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Motu proprio

(73 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T.
Motu proprio (Lat. “by one’s own impulse”) is a canonical ruling (Polity, Ecclesiastical) issued by the pope on his own accord. Along with the apostolic constitution it is an important form of proclamation in papal legislation. A favorable ruling (rescript) has great force when issued in this form (CIC 1983). Bernd T. DrösslerBibliography R. R. Gaillardetz, Teaching with Authority: A Theology of the Magisterium in the Church (Collegeville, Minn., 1997).


(401 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T.
In Roman Catholic canon law “laicization” denotes the removal of the spiritual status that is conferred by ordination (Clergy and Laity). The legal consequence is the loss of the rights and duties associated with clergy status (e.g., Missio canonica). On the basis of 1983 CIC 290–93, laicization may take place by an invalidation of ordination, in punishment for an offense, or as an act of grace. A distinction must be made between the loss of clergy status and the setting aside of the obligation of celibacy, which is an obstacle to marriage. In the case of invalidation a judgment or an…


(1,055 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T.
1. Consecrations are rites of initiation that fundamentally alter the religious and/or social status of a person or that bestow a special dignity on a person’s surroundings. Whereas secular understanding views consecrations as ceremonies of acceptance or maturity (e.g., youth dedications), in religious communities this concept, which even in pre-Christian times occupied a central position, refers to liturgical services that place persons, things, or locales into a special relationship with the holy. The various understandings of ch…


(103 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T.
A scholium (Gk. scholion, “comment”) is a brief explanatory comment on an individual text. With glosses and interpretation scholia early came into use as a hermeneutical tool in literary history (Hermeneutics). In the Christian field we find them in exegesis of the Bible and the Fathers (Patristics; Catena), for example, in the Hypotyposes of Clement of Alexandria (d. ca. 215) up until the biblical expositions of Martin Luther (1483–1546; Luther’s Theology). Bernd T. DrösslerBibliography H. Erbse and D. Fehling, “Scholien,” LAW  2723–26 A. Gudemann, “Scholien,” PW  (2d ser.)…


(312 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T.
“Constitution” is a legal term with significance both for legislation and for the theory of norms (Law). It is used not only in connection with political states (i.e., governing the manner in which sovereign power is distributed) but also in Roman Catholic law (church law). 1. A constitution is a technical, legal way of publishing universal church legislation (Jurisdiction, Ecclesiastical). Along with the motu proprio, the apostolic constitution issues basic papal laws (Pope, Papacy). The conciliar constitution (Councils of the Church) is …


(398 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T.
Immunity is exemption from prevailing rules. It gives persons, things, and places a privileged position involving rights of both freedom and authority. 1. The concept of immunity derives from Roman law. It related first to relief from various public burdens. Under Constantine (306–37) the clergy (Clergy and Laity) and church property enjoyed relief from taxation. In Frankish law immunity included judicial immunity as well as freedom from taxes and duties. Modern constitutions have added new forms such as parliamentary…

Missio canonica

(478 words)

Author(s): Drössler, Bernd T. | Phan, Peter C.
In Roman Catholic usage missio canonica (canonical sending) is formal ecclesiastical commissioning ¶ for the permanent discharge of ecclesiastical offices (Ministry, Ministerial Offices) or for some specific functional activity as a special ministry. 1. In Roman Catholic canon law missio canonica denotes the jurisdictional commissioning of clergy relative to specific tasks and ministries, but also the orderly calling of all church members (Clergy and Laity) to responsible cooperation in the church’s ministry of sanctification, proclama…