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Code of Canon Law

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    • PART I : CHRIST'S FAITHFUL (Cann. 204 - 207)
        • TITLE III: SACRED MINISTERS OR CLERICS (Cann. 232 - 293)
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Can. 265 Every cleric must be incardinated in a particular church, or in a personal Prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or a society which has this faculty: accordingly, acephalous or 'wandering' clergy are in no way to be allowed.

Can. 266 §1 By the reception of the diaconate a person becomes a cleric, and is incardinated in the particular Church or personal Prelature for whose service he is ordained.

§2 A member who is perpetually professed in a religious institute, or who is definitively incorporated into a clerical society of apostolic life, is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated as a cleric in that institute or society unless, in the case of a society, the constitutions determine otherwise.

§3 A member of a secular institute is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated into the particular Church for whose service he was ordained, unless by virtue of a concession of the Apostolic See he is incardinated into the institute itself.

Can. 267 §1 To be validly incardinated in another particular Church, a cleric who is already incardinated must obtain a letter of excardination signed by the diocesan Bishop, and in the same way a letter of incardination signed by the diocesan Bishop of the particular Church in which he wishes to be incardinated.

§2 Excardination granted in this way does not take effect until incardination is obtained in the other particular Church.

Can. 268 §1 A cleric who has lawfully moved from his own particular Church to another is, by virtue of the law itself, incardinated in that latter Church after five years, if he has declared this intention in writing to both the diocesan Bishop of the host diocese and his own diocesan Bishop, and neither of the two Bishops has indicated opposition in writing within four months of receiving the cleric's written request.

§2 By perpetual or definitive admission into an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, a cleric who in accordance with can. 266 is incardinated in that institute or society, is excardinated from his own particular Church.

Can. 269 A diocesan Bishop is not to incardinate a cleric unless:

the need or the advantage of his particular Church requires it and the provisions of law concerning the worthy support of the cleric are observed;

he knows by a lawful document that excardination has been granted, and has also obtained from the excardinating Bishop, under secrecy if need be, appropriate testimonials concerning the cleric's life, behaviour and studies;

the cleric declares in writing to the same Bishop that he wishes to enter the service of the new particular Church in accordance with the norms of law.

Can. 270 Excardination can be lawfully granted only for a just reason, such as the advantage of the Church or the good of the cleric. It may not, however, be refused unless grave reasons exist; it is lawful for a cleric who considers himself to be unfairly treated and who has a Bishop to receive him, to have recourse against the decision.

Can. 271 §1 Except for a grave need of his own particular Church, a Bishop is not to refuse clerics seeking permission to move whom he knows to be prepared and considers suitable to exercise the ministry in regions which suffer from a grave shortage of clergy. He is to ensure, however, that the rights and duties of these clerics are determined by written agreement with the diocesan Bishop of the place to which they wish to move.

§2 A Bishop can give permission to his clerics to move to another particular Church for a specified time. Such permission can be renewed several times, but in such a way that the clerics remain incardinated in their own particular Church, and on returning there enjoy all the rights which they would have had if they had ministered there.

§3 A cleric who lawfully moves to another particular Church while remaining incardinated in his own, may for a just reason be recalled by his own Bishop, provided the agreements entered into with the other Bishop are honoured and natural equity is observed. Under the same conditions, the Bishop of the other particular Church can for a just reason refuse the cleric permission to reside further in his territory.

Can. 272 The diocesan Administrator cannot grant excardination nor incardination, nor permission to move to another particular Church, unless the episcopal see has been vacant for a year, and he has the consent of the college of consultors.

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