Action Alert!

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.


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.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

Sound Off! supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.