L’homme quittera son père et sa mère, il s’attachera à sa femme et tous deux ne feront plus qu’un. Ce que Dieu a uni, que l’homme ne le sépare pas !
Sur notamment cette base que les religions prohibent le divorce. De même, elles prônent la paix, la concorde et la communion. Sachant que le conflit est connaturel à la nature et à l’homme, que font les religions pour que les conflits familiaux ecclésiaux et sociaux ne dégénèrent pas en violence psychologique ou physique ? Même s’ils dégénèrent, que font les religions pour rétablir le lien conjugal, la communion ecclésiale et la paix sociale ?
Telles sont les questions que nous poserons à nos intervenants, lors de la journée religions, conflits et médiations, sachant que l’après-midi sera consacrée à une introduction au droit canonique, tel que demandée par des juristes civils à S.E. Jean-Pierre, cardinal Kutwa.
09H00 Introduction par l’archevêque, Mgr Jean-Pierre, Cardinal Kutwa ou son représentant
09H30 Conflits familiaux, l’action des religions pour la paix dans les ménages :
11H00 Conflits sociaux, le rôle des religions pour la paix civile
12H30 pause déjeuner (libre, à la convenance de chacun)
15H00-17H00 introduction au droit canonique avec Père Honoré Beugré, directeur de la faculté de droit canonique (UCAO)
Entrée gratuite en fonction des places disponibles sur inscription préalable à : https://seam2019-religions.eventbrite.fr
Pourquoi le Code de 1983 a-t-il maintenu l’obligation du code de 1917, invitant les fidèles à demander l’autorisation de l’Ordinaire du lieu avant d’entreprendre une démarche de divorce ?
En théorie, les canons 1151 à 1155 prévoient qu’un fidèle marié religieusement ne peut pas se séparer de son conjoint ni demander le divorce civil sans avoir obtenu au préalable l’autorisation ecclésiastique. Dans la pratique, ces canons ne sont en général pas observés ni même connus ou enseignés. Des canonistes comme Edward N. Peters, ont récemment traité de la question en considérant schématiquement qu’il s’agirait de « scories » du code de 1917, maintenues en vigueur à cause de l’effet civil des mariages religieux dans certains pays régis par un concordat avec le Saint Siège. Il estime d’ailleurs que l’absence d’une telle autorisation n’est pas une faute bien grave puisqu’elle n’empêche pas de communier des époux séparés et/ou divorcés sans autorisation ecclésiastique.
Une autre explication au maintien de ces canons dans le code de 1983 est envisageable, à savoir que l’Eglise a voulu rappeler le devoir des époux à garder la vie commune et n’a pas voulu abandonner le rôle d’arbitre et de médiatrice, que lui donne le canon 1152 § 3. Si les canons 1151-1153 sont pratiquement tombés en désuétude, c’est probablement parce que l’Eglise s’est, au mieux, contentée d’être arbitre en disant aux conjoints qu’il leur est possible de se réconcilier, mais que sauf exception, elle n’a pas été médiatrice pour les aider les à se réconcilier.
Qu’elle soit historiquement véridique ou pas, cette interprétation d’un « canoniste-médiateur » traduit sa propre conviction que l’Église peut progresser dans l’accompagnement des personnes en difficulté dans leur couple.
C’est précisément la conclusion à laquelle est parvenue le synode des évêques sur la famille et c’est ce sur quoi travaille actuellement Canonistes sans frontières, en vue de publier, un guide de l’accompagnement des personnes en difficulté dans leur couple, à l’occasion du troisième anniversaire d’Amoris Laetitia. Ce guide fera le point des bonnes pratiques de l’Église, trois ans après l’invitation faite par le pape aux évêques de créer dans leur diocèse un service d’information, de conseil et de médiation rattaché à la pastorale familiale.
 Can. 1153 —Si un des conjoints met en grave danger l’âme ou le corps de l’autre ou des enfants, ou encore si, d’une autre manière, il rend la vie commune trop dure, il donne à l’autre un motif légitime de se séparer en vertu d’un décret de l’Ordinaire du lieu et même, s’il y a risque à attendre, de sa propre autorité.
 Peters (Edward N., Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit) Do Catholics need Ecclesial permission to divorce? catholicscholars.org PCS Quarterly • Spring/Summer 2017, p. 61-64.
 Can. 1151 — Les conjoints ont le devoir et le droit de garder la vie commune conjugale, à moins qu’une cause légitime ne les en excuse.
 Can. 1152 — § 1. Bien qu’il soit fortement recommandé que le conjoint, mû par la charité chrétienne et soucieux du bien de la famille, ne refuse pas son pardon à la partie adultère et ne rompe pas la vie conjugale, si cependant il n’a pas pardonné la faute de manière expresse ou tacite, il a le droit de rompre la vie commune conjugale, à moins qu’il n’ait consenti à l’adultère, n’en soit la cause ou n’ait commis lui aussi l’adultère.
§ 2. Il y a pardon tacite si l’époux innocent, après avoir eu connaissance de l’adultère, a vécu de plein gré conjugalement avec son conjoint ; mais ce pardon est présumé si pendant six mois il a maintenu la vie commune conjugale et n’a pas fait recours auprès de l’autorité ecclésiastique ou civile.
§ 3. Si l’époux innocent a rompu de plein gré la vie commune conjugale, il déférera la cause de séparation dans les six mois à l’autorité ecclésiastique compétente qui, ayant examiné toutes les circonstances, estimera s’il est possible d’amener l’époux innocent à pardonner la faute et à ne pas prolonger pour toujours la séparation.
Et si la colère, la jalousie et les conflits étaient source de vie ?
La colère a deux sens : c’est l’un des pêchés capitaux lorsqu’elle devient fâcherie choisie mais c’est aussi une émotion naturelle, source de vie; De même la jalousie peut être signe d’amour « Dieu est un Dieu jaloux » comme elle peut-être source de violence. Il en va de même pour beaucoup d’autres notions que la morale nous a appris à rejeter mais qui, dans un certain sens doivent être réhabilitées.
En tous cas, les canons 1446 et 1733 invitent les fidèles à éviter les conflits et à rechercher une solution équitable, en utilisant au besoin la médiation et le recours des sages. Effectivement,le canon 221 autorise les fidèles à recourir aux tribunaux de l’Eglise mais, au préalable il convient sinon d’éviter les conflits (est-ce possible ?), il convient de les regarder en face et de nous efforcer de les transformer en amour par 1) la prière, 2) le dialogue, 3) le recours aux sages.
Certes, il existe beaucoup de sages dans le monde, mais certains d’entre eux font précisément profession d’aider à résoudre les conflits en agissant en qualité de médiateurs.
En attendant des pages mieux fournies, voici un extrait relatif à la médiation d’une émission du 13 septembre 2018 à Atakpamé sur radio Maria Togo, avec Mgr. Nicodème Barrigah-Bénissan, évêque d’Atakpamé, modérateur du tribunal interdiocésain de Lomé, ancien président de la Commission justice et vérité du Togo et Yves-Alain Ducass, directeur de Canonistes sans frontières;
Mgr. Nicodème Barrigah-Bénissan, évêque d’Atakpamé, modérateur du tribunal inter-diocésain de Lomé, ancien président de la Commission justice et vérité du Togo : La formation que nous venons de recevoir au cours de la session que nous venons de tenir, a porté sur un troisième thème qui est celui de la médiation parce qu’on ne peut pas, dans le contexte du mariage sauter directement, aller au tribunal ou on ne peut pas dans le cadre des difficultés au sein de l’Eglise aller en même temps saisir, je ne sais pas des supérieurs, des autorités pare qu’on a un petit problème avec son supérieur. La démarche fondamentale, la toute première, est la médiation, le dialogue en vue de trouver des solutions.
Yves Alain Ducass, directeur de Canonistes sans frontières : on a parlé de médiation. Qu’est-ce que ça veut dire ? Ça veut dire qu’à un moment donné, pour une raison, où on n’a pas à condamner l’un ou l’autre, deux personnes sont fâchées. Elles ont même oublié pourquoi elles sont fâchées, parfois. Elles sont fâchées à cause de l’autre. Mais il y a tout un travail à faire pour essayer de revenir, pour dire mais quelle est l’origine ? Alors on va voir que ce n’est pas entre les personnes et qu’il y a un problème et on va le retrouver. Et puis on va découvrir que les gens, en fait, ils se sont fait des idées parce qu’ils ont perçu la chose à leur manière mais la chose, elle est différente de ce qu’ils ont perçu. Donc on va revenir des idées qu’on a, « on est fâché », mais finalement, qu’est-ce qu’on a ressenti. On était en colère mais on avait peut-être raison d’être en colère, on était triste mais on a peut-être raison d’être triste, on avait peut-être raison ? On a de la honte, on a peut-être raison. Donc on revient à ça [aux émotions] Puis on se dit si on a vécu tout ça, est-ce qu’on n’avait pas un besoin derrière ? Est-ce qu’on ne se sentait pas abandonné ? On avait un besoin, et donc on redescend petit à petit pour dire moi, on se met un peu à nu finalement. Et quand les autres sont vrais et qu’ils respectent l’autre, on n’est plus dans la fâcherie, il y a un moment donné où le conflit, les gens disent mais finalement l’autre, je ne savais pas tout ça. Je ne savais pas qu’il y avait ça derrière tout ce qu’on ne s’est pas parlé. Et du coup, il y a un accord qui se fait. Voilà, c’est ça pour moi la démarche de médiation, c’est ce qui fait qu’on passe d’une FÂCHERIE à un accord, avec l’aide de quelqu’un qui lui ne va pas dire : « c’est lui qui attaque, c’est l’autre qui est victime ». Il ne va pas faire ça, s’il le fait, cela amplifie le problème, mais il va dire : « moi, si vous avez besoin d’aide, je suis là ». Et donc ces techniques-là, c’est ce dont on a parlé et dont je voulais dire un petit mot.
Mgr Barrigah : Yves-Alain a dit qu’il y avait également une communication sur la médiation. Après l’avoir écoutée, on a été unanimes à reconnaître que bon, ce qui était prévu dans le code de droit canonique n’existe pas encore chez nous. On a demandé qu’il y ait des organes de médiation dans tous les diocèses et dans la Conférence des évêques, ça se trouve dans le code, bon voilà, on s’est rendu compte que nous, on ne l’avait pas encore et que ce serait bien qu’on puisse y arriver nous aussi. Ensuite, on s’est rendu compte qu’on n’avait pas de formation en médiation. C’est vrai, nous avons beaucoup de disponibilités, nous accompagnons quotidiennement des gens qui sont en difficulté mais il faut une certaine préparation aussi. Et cela a été pratiquement exprimé par tous les participants que nous puissions d’une manière ou d’une autre assurer un minimum de formation à un groupe assez large et une formation un peu plus spécialisée à des gens qui vont maîtriser les outils de la médiation. Je pense que cela fait partie aussi des acquis de cette session, de cette mini-session que Yves Alain a bien eu la joie d’animer pour nous et avec nous.
(Extracts of the book Administrative Justice in the Catholic church, by Yves Alain Ducass, Paris 2018, 374 p).
One day, a lady stopped Cardinal Bertone in St. Peter’s Square and said to him:
I have learned that you will go to Cagliari, to hold a conference on justice in the Church. Well, let me tell you, there is no justice in the Church.
The developments of this book offer us a vision that is more positive than that, even if it is important to listen to statements similar to that of this lady, made by others as well:
The Church must listen, rise up, look on the pain and the expectations of people according to mercy, and it must do so without fear of purifying itself, looking assiduously for ways to improve.
Administrative justice in the Church is at work, as we have seen, and so we can rejoice. It is without a doubt still in progress, on procedural aspects mentioned in the previous chapter, but also on the following major themes:
This is the credibility of the Church, as Benedict XVI observed:
Ignorance of the Church’s teachings and its legislation on given subjects is harmful to the proper running of the life of the Church itself.
The pilgrim People of God on earth will be unable to realize its identity as a community of love unless it takes into consideration the demands of justice.
We had hoped that the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the second section would have permimtted making a prudent and measured step toward informing the faithful about their rights and obligations, as well as the means to defend them. Unfortunately, most of the canonical symposia held in 2017 focused on the centenary of the abrogated Code of 1917,  without any mention of the fiftieth anniversary of the creation of the Administrative Tribunal of the Church, currently in operation.
This silence does not date from today and, already in the past, the simple fact of informing the faithful of canon law was sometimes seen as a fault.
In 1850, Fr. Marie-Dominique Bouyx (S.J.), a well known canonist, published an article about the popularization of Canon Law in the daily paper L’Univers. His Bishop, Msgr. Sibour, furious, gave him twenty-four hours to leave his post of Director of the Marie-Thérèse retirement home, to which he had been appointed the previous year. […] The French Bishops are certainly not supporters of higher education in canon law, a law which risks prejudicing their authority, and which they intend to implement according to their personal views.
After the promulgation of the French law establishing freedom of higher education, on July 2, 1875, it was necessary to wait nearly five years and for several interventions of the Holy Father, so that at the beginning of the school year in 1880, the Faculty of Theology of the Catholic Institute of Paris at the time, created a faculty of canon law, with the young Abbot Gasparri as professor.
Despite a French context which remains generally unfavorable, even hostile to this « diaconia of justice » that the Holy Father and the Council of Cardinals have examined during the course of their 18th meeting, the present book could be published and many radio broadcasts relayed.
I would like to express my gratitude to the people who have taught me righteousness by their witness of life, those who have taught me canon law, welcomed me into the world of canonists and helped me in the preparation or dissemination of this book. In addition to my wife Sylvie, most of them are cited in the text, while others wished to remain anonymous. God bless you.
I also want to express my apologies for the shortcomings, imperfections and perhaps mistakes in this book, and I ask those who find them kindly to bring them to my attention, so that I can take them into account in the next edition.
Despite its imperfections, I hope that this book will be a useful instrument for the protection of the rights of the faithful and the common good of the Church, as Cardinal Pasinya indicated:
It is, therefore, an evangelizing mission to put the instruments necessary for the protection of the rights of the faithful at the disposal of the particular Churches.
To this effect, I dedicate this book to Canonists without Borders, which it is now appropriate to present.
Before the Second Vatican Council, the Encyclical Fidei Donum, on the renewal of the missions, was very important for the development of evangelization in Africa and in developing countries, where the Church is currently flourishing. It encouraged European priests to go to serve for a while in a mission diocese. Today this encyclical remains topical for priests, but also for the laity who are committed to a period as volunteers in Catholic missionary associations like the Foreign Missions of Paris. Therefore, why not apply it also to the canonists of developed countries, which include also a growing share of the laity?
Canonists without Borders is an international network of canonists, without any particular mandate of the hierarchy of the Church, but with the desire to promote canon law and ecclesiastical justice mainly in developing countries, and for the Catholic faithful.
Since its creation in 2015 Canonists without Borders initiated five types of services for free:
For the future, we will try to structure the Canonists without Borders’ network.
As Canonists without Borders begins to be known, some institutions are calling it for different kinds of support.
Currently many Catholic entities are opening in developing countries and their work is increasing.
The Burkina-Niger Episcopal Conference has chosen pastorally to encourage the faithful to regularize their marital status, in particular to allow their children to receive baptism. The result is an unprecedented increase in the number of applications for the recognition of the nullity of marriage, which went from 10 per year on average from 2010 to 2015, to 200 applications for 2016 alone, in the Interdiocesan Tribunal of Ouagadougou. As a result of Mitis Iudex, each diocese has been invited to establish a diocesan tribunal or to choose a nearby tribunal.
Often, these courts face difficulties in their start-up, while others have difficulty in the use of information technology. To the extent that it can, Canonists without Borders strives to provide the aid mentioned below.
2.1.1. Handling Delayed Cases
In view of the implementation of the Apostolic Letter Mitis Iudex, offices are opening in various dioceses of Africa and the world. However, starting or restarting a formal office requires a lot of work that canonists sometimes have difficulty with. As an example, a newly appointed Judicial Vicar found in the archives of the Tribunal a hundred pending cases, with incomplete procedures to resume. The beginnings of assistance have already been made, with the drafting of a legal note preparing submissions by counsel and the defender of the bond in a local case. In the office of Thiès (Senegal), cases remained pending because the witnesses had moved to another country. Canonists without Borders found contact info for the offices in the countries concerned, and informed the office in view of rogatory letters.
This activity to support such offices should only continue to develop. As soon as Canonists without Borders will have enough members, it will also be able to conduct « Operation Lend a Hand, » to bring for a short period a group of European canonists onsite, to help start new offices.
Here are two testimonies:
In Burkina Faso, Mgr. Laurent Dabiré, Bishop of Dori and moderator of the ecclesiastical courts, has high regard for the initiative of Canonists without Borders. At a July 2017 meeting, a decision was made to experiment with having a defender of the bond or a lawyer at a distance. If the arrangement proves successful, a formal request will no doubt be addressed to francophone faculties of canon law for canon-law students who can work with Canonists without Borders on real cases—whose names will be concealed, to prevent potential indiscretions—and not only on theoretical cases of nullity of marriage.
2.1.2. Other kinds of support such as mediation or training
In 2015, the Chancellor of Conakry asked Canonists without Borders to put online the website of the Archbishop, permitting the office to inform the faithful of the diocese. This has been done successfully.
In 2016, Institutions like those in Paris publish announcements in Catholic journals, to search for contact information for the parties or witnesses summoned in matrimonial proceedings. After searching on Facebook, Linkedin and social networks, Canonists without Borders has found traces of several persons sought and has informed the offices concerned.
In 2016, Canonists without Borders shared its experience on the training of canonists during a conference-debate held in an African diocesan office. The presentation can be found on the professional part of the site www.canonistes.org in connection with online formation proposals that are free or paid for to faculties of Canon Law.
In 2017, Canonists without Borders has been called for a mediation between two parishioners of a Parisian parish, which is now on progress.
Society becomes more and more complex, and canonists, just as other professions, have a growing need for information. Organizations such as the Pontifical Gregorian University are working to identify and make available to the public the main canonical resources existing in the world. In its own way, Canonists without Borders also makes a contribution.
2.2.1. On-line collection of theses and books about canon law
Society becomes more and more complex, and canonists, just as other professions, have a growing need for information. In this field, there is a great inequality between the privileged canonists installed in Rome or in a large city university, who have easy access to a canonical library, and those who are incardinated in distant dioceses and do not have this access. Here is an example of a request received:
Father F, Chancellor and official in Africa: “I am happy to learn that you have just published a book on administrative law. I hope that you will send me a copy of this valuable work. If you don’t, I will have no chance to read it. I am particularly interested in this book because since October 2016, I have been teaching administrative law in a large seminary.
As most of them have internet-access, Canonists without Borders has begun to create and put online a digital canonical library, in which it has already identified and indexed nearly 2 500 thesisand articles on line about canon law, indexing them by canon and by key word, to facilitate their identification.
Moreover, Canonists without Borders initiated a campaign to collect and publish thesis, briefs and canonical works in connection with the Harmattan publishing house and the distributor Youscribe. Authors are encouraged by various benefits to send a digital version of their memoir or thesis, that Canonists without Borders puts online so that the canonists and more generally the public can have access too it free of charge, for Canonists without Borders, or at low prices for Youscribe.
By entering in the search bar the number of a canon or a keyword such as « history » or « philosophy, » the reader immediately sees the theses of canon law relevant to this subject and, if there is a digital version, it can access the contents of a simple click.
Thank you to the readers who wish to participate in this campaign, by sending their thesis, encouraging their canonist-friends to do so, or helping with the idexation of thousands of theses already identified.
Everywhere in the world, canonists seek Rotal jurisprudence, helping them to write the in iure sections of their decisions.
Abbot Jacques Gressier gave Canonists without Borders the French translations of rotal jurisprudence that he had collected and published in the canonical compendium of Arras. Some of this jurisprudence has been put online on the professional part of the site www.canonistes.org.
In Versailles, canonists use the compendium of case law of Msgr. Boyer to prepare their legal submissions in marriage-nullity cases. We hope that one day such work might be the subject of a book released in Africa, and that it be completed by an equivalent book for defenders of the bond, integrating the work and publications subsequent to Mitis Iudex.
Moreover, many canonists deplore the fact that the contentious-administrative jurisprudence of the Supreme Court is less accessible than the matrimonial jurisprudence of the Roman Rota. To help in remedying this deficiency, Canonists without Borders has put online a database of contentious-administrative case law on a thousand cases that can be accessed on the professional part of its website.
Episcopal conferences such as that of Taiwan sometimes contact the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts in order to determine the extent to which they are canonically permitted to use digital technologies, such as publishing baptismal registers in a digital version on the cloud. In addition to expertise in this field brought to various Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, Canonists without Borders has experimented with technologies such as Skype, Viber and WhatSapp, in order to assist petitioners at a distance, and electronic signatures for the secure exchange of documents. In addition to experimentation, Canonists without Borders has begun to establish and share a bibliography of experiences in the use of digital means for canon law.
Many dioceses provide precise information on the rights and obligations of the faithful within the Church, and on the means to enforce them in making use of the ecclesial structures provided for this purpose. Other dioceses are silent as to the mailing-address of the office which handles marriage-nullity trials, and so the faithful do not always know whom to contact when they encounter legal difficulties in their lives as Christians. Without in any way replacing the competent bodies of the Church, Canonists without Borders provides basic canonical information on its website www.canonistes.org, and responds to individual questions from the Catholic faithful, aiming to orient them toward good structures within the Church.
2.3.1. Discerning the Possible Invalidity of a Marriage
More and more frequently, couples in difficulty seek to discern the possible invalidity of their marriage before making a decision to separate. Canonists without Borders encourages them to identify and to meet in their diocese with persons from « the structure of information, advice and mediation » laid down by the Subsidium for the application of the Apostolic Letter Mitis Iudex, « for the investigation preliminary to the matrimonial trial. »
Once their civil divorce has been obtained, the laity look for information about how to engage in a canonical trial to recognize the nullity of their marriage. Canonists without Borders informs them of the procedures in force, and the competent offices which handle their situation.
2.3.2. Recalling the law currently in force
Approximately once a month, Canonists without Borders receives requests from Catholic faithful wishing to know what church law recommends. Canonists without Borders strives to research the law in force, and to respond to them free of charge. In ecumenical matters, inquirers have been informed of the main canons and of the Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism.
The warm thanks received from inquirers allow us to think that we should persevere on this track.
2.3.3. Helping to resolve conflicts
Besides its interventions at the request of a parish priest or official, Canonists without Borders regularly receives requests from priests, religious or laity to resolve administrative conflicts with ecclesiastical authority. It is involved in these types of cases:
Canonists without Borders provides information on their rights and obligations and, when the situation warrants, helps them to follow the procedures for ex gratia, hierarchical or contentious-administrative recourse, allowing them to obtain excardination andincardination consistent with their skills and the needs of the Church.Here are a few examples of testimony received:
A growing number of religious seek assistance in restoring constructive dialogue with their superiors. Canonists without Borders gives them moral support, clarifies their rights and obligations, and guides them to the appropriate bodies such as the French Welcome Mediation Service for Religious Life and Community (SAM) or the International Council of Canonists. In case of failure, it helps them to initiate the procedures of ex gratia, hierarchical or contentious-administrative recourse, to restore justice. Here are three examples of testimony received:
Regularly, faithful find themselves in difficulty after being removed from an office in the Church, a diocese, a school or a religious congregation. On several occasions, members of Canonists without Borders have helped them to start afresh in life, as it is required to do by canon 222 § 2:
They [the faithful] are also bound by the obligation to promote social justice and again, remembering the commandment of the Lord, to aid the poor with their personal income.
The other religions, and in particular evangelicals and Muslims, very numerous in Africa, are faced with problems that are internal to their communities comparable to those that we encounter in the Catholic Church. When the opportunity presents itself, Canonists without Borders endeavors to develop dialogue between jurists of religions, so that they may help each other, in mutual respect, with a view to a better efficiency of their respective justice.
Here is an example:
In August 2017, an African bishop of a non-Catholic Christian church expressed his difficulties with some clergy of his diocese, because they would not follow episcopal instructions, or because they impose unjustified financial contributions on their parishioners. He asked for clarification of the proper Catholic canonical procedures on these matters, to better manage his relations with his clergy.
Conversely, we have seen that the mediation practices in force in certain Reformed Churches could prove helpful to Catholic bishops, in the face of controversy between different persons in their dioceses.
As of 2017, Canonists without Borders is a private association of the faithful, without recognition or particular mandate of the Church.
It is sometimes perceived as a danger by the hierarchy of the Church, which may fear that Canonists without Borders and its members may take positions or act in ways that are likely to hamper them. This is not surprising, because it is in fact normal that an institution, of what type may be (secular or religious, public or private…) seeks to protect itself against actors working on the periphery, over whom it does not have control.
By letting them act, the Church takes the same risk that its Master, God the Father, Who created man with the free will to love, God the Son Who has redeemed man after his sin, and God the Holy Spirit Who inspires man to choose love, not sin.
In this spirit of love of the Church, Canonists without Borders submits to the ecclesiastical hierarchy in regularly submitting its activity reports, and taking account of the comments received. For the future, Canonists without Borders wants to develop its activity, with the assistance of volunteer canonists, and acquire a permanent legal structure, under the watchful eye of the Supreme Tribunal. As long as this condition is not met, Canonists without Borders and its members do not accept any gifts or payments, but continue their work of popularizing the law and canonical justice, in communion as closely as possible with the Church.
We are encouraged to persevere, by faithful who thank us for the aid received, by an African Catholic bishop, President of the Commission for Justice of his Episcopal Conference, who gave his imprimatur, or by a Cardinal Prefect of a Congregation, who wrote:
…I have received your very interesting book, Administrative Justice of the Catholic Church, that you had the kindness to send me, and I thank you. I take this opportunity to thank you for your initiative concerning Canonists without Borders, which saw the light
Another encouraging sign lies in the fact that canonists enroll without interruption in the professional part of the site www.canonistes.org, and/or ask to receive its quarterly newsletter. We hope that some of them will choose to devote their time (we do not accept money) and help us to reach more quickly our four objectives:
How does one say with simple words that the faithful must retain administrative justice of the Church?
First of all that the Church is holy but composed of sinners, and that conflicts are inevitable, including with the ecclesiastical hierarchy. When such conflicts occur, it is important not to be offended, but to forgive in accord with the example of Christ, Who suffered injustice and instructs us to forgive not seven times, but until seventy-seven times seven.
Always in accord with the example of Christ, Who spoke harshly to the Pharisees and drove out the money-changes in the temple, Christians must arm themselves with courage in the face of injustices inside the Church, so that they do not become an occasion of scandal for the weak.
In such cases, we recommend that the faithful appeal to the law and justice of the Church, following the following six steps:
 Bertone (Card. Tarcisio), « La Chiesa e l’impegno per la gustizia, » Studii Giuridici XLV, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Città del Vaticano 1997, p. 8
 Turkson (Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah), Corrosione, Combattere la corruzione nella chiesa e nella societa, preface par le Pope Francis, Rome 2017, Rizzoli
Mboma (Georges usus) Le droit canon face aux réalités africaines, L’Harmattan, 2013, p. 13/96 Preface by Matangila (Léon Musadila).
 Benedict XVI (Pope), Speech to the participants of the Plenary Assembly of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican, 4 February 2011.
Discussions at Santa Croce on March 13 in Rome, during the Consociatio of 4-7 October, and of ICP/SIDC 7-8 November in Paris.
Imbert (Jean), La faculté de droit canonique (1895-1975), in L’année canonique, tome 38, 1995-1996, p. 286.
Ovejero (Paloma García), vice-director of the Press Office of the Holy See, Zenit, 15 February 2017.
23 and 25 February 2017 at Radio espérance and radio RCM in Dakar, 1 April at Radio Maria at Lomé (Togo), 4 April 2017 at Radio immacolata at Allada (Bénin), 6 October 2017 at Radio Vatican (Rome), 9 November 2017 at Radio courtoisie (Paris), 20 and 21 January 2018 at Radio ATM (90.5. Abidjan Port Bouet), and Radio Espoir (Ivory Coast).
