CARDINAL ROGER MICHAEL MAHONY By the Grace of God and Favor of the Apostolic See ARCHBISHOP OF LOS ANGELES IN CALIFORNIA
Reverend and Dear Father, Greetings in the Lord!
To assist you in the exercise of your priestly ministry within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, you have been granted the following faculties and, where necessary, you are reminded of the authority entrusted to you by the law itself:
1.1. General Authorization to Preach: Canon 764 entrusts the faculty to preach to all presbyters and deacons, a faculty that can be exercised only with at least the presumed consent of the rector of the church. You are authorized to preach in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in virtue of this canon, provided you have that presumed consent or have not otherwise been restricted.
1.2. Local Limitation of General Authorization: Canon 764 also provides for particular law to restrict this faculty and to require express permission to preach in order better to serve the spiritual welfare of the People of God. In accordance with this canon, in recognition of the pastoral situation existing in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and due to the large number of clergy that travel through this area, a particular law has been issued by the Archbishop of Los Angeles that requires all priests and deacons without the habitual faculties of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to obtain express permission in order to preach.
a. That permission is normally to be obtained through the office of the Vicar for Clergy. When the Vicar for Clergy is not available, that permission may be obtained directly from the Archbishop or one of the auxiliary bishops.
b. When the priest or deacon concerned (1) is in good standing in his own diocese or community as indicated in a celebret issued within the past year, (2) is personally known to you, and (3) is simply visiting in the Archdiocese for a brief time, you may extend that permission to preach for a period of up to fifteen days. The celebret must attest to the moral integrity of the cleric, including his behavior with minors.
Note: Granting this permission is not the same as granting a visitor the faculties of the Archdiocese. No one other than the Archbishop, the Vicar for Clergy and the Associate Vicar for Clergy has the authority to grant anyone the faculties of the Archdiocese. Please consult the archdiocesan policy on the granting of temporary faculties for further information.
2. BAPTISM and the CATECHUMENATE
2.1. General Authorization to Baptize: By the law itself (canon 861 §1), you have the faculty to administer baptism in accord with the requirements of the Code and liturgical law.
Note: For situations involving danger of death, see faculty 9.1 below.
2.2. Deputation of Catechists: Pastors/administrators may depute catechists, truly worthy and properly prepared, to celebrate the minor exorcisms of the catechumenate and the blessings of the catechumens when a priest or deacon cannot be present (RCIA 12, 16, 91, 97).
2.3. Abbreviated Catechumenate in Exceptional Circumstances: Pastors/administrators may permit the abbreviated rite for the initiation of an adult in the exceptional circumstances envisioned in the law: sickness, old age, change of residence, long absence for travel, or a depth of Christian conversion and a degree of religious maturity in the catechumen. In all other cases, the permission of the regional bishop is necessary to use the abbreviated rite (canon 851, 1°; RCIA 331-332).
2.4. Dispensation from Scrutinies: Pastors/administrators, for a serious reason, may dispense a catechumen from participating in one scrutiny or, in extraordinary circumstances, from two. The extraordinary circumstances for granting the dispensation from two scrutinies are those mentioned in the previous faculty for the abbreviated catechumenate (RCIA 20, 34 §3).
2.5. Rite of Election: Pastors/administrators or their delegate may celebrate the Rite of Election or Enrollment of Names when a catechumen or godparent is unable to participate in the rite celebrated by the Archbishop on the first Sunday of Lent, provided it is celebrated on the Sunday before or after the first Sunday of Lent or, if that is impossible, at a weekday Mass during the week before or after the first Sunday of Lent (RCIA 12, 125-126).
2.6. Baptism of Adults: Pastors/administrators and parochial vicars may baptize catechumens seven years of age and older who have the use of reason, without referring them to the bishop, and confirm them in the same rite (see canons 863, 852 §1, 883 2°). This faculty may not be validly subdelegated. For the lawful exercise of this faculty, the following conditions are to be observed:
a. For those eighteen years of age and older, the candidate shall have progressed through the stages of the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.”
b. For children of catechetical age (between seven and eighteen), the candidate shall have progressed through the stages of the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Children Who Have Reached Catechetical Age” as found in the RCIA, #252-330.
c. In the extraordinary circumstances envisioned in the RCIA, #331, refer to faculty 2.3 (Abbreviated Catechumenate) above.
2.7. Baptism in a Private Home: Besides the case of danger of death, you may confer baptism in a private home for a grave condition that makes it difficult for the one to be baptized to leave the house (canon 860 §1). Recall that ordinarily baptism is to be celebrated in the parish church (canon 857 §2).
2.8. Participation of Christian Minister: For pastoral reasons, in particular circumstances, you may invite a minister of another church or ecclesial community to take part in the celebration of baptism by reading a lesson, offering a prayer, or the like. The actual baptism is to be celebrated by the Catholic minister alone (Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism [Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, 1993], 97).
Explanatory note: This faculty would be used typically at the baptism of an infant of parents in a mixed marriage when the non-Catholic party is active in his or her own denomination, or if the non-Catholic minister is a friend or relative of the couple. The paragraph cited above from the Directory also states, “Reciprocity is possible only if a baptism celebrated in another community does not conflict with Catholic principles or discipline.” Thus you should not participate in the baptism of another church or ecclesial community if either parent of the one being baptized is Catholic (see canons 1125, 1366) or if the baptism of that community is invalid.
