CODE OF CANON LAW
BOOK IV. FUNCTION OF THE CHURCH
PART I. THE SACRAMENTS
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION (Cann.
879 - 896)
Can. 879 The sacrament of confirmation strengthens the baptized and obliges
them more firmly to be witnesses of Christ by word and deed and to spread and
defend the faith. It imprints a character, enriches by the gift of the Holy
Spirit the baptized continuing on the path of Christian initiation, and binds
them more perfectly to the Church.
THE CELEBRATION OF CONFIRMATION
Can. 880 §1. The sacrament of confirmation is conferred by the anointing of
chrism on the forehead, which is done by the imposition of the hand and through
the words prescribed in the approved liturgical books.
§2. The chrism to be used in the sacrament of confirmation must be
consecrated by a bishop even if a presbyter administers the sacrament.
Can. 881 It is desirable to celebrate the sacrament of confirmation in a
church and during Mass; for a just and reasonable cause, however, it can be
celebrated outside Mass and in any worthy place.
THE MINISTER OF CONFIRMATION
Can. 882 The ordinary minister of confir-mation is a bishop; a presbyter
provided with this faculty in virtue of universal law or the special grant of
the competent authority also confers this sacrament validly.
Can. 883 The following possess the faculty of administering confirmation by
the law itself:
1/ within the boundaries of their jurisdiction, those who are equivalent in
law to a diocesan bishop;
2/ as regards the person in question, the presbyter who by virtue of office
or mandate of the diocesan bishop baptizes one who is no longer an infant or
admits one already baptized into the full communion of the Catholic Church;
3/ as regards those who are in danger of death, the pastor or indeed any
Can. 884 §1. The diocesan bishop is to administer confirmation personally or
is to take care that another bishop administers it. If necessity requires it, he
can grant the faculty to one or more specific presbyters, who are to administer
§2. For a grave cause the bishop and even the presbyter endowed with the
faculty of confirming in virtue of the law or the special grant of the competent
authority can in single cases also associate presbyters with themselves to
administer the sacrament.
Can. 885 §1. The diocesan bishop is ob-liged to take care that the sacrament
of confir-mation is conferred on subjects who properly and reasonably seek it.
§2. A presbyter who possesses this faculty must use it for the sake of those
in whose favor the faculty was granted.
Can. 886 §1. A bishop in his diocese legitimately administers the sacrament
of confirmation even to faithful who are not his subjects, unless their own
ordinary expressly prohibits it.
§2. To administer confirmation licitly in another diocese, a bishop needs at
least the reasonably presumed permission of the diocesan bishop unless it
concerns his own subjects.
Can. 887 A presbyter who possesses the faculty of administering confirmation
also confers this sacrament licitly on externs in the territory assigned to him
unless their proper ordinary prohibits it; he cannot confer it validly on anyone
in another territory, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 883, n. 3.
Can. 888 Within the territory in which they are able to confer confirmation,
ministers can administer it even in exempt places.
THOSE TO BE CONFIRMED
Can. 889 §1. Every baptized person not yet confirmed and only such a person
is capable of receiving confirmation.
§2. To receive confirmation licitly outside the danger of death requires that
a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed,
and able to renew the baptismal promises.
Can. 890 The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the proper
time. Parents and pastors of souls, especially pastors of parishes, are to take
care that the faithful are properly instructed to receive the sacrament and come
to it at the appropriate time.
Can. 891 The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at
about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined
another age, or there is danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister a
grave cause suggests otherwise.
Can. 892 Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be
confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a
true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this
Can. 893 §1. To perform the function of sponsor, a person must fulfill the
conditions mentioned in can. 874.
§2. It is desirable to choose as sponsor the one who undertook the same
function in baptism.
THE PROOF AND REGISTRATION OF THE CONFERRAL OF CONFIRMATION
Can. 894 To prove the conferral of con-firmation the prescripts of can. 876
are to be observed.