 Pasinya (Card. Monsengwo), archibishop of Kinshasa, in the preface of Kitambala, (Hilaire Iwaka), L’office de chancelier dans le Code de droit canonique de 1983, l’Harmattan, Paris 2017, p. 10 / 245.
 Pie XII, fidei donum, Rome, 21 April 1957.
 Unhappily, we collected only more generally title of thesis from varoous universities and not integral content. We thanks the Gregorian University and CSLA for their providing valuable information on-line.
 La loi des hommes et la loi de Dieu : free online canon-law course proposed by the Institut catholique de Paris starting in January 2017.
 The current idea is to create a two-part structure, with an Executive Board composed of canonists acting voluntarily within the framework of Canonists without Borders, and a Supervisory Board composed of church leaders with the right to view the activity of the Executive Board, but without operational responsibility.
 In 2017, parish priests asked Canonists without Borders to conduct a mediation between parishionners.
 Bilali Banazebi (Hidulphe) : Défense des droits subjectifs des fidèles. Equité et légalité au canon 221 CIC 83, Paris, Harmattan 2015, p. 258/340.
(Extracts of the book Administrative Justice in the Catholic church, by Yves Alain Ducass, Paris 2018, 374 p).
In order to maintain ecclesial communion, the leaders of the Church normally ensure the agreement of affected parties before adopting acts of governance. This is why, in some cases, prior consultation is one of the conditions for the validity of an act. But in practice, leaders do not always take sufficient time for consultation in advance, mostly because it is not always easy to reconcile all points of view, including when a decision involves several actors.
This is the reason why it is inevitable that tensions occur at the promulgation of certain administrative acts. The normal route for the resolution of these tensions is again one of dialogue, when the act is enacted and one of the parties concerned declares that there are difficulties in its application. This may be done in an informal manner, or in application of canon 1734, during the ex gratia recourse which aims for direct conciliation between the two parties concerned, rather than making hierarchical or contentious-administrative recourse.
Authors such as Jean Schlick argue in favor of a greater involvement of the Church during the ex gratia recourse relating to administrative acts:
Can we imagine in the Church an interpretation of the confirmation of an administrative act, which does not incorporate all the conciliation efforts independently of their origin and their insistent repetition, especially when they take the traditional form of an ex gratia recourse? 
Yet, when for one reason or another, the two parties fail to reconcile their points of view, canon 1733 then invites the parties to use « the mediation and effort of wise persons » to find an equitable solution.
Having recalled the importance of prior consultation and direct conciliation a posteriori, we will concentrate, in this chapter, on the practice of mediation to resolve the tensions resulting from administrative acts, and avoid disputes or, at least, allow the parties to reconcile before the decision of the Supreme Tribunal.
First let us observe that the doctrine according to which Christians have a duty to avoid litigation is not new (cf. Mt18, 15-16), and it is not limited to contentious-administrative recourse, since it is mentioned in the section of the code pertaining to general procedures, in canons 1446, and 1713-1715:
Paul Vincent Kasongo analyzed in detail the methods of resolving ecclesial conflicts in the primitive Church (Mt 18, 15-17 and Co 6, 1-8), the resolution of the dispute by transaction or conciliation according to the canonical tradition, the process of finding a compromise between the two parties to the conflict through an equitable solution governed by canon 1446 of the 1983 Code, and finally, the application of the principle of avoiding disputes in marriage trials and in the context of administrative recourse.
In fact, no canon addresses mediation in Part IV on the criminal trial, because canon 1715 excludes mediation when the public good is in question. We find, however, a canon on mediation in Part V of Book VII of the code, devoted to the « procedure in administrative recourse and in the removal or transfer of pastors.” It is canon 1733, which invites the faithful to seek a fair solution using “the mediation and efforts of wise persons. »
One might think that the Supreme Tribunal received a mission to promote the resolution of conflicts through mediation, but it did not. Articles 121 to 125 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus entrust to the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura the responsibility to ensure the proper application of all procedures that contribute to the proper administration of justice in the Church, but they do not refer to mediation:
This Dicastery exercises the function of Supreme Tribunal and ensures the proper administration of justice in the Church.
The same Tribunal, it also obliged: 1° to exercise vigilance over the correct administration of justice…/….
To perform its mission, the Tribunal conducts an annual survey of the courts of the Church, but this investigation does not address in any way administrative justice, in which hierarchical recourses are instructed by the bishops and not by diocesan or interdiocesan Tribunals.
Article 78 of the proper law of the Supreme Tribunal provides for the possible end of a dispute in the course of the trial by a peaceful arrangement between the parties, and it requires the approval of the Congress. It does not specify the role of the Tribunal as a mediator to facilitate the search for solutions.
Nonetheless, the 1986 activity report of the Holy See lists mediation as one of the three major activities of the second section of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura:
In terms of contentious-administrative recourse, the Apostolic Signatura, from the beginning, has been in favor of intense activity of peaceful discussion between the parties so as to avoid disputes. Canon 1446 § 1 of the CIC provides that « all the Christian faithful, and especially bishops, are to strive diligently to avoid litigation among the people of God as much as possible, without prejudice to justice, and to resolve litigation peacefully as soon as possible. » The intervention of the Signatura in this area has allowed for the peaceful resolution of old quarrels; and more particularly the complex controversies that occurred during the Holy Year, in the spirit of reconciliation desired by the Holy Father, and as the Code of Canon Law says in canon 1733, §1. » 
It is surprising that there is little mention of any activity of mediation in the activity reports for following years. A few cases, however, should be noted:
Here is an example of this activity of mediation:
The archivist of the Diocese of Naiera, Spain, filed a recourse concerning ecclesiastical real estate, claimed by both the diocese and a religious congregation. His recourse was rejected, but the Ordinary of the diocese intervened and requested a final decision by the Supreme Tribunal. It invited the parties to seek an agreement at the local level. Discovering that this attempt was not successful, the Tribunal decided to admit to discussion the recourse lodged by the Ordinary.
In the absence of rules laid down by the proper law, we can regret however that sometimes, the Tribunal does not listen to the appeals for mediation which are addressed to it.
The superior of a Carmel phoned a neighboring house, and asked the lady of the house to prevent her husband from going to the daily Mass at Carmel, and his family and friends. They filed an ex gratia recourse, asking for the reasons for his exclusion; but neither the superior of the Carmel nor the Bishop on which it depends would respond. They then filed a hierarchical recourse, and then a contentious-administrative recourse against the unwritten administrative act of the superior and, during the contentious-administrative recourse procedure, they asked the Supreme Tribunal to intervene directly or indirectly (through a Carmelite volunteer) to restore dialogue broken by the willingness of the hierarchy. The Tribunal, however took no account of this request, and made a decision of non-admission of the recourse to the discussion, for obvious lack of foundation.
One can partly explain the refusal of the Supreme Tribunal to be involved in mediation procedures, because mediation should normally take place at the diocesan or national level, to take account of the local culture and particular law.
If we take the example of Senegal, where the procedures of the administrative law of the Church are virtually ignored by the faithful, one finds that the use of mediation, which is part of the African culture, is often spontaneously employed to resolve controversies arising from the exercise of the executive power of the Church:
In canon law, canon 1733 §2 provides for the creation of structures of mediation at the local level:
Can. 1733 § 2. The conference of bishops can determine that each diocese establish in a stable manner an office or council whose function is to seek and suggest equitable solutions according to the norms determined by the conference. If the conference has not ordered this, however, the bishop can establish a council or office of this kind.
Three major types of situations are encountered, according to the Conference of Bishops, which:
Let us see how the situation plays out in reality.
To begin we will make some observations regarding the three main forms of resolving conflicts, alternatives to litigation: arbitration, conciliation and mediation:
Here is an example that shows what it is in practice:
A member of Canonists without Borders was called as a mediator between two parishioners whose feud was “poisoning the parish. » The first meeting was held in the office of the parish priest who acted as a conciliator. Despite being interested in the solution that he proposed, the parties did not accept it. A new meeting was held in the presence of the mediator, and without the conciliator. At its conclusion, one of the parties proposed a constructive solution, but the other party was not yet ready to accept, and so they requested a new mediation session. From these two attempts, it is apparent that one of the interests of mediation as opposed to conciliation is the respect for a period of personal maturity of the parties.
Among others, Jean Donguy concentrated on the application in France of canons 1733 and 1734 relating to mediation boards. Here is an excerpt from his research:
Nothing was put in place [in France] before 1991-1992. In fact it was only at this time that the importance of the number of lay people in the service of the Church led to reflection, which has led to the development of a statute addressing the problems of the rights and duties of employees, with recourse procedures to protect these rights. From the start, some dioceses formed their own councils of mediation based on […] canon 1713, […] The canonical Committee of the Conference of Bishops had to make some clarifications. The Conference of Bishops then announced the establishment in each diocese of councils of mediation, and has established standards to this end.
To explain the origin of the mediation boards in France, Jean Donguy connects it to the labor contracts between the diocesan associations of France and the laity, whom they employ in increasing numbers, in particular to compensate for the shortage of priests.
In the early 1990’s, many diocesan managers were trying to create an ecclesial status for the pastoral leaders whom they were putting in place. In the chapter about withdrawal of the letter of mission, there was the thorny question of how to avoid conflicts, while resolving them in a fair manner in some suitable way. Some had put in place a group of reflection at the service of the pastoral leaders, and provided for mediators who can be chosen from among the members of this group. In order to avoid that decisions of the civil law from being imposed on them, they have sought for solutions within the Church.
In 1993, the General Secretariat of the Episcopate published a booklet on this theme, entitled « Laity Entrusted with a Mission in the Church.” The document proposed that diocesan volunteers put in place a council of mediation, and as a result, 27 dioceses experimented with pilot-projects in 1994 and 1995. They highlight two practical questions not decided by the Episcopal Conference, namely:
On the basis of these experiences, the Conference of the Bishops of France decided, by a vote of the Plenary Assembly on 6 November 1996, that in each diocese a council is to be constituted, to seek equitable solutions, according to the standards established by the Conference. They are « the diocesan councils of mediation » or, as they were sometimes called at that time, mediation groups.
Several dioceses have effectively instituted such mediation councils or groups, integrating or not the preliminary remarks that accompany the decree of the canonical committee of the Conference of Bishops. The first two waves of fifteen dioceses put such a council in place right away, or shortly thereafter. Other waves follow before and after the 24 August 1998, date of the promulgation of the decree of the Conference of Bishops which received the approval of the Roman Curia.
In August 2000, Jean Donguy specified that there still remained three dioceses whose mediation councils were under study, while 21 dioceses had not planned to create one, and 40 decrees of creation of councils « ad experimentum » would expire in six months. The body of designated mediators was composed of 170 persons, including 35% priests, 3 % deacons, 5 % religious, 36% laymen and 21% lay women.
In general, the mediators work voluntarily, while their travel and/or training expenses are borne by the diocese.
In taking stock of the results, Jean Donguy noted:
The use of mediation seems to have been […] little used above all because « it was limited to mediation of labor conflicts. »Leaving aside the other sectors where mediation could be sought, for example associations of chaplains under the French law of 1901, or parish associations, those responsible can be held to be aggrieved by a (written) decision from the diocese or of the parish priest.
Among the positive points in favor of mediation, note the intimate knowledge of the problems in the field, which may allow a return of useful experience to ensure that situations of conflict do not recur for reasons attributable to the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
On November 3, 1998, Olivier Delgrange, secretary of the mediation group of the dioceses of Evry, Nanterre, Pontoise and Versailles, wrote to the four bishops of guardianship to attract their attention to the methods of issuing letters of mission which, « in view of the resulting conflicts, lack the necessary rigor. » 
To find out what has happened to these councils of diocesan mediation, we conducted a quick search, referring to the literature and internet sites of the dioceses.
In 2015 some dioceses, such as Nancy and Toul, announced on their websites an interdiocesan council of mediation and provided a means to contact it. Others, such as the diocese of Saint-Denis, announced the existence of such a council, referring to its object but without specifying whom to contact.
The Church, in the relations between its members and in the decisions of its leaders, must give witness to justice, fairness and the rights of everyone. It has therefore provided that when a person feels aggrieved by a decision made by one in authority, this person – physical or legal – can file a recourse before the competent authority. The council of mediation may be a first step in the search for an equitable solution.
The diocese of Charters limits mediation to the « laity in mission, » writing what to do in case of conflict, but staying at the theoretical level.
If a layman in ecclesial mission is aggrieved – challenging for example the reasons for the withdrawal of his letter of mission – recourse should first of all be made to the closest leaders (pastoral authority, Vicar General, etc.) to achieve, if possible, a conciliation. In case the conciliation fails, one or the other of the parties concerned or even the diocesan authority can resort to the Diocesan Council of Mediation (order of 14 May 1999). The role of this board is to avoid disputes or to avoid them by searching for « a common agreement, a fair solution » according to the provisions of article 1733 §1 of the Code of Canon Law.
As for other dioceses, they publish more or less precise references to mediation boards, or do not publish anything. This evidence, or the absence thereof, does not mean the council does not exist or is inactive. Similarly, the Diocese of Poitiers announced the existence of a provincial council of mediation, while the diocese of Lyon did not reference the council of mediation as one of the councils of the bishop, yet witnesses such as Anne-Bénédicte Hoffner believe that the actual situation is otherwise:
In the dioceses that have them, recourse to the diocesan council of mediation is possible for the employee. Two persons have done this in Lyon, since its creation in 1994. With respect to that of the Ecclesiastical Province of Poitiers, created the same year, it has never been mobilized. Be that as it may, the risk that a dispute be brought someday before a civil council, or even before the criminal court judge (for discrimination, for example) is real.
For more information, it is important to refer to the work of the university institute of training in mediation and negotiation (Ifomene) in Paris, and in particular those of:
In addition to the types of conflicts that he illustrated by numerous examples, Etienne Rozé recalled that the organization of structured mediation is in progress within both the Church and society in general. He considered that one of the main contributions of the mediator is his belief that a solution is possible, and that mediation within the Church is similar to the current type of mediation between businesses, in which it is appropriate to integrate ethics and applicable rules, in this case theology and canon law. He suggested that at the diocesan, interdiocesan and national levels, the experience with the type of mediation put in place for religious (SAM) should be explored. The press presented an example without giving the results:
In the diocese of Le Puy en Velay, the magazine Riposte catholique wrote that many priests and religious communities leave the diocese, and that even in circles very close to the bishop, the suffering is real and the anger contained… but barely. Some diocesan faithful wrote to the author: « I do not know what to think of this article, it looks like a war between old and modern… it is sad. » To restore dialogue between the bishop and his clergy, the former rector of the cathedral of Le Puy, consecrated auxiliary bishop of Lyon, would have been called to the rescue to serve as mediator.
With regard to Catholic education, its 2013 statutes contain Article 83, devoted to mediation for the resolution of problems, while this article was not in the modified statutes of 1992.
In case of disagreement, even crisis, people can be accompanied in the form of mediation. It is a voluntary and confidential process guided by an independent and impartial third party; the decisions and agreements involved pertain only to the persons involved in the mediation.
It must be said that, in the meantime, many conflicts have seen the light of day, forcing the Conference of the Bishops of France to intervene on 30 September 1999 in these terms:
In June 1998, at the request of the Permanent Council, the Secretary General of Catholic Education sent to the bishops a sheet on the withdrawal of a letter of mission of a head of the establishment. New reflections, continued in the course of this year with the Roman offices, allow us to address to you today a final note … to the extent that that is possible. It indicates with great precision the procedure to follow. I would like to insist: this is a process of ecclesial law, not of civil law. There are disputes between authorities of diocesan catholic education and the heads….of institutions that make reference to civil legislation that we bishops should arbitrate, turning incorrectly to canonical procedure. We must be watchful, when our collaborators would be tempted to use the ecclesial forum as an « ultimate weapon » to defend their cause. It is a matter of justice and also of good sense. With my fraternal respect.
The attached note of the General Secretariat of Catholic education included a paragraph on mediation, written in these terms:
Outside of canonical procedure, there are diocesan mediation councils: Some dioceses have implemented a diocesan mediation council. It has to be emphasized that it is not a judicial institution, but only has the mission to find, outside of any contentious procedure, a consensus that could resolve the conflict. The referral to a council of mediation does not interrupt the time for recourse, which is still running, and thus could be exhausted.
Currently, these guidelines give rise to an exemplary achievement:
Based on an experiement initiated in 2004, the General Secretariat of the Catholic Education put in place a group of institutional mediation involving professional mediators, in particular to intervene when tensions arise between a diocesan director of education and the head of an institution, or between the head of an institution and its employees, or regarding a challenge to the relocation of a school, or a contested election of a board of directors of the College. The day of mediation is priced at $530.
With respect to mediation for consecrated persons, we have referred in Chapter 6 to the « Welcome Mediation Service for Religious Life and Community » (SAM), created in 2001 by the Conference of Bishops of France.
Outside of France, Kurt Martens made a very detailed study in the late 1990’s about legal protection in the Church, with many developments regarding mediation practices. He distinguished four situations:
Sometimes, the obligation is reduced to a recommendation;
Martens also provided concrete details on the situation in several countries, and we will summarize his remarks.
In 1989, the Episcopal Conference of the Netherlands adopted a decree on the creation of diocesan councils for conflicts resulting from administrative decisions. […] In December 1989, shortly after the promulgation of this decree, the Conference decided to revoke it, apparently because of two factors: first, it was believed that ad hoc solutions were satisfactory in some cases, and secondly, it was of the opinion that no episcopal conference had introduced such councils.
Despite this change, Kurt Martens reports that only four of the seven dioceses of the Netherlands put in place such a council, but apparently they were successful, since for 1999-2000 approximately half of the thirty cases studied had a positive result.
On 19 November 1975 in Germany, a synod of the dioceses approved a decree on mediation, arbitration and the solution of administrative conflicts.
In 1994 in Belgium, the interdiocesan pastoral council IPB requested the creation of mediation councils. Since the bishops agreed on their usefulness, standards were published and their creation was announced in 1996 for the Flemish dioceses and for the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels. In practice, only the Diocese of Bruges and the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels had put in place these Councils by 1997.
In 1969 in the United States, the story began with a double desire to increase the credibility of the Church in matters of law, and to « better protect the faithful against ecclesiastical authorities.” In this regard, the annual congress of the Canon Law Society of America (CSLA) adopted in October 1969 a report on fair procedures (due process) based on canons 1925 et 1929 of the 1917 Code. It was presented to the Episcopal Conference, which would then submit it to the Holy See. Finally, Blessed Pope Paul VI approved it with a few amendments, and so the report was published in 1971.
After the promulgation of the 1983 Code, the CSLA reviewed procedures of « due process” during its annual convention, based on the experience gained during twelve years of practice. It showed that « due process » was introduced gradually in half of the dioceses and a few religious institutes, with a majority of cases resolved out of a thousand cases addressed. The 1968 report was then revised in 1991, in order to describe three procedures for the resolution of conflicts: conciliation, arbitration and the Administrative Tribunal. Experimentation took place 1993-1995 in the Dioceses of Dallas and Portland for conciliation and arbitration. On the basis of a dozen cases treated, the evaluation highlighted a triple need:
Another experiment was conducted during the same period regarding the exercise of an Administrative Tribunal. The Diocese of Milwaukee examined four cases, and resolved two of them. The diocese of Saint-Paul-Minneapolis judged only one case, and the Archbishop annulled the decision. Informed of these results, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura was in favor of the American initiative, but pointed out the need for approval by the Apostolic See to create an Administrative Tribunal of first instance in a country or a diocese. It followed that the procedure of American Administrative Tribunals was transformed into a « Court of Equity, » by limiting it to a sophisticated form of hierarchical recourse.
In Great Britain and Wales, in 1973 the Assembly of Bishops approved a report of the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland. This report, inspired by that of the United States, provided for a mediation procedure, in order to resolve potential conflicts between the members of the Church, indicating in the preamble that these conflicts mainly occurred between the faithful, rather than between the faithful and the authorities. The procedure, which was friendly and informal, was to appoint in each diocese at least two conciliators, in reality mediators, whose job it would be to reconcile the parties in question.
In addition to the work of Kurt Martens, we found other experiences of mediation or arbitration through our reading and meetings.
Similarly in the Netherlands,
Six bishops who enacted the status of pastoral care workers installed an arbitration committee. It includes ten members: four appointed by the Bishops, and four appointed by the organizations representing the pastoral workers. The members designated shall also appoint a chairman and a vice-president outside their group.
In Canada, the bishops sought to change the tendency among the faithful to make recourse to the civil courts, without attempting to obtain justice within the Church. Here is what the Canadian Canon Law Society had to say:
Through the years, the question of the protection of the rights of the faithful has been found to be at the forefront of [Canadian] canonical thought. The possibility of tackling this problem, either by the establishment of an administrative tribunal or by other means, was studied on several occasions. […] The Society has agreed not to require the establishment of an administrative tribunal, but rather to put in place an office for mediation, conciliation and arbitration. If the project is approved, it will still take a lot of work to establish protocols for the task, for the recruitment of staff and for the successful functioning of this office.
As an example, the Diocese of Montreal created a diocesan tribunal ad experimentum, but finally abandoned it for the following reasons:
Instead, the diocese put in place an ombudsman, with a procedure for dealing with cases, so as to reduce the caseload of the Curia and the bishop.
Since we have no extensive study, we will do well to draw other conclusions, finding that the mediation procedure generally works when it is put in place correctly, but it is a complex procedure that is not a priority.
Since ecclesiastical mediation is not operational in many dioceses, and yet is useful to prevent conflicts, let us see whether it is possible to draw useful lessons from the experiences of others.
According to mediation professionals, mediation develops because:
Most of the systems of conflict resolution are based on authority […] but authority has limits in contemporary society. The mediator, therefore, is not an authority: he resolves nothing, does not impose anything, prohibits little, and always ensures the freedom of the parties.
Concretely, mediation may take very different forms allowing parties in conflict to overcome the past, by qualifying it with shared words, and to reconstruct the future by finding an acceptable solution or at least, by restoring relationships that will enable them to advance in a constructive manner.
However, the role of mediator cannot be improvised. He has to learn the advantages and the limits as well as the proven principles, the necessary steps, the concrete techniques, nuanced practices and pitfalls.
The methods of mediation are varied, but they require a common will of the parties to find a solution with the help of a mediator. Additionally, they meet a few basic principles that the parties first have to accept:
For a successful mediation it is necessary not to burn bridges, taking care that:
Many countries and organizations recommend mediation as a means for the resolution of conflicts.
With regard to Europe, a directive of 21 May 2008 focused “on certain aspects of mediation in civil and commercial matters,” while a code of good conduct of the mediator was published on 4 July 2014 by the European Commission. Here are a few excerpts from the preamble to the Directive:
In May 2000, the Council adopted conclusions on alternative methods of settling disputes under civil and commercial law, and stated that the establishment of basic principles in this area constituted an essential step […] Mediation can provide a solution to controversies that is economical, extrajudicial, and fast […] Member states should be able to refuse to make a binding agreement only if the content of the agreement is contrary to the law […]
In 2009, the European Grouping of the Magistrates for the Mediation (GEMME) organized its first international foundations of judicial mediation, where it appeared that:
in the history of humanity, most of the countries of the world inserted mediation into their judicial system. […] At the outcome of this historic event, the participants wished to remain in contact, and created the International Conference of Mediation for Justice.
In France, mediation is a practice used in education, trade, administration, banks, insurance companies, social organizations, etc. It is included in the judicial system in civil, criminal, and administrative matters, and envisaged for criminal cases. In order to facilitate a relationship, to transmit information, to ameliorate suffering, or to put an end to a dispute, mediation has become, at the end of the 20th century, a point of reference.
For example, the French Code of Civil Procedures includes an entire title devoted to mediation. In administrative law, the Council of State organized a symposium on 17 June 2015, called « Mediation and Conciliation before Administrative Jurisdiction » in partnership with the Order of Lawyers of Paris and the European Grouping of the Magistrates for the Mediation (GEMME – France), whose report begins with this statement:
Even if they respond to increasing and unknown needs, mutual-agreement procedures have been insufficiently developed in administrative matters.
With regard to practical implementation, the Direction of Legal and Administrative Information (DILA) published a series of information sheets about alternative methods for the settlement of conflicts (MARC) by specifying that they « are intended to respond to these malfunctions of justice. »
Obstruction, slowness, cost, complexity, distance are some of the criticisms made regularly by litigants against a judicial order which no longer has the necessary material means to cope with the increase in litigation. […] At the opposite of the court trial, the MARC’s allow for a mastery of the handling of conflicts, and express the desire to reach an amicable solution to the dispute.
A study conducted in 2003 told us that at this time, nine-tenths of the references to mediators came directly from the parties, and 58 % of the cases assigned to justice conciliators in 2003 led to conciliation. Consultations with a view toward conciliation have increased by 8 % per year on average since 1993, and in 2003 they represented 118,700 businesses. Compared to the number of cases dealt with by the courts (489,000 cases completed in 2003), the activity of justice conciliators is far from negligible, even if we think that all the cases in which they are directly involved would likely not have been presented in court or before local judges. The study also told us that:
The justice conciliators are most often men (86 % of conciliators), and they are relatively old, since 80 % of them are over the age of 60, and 35% are over 70. […] 86% of the conciliators are currently retired […] a little more than half of the conciliators working in 2003 had occupied these roles for less than five years, 30% for 5-10 years, and nearly 20% for over ten years.
While conventional mediation presents encouraging results, it is not the same for mediation in criminal cases. In effect,
The French Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Pardons notes that « criminal mediation remains stable (34,865 in 2004 as opposed to 34,077 in 2003). Often used in litigation related to « personal conflicts,” mediation in criminal cases, in the face of the increasing diversity of the so-called third way measures, is considered more expensive, even less successful in its results, and is marked by a failure-rate that is not negligible and by delays in execution that are more consistent. […] In fact, the 16 March 2004 pamphlet reserved its use for offenses committed in close relationships.
Finally, family mediation is the subject of specific provisions in the French Civil Code (exercise of parental authority, divorce), but it remains little used. In effect, a study of the Department of Justice shows that in 2003, family court judges had recourse to family mediation measure in 0.7 % of family affairs with minor children that they have had to deal with.
Consequently, French professionals gathered in the Professional Chamber of Mediation and Negotiation published a manifesto for the right to professional mediation, of which this is an extract:
The object of this Manifesto is to adopt professional mediation as a prerequisite to judicial action in civil, commercial, and labor matters as a fundamental right. This new law, resulting from the evolution of personal development, allows for the exercise of free decision. It is associated with a duty to respond favorably to a request for mediation before any judicial procedure. This determination is the outcome of the observation that there is an alternative to « conflict management » which maintains adversity. This alternative is the resolution-track through the promotion of others.
Additionally, they considered that the conditions necessary for the implementation of the right to mediation are: a professionalism based on appropriate training, a code of ethics, and a system of mediators who are independent of the authorities involved.
On 11 September 2014, the French Minister of Justice presented the main themes of the judicial reform »J21 – Justice of the 21st Century » to the heads of court gathered at the Court of Recourse in Paris, and then to the trade-union organizations welcomed at the Chancery. This project is structured around three axes aimed at constructing a justice that is closer to citizens, and more effective and more protective of them. Mediation is classified in the second category of promoting alternative modes of dispute resolution, as indicated by the Minister of Justice:
Justice has for its first mission the appeasement of social relations. Conciliation and mediation are by nature designed to contribute, but the structures which propose them are disparate and poorly coordinated. In order to identify and then to simplify the existing system, to define the status and role of mediators and conciliators, and determine the method of funding settlements of conflicts, an Interministerial Mission for the evaluation of offers of mediation and conciliation will soon be put in place. […] This assessment will help to initiate a national public policy which is currently non-existent, which can be animated by a National Council of Conciliation and Mediation. It should better integrate justice conciliators with courts.
As to whether mediation is applicable to administrative law, the President of the Bar of Paris, Ms. Christiane Féral-Schuhl, responded positively in her budget for 2013:
Again, mediation has its place before the Administrative Court, in a relationship of constant force between those administered to, and the Administration.
