CODE OF CANON LAW
BOOK VII. PROCESSES
THE METHOD OF PROCEEDING IN ADMINISTRATIVE RECOURSE AND IN THE REMOVAL OR TRANSFER OF PASTORS
RECOURSE AGAINST ADMINISTRATIVE DECREES (Cann. 1732 - 1739)
Can. 1732 What is established in the canons of this section concerning
decrees must be applied to all singular administrative acts which are given in
the external forum outside a trial excepting those which have been issued by the
Roman Pontiff or an ecumenical council.
Can. 1733 §1. Whenever a person considers himself or herself aggrieved by a
decree, it is particularly desirable that the person and the author of the
decree avoid any contention and take care to seek an equitable solution by
common counsel, possibly using the mediation and effort of wise persons to avoid
or settle the controversy in a suitable way.
§2. The conference of bishops can determine that each diocese establish in a
stable manner an office or council whose function is to seek and suggest
equitable solutions according to the norms determined by the conference. If the
conference has not ordered this, however, the bishop can establish a council or
office of this kind.
§3. The office or council mentioned in §2 is especially to be of assistance
when the revocation of a decree has been requested according to the norm of can.
1734 and the time limits for making recourse have not elapsed. If recourse has
been proposed against a decree, however, the superior who deals with the
recourse is to urge the person making recourse and the author of the decree to
seek a solution of this kind whenever he sees hope of a favorable outcome.
Can. 1734 §1. Before proposing recourse a person must seek the revocation or
emendation of the decree in writing from its author. When this petition is
proposed, by that very fact suspension of the execution of the decree is also
understood to be requested.
§2. The petition must be made within the peremptory period of ten useful days
from the legitimate notification of the decree.
§3. The norms of §§1 and 2 are not valid:
1/ for recourse proposed to a bishop against decrees issued by authorities
subject to him;
2/ for recourse proposed against a decree which decides a hierarchical
recourse unless the bishop gave the decision;
3/ for recourse proposed according to the norm of cann. 57 and 1735.
Can. 1735 If within thirty days after receiving the petition mentioned in
can. 1734 the author of the decree communicates a new decree by which he either
emends the earlier one or decides that the petition must be rejected, the time
limits for making recourse run from the notification of the new decree. If the
author makes no decision within the thirty days, however, the time limits run
from the thirtieth day.
Can. 1736 §1. In those matters in which hierarchical recourse suspends the
execution of a decree, the petition mentioned in can. 1734 also has the same
§2. In other cases, if the author of the decree has not decreed the
suspension of execution within ten days after receiving the petition mentioned
in can. 1734, an interim suspension can be sought from his hierarchical superior
who can decree a suspension only for grave reasons and always cautiously so that
the salvation of souls suffers no harm.
§3. If the execution of the decree has been suspended according to the norm
of §2 and recourse is proposed afterwards, the person who must deal with the
recourse according to the norm of can. 1737, §3 is to decide whether the
suspension must be confirmed or revoked.
§4. If no recourse is proposed against the decree within the established time
limit, the interim suspension of the execution given according to the norm of
§§1 or 2 ceases by that very fact.
Can. 1737 §1. A person who claims to have been aggrieved by a decree can
make recourse for any just reason to the hierarchical superior of the one who
issued the decree. The recourse can be proposed before the author of the decree
who must transmit it immediately to the competent hierarchical superior.
§2. Recourse must be proposed within the peremptory time limit of fifteen
useful days which in the cases mentioned in can. 1734, §3 run from the day on
which the decree was communicated; in other cases, however, they run according
to the norm of can. 1735.
§3. Nevertheless, even in cases in which recourse does not suspend the
execution of the decree by the law itself and suspension has not been decreed
according to the norm of can. 1736, §2, the superior can order the execution to
be suspended for a grave cause, yet cautiously so that the salvation of souls
suffers no harm.
Can. 1738 The person making recourse always has the right to use an advocate
or procurator, but useless delays are to be avoided; indeed, a legal
representative is to be appointed ex officio if the person making recourse lacks
one and the superior thinks it necessary. Nevertheless, the superior always can
order the person making recourse to be present in order to be questioned.
Can. 1739 The superior who deals with the recourse, as the case warrants, is
permitted not only to confirm the decree or declare it invalid but also to
rescind or revoke it or, if it seems more expedient to the superior, to emend,
replace, or modify it.
