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Lateran IV

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CANON 7

Summary No custom or appeal shall hinder prelates from correcting abuses and reforming the morals of their subjects. If the chapter neglects to correct the excesses of the canons, it shall devolve upon the bishop to do so. Prelates shall not use this statute as means of pecuniary gain.

Text. By an irrefragable decree we ordain that prelates make a prudent and earnest effort to correct the excesses and reform the morals of their subjects, especially of the clergy, lest their blood be demanded at their hands. But that they may perform unhindered the duty of correction and reform, we decree that no custom or apeal shall stand in the way of their efforts, unless they shall have exceeded the form to be observed in such cases. The abuses, however, of the canons of the cathedral church, the correction of which has by custom belonged to the chapter, shall, in those churches in which such a custom has hitherto prevailed, by the advice or command of the bishop be corrected within a reasonable time specified by the bishop. Otherwise the bishop, having in mind the interests of God, opposition notwithstanding, shall not delay to correct them means of ecclesiastical censure according as the cura animarum demands. Nor shall he neglect to correct the excesses also of the other clerics (those assisting the canons) according as the cura animarum requires, due order, however, being observed in all things. If the canons without a manifest and reasonable cause, chiefly through contempt for the bishop, discontinue divine services, the bishop may, if he wishes, celebrate in the cathedral church, and on his complaint the metropolitan, as delegated by us in this matter, shall so punish them with ecclesiastical censure that for fear of a repetition of the punishment they will not presume to do such things in the future. Let the prelates of the churches, therefore, be diligently on their guard that they do not convert this salutary decree into a means of personal profit or other objectionable conduct, but let them enforce it earnestly and faithfully if they wish to escape canonical punishment, for in this matter the Apostolic See, on the authority of the Lord, will be most vigilant.




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