The Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope John Paul II in 1983 contains eighty-four canons that call for or permit legislative action by the episcopal conference. Since that time the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (designated the National Conference of Catholic Bishops prior to July 1, 2001) has taken action on twenty-nine canons, thereby establishing particular legislation for the dioceses of the United States.

This website contains a compilation of the complementary norms approved by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In some instances the bishops voted to retain existing norms or regulations, with due regard for any change or modification warranted by changes in the revised Code; in other instances they revised existing norms or created new norms where necessary. Those actions requiring recognitio or review by the Apostolic See, in accord with canon 455, §2, have been reviewed by the appropriate Roman dicastery.

It is our hope that this compilation will be a useful resource to bishops, canonists, chancery officials, and pastoral ministers. It is our intent to update this website periodically as additional particular legislation is established for the United States.

Index of Complementary Norms

Canon 230, §1 - Installed Lay Ministries

On November 17, 1999, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 230, §1 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated June 14, 2000.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 230, §1, hereby decrees that a layman who is to be installed in the ministries of lector or acolyte on a stable basis must have completed his twenty-first (21) year of age. The candidate must also possess the skills necessary for an effective proclamation of the Word or service at the altar, be a fully initiated member of the Catholic Church, be free of any canonical penalty, and live a life which befits the ministry to be undertaken.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be September 1, 2000.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2000.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary, NCCB

Canon 276, §2, 3º - Permanent Deacons and the Liturgy of the Hours

Complementary Norm: Permanent deacons are required to include as part of their daily prayer those parts of the Liturgy of the Hours known as Morning and Evening Prayer. Permanent deacons are obliged to pray for the universal Church. Whenever possible, they should lead these prayers with the community to whom they have been assigned to minister.

Approved: General Meeting, June 2003

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Catholic Education and Congregation for Clergy): Decree (Prot. N. 78/2000), October 30, 2004 ad quinquennium experimenti; Renewed by Decree (Prot. N. 78/2000), October 12, 2009 ad alterum quennium

Promulgated: National Directory for the Formation, Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2009, art. 90.

Canon 284 - Clerical Garb

On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 284 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 29, 1999.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 284, hereby decrees that without prejudice to the provisions of canon 288, clerics are to dress in conformity with their sacred calling.

In liturgical rites, clerics shall wear the vesture prescribed in the proper liturgical books. Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric.

In the case of religious clerics, the determinations of their proper institutes or societies are to be observed with regard to wearing the religious habit.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 1999.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on November 1, 1999.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary, NCCB

Canon 496 - Statutes of the Presbyteral Council

On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 496 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 29, 1999.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 496, hereby decrees that statutes of the presbyteral council are to include the provision that the council shall meet at least four times a year, in order that it may effectively fulfill its purpose of aiding the diocesan bishop in the governance of the diocese according to the norm of law (See c. 495, §1). The statutes of the presbyteral council are to be developed in accord with the provisions of canons 497 through 501.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 1999.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on November 1, 1999.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary, NCCB

Canon 522 - Stability of Office of Pastor

On November 14, 1983, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 522 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

Reviewed: The proposed action was reviewed by the Holy See (Congregation for Bishops) as noted in Prot. No. 1887/84/6, May 16, 1984.

Final Decree: Individual ordinaries may appoint pastors to a six year term of office. The possibility of renewing this term is left to the discretion of the diocesan bishop. The primary provision of canon 522 that pastors may be appointed for an indefinite period of time remains in force.1

Promulgated: September 24, 1984

Most Reverend James W. Malone
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Daniel F. Hoye
General Secretary, NCCB


1 The action of the full body of bishops in November 1983 was not approved by the Congregation for Bishops. The provision of a six-year renewable term was established in the decree of September 24, 1984

Canon 538, §3 - Cessation of Office of Pastor

Complementary Norm: In accord with the prescriptions of canon 538, §3, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops authorizes diocesan bishops to develop diocesan policy for the retirement of priests in accord with the provisions of Norms for Priests and Their Third Age.

Approved: General Meeting, November 1987

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Clergy), Letter from Apostolic Pro-Nuncio (Prot. No. 5465/87/4) January 19, 1988

Promulgated: Norms for Priests and Their Third Age, February 23, 1988

Canon 766 - Lay Preaching

On November 14, 2001, the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 766 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the Latin Church of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated November 27, 2001.

