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CONGREGATIO PRO DOCTRINA FIDEI

EPISTULA
a Congregatione pro Doctrina Fidei missa
ad totius Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopos
aliosque Ordinarios et Hierarchas interesse habentes:
DE DELICTIS GRAVIORIBUS
eidem Congregationi pro Doctrina Fidei reservatis


     Ad exsequendam ecclesiasticam legem, quae in articulo 52 Constitutionis Apostolicae de Romana Curia enuntiat: «Delicta contra fidem necnon graviora delicta tum contra mores tum in sacramentorum celebratione commissa, quae ipsi delata fuerint, [Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei] cognoscit atque, ubi opus fuerit, ad canonicas sanctiones declarandas aut irrogandas ad normam iuris, sive communis sive proprii, procedit»,[1] necesse erat in primis definire procedendi modum de delictis contra fidem: quod peractum fuit per normas, quarum inscriptio est Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine, a Summo Pontifice Ioanne Paulo PP. II ratas atque confirmatas, simul articulis 28-29 in forma specifica approbatis. [2]
     Eodem fere tempore Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei per Commissionem ad hoc ipsum institutam operam dabat diligenti canonum de delictis studio, sive Codicis Iuris Canonici, sive Codicis Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, ad determinanda «graviora delicta tum contra mores tum in sacramentorum celebratione», ad perficiendas quoque normas processuales speciales «ad canonicas sanctiones declarandas aut irrogandas», quia Instructio Crimen sollicitationis hucusque vigens, a Suprema Sacra Congregatione Sancti Officii edita die 16 mensis martii anno 1962,[3] recognoscenda erat novis Codicibus canonicis promulgatis.
     Attente perpensis votis et factis opportunis consultationibus, Commissionis opus tandem ad finem pervenit; Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei Patres accuratius idem examinarunt, Summo Pontifici subiciendo conclusiones circa determinationem graviorum delictorum et modum procedendi ad sanctiones declarandas aut irrogandas, firma manente eiusdem Congregationis Apostolici Tribunalis exclusiva in hoc competentia. Quae omnia ab ipso Summo Pontifice adprobata, confirmata et promulgata sunt per Litteras Apostolicas Motu Proprio datas, quarum initium sumit a verbis Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela.
     Graviora delicta tum in sacramentorum celebratione tum contra mores, Congregationi pro Doctrina Fidei reservata, sunt:
     Delicta contra sanctitatem augustissimi Eucharistiae Sacrificii et sacramenti, videlicet:

1° abductio vel retentio in sacrilegum finem, aut abiectio consecratarum specierum;[4]

2° attentatio liturgicae eucharistici Sacrificii actionis vel eiusdem simulatio;[5]

3° vetita eucharistici Sacrificii concelebratio una cum ministris communitatum ecclesialium, qui successionem apostolicam non habent nec agnoscunt ordinationis sacerdotalis sacramentalem dignitatem;[6]

4° consecratio in sacrilegum finem alterius materiae sine altera in eucharistica celebratione, aut etiam utriusque extra eucharisticam celebrationem;[7]

Delicta contra sanctitatem sacramenti Paenitentiae, videlicet:

1° absolutio complicis in peccato contra sextum Decalogi praeceptum;[8]

2° sollicitatio in actu vel occasione vel praetextu confessionis ad peccatum contra sextum Decalogi praeceptum, si ad peccandum cum ipso confessario dirigitur;[9]

3° violatio directa sigilli sacramentalis;[10]

Delictum contra mores, videlicet: delictum contra sextum Decalogi praeceptum cum minore infra aetatem duodeviginti annorum a clerico commissum.
     Haec tantum, quae supra indicantur delicta cum sua definitione, Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei Tribunali Apostolico reservantur.
     Quoties Ordinarius vel Hierarcha notitiam saltem verisimilem habeat de delicto reservato, investigatione praevia peracta, eam significet Congregationi pro Doctrina Fidei quae, nisi ob peculiaria rerum adiuncta causam sibi advocet, Ordinarium vel Hierarcham per proprium Tribunal ad ulteriora procedere iubet opportunas normas tradendo; ius appellandi contra sententiam primi gradus, sive ex parte rei vel eius Patroni sive ex parte Promotoris Iustitiae, valide unice manet tantummodo ad Supremum Tribunal eiusdem Congregationis.
     Notandum est actionem criminalem de delictis Congregationi pro Doctrina Fidei reservatis praescriptione extingui decennio.[11] Praescriptio decurrit ad normam iuris universalis et communis;[12] in delicto autem cum minore a clerico patrato praescriptio decurrere incipit a die quo minor duodevicesimum aetatis annum explevit.
     In Tribunalibus apud Ordinarios vel Hierarchas constitutis, hisce pro causis munera Iudicis, Promotoris Iustitiae, Notarii atque Patroni tantummodo sacerdotes valide explere possunt. Instantia in Tribunali quovis modo finita, omnia acta causae ad Congregationem pro Doctrina Fidei ex officio quam primum transmittantur.
     Tribunalia omnia Ecclesiae Latinae et Ecclesiarum Orientalium Catholicarum tenentur canones de delictis et poenis necnon de processu poenali utriusque Codicis respective observare una cum normis specialibus a Congregatione pro Doctrina Fidei pro singulo casu tradendis et omnino ad exsecutionem mandandis.
     Huiusmodi causae secreto pontificio subiectae sunt.
     Per hanc Epistulam, de mandato Summi Pontificis omnibus Ecclesiae Catholicae Episcopis, Superioribus Generalibus institutorum religiosorum clericalium iuris pontificii et societatum vitae apostolicae clericalium iuris pontificii aliisque Ordinariis et Hierarchis interesse habentibus missam, in votis est ut non solum graviora delicta omnino vitentur, sed praesertim ad clericorum et fidelium sanctitatem etiam per necessarias sanctiones procurandam sollicita pastoralis cura ab Ordinariis et Hierarchis habeatur.
     Romae, e sede Congregationis pro Doctrina Fidei, die 18 maii 2001.