Can. 895 The names of those confirmed with mention made of the minister, the
parents and sponsors, and the place and date of the conferral of confirmation
are to be recorded in the confirmation register of the diocesan curia or, where
the conference of bishops or the diocesan bishop has prescribed it, in a
register kept in the parish archive. The pastor must inform the pastor of the
place of baptism about the conferral of confirmation so that a notation is made
in the baptismal register according to the norm of can. 535, §2.
Can. 896 If the pastor of the place was not present, the minister either
personally or through another is to inform him as soon as possible of the
conferral of confirmation.
THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST (Cann. 897 -
Can. 897 The most August sacrament is the Most Holy Eucharist in which Christ
the Lord himself is contained, offered, and received and by which the Church
continually lives and grows. The eucharistic sacrifice, the memorial of the
death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is
perpetuated through the ages is the summit and source of all worship and
Christian life, which signifies and effects the unity of the People of God and
brings about the building up of the body of Christ. Indeed, the other sacraments
and all the ecclesiastical works of the apostolate are closely connected with
the Most Holy Eucharist and ordered to it.
Can. 898 The Christian faithful are to hold the Most Holy Eucharist in
highest honor, taking an active part in the celebration of the most august
sacrifice, receiving this sacrament most devoutly and frequently, and worshiping
it with the highest adoration. In explaining the doctrine about this sacrament,
pastors of souls are to teach the faithful diligently about this obligation.
THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
Can. 899 §1. The eucharistic celebration is the action of Christ himself and
the Church. In it, Christ the Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers
himself, substantially present under the species of bread and wine, to God the
Father and gives himself as spiritual food to the faithful united with his
§2. In the eucharistic gathering the people of God are called together with
the bishop or, under his authority, a presbyter presiding and acting in the
person of Christ. All the faithful who are present, whether clerics or laity,
unite together by participating in their own way according to the diversity of
orders and liturgical functions.
§3. The eucharistic celebration is to be organized in such a way that all
those participating receive from it the many fruits for which Christ the Lord
instituted the eucharistic sacrifice.
THE MINISTER OF THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
Can. 900 §1. The minister who is able to confect the sacrament of the
Eucharist in the person of Christ is a validly ordained priest alone.
§2. A priest not impeded by canon law celebrates the Eucharist licitly; the
provisions of the following canons are to be observed.
Can. 901 A priest is free to apply the Mass for anyone, living or dead.
Can. 902 Unless the welfare of the Christian faithful requires or suggests
otherwise, priests can concelebrate the Eucharist. They are completely free to
celebrate the Eucharist individually, however, but not while a concelebration is
taking place in the same church or oratory.
Can. 903 A priest is to be permitted to celebrate even if the rector of the
church does not know him, provided that either he presents a letter of
introduction from his ordinary or superior, issued at least within the year, or
it can be judged prudently that he is not impeded from celebrating.
Can. 904 Remembering always that in the mystery of the eucharistic sacrifice
the work of redemption is exercised continually, priests are to celebrate
frequently; indeed, daily celebration is recommended earnestly since, even if
the faithful cannot be present, it is the act of Christ and the Church in which
priests fulfill their principal function.
Can. 905 §1. A priest is not permitted to celebrate the Eucharist more than
once a day except in cases where the law permits him to celebrate or
concelebrate more than once on the same day.
§2. If there is a shortage of priests, the local ordinary can allow priests
to celebrate twice a day for a just cause, or if pastoral necessity requires it,
even three times on Sundays and holy days of obligation.
Can. 906 Except for a just and reasonable cause, a priest is not to celebrate
the eucharistic sacrifice without the participation of at least some member of
Can. 907 In the eucharistic celebration deacons and lay persons are not
permitted to offer prayers, especially the eucharistic prayer, or to perform
actions which are proper to the celebrating priest.