Complementary Norm: Preaching the Word of God is among the principal duties of those who have received the sacrament of orders (cc. 762-764). The lay faithful can be called to cooperate in the exercise of the Ministry of the Word (c. 759). In accord with canon 766 the National Conference of Catholic Bishops hereby decrees that the lay faithful may be permitted to exercise this ministry in churches and oratories, with due regard for the following provisions:

If necessity requires it in certain circumstances or it seems useful in particular cases, the diocesan bishop can admit lay faithful to preach, to offer spiritual conferences or give instructions in churches, oratories or other sacred places within his diocese, when he judges it to be to the spiritual advantage of the faithful.

In order to assist the diocesan bishop in making an appropriate pastoral decision (Interdicasterial Instruction, Ecclesiae de Mysterio, Article 2 §3), the following circumstances and cases are illustrative: the absence or shortage of clergy, particular language requirements, or the demonstrated expertise or experience of the lay faithful concerned.

The lay faithful who are to be admitted to preach in a church or oratory must be orthodox in faith, and well-qualified, both by the witness of their lives as Christians and by a preparation for preaching appropriate to the circumstances.

The diocesan bishop will determine the appropriate situations in accord with canon 772, §1. In providing for preaching by the lay faithful the diocesan bishop may never dispense from the norm which reserves the homily to the sacred ministers (c. 767, §1; cfr. Pontifical Commission for the Authentic Interpretation of the Code of Canon Law, 26 May 1987, in AAS 79 [1987], 1249). Preaching by the lay faithful may not take place within the Celebration of the Eucharist at the moment reserved for the homily.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the dioceses of the Latin Church in the United States will be January 15, 2002.

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2001.

Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Bishop of Belleville
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor William P. Fay
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 772, §2 - Radio or TV Talks on Christian Doctrine

On November 14, 2001, the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 772, §2 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the Latin Church of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated November 27, 2001.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 772, §2, hereby decrees that, with due regard for the norms of canon 763, a Catholic who regularly expounds Christian doctrine on radio or television must be specially qualified by his or her knowledge of the subject, by manifest adherence to the teaching of the Magisterium and by the witness of his or her life as a Catholic. The individual must obtain the permission of his or her proper diocesan bishop or the diocesan bishop of the place where the radio or television program is originally broadcast. In the case of members of institutes of consecrated life or societies of apostolic life, permission of the competent superior is also required, insofar as the constitution of the institute or society provides for it.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the dioceses of the Latin Church in the United States will be January 15, 2002.

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2001.

Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Bishop of Belleville
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor William P. Fay
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 788, §3 - The Catechumenate

Complementary Norm: In accord with canon 788, §3, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the National Statutes for the Catechumenate should govern the catechumenate in the United States.

Approved: General Meeting, November 1986

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Divine Worship), Letter from Apostolic Pro-Nuncio (Prot. No. 2757/88/4) July 1988

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, July 22, 1988

Canon 831, §2 - Clerics, Members of Religious Institutes on Radio, Television

On November 14, 2001, the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 831, §2 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the Latin Church of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated November 27, 2001.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 831, §2, hereby decrees that, provided no harm to the Church could result from their presence, clerics and members of religious institutes may participate in radio and television programs which treat of Catholic doctrine and morals. A cleric or religious who regularly takes part in such programs must be specially qualified by his or her knowledge of the subject, by manifest adherence to the teaching of the Magisterium and by probity of life. The individual must obtain the permission of his or her proper diocesan bishop or the diocesan bishop of the place where the radio or television program is originally broadcast. In the case of members of religious institutes, permission of the competent superior is also required.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the dioceses of the Latin Church in the United States will be January 15, 2002.

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on December 13, 2001.

Most Reverend Wilton D. Gregory
Bishop of Belleville
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor William P. Fay
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 877, §3 - Recording the Baptism of Adopted Children

On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 877, §3 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Excellency Most Reverend Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 30, 2000.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 877, §3, hereby decrees that:

     (I)  For children baptized after their adoption is finalized, the following information shall be entered in the register:

          (a) the Christian name(s) of the child as designated by the adoptive parent(s);

          (b) the name(s) of the adoptive parent(s);

          (c) the date and place of birth;

          (d) the names of the sponsors selected by the adoptive parent(s);

          (e) the place and date of the baptism;

          (f) the name of the minister performing the baptism; and

          (g) the fact of adoption but not the names of the natural parents.