3. RECEPTION INTO FULL COMMUNION
3.1. General Delegation: It is the office of the bishop to receive candidates who are already baptized into the full communion of the Catholic Church (RCIA, #481). You are hereby entrusted with the celebration of this reception after appropriate catechetical formation in accord with the provisions of the “Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church” (RCIA, #473-499).
3.2. Conditional Baptism: If, after a serious investigation, a doubt remains about the validity of a candidate’s non-Catholic baptism, and after explaining to the candidate the Church’s teaching on valid baptism, you may conditionally baptize. Conditional baptism may be done only in a private ceremony, omitting non-essential rites if desired, but always retaining the renunciation of sin, the profession of faith, the actual baptism, and anointing with sacred chrism. Afterwards, at a public celebration such as the Sunday Eucharist, you confirm the person, observing the “Rite of Reception of Baptized Christians into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church” (canon 869; Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 99).
Explanatory note: The Rite of Reception into the Full Communion of the Catholic Church is used in receiving into the Church Episcopalians (Anglicans) and Protestants whose ecclesial tradition has valid baptism. It is used for those seven and older who have the use of reason. Confirmation and first Communion are an integral part of the rite, which may not be delayed, even with children who are below the normal age of confirmation in the Archdiocese but who are at least seven. For children under seven, it suffices that either parent declares his or her intention that the child be received into the Church, and that this be noted in the baptismal register along with pertinent entries concerning the child’s baptism.
For those baptized in a separated Eastern Church, this rite is not observed. They need only make a profession of faith, which is to be noted in the baptismal register along with pertinent entries concerning the baptism. The profession of faith is properly made in the corresponding Eastern Roman Catholic Church, to which the person is deemed to belong by the law regardless of where (in which Church sui iuris) the actual profession took or takes place. If the person wishes to enroll in the Latin Roman Catholic Church, after the profession of faith he or she must undertake the canonical procedure for changing one’s sui iuris Church ascription.
For those who might have been invalidly baptized but who think they were validly baptized, the ceremonies should be minimal. For those who believe their baptism was not valid or who themselves ask for a fuller liturgical celebration, additional ceremonies, even all the ceremonies of baptism, may be used. Those whose baptism is not doubtful should not be required to fulfill the complete catechumenate, nor should they participate in the Rite of Election, unless they do not consider themselves Christian. A private celebration of baptism is not publicized in any way; having a godparent or witness present is sufficient, but the presence of guests should not be encouraged.
3.3. Gesture of Welcome: Following the confirmation of the newly received Christian into full communion, you may substitute a handshake or the kiss of peace as a sign of friendship and acceptance in place of taking into your own hands the hands of the person newly received (RCIA, 495).
4.1. Completing the Rites of Initiation: By the law itself (canon 883 2°) you have the faculty to confirm those whom, by virtue of your office or mandate of the Archbishop, you have baptized or have received into the full communion of the Catholic Church who are seven years of age or older.
Note: Candidates younger than the normal age for confirmation according to archdiocesan policy who have been confirmed are to be encouraged to participate in their parish confirmation program and may present themselves for a blessing from the bishop during the confirmation ceremony.
4.2. Special Cases of Initiation: Those empowered by canon 883 2° as explained in the previous paragraph also have the faculty to confirm (a) in the case of the readmission to communion of a baptized Catholic who has been an apostate from the faith and also (b) in the case of a baptized Catholic who has without fault been instructed in a non-Catholic religion or adhered to a non-Catholic religion (RCIA, “National Statutes for the Catechumenate,” 28). But this faculty does not apply in the case of a baptized Catholic who without his or her fault never put the faith into practice (see the next paragraph).
4.3. Uncatechized Adults: At times, those who have been baptized Catholics as infants are not catechized until later as adults and seek to complete their initiation through Confirmation and Eucharist. Some, for example, may enroll in a “modified catechumenate” while others may seek the sacraments when preparing for marriage in the Catholic Church. Your faculty to confirm does not extend to these cases (see RCIA, “National Statutes,” 28-c). The valid administration of the sacrament requires special delegation as provided below:
a. In order to maintain the interrelationship and sequence of confirmation and Eucharist as defined in canon 842 §2, you may petition the Archbishop in accord with canon 884 § 1 for the special faculty to confirm a particular person in such circumstances.
b. in accord with canon 884 §1, pastors/administrators are hereby delegated to confirm baptized, uncatechized adults at the Easter Vigil provided those candidates have participated in the Adult Initiation Process. In the case of baptized, catechized, practicing Catholics or those who have not participated in the Adult Initiation Process, the faculty to confirm is reserved to the bishop.
4.4. Delay of Confirmation until after Marriage: When the preparation of baptized adults for confirmation coincides with preparation for marriage and it is foreseen that the conditions for a fruitful reception of confirmation cannot be satisfied, or if confirmation cannot be conferred without grave inconvenience, you may defer confirmation until after the marriage (canon 1065 §1; Rite of Confirmation, 12). If the party wants to be confirmed before the marriage and you are opposed, you must refer the case to the regional bishop.
