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Code of Canon Law

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        • TITLE V: THE APPLICATION OF PENALTIES (Cann. 1341 - 1353)
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Can. 1341 The Ordinary is to start a judicial or an administrative procedure for the imposition or the declaration of penalties only when he perceives that neither by fraternal correction or reproof, nor by any methods of pastoral care, can the scandal be sufficiently repaired, justice restored and the offender reformed.

Can. 1342 §1 Whenever there are just reasons against the use of a judicial procedure, a penalty can be imposed or declared by means of an extra-judicial decree; in every case, penal remedies and penances may be applied by a decree.

§2 Perpetual penalties cannot be imposed or declared by means of a decree; nor can penalties which the law or precept establishing them forbids to be applied by decree.

§3 What the law or decree says of a judge in regard to the imposition or declaration of a penalty in a trial, is to be applied also to a Superior who imposes or declares a penalty by an extra-judicial decree, unless it is otherwise clear, or unless there is question of provisions which concern only procedural matters.

Can. 1343 If a law or precept gives the judge the power to apply or not to apply a penalty, the judge may also, according to his own conscience and prudence, modify the penalty or in its place impose a penance.

Can. 1344 Even though the law may use obligatory words, the judge may, according to his own conscience and prudence:

defer the imposition of the penalty to a more opportune time, if it is foreseen that greater evils may arise from a too hasty punishment of the offender;

abstain from imposing the penalty or substitute a milder penalty or a penance, if the offender has repented and repaired the scandal, or if the offender has been or foreseeably will be sufficiently punished by the civil authority;

may suspend the obligation of observing an expiatory penalty, if the person is a first-offender after a hitherto blameless life, and there is no urgent need to repair scandal; this is, however, to be done in such a way that if the person again commits an offence within a time laid down by the judge, then that person must pay the penalty for both offences, unless in the meanwhile the time for prescription of a penal action in respect of the former offence has expired.

Can. 1345 Whenever the offender had only an imperfect use of reason, or committed the offence out of fear or necessity or in the heat of passion or with a mind disturbed by drunkenness or a similar cause, the judge can refrain from inflicting any punishment if he considers that the person's reform may be better accomplished in some other way.

Can. 1346 Whenever the offender has committed a number of offences and the sum of penalties which should be imposed seems excessive, it is left to the prudent decision of the judge to moderate the penalties in an equitable fashion.

Can. 1347 §1 A censure cannot validly be imposed unless the offender has beforehand received at least one warning to purge the contempt, and has been allowed suitable time to do so.

§2 The offender is said to have purged the contempt if he or she has truly repented of the offence and has made, or at least seriously promised to make, reparation for the damage and scandal.

Can. 1348 When the person has been found not guilty of an accusation, or where no penalty has been imposed, the Ordinary may provide for the person's welfare or for the common good by opportune warnings or other solicitous means, and even, if the case calls for it, by the use of penal remedies.

Can. 1349 If a penalty is indeterminate, and if the law does not provide otherwise, the judge is not to impose graver penalties, especially censures, unless the seriousness of the case really demands it. He may not impose penalties which are perpetual.

Can. 1350 §1 In imposing penalties on a cleric, except in the case of dismissal from the clerical state, care must always be taken that he does not lack what is necessary for his worthy support.

§2 If a person is truly in need because he has been dismissed from the clerical state, the Ordinary is to provide in the best way possible.

Can. 1351 A penalty binds an offender everywhere, even when the one who established or imposed it has ceased from office, unless it is otherwise expressly provided.

Can. 1352 §1 If a penalty prohibits the reception of the sacraments or sacramentals, the prohibition is suspended for as long as the offender is in danger of death.

§2 The obligation of observing a latae sententiae penalty which has not been declared, and is not notorious in the place where the offender actually is, is suspended either in whole or in part to the extent that the offender cannot observe it without the danger of grave scandal or loss of good name.

Can. 1353 An appeal or a recourse against judgements of a court or against decrees which impose or declare any penalty, has a suspensive effect.

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