In conclusion, we hold that the practice of mediation is useful for the resolution of conflicts in civil society, and it allows for the relief of congestion in courts other than criminal ones.
In other Christian denominations that do not have canon law and a structured judicial system like that of the Catholic Church, the methods of amicable resolution of conflicts, such as mediation, are often more developed. Here is an example taken from a symposium which was attended by the Church of the Awakening of Villeurbanne, where Pastor Angelo Pace has launched training on Relational Health.
The only place where there is no conflict is in the cemetery. What is specific to the Christian approach is not the absence of conflict, but rather the way to resolve it. […] Talking to each other is often sufficient to resolve problems. It must be encouraged. […] If dialogue is not enough, and the positions become irreconcilable, mediation becomes a solution.
Jean-Luc Leibe a member of the Prevention and Management of Conflicts Service within the Baptist Federation, asserted:
Mediation has always existed in all times and in all environments and societies. Traditional societies have maintained a centuries-old tradition of mediation. The Church finds traces of its practice since its origins. […] It has always been that the Bishops confided traditionally to priests a mission of mediation between their parishioners. […] It is in the USA and Canada that mediation emerged in the 1970’s, firstly in the consumer sector, and then in judicial and family disputes… These included, the example, the mediation program in Ontario (Canada), conducted by the Mennonite churches, called the “Victim Offender Program” in the area of criminal justice. Thanks to this program, victims and aggressors are trying to speak to each other. But it is in the USA (Atlanta), where we find the first practices of mediation (1974) in the formal framework of judicial mediation-conciliation. Mediation took root in Europe in the 1980’s. All fields, including religious, are aware of the expansion of this phenomenon. Thus, the Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1983, suggests that every diocese put in place an institution of conflict resolution (canon 1733). This achievement, reflecting the Church’s theology of conflicts after Vatican II, finds its application in the 24 August 1998 decree of the Conference of the Bishops of France, defining « diocesan mediation councils.” It is in this period that the news highlighted some mediators. An example was the pastor Jacques Steward, President of the FPS, in 1988, who was one of the mediators in the conflict in New Caledonia. On the island of Ouvéa, we find Michel Rocard, Prime Minister at the time, who had the mission of restoring confidence between the belligerents.
This testimony reveals another aspect of mediation as contained in the Social Doctrine of the Church. It invites civil society to prevent and resolve conflicts. The Catholic Church is not alone in this area; it would be enough to cite only the mediation of Pope Leo XIII between the Armenians and the Ottoman Empire, or, more recently, that of Pope Francis between Israelis and Palestinians. In addition to the Holy See, Joseph Ndi-Okalla mentions the role of the San Egidio Community in the field of mediation. It has largely contributed to the resolution of internal conflict in Mozambique, by promoting the signing of a peace agreement between the warring parties on 14 October 1992 on the premises of the Community, after 10 years of civil war. In Algeria, the Community created a political platform in 1994, bringing political leaders together.
In addition, mediation or conciliation are familiar to Protestants, as can be seen in the Reformed Evangelical Church of the canton of Vaud, in Switzerland:
Active since 2010 within our church, the mediation committee is composed of three members trained in mediation, who are appointed for five years. The Commission is at the disposal of lay members and church ministers in the event of conflicts, tensions, issues of communication within a parish, a parish council, a regional council, or another body in link with the Reformed Evangelical Church in Vaud. Mediation is a voluntary process by which the mediators accompany the people toward a solution developed in the presence of the parties. This service of the Church is free and we will come to your villages, to your parishes. For an initial meeting, you can contact us by phone or by e-mail to simply be listened to, or ask for an individual or group session. After this meeting, the Commission will be in contact for a second time with the party or parties in conflict.
But let us return to the heart of our subject, focusing on the prevention and resolution of conflicts internal to the Catholic Church. In his 2002 article on legal protection in the Church, Kurt Martens drew these conclusions:
In some countries, it was understood that the absence of administrative tribunals in the Church must be corrected. That is why we can see that projects are being implemented everywhere. But as permission must be obtained from the Holy See, and more particularly from the Apostolic Signatura, to install a new system of courts, we look for alternatives. In practice, this means that it is limited to projects encouraging conciliation or mediation, based on the free will of the parties concerned. Not only is there risk of getting bogged down in lengthy procedures, but also that of standing beside a tribunal having the jurisdiction to require religious authority to respect the law. And is it not after all an application of the principle patere legem quam ipse fecisti? 
After having rejected the practice of arbitration by a third party who may not dictate to the bishops, we have found that mediation was a track allowing effectively « to avoid as much as possible disputes within the People of God, and to resolve them as soon as possible in a peaceful manner, » is as recommended by canon 1446. So that this develops harmoniously in the Church, Etienne Rozé recommended:
 Canon law is filled with procedures requiring prior consultation of the presbyteral council, the finance council, of pastoral council, etc.
 This is the case, for example, during the reorganization of parishes within the diocese, while the total number of priests decreases.
 Schlick (Jean), « Des limites de la justice administrative dans l’Église catholique » Praxis juridique et religion, 3, 1986, p. 127-135.
 One can think of the lack of time on the part of the one responsible, the lack of consideration or of mutual trust and confidence, the existence of higher interests which impose a secret detrimental to a good agreement, ignorance of the law, the intransigence of one of the parties, etc.
 Can. 1733 §1. Whenever a person considers himself or herself aggrieved by a decree, it is particularly desirable that the person and the author of the decree avoid any contention and take care to seek an equitable solution by common counsel, possibly using the mediation and effort of wise persons to avoid or settle the controversy in a suitable way.
§2. The conference of bishops can determine that each diocese establish in a stable manner an office or council whose function is to seek and suggest equitable solutions according to the norms determined by the conference. If the conference has not ordered this, however, the bishop can establish a council or office of this kind.
 Can. 1446 §1. All the Christian faithful, and especially bishops, are to strive diligently to avoid litigation among the people of God as much as possible, without prejudice to justice, and to resolve litigation peacefully as soon as possible.
 In secular law, Charles Jarosson defines it as: a variety of conciliations, which consists also in a process of resolution of disputes based on the search for an accord between the parties, but that requires the participation of a third party, the mediator..
 Cf. Can. 1659 §1. If the attempt at reconciliation according to the norm of can. 1446, §2 proved useless and the judge thinks that the libellus has some foundation, the judge is to order within three days by a decre appended to the bottom of the libellus that a copy of the petition be communicated to the respondent, giving to the latter the opportunity to send a written response to the tribunal chancery within fifteen days.
 Can. 1713 In order to avoid judicial contentions an agreement or reconciliation is employed usefully, or the controversy can be committed to the judgment of one or more arbitrators
 Greater consistency would be welcome between the terms used in canons 1446 and 1713, since, in my opinion, reconciliation or conciliation is the objective, while mediation or arbitration is the means to achieve it.
 In arbitration, the parties are bound by the decision of the arbitrator, in contrast to mediation.
 In secular law, Charles Jarosson defines it as: a process for the resolution of disputes based on the search for an agreement between the parties… In the glossary of IFOMENE, 25 March 2008. According to the new Code of Civil Procedure, Art 127: « The parties can reconcile by themselves or on the initiative of a judge, throughout the proceedings. » We reject the term “conciliator,” cited by Jarosson to avoid confusion with that of mediator. Jean-Pierre Bonafé-Schmitt in La médiation, une autre justice, ed. Syros-Alternatives, Coll Alternatives sociales, 1992, defines it as « more often a formal process by which a neutral third party attempts, by organizing an exchange between the parties, to enable them to compare their points of view and to search, with his help, for a solution to the conflict. »
 Can. 1714 For an agreement, a compromise, and an arbitrated judgment, the norms selected by the parties or, if the parties have selected none, the law laid down by the conference of bishops, if there is such a law, or the civil law in force in the place where the agreement is entered into is to be observed.
 Kasongo (Paul Vincent), “Normes canoniques sur les moyens d’éviter les litiges et leur application dans le contexte culturel du Congo Kinshasa,|” thesis defended on 26 January 2016 at Louvain. Summary in Studia canonica, 51/1, 2017, p. 284-285.
 Cf. supra.
 Pastor bonus, No 121.
 Pastor bonus, No 124, 1°.
 Mamberti (Cardinal Dominique), Circular Letter on court activity, Rome, 30 July 2016. The initial questionnaire of 1971 (AAS 63  480-486) was revised in 2016.
 ASS (1985), p. 1272, translated from Italian.
 ASS (1976), p. 543, translated from Italian.
 ASS (1978) p. 625 translated from Italian.
 Cf. Prot 12230/80 CA, Ministerium Justitiae, op. cit. p. 197.
 Testimonies collected at Dakar by the author.
 The definitions can vary from one author to another.
 Donguy (Jean), Application en France des canons 1733 et 1734 relatifs aux Conseils de médiation, canon law license thesis defended on June 2, 2000 at the Faculty of Canon Law at the Catholic Institute of Paris, 150 p.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. p. 8.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. p. 27.
 Laity entrusted with a mission in the Church, French document issued by the Secretariat of the National Conference of the Bishops of France, 1993 edition, pp. 15-17.
 Five dioceses of the Poitou-Charentes-Limousin administrative regions; as well as 22 dioceses of the Central East and Midi apostolic regions
 Chalons en Champagne, Langres, Reims and Troyes for the Northern Apostolic Region; Carcassonne, Albi, Auch, Cahors, Montauban, Pamiers, Perpignan, Rodez, Saint-Flour, Tarbes and Toulouse for the Apostolic Region of Midi; Poitiers, Angoulême, La Rochelle, Limoges and Tulle for the Apostolic Region of the Southwest.
 Amiens, Arras, Beauvais, Cambrai, Evreux, Le Havre, Lille, Rouen and Soisson for the Apostolic Region of the North; Agen, Aire et Dax, Bayonne-Lescar and Olon, Bordeaux, Perigueux for the Apostolic Region of the Southwest, Coutances-Avranches for the Apostolic Region of the West.
 Cf. Pastor Bonus, Art 82: The Congregation [for Bishops] …receives the acts of [episcopal conferences] and, in consultation with the dicasteries concerned, it examines the decrees which require the recognitio of the Apostolic See.
 Angers, Luçon, Nantes
 Ajaccio, Aix, Bayeux, Créteil, Digne, Fréjus-Toulon, Gap, Marseille, Meaux, Nice, Saint-Denis, Strasbourg, Vannes, as well as the Apostolic Centre Diodece, ie. Blois, Bourges, Chartres, Moulins, Nevers, Orléans, Sens and Tours.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. p. 114.
 Donguy (Jean), op. cit. Annexe II.
http://saint-denis.catholique.fr/monseigneur-pascal-delannoy/nominations/le-conseil-de-mediation consulted on 11 February 2015.
 Pansard (Michel), Les laïcs en mission ecclésiale dans le diocèse de Chartes, www.diocese-chartres.com/fichiers/officiel/STATUTS-LME_01-2011.pdf Consulted on 8 October 2010.
 During a search carried out in 2015, it is clear that some sites, like that of the Diocese of Digne, published the decree for the establishment of the mediation council, without comment. Others indicate whom to contact, such as Pamiers, Couserans and Mirepoix, or Angers which cites six parish-priest mediators. Others, such as La Rochelle and Saintes, Coutances and Avranches confine themselves to citing the existence of such a council before the bishop, without giving information or specific contacts. Still others, such as Poitiers, mention this provincial council in the directory of the diocese, but not on its website.
 The site of the diocese of Lyon makes reference to Council of the Laity in Mission, whose functions do not mention mediation, by publishing the March 1, 2007 decree ad experimentum of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, http://lyon.catholique.fr/?Le-Conseil-des-laics-en-mission
 Hoffner (Anne-Bénédicte), L’Église et le gouvernement cherchent un statut pour les laïcs, La Croix, 28 mai 2008.
 His work is discussed in Chapter 6 relating to justice for consecrated persons.
 Rozé (Etienne) Structures diocésaines, paroisses et médiations – réflexions à partir de la situation du diocèse catholique de Nancy et Toul, thesis for the university degree of mediator, Catholic Institute of Paris, IFOMENE, promotion 2014-15.
 Salon Beige 9 juillet 2017 ; Riposte catholique, 10 July 2017.
 Statutes on Catholic education in France, promulgated by the Conference of the Bishops of France, 14 May 1992, supplemented, as amended, and promulgated by the Permanent Council of the Episcopal Conference on 11 March 1996 as amended by the CNEC on 23 October 1999, and approved by the Bishops of France, then Statutes of Catholic education in France of 1 June 1993.
 Coloni (Michel), Bishop of Dijon, President of the Bishops’ Commission on Education, Life and Faith of the Youth, Chairman of the Bishops’ Committee of Academia and University, letter to the Bishops of France, Dijon, 10 June 1999.
 General Secretariat of Catholic Education, withdrawal of the mission of the head of an establishment, note SG/99.1223, Paris, August 1999.
 Martens (Kurt), la protection juridique dans l’Église : les tribunaux administratifs, la conciliation et du due Process, in Studia canonica, 36 (2002), p. 225-252.
 Martens (Kurt) cite les trois pays du Salvador, des Philippines et du Paraguay.
 Martens (Kurt) cite l’Argentine, le Nigéria, le Panama et les Pays-Bas
 This is the case in Bolivia, Ecuador, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, India, Italy, Malta, Mexico, Peru, Sri Lanka and Venezuela.
This is the case in particular in Melbourne in Australia; Kildare and Leighlin, Ferns and Clogher in Ireland; and Aachen, Erfurt, Passau and Würzburg in Germany.
 Martens (Kurt), op. cit. p. 241.
 Martens (Kurt), Administrative Procedures in the Roman Catholic Church, Difficulties and Challenges in Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanesienes, 76 (2000), p. 354-380.
 Cf. Matthews (Kevin), « The Development and Future of the Administrative Tribunal », Studia Canonica, XVIII, (1984), p. 86. Cf. Fora abitrii Conciliationis
 Martens (Kurt), op. cit. p. 243-249.
 Martens (Kurt), La protection juridique dans l’Église : les tribunaux administratifs, la conciliation et le due process, in Studia canonica, 36/1 2002, p. 243.
 Can. 1925 § 1 As it is very desirable that the faithful avoid conflicts among themselves, the judge must urge them, when a contentious issue regarding a private interest is submitted to be decided by way of judgment, to finish the conflict by a transaction, if some hope of agreement remains.
§ 2 The judge can meet this duty before the parties are called to justice, or as soon as they have appeared, or at any other time when it will seem more appropriate to do so more effectively. An attempted transaction.
 Can. 1929: To avoid judicial cases, the parties may also conclude a convention, by which the conflict is handed over to the judgment of one or several people, or settle the question according to the rules of the law, that they treat according to equity; the first are called ‘Arbiters’, the latter ‘Arbitrators’.
 Nihil obstat for the due process, in The Jurist, 32, (1972), p. 291-292.
 Episcopal Conference of England and Wales, Conciliation procedure, April 1975, Canon Law Digest, 8, 1020-1030.
 Van der Helm (Ad), « Un clergé parallèle ? », Strasbourg, Cerdic, 1993, p.187-188/403.
 Interview conducted on 16 January 2015, at the day of study of the Institute of Canon Law of Strasbourg on the associative life in the Church. www.droitcanon.com/Colloque_Associations_%20janvier%202015.pdf
 We do not fail to notice the analogy with the numerous recourses against the decisions of non-admission to the discussion made by the Secretary or the Congress of the Supreme Tribunal.
 Pekar Lempereur (Alain), Saler (Jacques), Colson (Aurélien), Les méthodes de la médiation, Paris, Dunod 2008, 272 p..
 Directive 2008/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, the Official Journal of the European Union of 24 May 2008, p. 136/3 to 136/8.
 Title VI: Conciliation and Mediation, Art. 127 to 131-15.
 Poutet (Christiane), « L’activité des conciliateurs de justice en 2003 », Infostat Justice No78, Paris November 2004.
 www.mediateurs.pro/ accessed 16 February 2015.
 Viart (Jean-Paul), Médiation et Justice : bilan d’une année prolifique www.affiches-parisiennes.com/mediation-et-justice-bilan-d-une-annee-prolifique-3627.html#ixzz3T24tWDJ9
 Ott (Hervé), Schweitzer (Luis), Rognon (Frédéric), reported by Bénévent Tosseri, in “Les protestants mettent les conflits sur la table,” in La Croix, n° 40962, 28 November 2017.
 Leibe (Jean-Luc), pastor of the Baptist Evangelical Church (FEEBF) in Grenoble, and holder of a DESS in mediation (Paris I, Panthéon-Sorbonne).
 Leibe (Jean-Luc), « Le temps de la médiation, un espoir de réparation ? » Les cahiers de l’école pastorale, n° 79 – 1st Quarter 2011.
 Ruyssen (Georges-Henri), La Santa Sede e i massacri degli Armeni 1894-1896, Edizione Orientalia Cristiana, Pontificio Istituto Orientale, Roma 2012, 274 p.
 Following the failure of mediation by the US Secretary of State John Kerry, who did not spare his efforts over nine months (August 2013-April 2014) to obtain a peace agreement between the two parties, Pope Francis has invited Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas to come to pray with him at the Vatican, 8 June 2014.
 Ndi-Okalla (Joseph), Le deuxième synode africain face aux défis socio-économiques et éthiques du continent, Karthala Editions, 2009, p. 189.
 Ott (Hervé) deplores the fact that one generally sees conciliation rather than mediation.
 Cf Martens (Kurt), « Protection of Rights: Experiences with hierarchical recourse and possibilities for the Future », The Jurist, 69 (2009) p. 646-702.
 The phrase comes from Roman law, and can be translated as « You suffer the consequences of your own law. »
 Toxé (Philippe), « Quel principe de légalité en droit canonique », L’année canonique LVI, 2014-2015, p.234.
(Extracts of the book Administrative Justice in the Catholic church, by Yves Alain Ducass, Paris 2018, 374 p).
Since the creation in 1967 of the second section of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, many books have discussed the administrative law of the Church, « describing in detail the procedures and the applicable jurisprudence, » as the author writes, adding—and one can only agree with his judgment, especially after having read the many notes and bibliographic references at the bottom of the pages— »But there does not exist, to our knowledge, any recent French book on the subject, which focuses on the administrative case law of the Church and which provides the basics of administrative canon law for the Catholic faithful. »
This is the book written by Alain Ducass.
Of course, the book that he presents to us implies a certain knowledge of the law of the Church and, I would even say, the secular law, but at the end we have not an abstract discussion, but a guide-book, based on a unique database, rigorously and clearly designed, explaining many real-life examples and subjecting them to a criticism that is always constructive.
It would be inappropriate simply to reiterate in a poor way what the author has written in a masterly way. Read for yourselves the « Historical Perspective », and you will discover the author’s method, with the reported facts and the remarkable bibliography accompanying this chapter. Read with attention Chapter 3 on the sources of jurisprudence, and discover a database which will give you an idea of the work and the mastery of the author, and which will allow you to understand the subject in greater detail.
Let yourselves be guided by the book.
It is essential, moreover, that you carefully read Chapter 11 on « Prospects for Development.” Too many canonical discussions, symposia and conventions, as interesting as they might be, only lead to the publication of a volume, intended most often for use within the confines of a library; but the work of Mr. Ducass opens many perspectives which are practical, reasoned, and desirable. This book is a guide for action.
Certainly these « Prospects for Development » will provoke some criticism and reticence. It is very difficult to accept changes in our habits of thinking and acting. A great connoisseur of men and their laws wrote in this regard:
We who reign, how many useless things
We say, without knowing the evil that we do!
When the truth comes, we are hostile,
We have reasons against reason.
In the field of administrative justice of the Church, we can and we must rule against Victor Hugo.
Rev. Jacques Gressier
Doctor of Canon Law
Former Judicial Vicar
Author of the Recueil Canonique d’Arras
July 25, 2017
2016 is the 500th anniversary of the first publication of Saint Thomas More’s Utopia, arguing for social justice.
Let us read a few sentences of this catholic English lawyer:
Two evils, greed and faction are the destruction of all justice.
Laws could be passed to keep the leader of a government from getting too much power.
Anyone who campaigns for public office becomes disqualified for holding any office at all.
The things we pray for, good Lord, give us grace to labor for.
~ Thomas More
Let-us pray Saint Yves
Saint Yves, you have lived among us,
You were an advocate for the poor,
The defender of widows and orphans,
The providence of all the needy.
Listen to our prayer today.
Make us love justice as you have loved it.
Help us to defend our rights,
Without prejudice to others,
Seeking reconciliation and peace above all else.
Inspire the defenders who plead the case of the oppressed
To ensure that justice is done in love.
Faithful to the example and teaching of Christ, the Church, the light of the nations, fights against everything that hinders the full development of man, and in particular the culture of atheism which is sometimes an obstacle to the « free exercise of religion in society.” Over the centuries the Church has been committed to defending the rights of God, and to combating all forms of heresies that can deprive the faithful of grace and the salvation of their souls.
Even if some, by the will of Christ, are established as doctors, stewards of the mysteries and pastors for the good of others, nevertheless, as to the dignity and activity common to all the faithful in the building up of the Body of Christ, a genuine equality reigns among all.
All the same,
The Church clasps sinners to its breast, it is therefore at once holy and always called to purify itself, constantly pursuing the path of penance and renewal .
Thus, despite the holiness of the Church, there still exist in our days some situations in which the Pastors of the Church behave like « mercenaries » (John 10, 12), as well as like legalists who « impose burdens hard to carry » (Luke 11, 46) on the shoulders of some of the faithful. Here is an example from Africa:
Unfortunately, very often some [diocesan] Curias of the south are dependent on the preconciliar structure of the Church, and are immersed in a cult of Authority proper to cultures of the third world, and are influenced by the way in which the civil authorities rule the nations of the Third World. They have forwarded the idea that the Curia is a center of power and decision-making, where the bishop directs his diocese with authoritarianism. It is not surprising to observe, in some cases, the absence of structures of pastoral consultation, and the faithful are unaware that it is their right to contact their bishop as the father of a family. It is even more surprising that this praxis is also found in the older churches, of which it is said that some have just freed themselves from the cult of power.
This type of situation damaged the Church, as Jean-Paul Betegne indicated:
It is not uncommon to find in the Church abuses of law and authority on the part of the hierarchy, which has the duty to promote the law of the Church. […] One cannot measure enough the extent of the damage caused within the community of the faithful and in the eyes of the world by such attitudes. It is indeed the image of the Church which is tarnished, there are many faithful who disdain the social teachings of the Church, there are men and women who relativize the relevance of the evangelical message, the frequenting of the sacraments which are neglected, etc.
Aware of these difficulties, the Second Vatican Council affirmed the rights and obligations of the faithful, and to enforce them, on 15 August 1967 Blessed Paul VI created the second section of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, responsible for deciding:
The disputes arising from the exercise of ecclesiastical administrative power, as well as those that are submitted in appeal against a decision of a competent Dicastery, when he is accused of having violated the law.
« How many of the faithful have had the feeling of not being understood, that they were sometimes rejected? » wonders Cardinal Sarah. A survey conducted in Dakar in 2017 shows that more than half of the faithful surveyed remembered a situation of controversy due to ecclesiastical power, while none of them was aware of the existence of the Administrative Tribunal of the Church created on August 15th 1967 or of the procedures of ex gratia, hierarchical and contentious-administrative recourse.
During those fifty years, canonists published treatises on the administrative law of the Church and scholarly articles in Italian, English, Spanish, German and Latin, describing in detail the procedures and the applicable jurisprudence. However, to our knowledge there is no recent book written on this subject with many practical examples about the administrative case law of the Church, which would provide the basics of administrative canon law to the Catholic faithful.
This book aims to fill these two gaps, from the thought of a French member of the Catholic faithful and a licensee in canon law regularly working in Africa, with the reverence due to pastors, and taking account of the common good and the dignity of persons.
Drawing up a balance-sheet of fifty years of administrative justice is, however, an impossible task, for an inexperienced canonist, who is not plunged in the seraglio of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. Without claiming to achieve this, we propose these few pages of witness and of research that are based on five foundations:
Written in French within five years of half-time work, and translated into Italian and English, the English edition of the book and its online database are intended for four categories of persons:
The first part of the book presents the context of ecclesiastical justice, with a reminder of its role in the history of the Church, the analysis of its theological foundation, a simplified presentation of the procedure, and the description of our database, all illustrated by numerous unpublished diagrams which are explained in the book, such as those of recourse procedures referenced below.
The second part presents the administrative justice of the Church in its daily reality, with a quick reminder of rights, the difficulties encountered and solutions since 1967, because, according to Sergio Aumenta,
The introduction of forms of verification of the administrative action (and in particular the institution of judicial review by the Supreme Tribunal) has constituted a substantial improvement for the safeguarding of subjective legal rights.
Five chapters present the difficulties and recourse concerning the lay faithful (chap. 4), clergy (chap. 5), consecrated persons (chap. 6), or the charisms (chap. 7) and the Dicasteries (chap. 8), all illustrated by many cases of jurisprudence, particularly in the following areas:
|Reorganization of parishes; reduction of churches to profane use.||Transfer of clergy
|Refusal of admission; exclaustration; Dismissal|
|Non-recognition or suppression of associations||Removal of clergy||Suppression of religious houses|
|Withdrawal of ecclesiastical mission||Los of the clerical state and administrative sanctions||Payment of salaries and pensions|
|Dealing with charisms (private revelations)||Dealing with Dicasteries||Property rights|
In the light of fifty years of practice, the third part of the book allows the reader to revisit recourse procedures, and to propose a few paths of development on the occasion of the jubilee. The book emphasizes systematically the primary sources, which documents are approved by the Holy Father and decisions of the second section of the Supreme Tribunal. Knowing that these sources are not always accessible to the public, especially because of their personal nature, a wide appeal was made to the work of canonists close to the Apostolic Signatura. The absence of available official sources requires the author to propose statistical estimates; but these remain uncertain as long as they are not backed with hard data from the second section of the Supreme Tribunal, to which the present work has been submitted.
In addition to the unavailability of sources, the very vast field of administrative law of the Church and the time limits of the 50th Jubilee, the parameters of this book are mainly those which its author determined should be set.
He is a member of the Catholic faithful in France, aged 60 years, married, a father and grandfather. His profession of engineer in the service of the French State, and then as consultant to African Governments, has conferred on him a practical experience of administrative law. This has been supplemented by a solid training in canon law, by three years of research in the library and by a field experiment with Canonists without Borders, including the preparation and follow up of numerous hierarchical and contentious-administrative recourses.
His professional success and the support of his company energeTIC provide moral and financial independence, conditions essential to freedom of speech, used with the moderation imposed by the fear of God, love of the Church and scientific honesty, which free a person from the three corresponding slaveries that are egocentrism, closed-minded thought and the lie.
 Hugo (Victor) The Art of Being a Grandfather IV, 4
 Dignitatis humanae, No 1.
 Lumen Gentium, No 32.
 Lumen Gentium, No 8.
 Kitambala (Hilaire Iwaka) L’office de chancelier dans le Code de droit canonique de 1983, l’Harmattan, Paris 2017, p. 38-39 / 245.
 Betengne (Jean-Paul) Catholic University of Central Africa, Catholic Institute of Yaoundé, “Canonical Culture and Juridic Cultures in Africa,” 6 October 2017 conference at the International Convention of the Consociatio.
 Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, article 106.
 Sarah (Cardinal Robert), Dieu ou rien, interviewed by Nicolas Piat, Paris 2016, ed Pluriel, p. 223/420.
 The sample was made up of 25 participants of mature age, participating in the international symposium organized by the Center Saint Augustin in Dakar on the occasion of its 30th anniversary.
 A notable exception is the doctoral thesis of Msgr. Patrick Valdrini, pro-Rector and Professor of Canon Law at the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. His dissertation formed the basis of two books published in Strasbourg: Conflits et recours dans l’Église, Cerdic 1978; Injustices et protection des droits dans l’Église, Cerdic, 1984.
 This diploma, awarded by the Archbishop of Strasbourg, corresponds to the second Master’s of Canon Law of the University of Strasbourg and the diploma of Propaedeutics of Theology of l’Institut catholique de Paris.