5.1 Frequency of Celebration: For a good reason you may celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy twice in one day and, if pastoral necessity requires it, even three times on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation (canon 905 §2).
Explanatory note: The word `celebrate’ in this context means both preside and concelebrate. With respect to the law on bination and trination, the anticipated Mass of Sunday counts as a Mass of Saturday, not Sunday, since the canonical day runs from midnight to midnight (canon 202 §1). The same is true for the vigil of holy days.
5.2. Stipends: The Archdiocesan policy on stipends is published in the “Clergy Policies and Guidelines” of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. If you have selected the option of receiving stipends, the Code of Canon Law requires that when you celebrate more than one Mass on a particular day, you may retain for your personal use only one stipend (canon 951 §1). Any stipends presented for the celebration of additional Masses must be disposed of in accord with Archdiocesan policy (canon 951 §1).
5.3. Masses with Children: You may use the adaptation described in nn. 38-54 of the Directory for Masses with Children at a Mass celebrated with adults in which children also participate, if the Mass is intended primarily for the benefit of children or for families with children (Directory, 19).
5.4. Infirm Priests: If you are unable to celebrate Mass standing, you may celebrate Mass while seated (canon 930 §1).
5.5. Exceptional Place of Celebration: By the law itself you are able to celebrate Mass on a weekday outside a church edifice provided that there is a legitimate pastoral reason, the place is liturgically suitable, and the local pastor has no objection (canon 932 §1). On Sundays or Holy days the permission of the Archbishop or one of the Auxiliary Bishops is required.
5.6. Place of Private Celebration: You may celebrate Mass in a suitable place outside a church edifice any day of the week if you are retired, on vacation, ill or convalescing (see canon 906).
5.7. Anticipated Liturgy: You may celebrate a Sunday or Holyday Eucharistic Liturgy, except for the Easter Vigil, from 4:00 p.m. the evening before, provided that the liturgical norms for the following day are observed.
Note: The Easter Vigil is an exception because, according to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Roman Calendar (#21), the rite is not to begin until after nightfall.
5.8. Communion under Both Kinds: By archdiocesan particular law holy communion is to be administered under both kinds at every parish Sunday Mass (Gather Faithfully Together, ## 169, 184). This means that the faithful shall be well instructed and an adequate number of ministers prepared and available. By implication, at any other Mass at which you preside, communion may be administered under both kinds, unless the pastor or other priest in charge of the community determines that it is not appropriate under what should be unusual circumstances (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, #283c).
5.9. Extraordinary Ministers of Communion: Pastors/administrators may appoint suitably instructed lay persons for a term of one to three years to serve as extraordinary ministers of holy communion, both at Mass and outside Mass, whenever it is necessary for the pastoral benefit of the faithful and sufficient ordinary ministers are lacking or unavailable. You may also commission them for their ministry after the homily at a Sunday Eucharist in accord with the “Rite of Commissioning Special Ministers of Holy Communion” (Ecclesiae de mysterio, Instruction on Certain Questions Concerning the Cooperation of the Lay Faithful in the Ministry of Priests [Congregation for the Clergy et al., 1997], art. 8 §1).
Explanatory note: The Instruction just cited revokes previous law (for instance, Book of Blessings, #1873) which empowered pastors to act in this matter and reserves these tasks to the diocesan bishop unless he chooses to delegate them. This faculty grants the delegation. With regard to the term of service, the minister may be reappointed to successive terms at the pastor’s/administrator’s discretion.
5.10. Lay Minister of Exposition: In the absence of a priest, deacon, or extraordinary minister of holy communion, you may appoint another person to expose publicly the Eucharist for adoration of the faithful, and afterward to repose it. You may also determine the suitable vesture for this minister to wear, whether an alb, choir robe, religious habit, or worthy secular attire (Rite of Holy Communion and Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass, 91-92; canon 943).
5.11. Holy Thursday: Pastors/administrators may celebrate or permit a second Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday if any of the following conditions is applicable: (a) there are too many faithful to accommodate at one Mass on Holy Thursday; (b) you have the care of more than one parish and coming together at a single church is not possible; (c) Mass is celebrated in more than one language and having a multi-cultural celebration is not feasible. The Mass may not begin before evening without the express permission of the regional bishop in a case of genuine necessity.
5.12. Dispensations: You may dispense persons, in individual cases and for a just cause (canon 90), from the following:
a. The Eucharistic Fast (canon 919 §1). This dispensation may not be granted generally or indiscriminately.
b. The Mass obligation connected to a Sunday or Holyday, or obligations such as fasting connected with a day of penance. You may also commute such obligations into other pious activities. (Pastors have this faculty in virtue of their office rather than from these faculties; see canon 1245.)
You may exercise these faculties to dispense on behalf of all those committed to your pastoral care, wherever they may be at the time, as well as those who are visiting your parish or ecclesiastical institution (canon 91).
6. RECONCILIATION (PENANCE)
6.1. Hearing Confessions (Anywhere): You may hear confessions and grant sacramental absolution within the territory of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. By universal law this faculty is extended so that you are authorized to hear the confessions of any of the faithful anywhere in the world, unless in another diocese the local ordinary revokes the faculty for that territory (canons 969 §1, 967 §2, 974 §2).
