IV

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CANON 54

Summary. The payment of tithes takes precedence over the payment of taxes and other expenses, and those who invert this order are to be punished.

Text. Since it is not in the power of man that the seed yield a return to the sower, because according to the words of the Apostle, "Neither he that planteth is anything, nor he that watereth; but God who giveth the increase" (I Cor. 3: 7), the decayed seed producing much fruit, some impelled too much by avarice strive to defraud in the matter of tithes, deducting from the profits and first fruits taxes and other expenses on which at times they thus escape the payment of tithes. But since the Lord, as a sign of His universal dominion, formerly reserved tithes to Himself by a special title, we, wishing to safeguard the churches against loss and souls against danger, decree that by the prerogative of general dominion the payment of tithes precedes the payment of taxes and other expenses, or at least they to whom the taxes and other expenses are paid but from which the tithes have not been deducted, should be compelled by ecclesiastical censure to pay the tithes to the churches to which they are legally due, since the obligation that attaches to a thing passes with the thing from one possessor to another.




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