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(108 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] According to Catholic canon law, an apostate is one who totally renounces the Christian faith ( CIC c. 751), thereby committing the most serious ecclesiastical offense, punishable by automatic excommunication (c. 1364 §1); if the offense is notorious, the offender may be forbidden church burial (c. 1184 §1, n. 1). Even after returning to the faith, an apostate is considered irregular and is therefore impeded from blessings (c. 1041, n. 2). Apostasy from the Christian faith invariably means apostasy from the Catholic faith as well (cc. 194 §1, n. 2; 694 §1, n. 1). Georg May B…

Imprimatur/Imprimi potest

(91 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] Imprimatur/Imprimi potest, certification of the ecclesial license to go to print, after due examination. According to CIC (1983) cc. 822–832 and 838, the following require the approbation or permission of the local pastoral authority, Bishops' Conference, or Apostolic See: 1. publications and translations of Holy Scripture, 2. liturgical texts and prayer books, 3. catechisms and theological textbooks, 4. compilations of church decrees or official documents. It is also recommended to solicit the j…

Process, Canonical

(770 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] From the very beginning, controversial legal cases in church affairs were decided by the bishop as judge. In the course of the Middle Ages, ecclesiastical process underwent a broad expansion. The learned judge and universal canon law assured its overwhelming acceptance. In addition to the regular adversarial process, there was an abbreviated summary court. From the beginning, ecclesiastical authority also passed judgment on purely ecclesiastical offenses. In the Middle Ages the ch…

Koeniger, Albert Michael

(199 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] (Feb 23, 1874, Lauingen – Aug 29, 1950, Augsburg), ordained priest in 1899, became associate professor in Bamberg in 1911, professor in Braunsberg in 1918 and in Bonn in 1919; he became emeritus in 1939. He specialized in church history and canon law, and furthered the history of canon law, systematic canon law, and the state-church relations law. He was also the founder and editor of the series Kanonistische Studien und Texte (KStT). Georg May Bibliography Works include: Burchard I. von Worms und die deutsche Kirche seiner Zeit (1000–1025), 1905 Die Beichte nach Cäsar…

Knecht, August

(143 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] (Jul 22, 1866, Herxheim, Palatinate – Feb 12, 1932, Munich), was ordained to the priesthood in 1890, became pastor in Pullach (near Munich) in 1899, and associate (1900) then full professor (1910) for canon law in Bamberg. He lectured in Strasbourg from 1911 to 1918, from where he was expelled after the end of World War I, and finally became honorary professor in Munich in 1919. He worked in the fields of canon law (Dr.theol.) and state law (Dr.jur.). Georg May Bibliography Works include: Die Religions-Politik Kaiser Justinians I., 1896 System des Justinianischen Kirch…


(90 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] is the announcement in a consistory of a pending or recent appointment to an episcopal see. It has no constitutive significance. For quite some time, the pope has eschewed preconization, announcing only the number and (some of) the names of the bishops he has appointed since the preceding consistory. The term does not appear in CIC/1983 or the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Georg May Bibliography R. Naz, DDC VII, 1965, 162 H. Laemmer, Institutionen des katholischen Kirchenrechts, 21892, 227 W. Aymans & K. Mörsdorf, KanR 2, 1997, 337.

Jurisdiction, Ecclesiastical

(1,702 words)

Author(s): May, Georg | Germann, Michael
[German Version] (Jurisdiction/Power of Jurisdiction) I. Catholic Church – II. Protestant Churches. I. Catholic Church The Codex Iuris Canonici (1983) ( CIC 1983) lays out the procedures of ecclesiastical trials in Book VII. The new code had a twofold purpose: to simplify the structures and procedures of the tribunals and to expedite trials. 1. By virtue of its own – i.e. divine – and exclusive authority, the church claims jurisdiction in litigation concerning spiritual and related matters – worship, ¶ doctrine, ecclesiastical assets and offices, violation of ecclesiastic…