Explanatory note: Requesting the faculty when you are traveling in another diocese is unnecessary. You may presume the bishop there permits you to use it unless you are informed otherwise. Pastors and those who take the place of a pastor have this faculty in virtue of their office (canon 968 § 1). All others have this faculty in virtue of the delegation granted by this document (canon 969 §1). If you lose the faculty to hear confessions, you also lose the archdiocesan faculties of confessors, ## 6.2—6.5 below.
6.2. Remission of Censures: You may remit in the internal forum any automatic (latae sententiae) penalty of excommunication established by law provided that (a) it has not been formally declared in the external forum, and (b) it is not a particular penalty reserved to the Apostolic See. In exercising this faculty within the sacrament, it is not necessary to add anything to the formula of absolution. It suffices that the confessor intend to remit the censure along with the sins (see Rite of Penance, Appendix I, n. 1). Outside of the sacrament, the formula for remission of an excommunication is found in number 2 of the same Appendix.
a. Unlike the extension of your authorization to hear confessions anywhere in the world, the provision of canon 967 §2 does not extend your authorization to remit censures throughout the world. Even so, this faculty may be exercised anywhere in the world on behalf of the members of the Archdiocese or on behalf of those who incurred the penalty in this Archdiocese. It also may be exercised within the Archdiocese on behalf of anyone present here (canon 1355, §2).
b. If the automatic excommunication was officially declared in a canonical process, its remission is reserved to the Archbishop or one of the auxiliary bishops (canon 1355, §1).
c. The following excommunications are reserved to the Apostolic See and hence may not be remitted:
i) desecration of the Sacred Species (canon 1367);
ii) violence against the Roman Pontiff (canon 1370, §1);
iii) knowingly attempting to absolve an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment, except in danger of death (canon 1378, § 1);
iv) a bishop who consecrates someone a bishop without a pontifical mandate, as well as the person receiving such unauthorized consecration (canon 1382);
v) direct violation of the seal of confession (canon 1388).
d. Note well that by this faculty you may remit the excommunication attached to the procurement of abortion (canon 1398).
e. By this faculty you may remit the excommunication attached to apostasy, heresy or schism (canon 1364). For a penitent returning to the Catholic faith, you should admonish the person to begin practicing the faith in some public way, such as by registering in a parish, so that there is some external forum evidence of the person’s reconciliation with the Church. Under no circumstances may the confessor himself use knowledge of sin, gained only from the sacrament, in the external forum (canons 984, 1388 §1). If the penitent actually left the Church by a formal act, making his or her intention known to his or her pastor or local ordinary (canon 1117), then the person needs to inform the parish of baptism to reverse the notice of formal defection in the baptismal register.
f. Note well that canon 977 renders invalid, except in danger of death, the absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment, and the confessor who knowingly attempts to do so incurs an automatic excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See.
6.3. Dispensation and Commutation of Vows and Oaths: In keeping with canons 1196 and 1203, you may dispense from private vows and promissory oaths, provided the vow or oath does not affect anyone else in the external forum. Likewise, you may commute the obligation of a private vow or oath to a lesser good. You may use this faculty when hearing confession within the Archdiocese, but outside the Archdiocese only for residents of this Archdiocese by domicile or quasi-domicile.
Explanatory note: This faculty extends to confessors, for the internal forum, a faculty that local ordinaries and pastors have in the external forum (canons 1196 1°, 1203). It cannot be used if the dispensation will negatively affect others in the external forum, especially if their acquired rights could be harmed or if they refuse to remit the obligation owed them by reason of a private vow or oath.
6.4. Freedom to Choose Your Own Confessor: You may grant another priest the faculty to hear your own confession. This faculty may be used in the Archdiocese. Outside the Archdiocese, it may be used only if the priest receiving the faculty has a domicile or quasi-domicile in our Archdiocese (canon 136).
Explanatory Note: This faculty enables you to choose any priest as your confessor, even if that priest otherwise lacks the faculty — such as, for example, a retired religious who has not requested the faculties of the Archdiocese. You may use this faculty in the territory of the Archdiocese even if the priest receiving the faculty is not resident in the Archdiocese. But remember the limitation on this faculty if you are outside the territory of this Archdiocese.
6.5. Delegation of Archdiocesan Faculties of Confessors: On the individual occasion of a communal celebration of the sacrament of penance, you may grant the faculty to hear confessions and the archdiocesan faculty to remit censures (#6.2) to a visiting priest in good standing (canon 969 §1). This faculty may not be further subdelegated.
Explanatory note: All priests have the power by divine law to absolve from sins in the sacrament of penance, but the faculty is needed, by ecclesiastical law, as authorization to use this power. Since the concession of the faculty to hear confessions is an exercise of executive power of governance, it can be delegated and subdelegated. As explained in #6.1 above, you have been granted the faculty either by reason of your office or by delegation. Faculty #6.5 enables you to (sub)delegate the faculty to hear confessions and the archdiocesan faculty of confessors #6.2 to a priest in good standing who will join in celebrating the communal rite of penance in the parish. If the priest already has the faculty to hear confessions from his own diocesan domicile, you need only (sub)delegate the archdiocesan faculty just mentioned. Please consult the archdiocesan policy on the granting of temporary faculties for further information.
