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Ecclesiae Sanctae

by Catherine Frakas 17 Mar 2021

Ecclesiae Sanctae Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Letter issued Motu Proprio,Implementing Four Council Decrees August 6, 1966 The governing of holy Church, following the conclusion of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, demands indeed that new norms be established and that new adjustments be made to meet relationships introduced by the Council and which will be more and more adapted to the new goals and areas of the apostolate which through the Council have been opened up to the Church in the modern world. Because of great changes this world is in need of a shining light and longs for the supernatural flame of charity. Prompted therefore by these considerations, as soon as the Ecumenical Council ended we appointed study commissions to apply their learning and experience to determine to the best of their ability definite norms for the implementation of the decrees of the Council for which a suspension of the effects of the law (vacatio legis) had been decreed. As we gladly wrote in the letter issued motu proprio last June 10 beginning with the words Munus Apostolicum those commissions devoted themselves diligently to their assigned task, and at the appointed time informed us of their conclusions. After careful consideration of these conclusions we consider that now is the time to publish these norms. However since this involves matters pertaining to discipline, an area in which experience can still offer more suggestions, and since on the other hand a special commission is engaged in revising and improving the Code of Canon Law in which all the laws of the Church will be arranged in a more consistent, and suitable, and at the same time definitive manner, we think that we will be acting wisely and prudently it we publish these norms on an experimental basis. During this interval it will be the right of episcopal conferences to make known to us their observations and comments which the implementation of the norms will perhaps suggest to be made. and to present new measures to us. Therefore after carefully examining the matter, motu proprio and by our apostolic authority we decree and promulgate the following norms for the implementation of the decrees of the Council which begin with these words: Christus Dominus (On the Bishops' Pastoral Office in the Church) Presbyterorum Ordinis (On the Life and Ministry of Priests), Perfectae Caritatis (On the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life) and Ad Gentes Divinitus (On the Missionary Activity of the Church), and we command that they be observed by way of experiment, that is until the new Code of Canon Law is promulgated, unless in the meantime some other provision is to be made by the Apostolic See. These norms will begin to be in force next October 11, the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on which day the holy Council was begun four years ago by our predecessor of venerable memory, John XXIII. We order that whatever has been prescribed by us in this letter issued motu proprio be firm and ratified, all things to the contrary, even those worthy of most special mention, not withstanding. Given at Rome at St. Peter's, August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 1966, in the fourth year of our pontificate. Pope Paul VI. Norms For the Implementation of the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council Christus Dominus and Presbyterorum Ordinis The Episcopal Office, which the holy Second Vatican Council placed in a clearer light in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium and in the Decree Christus Dominus, was divinely established for the building up of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church. For this reason the sacred shepherds are bound to fulfill their office of teaching, sanctifying, and feeding the People of God with enduring care, both by generously sharing with the Roman Pontiff concern for all the churches, and by providing more zealously for the correct ruling of the dioceses entrusted to them, and lastly by working together energetically for the common good of the various churches. In the government of the dioceses entrusted to them, however, the bishops have necessary helpers and counselors—especially the priests—whom they should be willing to hear, in fact consult, preserving all the while the bishops' power to act freely, in setting down methods of procedure and norms and in making laws in keeping with the awareness or their obligation and the principles of Church government (cfr. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, No. 27). That bishops then may be able more easily and aptly to exercise their pastoral office and more effectively put into practice the principles which have been solemnly approved by the holy Council either in the Decree Christus Dominus or in the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, the following norms are established. Distribution of the Clergy and Aid to be Given to Dioceses (No. 6 of the Decree: Christus Dominus and No. 10 of Presbyterorum Ordinis) 1. If it seems opportune, a special committee will be established at the Apostolic See whose function it will be to propose general principles by which a more suitable distribution of the clergy is to be regulated, keeping in mind the needs of the various churches. 2. It will pertain to the patriarchal synods and the episcopal conferences, with careful attention to the prescriptions of the Apostolic See, to enact regulations and publish norms for the bishops in order to obtain a suitable distribution of the clergy, both of their own territory and of those coming from other regions, by which provision is made for the needs of all the dioceses in their territory and the welfare of the churches in mission countries and in nations suffering from a lack of clergy. In each episcopal conference, therefore, a commission should be established whose task will be to investigate the needs of the various dioceses within their territory and the possibilities of giving some of their own clergy to other churches, to carry out the decisions made and approved by the conferences regarding the distribution of the clergy and to inform the bishops of the territory of these decisions. 3. To facilitate the transfer of clerics from one diocese to another—without prejudice to the system of incardination and excardination, which is of course to be adjusted to new circumstances—the following regulations should be observed. Clerics are to be so instructed in the seminaries as to be concerned not only for the diocese for whose service they are ordained, but also for the whole Church, and so that they may be ready to dedicate themselves, with the permission of their own bishops, to those particular churches whose needs are urgent; Aside from real necessity in their own diocese, Ordinaries or hierarchs should not deny permission to emigrate to those clerics whom they know to be prepared and consider suitable to go to regions suffering from a grave shortage of clergy, to carry on the sacred ministry there. They are to see to it, however, that by a written agreement with the Ordinary of the place in question the rights and obligations of their clerics are clearly determined; These same Ordinaries should see to it that clerics intending to transfer from their own diocese to the diocese of another country are suitably prepared for the exercise of the sacred ministry there; that is, that they acquire a knowledge of the region's language and that they understand the country's institutions, social conditions, customs and practices; Ordinaries can grant their clerics permission to transfer to another diocese for a specified time, even to be renewed repeatedly, in such a way, however, that these clerics remain incardinated in their own diocese and enjoy all the rights on their return which they would have if they had been assigned to the sacred ministry in the diocese. However, a cleric who legitimately transfers from his own diocese to another is, by law, incardinated into the new diocese at the end of five years if he manifest such an intention in writing both to the Ordinary of the guest diocese and to his own Ordinary and provided that neither of these indicate his opposition to his intention in writing within four months. 