Can. 908 Catholic priests are forbidden to concelebrate the Eucharist with
priests or ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities which do not have full
communion with the Catholic Church.
Can. 909 A priest is not to neglect to prepare himself properly through
prayer for the celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice and to offer thanks to
God at its completion.
Can. 910 §1. The ordinary minister of holy communion is a bishop, presbyter,
§2. The extraordinary minister of holy communion is an acolyte or another
member of the Christian faithful designated according to the norm of can. 230,
Can. 911 §1. The pastor, parochial vicars, chaplains, and, with regard to all
those dwelling in the house, the superior of a community in clerical religious
institutes and societies of apostolic life have the duty and right of bringing
the Most Holy Eucharist as Viaticum to the sick.
§2. In the case of necessity or with at least the presumed permission of the
pastor, chaplain, or superior, who must be notified afterwards, any priest or
other minister of holy communion must do this.
PARTICIPATION IN THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
Can. 912 Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted
to holy communion.
Can. 913 §1. The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children
requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that
they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able
to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion.
§2. The Most Holy Eucharist, however, can be administered to children in
danger of death if they can distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food
and receive communion reverently.
Can. 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of
parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have
reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made
sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible.
It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not
attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do
not approach holy communion.
Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the
imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in
manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
Can. 916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or
receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless
there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the
person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which
includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.
Can. 917 A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can
receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration
in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of can.
Can. 918 It is highly recommended that the faithful receive holy communion
during the eucharistic celebration itself. It is to be administered outside the
Mass, however, to those who request it for a just cause, with the liturgical
rites being observed.
Can. 919 §1. A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to
abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink,
except for only water and medicine.
§2. A priest who celebrates the Most Holy Eucharist two or three times on the
same day can take something before the second or third celebration even if there
is less than one hour between them.
§3. The elderly, the infirm, and those who care for them can receive the Most
Holy Eucharist even if they have eaten something within the preceding hour.
Can. 920 §1. After being initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, each of the
faithful is obliged to receive holy communion at least once a year.
§2. This precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is
fulfilled for a just cause at another time during the year.
Can. 921 §1. The Christian faithful who are in danger of death from any cause
are to be nourished by holy communion in the form of Viaticum.
§2. Even if they have been nourished by holy communion on the same day,
however, those in danger of death are strongly urged to receive communion again.
§3. While the danger of death lasts, it is recommended that holy communion be
administered often, but on separate days.
Can. 922 Holy Viaticum for the sick is not to be delayed too long; those who
have the care of souls are to be zealous and vigilant that the sick are
nourished by Viaticum while fully conscious.
Can. 923 The Christian faithful can participate in the eucharistic sacrifice
and receive holy communion in any Catholic rite, without prejudice to the
prescript of can. 844.
THE RITES AND CEREMONIES OF THE EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION
Can. 924 §1. The most holy eucharistic sacrifice must be offered with bread
and with wine in which a little water must be mixed.
§2. The bread must be only wheat and recently made so that there is no danger
§3. The wine must be natural from the fruit of the vine and not spoiled.
Can. 925 Holy communion is to be given under the form of bread alone, or
under both species according to the norm of the liturgical laws, or even under
the form of wine alone in a case of necessity.
Can. 926 According to the ancient tradition of the Latin Church, the priest
is to use unleavened bread in the eucharistic celebration whenever he offers it.
Can. 927 It is absolutely forbidden, even in extreme urgent necessity, to
consecrate one matter without the other or even both outside the eucharistic
Can. 928 The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in the Latin
language or in another language provided that the liturgical texts have been
Can. 929 In celebrating and administering the Eucharist, priests and deacons
are to wear the sacred vestments prescribed by the rubrics.
Can. 930 §1. If an infirm or elderly priest is unable to stand, he can
celebrate the eucharistic sacrifice while seated, but not before the people
except with the permission of the local ordinary; the liturgical laws are to be
§2. A blind or otherwise infirm priest licitly celebrates the eucharistic
sacrifice by using any approved text of the Mass with the assistance, if needed,
of another priest, deacon, or even a properly instructed lay person.