7.1. General Authorization: By virtue of office, pastors/administrators validly assist at marriages involving at least one Catholic of the Latin church sui iuris celebrated within the confines of their parish (canon 1109). By virtue of this document, other priests who are not pastors/administrators have the faculty to assist at marriages within the parish to which you are officially assigned as an associate or resident (canon 1111 § 1).
a. Explicit delegation to the specific person from the local ordinary (any of our vicars general and episcopal vicars), pastor, associate or resident is required for validity to assist at marriages outside of one’s own parish (canon 1111 §2).
b. Such delegation for individual cases may be communicated to the one delegated in written or oral form. In every case a written record of the delegation is to be made in the marriage register and also inserted in the marriage file.
Note: While canons 1111 §2 and 137 §3 allow the pastor/administrator to grant a general delegation in virtue of his ordinary executive power (in which case the grant must be in writing in order to be valid), he should consult the Vicar for Clergy before doing so.
7.2. Permission for Mixed Marriage: After the conditions of canon 1125 have been fulfilled, you may, for a just and reasonable cause, permit a mixed marriage between a Latin Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic to be celebrated in the parish, provided there is no doubt about the validity of the baptism of the Catholic party (canon 1124).
a. Before granting this permission, the priest must be certain of the fact of baptism through an authentic certificate or affidavits from competent witnesses.
b. The priest must also be certain that the church or ecclesial communion of the non-Catholic party practices valid Christian baptism. The Ecumenical/Interreligious Affairs Office or the Office of the Vicar for Canonical Services can provide assistance in cases of doubt.
c. The granting of this permission is to be recorded on the form available from the Office of the Vicar for Canonical Services and kept on file with the other marriage records in the appropriate parish.
7.3. Mixed Marriage to an Eastern Christian Non-Catholic at Eucharist: At a marriage between a Catholic and an Eastern non-Catholic, you may use the Rite of Marriage Within Mass, and the non-Catholic party may receive holy communion if he or she asks for it and is properly disposed (canon 844 §3).
Note: You may also give communion to the Eastern Christian non-Catholic wedding guests, but you may not publicly invite them to holy communion, as their own discipline may prevent it and canon law requires that they ask on their own for it.
7.4. Mixed Marriages at Eucharist Involving Other Christians: Because of problems concerning Eucharistic sharing that may arise from the presence of non-Catholic witnesses and guests, a mixed marriage between a Catholic and an Episcopalian (Anglican) or Protestant ordinarily should not take place during the Eucharistic liturgy (Rite of Marriage, 8). For a just cause, however, you may permit the celebration of the Eucharist, provided the non-Catholic party comes from a eucharistic tradition and truly agrees to it, after informing both parties that the non-Catholic guests may not be invited to holy communion. If the non-Catholic party wishes to receive communion, permission must be requested from the regional bishop, who cannot give such permission unless there is “a grave spiritual need” of the individual non-Catholic and not simply because the wedding is a special occasion (Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 129-131, 159; Ecclesia de Eucharistia [John Paul II, 17 April 2003], 45-46).
a. The Rite of Marriage (#8) does not permit a Nuptial Mass when a Catholic is marrying an unbaptized person.
b. The words, “provided the non-Catholic party truly agrees to it,” are important for ecumenical sensitivity, because frequently the Catholic party or his or her family requests the Eucharist without considering the wishes of the non-Catholic party and his or her family and guests. A “just cause” for celebrating the Eucharist would be better shown if the non-Catholic party comes from a Eucharistic tradition and personally desires a wedding Mass.
7.5. Banns of Marriage: You may waive the publication of the matrimonial banns (canon 1067).
7.6. Omnia Parata Dispensations from Marriage Impediments: In the extraordinary situation whenever an impediment is discovered after everything has already been prepared for the wedding or convalidation and the delay would most likely cause serious harm, you may dispense from all ecclesiastical matrimonial impediments from which the local ordinary has the power to dispense (canon 1080).
a. This faculty does not extend to dispensations which are reserved to the Apostolic See, namely from the impediments arising from sacred orders (canon 1087), from a public perpetual vow of chastity in a pontifical religious institute (canon 1088), or crimen (canon 1090).
b. This faculty does not extend to the impediment of ligamen, nor to the impediment of consanguinity in the direct line (i.e., parent-child) or in the second degree of the collateral line (i.e., brother-sister), all of which are of divine law and can never be dispensed (see canons 1085, 1091, 1078, §3).
c. Nor does this faculty extend to the impediment of consanguinity in the third degree of the collateral line (i.e., uncle-niece or aunt-nephew), which is forbidden by state law as well as by ecclesiastical positive law.
You must notify the Office of the Vicar for Canonical Services of any dispensations granted on the basis of this faculty in addition to entering them into the parish marriage register (canon 1081).
7.7. Marriage of a Catechumen: You may celebrate the marriage of a catechumen, even to a non-Catholic, according to the appropriate rite of marriage involving a non-baptized person, which may never take place at Mass (canon 1119; Rite of Marriage, 8, 55-56). If the marriage is between a catechumen and a Catholic, a dispensation from the impediment of disparity of worship is necessary.