(248 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] In Catholic church law, the Latin word forum has several different meanings. 1. The forum canonicum is the sphere to which the authority and powers of canon law ( CIC 1983, c. 1716) or ecclesiastical jurisdiction (c. 1675 §1) apply; the latter is also called the forum iudiciale (cc. 1047 §1, 1049 §1). The forum sacramentale is the sacrament of penance (c. 508 §1); the forum civile refers to secular (state) jurisdiction (cc. 1288, 1675 §1). 2. Within the sphere of ecclesiastical law, the forum externum and the forum internum represent two different areas of one and the…

Recursus hierarchicus

(271 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] denotes a complaint lodged with the hierarchical superior of the person who has issued (or should have issued) a decree, charging a legally significant injury. Such an appeal must be brought within a time-limit of 15 days. The regulations governing administrative recourse appear in CIC/1983 cc. 1772–1739 and CCEO cc. 996–1006. Special rules governing recursus also appear in CIC cc. 166 §§2, 700, and 1740–1752. The complaint must be preceded by an attempt at an equitable solution; as a rule, it must be preceded by a petition to the author…


(361 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] The Roman Rota is principally the ordinary court of appeal for the Latin Church in civil and criminal cases decided by lower courts of first or second instance. As court of first instance, it has jurisdiction over cases reserved to it by CIC/1983 c. 1405, §3 or assigned to it from time to time by the pope. Its legal basis is provided by CIC/1983 cc. 1443f.; CCEO c. 1065, together with the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and norms of Apr 18, 1994. The Rota is a collegially constituted court headed by its dean, who is responsible for assigning the cases broug…

Signature, Apostolic

(326 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] The Apostolic Signature is the supreme tribunal of the Roman Catholic Church (Jurisdiction, Ecclesiastical: I); it also oversees the administration of justice in the church. It is made up of cardinals and bishops, and also includes major and minor officials. It is divided into three sections, with differing functions and procedures. The first section hears procedural objections to rulings of lower courts, especially the Rota. The second section is the highest judicial authority fo…

Barion, Hans

(228 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] (Dec 16, 1899, Düsseldorf – May 15, 1973, Bonn), consecrated to the priesthood on Aug 14, 1924 in Cologne, was active for many years as pastor; he was Dr. theol. (Bonn) and Dr. jur. can. (Rome), gained his Habilitation in church law under A.M. Koeniger and taught in Braunsberg from 1931 to 1938. A report on the question of the sterilization of persons with hereditary illnesses resulted in a one-year suspensi…


(226 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] is one of the three ecclesial censures (Censorship) along with excommunication and suspension. It is only imposed on individuals, and no longer on places or regions and groups. The interdict automatically prohibits any service in the mass and other worship services, the administration and reception of the sacraments, and the administration of the sacramentalia. After the imposition or determination of the interdict, the one interdicted must be prohibited from any ministry in worship or else the worship must be suspended ( CIC 1983 c. 1332 in conjunction with c…

Criminal Law

(3,505 words)

Author(s): Otto, Eckart | Sellert, Wolfgang | Loos, Fritz | May, Georg | Krawietz, Birgit
[German Version] I. Old Testament – II. History – III. German Criminal Law Today – IV. Penal Canon Law (Roman Catholic) – V. Islam I. Old Testament Old Testament law (Law and legislation: II) emerged from three sources: (1) it reinforced mutual expectations based on norms of behavior by means of criminal ¶ laws supporting general prevention of criminal conduct; (2) it minimized violence by regulating conflicts through casuistic law (Law and jurisprudence: III) as the precursor of modern civil law, and (3) it regulated int…

Roman Curia

(1,107 words)

Author(s): May, Georg
[German Version] The Roman Curia is the totality of authorities and institutions that help the pope to exercise his office of supreme pastor, for the benefit and service of the whole church and its parts, whereby the unity in faith and the fellowship of the people of God is strengthened and the church’s own mission in the world is furthered (art. 2 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus). The pope and the Roman Curia together form the Apostolic See. The Roman Curia is not a legal person. It consists of the authorities (dicasteries) of the secretariat of sta…