Canon law

Saturday, April 20, 2002


The text of Canon 1395, on clergy sexual misconduct, from the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law, issued in 1983:1. Apart from (civil marriage, treated in canon 1394), a cleric living in concubinage, and a cleric who continues in some other external sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue which causes scandal, is to be punished with suspension. To this, other penalties can progressively be added if after a warning he persists in the offense, until eventually he can be dismissed from the clerical state.

2. A cleric who has offended in other ways against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue, if the crime was committed by force, or by threats, or in public, or with a minor under the age of 16 years, is to be punished with just penalties, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state if the case so warrants.

Note: The U.S. bishops won Vatican permission to raise minors' age of consent to 18; last year the Vatican applied that worldwide.

Source: The Associated Press

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