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Lateran IV

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CANON 32

Summary. The rector of a church, notwithstanding the custom of bishops and patrons must have a sufficient portion of the revenues of the church. He who has a parochial church must serve it-himself. If another be annexed to it, a vicar must be the latter, who shall enjoy a portio congruens of its revenues.

Text. In some localities a vice has grown up, namely, that patrons of parochial churches and some other persons (including bishops), arrogate to themselves the revenues of those churches, leaving to the priests attached to them such a meager portion as to deprive them of a decent subsistence. For we have learned from a source, the authority of which is unquestionable that in some places the parochial clergy receive for sustenance only a quarta quartae, that is one sixteenth of the tithes. Whence it is that in these localities there seldom is found a parochial priest who possesses more than a very limited knowledge of letters. Since therefore the mouth of the ox that threshes should not be muzzled, and he who serves the altar should live by the altar, we decree that no custom on the part patron, or anybody else shall stand in the way of priests receiving a portio sufficiens.

He who has a parochial church must serve it himself and not entrust its administration to a vicar, unless perchance there be a parochial church annexed to the prebend or dignity, in which case we grant that he who has such a prebend or dignity, since it behooves him to serve in the major church, may ask to have appointed for the parochial church a suitable and irremovable vicar, who, as was said before, shall enjoy a portio congruens of the revenues of that church; otherwise by the authority of this decree let him be deprived of it and let it be conferred on another who will and can fulfil the aforesaid requirements. We also absolutely forbid that anyone presume to confer fraudulently on another a pension as a benefice from the revenues of a church that ought to have its own priest (proprius saceraos).




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