THE TIME AND PLACE OF THE CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST
Can. 931 The celebration and distribution of the Eucharist can be done at any
day and hour except those which the liturgical norms exclude.
Can. 932 §1. The eucharistic celebration is to be carried out in a sacred
place unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise; in such a case
the celebration must be done in a decent place.
§2. The eucharistic sacrifice must be carried out on a dedicated or blessed
altar; outside a sacred place a suitable table can be used, always with a cloth
and a corporal.
Can. 933 For a just cause and with the express permission of the local
ordinary, a priest is permitted to celebrate the Eucharist in the place of
worship of some Church or ecclesial community which does not have full communion
with the Catholic Church so long as there is no scandal.
THE RESERVATION AND VENERATION OF THE MOST HOLY EUCHARIST
Can. 934 §1. The Most Holy Eucharist:
1/ must be reserved in the cathedral church or its equivalent, in every
parish church, and in a church or oratory connected to the house of a religious
institute or society of apostolic life;
2/ can be reserved in the chapel of the bishop and, with the permission of
the local ordinary, in other churches, oratories, and chapels.
§2. In sacred places where the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved, there must
always be someone responsible for it and, insofar as possible, a priest is to
celebrate Mass there at least twice a month.
Can. 935 No one is permitted to keep the Eucharist on one’s person or to
carry it around, unless pastoral necessity urges it and the prescripts of the
diocesan bishop are observed.
Can. 936 In the house of a religious institute or some other pious house, the
Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved only in the church or principal oratory
attached to the house. For a just cause, however, the ordinary can also permit
it to be reserved in another oratory of the same house.
Can. 937 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, the church in which
the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is to be open to the faithful for at least
some hours every day so that they can pray before the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Can. 938 §1. The Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved habitually in only one
tabernacle of a church or oratory.
§2. The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is to be
situated in some part of the church or oratory which is distinguished,
conspicuous, beautifully decorated, and suitable for prayer.
§3. The tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved habitually is
to be immovable, made of solid and opaque material, and locked in such a way
that the danger of profanation is avoided as much as possible.
§4. For a grave cause, it is permitted to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist in
some other fit-ting and more secure place, especially at night.
§5. The person responsible for the church or oratory is to take care that the
key of the tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved is
safeguarded most diligently.
Can. 939 Consecrated hosts in a quantity sufficient for the needs of the
faithful are to be kept in a pyx or small vessel; they are to be renewed
frequently and the older hosts consumed properly.
Can. 940 A special lamp which indicates and honors the presence of Christ is
to shine continuously before a tabernacle in which the Most Holy Eucharist is
Can. 941 §1. In churches or oratories where it is permitted to reserve the
Most Holy Eucharist, there can be expositions with the pyx or the monstrance;
the norms prescribed in the liturgical books are to be observed.
§2. Exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament is not to be held in the same
area of the church or oratory during the celebration of Mass.
Can. 942 It is recommended that in these churches and oratories an annual
solemn exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament be held for an appropriate
period of time, even if not continuous, so that the local community more
profoundly meditates on and adores the eucharistic mystery. Such an exposition
is to be held, however, only if a suitable gathering of the faithful is foreseen
and the established norms are observed.
Can. 943 The minister of exposition of the Most Blessed Sacrament and of
eucharistic benediction is a priest or deacon; in special circumstances, the
minister of exposition and reposition alone without benediction is the acolyte,
extraordinary minister of holy communion, or someone else designated by the
local ordinary; the prescripts of the diocesan bishop are to be observed.
Can. 944 §1. When it can be done in the judgment of the diocesan bishop, a
procession through the public streets is to be held as a public witness of
veneration toward the Most Holy Eucharist, especially on the solemnity of the
Body and Blood of Christ.
