Motu proprio

In law, motu proprio (Latin for: "on his own impulse") describes an official act taken without a formal request from another party. Some jurisdictions use the term sua sponte for the same concept.

In Catholic canon law, it refers to a document issued by the pope on his own initiative and personally signed by him.[1] Such a document may be addressed to the whole Church, to part of it, or to some individuals.[1] A document issued motu proprio has its legal effect even if the reasons given for its issuance are found to be false or fraudulent, a fact which would normally render the document invalid. Its validity is based on its issuance by the pope by his own initiative, not upon the reasons alleged.

The first motu proprio was promulgated by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484. It continues to be a common form of papal rescript, especially when establishing institutions, making minor changes to law or procedure, and when granting favours to persons or institutions.[2]

Effect

An important effect of the issue of a document in this way is that a rescript containing the clause motu proprio is valid and produces its effect even in cases where fraud would ordinarily have vitiated the document, since the Pope does not rely on the reasons alleged when he grants a favour.[2] Withholding of the truth in what, according to canonical law, style and practice, must for validity be expressed, normally renders a rescript invalid, but not if the rescript is issued motu proprio.[3] Consequently, canonists traditionally called the clause the "mother of repose".[2] The designation motu proprio indicates that the validity of the document is independent of the validity of whatever reasons may have been adduced in a request for its issuance.[2]

However, a motu proprio has no effect in so far as it harms the acquired right of another or is contrary to a law[4] or approved custom, unless it expressly states that it is derogating from these matters.[5]

Form

A motu proprio rescript begins by giving the reasons for issuing it, and then indicates the law or regulation made or the favour granted. It is less formal than a constitution and carries no papal seal. Its content may be instructional (e.g., on the use of chant), administrative (e.g., concerning a church law or the establishment of a commission), or merely to confer a special favour.[6]

Notable examples

In civil law

More generically, this phrase (or proprio motu; Latin allows free word order) is used to indicate an act taken by a court without a motion from a party to the case. The term is used very rarely in legal opinions in the United States, where sua sponte is preferred, but proprio motu is used in Canada.[8] Proprio motu is used to refer to a decision by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to initiate an investigation into a situation without a referral from the Security Council or a State Party; this power is granted by article 15(1) of the Rome Statute.

As it relates to a monarch, the term motu proprio describes the condition of a royal decree being made expressly on the sovereign's initiative, a practice more usual in some nations than in others.

Relating to Orders of Chivalry, like the Order of Malta, the Grand Master according to the statutes can confer the order motu proprio, instead of in response to a nomination by a national delegation.

References

  1. ^ a b Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), s.v. motu proprio
  2. ^ a b c d "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Motu Proprio". www.newadvent.org.
  3. ^ "Code of Canon Law: text - IntraText CT". www.intratext.com.
  4. ^ According to the article in the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia, a motu proprio was at that time considered valid even if counter to ecclesiastical law.
  5. ^ "Code of Canon Law: text - IntraText CT". www.intratext.com.
  6. ^ "Encyclopedia Britannica - Britannica.com". www.britanica.net.
  7. ^ "Apostolic Letter issued "Motu Proprio" Intima Ecclesiae natura on the Service of Charity (11 November 2012) - BENEDICT XVI". www.vatican.va.
  8. ^ Dickson J. "R v. Erven" (PDF). Supreme Court of Canada. p. 8. [1979] 1 S.C.R. 926. where the Crown attempts to tender a statement without first requesting a trial within the trial, the Court must order it proprio motu.

External links

Ad beatissimi Apostolorum

Ad beatissimi Apostolorum is an encyclical of Pope Benedict XV given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the Feast of All Saints on November 1, 1914, in the first year of his Pontificate. The first encyclical written by Pope Benedict XV coincided with the beginning of First World War, which he labelled "the Suicide of Civilized Europe".

Ad tuendam fidem

Ad tuendam fidem (English: To Protect the Faith) is an apostolic letter of Pope John Paul II issued motu proprio on May 18, 1998. The apostolic letter modified the Oriental and Latin codes of canon law specifying the form of profession of faith to be made by ministers of the Church before assuming office.

Code of Rubrics

The Code of Rubrics is a three-part liturgical document promulgated in 1960 under Pope John XXIII, which in the form of a legal code indicated the rules governing the celebration of the Roman Rite Mass and Divine Office.

Pope John approved the Code of Rubrics by the motu proprio Rubricarum instructum of July 25, 1960. The Sacred Congregation of Rites promulgated the Code of Rubrics, a revised calendar, and changes (variationes) in the Roman Breviary and Missal and in the Roman Martyrology by the decree Novum rubricarum the next day. The official publication was in Acta Apostolicae Sedis 52 (1960), pp. 593–740.