     Baptismal certificates issued by the parish for adopted children will be no different from other baptismal certificates. No mention of the fact of adoption shall be made on the baptismal certificate.


     (II)  For children baptized before their adoption is finalized, the following notations shall be added to the baptismal register, but only after the adoption has been finalized and with due regard for the civil law of the jurisdiction:

          (a) parentheses shall be placed around the names of the natural parents;

          (b) the name(s) of the adoptive parent(s) shall then be added;

          (c) the child's former surname shall also be parenthesized and the new surname added; and

          (d) a notation shall be made that the child was legally adopted.

     Baptismal certificates issued by the parish for these individuals shall give only the name(s) of the adoptive parent(s), the child's new legal surname, the date and place of baptism, and the name of the minister who conferred the sacrament. The name(s) of the sponsor(s) shall not be given, and no mention of the fact of adoption shall be made on the baptismal certificate.
 

For future ease in reference, and to afford what may often be the only possibility of reference after the adoption has been finalized, a baptismal entry for the adopted child can be made in the baptismal register of the adoptive parents' parish, citing the date and location of the original baptismal record, and listing only the name of the adoptive parents, and the date and place of birth.

Parish personnel having access to parish registers have an obligation not to disclose to any person any information which would identify or reveal, directly or indirectly, the fact that a person was adopted.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 2000.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on October 20, 2000.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary,NCCB

Canon 891 - Age for Confirmation

On November 15, 2000, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 891 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by Decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Francesco Monterisi, Secretary, and dated May 9, 2001.

The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 891, hereby decrees that the Sacrament of Confirmation in the Latin rite shall be conferred between the age of discretion and about sixteen years of age, within the limits determined by the diocesan bishop and with regard for the legitimate exceptions given in canon 891.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be July 1, 2002.

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on August 21, 2001.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor William P. Fay
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 961, §1, 2° - General Absolution

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops interprets the meaning of diu of canon 961, §1, 2o to be "one month," by which the diocesan bishop judges whether and when the conditions of grave necessity for general absolution are verified in his diocese.

Approved: General Meeting, June 1988

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments) (oral communication) Since the action was not considered a decree (c. 455, §2) it did not require the recognitio of the Holy See.

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, December 15, 1989

Subsequent Action: No further action is required in light of the April 7, 2002 Apostolic Letter motu proprio, Misericordia Dei.

Canon 964, §2 - The Confessional

On November 17, 1999, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 964, §2 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Excellency Most Reverend Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 30, 2000.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 964, §2, hereby decrees the following norms governing the place for sacramental confessions:

Provision must be made in each church or oratory for a sufficient number of places for sacramental confessions which are clearly visible, truly accessible, and which provide a fixed grille between the penitent and the confessor. Provision should also be made for penitents who wish to confess face-to-face, with due regard for the Authentic Interpretation of canon 964, §2 by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts, July 7, 1998 (AAS 90 [1998] 711).

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 2000.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on October 20, 2000.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary,NCCB

Canon 1031, §3 - Permanent Diaconate: Age

Complementary Norm: In accord with Canon Law, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops establishes the minimum age for ordination to the permanent diaconate at thirty-five for all candidates, married or celibate. The establishment of a maximum age for ordination is at the discretion of the diocesan bishop, keeping in mind the particular needs and expectations of the diocese regarding diaconal ministry and life.

Approved: General Meeting, June 2003

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Catholic Education and Congregation for Clergy): Decree (Prot. N. 78/2000), October 30, 2004 ad quinquennium experimenti; Renewed by Decree (Prot. N. 78/2000), October 12, 2009 ad alterum quinquennium

Promulgated: National Directory for the Formation, Ministry, and Life of Permanent Deacons in the United States, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2009, art. 87.

Canon 1062, §1 - Engagement

On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 1062, §1 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 29, 1999.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops intends to issue no norms regarding the promise of marriage as mentioned in canon 1062, §1, without prejudice, however, to the prescriptions of canon 1062, §2 regarding an action for reparation of damages.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 1999.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on November 1, 1999.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary,NCCB

Canon 1067 - The Investigation of Freedom to Marry

On November 18, 1998, the Latin Rite de iure members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for canon 1067 of the Code of Canon Law for the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States.