Explanatory Note: Because a catechumen is joined to the Church in a special way (canon 206 § 1), he or she has the right to have a church wedding, whether the spouse is Catholic or non-Catholic. The rite for non-sacramental marriages is to be observed. The marriage is to be recorded as usual in the parish marriage register. If the spouse is non-Catholic, canonical form is not required for such a marriage; strictly speaking, then, you do not need the faculty to assist at such a marriage. In this case, the party’s catechumenal status should be clearly notated when you record the marriage in the parish register (in order to explain the legitimacy of your role as officiating minister). On the other hand, there is nothing to prevent the catechumen from marrying a non-Catholic spouse in an otherwise legitimate non-Catholic ceremony. In all cases the discernment of the catechumen’s progress toward Christian initiation will take into account his or her marital situation.
8. ANOINTING of the SICK
8.1. General Authorization: By law (canon 1003 §1) you may administer the anointing of the sick to anyone validly baptized who is seriously ill (canon 1004 §1), observing canon 844 §§3-4 if the person is not Catholic. When celebrating the rite, you have the faculty by law to bless the oil in a case of necessity, but only within the sacrament (Pastoral Care of the Sick, 21; canons 999 2°, 847 §1). This faculty may be used anywhere in the world with at least the presumed consent of the pastor (canon 1003 §2).
Explanatory Note: A case of necessity is demonstrated when two circumstances exist together: (a) someone gravely ill or about to undergo surgery requiring general anesthesia requests the sacrament, and (b) you do not have time to get the oil of the sick blessed by the bishop. In that case you may bless olive oil or any plant oil during the rite itself (Pastoral Care of the Sick, 123).
8.2. Communal Celebration: Pastors/administrators and chaplains may decide when it is fitting to celebrate the anointing of the sick for several of the sick together in a sacred place or other suitable place, provided there is previous instruction on the eligibility requirements for the sacrament, in particular, that the recipients must be seriously ill or notably weakened due to old age. They may also designate other priests in good standing to anoint at these times (canon 1002; PCS, 108).
Explanatory Note: These celebrations should take place in a church, chapel, or other appropriate place where the sick and others can easily gather. On occasion, a communal anointing may also take place in hospitals and other institutions. The practice of indiscriminately anointing numbers of people on these occasions simply because they are ill or have reached an advanced age is prohibited. Only those whose health is seriously impaired by sickness or old age are proper subjects for the sacrament (see PCS, 108, 8-15).
9. FACULTIES by LAW in DANGER of DEATH
9.1. Baptism: You may baptize anyone not yet validly baptized, including a fetus, provided the person is alive (canons 864, 871). Those who had the use of reason at any time during their life may not be baptized without having manifested this intention; they must also have some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith and must promise to observe the commandments of the Christian religion (canon 865 §2). Infants and children in danger of death are to be baptized without delay if baptism is requested by a parent or guardian (canon 867 §2).
Explanatory Note: The Rite of Christian Initiation for the Dying, from Pastoral Care of the Sick (= PCS), is to be used if the ritual is available. The one to be baptized demonstrates “some knowledge of the principal truths of the faith” and the “promise to observe the commandments of the Christian religion” by an affirmative answer to the four questions you are to ask at the beginning of the rite (PCS, 282). After asking the questions, if death is imminent, it suffices to observe what is necessary for validity: water baptism and the Trinitarian formula (canons 850, 853; PCS, 277). If the sacred chrism is available, the person – whether adult or infant – should be confirmed immediately afterward. Viaticum should be given as below in faculty 9.3. The baptism and confirmation are registered in accord with canons 877-878 and 895-896.
9.2. Confirmation: You have the faculty to confirm anyone validly baptized, including an infant or non-Catholic, who is in danger of death (canons 883 3°, 891; Rite of Confirmation, 7c). This faculty may be used anywhere in the world.
a. If the person was baptized a Catholic, the confirmation is recorded in the parish of the person’s domicile as well as in the parish of baptism (canon 895).
b. A validly baptized non-Catholic should not be confirmed unless he or she intends to become a Catholic. If the baptized non-Catholic lacks the use of reason, he or she may be confirmed if the parent or guardian wants the infant to become a Catholic. The confirmation and reception into full communion is recorded in the parish of the person’s domicile, along with the information on the person’s baptism as much as this can be obtained.
9.3. Viaticum: You may bring Viaticum to a baptized Catholic who is dying, with at least the presumed permission of the pastor, chaplain, or superior, who must be notified afterwards (canon 911 §2). You may also give Viaticum to a baptized non-Catholic who is in danger of death, in accord with the law (canon 844 §§3-4). This faculty may be used anywhere in the world.
Explanatory Note: The dying person must request the sacrament and be properly disposed. You should celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation first, if possible. If the baptized person is not a Catholic, the conditions of canon 844 §§3-4 must be observed (see faculty #11.2 below). Viaticum may be administered under both kinds or even under the form of wine alone if the dying person cannot consume bread (canons 866, 925; PCS, 181, 276).
9.4. Penance: Even if you lack the faculty to hear confessions by office or delegation (see faculty #6.1 above), you may validly and licitly absolve any penitent in danger of death from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present (canon 976). You may also absolve any baptized non-Catholic, observing canon 844 §§3-4 (see faculty #11.2 below). This faculty may be used anywhere in the world.