The Code of Rubrics replaced the rules previously given in the Roman Breviary. In the Roman Missal, it replaced the sections, Rubricae generales Missalis (General Rubrics of the Missal) and Additiones et variationes in rubricis Missalis ad normam Bullae "Divino afflatu" et subsequentium S.R.C. Decretorum (Additions and alterations to the Rubrics of the Missal in line with the Bull Divino afflatu and the decrees of the Sacred Congregation of Rites that followed it). As Pope Pius X himself declared in his Apostolic Constitution Divino afflatu, by which he revised the Psalter of the Roman Breviary, the change of the Roman Breviary was intended to be followed up by a revision of the Roman Missal. Accordingly, while awaiting that revision, the first of the two sections of the Roman Missal mentioned continued to be printed as before, although the second rendered some of its provisions invalid. This anomalous situation was remedied in the 1962 typical edition of the Roman Missal, which printed in their place the parts of the Code of Rubrics that concerned the Missal. In its turn, the Code of Rubrics was superseded by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal of 1970, but it remains in force for celebrations of the Roman Rite Mass in accordance with the 1962 Missal, as authorized by the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum of 7 July 2007.

Cum proxime

Pope Pius XI instituted a new rule for setting the date for the start of a papal conclave to elect a new pope by promulgating the document Cum proxime on 1 March 1922, less than a month after his own election. The four non-European cardinals had not participated in the conclave that elected him in February. Three of them arrived too late and one did not attempt the journey. With Cum proxime, Pius XI extended the time between the death of a pope and the start of the conclave to increase the likelihood that cardinals from distant locations could reach Rome in time to participate.

Like other documents issued on the pope's own authority, that is, a motu proprio, it is known by the opening words of its original Latin text. Pius begins by saying that he has been considering the conclave that elected him, and his opening words "Cum proxime" mean roughly since the recent.

Ecclesia Dei

Ecclesia Dei is the document Pope John Paul II issued on 2 July 1988 in reaction to the consecration of four bishops despite an express prohibition by the Holy See. It said that the two consecrating bishops and the four priests they consecrated were excommunicated. John Paul called for unity and established the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei to foster a dialog with those associated with the consecrations who hoped to maintain both loyalty to the papacy and their attachment to traditional liturgical forms.

As is customary for such a papal document, it takes its name from the opening words of its Latin text, Ecclesia Dei, meaning "God's Church".

Ecclesiae Sanctae

Ecclesiae Sanctae – "(Governing) of the Holy Church" – is an apostolic letter or Motu proprio issued by Pope Paul VI on August 6, 1966. Paul wrote this letter on how to implement the Vatican Council, especially as regards the conciliar documents Christus Dominus (On the Pastoral Office of Bishops), Presbyterorum Ordinis (On the Life and Ministry of Priests), Perfectae Caritatis (On the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life), and Ad Gentes (On the Missionary Activity of the Church).

Ingravescentem aetatem

Ingravescentem aetatem (Ecclesiastical Latin: [iŋɡraveˈʃentem eˈtatem]) is a document issued by Pope Paul VI, dated 21 November 1970. It is divided into 8 chapters. The Latin title is taken from the incipit, and translates to "advancing age". It established a rule that only cardinals who have not reached the age of 80 can participate in a conclave.

In 2013, when Pope Benedict XVI announced his plan to resign as pope, he described his reasoning with the same phrase: ingravescentem aetatem.

Magnum principium

Pope Francis issued the document Magnum principium ("The Great Principle") dated 3 September 2017 on his own authority. It modified the 1983 Code of Canon Law to shift responsibility and authority for translations of liturgical texts into modern languages to national and regional conferences of bishops and restrict the role of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (CDW). It was made public on 9 September and its effective date is 1 October.

While directly concerned only with liturgical texts, it represented a significant initiative in the program long advocated by Francis of changing the role of the Roman Curia in the Catholic Church and fostering "shared decision-making between local churches and Rome." That he used canon law to achieve his aims demonstrated, in the view of liturgist Rita Ferrone, the intensity of his commitmment to this project.

Maiorem hac dilectionem

Maiorem hac dilectionem (Latin for 'Greater love than this') is an apostolic letter issued in the form of a motu proprio of Pope Francis, dated 11 July 2017. The document creates a new path towards sainthood under the canonization procedures of the Roman Catholic Church, through the path of oblatio vitae. This means the offering of one's life on a premature life for another individual; it is to give one's life as a sacrifice for another.

Matrimonial nullity trial reforms of Pope Francis

The matrimonial nullity trial reforms of Pope Francis are the reforms of Catholic canon law governing such trials, made public 8 September 2015. The reforms were effected by two separate apostolic letters from Pope Francis, the motu proprio Mitis iudex dominus Iesus amending the 1983 Code of Canon Law, and the motu proprio Mitis et misericors Iesus amending the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches. This was in response to the Bishops who, during the Synod on the Family of 5-9 October 2014, called for simplification of the procedure whereby a legally invalid marriage is declared null.At the press conference announcing the reforms, Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, emphasized that the Church does not decree the "annulment" of a legally valid marriage, but rather declares the "nullity" of a legally invalid marriage.

Nuisance candidate

In the Philippines, a nuisance candidate or potential candidate is a legal term for an aspirant candidate for a public office whose certificate of candidacy was not accepted by the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) either motu proprio by the election body itself or upon a verified petition of an interested party.