The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Excellency Most Reverend Giovanni Battista Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary, and dated September 30, 2000.

Complementary Norm: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the prescriptions of canon 1067 and with due regard for canon 1068, hereby decrees that the following norms shall be observed in preparation of a couple for marriage:

          (1) The couple should receive appropriate education and pastoral preparation through participation in a marriage preparation program approved by the diocesan bishop;

          (2) Parties should be questioned as to their freedom to marry;

          (3) Baptized Catholics should present a recently issued annotated baptismal certificate;

          (4) Where necessary, additional documentation (such as affidavits of parents) attesting to a Catholic party's freedom to marry should be presented;

          (5) Baptized non-Catholics should present satisfactory proof of baptism and freedom to marry;

          (6) Unbaptized persons should present satisfactory proof of freedom to marry;

          (7) Preparation for marriage should be in conformity with the prescriptions of canon 1063 (regarding what must precede marriage) and canons 1064, 1071, 1072, 1086, §2 and 1125, which entrust certain situations to the special care of local ordinaries;

          (8) Preparation for marriage should be in compliance with appropriate civil laws.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses in the United States will be December 1, 2000.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, on October 20, 2000.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary,NCCB

Canon 1112 - Lay Witnesses for Marriage

Complementary Norm: In accord with canon 1112, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops recommends to the Holy See that it favorably entertain the requests of those individual diocesan bishops who, in view of the severe shortage of ordained ministers in certain vast territories of the United States, seek the faculty to delegate lay persons to assist at marriages.

Approved: General Meeting, November 1989

Promulgated: Minutes of November 1989 General Meeting, March 1990

Canon 1126 - Declarations and Promises: Mixed Marriages

Complementary Norm: The particular norms issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 16, 1970 will continue in effect. They are to be reviewed and refined and then republished to avoid any ambiguities or doubts concerning mixed marriages.

Approved: Administrative Committee, September 1983

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, October 21, 1983

(See Statement on the Implementation of the Apostolic Letter on Mixed Marriages, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, January 1, 1971)

Canon 1127, §2 - Dispensation from Canonical Form: Mixed Marriages

Complementary Norm: The particular norms issued by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on November 16, 1970 continue in effect except that the ordinary of the place where the marriage is to take place is no longer competent to grant the dispensation from the form of marriage.

Approved: Administrative Committee, September 1983

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, October 21, 1983

(See Statement on the Implementation of the Apostolic Letter on Mixed Marriages, National Conference of Catholic Bishops, January 1, 1971)

Canon 1246, §2 - Holy Days of Obligation

On December 13, 1991 the members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States of America made the following general decree concerning holy days of obligation for Latin Rite Catholics:

In addition to Sunday, the days to be observed as holy days of obligation in the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America, in conformity with canon 1246, are as follows:

January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God
Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter, the solemnity of the Ascension
August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
November 1, the solemnity of All Saints
December 8, the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
December 25, the solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of the Assumption, or November 1, the solemnity of All Saints, falls on a Saturday or on a Monday, the precept to attend Mass is abrogated.

This decree of the Conference of Bishops was approved and confirmed by the Apostolic See by a decree of the Congregation for Bishops (Prot. N. 296/84), signed by Bernardin Cardinal Gantin, Prefect of the Congregation, and dated July 4, 1992.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby declare that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America will be January 1, 1993, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, November 17, 1992.

Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk
Archbishop of Cincinnati
President, NCCB

Monsignor Robert N. Lynch
General Secretary, NCCB
 

SUBSEQUENT ACTION: Canon 1246, §2

In accord with the provisions of canon 1246, §2 of the Code of Canon Law, which states: "... the conference of bishops can abolish certain holy days of obligation or transfer them to a Sunday with prior approval of the Apostolic See," the National Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States decrees that the Ecclesiastical Provinces of the United States may transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from Thursday of the Sixth Week of Easter to the Seventh Sunday of Easter according to the following procedure.

The decision of each Ecclesiastical Province to transfer the Solemnity of the Ascension is to be made by the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the bishops of the respective Ecclesiastical Province. The decision of the Ecclesiastical Province should be communicated to the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and to the President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This decree was approved by His Holiness Pope John Paul II by a decree of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Lucas Cardinal Moreira Neves, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and dated July 5, 1999.