Explanatory Note: The absolution from censures applies only to Catholics, since only they are subject to the penal laws of the Church. If the censure being remitted was imposed or declared in the external forum, or if its remission is reserved to the Apostolic See, you must inform the penitent that, after recovering, he or she must request the permanent remission of the penalty from the competent authority (canon 1357 §3). This should be done within a month, and normally you or another confessor should apply for the remission on the penitent’s behalf without mentioning the penitent’s name.
9.5. General Absolution: Even if you lack the faculty to hear confessions by office or delegation, you may grant a general absolution without previous individual confession when the danger of death is imminent and there is insufficient time to hear the confessions of the individual penitents (canon 961 § 11 °). This faculty may be used anywhere in the world.
Explanatory Note: If there is time, you should exhort the penitents to make an act of contrition and inform them that they must intend to confess any serious sins in individual confession within a suitable period of time. The absolution is valid only for those who are contrite and intend to confess their grave sins in individual confession later if they survive (canon 962).
9.6. Dispensation from Marriage Impediments: When a party to a marriage is in danger of death, confessors may dispense from occult impediments to marriage for the internal forum, within or outside the act of sacramental confession. If you lack the faculty to hear confessions by office or delegation, you may grant this dispensation only within the act of sacramental confession (canon 1079 §3). This faculty may be used anywhere in the world.
Explanatory Note: The confessor may dispense impediments that are occult in nature or that are public by nature but occult in fact (see canon 1074). The dispensation is not recorded and is not made known to anyone by the confessor. If the impediment should later become public, a further dispensation for the external forum should be sought and duly recorded, if possible (see canons 1081-1082). Note that, in this internal forum situation, the law does not speak of the danger of death being urgent. This indicates that the danger of death for an internal forum dispensation may be more remote than for a dispensation in the external forum.
9.7. Marriage Dispensations: Even if you lack the faculty to assist at marriage, when one or both parties is in danger of death and when the local ordinary cannot be reached, you may dispense the parties to marriage from both the faun to be observed in the celebration of marriage and from each and every impediment of ecclesiastical law, whether public or occult, except the impediment arising from the sacred order of the presbyterate (canon 1079 §2).
a. The local ordinary is not considered accessible if he can be reached only by electronic means (canon 1079 §4).
b. If you lack the faculty to assist at marriage (either because you are outside of your parish territory or because you do not have the faculty at all), the marriage is celebrated according to the extraordinary form (canon 1116 §2). In this case no dispensation from form is necessary unless another witness is unavailable.
Note the difference between assisting at and witnessing a marriage. To assist at a marriage is to ask for and to receive the manifestation of consent of the two parties in the name of the Church (canon 1108 §2). If you lack the faculty to assist, you cannot validly perform this role. But the canonical form of marriage also calls for two witnesses who can attest to the exchange of consent (canon 1108 §1), which is a role you can perform if you are not assisting. Even the extraordinary form of marriage requires these two witnesses unless, because there is no one else besides yourself and the two spouses present, you grant the dispensation from form as this faculty authorizes you to do.
c. If you do have the faculty to assist, you need to dispense from the canonical form if two witnesses are unavailable.
d. If there is time, you should exhort the parties to make an act of perfect contrition or hear their confessions, if they are baptized and want to confess.
e. All impediments may be dispensed except prior bond (ligamen), impotence, consanguinity in the direct line and second degree of the collateral line, and the sacred order of the presbyterate. You should dispense as follows: “I dispense you from the canonical form and/or from the impediment of . . . ”
f. The parties must be present together and must express their consent to marry each other, even by signs if one party cannot speak (canon 1104). If you lack the marriage ritual and are unsure of the formula for asking for and receiving the consent of the parties in the name of the Church, you may use equivalent words of your own (canon 1108 §2).
g. If the dispensation is for a public impediment, you are to notify the local pastor and local ordinary immediately afterward so that the dispensation may be properly recorded (canons 1081-1082).
h. If it is a mixed marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic, no permission is necessary in danger of death (canon 1068).
10. CHRISTIAN FUNERALS and OTHER ACTS of DIVINE WORSHIP
Preliminary Note: The celebration of funerals is regulated by canons 1177-1185 and the Order of Christian Funerals (including the Appendix, “Cremation,” more recently published in 1997). Canon 530 5° “especially entrusts” the performance of funeral rites to the pastor/administrator, which means that others should not perform them without at least his presumed consent. Universal law permits the celebration of funerals of Catholics only in churches and not in oratories or private chapels (except in the case of religious, in accord with canon 1179), unless the diocesan bishop grants a dispensation. Faculties #10.1 – 10.3 below are granted for the more common exceptional circumstances.
10.1. Funeral of Unbaptized Children: You may permit the celebration of the Church’s funeral rites, including Mass, for children who died before baptism, provided their parents had intended to have them baptized (canon 1183 §2).
10.2. Funeral of Baptized Non-Catholic: You may permit the celebration of the Church’s funeral rites, including Mass, for a validly baptized member of a non-Catholic church or ecclesial community provided the minister of the deceased is not available and provided that such an arrangement is not contrary to the will of the deceased (canon 1183, §3). In such celebrations, the rites in the Order of Christian Funerals should be appropriately accommodated to the special ecumenical situation.