 In the course of his work in administrative bodies, the (inter)diocesan Church courts, the author has been able to appreciate the professionalism, seriousness and the generosity of the clergy in charge of ecclesiastical justice for the recognition of the invalidity of marriage, and the dedication of the volunteers who help them. It has to be strongly recommended to other Catholic faithful to undertake studies on the canon law of marriage for work in the diocesan chancery or in their parish, to come to the aid of people in suffering, who seek to discern if their marriage is valid and indissoluble, or null, with a view to starting another stage in life.
 Status of the database on 1 January 2017.
 The database on which the book relies is presented in Chapter Three.
 The English translation has been made with the help of an American canonist and of a teacher and translator, Célie-Anne Ducass
 L’Institut catholique de Paris (ICP) puts online free training dedicated to canon law, entitled « La loi des hommes et la loi de Dieu, » cf. www.droitcanonique.ICP.fr. Cf. www.droitcanonique.icp.fr
 During a pilgrimage on foot toward Compostela, the author was consulted by a German pilgrim, who said he had distanced himself from the Catholic Church, because of its conduct during the 17th century in Germany with the episode of the witch hunt
 Aumenta (Sergio Felice), La tutela dei diritti dei fedeli nel processo contenzioso amministrativo canonico, Pontifica università lateranese, Mursia, p. 173.
 Three years of studies at the Institute of canon law of Strasbourg, two years of theology at the Catholic Institute of Paris, followed by experiences of canon lawyer without payment: as a notary, advocate, and defender of the bond in the diocesan offices of Paris, Versailles, Cotonou and Dakar as a mediator within Catholic parishes in France, as a lawyer advisor of priests, religious and laymen in France and Africa or mediator within French parishes.
 I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. Deut. 5, 6..
We have seen that the Vatican Dicasteries had the responsibility of dealing with hierarchic recourses that they received in their respective areas of competence. It is not possible to carry out a detailed analysis, because their number is very important and their confidentiality must be preserved. We must therefore content ourselves with fragmentary information drawn from three major secondary sources:
Canonists sometimes provide qualitative comments on the Dicasteries, whose decisions are challenged. Similarly, Sergio Aumenta believes that
the acts that have been contested originate largely within two congregations (for the clergy and for the IVC), whereas the other Congregations are represented in very small numbers. »
In 2009, Kurt Martens stated that
Cases in the area of parish law are probably the most numerous: recourses against the suppression, merger, or alteration of parishes and the reduction to profane use of the parish church..
Thanks to our gathering and analysis of jurisprudence, we are able to qualify and clarify these assertions—despite the incomplete nature of the information which could be verified, thanks to cooperation with the Second Section. First of all, here is a list of the Dicasteries, as they stand after the Apostolic Constitutions of 1967 and 1988:
|REGIMINE ECCLESIAE UNIVERSAE||PASTOR BONUS|
|Doctrine of the Faith (Art. 29-40)||Doctrine of the Faith (Art. 48-55)|
|Oriental Churches (Art. 41-45)||Oriental Churches (Art. 56-61)|
|Discipline of the Sacraments (Art. 54-57)||Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments (Art. 62-70)|
|Rites (Art. 58-64)||Causes of Saints (Art. 71-74)|
|Bishops (Art. 46-53)||Bishops (Art. 75-82)|
|Evangelization of Peoples and Propagation of the Faith (Art. 81-91)||Evangelization of Peoples (Art. 85-92)|
|Clergy (Art. 65-70)||Clergy (Art. 93-98)|
|Religious and Secular Institutes (71-74)||Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (c. 105-111)|
|Catholic Education (Art. 75-80)||Catholic Education (originally Congregation for Seminaries and Educational Institutions) (Art. 112-116)|
|Commissions (Art. 83-84 ; 99-104)|
|Offices (Art. 114-134)||Secretariats|
|Tribunals (Art. 104-113)||Tribunals (Art. 117-130)|
|Pontifical Councils (Art. 92-102)||Pontifical Councils (Art. 131-170)|
|Administrative Services (Art. 171-182)|
|Advocates and Institutions Attached to the Holy See (Art. 183-193)|
Let us examine their legal activity in favor of law and justice. As of 15 February 2017, our database contained a total of 853 contentious-administrative recourses for which Dicastery is specified.
Among these recourses, 116 of them are the subject of a sentence of rejection in limine or non-admission to discussion, while the corresponding decision of the Tribunal is itself the subject of recourse. Including these as recourses against a decision of the Supreme Tribunal, the number of recourses by Dicastery where the administrative acts being challenged had originated are as follows:
|Consecrated Life||230||27 %|
|Supreme Tribunal||116||14 %|
|Laity and Family||39||4.5 %|
|Oriental Churches||30||3,5 %|
|Evangelization of Peoples||25||3 %|
|Doctrine of the Faith||5||0.5 %|
|Divine Worship||4||0.5 %|
The Congregation for Clergy and the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life are at the top, with 41% and 27% of recourses respectively, which allows us to quantify the usual appraisals of authors.
Rather than stay in the realm of generalities, let us try to clarify the situation for each Dicastery.
The competences of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the heir to the “Holy Office,” are defined, during the period under study, by the motu proprio « Integrae servandae » of 7 December 1965, Articles 29 to 40 of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, then 48 to 55 of Pastor Bonus of which a few excerpts will be found here, as well as by the motu proprio “Tredici Anni”of 6 August 1982 and Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela of 30 April 2001. Even if its role is mainly to promote sacred doctrine, the Congregation has retained the competences of the disciplinary order, to safeguard the faith which is a « common good,” a richness for all, starting with the poorest and the most disadvantaged when they are faced with falsehoods.
Historically, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has always exercised and continues to exercise judicial power for certain specific causes related to the defense of the faith and morals, and also the dignity of the sacraments, particularly reconciliation and the Eucharist.
When the Congregation is confronted with facts or theories that give rise to confusion, here is the procedure that it uses, as described by its Prefect in 1985:
Above all, we encourage bishops and Superiors General to enter into dialogue with the author, if they have not already done so. It is only when we do not clarify things in this way […] that we enter into an explanatory dialogue with the author. Firstly we communicate to him our opinion, developed after the examination of his works, done with the help of various experts. He has the ability to get back to us and lets us know if we have misinterpreted his thinking. After an exchange of letters (and sometimes a series of interviews), we will respond to him by giving him a definitive opinion, suggesting that he lay out all the clarifications from our dialogue in an article.
In 2015, the Congregation’s disciplinary office recorded 607 cases that met the criteria of Article 10 of the Congregation’s regulations, including:
In 2010, the activity report also mentioned 19 cases relating to private revelations.
Francis Morrisey described a few cases of jurisprudence, relating to hierarchical recourse or to questions asked by bishops to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. They are:
It is surprising to see that of all these cases, only five are the subject of proceedings brought before the Supreme Tribunal, and to our knowledge, none of them was the subject of a judgment in favor of the petitioner:
However, the competences of the Congregation, defined in Articles 48 to 55 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus are very broad, on top of which it also gives its opinion to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints for the title of Doctor of the Church, and to the Congregation for Clergy for the approval of catechisms and works of catechetical formation.
In addition, these competences have been expanded by the motu proprio Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela, promulgated on 30 April 2001 by Pope John Paul II, by which sexual abuse committed by a cleric on a minor under 18 years was added to the list of delicta graviora reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Without prolonging our discussion unduly, let us remember that the Congregation has the possibility of making extrajudicial decisions pursuant to Article 21 of the norms on the more serious offenses, which make reference to canon 1270 or to the sense of canon 1722 of the 1983 Code, inspired by canons 1956 to 1958 of the 1917 Code. Authors such as Griffin have estimated that this canon permits superiors to immediately take precautionary measures for provisionally removing any priest accused of sexual abuse of minors, even before the ordinary has informed him of the accusations and the evidence which will enable him to defend himself, in accordance with canon 1720 n. 1.
Canon 18, however, would justify a contrary position. From a detailed analysis of the sources of canon 1722, John P. Beal believes that the measure of provisional exclusion that is foreseen may be imposed only after a thorough analysis of the situation, since priests retain, before and after being accused, their right to a good reputation (c. 220) and to decent remuneration (c. 282).
The competences of this Congregation derive from Articles 41 to 45 of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, and 56 to 61 of Pastor Bonus.
This Congregation applies and enforces the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches, and its decisions are the subjects of 30 contentious-administrative recourses, classic cases of exclaustration and resignations of religious, deposition of a Superior General, transfers of parish priests, and remuneration or property rights.
In its scope of competence governed by Articles 62 to 70 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus , the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments makes clear reference to its juridic activity.
… requests for interpretation, for clarification of liturgical-disciplinary standards, or reporting of irregularities in the field of the sacraments, whether liturgical or disciplinary. These issues are examined and evaluated with a view to being able to offer direction for a suitable solution. […] The competent office has examined and brought to a close cases involving exemptions from priestly obligations, dispensations from irregularities or impediments for candidates for sacred orders, and priestly ordination for permanent deacons or for priests laicized in their time.
Unlike the other Congregations, it appeals to the Catholic faithful to help enforce the law, denounce abuses and make hierarchical recourse in cases which could not be resolved at the local level. Unfortunately, too few of the faithful know about the instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, on certain things to observe and to avoid concerning the Most Holy Eucharist, of which here is an excerpt:
In an altogether particular manner, let everyone do all that is in their power to ensure that the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist will be protected from any and every irreverence or distortion and that all abuses be thoroughly corrected. This is a most serious duty incumbent upon each and every one, and all are bound to carry it out without any favoritism.
We are therefore confident that the Congregation will solve new controversies which may occur, in particular about funerals, knowing that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has published new norms on this matter, of which this is an extract:
When the deceased notoriously has requested cremation and the scattering of their ashes for reasons contrary to the Christian faith, a Christian funeral must be denied to that person according to the norms of the law.
The contentious-administrative recourses identified against the decisions of this Congregation are four in number. They are:
The Congregation for the Causes of Saints, governed by the Articles 71 to 74 of Pastor Bonus, seems little affected by the administrative justice of the Church.
The main problem encountered in the field comes from the fact that the causes of the rich and powerful are sometimes better treated than those of the humble and the poor. We have been witnesses of tension and suffering on the part of the families and friends of the blessed, saints and unsung martyrs.
A contribution of Canonists without Borders could possibly be useful in this area to assist in the development of records of postulation in poor countries and for poor people.
In its field of competence, governed by Articles 75 to 80 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, the Congregation for Bishops has promulgated individual administrative decrees which have been the subject of 9 contentious-administrative recourses, half of which relate to the diocese of Lleida in Spain, which has been the subject of recourse by bishops about division of property between two dioceses.
The competences of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Propagation of the Faith were the result of Articles 81 to 91 of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae. Becoming the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, its competences are now governed by Articles 85 to 92 of Pastor Bonus.
Its decisions have been the subject of 25 contentious-administrative recourses, the majority from priests, following a decision of suspension, excardination, transfer, or loss of the clerical state.
These elements show that justice is operational for the priests in mission, and perhaps a little less for religious, who were the authors of only two recourses, concerning resignations.
On an other hand, we can see that Canonists without Borders receives a relatively large number of inquiries related to administrative ecclesial controversies in Africa, with a much larger proportion than the number of recourses.
Blessed Pope Paul VI established the Congregation for the Clergy on 31 December 1967, reorganizing the former Congregation for the Council, of which one decision was the subject of recourse. The responsibilities of the Congregation for the Clergy are the subject of Articles 65 to 70 of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, then Articles 93 to 98 of Pastor Bonus.
Here is an excerpt from its 2014 activity report regarding administrative justice:
In the course of 2014, the administrative office of the Congregation for the Clergy has accomplished its work of monitoring the good administration of ecclesiastical goods belonging to public juridic persons.
Decisions are the subject of 353 known contentious-administrative recourses, with the distribution of petitioners as below, when they are known:
It should be noted that recourses relating to the obligations of pious associations are the responsibility of the Congregation for the Clergy, and not of the Council for the Laity.
The competences of the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, which later became the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, are defined by Articles 75 to 80 of Regimini Ecclesiae Universae, then by Articles 105 to 111 of Pastor Bonus.
We will not expand on the hierarchical recourses addressed to this congregation, as we have already discussed it in Chapter 6; but we will add some information drawn from its activity report for 2015:
We have identified 230 contentious-administrative recourses against decrees of this Congregation, with a breakdown by petitioner as follows:
In the activity report for this congregation, we found no information on the treatment of hierarchical recourses.
Yet, our database includes 23 contentious-administrative recourses provisions relating to decrees of the Congregation for Catholic Institutes, which became the Congregation for Catholic Education in 1988.
The recourses are essentially about transfers or revocations of missions of teachers or rectors ; transfers and non-admissions to seminaries. One recourse relates to the suppression of a theology faculty.
The state of Vatican City has its own judicial bodies and its own gendarmerie which, in 2016, had executed two arrest-warrants and 33 arrests; and from 2013 to 2016, the Tribunal seized more than 12 million Euros, including one million in 2016, after reporting by the Financial Information Authority (AIF).
The Secretariat of State also intervenes in matters of administrative justice of the Church, insofar as it instructs the administrative recourses referred to the Holy Father, deciding whether to reject or to transmit them to him.
The Second Section of the Apostolic Signatura is not competent to deal with appeals against acts of the Secretariat of State, because it holds that decisions of the Secretariat are political acts, not administrative acts.
2.2. Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life
The result of a merger of the Pontifical Councils for the Laity and for the Family, the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life has competence in matters depending on the Apostolic See for the promotion of life and of the apostolate of the laity, for the pastoral care of the family and its mission.
Its section for families has taken on the competences of the corresponding Dicastery, whose decisions were the subject of only one identified recourse, for the resignation of one of the members of this Council.
Its section for the laity took on the activities of the Council for the Laity, for which the activity report mentions hierarchical recourses in response to the consultations of new associations:
It has resolved controversies submitted for its consideration by associations of the faithful with administrative recourses.
Its decrees are the subject of 38 identified contentious-administrative recourses, 14 of which were made by the laity, 13 by juridic persons, 3 by bishops, 2 by priests, and 6 have no identified petitioner.
An appeal concerning a decree of the Council for the Family was admitted to discussion, but it was subsequently rejected.
2.3. Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development
The Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, created by the motu proprio of 17 August 2016, comes from grouping four Dicasteries: the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, and the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers.
We have not identified any appeal against decrees of this Dicastery, nor against those of other pontifical councils; but Cardinal Turkson, Prefect of the Congregation, devoted an entire book to the battle against corruption in the Church and society. Here is an excerpt:
In the first place, there is the justice that corruption denies, because it denies freedom. […] For the offense of corruption, which is located in the social sphere, the intervention of the State, which ensures the administration of justice, can and should be provided.
From our point of view, this recommendation could usefully be applied to the Church, where Pope Francis believes that corruption is not absent, and where an administrative tribunal has been constituted.
The State of Vatican City has its own justice system, of which there are several organs. In accord with canon 1254, the temporal goods of the Church are intended for specific purposes: « to order divine worship, to care for the decent support of the clergy and other ministers, and to exercise works of the sacred apostolate and of charity, especially toward the needy.”
Two Secretariats are responsible for property belonging to the Holy See,: the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), and the Secretariat for the Economy, established in 2014. By the motu proprio I Beni Temporali of 4 July 2016, Pope Francis clarified the respective competencies of the two organizations, separating clearly and unequivocally the direct management of the patrimony, and control of this management activity.
Nine decisions of this Dicastery have been the subject of canonical recourse, and in at least two cases, the College has found a violation of the law by the APSA:
In case Prot. 22221/90 CA, following appeal 18707/86 Prot CA, the Tribunal ruled in favor of a priest against the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See (APSA), in considering that there was a procedural defect in a decision relating to the appointment of a Extraordinary Professor, and it decided in favor of a restoration of the previous situation (restitutio in integrum).
Administrative Justice has therefore worked well with this Dicastery.
2.5. Labor Office of the Apostolic See (ULSA)
In 1988, a recourse against a firing within the Fabbrica di San Pietro was not admitted to discussion. In 1992, the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura was not considered competent to deal with two recourses filed in 1990 by the Labor Office of the Apostolic See and by an employee of the Holy See. In effect, this agency, which was established on 1 January 1989 by Pope John Paul II, has the characteristics of a Tribunal, with a board of conciliation and arbitration, the decisions of which are not subject to recourse.
Its 2015 activity report shows its juridic activity:
Approximately 80 workers turned to the APSA, receiving advice and assistance, with the aim of preventing or solving controversies, thereby helping to improve the workplace climate and the quality of work. In 25 cases, the ULSA offered to collaborate with administrators, in order to contribute to clarifying existing standards. In 10 cases, the ULSA was contacted by retirees or their lawyers, for clarification of institutional obligations. […] Two workers and pensioners submitted a formal request to the Director of the ULSA under Article 11 of its statutes. One, which was declared inadmissible, was connected to a recourse to the College of Conciliation and Arbitration of the ULSA. The other was declared closed, as a result of the abandonment on the part of the person concerned.
Article 126 of Pastor Bonus qualifies the Roman Rota as a court, which mainly issues judgments subject to recourse to the Supreme Tribunal, in accord with Article 122 of Pastor Bonus which is beyond the scope of our study. It also issues administrative acts concerning alimony, which have been the subject of several contentious-administrative recourses, cited in the activity reports of the Second Section.
It can be observed that Article 121 of Pastor Bonus employs the term “Dicastery” with regard to the Apostolic Signatura, confirming the fact that it is both a court and an administrative body. In this regard, we will consider to be “administrative acts” those decisions of the Second Section not to admit some recourses to discussion.
These decisions are indeed subject to recourse to the College of the Second Section, and they are also an important part of the recourse, even if the publications of the Tribunal pass over them in silence:
In light of our database, we will consider that the College has given a negative response to the recourse, asserting that there is no violation of law in the decision of the Congress. Finally, our database reports 122 recourses to the College of Fathers against decisions of the Secretary or the Congress of the Second Section, a fact which shows that the possibility of recourse is not an empty word. Nevertheless, the low number of recourses accepted prompts a question that we will discuss in the third Part of this book.
 AAS 91 (1999) 629-699.
 We will rely mainly on the last published report, for the year 2015.
 Lefebvre (Mgr Charles), Actes récents du Saint Siège, in L’année canonique, 1971, p. 655 673.
 Punderson (Joseph R.), hierarchical recourse to the Holy See: Theory and practice, CSLA Prodeedings 62 (2000), 19-47.
 Marchesi (Mario), « I ricorsi gerachici presso i dicasteri dalla Curia », Ius ecclesiae, 8 (1996) 71-96.
 Martens (Kurt), Protection of Rights… », op. cit. p. 681.
 Cf. the chapter on the database.
 Pastor Bonus Art. 2 — § 1. By the word « dicasteries » are understood the Secretariat of State, Congregations, Tribunals, Councils and Offices, namely the Apostolic Camera, the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See, and the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.
 Secretariat of State, Secretariat for the Economy, Council for the Economy, Council for Social Communications.
 Apostolic Penitentiary, Roman Rota, Apostolic Signatura.
 The Pontifical Councils for the Laity, for the Promotion of Christian Unity, for the Family, Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerants, for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers, for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, for Interreligious Dialogue, for Culture, for Social Communications, for the Promotion of the New Evangelization.
 In jurisprudence, the Tribunal is often listed as HST, huius supremi tribunalis
 The actual percentage is, in our opinion, more important than the figure indicated, because the Activity Report of the Holy See (AAS (2004), p. 726) indicates that 100% of the cases considered in plenary consist of recourses against decrees of Congregations, while some of them relate to recourses against decrees of the Tribunal of non-admission to the discussion.
 Art. 48 — The proper duty of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; so it has competence in things that touch this matter in any way.
Art. 51 — To safeguard the truth of faith and the integrity of morals, the Congregation takes care lest faith or morals suffer harm through errors that have been spread in any way whatever.
Wherefore: 1. it has the duty of requiring that books and other writings touching faith or morals, being published by the Christian faithful, be subjected to prior examination by the competent authority;
Art. 52 — The Congregation examines offences against the faith and more serious ones both in behaviour or in the celebration of the sacraments which have been reported to it and, if need be, proceeds to the declaration or imposition of canonical sanctions in accordance with the norms of common or proper law.
 For the International Theological Commission.
 Ratzinger (Cardinal Joseph), « Entretiens sur la foi », remarks reported by Vittorio Messori, Paris, 1985, Fayard, p. 25/252.
 Amato (Mgr Angelo), then secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, « The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has always been a Tribunal, » in Zenit, 1 April 2004.
 Ratzinger (Cardinal Joseph), « Entretiens sur la foi », op. cit. p. 78/252.
 According to canons 751 and 1364, heresy is punishable by excommunication.
 ASS (2015), p. 621.
 Morrisey (Rev. Francis G.), « Penal Law in the Chirch today: Recent Jurisprudence and Instructions » in Advocacy Vademecum, edited by Patricia M. Dugan ed. Wilson & Lafleur, Collection Gratianus, Montréal 2006, p. 49-66.
 The CDF specifies that in this case, it may not be a criminal decision.
 Prot. 221/68 CA.
 This is the case of recourse Prot. 1123/69/CA made by the Reverend Antonius, 65 years old, who claimed the continuance of his salary, whereas it had declined when he became a priest emeritus. The Congress did not allow the case to enter discussion, and the College confirmed the decision of the Congress.
 The recourses for which the registration no. is unknown, having been the subject of a decision of the Congress on 28 November 1987. Cf. ASS (1988), p. 1403.
 The recourses for which the registration numbers are unknown, cited by ASS (1988), p. 1403 and ASS (1990) p. 1203.
Prot. 29064/88/CA, having been the subject of a decision of the Congress on 25 September 2000. Cf. ASS (1998), p. 883 and ASS (2000), p. 893.
 Prot. 29064/88/CA, having been the subject of a decision of the Congress on 25 September 2000. Cf. ASS (1998), p. 883 and ASS (2000), p. 893.
 Cf. supra.
 Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, 25 June 1988 (DC 85  897-912; 972-983).
 Cf. article 73 de Pastor Bonus.
 Cf. article 94 de Pastor Bonus.
 Art. 21 § 1. § 1. The more grave delicts reserved to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are to be tried in a judicial process.
1° decide, in individual cases, ex officio or when requested by the Ordinary or Hierarch, to proceed by extrajudicial decree, as provided in can. 1720 of the Code of Canon Law and can. 1486 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. However, perpetual expiatory penalties may only be imposed by mandate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
2° present the most grave cases to the decision of the Roman Pontiff with regard to dismissal from the clerical state or deposition, together with dispensation from the law of celibacy, when it is manifestly evident that the delict was committed and after having given the guilty party the possibility of defending himself.
 Can. 1720 — If the ordinary thinks that the matter must proceed by way of extrajudicial decree:
1/ he is to inform the accused of the accusation and the proofs, giving an opportunity for self-defense, unless the accused neglected to appear after being properly summoned;
2/ he is to weigh carefully all the proofs and arguments with two assessors;
3/ if the delict is certainly established and a criminal action is not extinguished, he is to issue a decree according to the norm of canons 1342-1350, setting forth the reasons in law and in fact at least briefly.
 Can. 1722 — To prevent scandals, to protect the freedom of witnesses, and to guard the course of justice, the ordinary, after having heard the promoter of justice and cited the accused, at any stage of the process can exclude the accused from the sacred ministry or from some office and ecclesiastical function, can impose or forbid residence in some place or territory, or even can prohibit public participation in the Most Holy Eucharist. Once the cause ceases, all these measures must be revoked; they also end by the law itself when the penal process ceases..
 Griffin (B. F.), « Canon 1722: Imposition of Administrative Leave Against an Accused”, in Roman Replies and CLSA Advisory Opinions, 1998, p. 103-108.
 Can. 18 — Laws which establish a penalty, restrict the free exercise of rights, or contain an exception from the law are subject to strict interpretation.
 Cf. Chapter 2.
 Prot 19323/87 CA
 Prot. 22637/91 CA ; Prot. 22638/91 CA ; Prot. 22639/91 CA ;
 ASS (1980), p. 1029.
 Prot. 31945/01 CA
 ASS (1980), p. 1029.
 Art. 62 — The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments does whatever pertains to the Apostolic See concerning the regulation and promotion of the sacred liturgy, primarily of the sacraments, without prejudice to the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Art. 63 — It fosters and safeguards the regulation of the administration of the sacraments, especially regarding their valid and licit celebration. It grants favours and dispensations not contained in the faculties of diocesan bishops in this matter.
Art. 66 — The Congregation provides attentive supervision to ensure that liturgical norms are accurately observed, and that abuses are avoided and eliminated where they are found to exist.
Art. 68 — It is also competent to examine, in accordance with the law, cases concerning the nullity of sacred ordination.
 ASS (2015), p. 640-641.
 Instruction Ad resurgendum cum Christo 15 August 2016, on the burial of the dead and the preservation of ashes in case of cremation.
 Prot 18881/87/CA : recourses of a religious of the Diocese of Miami, against a decision of 30 November 1986, not admitted to discussion by a decision of the Congress of 30 October 1990, confirmed by the College on 8 May 1993. Cf. in particular Ministerium Justitiae, p. 603-606.
 Prot 21024/89/CA : recourse of a layman of the Diocese of Cincinnati, not admitted to discussion by a decision of the Congress of 26 January 1990. Cf. in particular Ministerium Justitiae, p. 461-466.
 Prot. 29104/98/CA, cited by the AAS (1998) p. 883 and AAS (2002), p. 847 and Prot. 29341/98/CA, cited by AAS (1998), p. 883 and by AAS (2002) p. 849, having been the subject of a decision of the Congress of 22 July 2002, the content of which has not been revealed.
 Cas non référencé, enregistré en 1989, rejeté in limine, car déposé hors délais. Cf. ASS (1988), p. 1404.
 Cases not referenced, recorded in 1989, rejected in limine because filed outside of the time-limit. Cf. AAS (1988), p. 1404.
It is sufficient to note the distribution of the saints by continent, to the detriment of the poorer countries compared to the rest.
 Art. 75 — The Congregation for Bishops examines what pertains to the establishment and provision of particular Churches and to the exercise of the episcopal office in the Latin Church, without prejudice to the competence of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.
Art. 76 — This Congregation deals with everything concerning the constitution, division, union, suppression, and other changes of particular Churches and of their groupings. It also erects military ordinariates for the pastoral care of the armed forces.
 Prot. 29550/98 CA ; Prot. 29550/98 CA B ; Prot. 29550/98 CA C ; Prot. 36517/05 CA ; Prot. 37106/05 CA ; Prot. 37766/05 CA.
 Prot. 45545/11 CA
 Prot. 41703/08 CA
 Prot. 24487/93 CA ; Prot. 37521/05 CA
 Prot. 24604/93 CA ou Prot. 24635/93 CA
 Prot. 20783/89 CA and case cited in AAS (1989), p. 1218, without registration number.
 Art. 93 — Without prejudice to the right of bishops and their conferences, the Congregation for the Clergy examines matters regarding priests and deacons of the secular clergy, with regard to their persons and pastoral ministry, and with regard to resources available to them for the exercise of this ministry; and in all these matters the Congregation offers timely assistance to the bishops.
Art. 94 — It has the function of promoting the religious education of the Christian faithful of all ages and conditions; it issues timely norms so that catechetical instruction is correctly conducted; it gives great attention so that catechetical formation is properly given; and, with the assent of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, it grants the prescribed approval of the Holy See for catechisms and other writings pertaining to catechetical instruction. It is available to catechetical offices and international initiatives on religious education, coordinates their activities and, where necessary, lends assistance.
Art. 95 — § 1. The Congregation is competent concerning the life, conduct, rights, and obligations of clergy.
 ASS (2014), p. 722, translated from Italian.
 Prot 13782/81 CA
 Art. 105 — The principal function of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and for Societies of Apostolic Life is to promote and supervise in the whole Latin Church the practice of the evangelical counsels as they are lived in approved forms of consecrated life and, at the same time, the work of societies of apostolic life.
Art. 106 — § 1. The Congregation erects and approves religious and secular institutes and societies of apostolic life, or passes judgement on the suitability of their erection by the diocesan bishop. It also suppresses such institutes and societies if necessary.