§2. It is for the diocesan bishop to establish regulations which provide for
the participation in and the dignity of processions.
THE OFFERING GIVEN FOR THE CELEBRATION OF MASS
Can. 945 §1. In accord with the approved practice of the Church, any priest
celebrating or concelebrating is permitted to receive an offering to apply the
Mass for a specific intention.
§2. It is recommended earnestly to priests that they celebrate Mass for the
intention of the Christian faithful, especially the needy, even if they have not
received an offering.
Can. 946 The Christian faithful who give an offering to apply the Mass for
their intention contribute to the good of the Church and by that offering share
its concern to support its ministers and works.
Can. 947 Any appearance of tracking or trading is to be excluded entirely
from the offering for Masses.
Can. 948 Separate Masses are to be applied for the intentions of those for
whom a single offering, although small, has been given and accepted.
Can. 949 A person obliged to celebrate and apply Mass for the intention of
those who gave an offering is bound by the obligation even if the offerings
received have been lost through no fault of his own.
Can. 950 If a sum of money is offered for the application of Masses without
an indication of the number of Masses to be celebrated, the number is to be
computed on the basis of the offering established in the place where the donor
resides, unless the intention of the donor must be presumed legitimately to have
Can. 951 §1. A priest who celebrates several Masses on the same day can apply
each to the intention for which the offering was given, but subject to the rule
that, except on Christmas, he is to keep the offering for only one Mass and
transfer the others to the purposes prescribed by the ordinary, while allowing
for some recompense by reason of an extrinsic title.
§2. A priest who concelebrates a second Mass on the same day cannot accept an
offering for it under any title.
Can. 952 §1. It is for the provincial council or a meeting of the bishops of
the province to define by decree for the entire province the offering to be
given for the celebration and application of Mass, and a priest is not permitted
to seek a larger sum. Nevertheless, he is permitted to accept for the
application of a Mass a voluntary offering which is larger or even smaller than
the one defined.
§2. Where there is no such decree, the custom in force in the diocese is to
§3. Members of all religious institutes must also observe the same decree or
local custom mentioned in §§1 and 2.
Can. 953 No one is permitted to accept more offerings for Masses to be
applied by himself than he can satisfy within a year.
Can. 954 If in certain churches or oratories more Masses are asked to be
celebrated than can be celebrated there, it is permitted for them to be
celebrated elsewhere unless the donors have expressly indicated a contrary
Can. 955 §1. A person who intends to entrust to others the celebration of
Masses to be applied is to entrust their celebration as soon as possible to
priests acceptable to him, provided that he is certain that they are above
He must transfer the entire offering received unless it is certain that the
excess over the sum fixed in the diocese was given for him personally. He is
also obliged to see to the celebration of the Masses until he learns that the
obligation has been accepted and the offering received.
§2. The time within which Masses must be celebrated begins on the day the
priest who is to celebrate them received them unless it is otherwise evident.
§3. Those who entrust to others Masses to be celebrated are to record in a
book without delay both the Masses which they received and those which they
transferred to others, as well as their offerings.
§4. Every priest must note accurately the Masses which he accepted to
celebrate and those which he has satisfied.
Can. 956 Each and every administrator of pious causes or those obliged in any
way to see to the celebration of Masses, whether clerics or laity, are to hand
over to their ordinaries according to the method defined by the latter the Mass
obligations which have not been satisfied within a year.
Can. 957 The duty and right of exercising vigilance that Mass obligations are
fulfilled belong to the local ordinary in churches of secular clergy and to the
superiors in churches of religious institutes or societies of apostolic life.
Can. 958 §1. The pastor and the rector of a church or other pious place which
regularly receives offerings for Masses are to have a special book in which they
note accurately the number of Masses to be celebrated, the intention, the
offering given, and their celebration.
§2. The ordinary is obliged to examine these books each year either
personally or through others.