+ JOSEPHUS Card. RATZINGER
Praefectus
+ Tharsicius BERTONE, S.D.B.
archiep. em. Vercellensis
a Secretis


[1] Ioannes Paulus PP. II, Constitutio Apostolica Pastor bonus, De Romana Curia, 28 iunii 1988, art. 52, in AAS 80 (1988) 874.

[2] Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei, Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine, 29 iunii 1997, in AAS 89 (1997) 830-835.

[3] Suprema Sacra Congregatio Sancti Officii, Instructio Crimen sollicitationis, Ad omnes Patriarchas, Archiepiscopos, Episcopos aliosque locorum Ordinarios «etiam Ritus Orientalis»: De modo procedendi in causis sollicitationis, 16 martii 1962, Typis Polyglottis Vaticanis MCMLXII.

[4] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1367; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1442.

Cf. et Pontificium Consilium De Legum Textibus Interpretandis, Responsio ad propositum dubium, 4 iunii 1999.

[5] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1378 § 2 n. 1 et 1379; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1443.

[6] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 908 et 1365; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 702 et 1440.

[7] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 927.

[8] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1378 § 1; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1457.

[9] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1387; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1458.

[10] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1388 § 1; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1456 § 1.

[11] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1362 § 1 n. 1; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1152 § 2 n. 1.

[12] Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 1362 § 2; Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, can. 1152 § 3.

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< http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20010518_epistula_graviora%20delicta_lt.html>
Epistula Graviora Delicta
"EPISTULA a Congregatione pro Doctrina Fidei . . . DE DELICTIS GRAVIORIBUS eidem Congregationi pro Doctrina Fidei reservatis," La Santa Sede, Vaticano, Romae, die 18 maii 2001
LETTER from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith . . . CONCERNING A GRAVE FAULT which is reserved to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, The Holy See, The Vatican, Rome, 18th May 2001


   The Vatican's Aug 7, 2003 denial that Crimen Sollicitationis was still operative WAS showing on the Catholic News Service, at <http://­www.catholicnews.com/­data/stories/cn­s/20030807.htm>, until around July 2004, but didn't display on August 16, 2004.
   Archbishop Julian Herranz, president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, said that it been superseded by the 1983 Code of Canon Law and new 2001 norms.  He told reporters on Aug. 7, "When a matter is re-ordered, the previous procedures are suspended."
   This claim was strongly contested in an Irish newspaper The Strabane Chronicle, "Old Vatican document like nuclear weapon," <http://­strabanechronicle.com/­news7.htm>, by Jacqueline Courtney, August 27 2003, saying that Crimen was confirmed in an Epistula or Letter on the Vatican website. (Above is that Letter, dated May 18, 2001)
   But, surely, this late 2002 item from an official US Roman Catholic group proves that the 1962 Instruction had NOT been set aside in 2001:- On February 7, 2002, officers from the Canon Law Society of America met with officials at the Roman Curia to discuss specifically the issue of child abuse and the procedures in handling child abuse, particularly and explicitly the 1962 Document. […]
Our discussion at the Congregation focused on identification of certain aspects of procedures for clergy sexual misconduct, particularly the 1962 instruction "Crimen Sollicitationis" and the more recent instruction "Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela."CLSA December 2002 Newsletter, Canon Law Society of America, www.clsa.org/ news/dec02/ dec02.htm , December 2002
   (Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela mentioned above is what is called a Moto Proprio; it was approved by Pope John Paul II, and dated April 30, 2001.)
   COMMENT: Oremus, = "Let us pray."

*** NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is available here without profit to people who want to read it for research and educational purposes. If you quote from this, please check (if possible) and acknowledge the ORIGINAL source. *** How is your Latin? The secrecy Instructio Crimen sollicitationis of 16th March 1962 is cited towards the end of the 2nd paragraph of this Epistula Graviora Delicta.
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