 Example: ASS, (2015), p. 746.
 ASS 2015 p. 748-765
 Prot. 10977/79 CA ; Prot. 27795/97 CA
 Prot 37707/05 CA; Prot. 30520/99 CA.
 Prot. 30435/99 CA; Prot. 30520/99 CA; Prot. 32728/01 CA; Prot. 33447/02 CA ; Prot 37707/05 CA…
 Prot. 30678/99 CA ; Prot. 30677/99 for non-admission to the seminary ; Prot. 22396/91 CA
 Milano (Gian Piero), Promoter of Justice, speech at the inauguration of the Judicial Year of Vatican City, 18 February 2017.
 Prot. 214/70 CA, declaration of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, December 28, 1981,cited by Michael Landau, Amtsentbehung… op. cit. p. 321, note 306
 As of 15 August 2016, the Dicastery combines the competencies of the Pontifical Councils for the Laity and for the Family.
 Prot. 18972/87 CA.
 The Pontifical Council for the Laity is competent in those matters pertaining to the Apostolic See regarding the promotion and coordination of the apostolate of the laity and, generally, in those matters respecting the Christian life of laypeople.
 ASS (2014), p. 845.
 Prot 18972/87 CA.
 As of 1 January 2017, World Day of Peace, the Dicastery combines the expertise of the Pontifical Councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Pastoral Care of Migrants and Immigrants, and Health Care Workers.
 Turkson (Card Peter Kodwo Appiah) Corrosione, Combattere la corruzione nella Chiesa e nella società, Milano Rizzoli, June 2016,
 Prot. 22113/90 CA cited by ASS (1992) p. 1115 et ASS (1993) p. 1272
 Prot. 22221/90 CA cited by ASS (1993), p. 1271 et 1272, after recourse Prot 18707/86 CA,
 This Office was established on 1 January 1989 by Pope John Paul II. It intervenes in matters of labor law for the employees of the Holy See.
 ASS (1978) p. 625.
 Prot. 22046/90 CA et 22583/91 CA cités par ASS (1992) p. 1116. Decision of the Congress of 28 November 1992.
 Cf. Statutes of the Organization: www.ulsa.Va/content/ulsa/it/Chi siamo/Statuto1.html.
 ASS (2015), p. 1093, Translated from Italian.
 For 116 cases, we have been able to identify the Dicastery of origin.
 Montini (Gian-Paolo), Conspectus decisionum, Periodica 103 (2014) 27- 66: « De recursus adversum decretum rejectionis a Congressu latum. Recursus non admittitur ad disceptationem »
 For 116 cases, we have been able to identify the Dicastery of origin.
 Prot. 12300/80 CA ; 22113/88 CA ; 23443/92 CA ; 23444/92 CA ; 23445/92 CA ainsi que deux cas cités par ASS (1981) p. 951 et ASS (1989), p. 1218.
This chapter differs from the preceding ones, insofar as it does not concentrate so much on the jurisprudence of hierarchical or contentious-administrative recourse, but rather on administrative practices of clerics in the face of charisms.
In the first part, the analysis focuses on the phenomenon of private revelations, with the applicable law, the tests and sanctions imposed on seers and their friends, and finally on contentious-administrative recourse in both ecclesiastical and civil court systems.
The second part focuses on justice in the face of the new religious movements and so-called sects, with the applicable law, the sanctions imposed and possible recourses.
At the time of Jesus, His uncle Zechariah, His mother Mary and His foster father Joseph received visits from a angel, while His apostles received the visit of the Risen Jesus. Subsequently, a large number of saints have received private revelations. In effect, the
[…] apparitions and supernatural signs scan the course of history, they enter into the real life of human vicissitudes and accompany the path of the world, surprising believers and non-believers.
Even today, there are more private revelations that we think, but most of them remain secret. This is typically the case when they are directed to an individual to encourage or assist him to accomplish his vocation. Sometimes the confidence of a friend or the reading of a book allows us to become aware of them as, for example, in the case of H.E. Jean-Pierre Kutwa, Cardinal Archbishop of Abidjan:
You know, Francesco, (as he likes to call the author) during this period in the hospital, I was visited by the One that I had chosen to serve: Jesus Christ. One day, I spent several minutes in atrocious pain, I suffered terribly and suddenly, everything stopped and I fell asleep. It was at this time that I saw Jesus. He was very bright and in a spontaneous gesture, I was immediately lying at His Feet and I clutched them in my arms. Jesus asked me: « Why do you fear? Do not be afraid. Your mission is not complete. Go back. »
This type of private revelation affects not only the baptized, but also atheists and people of other religions:
The 1929 law of the Soviet Union, today repealed, prohibited religious activities and punished the recalcitrant in order to encourage the dissemination of atheism. In this context, many witnesses testify to the conversion of atheists by private revelations or dreams. Closer to us in Algeria, the order of 28 February 2006 regarding Muslim worship severely punishes « anyone who incites, forces or uses means of seduction intending to convert a Muslim to another religion » or which « shakes the faith of Muslims, » and so Catholics are discreet. In contrast, the Holy Spirit is at work and the Archbishop of Algiers testified that many Muslims have come knocking at the door of churches because they have had a dream that speaks to them of Jesus Christ as the Savior.
We define these revelations as “private revelations of a personal nature”.
Conversely, other private revelations contain messages that the recipient is asked to make known. These revelations, that we call « private for a public purpose, » pose a cultural problem in the Western world, marked by materialism and rejecting the very idea of God. They also pose a serious problem of discernment for the Church as to the nature and content of the alleged apparitions, and as to the events which accompany them. This is exactly what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says in its letter on the hierarchy and the charisms:
Among the charismatic gifts, freely distributed by the Holy Spirit, many are received and lived out by persons within the Christian community who have no need of particular regulations. When, however, a gift presents itself as a “founding” or “originating charism”, this requires a specific recognition so that the richness it contains may be adequately articulated within the ecclesial communion and faithfully transmitted over time. Here emerges the decisive task of discernment that appertains to the ecclesial authorities. Recognizing the authenticity of a charism is not always an easy task, it is, nonetheless, a dutiful service that pastors are required to fulfill.
The U.S. website « Miracle hunter » lists nearly 700 private revelations, with a strong acceleration over time: there is on average one per year in the years 1900 to 1925, then about 35 on average per year in the years 1970 to 2000, with a total of 410 revelations in the period 1967 to 2016. Abbot Laurentin explains this sudden increase, not by a greater frequency of private revelations, but by the evolution of the canon law in force:
This is due to the abolition of canon 1399, §5 of the old Code of Canon Law which prohibited « books and pamphlets that talk about new apparitions, revelations, visions, prophecies and miracles, or launch new devotions, even under the pretext that they are private » (and canon 2318, which excommunicated offenders).
| Number of Apparitions per decade identified by Miracle Hunters
Without counting that of Lipa, which we will discuss below, the Church has recognized 16 Marian apparitions, including five during the period of our study. The popular piety which accompanies them is one of the expressions of the sensus fidei, but it goes against the current of rational society today:
Apparitions, honored by popular piety in our sanctuaries, are disregarded in the theological community, including laypersons.
This hypothesis may in particular be illustrated by the remarks of the Bishop of Quimper and Léon about Kérizinen:
The Christian faith is not of the order of the senses: it is the home of Jesus Christ, of His Gospel, of His Church. […] Can those who are led astray by these alleged revelations open their eyes to the sole truth of Jesus Christ, which does not exclude the Virgin but includes her in her place, instead of locking themselves into a ghetto without opening or without end! May these persons meditate on these strong words of Saint John of the Cross, an authentic mystic and also a Doctor of the Church: « In giving us His Son as He has done, He who is His last and final Word, God has spoken to everyone and only once, and has nothing more to say.”
Certainly, revelation was closed with the death of the last apostle, as Saint John of the Cross wrote when commenting on Heb 1, 1-2, but the catechism adds:
Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries. Throughout the ages, there have been so-called « private » revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church…. It is not their role to… complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history.
Since there is tension between popular faith and the rationality of some theologians, let us now examine the applicable canon law.
When a prophet speaks in the name of God, or when a person makes known a private revelation of a public nature, the result is invariably tension between him and the authority of the Church, because both of them think that they are acting and speaking in the name of God. This situation poses a major problem of discernment, for the Local Ordinary confronted with the words of Saint Paul:
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. (1 Thessalonians 5, 19-21)
But also of Saint Matthew:
You will hear of wars and reports of wars; see that you are not alarmed, for these things must happen, but it will not yet be the end.[…]Many false prophets will arise and deceive many. (Matthew 24, 6 and 11)
Three regimes of positive law have governed the method of discernment during the period under study:
It is my firm hope that the official publication of the Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations can aid the Pastors of the Catholic Church in their difficult task of discerning presumed apparitions, revelations, messages or, more generally, extraordinary phenomena of presumed supernatural origin.
These procedural norms encourage the ecclesiastical authority to act with caution, in three stages:
In order to carry out the first step, the Congregation encourages authorities to carry out a serious investigation of the facts, which raises a question as to whether this recommendation creates a right for the faithful concerned, or not.
Let us hope that these new procedural elements will be respected in the future and that we will not engage in ad hominem battles that conceal power-games, as was the case, for example, in the apparitions at Tilly-on-Seulles, in Normandy, of which the Archbishop of Paris blocked recognition, while it was on the right track in Rome.
In the past, the serious investigation foreseen in order to obtain a positive judgment on the character of the facts was very often rejected in favor of a hasty application of negative criteria, interpreted unilaterally, without sometimes even questioning the persons concerned
Aware of the difficulties resulting from the tension between charisms and authority, Pope Francis approved the 14 March 2016 letter Iuvenescit Ecclesia of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the relationship between hierarchical and charismatic gifts in the life and mission of the Church:
Different charisms have never ceased to arise throughout the history of the Church; yet, it is only in recent times that a systematic reflection on these themes has been developed. This fact is due historically to the Montanist schism, from Christian antiquity, and then to the medieval apocalyptic doctrines which left a long-lasting negative mark on every charismatic claim, associated with an ethereal epoch of the Holy Spirit. Lumen Gentium totally overcomes this problematic legacy, distinguishing between hierarchical and charismatic gifts, and underlining « their difference in unity.” These graces, from the more eclectic to the more simple and the most widely disseminated, should be received with thanksgiving and bring consolation.
The Congregation’s document specifies the criteria for the discernment of charisms, one of which consists in the acceptance of the periods of testing that their beneficiaries have to undergo on the part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy.
The question then arises as to whether passive acceptance, which constitutes one of the criteria for discernment, is or is not compatible with the canonical possibility offered to the faithful to claim their rights, taking into account the common good of the Church.
Once the « serious » investigation has been conducted, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith recommends to the competent authorities an appropriate approach, depending on the types of situations encountered, including sanctions if necessary:
the competent Authority can intervene motu proprio and indeed must do so in grave circumstances, for example in order to correct or prevent abuses in the exercise of cult and devotion, to condemn erroneous doctrine, to avoid the dangers of a false or unseemly mysticism, etc.
Dean Philippe Greiner illuminated this concept of abuse in his thesis on the legal framework of proselytism, distinguishing between proselytism of good and bad faith:
Depending on the circumstances, the practice of bad-faith proselytism can be considered a fault, and it can justify disciplinary measures, or correspond to an offense punishable by canon law, and lead to the application of a penalty for physical persons.
His remarks may apply to private revelations, the beneficiaries of which apply to themselves the words of the Apostles: « It is impossible for us not to speak about what we have seen and heard » (Acts 4,20), and a fortiori: « We must obey God rather than men » (Acts 5,29). Philippe Greiner then described two main disciplinary measures provided by canon law in regard to persons who would be guilty of bad-faith proselytism, or at least considered as such, namely the withdrawal of pastoral care and the suppression of an association. We will expand the debate, distinguishing between three types of persons sanctioned:
We will then examine the paths of recourse, and the manner in which the obligations and the rights of the faithful are taken into account.
Abundant literature on private revelations provides a lot of evidence of the disciplinary measures that the Church has imposed on the faithful benefiting from private revelations, and on their friends.
The simplest measure is to leave the seer in the shadows, and to collect the fruits of the revelation within the parish:
In 1980, in the heart of the Muslim quarter of Anoumambo in Abidjan, Gabriel, an immigrant from Burkina Faso, was requested by his neighbors to bury a Christian left without burial. Having done so, he realized that the Christians of the neighborhood do not know each other. He said the rosary with those who gathered and their number increased, even though he began to be afraid of the Muslims who surrounded them. Then he had a dream: the Virgin Mary prompted him not to be afraid, and to build a chapel in this place. Today, the Chapel « Saint Mary Bangtaba » is attached to the Parish of Saint Peter of Anoumambo and will become an independent parish dedicated to Mary Mother of God. The dream was forgotten and Gabriel is now let alone and bedridden.
Here is another example in which the « visionary » was submitted to testing before the bishop recognized the apparition:
In 1931, Elisabeth Ravasio became a sister and then Mother Eugenia, in the Congregation of Our Lady of the Apostles, lived in France in a series of ecstasies and of mystical experiences. She conversed with the Father, imploring his mercy on the world and receiving the stigmata, in accordance with her desire to suffer with Jesus. On July 1, 1932, she received her first message of the Father for mankind, and her case was submitted to Mgr. Clot, Bishop of Grenoble. In September 1933, the bishop appointed a Commission of inquiry on the facts. The examiners did not believe her at first glance, and their vexation increased until they themselves locked her in the Saint John of God psychiatric hospital, explaining to her superior: « This is a women’s sanitarium, and she will remain there until she tells the truth. She will remove her habit and veil, and will no longer receive communion or engage in meditation or the Way of the Cross: she will be able to attend Mass. Then we will send her to Italy where she will be put in prison for the evil that she did to the Church of France by her interventions of the Father.”The Sister Superior had her put out and, on 28 December, she ordered her to leave the novitiate and go to another home, as a canonical penalty. By order of the Bishop, she left for Pommiers… for 8 days. Then the investigation resumed, and the impression of the theologians evolved positively. Toward 1935, the Commission of inquiry issued a favorable opinion, and toward 1943, Mgr. Caillot concluded 1.) the virtues of Sister Eugenia were solid; 2.) she had a character that was precise, legitimate and appropriate to her mission [contained in the messages] from a doctrinal point of view; 3.) that the intervention was supernatural and divine was the only logical and satisfactorily explanation for the established facts, 4.) the finger of God was present.
In this episode, which happened before the Second Vatican Council but is still not settled today, we will retain the surprising nature of the canonical penalty that was officious (confinement in a psychiatric hospital) and official (the transfer to Pommiers), the sanctions that were imposed on Sister Eugenia “for the evil that she did to the Church in France.” How is she evil, since the supernatural character of the revelations was officially recognized by the Local Ordinary?
Let’s go on to the second episode of her life, her election as Superior General of her Congregation:
On 7 August 1935, during the General Chapter of the Congregation N.D. of the Apostles, Elisabeth was elected Superior General and then re-elected on 7 August 1947. Her success was noteworthy, to the extent that the number of houses went from 50 in 1932, to 144 in 1944, and she was the inspiration for the work of Raoul Follereau among the lepers, and the origin of the world center of the leper in Adzopé in the Ivory Coast. With regard to this, her congregation received the civic crown from the hands of the President of the French Republic, on 4 June 1950 in Paris. This was the same date that Mother Eugenia was removed at the request of the Congregation of Propaganda Fide, which made her sign a letter of resignation « on the grounds of incapacity. » What did she do wrong? We know that she was denounced in Rome by a jealous sister who wanted to be appointed Secretary, in order to be able to travel with her. Apparently she did not know what was alleged against her and was not able, or perhaps did not want, to defend herself. She then endured significant tribulations in the repeated attempts to take away, and then return her religious habit. She founded various works for the poor, and “Catholic Unity,” which was created in 1953 and recognized as a Pious Union in 1964. On several occasions, administrative decisions were imposed on her to close the houses that she had established, and to move to another city. Each time she obeyed, provoking the non-comprehension of the sisters who had followed her: « We are being expelled? But what have we done? » Mother Eugenia testified: « The Archbishop of Reggio installed as Superior and Director General three people, without these appointments having been approved by the houses. I was seen as a simple boarder, having no voice in the Chapter, prohibited from going to religious and civilian authority. I was prohibited from working with Catholic Unity […] For 11 years, from 1957 to 1968, I lived in contradiction! As soon as I would begin to do something for our work, they would prevent me from continuing… » Although the Holy See intervened in her favor in 1966, the memory of Mother Eugenia is today tarnished by a dossier of various issues, kept secret from the mother house of the Sisters N.D. of the Apostles, and by a civil suit brought by her detractors. Currently, a growing number of faithful Catholics would like a light to be shined on this matter, including among them the Sisters of the Congregation N.D. of the Apostles.
Here a canonical sanction which consisted in the revocation of pastoral assignments of the three superiors of the houses of Catholic Unity, and the impeding of voting rights of Mother Eugenia within her own congregation. The reasons that justify these sanctions are not known, but they have without doubt a link to a private revelation, whose supernatural character has not yet been recognized. Even if the case of Mother Eugenia is old, it concerns our study, because the matter is not closed today. In effect, the Chancellor of the Diocese of Grenoble continues to make administrative decisions relating to Mother Eugenia, for example by refusing, August 26, 2014, to open its archives for the present research work:
We do not communicate regarding the records pertaining to Mother Eugenia Ravasio.
Shortly after, Pope Benedict XVI responded to a fellow Bavarian who contacted him to ask for the institution of a feast of God the Father in the month of August, as requested in the messages of the Father to Mother Eugenia. He replied that the case has already been decided negatively in the 9 May 1897 encyclical letter Divinum Illud Munus of Leo XIII. In addition to the fact that this information is little known, it seems that theologians could easily find a solution, in establishing for example the feast of the Merciful Father, on the occasion of the Year of Mercy.
Let us return to the case of Lipa, in the Philippines:
The sisters received an order to destroy all the evidence relating to the apparition, the Bishop and his Coadjutor were transferred, as was the Superior of Carmel. All those who were directly related to the apparition had to suffer. The Carmel was quarantined. A psychiatrist, Dr. Pardon, threatened to intern Teresina if she persisted in her testimony. Later, her admission to Carmel was denied because of the apparitions, under the pretext that she was away some time of Carmel, whereas she had obtained permission for this.
From 1990 onwards, a peasant by the name of Eusébie Ngendakumana (Zebiya in Kirundi), declared that she had benefited from private revelations from the Most Holy Virgin Mary, presenting herself under the name « Queen of Africa.” The apparitions occurred first on her property at a place called Businde, in the parish of Rukago, in northern Burundi, and then in the capital, Bujumbura. Little by little, people associate with her, and they testified to graces and conversions in abundance. Irritated by the frequent prayer vigils, neighbors complained to the civil authorities, who stopped the visionary and her entourage, and beat some of them so much that they fainted. On 21 October 2012, an altercation occurred between the friends of Zébiya, who wanted to enter the church of Rukago, and the priest who wanted to prevent them, such that the civil authority was called in to restore order. In November 2012, the Bishop of Ngozi strictly prohibited all worship at Businde and requested that Ms. Eusébie and her « followers » to cease all activity detrimental to the unity and communion of the Church. In January 2013, some students were expelled from the University of Ngozi because they issued a « prophetic » publication considered « deceptive » by University authorities. They complained and won their case at the Tribunal de Grande Instance of Ngozi; but the University refused to allow them to return, because it depends on the bishop. In March and April 2013, the police shot projectiles at the followers, killing between five and ten people, arresting more than two hundred of them and condemning some to sentences of five months to six years in prison. In July 2013, the site of Businde was transformed into a military camp, while the orphanage which had been built by Zebiya and her friends was demolished.
In this case, the ecclesiastical administrative decisions against Zebiya and her friends are rather questionable. We can however bemoan a clear lack of dialogue that might have allowed them to respect the discernment of the bishop, in particular in the light of the significance of the investigation provided for by the norms. One can also wonder about the degree of collusion between the Church and the State, which led to the arrest, injuries and even deaths of many faithful Catholics.
Returning to our issue of the link between passive acceptance, and the need to claim one’s rights while taking into account the common good of the Church, we find that in all the cases referred to, the beneficiaries of private apparitions have suffered with patience the tests, often illegal, that authorities have made them suffer. For example, the current Archbishop of Lipa considers that the suffering and humiliation which the visionary experienced confer a solid credibility to her visions and to her statements. The Virgin had warned the young Carmelite, « You are going to suffer, they will scoff at you, but don’t be afraid, because your faith will lead you to heaven.”
Let us conclude by citing the case of Jeanne-Louise Ramonet in Brittany:
Jeanne-Louise Ramonet, a peasant of Plounévez-Lochrist in Brittany, claimed that the Virgin Mary and Christ appeared to her between 1938 and 1968, in a place called Kérizinen in Nord-Finistère. Since then, the Rosary is recited each day and many pilgrims come to ask Our Lady of the Holy Rosary to intercede for the healing of minds and bodies. Yet, the magnificent private sanctuary built at this location on 17 September 1978 is still not allowed to house the Real Presence of Christ, despite more than thirty years of prayers on the part of thousands of pilgrims, and a botched canonical investigation.
|Teresita Castillo, Lipa (1927-)||
Mother Eugenia Ravasio,
Madeleine Aumont, Dozulé
The easiest disciplinary measure for a bishop to take, when he is confronted with a case of private revelation, is to transfer the priest who supports the beneficiaries of an alleged apparition, as well as any religious who accompany them.
As we have seen, the revocation of a pastoral assignment is governed by canon 184 §1, while the procedure is outlined in canons 1740, 1741 and 1742 when it comes to a parish priest. It begins with a request for the priest’s resignation, theoretically preceded by a phase of discussion with two other priests, justified and in writing. The first ground for transferring a parish priest mentioned by the canon 1741 is « a manner of acting which brings grave detriment or disturbance to ecclesiastical communion.”
In practice, when a group of the faithful believes in a private revelation, or at least in an alleged revelation, it generally leads to division between the group of pilgrims who believe in it, and the group of parishioners who do not. Even when the two groups remain cautious, awaiting the discernment of the bishop, it is likely that this will cause division and, regardless of the attitude of the priest, he can be held responsible for it, resulting de facto in a reason for his transfer. Yet, it is normal that such disorder is produced in the life of the Church as soon as the Holy Spirit intervenes: « My thoughts are not your thoughts » (Isaiah, 55, 9), said the Lord; while Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has confirmed:
Do not think that I have come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace but the sword. For I have come to set a man ‘against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one’s enemies will be those of his household.” (Matthew 10, 34-36).
In this regard, here are a few of the sanctions applied on a regular basis to the parish priests and religious who attend places of alleged revelations which are private and unrecognized, and/or support those who attend them:
In France, Mgr. René Laurentin, whom we have met before he died on 10 September 2017, devoted his doctoral thesis in theology to the priesthood of the Virgin, and throughout his life he studied private revelations. The following are excerpts from his memoirs:
I agreed to enter the dark domain [of apparitions] at the request of the authorities of the Church, including Cardinal Seper, the predecessor of Cardinal Ratzinger, who consulted me before establishing his standards for apparitions (1978). But the authority that has been attached to my name in the matter has hampered me: too many people have used it in an inappropriate way, as if dialogue or an investigation amounted to authentication. […] The result will see my slow descent into hell, but without drama or splendor, because I have limited the damage without throwing myself at anybody, and being obedient to the established order. Thus I have lost, in silence, a good part of the freedom that I had appreciated in the Church, up to the age of eighty, and verified the prediction of Jesus to his disciple Peter: « When you were younger, you used to dress yourself…” (Jn 21, 18). Any notoriety makes its beneficiary a man worth beating up, and my dual concern to clarify outstanding issues, and to rehabilitate reputations that had been defamed, considerably aggravated my case. […] Certainly, the repressions are less stringent and enigmatic than they were in the days of Father Congar, but the various methods are analogous to minimize freedoms that are human, Christian, priestly, related to the media, academic or of another type, which interfere with ongoing actions to hide official secrets. 
Another sanction, or at least a « disciplinary measure » that Philippe Greiner cited regarding bad-faith proselytism is the suppression of an association. He himself cited for example the May 4, 1987 suppression of the public association « Ark of Mary » by the Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec, although it had been erected by his predecessor in 1975.
Other types of sanctions are commonly applied, including:
There may be a question of the legality of these decisions, and of their character as administrative act that would permit filing a recourse.
Chapters 4 to 6 present a wide panorama of hierarchical and contentious-administrative recourses covering all of canon law, but we have not met any relating to disputes about private revelations. Is that to say that the administrative justice of the Church is not applicable in this area, that the intervention of justice is unknown because it is kept secret, or are there reasons why the Catholic faithful who have been the victims of administrative decisions do not make recourse?
We have seen that Mgr. Laurentin has been a witness to what he called the « various methods » of the ecclesiastical hierarchy to stifle some private revelations. In his memoirs, he specified that private revelations of a public nature inevitably confer a certain notoriety on their authors, making them « men to shoot down.” In the face of these attitudes of the hierarchy, he himself chose the path of silence and submission which preserves for him a minimum of freedom to write, sacrificing all the rest. With this choice, he could have become complicit in violations of the rights of the faithful by ecclesiastical authority. He suggested that he had used the paths of diplomacy and mediation to support discreetly some « seers,” but he clearly did not use the legal path. The reason for this choice may be related to his decision to not make recourse in order not to poison the situations, or to an inability to act effectively regarding « official secrets,” which, according to him, constitute a « shelter » against contentious-administrative recourse? We do not know.
In the case of Garabandal, the Bishop of Santander continued to apply in 1968 canon 1399 of the Code of 1917 even though this canon had been abrogated. The parishioners made no recourse, probably because they were unaware of their rights.
In the case of Kérizinen, ex gratia recourses have been filed regularly by the Association of Friends of Kérizinen with the Local Ordinary, with results more or less positive with regard to the personality of successive bishops. The Association has always sought to maintain dialogue, renouncing blind submission and the way of contention. This sometimes results in a degree of openness:
You will find attached a note […] which […] takes note of the positive, and indicates at the same time the steps which will still have to be overcome. […] It is absolutely necessary to indicate clearly [in the brochure] that Jeanne-Louise said that she had had, between 1938 and 1965, more than 70 apparitions of the Virgin Mary and/or of the Lord Jesus, and received, during the course of these apparitions, messages that she transcribed in his notebooks; and that these apparitions and messages have never been recognized as having a supernatural origin …
In the case of Zebiya in Burundi, a reference to canonical justice should be noted on the part of the Ordinary of Ngozi, in a letter of 2 April 2013 to the lawyer Segatwa Fabien, calling on him to get the followers of Zebiya out of jail:
… In case it seems to you that the bishop of Ngozi has violated a canonical law in the provisions taken to ask the faithful who are entrusted to his care to behave as Catholic Christians, be aware that he would like to better respond before the church courts competent in this field…
One can ask if the prospect of appeal raised by the bishop is credible, as the lawyer Segatwa had no administrative act in writing from the bishop that he could have challenged, nor canonical skills which would have allowed him to bring the case before the Council of the Laity, with obligatory transfer to the Apostolic Signatura. It seems that the practical impossibility, for Zebiya and her friends, of a healthy dialogue with both the priest and the bishop, was one of the sources of the violence which was triggered. As for Father Hermann, he preferred flight, rather than recourse.
A certain dialogue has existed in other places like Dozulé, where a resident filed an ex gratia recourse to the Bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux, after having received the 2 March 2006 letter below:
My predecessor, Monseigneur Badré, in December 1985, and I myself, on various occasions and especially in Lourdes, in September 1989, the Cardinal Ratzinger, currently Pope under the name of Benedict XVI, in October 1985, we all had prohibited: any publication of books, brochures, cassettes. And any dissemination and gathering of funds in view of the construction of a sanctuary or of a gigantic cross of 738 meters. Any travel whatsoever to Dozulé. It is pointless to gather on this alleged hill of prodigies. We cannot declare the apparitions of Dozulé authentic. Therefore, dear Madam, you must comply with the decisions of the Church.
