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By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | May 14, 2003

A friend with a background in canon law offered these encouraging reflections:

It's worth remembering that the 1983 Code, as edited by John Paul II, includes the following canons. These were introduced to codify the provisions of Maxima Cura, an encyclical issued by Pope St. Pius X in 1910 (Sacred Consistorial Congregation, August 20, 1910, Acta Apostolicae Sedis 2), which was intended particularly to help Americans remove unworthy pastors. And remember that whatever applies to a priest applies to a bishop; bishops are not exempt from any provision about pastors.

CHAPTER I : THE PROCEDURE FOR THE REMOVAL OF PARISH PRIESTS

Can. 1740 When the ministry of any parish priest has for some reason become harmful or at least ineffective, even though this occurs without any serious fault on his part, he can be removed from the parish by the diocesan Bishop.

Can. 1741 The reasons for which a parish priest can lawfully be removed from his parish are principally:

1° a manner of acting which causes grave harm or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion;

2° ineptitude or permanent illness of mind or body, which makes the parish priest unequal to the task of fulfilling his duties satisfactorily;

3° the loss of the parish priest's good name among upright and serious-minded parishioners, or aversion to him, when it can be foreseen that these factors will not quickly come to an end

4° grave neglect or violation of parochial duties, which persistsafter a warning;

5° bad administration of temporal goods with grave harm to the Church, when no other remedy can be found to eliminate this harm.

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