THE PROCEDURE IN THE REMOVAL OR TRANSFER OF PASTORS (Cann.
1740 - 1752)
THE MANNER OF PROCEEDING IN THE REMOVAL OF PASTORS
Can. 1740 When the ministry of any pastor becomes harmful or at least
ineffective for any cause, even through no grave personal negligence, the
diocesan bishop can remove him from the parish.
Can. 1741 The causes for which a pastor can be removed legitimately from his
parish are especially the following:
1/ a manner of acting which brings grave detriment or disturbance to
2/ ineptitude or a permanent infirmity of mind or body which renders the
pastor unable to fulfill his functions usefully;
3/ loss of a good reputation among upright and responsible parishioners or an
aversion to the pastor which it appears will not cease in a brief time;
4/ grave neglect or violation of parochial duties which persists after a
5/ poor administration of temporal affairs with grave damage to the Church
whenever another remedy to this harm cannot be found.
Can. 1742 §1. If the instruction which was carried out has established the
existence of one of the causes mentioned in can. 1740, the bishop is to discuss
the matter with two pastors selected from the group established for this purpose
in a stable manner by the presbyteral council at the proposal of the bishop. If
the bishop then judges that removal must take place, he paternally is to
persuade the pastor to resign within fifteen days, after having explained, for
validity, the cause and arguments for the removal.
§2. The prescript of can. 682, §2 is to be observed for pastors who are
members of a religious institute or a society of apostolic life.
Can. 1743 A pastor can submit a resignation not only purely and simply but
also conditionally, provided that the bishop can accept it legitimately and
actually does accept it.
Can. 1744 §1. If the pastor has not responded within the prescribed days,
the bishop is to repeat the invitation and extend the useful time to respond.
§2. If the bishop establishes that the pastor received the second invitation
but did not respond even though not prevented by any impediment, or if the
pastor refuses to resign without giving any reasons, the bishop is to issue a
decree of removal.
Can. 1745 If the pastor opposes the cause given and its reasons and alleges
reasons which seem insufficient to the bishop, the bishop, in order to act
1/ to invite the pastor to organize his objections in a written report after
he has inspected the acts, and offer any proofs he has to the contrary;
2/ when any necessary instruction is completed, to consider the matter
together with the same pastors mentioned in can. 1742, §1, unless others must be
designated because those pastors are unavailable;
3/ finally, to establish whether the pastor must be removed or not and
promptly to issue a decree on the matter.
Can. 1746 After the pastor has been removed, the bishop is to make provision
either for an assignment to some other office, if he is suitable for this, or
for a pension as the case warrants and circumstances permit.
Can. 1747 §1. The removed pastor must refrain from exercising the function
of pastor, vacate the rectory as soon as possible, and hand over everything
belonging to the parish to the person to whom the bishop has entrusted the
§2. If, however, the man is sick and cannot be transferred elsewhere from the
rectory without inconvenience, the bishop is to leave him the use, even
exclusive use, of the rectory while this necessity lasts.
§3. While recourse against a decree of removal is pending, the bishop cannot
appoint a new pastor, but is to provide a parochial administrator in the
THE MANNER OF PROCEEDING IN THE TRANSFER OF PASTORS
Can. 1748 If the good of souls or the necessity or advantage of the Church
demands that a pastor be transferred from a parish which he is governing
usefully to another parish or another office, the bishop is to propose the
transfer to him in writing and persuade him to consent to it out of love of God
Can. 1749 If the pastor does not intend to submit to the counsel and
persuasions of the bishop, he is to explain the reasons in writing.
Can. 1750 Notwithstanding the reasons alleged, if the bishop decides not to
withdraw from his proposal, he is to consider the reasons which favor or oppose
the transfer with two pastors selected according to the norm of can. 1742, §1.
If he then decides to implement the transfer, however, he is to repeat the
paternal exhortations to the pastor.
Can. 1751 §1. When this has been done, if the pastor still refuses and the
bishop thinks that the transfer must be made, he is to issue a decree of
transfer, establishing that the parish will be vacant after the lapse of a set
§2. If this period of time has passed without action, he is to declare the
Can. 1752 In cases of transfer the prescripts of can. 1747 are to be
applied, canonical equity is to be observed, and the salvation of souls, which
must always be the supreme law in the Church, is to be kept before one’s eyes.