This letter could have been the object of disputes, but the recipient did not file either hierarchical or contentious recourse. The attitude of respectful dialogue has produced very little fruit, since Sunday 29 May 2011, in the presence of the bishop and of a crowd of faithful, the parish priest of Dozulé imposed his hands on the head of a parishioner and uttered these words:
Madam M., on behalf of the Church, I appoint you the one responsible for the reception of pilgrims on the hill of Dozulé. In difficulties I will be there to help you.
Since the publication of the first edition of this book, on 3 January 2017, a reliable source has said that some of the pilgrims of Dozulé were informed that the local bishop had undertaken further canonical investigation into the alleged apparitions of Dozulé, but that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had asked him to stop the investigation before its completion, which he did. The faithful of the place remain perplexed by this situation that appears improbable, since it is contrary to the recommendations of the same congregation.
This situation, however, presents some similarities with the recent developments in Lipa in the Philippines. After having conducted a thorough investigation, the Bishop of Lipa has recognized the revelations as supernatural, indicating the « doubtful » character of the decree of prohibition of 1951. Here too, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intervened by revealing a document kept secret for more than fifty years, in which Pope Pius XI would have validated in forma specifica the investigation strongly tainted with illegality, concluding the non-supernatural character of the apparitions and of the rain of rose petals. While announcing the decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rescinding its own decree, Mgr Argüelles stated that he would not appeal this decision. Without knowing the reasons, it should be noted that Bishop Argüelles was invited to resign his office of Bishop of Lipa on February 2, 2017, two years before he reached the age limit, and a new bishop was appointed in his place immediately.
A prominent doctor in canon law criticized the choice of the author to mention the private revelations in this book:
I was surprised to read for example the passage (with photo!), where you mentioned the pseudo-revelations of Dozulé or other places… Be careful not to fall to an incongruous journalistic level, in a book which is considered more serious.
Conversely, a member of the Catholic faithful wrote:
I have read the 2017 book by Yves-Alain and you have not written for nothing. The passages on the period 1022 to 1307 in particular are remarkable and for me very meaningful (Cathar period, Templars and Hospitallers…). The same with regard to private revelations, which I have experienced, and of which I continue to collect very startling testimony which is entrusted to me so that I can do research, to the thread of improbable meetings […] Chapter 7 renders justice.
Finally, it seems to us important to maintain the sensitive subject, because we have seen that alleged revelations have prompted many individual administrative acts, relating rightly or wrongly to infringement on the rights of the Catholic faithful. In addition, it seems to us that, if a presumed revelation does not qualify publicly as a supernatural revelation, it should not be characterized as a “pseudo-apparition,” since the Ordinary has not yet made an official pronouncement in view of the in-depth investigation requested by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Taking these elements into account, a survey of associations of the pilgrims to several places of non-recognized apparitions has allowed us to understand why their members do not resort to ecclesiastical justice, inasmuch as they have the conviction of a deep injustice with respect to the seer and the messages:
We have nonetheless found an exception, with a contentious recourse filed with the Supreme Tribunal for an issue related to a private revelation.
On 10 March, 1975, the association « The Army of Mary » was canonically erected by the Archbishop of Quebec, according to the 1917 Code. Subsequently, it appears that the association was in the sphere of influence of the community of “Our Lady of All Peoples,” which is based on the mystical life of its foundress and on messages that she received between 1940 and 1959. Yet devotion to Mary the Mother of All Peoples was condemned under Pius XII. Also, the Cardinal Archbishop of Quebec asked the association to stop « embarking on tracks that are dangerous and not completely Orthodox,” after which he obtained the following opinion of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: « After having studied the writings disseminated by the Army of Mary, this Congregation […] approves and confirms these warnings, leaving you with the latitude to take all measures that you deem to be necessary, without excluding the possibility of suppressing the association ad normam iuris.” By decree of 4 May 1987, the Archbishop then removed the recognition of the association. The decree was the object of hierarchical, and then contentious-administrative recourse, but it was not admitted to discussion due to the obvious lack of foundation, in accordance with the decisions of the Congress on 17 March 1989 and 1 March 1990, and of the College on 20 April 1991.
It will be noted that the decision of the Tribunal does not address the merits of the position of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is not regarded as an administrative decree; but rather the decree of suppression of the association, validated by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, based on the position of the Congregation.
The bishop’s decision regarding the Army of Mary leads us to look more closely at a second, related subject, namely, that of new religious movements and alleged sects.
From the dawn of Christianity, Christians were, quite rightly, considered a sect, since the word “sect” comes from the Latin verb sequor, sequeris, which means “to follow,” and Christians followed Jesus Christ. In the 21st century, the understanding of the word “sect” has evolved, with different meanings in the civilian and religious worlds. It has become a hot topic in France, like other countries, because of current civil and religious events.
On 12 June 2001, France passed a law « to strengthen the prevention and the suppression of sectarian movements » […] This law was immediately attacked by the Jehovah’s Witnesses before the European Court of Human Rights; but their appeal was dismissed on 6 November 2001. […] It is primarily within Catholicism that this notion of sect presents a pejorative connotation: the 1917 Code also defined negatively all the groupings that it considered schismatic or hostile, « Catholic” sects, “Masonic” sects, etc. The other major religions have a more positive or at least more neutral attitude vis-à-vis minority groups or « new religious movements,” even if they surprise or disturb the established religious order.
On 29 April 2016 in Dijon, at the conference of the secular world entitled The “Anti-sect » Battle: Assessment and Prospects, Thierry Bécourt confirms its intentions for 2002:
It is obvious that a current of intolerance runs across France and is being propagated in Europe. It reminds us of darker periods in our history. The spectre of Vichy threatens us… This nationalized intolerance that we live today in our country which says « rights of Man,” marks the beginning of a real loss of freedom, the freedom of thought… which, if we lose our vigilance, will open the door to totalitarianism.
Despite the subjective and therefore biased nature of these words, it is interesting to see how the Church behaves, and its justice in what Thierry Bécourt called « a new witch hunt.”
In canon law, the 1917 Code several times cited persons who gave their support, or who publicly joined a heretical or schismatic sect or the Masonic sect, or to societies of the same type, in forbidding them to participate in voting (canon 167), to be admitted to the novitiate (canon 542), to belong to an association (canon 693), to be godparents (canon 765), to marry in a religious ceremony (canon 1060), or to have a Christian burial (canon 1240). They were obliged to be declared “notorious,” and be excommunicated (canons 1214 §1 and 2335). Likewise forbidden were books dealing with Masonic sects and other societies of the same kind, which argue that they are useful and not harmful to the Church and civil society (canon 1399).
Currently, the 1983 Code partially contains these canons, without using the word “sect,” but preserving the word “heresy,” aware that belonging to an atheist sect is comparable to heresy. In addition to the Code, various pronouncements specify the position of the Magisterium.
In 1981, the Permanent Council of the Church of France created the group « Pastoral and Sects« , led by Jean Vernette.
On 3 May 1986, the Roman Curia published a document entitled « The Phenomenon of Sects or New Religious Movements: A Pastoral Challenge.” Taking into account the ecumenical and interreligious-dialogue approach, Philippe the Vallois distinguishes three cases:
On 5 April 1991, the fourth plenary meeting of the Consistory of Cardinals had for its theme « Sects or New Religious Movements,” in the five continents. Cardinal Arinze, then President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, set out « the challenge of sects or new religious movements, a pastoral approach » replacing the term « sect, » which was considered to have too many negative meanings, with the expression « new religious movements, » better adapted to cover new movements of protestant origin, sectarian groups which have Christian roots, new movements in Asian or African countries, and those of Gnostic or esoteric types. He called bishops to discernment, judging some of their reactions on the ground to have been excessive, and asked them to put aside condemnation, discrimination, and generalizations that apply to all new religious movements the negative aspects of a few.
On 15 November 1991, the Conference of the Bishops of France published « The Catholic Churches, the Sects and New Religious Movements in France.”
In 1996, Mgr. Jean Vernette criticized in the name of human rights the report on sects adopted on 22 December 1995 by the National Assembly’s Commission on Sects, published on 10 January 1996, which establishes a list of 173 « sectarian movements » based on secret works of general information and according to criteria which, in his opinion, can be applied to almost all established religions.
In 1997, Opus Dei reacted against a report on sects by Belgian Parliamentarians, which portrayed them as similar to this category, accusing them of » a fundamentalist and elitist Catholicism.”
In 2013, Yves Hamant, President of Istina, as well as other persons, addressed to the Bishops of France « a vigorous appeal to denounce practices of sectarian leanings within the institutions of the Church.” The President of the Conference of the Bishops of France responded in these terms on 7 November:
We have received this as the cry of people suffering within the heart of the Church because of what they have experienced personally or their relatives have experienced or still experience. We think of those who are injured, sometimes in the long term, by the behavior of some members of the Church. As the President of our Conference, I would like in the name of all of us to tell you say that these practices dismay and shock us. To assure you of our prayers for them is not enough; we want to bear with them their suffering, to assure them of our compassion, to help them in their reconstruction.
The result was the establishment of a cell for the sectarian drifts in Catholic communities within the Conference of the Bishops of France, as well as the publication in September 2014 of a list of criteria for the discernment of identifying behaviors of sects. Nothing was said, however, about the procedure to follow in the case of a presumed sectarian drift, and, in particular, about the protection of rights of the Catholic faithful who are members of the communities in question.
In a struggle characterized by secretly informing, exclusion and fear which evokes dark periods of history, three distinct types of difficulties appear:
Nobody is effectively immune from the phenomena of exclusion, resulting from a stigmatizing of deviant groups, as Pope Benedict XVI himself testified, four years before his resignation:
At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint.
Opus Dei learned this at its own expense, when Monsignor Jacques Trouslard, honorary canon, charged by the French church to the documentation on the sects, identified in them ten characteristics of sects. He was rewarded by the French State with the high distinction of Knight of the Legion of Honor.
Some French bishops have been recipients of reports of general information which are at the origin of the 1995 parliamentary report on sects, or of anti-sect groups such as UNADFI, largely subsidized by the French Government. Sometimes, on the pretext of this unverified information, they deny rights to members of movements considered to be sects, or attack their reputations without allowing them the right to self-defense.
By adopting the form of an open letter, the President of the French Bishops’ Conference made problem public, leaving it to the press to comment on his remarks. The press did not fail to do so, by citing possible « spiritual abuse » on the part of the Béatitudes, the Legionaries of Christ, the Point-Coeurs, the Community of Saint John… Contrary to canonical procedures protecting the reputation of the parties, it is to be feared that
They single them out in the media, often doing irreparable damage to the reputations of innocent people.
It happens that some members of groups designated as sects make contentious-administrative recourse against the position taken by administrative authority. After the recourses of members of the « Army of Mary » and of the association « Call to Action Nebraska,” here is a third example:
A member of a private association of the faithful that is the subject of a warning displayed in a monastery complained of damage to its reputation, because of a letter from ecclesiastical authority addressed to a person who had requested information on this association. The Supreme Tribunal did not accept the recourse to discussion, stating « that it has not been demonstrated that the disputed response-letter is an administrative act, because the hierarchy responded only to a woman who asked about this associations’ connection to the Church, noting the report of a French Senator and other internet sources.
In the face of this situation, a canonist can only speculate on the merits of the sources that the hierarchy uses, citing the parliamentary report on sects brought by well known Freemasons and the site www,sos-dérive-sectaire.fr, which refers explicitly to « the accuser of one’s brethren » as the webmaster of the site calls himself phonetically.
|One also wonders about the credibility of the advisers chosen by the French episcopate, namely Mgr. Trouslard who claimed to be « obsessed by sects,” and Mgr. Vernette, who has contracted a marriage. One finally has to deplore the fact that none of the three appeals filed which have come to our knowledge has been admitted to the discussion, which could reveal a problem that is structural, and not merely circumstantial.
As for the response of the President of the French Bishops’ Conference on sectarian tendencies within the Church, it is perhaps surprising that it sends the victims to the justice of the French State, without mentioning any of the canonical procedures in force within the Church.
We want to tell you forcefully that we wish to continue to act so that situations are clarified, so that truth may appear when necessary, and so that those who have been victims of deviant processes might find among the bishops an attentive ear and understanding. […] Some behaviors that you denounce fall within the criminal justice system. No one is above the law. The victims have the prerogative, if they wish, to lodge a complaint before the courts when this happens .
In failing to cite the ecclesiastical administrative justice, it seems that the Bishops of France consider that it does not play a role in identifying, limiting and resolving difficulties related to presumed sectarian tendencies within the Church. Without doubt this is it due in part to the lack of effect of organizations of dialogue, such as diocesan mediation committees, which Pope Francis however seems to value in his exhortation Evangelii Gaudium:
In its mission to foster a communion that is dynamic, open and missionary, he [the Bishop] should stimulate and search for the maturation of the organizations of participation proposed by the Code of Canon Law and other forms of pastoral dialogue, with the desire to listen to the whole world, and not just the few who are always quick to pay him compliments.
In conclusion, let us reflect upon these words of Pope Francis, applying them to the ecclesial communities rejected by the hierarchy:
A Church without martyrs… is a church without Jesus […]the greatest strength of the Church today is in the small churches, small, small, … persecuted.
 The competent Congregation in matters of private revelations is the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. However, the database of publications mentioned in Chapter 3, reports only four recourses relating to decrees emanating from this Congregation, of about 2,000 publications relating to contentious recourses. In addition, none of the cases identified makes explicit reference to a private revelation. Certainly, it is possible that jurisprudence exists for the transfer of parish priests or the suppression of an association, which constitutes one of the disciplinary measures imposed by the bishop in cases of presumed apparitions, but in this case, jurisprudence is very abundant and reference to the private revelation is not indicated in the subject of the recourse.
 Cf. Ratzinger, (Cardinal Joseph), theological places of private revelations, Comment on the Third Secret of Fatima, 13 May 2000. He distinguished between the time of the revelation, termed “public,” in opposition to « private revelations, » knowing that between these two realities, there is a difference not only in degree but in nature.
 We think, for example, of Saint Augustine, Saint Martin, Saint Joan of Arc, Saint Gertrude, Saint Francis of Assisi, St Francis de Sales, Saint Jeanne de Chantal, St Teresa of Avila, Saint Catherine Laboré, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Bernadette of Lourdes and the children of Fatima, Sister Faustina, Padre Pio…
 Bertone, (card. Tarcisio sdb), Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli, Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, « The message of Fatima” Fatima 13 May 2000
 Lebry (Léon Francis), Jean-Pierre Kutwa, miraculé et cardinal, Abidjan NEI-CEDA, 2015, 262 p.
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, letter of 15 May 2016, on the occasion of the Feast of Pentecost 2016.
 The www.miraclehunter.com website was developed by « Miracle Hunter » Michael O’Neill, a graduate of Stanford University, and a member of the Mariological Society of America. Cardinal Seán O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, MA. commented, « Thank you for sending me your site. It is excellent. »
 He identified more than 1 000 miracles, or at least alleged miracles, consisting of miraculous images, stigmata, incorrupt dead bodies, Eucharistic miracles and apparitions.
 This increase may reflect an increase in their real number, but it may also be the result of a better knowledge of apparitions due to greater media coverage.
 Mons. René Laurentin, prelate of His Holiness, is dead on Sunday 10 Septembre 2017, when getting quite 100 years old.
 Laurentin (Père René) « Multiplication des apparitions de la Vierge aujourd’hui » (Fayard 1995). The abrogation took place by Blessed Pope Paul VI, on 14 Octobre 1966 (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 29 Decembre 1966, p. 1186)
 Guadalupe (Mexique, 1531), Aparecida (Brésil, 1717), Rome (à Alphonse Ratisbonne en 1842), La Salette (France, 1846), Lourdes (France, 1858), Pontmain (France, 1871), Giertzwald (Pologne, 1877), Fatima (Portugal, 1917), Beauraing (Belgique, 1932), Banneux (Belgique, 1933), Amsterdam (Pays-Bas, 1945), Betania (Venezuela, 1976), Akita (Japon, 1973), Kibeho (Rwanda, 1981), Le Laus (France, 1664) et Champion (États-Unis, 1859).
 Laurentin, (Mgr. René), Mémoires. Chemin vers la lumière, Paris, 2005, Fayard, p. 332/624.
 Barbu, (Mgr. Francis), « Que penser de Kerizinen ? Une réponse de Rome, la position de l’Evêque diocésain », Quimper, June-July 1975, drawn from the archives of the Association of Friends of Kérizinen.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 66 and 67.
 AAS 58/16.
 Can. 2318 : § 1 In the excommunications especially reserved to the Apostolic See, after the publication of the book, the publishers of books of apostates, of heretics and schismatics, which support apostasy, heresy or schism. The same punishment for those who defend these books or other works specifically condemned by apostolic letters, or knowingly the read or retain them without the required permission. § 2 The authors and publishers who print, without the required permission, books of Sacred Scripture, or notes and comments on these books, incur by that fact an excommunication which is not reserved.
Canon 2318 : carried penalties against those who violated the laws of censure and prohibition. This canon has been abrogated [revoked] since 1966. Non can incur ecclesiastical censure for frequenting places of apparitions, even those not recognized by the Ordinaries of their dioceses or by the Holy Father. Also, “those who would have incurred the censured treatment in Canon 2318 will be likewise absolved by the very facts of the abrogation [revocation] of this Canon.”
The criteria have been kept secret for 37 years, and then made public after informal versions circulated everywhere in the world. In fact, the publication of the procedural standards is not only useful to pastors, who were already informed, but also and especially to the faithful who may inform themselves of the laws which apply to them and, therefore, seek to discern the alleged revelations and perform the recourse that they consider timely, in cases where they would feel aggrieved by administrative decisions considered to be illegitimate.
A) Positive Criteria:
It is to be noted that these criteria, be they positive or negative, are not peremptory but rather indicative, and they should be applied cumulatively or with some mutual convergence.
 Lesserteur (R.P.), Already for a long time, the Holy Office had recognized that there was nothing wrong with the apparitions of Tilly, and the Pontiff, who had himself read with great emotion the journal of the religious of the school, had given the order to complete the information and make a decision. Mgr. Amette [Cardinal of Paris] objected, rushed to Rome, and argued for reasons of expediency, to postpone the proclamation of a favorable decision. […] In the first months of last year (1908), Pius X ordered again the case to be resumed. Mgr. Amette ran again. […] The pope would then have let himself be persuaded, and would have ordered to wait. Pierre-Marie GRÜNNEISSEN, Présence mariale à Tilly sur Seulles, ed. Les Amis de Tilly (1996), p. 104-105.
 Fauvel (Mgr. André) « We had in addition prohibited all priests and to go to Kérizinen or to advise it to anybody. Learning that the faithful continue to go there, we formally prohibit any form of devotion and worship at Kérizinen. » Translated from La semaine religieuse de Quimper, 24 March 1961.
 Curty (Père Christian) : Has the canonical investigation of your predecessor been conducted according to all of the legal standards required by law? Has each of the witnesses really and separately been interrogated? From the moment that it was maintained that there is no supernatural dimension, what explanation has been found about the 120 Latin quotations of scriptural or liturgical origin, that clearly Madeleine was not able to improvise or tap into the subconscious part of her memory, and that she could not be under the influence of her parish priest, also outdone by the facts? Have the ‘Fruits’ of this tree really been studied: the healings deemed complete and definitively recognized as ‘inexplicable’ by medicine, conversions that are profound and sometimes surprising and long-lasting, either obtained spontaneously on the Butte, on the occasion of a pilgrimage, or indirectly connected to the facts of Dozulé? Is there interest in the fact that many vocations (seminarians, consecrated religious) have recognized at Dozulé their point of departure and of awakening? Such are some of the many questions, which have not yet received a response and which have puzzled many of our Christian brothers engaged in pastoral care, whereas the Second Vatican Council asked them to overcome the passive obedience to which they were accustomed, in order to exercise an obedience now active and intelligent, and therefore informed and motivated. Translated from www.ressource.fr/devoilement/esprit_saint_devoile/E(-217).pdf
 The message was rejected by the bishop under the pretext that the alleged request of Jesus to Madeleine Aumont, « Tell the Church to raise a cross [738 m] and at its feet, a sanctuary » seemed impossible to him. Yet a comprehensive study proving its feasibility was presented to local elected officials on 8 January 1997, and since then, a tower 828 m tall was erected in Dubai in 2010.
 Ladaria (Luis), Archevêque de titulaire de Thibica, Secrétaire de la Congrégation pour la Doctrine de la Foi, Prot 19/1984-36132, 25 juillet 2011.
 Argüelles (Mgr Ramón Cabrera) : extracts from the decree of recognition of 9 December 2015; English text drawn from www.splendorofthechurch.com.ph/2015/09/13/Lipa-appearance-of-our-lady-officially-declared-authentic-by-Archbishop-Arguelles/ and from http://fr.aleteia.org/2015/09/28/je-suis-marie-mediatrice-de-toutes-graces/ on 20 May 2016.
 Ouellet (Cardinal Marc), presentation of the document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Iuvenescit https://fr.zenit.org/articles/importance-ecclesiale-des-charismes-par-le-card-ouellet/
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, letter of 15 May 2016. www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20160516_iuvenescit-ecclesia_en.html
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, « Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations » www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19780225_norme-apparizioni_en.html
 Greiner (Philippe), Dean of the Faculty of Canon Law of Paris, « l’encadrement juridique du prosélytisme, en droit grec, français, européen (1950) et en droit canonique catholique romain. » Thesis presented 19 February 2005, at the Catholic Institute of Paris, p. 455.
 In the Moorish language, the word “Bangtaba” means « Let’s sit down and get to know each other. »
 Although this is the same person, we will distinguish Sister Eugénia Ravasio during the period 1931-1935, from Mother Eugénia during the period 1935-1990 which concerns our study.
 This event transformed the private revelation from personal to public.
 The confinement of a believer in a psychiatric hospital because of his faith is not the prerogative of the Catholic Church. This was encountered frequently in the Soviet Union, and Canonists without Borders has received testimony from Muslim countries where followers of Islam are still interned when they begin to turn to another religion.
 The detractors of Mother Eugénia commenced a civil trial against her, and had her imprisoned in 1972, then had her condemned with a reprieve on appeal in 1977. She was mainly accused by her detractors of having created Catholic Unity in her own self-interest, and not to hoor God the Father through Jesus.
 “The danger, in both faith and worship, is to confuse the divine Persons, or to divide their unique nature; because the Catholic faith worships only one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. Also, Innocent XII, our predecessor, refused absolutely, despite strong representations, to authorize a special feast in honor of the Father. If we celebrate in particular the mysteries of the incarnate Word, there is no feast honoring only the divine nature of the Word, and solemnities of Pentecost were themselves established from the earliest years, not in order to honor exclusively the Holy Spirit for Himself but to remind us of His descent, that is to say, his external mission.”
 A dozen media organizations recount the events. Among them several media organizations of Burundians, including Iwacu, the Africa Report, the bulletin of liaison and information of the Salesians of the Great Lakes, as well as those of the ministries of the Interior of Burundi and of the Canadian Department of Justice https://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/
 The Friends of Zébiya claim to be Christians like the others, prevented from praying as they wish. The State invites them to base their own church outside of the Catholic Church. The parish priest claims to have narrowly escaped physical violence. The Bishop feels that disobedience, arrogance, rebellion, lies, etc. characterize the group.
 NSENGIYUMVA (P. Rémy, SDB), Curé de la Paroisse, « L’attaque des adeptes de Mlle Eusebie NGENDAKUMANA à la paroisse de Rukago » in Bulletin de liaison et d’information pour la Quasi-Province salésienne de l’Afrique de Grands Lacs (AGL), AGL News, Mars 2013, www.sdbagl.org/PDF/aglnewsmars03.pdf consulted on May 5, 2016.
 Segatwa (avocat Fabien) : extract of a letter of 10 March 2013 to the bishop of Ngozi: « With their meager resources, they have built a modern orphanage which welcomed from the outset 50 young orphans. »
 The parish council of Rukago made the decision to prohibit access to the Church to any girl or woman wearing pieces of cloth on her head. The Ordinary has formally prohibited all worship at Businde and he asked Ms. Eusébie and « her followers » to stop any activity which is detrimental to the unity and communion of the Church.
 More than 12 000 people participated in the inauguration.
 The visionary was received for 45 minutes by the bishop on December 28, 1974, after a third interdict on his part on May 20, 1973 and before a fourth interdict on 12 July 1975.
 Can. 1740 —When the ministry of any pastor becomes harmful or at least ineffective for any cause, even through no grave personal negligence, the diocesan bishop can remove him from the parish.
 On Friday, 12 October 1956, Monseigneur Fauvel, Bishop of Quimper and Léon, launched a first interdict on Kérizinen which was published in la Semaine Religieuse of Quimper: « Regarding the alleged apparitions of Kérizinen in Plounévez-Lochrist, we note the following points: 1.- the building that is there was built despite our express prohibition, expressed in writing and sent to the interested parties. No priest has received from us power to bless this building. 2.- We forbid all, priests and religious, to go to Kérizinen or to advise anyone to go there. (This note will be read from the pulpit next Sunday, 14 October, at all Masses in churches and chapels). To this interdict, the Association of Friends of Kérizinen responded that the prohibition was initiated without a canonical investigation and without warning and that, contrary to the assertion of the bishop, Jeanne-Louise has never received any express prohibition concerning the construction of a building but that on the contrary, she had received verbal authorization from the Vicar General to build an oratory on her property.
 A Lipa, Carmel has been quarantined with an interdict on any person to enter and on the Sisters to leave (except for taking courses).
 The abbot l’Horset, parish priest of Dozulé, was transferred when he wrote a book on this subject.
 At Lipa, the Mother Superior of the Carmel was transferred.
 At Lipa (Philippines), the two bishops of the place favorable to the events of 1948 were transferred to give place to a bishop who decreed in 1951 that the events were of a non-supernatural character. After their departure, there became known on 2 February 2017″ the « abdication » of Archbishop Ramon C. Argüelles, shortly after he recognized the supernatural character of the apparitions.
 Father Herman Harakandila was the superior of the Missionary Congregation of the Apostles of the Good Shepherd, erected in 1989 by Mgr. Ruhuna the Archbishop of Gitega, in Burundi, with the aim of encouraging priestly vocations and the mission, at the time when the Government of Burundi ousted huge numbers of foreign religious. Having supported the Marian apparition of « Our Lady the Queen of Africa,” he was forbidden to celebrate Mass, while the State put him in prison. According to a witness, the State would have proposed to let him out of jail, if he no longer promoted the apparition. He would have refused. Later the Bishops obtained his release, and sent a priest to him, before whom he finally signed a declaration by which he denied the apparition. Fifteen days later, he retracted this and disappeared into obscurity, and so his religious order had to obtain a decree of exclaustration. Following the disappearance of its two founders, Mgr. Ruhuna, who was murdered in 1996, and Father Herman, the new superior general of the young congregation made a call to Aid to the Church in Need to survive. Sources: White Fathers of Gitega, Church in Need, www.youtube.com/watch?v=sJ1ktdUzieA consulted on 21 September 2014.
 At Lipa, on his death bed, one of the bishops involved may have said that they had forced the members of the 1951 Commission to recognize the non-supernatural character of the apparitions, under threat of excommunication.
 In Italy, Mother Eugénia did not receive support from the Church when she was imprisoned by the Italian State, upon her denunciation, probably fallacious, by religious of the congregation that she had directed. In Burundi, Father Hermann was imprisoned by the civil authorities, and the Church obtained his release at the price of his renunciation of his faith in the apparitions of Businde.
 Laurentin (Mgr René), Mémoires, chemin vers la lumière, Paris 2005, Fayard, p. 351, 558, 559.
 Vachon (cardinal Louis-André), Decree of suppression of the public association « Ark of Mary » May 4, 1987 in La Documentation catholique, t. 84, No. 1946, 6-20 September 1987, p. 864.
