CODE OF CANON LAW
BOOK III. THE TEACHING FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
THE TEACHING FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
Can. 747 §1. The Church, to which Christ the Lord has entrusted the deposit
of faith so that with the assistance of the Holy Spirit it might protect the
revealed truth reverently, examine it more closely, and proclaim and expound it
faithfully, has the duty and innate right, independent of any human power
whatsoever, to preach the gospel to all peoples, also using the means of social
communication proper to it.
§2. It belongs to the Church always and everywhere to announce moral
principles, even about the social order, and to render judgment concerning any
human affairs insofar as the fundamental rights of the human person or the
salvation of souls requires it.
Can. 748 §1. All persons are bound to seek the truth in those things which
regard God and his Church and by virtue of divine law are bound by the
obligation and possess the right of embracing and observing the truth which they
have come to know.
§2. No one is ever permitted to coerce persons to embrace the Catholic faith
against their conscience.
Can. 749 §1. By virtue of his office, the Supreme Pontiff possesses
infallibility in teaching when as the supreme pastor and teacher of all the
Christian faithful, who strengthens his brothers and sisters in the faith, he
proclaims by definitive act that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held.
§2. The college of bishops also possesses infallibility in teaching when the
bishops gathered together in an ecumenical council exercise the magisterium as
teachers and judges of faith and morals who declare for the universal Church
that a doctrine of faith or morals is to be held definitively; or when dispersed
throughout the world but preserving the bond of communion among themselves and
with the successor of Peter and teaching authentically together with the Roman
Pontiff matters of faith or morals, they agree that a particular proposition is
to be held definitively.
§3. No doctrine is understood as defined infallibly unless this is manifestly
Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those
things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one
deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as
divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its
ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence
of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium;
therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.
§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of
the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every
thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the
same deposit of faith, is also to be firm-ly embraced and retained; therefore,
one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed
to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
Can. 751 Heresy is the obstinate denial or obstinate doubt after the
reception of baptism of some truth which is to be believed by divine and
Catholic faith; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism
is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the
members of the Church subject to him.
Can. 752 Although not an assent of faith, a religious submission of the
intellect and will must be given to a doctrine which the Supreme Pontiff or the
college of bishops declares concerning faith or morals when they exercise the
authentic magisterium, even if they do not intend to proclaim it by definitive
act; therefore, the Christian faithful are to take care to avoid those things
which do not agree with it.
Can. 753 Although the bishops who are in communion with the head and members
of the college, whether individually or joined together in conferences of
bishops or in particular councils, do not possess infallibility in teaching,
they are authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the Christian
faithful entrusted to their care; the Christian faithful are bound to adhere
with religious submission of mind to the authentic magisterium of their bishops.
Can. 754 All the Christian faithful are obliged to observe the constitutions
and decrees which the legitimate authority of the Church issues in order to
propose doctrine and to proscribe erroneous opinions, particularly those which
the Roman Pontiff or the college of bishops puts forth.
Can. 755 §1. It is above all for the entire college of bishops and the
Apostolic See to foster and direct among Catholics the ecumenical movement whose
purpose is the restoration among all Christians of the unity which the Church is
bound to promote by the will of Christ.
§2. It is likewise for the bishops and, according to the norm of law, the
conferences of bishops to promote this same unity and to impart practical norms
according to the various needs and opportunities of the circumstances; they are
to be attentive to the prescripts issued by the supreme authority of the