As President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the Latin Rite dioceses of the United States of America will be September 8, 1999, Feast of the Birth of the Virgin Mary.

Given at the offices of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, August 6, 1999, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.

Most Reverend Joseph A. Fiorenza
Bishop of Galveston-Houston
President, NCCB

Reverend Monsignor Dennis M. Schnurr
General Secretary,NCCB

Canon 1253 - Observance of Fast and Abstinence

Complementary Norm: Norms II and IV of Paenitemini (February 17, 1966) are almost identical to the canons cited. The November 18, 1966 norms of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops on penitential observance for the Liturgical Year continue in force since they are law and are not contrary to the Code (canon 6).

Approved: Administrative Committee, September 1983

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, October 21, 1983

Amended: "... the age of fasting is from the completion of the twenty-first year to the beginning of the sixtieth" (Paenitemini, norm IV) is amended to read "‘... the age of fasting is from the completion of the eighteenth year to the beginning of the sixtieth' in accord with canon 97."

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Diocesan Bishops, February 29, 1984

(See On Penance and Abstinence, Pastoral Statement of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 18, 1966)

Canon 1262 - Fundraising Appeals

On November 13, 2002, the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops legitimately approved complementary legislation for the implementation of canon 1262 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the United States. The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by Decree N. 778/2005 of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Francesco Monterisi, Secretary, and dated May 2, 2007.

Wherefore, and in accord with the prescripts of canon 1262, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the following norms shall govern fundraising appeals to the faithful for Church support:

Motivation

          (1)  Fundraising appeals are to be truthful and forthright, theologically sound, and should strive to motivate the faithful to a greater love of God and neighbor.

          (2)  Fundraising efforts are to be for defined needs.

          (3)  The relationship of trust between donor and fundraiser requires that
                 (a) funds collected be used for their intended purposes;
                 (b) funds collected are not absorbed by excessive fundraising costs.

          (4)  Donors are to be informed regarding the use of donated funds and assured that any restrictions on the use of the funds by the donor will be honored.

Competent Ecclesiastical Authority

          (5)  Institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life require approval of the respective competent major superiors and the diocesan bishop to solicit funds; diocesan entities require approval of the diocesan bishop to solicit funds; other Catholic entities and organizations require the approval of the diocesan bishop to solicit funds.

          (6)  Approval for fundraising by the competent authority is to be given in writing with reference to the purpose for which the funds are being raised, the time frame, and the methods to be used in raising them.

          (7)  Oversight of fundraising programs is to be maintained by competent authority through periodic review and, where necessary, appropriate sanction.

          (8)  Competent major superiors of institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life are to submit to the diocesan bishop of the place where the fundraising originates periodic reports on the fundraising programs and the apostolic activities they support.

Accountability

          (9)  Fundraisers are to provide regular reports to competent authority on the extent to which promises expressed or implied in the solicitation of funds have been fulfilled.

          (10)  Fundraising reports are to be prepared in scope and design to meet the particular concerns of those to whom the reports are due:
                  (a) the governing body and membership of the fundraising organization;
                  (b) the competent authorities who approved and monitor the fundraising effort;
                  (c) the donors to the organization;
                  (d) the beneficiaries of the funds raised.

          (11)  Annual fundraising reports are to provide both financial information and a review of the apostolic work for which the funds were raised. They are to set forth, at the least, the amount of money collected, the cost of conducting the fundraising effort, and the amount and use of the funds disbursed.

Procedures

          (12)  Funds beyond operating expenses are not to be accumulated or invested by a fundraising office, but are to be turned over to the appropriate office for allocation and investment.

          (13)  Special care is to be taken to see that ethical business relationships are maintained by fundraisers with suppliers of goods and services.

          (14)  Contracts between a religious fundraiser and commercial suppliers and consultants are to insure that control over materials, designs, money and general operations remain in the hands of the religious fundraiser.

          (15)  Agreements are not to be made which directly or indirectly base payment either to the commercial firm or to the religious fundraiser on a percentage basis.

Oversight

          (16)  Competent authority is to ensure that fundraising organizations:
                  (a) make available fundraising reports to benefactors on a regular basis or upon reasonable request:
                  (b) provide their governing bodies with an annual financial statement prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles and, where size warrants, by a certified public accountant.

