CODE OF CANON LAW
BOOK III. THE TEACHING FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
THE MINISTRY OF THE DIVINE WORD (Cann.
756 - 780)
Can. 756 §1. With respect to the universal Church, the function of
proclaiming the gospel has been entrusted principally to the Roman Pontiff and
the college of bishops.
§2. With respect to the particular church entrusted to him, an individual
bishop, who is the moderator of the entire ministry of the word within it,
exercises that function; sometimes several bishops fulfill this function jointly
with respect to different churches at once, according to the norm of law.
Can. 757 It is proper for presbyters, who are co-workers of the bishops, to
proclaim the gospel of God; this duty binds especially pastors and others to
whom the care of souls is entrusted with respect to the people committed to them.
It is also for deacons to serve the people of God in the ministry of the word in
communion with the bishop and his presbyterium.
Can. 758 By virtue of their consecration to God, members of institutes of
consecrated life give witness to the gospel in a special way and the bishop
appropriately calls upon them as a help in proclaiming the gospel.
Can. 759 By virtue of baptism and confirmation, lay members of the Christian
faithful are witnesses of the gospel message by word and the example of a
Christian life; they can also be called upon to cooperate with the bishop and
presbyters in the exercise of the ministry of the word.
Can. 760 The mystery of Christ is to be set forth completely and faithfully
in the ministry of the word, which must be based upon sacred scripture,
tradition, liturgy, the magisterium, and the life of the Church.
Can. 761 The various means available are to be used to proclaim Christian
doctrine: first of all preaching and catechetical instruction, which always hold
the principal place, but also the presentation of doctrine in schools, academies,
conferences, and meetings of every type and its diVusion through public
declarations in the press or in other instruments of social communication by
legitimate authority on the occasion of certain events.
THE PREACHING OF THE WORD OF GOD
Can. 762 Sacred ministers, among whose principal duties is the proclamation
of the gospel of God to all, are to hold the function of preaching in esteem
since the people of God are first brought together by the word of the living God,
which it is certainly right to require from the mouth of priests.
Can. 763 Bishops have the right to preach the word of God everywhere,
including in churches and oratories of religious institutes of pontifical right,
unless the local bishop has expressly forbidden it in particular cases.
Can. 764 Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 765, presbyters and
deacons possess the faculty of preaching everywhere; this faculty is to be
exercised with at least the presumed consent of the rector of the church, unless
the competent ordinary has restricted or taken away the faculty or particular
law requires express permission.
Can. 765 Preaching to religious in their churches or oratories requires the
permission of the superior competent according to the norm of the constitutions.
Can. 766 Lay persons can be permitted to preach in a church or oratory, if
necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems advantageous in
particular cases, according to the prescripts of the conference of bishops and
without prejudice to can. 767, §1.
Can. 767 §1. Among the forms of preaching, the homily, which is part of the
liturgy itself and is reserved to a priest or deacon, is preeminent; in the
homily the mysteries of faith and the norms of Christian life are to be
explained from the sacred text during the course of the liturgical year.
§2. A homily must be given at all Masses on Sundays and holy days of
obligation which are celebrated with a congregation, and it cannot be omitted
except for a grave cause.
§3. It is strongly recommended that if there is a sufficient congregation, a
homily is to be given even at Masses celebrated during the week, especially
during the time of Advent and Lent or on the occasion of some feast day or a
§4. It is for the pastor or rector of a church to take care that these
prescripts are observed conscientiously.
Can. 768 §1. Those who proclaim the divine word are to propose first of all
to the Christian faithful those things which one must believe and do for the
glory of God and the salvation of humanity.
§2. They are also to impart to the faithful the doctrine which the
magisterium of the Church sets forth concerning the dignity and freedom of the
human person, the unity and stability of the family and its duties, the
obligations which people have from being joined together in society, and the
ordering of temporal aVairs according to the plan established by God.
Can. 769 Christian doctrine is to be set forth in a way accommodated to the
condition of the listeners and in a manner adapted to the needs of the times.
Can. 770 At certain times according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop,
pastors are to arrange for those types of preaching which are called spiritual
exercises and sacred missions or for other forms of preaching adapted to needs.
Can. 771 §1. Pastors of souls, especially bishops and pastors, are to be
concerned that the word of God is also proclaimed to those of the faithful who
because of the condition of their life do not have suYcient common and ordinary
pastoral care or lack it completely.
§2. They are also to make provision that the message of the gospel reaches
non-believers living in the territory since the care of souls must also extend
to them no less than to the faithful.
Can. 772 §1. In the exercise of preaching, moreover, all are to observe the
norms issued by the diocesan bishop.
§2. In giving a radio or television talk on Christian doctrine, the
prescripts established by the conference of bishops are to be observed.
Can. 773 It is a proper and grave duty especially of pastors of souls to take
care of the catechesis of the Christian people so that the living faith of the
faithful becomes manifest and active through doctrinal instruction and the
experience of Christian life.
Can. 774 §1. Under the direction of legitimate ecclesiastical authority,
solicitude for catechesis belongs to all members of the Church according to each
§2. Parents above others are obliged to form their children by word and
example in faith and in the practice of Christian life; sponsors and those who
take the place of parents are bound by an equal obligation.
Can. 775 §1. Having observed the prescripts issued by the Apostolic See, it
is for the diocesan bishop to issue norms for catechetics, to make provision
that suitable instruments of catechesis are available, even by preparing a
catechism if it seems opportune, and to foster and coordinate catechetical
§2. If it seems useful, it is for the conference of bishops to take care that
catechisms are issued for its territory, with the previous approval of the
§3. The conference of bishops can establish a catechetical office whose
primary function is to assist individual dioceses in catechetical matters.
Can. 776 By virtue of his function, a pastor is bound to take care of the
catechetical formation of adults, youth, and children, to which purpose he is to
use the help of the clerics attached to the parish, of members of institutes of
consecrated life and of societies of apostolic life, taking into account the
character of each institute, and of lay members of the Christian faithful,
especially of catechists. None of these are to refuse to offer their help
willingly unless they are legitimately impeded. The pastor is to promote and
foster the function of parents in the family catechesis mentioned in can. 774,
Can. 777 Attentive to the norms established by the diocesan bishop, a pastor
is to take care in a special way:
1/ that suitable catechesis is imparted for the celebration of the sacraments;
2/ that through catechetical instruction imparted for an appropriate period
of time children are prepared properly for the first reception of the sacraments
of penance and the Most Holy Eucharist and for the sacrament of confirmation;
3/ that having received first communion, these children are enriched more
fully and deeply through catechetical formation;
4/ that catechetical instruction is given also to those who are physically or
mentally impeded, insofar as their condition permits;
5/ that the faith of youth and adults is strengthened, enlightened, and
developed through various means and endeavors.
Can. 778 Religious superiors and superiors of societies of apostolic life are
to take care that catechetical instruction is imparted diligently in their
churches, schools, and other works entrusted to them in any way.
Can. 779 Catechetical instruction is to be given by using all helps, teaching
aids, and instruments of social communication which seem more effective so that
the faithful, in a manner adapted to their character, capabilities and age, and
conditions of life, are able to learn Catholic doctrine more fully and put it
into practice more suitably.
Can. 780 Local ordinaries are to take care that catechists are duly prepared
to fulfill their function properly, namely, that continuing formation is made
available to them, that they understand the doctrine of the Church appropriately,
and that they learn in theory and in practice the methods proper to the teaching