 At Kerizinen, a letter of supplication of October 7, 1956 addressed to Monseigneur Fauvel, Bishop of Quimper and Léon and countersigned by 356 people, is kept in the archives (she asked for a Mass instead of the apparitions). It was not sent, because of the interdict which occurred 5 days later. http://kerizinen.free.fr/messagef2.htm
 On 24 March 1961, Monseigneur Fauvel, Bishop of Quimper and Léon, had printed in la Semaine Religieuse of Quimper a second prohibition on Kérizinen: « In a note published in la Semaine Religieuse of 12 October 1956, and read in all the churches and chapels of the Diocese The following Sunday 14 October, we specified that a building had been built in Kérizinen despite our express prohibition. We had, in addition, prohibited all priests and religious to go to Kérizinen or to encourage anyone else to go there. Learning that the faithful continue to go there, we formally prohibited any form of devotion and worship at Kérizinen. We hope that this prohibition will be observed and that we will not have to resort to more serious measures. » To this prohibition, the Association of Friends of Kérizinen replied that to their knowledge, the second interdict was imposed without canonical investigation and without warning.
 On March 28, 1975, after the celebration of the Passion at 10:30 PM, the priest recommended to the approximately 50 persons in attendance to be silent about what they had seen and heard and do not understand. www.ressource.fr/francais/messages/messages21a30.html
 Cf message de Bishop Pican, supra..
 The Bishop of Quimper and Léon published the 21 June 1975 decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that he commented on as well: « … the devotion maintained in this place and the cult that it wants to introduce are not in harmony with the Catholic faith, and must not be favored by the leaders of the Church. […] Those who propagate these messages and are working to promote a cult based on them are doing—perhaps in good faith, which is their excuse—a harmful work within the People of God. »
 In the Middle Ages, the Church delivered the « criminals of the faith » over to the secular power. Today, it is observed that the Church denounces to the secular power, or at least refrains from defending the Catholic faithful who were the beneficiaries of apparitions, such as Mrs. Madeleine Aumont, put under guardianship and placed against her will in a retirement home in Livarot.
 From 1961 to 1965, very many people have been witnesses to inexplicable events, which then have made the headlines and given rise to a commission of inquiry, […] « On 22 August 1961, the members of the Commission appointed by the Bishop arrived at Garabandal, with the mission to study these strange phenomena. They were two or three priests, a physician and a photographer. Their conduct during the course of this evening does not seem to be able to be cited as an example: with regard to the observation of the events themselves, their provisions of impartiality, the extent of their gestures and their discomfort. […] For this last [Conchita], began the same day [27 July 1961] the testing arranged by the members of the Commission, Dr. Don José Luis Pinal and the priest Francisco Odriozola. To the tests, which weree more or less mental or emotional, was added a change of scene: presence at the beach, at performances, entertainment, etc. […] With this intensive treatment of worldliness, they used during their interviews with the girl certain techniques: a mixture of flattery and threats, those who were acting on behalf of the Commission finally arrived at what apparently they wished for, to extract from Conchita « evidence » against the veracity of everything that had happened. » (Cf. Eusebio GARCIA DE Pesquera, Garabandal, faits et dates, Résiac 2008, p. 31/152 p.)
On 9 October 1968, the secretariat of the bishopric of Santander published a note in the Official Bulletin of the Diocese (Boletin O. del Obispado, noviembre 1968 p. 465.) about the alleged apparitions of Garabandal, recalling canon 1399 No. 5 of the 1917 Code of 1917, whereas this had been repealed. According to Father Eusebio GARCIA DE Pesquera, Garabandal, faits et dates, Résiac 2008, p. 103-104/152 p., « It was not a canonical condemnation, since no canonical trial, no study worthy of this name had preceded this note. » However, he recalled that « In Spain, at that time, the word of a bishop was regarded as indisputable.” (Cf. Eusebio GARCIA DE Pesquera, Garabandal, faits et dates, Résiac 2008, p. 103-104/152 p.)
 Guillon (Mgr. Clément), extracts from the letter and note of 16 November 2007 addressed to the President of the Association of Friends of Kérizinen. (Archives of the Association)
 N We have seen particularly that the imprimatur had been lifted for the publication of books relating to apparitions.
 In 1951, no contentious-administrative recourse was possible, since the second section of the Supreme Tribunal was not yet created. Even if it had been created, contentious-administrative recourse would have been impossible to win, because evidence of a possible violation of the law was not known to the visionary or her friends.
 Cf. Zulueta, Lito (June 1, 2016). « Vatican overrules Batangas bishop; declared 1948 Marian apparitions not genuine.” The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 6 June 2016. Eugenio, Damiana L. (1996). Philippine folk literature: The Legends. University of the Philippines. p. 109. ISBN 978-971-8729-05-2; « Vatican reverses ruling on Lipa Marian apparition.” GMA News. June 3, 2016. Retrieved June 6, 2016.
 Hoyeau (Céline), in La Croix urbi & orbi of 6 June 2016: It is this decree that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has called « null and void,” « In light of the fact that the 1951 Declaration was a decision confirmed by the Sovereign Pontiff and therefore final.” « The subject of the phenomenon of Lipa does not fall under the authority of the local diocesan bishop,” said the decree of the CDF.
 E-mail addressed to the author on 3 February 2017.
 E-mails addressed to the author on 4 and 6 Septembre 2017.
 Prot 18881/87/CA, Studia Canonica, 25 (1991), p 403-415.
 Védrine (Hubert) French Minister of Foreign Affairs, letter of 6 December 1999 to Mr. Albright, terminating the diplomatic dialogue of France with the United States on the theme of religious freedom, cited by Etienne OLLION, Raison d’Etat, histoire de la lutte contre les sectes en France, édition La découverte, 2017, April 2017, 360 p
 Werckmeister (Jean), « les sectes », in Revue de droit canonique, 51/1, 2001,
p. 3-4. « It is worth noting that in the same magazine (p. 44), Le Vallois (Philippe) is opposed to the appreciation of intolerance for only Catholics, in recalling how the Protestants are shown to have been intransigent vis-a-vis the Anabaptist sect.
 Bécourt (Thierry), La nouvelle chasse aux sorcières, Paris, Omnium éditions, 1992, 111 p.
 Before 1954, it was mainly the freemasons, Socialists, Old Catholics, communists, and of the school of the teaching of Jean Mace, then in 1954, two brother preachers clarified the context, namely H. CH. CHARY, L’offensive des sectes, Paris Cerf et M. B. Lavaud Sectes modernes et foi catholique, (Paris Aubier), by attracting the wrath of Protestant authors like Jean Seguy, Les sectes protestantes dans la France contemporaine, Paris 1956, Beauchesne & Fils.
Messner (Francis), Les Nouvelles religions, cours reprographié, Strasbourg, USHS, 1988, p. 33 cited by Le Vallois (Philippe) « Définition de la secte et attitudes envers les sectes dans l’Église catholique romaine » in Revue de droit canonique, 51/1, 2001, p. 53-73.
 Can. 2314 § 1 All apostates of the Christian faith, all heretics or schismatics and each of them:
1° incur by the fact itself an excommunication;
2° if after a warning, they do not come to recant, they are to be deprived of any profit, dignity, pension, office or other charge, if they had these in the Church, and are to be declared infamous; after two warnings, those who are clerics must be removed.
3° if they have given their name to a non-Catholic sect or have publicly adhered to one, they are infamous by that very fact; taking into account the prescription of can. 188 n. 4, that clerics, after an inefficcious warning, are to be demoted.
 Cf. c. 316 for accession to a public association, c. 1041 for validly receiving the sacrament of orders, c. 1124 for marriage, c. 1184 for ecclesiastical funerals.
Response of the CPI/17-67 of 30-07-1934 (AAS 26  494; DC 32  col. 901-902).
 Vernette (Jean Maurice), born on 26 February 1929 in Port Vendres, ordained a priest of the Diocese of Montauban on March 30, 1952, doctor of theology, licentiate in philosophy and canon law, was known for his great knowledge of sects. In 1973, the Permanent Council of the French Bishops’ Conference appointed him delegate to the episcopate for questions on sects and new religious movements. He published many books on sects between 1976 and 2001, including Sectes et réveil religieux Quand l’occident s’éveille, Salvator, Mulhouse, 1976 and Les sectes, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, coll. « Que sais-je ? », No. 2519, 1990 or Dictionnaire des groupes religieux aujourd’hui, with Claire Moncelon, Presses universitaires de France, 2001.
 Arinze (Cardinal Francis), Le défi des sectes ou des nouveaux mouvements religieux, approche pastorale, in DC 19 mai 1991, No 2028, p. 483-499.
 Document-Episcopat No 15, novembre 1991, p. 3, col 2.
 The report was approved on 22 December 1995 by the seven members present, eight days after the massacre of the Solar Temple, including relatives of the victims and the filmmaker Yves Boisset have declared after the fact that it was not a collective suicide but a murder with a flamethrower. www.assemblee-nationale.fr/rap-enq/r2468.asp
 Outside of France, the Parliamentary report has been the subject of violent criticism, including that of Massimo Introvigne and J. Gordon Melton « Pour en finir avec les sectes le débat sur le rapport de la commission parlementaire. » http://ec.cef.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/05/pontier_reponse_hamant.pdf
 Sorlin (Soeur Chantal-Marie), on the staff of the Bureau des Dérives Sectaires www.eglise.catholique.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2015/03/CRIT%C3%88RES-sep.-2014.pdf
 Benedict XVI, , « Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
to the Bishops of the Catholic Church Concerning the Remission of the Excommunication of the Four Bishops Consecrated by Archbishop Lefebvre,” Vatican City, 10 March 2009, http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/letters/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20090310_remissione-scomunica.html
 Trouslard (Jacques), Communication aux chefs d’Établissement de l’Enseignement Catholique. This document, put online by the Church of Scientology on October 18, 2002, was removed on 11 June 2006, at the request of the Apostolic Nuncio. http://scientologie.fraude.free.fr/12/opus-dosnon.htm, but parts of it may be found on other sites, like www.prevensectes.com/opus11.htm, consulted 17 December 2016.
 Decree of 13 July 2001, on the promotion and appointment to the Legion of Honor, JORF No.162 of 14 July 2001 p. 11,337.
 Cotton (Marc-André) « L’Etat inquisiteur », Editions des 3 monts, 3rd edition, Auxerre 2010, p. 14.
 Prot 49737/14 CA, cases submitted to Canonists without Borders.
 http://opuslibre.free.fr/v/spip.php?article22 Mgr. Trouslard joked about the phonetic similarity between being “obsessed by sects” that no one mentions, and being “obsessed by sex” that people speak about often.
 Vernette (Mgr. Jean-Maurice) He got married on July 24, 2002 in Toulouse to Ms. Liliane Josette Moncelon, whose name is in reality Claire, Liliane, Josette, as was recalled on 20 December 2002 by the family affairs judge of the Superior Court of Tours (France).
 Francis (Pope) Homily of 30 January 2017, during morning Mass in the house-chapel of Saint Martha, Vatican City.
In the strict sense, the title should be « justice for the institutes of consecrated life by the profession of the evangelical counsels, the societies of apostolic life as well as their members, » but this title is long and also does not cover all the varieties of charisms and of rights, since there are religious and secular institutes, active and contemplative religious, hermits etc. We will therefore use the generic terms « religious » for members of religious institutes, and « consecrated » understood in the broader sense, for the whole of the persons referred to in the title above.
In the first place, let us express our deep gratitude to those of our contemporaries who devote their lives to intercession and selfless activity for the world and also for us, in the consecrated life within the Church. They are many:
In 2014, there were 54,559 professed religious non-priests in the world, while there were 682,729 professed religious, nearly [270,000] (39%) in Europe, 177,000 in America and 170,000 in Asia.
And here is their distribution in France:
After the decree of the Second Vatican Council Perfectae Caritatis, on the renovation and adaptation of the religious life, the magisterium devoted their five great specific texts, while Pope Francis reminds his workers about this:
Those who are disobedient must learn the beauty and the need of obedience, the tranquillity of soul that it provides […] In fact, as the saints and doctors of the Church teach, it is obedience which truly forms religious.
The Code of Canon Law devoted to religious a third part of its Book II, with 158 canons concerning institutes of consecrated life (c. 573 to 730) and 19 canons relating to societies of apostolic life (c. 731 to 749). Authors such as Jean Beyer have published several books of commentary on these canons, without however dealing with the applicable jurisprudence from the 177 corresponding canons.
The rights and obligations of religious actually result from the combination of five different rights, and several courts whose respective competences are specified to the Canon 1427:
Compared to the simple faithful, religious who have taken the vow of obedience are subject to additional deprivation of freedom, like the employees of a business. Here is an example:
Upon his return from Sweden, Pope Francis responded to journalists about the charismatic renewal. He remembered his own reluctance during the birth of this movement, when he imposed specific rules on the Jesuits he headed: « One of the first opponents in Argentina was myself – because I was Jesuit provincial at that time (…) and I prohibited the Jesuits to have any connection with them. And I said publicly that when in a liturgical celebration it was necessary to do a liturgy and not a « samba school » (escuela do Samba). That is what I said. And today I think the opposite. ».
In general, religious accept the restrictions imposed by their superior as a mark of love, but sometimes, rightly or wrongly, they do not understand or do not recognize these restrictions. Elizabeth McDonough made a synthesis of their rights, such as provided for by the Code of Canon Law:
The Code of Canon Law directly or indirectly expresses very few rights for members of religious institutes; on the other hand, many rights their are limited as a consequence of their religious profession. As well, the only three rights clearly identified for the religious seem to be:
When tensions arise inside a religious community, the religious concerned must respect their vow of obedience, knowing however that they are not required to obey an order if it is illegal or contrary to the spirit and the charism of the institute, as was indicated in particular in the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelica Testificato, on the renewal of religious life:
And yet, is it not possible to have conflicts between the superior’s authority and the conscience of the religious, the « sanctuary of a person where he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in the depths of his being » (Gaudium et Spes 16)? Need we repeat that conscience on its own is not the arbiter of the moral worth of the actions which it inspires? It must take account of objective norms and, if necessary, reform and rectify itself. Apart from an order manifestly contrary to the laws of God or the constitutions of the institute, or one involving a serious and certain evil—in which case there is no obligation to obey—the superior’s decisions concern a field in which the calculation of the greater good can vary according to the point of view. To conclude from the fact that a directive seems objectively less good that it is unlawful and contrary to conscience would mean an unrealistic disregard of the obscurity and ambivalence of many human realities. Besides, refusal to obey involves an often serious loss for the common good. A religious should not easily conclude that there is a contradiction between the judgment of his conscience and that of his superior. This exceptional situation will sometimes involve true interior suffering, after the pattern of Christ Himself « who learned obedience through suffering (Heb 5, 8).”
The Apostolic Exhortation evokes the salutary suffering between the point of view of a religious and that of his superior, who must maintain ecclesial communion with appropriate penalties, in compliance with the rules of law. Normally, the rights and obligations of consecrated persons are respected within the religious institutes or secular of apostolic life themselves, by the fact that the superiors exercise their authority with « firmness without rigor and sweetness without weakness,” in respecting the law and human persons, in accordance with canons 617 et 618. The question nevertheless arises of what happens when the right is not respected by the religious or by his superior.
In her doctoral thesis, Scholastica Empela Ankonelle referred to situations where a religious community becomes a place suffocating, of suffering and despair:
Community life is visibly marked by behavior contrary to what is meant by a community united in the name of the Lord […] Where superiors or the authorities tend to promote their ethnic group to the detriment of the general interest, […] the indifference of some and of others, the denigration, the negative criticism, idleness and the jealousy, the defamation and the lack of confidence make the brotherhood a yoke difficult to bear.
She considers that:
The crisis of authority influences that of the vow of obedience, by the lack of awareness of the rights and obligations of both.
Michael Rosinski observed that conflicts within all human groups are normal, but superiors of religious institutes are not always well trained to resolve difficult cases.
Superior of religious institutes rightly have discretionary authority to address matters, including disciplinary matters, about which the law is silent. Rarely however, do superior in religious life have adequate experience of training to address complex disciplinary cases in ways that follow the relevant law, respect the right of all parties, and ensure the safety of potential new victims.
More generally, Josu Mirena Alday refers to six different ways of living one’s membership in a religious institute marked by problems of authority and of fraternal life:
Also here, she does not mention explicitly making recourse to the justice of the Church in the history of the Sisters of Saint Therese of the Child Jesus in Lisala (DRC), to strengthen their identity as consecrated persons, do justice and bring peace.
Still, there are many cases of religious who, rightly or wrongly, feel harassed in their own religious community, and they look to their superiors or to a canonist to find support in order to objectify their situation. Here is first of all an interesting case where one sees a superior, before becoming Pope, apply sanctions to protect the common good of the community, respecting the right of defense of the religious concerned.
When he was provincial superior of the Jesuits of Argentina, Jorgse Mario Bergoglio imposed sanctions at the end of the 1970’s, against the Jesuit Fathers Orlando Y. and Francisco J. who experimented with a form of liberation theology deemed unacceptable. He formally recalled them, ordering them to move elsewhere and to dissolve the community that they had created. Before their refusal, he reiterated his order but they made objections of conscience. Thus Bergolio contacted the General of the Jesuits in Rome, Pedro Arrupe, who responded that both of them had to obey.
In this example, one almost has the impression that it is the Provincial Superior who made a hierarchical recourse against the objection of conscience of Jesuits religious. Yet the most frequent case is recourse of religious against decisions of their superior that they consider illegal, or at least illegitimate. In fact, there are cases where a religious undergoes harassment, theoretically illegal under French law, but often he endures it because of his vow of obedience. In such situations, recourses are rare, since in general, the conflict ends by a submission or an amicable agreement, dismissal of the religious, or by his transfer to another place, as in the two examples below reported by Marco Politi:
Since the 1970’s, 152 Via Ostiense has been the seat of the community of Saint Paul, formed after the dismissal of the former abbot-bishop of the old monastery of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, Giovanni F., for having denounced the involvement of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in real estate speculation in Rome.
In 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith imposed two years of silence on Sister Ivone G., ex-professor of theology at the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil: prohibition of teaching, publishing, speaking in public and giving interviews. She is currently exiled in Belgium.
We do not have the information or the experience necessary to discuss justice inside religious institutes, and such is not our subject. We speak, however, of the importance of preventative measures to avoid conflicts:
The Bishop of Nouakchott (Mauritania) celebrated every day his Mass in a parish or different religious community, so that he regularly attended the religious communities of his episcopal city. Thus, he knew enough to feel a possible tension between members. In such cases, he took the time to sit down to identify the problem with the persons concerned and resolve the problem before it festered. With regard to the religious houses located in his diocese extended over a million km², he keeps himself informed of what is happening, welcoming visitors of any kind who come.
In other cases, the superiors are not as vigilant and situations fester, and then religious make an appeal to higher authorities:
In Africa, a contemplative monk discovered illegal trade between the superior of the convent and the ladies of the city, associated with transgressions of ecclesiastical laws with respect to the temporal administration of goods and child pornography. Serving as a member of the Superior Council, in accordance with the suffrage of the Community, he asked for clarification and respect for the Constitutions, but his requests were ignored. He dissociated himself explicitly from these practices involving several members of the community, then the supreme moderator asked him to be patient. In March 2016, the Abbot General made a canonical visit, but the complaints of the monk were apparently ignored, and he was exiled to another community in the religious order, on the grounds of « disrupting the peace.” With the help of Canonists without Borders, the religious tried to objectify the law and justice in the spirit of teaching on authority and obedience, and considerations on the possibility of making recourse, as discussed in Chapter 12 of this book.
If preventative measures are not implemented or are not sufficient, and tensions are not resolved inside the institute, let us see whether the organs of ecclesiastical justice manage to resolve these difficulties. This situation usually occurs when a religious has no more hope of resolving the conflict through dialogue, for example, when after years of consecrated life, where he has given all of himself, threats are made of temporary dismissal (exclaustration) or final dismissal, and this threat begins to be put into execution.
This does not happen often because in general, religious are not familiar with their rights, and even less with the means to defend them. In addition, superiors sometimes prevent the religious from making external contacts when they have the impression of an unjust situation in their community, as shown in the motion to expel a Brazilian religious, containing the following clause prohibiting the religious of continue its contacts with canonists without authorization:
I ask you to ask the normal permissions (for departures, moving, external contacts…) to Father…
In other cases, abuse seem to come not from superiors but of religious as seen in the case below:
A Carmelite sister suffered from clinical depression in a convent, but then she seemed to recover and made her final vows. Shortly thereafter, she left the convent and her relatives were given to think that the Carmel was the cause of her illness. Therefore they sued the Carmel in civil court, claiming damages and substantial interest, which the judge awarded them. The amount of the settlement was a significant sum for the Carmel, and so as a result, the sisters who remained faithful have lived in great poverty ever since.
In this case, canon law applies to the acceptance of the final vows of the religious, and to the departure of the religious from the convent; but it may be asked whether, in the case mentioned, it was applied correctly. The law of the State (labor law) is applied to relatives of the former religious in relation to her convent. In such cases, one may ask if the superiors were not too intransigent with the religious when she was still in the convent; or, alternately, if they acted correctly, but then made procedural mistakes in the course of the trial, being poorly advised legally, or if finally the judge acted in a biased manner, being influenced by anticlerical prejudices.
In the event of insurmountable difficulties with the dialogue, a first level of mediation can allow internal tensions to be resolved. Various organizations work in support of religious institutes and/or their members.
They act in particular in favor of religious, but the absence of contradictory procedure with their institutes can create a risk of prejudice in favor of false victims:
The following two act in favor of the religious institutes, in seeking to protect them legally against actions taken against them by the State or by their own members:
There is finally a body that acts in different ways, respecting the right of defense of the two parties, namely the « Welcome Mediation Service for Religious Life and Community » (SAM), created under the authority of the Coordinating Committee of the Episcopal Commission of Consecrated Life and Conferences of Major Superiors within the Conference of the Bishops of France. Its aim is the following:
…Welcome and listen to persons (parents, members of communities old or new, former members) aggrieved by the actions of a Catholic community and/or denouncing its malfunctions (abuse of authority, mismanagement of property, manipulation…) 
The SAM supported a low number of mediations, but plays an essential role in listening to and pacifying people who make contact with [it]. The most important result is without doubt that of having benefited from its experience to inspire recommendations which aim to prevent future conflicts. It is also likely that the discretion (that can be judged excessive) of the SAM limits the number of appeals which are sent to it. […] The SAM is an innovation of the Church of France, which apparently has no equivalent elsewhere. The SAM has shared the fruits of its experience in many interesting and useful ways, in publishing two reports on points of attention to respect: one, in April 2005, on « Psychological and Spiritual Rapport in Communities. Confusion to avoid »; the other, in September 2008, on « Points of Vigilance Regarding the Religious or Community Life.” […] The Church is therefore not devoid of means to ensure the protection of the faithful who engage in the religious life.
Thus, despite its lack of legitimacy, « Canonists without Borders » remains necessary to inform religious who want to know which law applies to them and how to enforce it. When receiving requests from members of a French Congregation, Canonists without Borders used to advise them to apply to SAM. Let us see what happened:
On 11 May 2016, a religious of Niger learned that she was not authorized to make final vows after five years of temporary vows. As she insisted, the superior of the convent threw her outside with her luggage; but not knowing where to go, she sat in front of the convent, until two days later, the faithful were upset and told the bishop, who welcomed her in the premises of the cathedral. At first sight, the decision of non-admission has three irregularities since it was made by the Vice-Provincial and not the General Superior, it had not been preceded by any of the monitions required by canon 697, and it did not contain specific elements of the grievances that would allow the religious to exercise her right of defense. With the help of a judge from the diocesan tribunal, the sister then made hierarchical recourse to the Superior General, who called her several times on the phone announcing a written response, but nothing came. Then, the judge directed her to Canonists without borders,which in turn sent her to the welcoming and mediation service of the Conference of the Bishops of France (SAM), which responded on 8 December 2016 without even having investigated: « The Superior General is responsible for the phases of the religious life, [the sister] must therefore accept this decision. The time limit for appeal is 10 days, which has long since passed. The SAM therefore cannot help.” When questioned on this refusal, the SAM responded informally to Canonists without Borders that to engage in mediation, there must be two, which suggests that the congregation of the sister was contacted by the SAM, and had refused the principle of a mediation. On 21 December 2016, the congregation sent her a letter of dismissal dated November 8, 2016, asking her to leave the religious habit.
Sometimes, instead, the intervention is beneficial:
Having been expelled from his congregation, whose leaders behaved in a totalitarian manner, and no longer have any means of subsistence, the state of health of a religious was deeply affected when he appealed to Canonists without Borders. He was encouraged to maintain his confidence in God, avoiding the two pitfalls of shame and hatred, and to defend his rights by contacting the SAM. The latter then conducted a mediation, which allowed him little by little to obtain a indult of exclaustration under satisfactory conditions.
The second level of juridic recourse is that of classic hierarchical administrative recourse, as per canons 1732ff. From his investigation in the American dioceses, James Provost found that the number of hierarchical recourses by religious is low, since he only counted two recourses in 141 dioceses over 16 years. Here are two hypotheses to explain this surprisingly low result:
Here is a prime example of unsuccessful recourse:
Having received a notification of non-acceptance of her religious profession, an African religious who had spent ten years in a congregation made hierarchical recourse to the Roman Congregation responsible for religious. She received a negative response by e-mail stating that the refusal of renewal of vows is not tantamount to removal, and obliged her to obey. The sister then requested a new review, citing the paragraphs of the Congregation’s own statutes, which had not been respected in the process. For unknown reasons, the Congregation did not address the irregularity, although the religious, who waived contentious-administrative recourse, must start her life over from scratch in the secular world, without a family and without support other than that of Canonists without Borders, which permitted her to buy a embroidery-machine, to allow her to earn a living.
And here is an example of the successful use:
Having received two warnings of expulsion from his Superior General, a religious contacted the « Cell for the sectarian deviations in Catholic communities » of the Bishops’ Conference of France, which identified ten legal irregularities in the conduct of the Superior General. On the advice of the cell, the religious made hierarchical recourse requesting the nullification of the General Chapter of his congregation, which was held illegally, since he himself had not been notified of it. Informed of this hierarchical recourse which annoyed him, the Superior General intervened with the competent dicastery of the Roman Curia, namely the Commission Ecclesia Dei, and the Commission finally responded to the religious who had written several emails to them without response. A compromise solution was found and implemented.
The third level is that of contentious-administrative recourse, whose number is relatively important. Indeed, our database shows that:
In fact, recourses cover two major areas which will structure our chapter. The first concerns justice for consecrated and other physical persons, while the second concerns justice for juridic persons which are the institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.
This chapter will attempt to clarify the situation regarding contentious-administrative jurisprudence relative to consecrated persons. We will build in particular on the analysis carried out in 1986 by Francesco of Ostilio, on 90 contentious-administrative recourses presented by religious or by their institutes.
The 1978 activity report of the Holy See indicated that, among the three types of administrative acts which are most often the subject of administrative recourse with the Supreme Tribunal, two concerned religious, namely cases of exclaustration and cases of resignation.
More specifically, F. Ostilio classes the recourses according to these main headings:
From the work of Ostilio, Javier Canosa sought the « major judgments » favorable to religious, which marked the first 40 years of administrative case law. He noted:
Without being confrontational, let us start with departures from institutes, before addressing other administrative acts.
The activity report of the Congregation for Religious lists for 2015:
Here is an attempt at explanation:
One of the realities that quickly strikes any new employee of the Dicastery [the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life] is the continued growth of the number of departures from institutes of consecrated life and from religious institutes in particular. Our services address up to 3,000 applications per year for departure from the institute! […] According to statistics, the grounds relied on in support of the applications for departure are predominantly related to a crisis of faith and then to difficulties in fraternal life and finally, to a lesser extent, an emotional deficit. […] Nevertheless, although the departures are numerous, we must keep in mind that a tree that falls makes more noise than a forest that grows. If there are infidelities, let us remember that there is especially a lot of holiness in the religious life.
In law, the departure from their community by consecrated persons (in the broad sense) is governed by canons 686 and 687 for religious institutes, 726 to 727 for secular institutes, and 742 to 745 for societies of apostolic life, as well as by the statutes of their own communities. The situations are diverse, as Yuji Sugawara indicated :
The grounds for departure from institutes are numerous. Some religious leave their institute following the non-renewal of their provisional vows, either voluntarily or after a decision by superiors. Others seek to take a step back and ask to be absent from their institute, which requires:
The three most common reasons in support of a request for a leave of absence or exclaustration are the need to provide assistance to one’s family, illness, and the needs of a particular apostolate.