          (17)  In response to formal complaints, competent authority is to promptly investigate charges, remedy abuses and, when necessary, terminate the fundraising program.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the dioceses of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be August 15, 2007. Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the city of Washington, the District of Columbia, on the 8th day of June, in the year of our Lord 2007.

Most Reverend William S. Skylstad
Bishop of Spokane
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor David J. Malloy
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 1277 - Acts of Extraordinary Administration by Diocesan Bishop

On November 13, 2007, the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops legitimately approved complementary legislation for the implementation of canon 1277 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the United States.  In accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, the action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in a decree dated December 19, 2009 (N. 778/2005), and signed by His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect, and Monsignor Giovanni Maria Rossi, Subsecretary.

Wherefore, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in accord with the norm of canon 1277, decrees that the following are to be considered acts of extraordinary administration, the canonical validity of which requires the diocesan bishop to obtain the consent of the diocesan finance council and the college of consultors:

          (1)  Initiating a program of financing by the issuance of instruments such as bonds, annuities, mortgages or bank debt in excess of the minimum amount set in accord with canon 1292, §1.

          (2)  Resolving an individual or aggregate claim(s) by financial settlement in excess of the minimum amount set in accord with canon 1292, §1.

          (3)  Engaging in the regular management or operation of a trade or business that is not substantially related to the performance of the religious, spiritual, educational or charitable purposes of the Church, for the purpose of generating income to carry on such activities.

          (4)  Entering into any financial transaction or contractual agreement, the terms of which address matters involving an actual or potential conflict of interest for the diocesan bishop, auxiliary bishop(s), vicar(s) general, episcopal vicar(s), or diocesan finance officer.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I decree that the effective date of the norms for all dioceses of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be April 5, 2010.

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the city of Washington, the District of Columbia, on the 3rd day of March, in the year of our Lord 2010.

Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor David J. Malloy
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 1292, §1 - Minimum and Maximum Sums, Alienation of Church Property

On November 13, 2002, the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops approved complementary legislation for the implementation of canon 1292, §1 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the United States. The action was granted recognition by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus, issued by a Decree (Prot. N. 296/84) of the Congregation for Bishops, dated June 3, 2003, and signed by His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Franciscus Monterisi, Secretary. On March 31, 2004, a subsequent Decree with the same Protocol Number was issued granting recognition to the norms ad biennium. Through subsequent Decrees, dated January 31, 2006 and March 31, 2008, again with the same aforementioned Protocol Number, the same Congregation decreed the extension of its previously granted recognitio for two additional two-year periods. By means of a Decree, dated March 31, 2010 (Prot. N. 778/2005), signed by His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Secretary, the Congregation for Bishops granted definitive recognition to the following defined sums. A subsequent Decree, dated May 10, 2011, with the same aforementioned Protocol Number, signed by His Excellency Most Reverend Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Secretary, and His Excellency Most Reverend Giovanni Maria Rossi, Subsecretary, granted definitive recognition to the sums defined in norm 3 of the complementary legislation.

Wherefore, and in accord with the prescripts of canon 1292, §1, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that:

          (1)  The maximum limit for alienation and any transaction which, according to the norm of law, can worsen the patrimonial condition is $7,500,000 for Dioceses with Catholic populations of half a million persons or more. For other Dioceses the maximum limit is $3,500,000 (cf. can. 1295).

          (2)  The minimum limit for alienation and any transaction which, according to the norm of law, can worsen the patrimonial condition is $750,000 for Dioceses with Catholic populations of half a million persons or more. For other Dioceses the minimum limit is $250,000.

          (3)  For the alienation of property of other public juridic persons subject to the Diocesan Bishop, the maximum limit is $3,500,000 and the minimum limit is $25,000 or 10% of the prior year’s ordinary annual income, whichever is higher.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that these norms are effective immediately for all dioceses of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the city of Washington, the District of Columbia, on the 1st of December, in the year of our Lord 2011.

Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor Ronny E. Jenkins
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 1297 - Leasing of Church Property

On November 13, 2002, the members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops legitimately approved complementary legislation for the implementation of canon 1297 of the Code of Canon Law for the dioceses of the United States. The action was granted recognitio by the Congregation for Bishops in accord with article 82 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus and issued by Decree N. 778/2005 of the Congregation for Bishops signed by His Eminence Giovanni Battista Cardinal Re, Prefect, and His Excellency Most Reverend Francesco Monterisi, Secretary, and dated May 2, 2007.

