Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Revised rescript of dismissal from the clerical state and dispensation from clerical obligations, 2001.
The Holy See has made changes, approved by the Holy Father, in the rescript of dispensation from the obligations arising from priestly ordination, including celibacy. The rescript is to be made known to the petitioner as soon as possible and becomes effective from the moment of notification. These changes grant to the Ordinary of the place the ability to dispense from certain clauses listed in the rescript. Also, the dispensed presbyter may be admitted to the office of lector and acolyte and could be appointed an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. What follows are a letter from Archbishop Francesco Pio Tambourino, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments, along with a copy of the revised rescript, both in Latin, with unofficial English translations.
Cover Letter Accompanying Rescript
CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUMProt. N. _____
Romae, die _____
Meum est Tibi mittere alligatum Rescriptum dispensationis a sacreo coelibatu aliisque oneribus sacrae Ordinationi conjunctis atque amissionis clericalis status, a Romano Pontifice JOANNE PAULO PAPA II, die_____, 200 I, presbytero istius archidioeces is _____ concesssum.
Rescriptum variationes quasdam praebet a Summa Pontifice nuper approbatas, cum ratum esse incipiat simul ac Oratori notificatum erit ac Ordinarius loci dispensare possit ab aliquibus clausulis in eo enumeratis.
Quoad facultatem Ordinariis loci concessam, iidem rogantur, ut, in ea exereenda, animum potissimum intendant ad discretam ac prudentem admissionem presbyterorum rite dispensatorum in officium Lectoris et Acolythi necnon in ministerium extraordinarium Sanctissimae Eucharistiae distribuendae, ab eisdem verosemper exc1udendo presbyteros a statu clericali ex officio ac poenali decreto dimissos.
Quod autem ad exercitum attinet liturgicorum officiorum ac ministerii, de qui bus supra, meminisse iuvabit:
a) munera ilia non esse de iure laicorum, sed tantum ab ecclesiastica auctoritate quibusdam commissa, ita ut, si alicui christifideli non concedantur, id minime habendum sit tamquam poena vel deminutio;
b) eadem nullomodo tamquam ad provectum elementa alicuius status reputari debere, sed tantum ad necessitatibus pastoralibus consulendum, iuxta normas liturgicas;
c) qui ad ea exercenda vocantur, plenam cum Ecclesia Catholica communionem habeant ac bona fama de recta doctrina et probitate morum gaudeant, in facie Ecclesiae matrimonio sacramentali iuncti sint, debita scientia edocti ad munus efficaciter ac digne perficiendum et, si actuositati pastorali intersint, quantum fieri potest ne causam vel occasionem adrnirationis praebeant.
Si, qua Ordinarius. instructor fueris processus ad dispensationem, velis quamprimum oratori notificare Rescriptum ac Dicasteriurn certius facere; si vero sis Ordinarius loci, ubi orator domiciliurn vel quasi-domicilium habet, certius hoc Dicasterium facias de adhibita facultate dispensandi, de qua sub n. 6 Rescripti.
Quo par est obsequio, me profiteor sincere propositis et preces meas enixe pro gratia Tibi commendo Eminentiae tuae
devotissimurn in Dominio
Franciscus Pius Tamburrino
Archiepiscopus a Secretis
CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUMProt. N. _____
D.nus _____, presbyter Archidioecesis _____, humiliter petit dispensationem a sacro coelibatu et ab omnibus oneribus sacrae Ordinationi conexis
SS.mus D.N. IOANNES PAULUS, Papa II
habita relatione de casu a Congregatione pro Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorurn, precibus annuit iuxta sequentes rationes:
1. Dispensationis rescriptum, a competenti Ordinaria oratori quamprimum notificandum ad normam n. 2:
a) Effectum sortitur a momenta notificationis;
b) Amplectitur inseparabiliter dispensationem a sacra coelibatu et simul amissionem status clericalis. Numquam oratori fas est duo illa elementa seiungere, seu prius accipere et alterum recusare;
c) Si vera orator est religioslls, Rescriptum concedit etiam dispensationem a votis;
d) Idemque insuper secumfert, quatenus opus sit, absolutionem a censuris.
2. Notificatio dispensationis oratori fieri potcste personal iter vel ab ipso Ordinario eiusve deJegato aut per ecclesiasticum actuarium vel per "epistulas perscriptas" (raccomandata, certificada, enregistree, registered, einschreiben). Ordinarius unum exemplar restituere debet rite ab oratore subsignatum ad fidem receptionis rescripti dispensation is ac simul acceptationis eiusdem praeceptorum.