Explanatory Note: The minister may be “morally” unavailable as well as physically unavailable – for example, if there is a church of the deceased person’s denomination, but he or she was unknown to the minister there. It sometimes happens that the spouse or next of kin of the deceased is Catholic, but he or she does not have a place for the funeral rites of the deceased person.
10.3. Funeral with Cremated Remains Present: You may celebrate the funeral liturgy, including Mass, in the presence of the cremated remains of a deceased person, taking into account the concrete circumstances in each individual case and always observing the following conditions:
a. There is no anti-Christian motive for choosing cremation (canon 1176 §3).
b. The cremated remains will be handled with respect and buried or entombed in a place reserved for this purpose.
c. There is no other canonical prohibition of a funeral liturgy – namely, for notorious apostates, heretics, and schismatics and other manifest sinners for whom ecclesiastical funerals cannot be granted without public scandal to the faithful (canon 1184).
Doubtful cases are to be referred to the regional bishop. For additional directives, see the Order of Christian Funerals, Appendix: Cremation, ## 426-431.
10.4 Blessings: You may permit competent lay ministers and catechists to celebrate blessings from the Book of Blessings that are not reserved to a priest or deacon, provided sufficient clergy are unavailable.
Explanatory Note: The term “competent” refers to someone who is exercising a parish apostolate, such as religious education or visits to the sick, and who has been instructed on the celebration of the appropriate blessings. Those who preside at meetings of parish organizations may also give blessings. An example of a reserved blessing is that of the ashes used on Ash Wednesday. While lay people may assist in the distribution of the ashes, the actual blessing of them is reserved to a priest or deacon (Book of Blessings, #1659).
11.1. Reader at Mass: On exceptional occasions and for a just cause, if you are presiding at the Eucharist, you may permit a validly baptized member of a non-Catholic church or ecclesial community to be a reader at the Eucharistic celebration (Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 133).
Explanatory Note: A typical just cause would be verified at weddings, funerals, and like celebrations when the baptized non-Catholic has some kind of relationship to the Catholic family members and they want to involve this person more actively in the celebration. Before using the faculty, you should have assurances that the designated person is capable of reading intelligibly in public.
11.2. Sacramental Sharing in Cases of Grave Need: Observing the conditions of canon 844 §4, you may administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick to validly baptized non-Catholics who are in danger of death or who live in areas or institutions where they do not have regular access to a minister of their own.
a. You have the faculty by law (canon 844 §3) to administer these three sacraments to members of the Eastern churches that do not have full communion with the Catholic Church, if these persons ask on their own for the sacrament and are properly disposed. Please remember that some of these churches prohibit their members from sharing in the sacraments of other churches. The same applies to member of other churches which, in the judgment of the Apostolic See, are in ‘a condition equal to the Eastern churches in reference to the sacraments.
b. This faculty applies, therefore, to other validly baptized Christians who cannot approach a minister of their own community, who ask for the sacrament on their own, and who manifest Catholic faith in the sacrament. In case of doubt regarding the proper disposition, you should admonish the person to make an act of perfect contrition before receiving holy communion or the anointing of the sick. In case of doubt as to whether the person has the necessary faith in the sacrament, you should ask for an explicit manifestation of faith in these or similar words, as recommended by the Holy See: “Do you accept the faith in the sacrament of (penance, the Eucharist, or anointing of the sick) as Christ instituted it and as the Catholic Church has handed it down?” (Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, instruction In quibus rerum circumstantiis, #5, 1 June 1972).
c. This faculty may be used anywhere in the world on behalf of someone in danger of death.
11.3. Mixed Marriage in a Non-Catholic Church: You may attend or participate in the celebration of a mixed marriage outside a Catholic church or oratory when a dispensation from canonical form has been given. If invited to do so by the non-Catholic minister, you may offer prayers, read from the scriptures, give a brief exhortation, and/or bless, the couple. However, you may not ask for and receive the consent of the parties (Directory for the Application of the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, 157).
11.4. Participation of Non-Catholic Minister: Upon the request of the couple, and if you have the faculty to assist at marriage, even by special delegation, you may invite the minister of the party of the other church or ecclesial community to participate in the celebration of the marriage by reading from scripture, giving a brief exhortation, and/or blessing the couple (Directory, 158). This person may not ask for and receive the consent of the parties.
By issuance of these faculties, I hereby revoke any and all other priestly faculties which have been previously granted to you.
These faculties are granted to you for the purpose of serving the people entrusted to your pastoral care. They remain in force as long as:
1) you hold an ecclesiastical office in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles;
2) you hold an official ministerial assignment from the Archdiocese;
3) you are on an officially approved, active leave of absence; or
4) you remain in good status canonically during retirement.
Since service of the people is the cause for granting this delegation (canon 142, § 1), these faculties cease automatically if the conditions described above no longer apply.
These faculties also lose force if they are replaced by other faculties in the future, or if they are revoked or otherwise limited by competent ecclesiastical authority.
Given in the Curia of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in California on this 1st day of October in the year of our Lord 2007 to Reverend Luke Dysinger O.S.B..
By Direction of His Eminence, Cardinal Roger Mahony Archbishop of Los Angeles
Reverend Monsignor Gabriel Gonzales Vicar for Clergy
Priest Faculties (Rev. 10/01/2007)