Wherefore, and in accord with the prescripts of canon 1297, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops decrees that the following norms shall govern the leasing of Church property:

          (1)  Prior to leasing of ecclesiastical goods owned by a diocese, the diocesan bishop must hear the finance council and the college of consultors, when the market value of the goods to be leased exceeds $400,000.

          (2)  Prior to leasing of ecclesiastical goods owned by a diocese, the diocesan bishop must obtain the consent of the finance council and the college of consultors when the market value of the property to be leased exceeds $1,000,000 or the lease is to be for 3 years or longer.

          (3)  The valid leasing of ecclesiastical goods owned by a parish or other public juridic person subject to the governance of the diocesan bishop requires consent of the diocesan bishop when the market value of the goods to be leased exceeds $100,000 or the lease is to be for 1 year or longer.

          (4)  The valid leasing of ecclesiastical goods owned by a pontifical institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life requires, in addition to the consent of the competent major superior and council, the nihil obstat of the diocesan bishop when the market value of the property to be leased exceeds $1,000,000 or the lease is to be for 3 years or longer.

          (5)  The valid leasing of ecclesiastical goods by any public juridic person requires the consent of the Holy See when the market value of the goods exceeds $5,000,000.

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree for all the dioceses of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will be August 15, 2007.

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in the city of Washington, the District of Columbia, on the 8th day of June, in the year of our Lord 2007.

Most Reverend William S. Skylstad
Bishop of Spokane
President, USCCB

Reverend Monsignor David J. Malloy
General Secretary, USCCB

Canon 1421, §2 - Lay Persons as Judges

Complementary Norm: In accord with the prescriptions of canon 1421, §2, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops authorizes diocesan bishops to appoint lay persons as judges to serve as one member of a collegiate tribunal when necessary.

Approved: General Meeting, November 1983

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Bishops), Letter to Apostolic Pro-Nuncio (Prot. No 296/84) April 28, 1984. Since the action was not in the form of a decree (c. 455, §2) it did not require the recognitio of the Holy See.

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, June 1, 1984

Canon 1425, §4 - Single Clerical Judge

Complementary Norm: In accord with the prescriptions of canon 1425, §4, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops authorizes diocesan bishops to entrust a trial of first instance to a single clerical judge.

Approved: General Meeting, November 1983

Reviewed: Holy See (Congregation for Bishops) Letter to Apostolic Pro-Nuncio (Prot. No 296/84) April 28, 1984. Since the action was not in the form of a decree (c. 455, §2) it did not require the recognitio of the Holy See.

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, June 1, 1984

Canon 1439, §2 - Courts of Second Instance

Complementary Norm: In accord with canon 1439, §2, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, with the approval of the Holy See, will be willing to establish one or more courts of second instance when a petition for such establishment is submitted.

Approved: Administrative Committee, September 1983

Promulgated: Memorandum to All Bishops, October 21, 1983

Canons 8 §2 and 455, §3 - Promulgation of USCCB Particular Legislation

On November 13, 2012, the Latin Church members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops legitimately approved complementary legislation for the implementation of canons 8, §2 and 455, §3 of the Code of Canon Law. 

Wherefore, and in accord with the prescripts of canons 8, §2and 455, §3, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops hereby decrees that particular laws enacted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, following receipt of the recognitio of the Apostolic See, shall be considered promulgated upon their posting on the Episcopal Conference's official website, unless another form of promulgation has been prescribed in individual cases. Posting on the website shall follow as soon as possible from receipt of the recognitio. Particular laws enacted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops are effective one month after the date of promulgation, unless a shorter or longer interval of time is expressly prescribed in the decree itself. Following promulgation, the legislation may be offered to other Catholic publications to enhance its observance among the Catholic faithful. 

As President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I hereby decree that the effective date of this decree will be January7, 2013, the Feast of St. Raymond of Penyafort. 

Given at the offices of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the city of Washington, the District of Columbia, on the 8th day of December, in the year of our Lord 2012, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, USCCB 

Reverend Monsignor Ronny E. Jenkins
General Secretary, USCCB