3. Notitia concessionis dispensationis adnotetur in libris baptizatorum paroeciae oratoris.
4. Quod attinet ad ceJebrationem canonici matrimonii, applicandae sunt normae quae in Codice luris Canonici statuuntur. Orinarius vera curet ut res caute peragantur sine pompa vel exteriore apparatu.
5. Auctoritas ecclesiastica, cui pertinet rescriptum oratori rite notificare, hunc enixe hortetur, ut vitam Populi Dei, ratione congruendi cum nova eius vivendi condicione, participet, aedificationem praestet et ita probum Ecclesiae fifium se exhibeat. SimuI autem eidem notum faciat ea quae sequuntur:
a) Presbyter dispensatus eo ipso amittit iura statui clericali propria, dignitates et officia ecclesiastica; ceteris obligationibus cum statu clericali conexis non amplius adstringitur;
b) exclusus manet ab exercitio sacri ministerii, iis exceptis de qui bus in eann. 976 et 986 §2 ae propterea nequit homiliam habere, nec potest officium gerere directivum in ambitu pastorali neve munere administratoris paroecialis fungi;
c) item nullum munus absolvere potest in Seminariis et in Institutus aequiparatis. In aliis Institutis studiorum gradus superioris, quocumque modo dependentibus ab Auctoritate ecclesiastica, munere directivo fungi nequit;
d) in Institutus studiorum gradus superioris ab Auctoritate ecclesiastica dependentibus nenne, nullam disciplinam proprie theologicam vel cum ipsa intime conexam tradere potest;
e) in Institutis autem studiorum gradus inferioris dependentibus ab Auctoritate ecclesiastica munere directivo vel officio docendi disciplinam proprie theologicam fungi nequit. Eadem lege tenetur presbyter dispensatur in tradenda Religione in Institutis eiusdem generis non dependentibus ab Auctoritate ecclesiastica;
f) per se presbyter a sacerdotali coelibatu dispensatus et a fortiori matrimonio iunctus, abesse debet a locis in quibus eius antecedens conditio nota est nec ubique fungi potest servitio lectoris et acolyti aut distributionis eucharisticae communionis.
7. Ordinarius dioecesis domicilii vel commorationis oratoris, pro suo prudenti iudicio et propria onerata conscientia, auditis quibus interst et circuntantiis bene perpensis, dispensare potest ab aliquibus immo ab omnibus clausulis rescripti quae supra sub litteris e, f, apponuntur.
8. Pro regula habeatur ut hae dispensationes nonnisi transacto aliquo ternporis spatio a notificatione amissionis status clericalis elargiantur ae scripto consignentur.
9. Denique oratori aliquod opus pietatis vel earitatis imponatur.
10. Tempore autum opportuno Ordinarius eompetens breviter ad Congregationem de peracta notifieatione referat, et si qua tandem fidelium admiratio adsit, prudenti explicatione provideat.
Contrariis quibuscumque minime obstantibus.
Ex Aedibus Congregationis, die _____
Georgius A. Card. Medina Estevez
+Franciscus Pius Tamburrino
Archiep. A Secretis
Unofficial Translation of Cover Letter
CONGREGATIO DE CULTU DIVINO ET DISCIPLINA SACRAMENTORUMProt. N. _____
Rome, the _____ day _____
It is my duty to send to you the enclosed rescript of dispensation from sacred celibacy and other obligations connected to sacred Ordination and also the loss of the clerical state, granted by the Roman Pontiff, Pope John Paul II, on the _____ day of _____, _____, to this presbyter of the Diocese of _____.
The rescript presents changes recently approved by the Supreme Pontiff, which grant to the Ordinary of place the ability to dispense from those clauses enumerated in it, and which are able to begin at some time after the petitioner is notified (of the rescript).
Regarding the faculty granted to the Ordinary of place, it is asked that, in the exercise of the faculty, the greatest possible care be taken for the discreet and prudent admission of priests, properly dispensed, into the office of lector and acolyte and also the extraordinary ministry of the distribution of the Most Blessed Eucharist, always excluding from these faculties the priest dismissed from this state ex officio or by penal decree.
It helps to remember that which pertains to the exercise of the liturgical offices or ministries cited above:
a) these offices are not a right of the laity, but are committed to them by the ecclesiastical authority, so that, if it is not granted to a particular member of the faithful, there is no penalty or loss of rights;
b) similarly, this is not to be seen as a promotion which is owed to someone's status, or to the resolution of a pastoral need, according to the liturgical norms;
c) those who are called to exercise these (ministries) must have full communion with the Catholic Church and enjoy the reputation for sound doctrine and moral probity, be joined in sacramental marriage before the Church, be given proper knowledge to carry out the ministry efficiently and in a dignified manner, and in no way is the pastoral activity to cause any reason or occasion of scandal.
