Secretariat of State, List of Privileges and Faculties of Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church in Liturgical and Canonical Matters, 18 March 1999.


1. Cardinals enjoy the faculty, wherever they celebrate or assist at the sacred liturgy, of granting a partial indulgence to be gained on each occasion by all present, even those members of the Christian faithful who are outside their own diocese. But the norms established in the Code (cann. 992-997) and in the Apostolic Constitution Indulgentiarum doctrina (AAS 59 [1967], 5-24; cf. also Enchiridion Indulgentiarum, AAS_ 60 [1968], 412-416) must be observed.

2. §1. Cardinals and their household enjoy the privilege of gaining in their domestic chapel those induleges which require a visit to the shrine of some state or place, in which the Cardinals and their households are actually staying. They must fulfil the condition set for gaining the indulgences according to the Apostolic Constitution, Indulgentiarum doctrina (cf. ibid.).

§2. By the term “household”of the Cardinal are meant all those who, whether they be clerics, religious or laity, are permanently appointed to the service of the Cardinal.

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3. §1. They enjoy the right of establishing a private chapel for themselves, in accordance with can. 1227. The private chapel of Cardinals remains entirely exempt from the jurisdiction of the Ordinary of the place.

§2. They enjoy the privileges also of reserving the Blessed Sacrament, in accordance with the prescription of can. 934.

4. As regards liturgical matters, in accordance with the norm of can. 357, §2, in the place where they actually or habitually live, Cardinals enjoy, for themselves and for their households, all the faculties of the diocesan Bishop in his diocese. These include the celebration of the sacraments of baptism and confirmation and everything which pertains to the proper preparation and registration of these provided that they fulfil the norm of law. For them to assist validly as the celebration of marriage they must be delegated by the Ordinary of the place or by the parish priest.

5. All Cardinals, even if they have not received episcopal ordination, enjoy the faculty, during liturgical ceremonies where they preside or assist in a solemn manner, of blessing the people anywhere in the manner of Bishops, and also the faculty of using the mitre and crozier. They also enjoy the faculty of wearing the pectoral cross and the mozetta. They must, however, observe the norms of the Caeremonialis Episcoporum (editio typica, Rome, 1984) and also the prescription of art. 6.

6. A Cardinal who conducts a solemn celebration outside the church of his own title must forewarn the Bishop of the place, unless the church is a cathedral, in which case he requires his permission.

7. Having consulted the Bishop of the place, Cardinals enjoy the faculty of conducting the dedications and blessings of churches, and of altars, sacred furnishings and other similar articles, but they must always observe the norms established in the Code and the prescribed liturgical rubrics.

Cardinals have the faculty of celebrating the blessing of an Abbot or an Abbess, in accordance with the Caeremoniale Episcoporum (cf. ibid.).

8. All Cardinals, even those who lack episcopal ordination, have the right to preach the word of God everywhere, not excluding churches or oratories of religious institutes or societies of apostolic life of pontifical right, unless the Bishop of the place has expressly forbidden this in particular cases (Can. 763).

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9. During liturgical actions, according to the prescribed rites, Cardinals who have received the episcopal character enjoy the faculty in all churches and oratories, with the consent of the Ordinary of the place, of conferring the orders of the sacred diaconate and the priesthood, provided they have received the dimissorial letters from the candidate’s proper Ordinaries.

All Cardinals may also confer other ministries, provided the same conditions are observed.

10. Besides the faculty of hearing confessions anywhere in the world, as stated in can. 967, §1, Cardinals enjoy the ordinary faculty which, however, they may not delegate to others, of absolving penitents everywhere in the internal sacramental forum. This faculty includes absolving penitents from the censures of latae sententiae excommunication or of interdicts which have not been declared, and those reserved to the Apostolic See, without recourse to the proper Ordinary of the faithful. It does not include those censures listed in cann. 1382 and 1388.

11. All Cardinals enjoy the privilege of choosing for themselves and for their households a confessor who obtains, by the law itself, unless that power has already been granted to him in another place, the faculty of hearing confessions for these same persons and also of absolving from all censures, even those reserved to the Apostolic See with the exception already noted, but only in the internal sacramental forum.

12. In accordance with can. 932, Cardinals may allow the eucharistic sacrifice to be celebrated in their presence even on days of solemn liturgical celebration , but not during the Pascal Triduum.

13. On Maundy Thursday, Cardinals enjoy the faculty of celebrating in their own chapel the Mass in Cena Domini.

In a rescript dated 18 March 1999, the Supreme Pontiff John Paul II, deigned to grant the aforementioned priviliges and faculties to the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. He approved this list in forma specifica and ordered it to become public law.




Comm 31 (1999): 11-13; Notitiae 35 (1999): 339-342; Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland Newsletter, 118 (June, 1999): 60-62.