The permissions and corresponding indults are considered favors, which may be refused. If a law seems to have been violated, one whose request is denied may then make a recourse which is accepted, rejected, not admitted to discussion or resolved by transaction, depending on the case.
Canon 653 §1 provides that:
Can. 653 §1. A novice can freely leave an institute; moreover, the competent authority of the institute can dismiss a novice.
In the event of separation, it is not legally necessary to indicate the causes of departure or of the reference of a novice, unless the particular statutes of the institute require it. Reciprocal charity may, however, require it to be done.
If it is a case not of a novice, but of a religiou
s in temporary vows, who may have given up to nine years of his life to an institute, canon 689 requires a decision by the major superior, a just cause and a hearing by the council, but not necessarily the agreement of the latter, knowing that the statutes of institutes can impose additional conditions.
Can. 689 §1. If there are just causes, the competent major superior, after having heard the council, can exclude a member from making a subsequent profession when the period of temporary profession has been completed.
Subject of the own right to the Institute, canon 689 §2 and §3 specify under what conditions a disability may be a cause of separation. Additionally, charity demands that the novice or professed member be left without means, to return to his family or to survive for some period of time.
Sometimes, a religious does not wish to be absent or depart the institute but it is his superiors who wish to separate from him. One of the solutions that will then be presented to superiors is to impose on a religious exclaustration, temporary or final, under canon 686 §3, for a grave cause such as, for example, the inability to live the common life, prolonged absence from the religious house, or repeated violation of the vows of obedience and poverty.
Without entering in detail, let us remember that the religious concerned is then exempted from the obligations which are inconsistent with his new state, but he continues to depend on his superiors. Some then file recourses which are accepted, rejected, not admitted to discussion, abandoned or settled by transaction, depending on the case. Here is an example of case law:
In the case Prot 18061/86 CA, jurisprudence observes that exclaustration imposed for three years under canon 686 does not require a serious fault, but rather a serious reason.
Relying on jurisprudence, Sister Dominique Moral-Carvajal mentioned several grave causes likely to lead to imposed exclaustration after alternative solutions have been attempted without success: personality disorders and psychic anomalies identified by experts, alcoholism causing a serious scandal, illegitimate and prolonged absence, disorder in community life, discord and repeated complaints. She observed that the Code does not mandate a particular procedure for imposing exclaustration, but in the absence of precision in the statute, it is necessary to respect, with a lesser degree of rigor, the procedure for making religious in simple vows aware of an admonition in advance, their right of defense, the decision of the Council reached by secret ballot, or even a letter of the institute committing to provision of material and moral support, and reference to the possibility of making recourse.
Sugawara also specified that imposed exclaustration has to be the subject of a special written decree, the person concerned must remain outside of the Community until the established time but remains a member of the institute, without the right to vote, and must be helped medically or physically if necessary. The exclaustrated religious is then required to lead a simple life, and to observe his vows and the obligations of his profession, with the exception of those that are incompatible with his new state of life (c. 687). He remains dependent on the local bishop, especially if he is a priest.
To readers who want to study the question more deeply, we recommend the work of Madeleine Ruessmann and Moral Delfina Carvajal as well as Sugawara, stating nevertheless that final exclaustration imposed in a case of serious misconduct is reserved to the Holy See for institutes of pontifical right, and to the diocesan bishop for institutes of diocesan right, « while observing equity and charity. »
Sometimes, superiors want a member of their institute to depart, and they remove him in virtue of canons 696 to 701, for a reason that is « serious, external, imputable and legally proven.” Javier Hervada commented on the evolution of the applicable law:
Now, any legitimate dismissal –that is to say provoked by a sufficient cause and carried out according to established procedure— ipso facto entails the cessation of vows and of other rights and obligations. The procedures differ depending on the reasons for the dismissal, and not on the basis of the legal situation of the religious. These are:
As regards the possible causes for expulsion, the list (only indicative, not exhaustive) provided by canon 696, §1 constitutes an important innovation.
Can. 696 §1. A member can also be dismissed for other causes provided that they are grave, external, imputable, and juridically proven such as: habitual neglect of the obligations of consecrated life; repeated violations of the sacred bonds; stubborn disobedience to the legitimate prescripts of superiors in a grave matter; grave scandal arising from the culpable behavior of the member; stubborn upholding or diffusion of doctrines condemned by the magisterium of the Church; public adherence to ideologies infected by materialism or atheism; the illegitimate absence mentioned in can. 665 §2, lasting six months; other causes of similar gravity which the proper law of the institute may determine.
The legislator did not want this delicate matter to be determined exclusively by proper law, but has put tangible parameters, so as to always protect the rights of religious, the common good of the institute and, ultimately, that of the Church. Often the reason cited by a superior is the refusal to obey that is addressed in canon 601:
Can. 601 The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in a spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ obedient unto death, requires the submission of the will to legitimate superiors, who stand in the place of God, when they command according to the proper constitutions.
However, Georges Mboma thinks that this canon does not correspond to the African reality and he wrote a specific book by which he tries to reconcilie law and the local situation. Several dismissed religious told that they had been expelled for usually improper motives.
Observe that the disobedience is not always a reason for expulsion, because:
A religious is required to obey his superior, but the latter does not have absolute power to order anyone to do anything.
Similarly, a religious is not required to obey an order that is illegal or contrary to the spirit and the charism of the institute. Canon 618 specifies the obligations of the superior:
Can. 618 Superiors are to exercise their power, received from God through the ministry of the Church, in a spirit of service. Therefore, docile to the will of God in fulfilling their function, they are to govern their subjects as sons or daughters of God and, promoting the voluntary obedience of their subjects with reverence for the human person, they are to listen to them willingly and foster their common endeavor for the good of the institute and the Church, but without prejudice to the authority of superiors to decide and prescribe what must be done.
The three previous texts are designed to prevent and avoid the abuses which might result from an insufficient protection of the principle of authority or of the rights of the faithful. Their interpretation is the subject of commentary by canonists, among whom is Christian Begus, based on two cases of jurisprudence, of which we will provide the conclusion:
In reality, the situation is sometimes less clear, as we have seen with the religious of Niger and the Brazilian religious (see above). Except in the case of dismissal ipso iure, for marriage or notorious abandonment of the Catholic faith in law or in fact (e.g. conversion to Protestantism or orthodoxy), the decree of expulsion becomes enforceable within 10 days, possibly to leave time for the religious to make recourse, which then has suspensive effect. In effect, a sentence of 24 February 1973 constitutes jurisprudence on the subject and has inspired canon 700, specifying that the recourse has suspensive effect.
Since the intervention of the Curia is required for forcible dismissal, the question arose as to whether an expelled religious must make hierarchical recourse before or after the decision of the Curia. Following the promulgation of the Code, the Commission for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts responded to this issue by specifying on March 21, 1986 that the dismissal of religious, members of the societies of apostolic life and secular institutes must be notified to the person concerned only after having been confirmed by the Holy See. The latter can then make hierarchical recourse to the Roman congregation, but not immediately to the Supreme Tribunal. In practice, every year some expelled religious make hierarchical and contentious-administrative recourses. Depending on the case, these recourses are deemed inadmissible, not admitted to discussion, abandoned in the course of the procedure, rejected or accepted, which shows that justice plays its role. As an illustration, here is a prime example of an accepted recourse:
In case Prot 31290, the Tribunal estimated that the obligation to give the accused the right to defend himself requires that he be provided with the statements of witnesses and in the present case, this right was not respected, and thus his expulsion was regarded as illegal both procedurally and on the merits.
Here is an example of a recourse that was dismissed:
In case Prot 37163, a religious who was living outside of his province was held to have been injured, because the decree of expulsion issued against him in conformity with canon 697 did not give him the choice between repentance or expulsion, but proposed only the solution of expulsion. The Apostolic Signatura held that repentance had been proposed to him, and it dismissed the recourse.
And here is a second example of a rejection:
In case Prot 18061, Sister Monica complained that the reasons for her forced exclaustration were not communicated to her, and that consequently she was unable to properly employ her right to defense. The Tribunal found otherwise, considering that, even if the motivations for the exclaustration had not been communicated in writing, she knew well enough what they were. Certainly, canon 51 specifies that « A decree is to be issued in writing, with the reasons at least summarily expressed if it is a decision, » but the Tribunal estimated that a general explanation was sufficient, inasmuch as the documents previously forwarded provided clarification and could be considered as decrees within the meaning of canon 49.
Expulsions have consequences for the people who leave their institutes, and their situation is sometimes the subject of a new litigation.
One of the disputes which sometimes accompanies the expulsion of a religious concerns the social rights that he acquired while in the service of his congregation.
Canon 702 specifies:
Can. 702 §1. Those who depart from a religious institute legitimately or have been dismissed from it legitimately can request nothing from the institute for any work done in it.§2. Nevertheless, the institute is to observe equity and the charity of the gospel toward a member who is separated from it.
Finding the right balance between the two paragraphs of this canon has been the subject of various interpretations by the Roman Curia and canonists. It follows that material assistance is necessary for a initial period, permitting the person to find a means of supporting himself.
In French law, the 9 December 1905 law on the separation of Church and State has remanded vowed religious into the sphere of private activities, under the control of the courts. These take into account, however, the vow of obedience of some religious, distinguishing their spiritual activity from their labor relations. It results in a secular jurisprudence that is uncertain and therefore complex, reported by Patrick Boinot from nuanced judgments of the Court of Cassation, of which here are some examples:
Regarding a religious who had worked as a nurse at the Little Sisters of the Assumption, the plenary assembly established on 8 January 1993 that Ms.… had exercised her activity only for the benefit of her congregation, a fact which excluded the existence of a labor contract.
Regarding two married members of a new community which does not have the status of a religious congregation, the Social Chamber of the Court of Cassation ruled on 29 October 2008 that « regardless of the spiritual nature of their commitment,” these two people « worked for the association in a relationship of subordination characterizing a labor contract. »
Regarding Ms…, bound by religious vows in the community of the Glorious Cross which she later left, the Social Chamber of the Court of Cassation ruled on 29 October 2008 that « the existence of a relationship of employed labor depends neither on the willingness expressed by the parties, nor on the name that they have given to their agreement, but on conditions of fact in which they engage in the activity of workers; the religious commitment of a person is likely to exclude the existence of a labor contract only for activities that he performs for the benefit of a legally established congregation or worship association.” In this case it recognized the existence of a labor contract with the consequences that follow.
With respect to retirement benefits, Patrick Boinot stated that as of July 1, 2006, the social security fund (CAVIMAC) takes into account the years of Postulancy and Novitiate for the calculation of pensions, based on the case law of the Court of Cassation, which was then translated into the law No. 2011-1026 of social security funding for 2012 and article L. 382-29-1 of the Social Security Code.
The 2001 Pontifical Directory states that there are 1,992 institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life distributed as follows:
|Men’s Institutes||Women’s Institutes||Total|
|Sociéties of Apostolic Life||35||12||47|
Among them, the religious institutes are by far in the majority, and so we will address ourselves mainly to their situation, not without some digressions for the secular institutes and societies of apostolic life. The 2015 activity report of the Congregation states that there were 136 authorizations for erection of religious houses during the year. Besides the recourses by religious and consecrated persons, there are also recourses on the part of the institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life or their superior. There are three types of difficulties:
The law relating to religious houses is defined by the following canons:
This right is amended regularly, as shown for example by the interpretation of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, which ruled on 14 July 2016 that the Major Superiors of clerical institutes of pontifical right do not have competence to erect pious foundations within the meaning of canon 312 §2.
The Pontifical Directory indicates the date of foundation of the institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life, as well as the date of their canonical recognition, making it possible to measure the average duration of recognition. In carrying out this work on the 2011 directory, there appears a distribution that is almost uniform with the deadlines of recognition between a few months, and more than 50 years, highlighting the fact that it is not a right but a grace:
< 1 year 1-5 y. 6-10 y. 11-15 y. 16-20 y. 21-25 y. 26-30 y. 30-35 y. 36-40 y. 41-45 y. 45-50 y. > 50 years
In this regard, we have not found a remedy against non-recognition of a religious or secular institute. It is otherwise for decisions about suppression of monasteries or during division (Prot 39257/06 CA), or unions (Prot 40608/07 CA) of religious institutes. Here, among others, is an example of recourse:
After preliminary agreement by the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, a diocesan bishop suppressed a religious house by a decree on 29 July 1970, particularly because of the advanced age of the religious. After deliberation in their chapter, the religious made a hierarchical recourse, and then a contentious-administrative recourse with the second section, and the Pope himself mandated a Pontifical Commission to examine the case on the merits and not only on the legality. On 24 February 1973, the College of the Tribunal nullified the decision and imposed the restitution of the monastery on the basis of cc. 493 and 498 of the CIC/17, that the Bishop was not empowered to take such a decision, as it was within the competence of Rome.
The issue of property rights is sometimes difficult in the case of the reorganization or suppression of institutes, sometimes resulting in recourse after the Congregation or the Supreme Tribunal recognizes the right (e.g.: Prot 384/68 CA).
Property are also occasions for disputes between the diocesan bishop or a parish, and a religious institute, as it seen in several cases in the 1987 activity report. Here is an example dating from 1972:
A conventual building that belonged to a religious institute had become the property of a parish following the Concordat of 1818 with the Kingdom of Naples. But 150 years later, the institute claimed its rights and won the case with the Congregation of the Second Vatican Council (now the Congregation for the Clergy), but the parish then made contentious-administrative recourse with the Supreme Tribunal. On December 12, 1972, the College quashed the decision of the Dicastery, which included a defect of form.
There are other cases where conflicts of ownership are ended by a transaction between the parties during the time of instruction of a contentious-administrative recourse (ex Prot. 384/68 CA); here, finally, is a dispute between a religious institute and a member of the Catholic faithful, solved thanks to ecclesiastical justice:
In 1950, an individual had loaned a sum of money to a religious congregation in France. The superior repaid the first installments, but his successor did not continue. The individual turned to the diocesan Tribunal, which ruled in his favor. The religious province filed an appeal to the Rota, which confirmed the decision of the diocesan Tribunal, and the Province was given a mandate to calculate the interest on the loan amounts. Challenging this decision, the superior finally addressed the Apostolic Signatura, which did not admit his appeal (Prot No. 923/70 C.G.).
Without going into detail, we could still cite:
Frederico d’Ostilio identified five contentious-administrative recourses against a decision of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, relating to the internal management of institutes. The decisions of the Tribunal are sometimes in favor of the petitioners:
The general superior of a Secular Institute in Lyon was expelled before the end of her mandate by a decision of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, leading to early elections. The old and the new superior general went to the Supreme Tribunal, which nullified the decision of the Dicastery by sentence of 26 June 1976. (Prot 6508/75 CA).
And sometimes they are in favor of the Dicastery:
Having been invited by the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes to submit his resignation as a result of the serious irregularities in the management of an institute, a superior general refused the invitation and was deposed by the diocesan bishop. She made recourse against the decision and her recourse was admitted to the discussion, but the College finally judged on 14 December 1964 that her removal was consistent with the law.
Other cases of this type have been ended by an agreement between the parties during the instruction of a contentious-administrative recourse brought against a decision of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes (Prot. 5868/74 CA). Such an agreement is currently being sought with an association of religious:
In 2012, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a report very critical of the LCWR, which include nearly 80 % of some 50,000 women religious in the United States, accusing it of « radical feminism, » of doctrinal inaccuracies, of having lost the sense of the Church, of holding positions unacceptable in matters of sexuality, and of risking to « distort faith in Jesus and our loving Father . » The religious replied that these were unfounded accusations, potentially destructive to the continuation of their mission. Since that time, negotiations are continuing between the Vatican delagate, Archbishop Peter Sartain and the member-groups of the Association.
In conclusion, we will hold that hierarchical and contentious-administrative recourses constitute a reality which effectively contributes to the respect and/or the restoration of justice in relation to religious. This justice which is internal to the Church is particularly important to our time, in which, at least in Europe, civil society has difficulty accepting the evangelical counsel of obedience.
Thus a few complaints of religious or their family, well founded or not, sometimes lead one to conclude that a religious institute has a sectarian way of working. We will discuss this issue in the next chapter, after having discussed the situation intersecting with sanctions relating to persons with charisms.
 As opposed to religious in contemplative life, who are called nuns.
 These include the instructions below:
 Acquaviva (Claudio S.I.) Industriae pro Superioribus eiusdem Societatis ad curandos animae morbos, Rome, 16 April 1600, quoted by Pope Francis on 22 December 2016 (Zenit www.ignaziana.org/accorgimenti.pdf)
 Zenit, 1 November 2016.
 Donough (Elizabeth Mc), « The protection of rights in Religious institutes », The Jurist, (1986) 164-204.
 Cf. c. 630 Superiors are to recognize the due freedom of their members regarding the sacrament of penance and direction of conscience, without prejudice, however, to the discipline of the institute.
 Cf. c. 654 By religious profession, members assume the observance of the three evangelical counsels by public vow, are consecrated to God through the ministry of the Church, and are incorporated into the institute with the rights and duties defined by law.
 Cf. c. 740 Members must live in a house or in a legitimately established community and must observe common life according to the norm of proper law, which also governs absences from the house or community.
 Paul VI, Evangelica testificato, AAS, LXIII (1971), p. 512-513, n° 28: conscience and obedience.
 Can. 617 — Superiors are to fulfill their function and exercise their power according to the norm of universal and proper law.
 Can. 618 — Superiors are to exercise their power, received from God through the ministry of the Church, in a spirit of service. Therefore, docile to the will of God in fulfilling their function, they are to govern their subjects as sons or daughters of God and, promoting the voluntary obedience of their subjects with reverence for the human person, they are to listen to them willingly and foster their common endeavor for the good of the institute and the Church, but without prejudice to the authority of superiors to decide and prescribe what must be done.
 Empela Ankonelle (Scholastique), L’identité de la vie consacrée face aux actuelles mutations socioculturelles en Afrique, Université du Latran, Corona Lateranensis 47, Rome 2011, p. 267 et 272 / 406 p.
 Rosinski (Michael) “The Due Process to be followed in the Administration of Discipline in Religious Institutes, according to the Code of Canon Law.” Thesis defended at Louvain on 31 May 2016. Analysis in Studia canonica, 51/1, 2017, p. 287-288.
 Alday (Josu Mirena) « Il senso di appartenensa al proprio istituto », in Vitcons 37 (2002) 166-179.
 Politi (Marco), Francis Among Wolves, French version, François parmi les loups, ed Philippe Rey, Paris 2015, p. 141-142/284.
 Harassment can be defined as repeated words and behaviors with the aim or effect of a deterioration of the living conditions of the victim. In French law, moral harassment at work is a reprehensible offense in the private sector as well as in the public sector, as the law organizes the protection of employees, public officials and trainees.
 Politi (Marco), François parmi les loups, version française, ed Philippe Rey, Paris 2015, p. 122/284.
 Politi (Marco), François parmi les loups, version française, ed Philippe Rey, Paris 2015, p. 117/284.
 Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life: Instruction of 11 May 2008, Faciem Tuam, Dominates, Requiram (the service of authority and obedience)
 Some canonists interviewed feel that the prohibition of external contacts without permission is illegal. Nevertheless Canonists without Borders has recommended that religious respect it until a letter of expulsion has been formally received, in which case the right to defend oneself seems to prevail over the duty of obedience.
 Information given to Canonists without borders in November 2017.
 Here is a document translated from the site of Avref on 30 June 2017:
You are the victim of a Community, of a movement, or a person who has taken authority over you:
In that case, react. Nothing is lost.
The AVREF welcomes you and helps you: identify yourself! Confidential support provided by families and former members of religious communities.
 Note published by the Diocese of Evry: http://evry.catholique.fr/Service-Accueil-Mediation-pour-la and consulted on 3 March 2015;
Today it consists of 9 members (2 laity, father and mother of the family, a secular priest, 2 male religious, 4 women religious) appointed by the Permanent Council of the episcopate by a mandate of three years. They are bound by the obligation of professional secrecy. […] The people believed to be, for themselves or for a relative, in a situation falling within the SAM can address a request for intervention to the […] Deputy Secretary General of the EFC […which…] will entrust the case to one, and often two, members of the SAM. It falls to the members of the SAM to which the case has been entrusted:
From the outset, the Bishops have held that are have heard the people who are concerned about what they perceive, from the inside or the outside, as deviant behavior in a particular community. They always ask to serve the dynamism of the Gospel, if necessary to report and correct what constitutes an obstacle.
 Javary (Christelle), « La médiation dans l’Église catholique de France : l’exemple du SAM (Service Accueil Médiation pour la vie religieuse et communautaire), mémoire d’IFOMENE 2008-2009.
 Cf. presentation in chapter 12.
 According to ASS (2915), p. 745, 2073 indults of departure were granted in 2015.
 Information given to Canonists without borders in 2017.
 The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was instituted by John Paul II by a 2 July 1988 motu proprio, « The mission to collaborate with the Bishops, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the interested circles, in order to facilitate the full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or of individual religious having had up to now connections with the Fraternity founded by Archbishop Lefebvre and who wish to remain united to the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church ».
 Religious priests may be counted either among the clerics either among the religious.
 Ostilio (Francesco D’), Segnatura Apostolica in Dizionario degli Istituti di perfezione, volume VIII, Saba-Spirituali, sous la direction de Pelliccia (Guerrino) et Rocca (Giancarlo), Rome, Edizioni Paoline, p. 1236-249.
 ASS (1978), p. 625
 Ostilio (Francesco D’), Segnatura Apostolica in Dizionario degli Istituti di perfezione, volume VIII, Saba-Spirituali, undr the direction of Pelliccia (Guerrino) et Rocca (Giancarlo), Rome, Edizioni Paoline, p. 1236-249.
 Canosa (Javier), « Giustizia amministrativa eclésiastica e giurisprudenza », in Ius ecclesiae XXIII, 2011, p. 563-582.
 Aegrotans non dimittimur sed curatur […] id exigit iustitia si soror N plures annos in commodum Instituti lavoravit: id exigit maxime caritas.
 Javier Canosa indicates the reference Prot 10997/76 CA, while JP Montini indicates the reference Prot 10977/79 CA for sentences of 27 October 1984 and from 1 July 1985 coram Ratzinger. To ensure a good consistency with the cases recorded in the same period, we believe that the most likely reference is Prot 10977/79 CA.
 ASS (2015), p. 745.
 Carballo (Mgr. José Rodriguez, ofm), « Les vœux religieux aujourd’hui » in Revue de Droit canonique, Strasbourg 2015, tome 65/1, p. 237.
 Sugawara (Prof. Yuji), « Separazione imposta ai membri dell’istituto religioso », Periodica 106 (2017), p. 177-189.
 Cf. Hervada (Javier), Code de droit canonique bilingue et annoté, op. cit. p.886.
In the case Prot. 14997/83 CA, the religious had not renewed his vows, and was conidering himself as outside the institute; but his Congregation held otherwise, even though it resulted in an appeal by the ex-religious.
 See also c. 740 for the members of a society of apostolic life.
 Or c. 727-728 for the member of a society of apostolic life.
 Moral Carvajal (Sr. Delfina, O.P.) “Exclaustrazione imposta di un religioso. Applicazione pratica,” Periodica 106 (2017) 190-216.
 Prot 3671/72 CA ; Prot 7607/76 CA.
 Prot 10896/79 CA as indicated by F. d’Ostilio (Dizionario, op. cit., p. 1245) Or, more likely, Prot 10896/75 CA.
 Prot 7084/75 CA
 Prot 227/69 CA ; Prot 3356/72 CA ; Prot 10218/78 CA ; 16616/84 CA
 In case Prot 4064/73 CA, the religious was readmitted into his monastery. In case Prot 6277/75 CA, the Roman Congregation admitted a provisional exclaustration of three years and the religious withdrew his appeal.
 Ministerium Justitiae, op. cit. p. 255-274.
 Moral-Carvajal (Prof. Delfina Moral), « Exclaustrazione imposta di un religioso. Applicazione pratica ». Periodica 106 (2017), p. 190-216.
 Sugawara (Prof. Yuji), op. cit.
 Sister Dominique specified that unfortunately, exclaustrated religious are often left on their own by their congregations.
 Ruessmann (Madeleine), Exclaustrations, its nature and use according to the current law, Roma 1995, Editrice Pontifica Universita Gregoriana, 550 p.
 For example, the 1983 code had abolished the differences of law between religious and religious-scholars that prevailed between 1917 and 1983.
 Cf. Hervada (Javier), Code de droit canonique bilingue et annoté, op. cit. p. 621-622.
 Mboma (Georges usus) Le droit canon face aux défis des réalités africaines, Cas du renvoi d’un religieux. L’Harmattan, 2013, 96 p.
 Huels (John M.), « Unlawful Command by a Major Superior”, Roman Replies (1997), p. 53.
 cf. Comm 9  53-61). Cf. VC 43.
 Prot. 30199/99 CA and Prot. 33358/02 CA
 Begus (Christian), Adnotationes in decreta, Apollinaris 2011 (44/2), p. 501, translated from Italian.
 The law considers a civil marriage to be a marriage, but does not recognize other types of union, such as a PACS in France or a registered partnership in Belgium.
 Prot 150/70 CA, cited by Lobina, ME (1973) 1-4, p. 313
 On 2 January 1984, it was replaced with the Commission for the Interpretation of the Decrees of the Second Vatican Council.
AAS 78 (1986), p. 1323.
 Prot 8031/76 CA ; 9690/77 CA ; 10218/78 CA ; 14997/83 CA ; 15721/83 CA…
 Prot 150/70 CA ; 2089/71 CA ; 2848/72 CA ; 8474/76 CA ; 9242/77 CA ; 12618/80 CA ; 13557/81 CA…
 Prot. 9993/78 CA.
 Prot 9498/77 CA ; 8984/77 CA
 Prot 3671/72 CA ; 10460/78 CA ; 11390/79 CA ; 11391/79 CA ; 15721/83 CA ; ; coram Sabattani, 23/1/88, registration number not indicated, cf. ASS (1988), p. 1405.
 Ministerium Justitiae, op. cit. p. 314.
 The Jurist, 73 (2013):1, p. 222-227
 Ministerium Justitiae, op. cit. p. 255-274.
 “Exclaustration and Social Security. Pension Plan, Roman Replies (2006), p. 56-57.
 Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, Declaration on the aid to be provided to those who leave their institutes, 25 January 1974, n. 5, Enchiridion Vaticanum 5/1-12.
 De Paolis (V.), La Vita consacrata nella chiesa, Venezia 2010, 590 p.
 Cf. Coulombel, (P.) « Le droit privé français devant le fait religieux depuis la séparation des Églises et de l’Etat », Rev. trim. dr. civil 1956, p. 1, n° 3 and 15.
 Boinot (Patrick), « Vœux religieux et relations de travail », » in Revue de Droit canonique, Strasbourg 2015, tome 65/1, p. 143-163.
 The recourse was accepted in case Prot 10997/79 CA, against a decision of withdrawal of the office of teacher in a Pontifical Faculty for presumed scientific immaturity. By decision of 27 October 1984, five years after the filing of the appeal, the religious was reinstated in his position as a teacher.
 The recourse Prot 1063/69 CA was denied, while recourse Prot. 2207/71 CA was abandoned by the petitioner.
 ASS (2015), p. 745.
 The Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Prot 15389/2016 in Archiv für Kirchenrecht Latolisches No. 184/1 (2015), p. 155-156.
 Prot 3672/72 CA ; 27406/96 CA ; 33121/02 CA ; 37162/05 CA
 ASS (1987), p. 1292 and 1293.
 Prot 324/69 CA cited by D’Ostilio, op. cit. p. 1239.
 Roman Replies (2012) 21
 Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Assesment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, 18/04/2012.
 Politi (Marco), François parmi les loups, version française, ed Philippe Rey, Paris 2015, p. 121/284.