If that Ordinary was the instructor of the process for dispensation, he may wish to notify the petitioner of the rescript and inform the Dicastery; if he is the Ordinary of the place where the petitioner has domicile or quasi-domicile, he is to inform the Dicastery of the application of the faculty of dispensation which is found in number six of the rescript.
With respect, I commend myself to Your Eminence in thanksgiving with prayers for you advantage,
Most Devotedly in the Lord,
+Francesco Pio Tamburrino
Unofficial Translation of the Rescript
CONGREGATION FOR DIVINE WORSHIP AND THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SACRAMENTSProt. N. _____
Father _____, a presbyter of the diocese of _____ has humbly petitioned for a dispensation from sacred celibacy and from all the obligations connected with sacred ordination.
Our Most Holy Father, Pope John Paul II,
on the _____ day of _____ _____
after having received a report on the case from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has granted the request, but with the following provisions:
1. The rescript of the dispensation, being made known by the competent Ordinary to the petitioner as soon as possible, according to the norm of N. 2:
a) becomes effective from the moment of the notification;
b) inseparably includes a dispensation from sacred celibacy and, at the same time, loss of the clerical state. The petitioner never has the right to separate those two elements, that is, to accept the first and refuse the second;
c) if the petitioner is a religious. the rescript also grants a dispensation from the vows;
d) indeed, further. it carries with it, insofar as it is necessary. absolution from censures.
2. Notification of the dispensation can be made to the petitioner either personally, or through one delegated by the same Ordinary, or through an ecclesiastical notary, or by "registered mail." The Ordinary ought to retain one copy (of the rescript) duly signed by the petitioner in testimony of his reception of the rescript of the dispensation, and also of his acceptance of its regulations.
3. Notice of the granting of the dispensation is to be inscribed in the baptismal register of the petitioner's parish.
4. With regard to the celebration of a canonical marriage. the norms set down in the Code of Canon Law must be applied. The Ordinary, however, should take care that the matter be discreetly handled without pomp or external display.
5. The ecclesiastical authority, to whom it belongs to notify the petitioner concerning the rescript, should earnestly exhort him to take part in the life of the People of God, in a manner consonant with his new mode of living, to give edification, and thus to show himself a most loving son of the Church. At the same time, however, he should be informed of the following points:
a) the dispensed presbyter automatically loses the rights proper to the clerical state, as well as ecclesiastical dignities and offices; he is no longer bound by the other obligations connected with the clerical state;
b) he remains excluded from the exercise of the sacred ministry, with the exception of those functions mentioned in canons 976 and 986, §2, and, as a result, he may not give a homily nor is he able to hold a directive office in the pastoral field nor to exercise the function of parochial administrator;
c) similarly, he may not discharge any function in seminaries and in equivalent institutions. In other institutions of higher studies, which are in any way whatever dependent upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not exercise the function of director;
d) however, in those institutions of higher studies which are dependent upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not teach any discipline which is properly theological or closely connected with the same;
e) on the other hand, in institutions of lower studies, which are dependent upon ecclesiastical authority, he may not exercise the function of. teaching a discipline which is properly theological. A dispensed presbyter is held by the same rule in teaching Religion in an institution of the same kind not dependent upon ecclesiastical authority;
f) as a rule, the presbyter who has been dispensed from priestly celibacy, and all the more so, who has married, ought to stay away from places where his previous status is known, nor is he able to function in the service of lector and of acolyte or in the distribution of Eucharistic communion.
7. The diocesan Ordinary of the domicile or of the place where the petitioner is staying, in keeping with his prudentjudgment and informed conscience, after he has listened to the interested parties and weighed the circumstances, is able to dispense from each and every clause of the rescript listed above which are placed under letter "e" and "f."
8. As a rule, it is to be noted that these dispensations were granted freely, in some way at a distance of time from the notification of loss of the clerical state, and that this be authenticated in writing.
9. Lastly, some work of piety or charity should be imposed on him.
10. At an opportune time, however, the competent Ordinary is to send a brief report to the Congregation on his completion of the notification, and, finally, if there should be any wonderment on the part of the faithful, he is to provide a prudent explanation.
All things to the contrary notwithstanding.
From the Offices of the Congregation the _____ day of _____.
Jorge Arturo Cardinal Medina Estevez
Francesco Pio Tamburrino
Reverend Vincenzo Ferrara
Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Revised rescript of dismissal from the clerical state and dispensation from clerical obligations, 2001, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2001, 14-22.