4. Moreover, to carry on special pastoral or missionary work for various regions or social groups which are in need of special assistance, prelatures composed of priests from the secular clergy equipped with special training can be usefully established by the Apostolic See. These prelatures are under the government of their own prelate and possess their own statutes. It will be in the competence of this prelate to establish and direct a national or international seminary in which students are suitably instructed. The same prelate has the right to incardinate the same students and to promote them to sacred orders under the title of service for the prelature. The prelate must make provision for the spiritual life of those whom he has ordained according to the above title, and for the continual perfecting of their special training and their special ministry making agreements with the local Ordinaries to whom the priests are sent. He must likewise provide for their proper support, a matter which must be provided for through the same agreements, either from the resources which belong to the prelature itself or from other suitable resources. In like manner he must provide for those who on account of poor health or for other causes must leave the task assigned to them. Laymen, whether single or married, may also dedicate themselves with their professional skill to the service of these works and projects after making an agreement with the prelature. Such prelatures are not erected unless the episcopal conferences of the territory in which they will render their services have been consulted. In rendering this service, diligent care is to be taken to safeguard the rights of local Ordinaries and close contacts with the same episcopal conferences are always to be maintained. 5. Finally it is also within the competence of patriarchal synods and episcopal conferences to establish appropriate regulations with regard to the use of ecclesiastical property, paying attention above all to the needs of the dioceses themselves in the territory. In these regulations certain subsidies may be imposed on dioceses to be given to works of the apostolate or of charity or to churches provided with meager resources or in poverty because of special circumstances. The Power of Diocesan Bishops (No. 8 of the Decree Christus Dominus) 6. Norms for the implementation of the prescription of No. 8 have been set down in the Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio June 15, 1966, which begins with the words De Episcoporum muneribus. Fostering Pastoral Study and Science (No. 16 of the Decree Christus Dominus and No. 19 of the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis) 7. Bishops either individually or collectively should make provisions that all priests, even if engaged in the ministry, complete a series of pastoral lectures in the course of the year immediately after ordination and that they attend at specified times other lectures in which an opportunity is given to their priests both to acquire a fuller knowledge of pastoral methods and of the theological, moral and liturgical sciences, and to strengthen their spiritual life and to share their apostolic experiences with their brother priests. Bishops or episcopal conferences should also see to it that, according to local conditions, one or several priests of proven learning and virtue are chosen as moderators of studies to promote and arrange pastoral lectures and other aids which are considered necessary to foster the scientific and pastoral training of priests of their own territory: study centers, mobile libraries, congresses on catechetics, homiletics or the liturgy and other subjects of this kind. Equitable Remuneration for Priests and Social Security for Priests (No. 16 of the Decree Christus Dominus and Nos. 20-21 of the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis) 8. Patriarchal synods and episcopal conferences are to see to it that norms are established, either for individual dioceses or for several of them together, or for the whole territory by which suitable provision is made for the sustenance of all clerics who exercise or have exercised an office for the service of the people of God. The remuneration to be given to clerics first of all should be the same for all those who work under the same circumstances, taking into account both the nature of the office and of times and places, and the remuneration must be sufficient so that clerics can lead an honorable life and be in a position to help the poor. Reform of the system of benefices is entrusted to the Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law. Meanwhile, the bishops having heard the councils of priests should see to it that an equitable distribution of goods is provided for, including revenues corning from benefices. The same conferences should take care that at least in regions in which the sustenance of the clergy depends entirely or in great measure on the offerings of the faithful a special institution be established in each diocese to collect offerings for this purpose. the administrator of this institution is to be the bishop of the diocese who will be assisted by delegated priests and, where it seems useful, also by laymen skilled in economic affairs. Finally, the same episcopal conferences should see to it that, with due regard always for ecclesiastical and civil laws, there be in each country, either diocesan institutions, which may also be affiliated with each other, or institutions established for several dioceses together, or an association established for the entire country by which under the vigilance of the sacred hierarchy sufficient provision is made both for suitable security and health insurance, as it is called, and for due sustenance of the clergy who are sick, incapacitated, or aged. It will be the concern of the revision of the Code of Canon Law to determine the methods according to which another common fund is to be established in individual dioceses or regions by which the bishops will be able to satisfy other obligations to persons serving the Church and to meet various needs of the diocese and by which richer dioceses can also help the poorer ones. The Care of Certain Organizations of the Faithful (No. 18 of the Decree Christus Dominus) 9. The episcopal conferences are asked that, bearing in mind the great number of migrants and travelers today, they assign to a priest delegated for this purpose or to a special commission established for this purpose everything pertaining to the study and direction of the spiritual care of these persons. Nomination of Bishops (No. 20 of the Decree Christus Dominus) 10. The right of the Roman Pontiff to nominate and appoint bishops freely remaining intact and without prejudice to the discipline of the Eastern Churches, episcopal conferences according to norms established or to be established by the Apostolic See, shall with prudent counsel and in secret each year consider ecclesiastics to be promoted to the office of bishops in their own territory and propose the names of the candidates to the Apostolic See. Resignation of Bishops (No. 21 of the Decree Christus Dominus) 11. That the prescription of No. 21 of the Decree Christus Dominus may be put into effect, all bishops of dioceses and others who are juridically their equals are earnestly requested of their own free will to tender their resignation from office not later than at the completion of their 75th year of age to the competent authority which will make provision after examining all circumstances of individual eases. A bishop whose resignation from office has been accepted may maintain a home in his diocese if he wishes. Furthermore the diocese itself

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