Omnium in mentem

Omnium in mentem (To everyone's attention) is the incipit of a motu proprio of 26 October 2009, published on 15 December of the same year, by which Pope Benedict XVI modified five canons of the 1983 Code of Canon Law, two concerning the sacrament of holy orders, the other three being related to the sacrament of marriage.

Papal election reforms of Pope Benedict XVI

In the course of his papacy Pope Benedict XVI (r. 2005–2013) issued two documents altering certain details of the procedures for electing a pope: De electione romani pontificis on 11 June 2007 and Normas nonnullas on 22 February 2013. These instructions amended the extensive set of rules and procedures issued on 22 February 1996 by his predecessor Pope John Paul II in his apostolic constitution Universi Dominici gregis.

Benedict reversed or modified some innovations John Paul had instituted that dealt with procedures to be followed if a papal conclave lasted more than two weeks. He also modified the cardinals' authority to set the start date of a conclave and tightened the punishment for support personnel who violate their oath of secrecy.

Pontificalis Domus

The apostolic letter motu proprio Pontificalis Domus (English: The Papal Household) was issued by Pope Paul VI on 28 March 1968, in the fifth year of his pontificate. It reorganized the Papal Household, which had been known until then as the Papal Court.

Primo Feliciter

Primo Feliciter was a motu proprio issued by Pope Pius XII on March 12, 1948.Primo Feliciter was issued a year after the constitution Provida Mater Ecclesia. This motu proprio confirmed and blessed secular institutes within the Catholic Church.Along with Provida Mater Ecclesia and Cum Sanctissimus, Primo Feliciter provided the basis for Catholic secular institutes to receive their own legislation.

Rubricarum Instructum

Rubricarum Instructum is a motu proprio of Pope John XXIII, dated July 25, 1960.

Summorum Pontificum

Summorum Pontificum (English: "Of the Supreme Pontiffs") is an apostolic letter of Pope Benedict XVI, issued in July 2007, which specified the circumstances in which priests of the Latin Church may celebrate Mass according to what he called the "Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII in 1962" (the latest edition of the Roman Missal, in the form known as the Tridentine Mass or Traditional Latin Mass), and administer most of the sacraments in the form used before the liturgical reforms that followed the Second Vatican Council.

The document was dated 7 July 2007 and carried an effective date of 14 September 2007. Pope Benedict released an explanatory letter at the same time.The document superseded the letter Quattuor Abhinc Annos of 1984 and the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei of 1988, which had allowed individual bishops, under certain conditions, to establish places where Mass could be said using the 1962 Missal. It granted greater freedom for priests to use the Tridentine liturgy in its 1962 form, stating that all priests of the Latin rite Church may freely celebrate Mass with the 1962 Missal privately. It also provided that "in parishes where a group of the faithful attached to the previous liturgical tradition stably exists, the parish priest should willingly accede to their requests to celebrate Holy Mass according to the rite of the 1962 Roman Missal" and should "ensure that the good of these members of the faithful is harmonised with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the governance of the bishop" (Article 5).

The Latin Liturgy of the Pontificale Romanum is allowed for the celebration of all the seven sacraments (even if the Holy Orders is not expressly mentioned). In the same article 9, it is also allowed for the Roman Breviary to the clergymen ordered in sacris (deacons, priests, bishops).

In his accompanying letter, Pope Benedict explained that his action was aimed at broadly and generously providing for the rituals which nourished the faithful for centuries and at "coming to an interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church" with Traditionalist Catholics in disagreement with the Holy See, such as the members of the Society of St. Pius X. He stated that, while it had first been thought that interest in the Tridentine Mass would disappear with the older generation that had grown up with it, some young persons too have "felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the mystery of the Eucharist particularly suited to them." In view of fears expressed while the document was in preparation, he took pains to emphasize that his decision in no way detracts from the authority of the Second Vatican Council and that, not only for juridical reasons, but also because the requisite "degree of liturgical formation and some knowledge of the Latin language" are not found very often, the Mass of Paul VI remains the "normal" or "ordinary" form of the Roman Rite Eucharistic liturgy.

Tra le sollecitudini

Tra le sollecitudini (Italian for "among the concerns") was a motu proprio issued 22 November 1903 by Pope Pius X that detailed regulations for the performance of music in the Roman Catholic Church. The Italian translation of TLS is the source of the key phase–"active participation"–that was later repeated in the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (1963) that launched a far-reaching transformation of Catholic Church liturgy, although the official Latin version refers to "vehement" or ardent participation.

The title is taken from the opening phrase of the document. It begins: "Among the concerns of the pastoral office, ... a leading one is without question that of maintaining and promoting the decorum of the House of God in which the august mysteries of religion are celebrated...."

Vos estis lux mundi

Vos estis lux mundi ('You are the light of the world') is a motu proprio by Pope Francis, promulgated on 9 May 2019. It establishes new procedural rules to combat sexual abuse and to ensure that bishops and religious superiors are held accountable for their actions. It establishes universal norms, which apply to the whole church. The law is effective for a three-year experimental period (ad experimentum), coming into force on 1 June 2019.In its preamble, Pope Francis affirms that:

The crimes of sexual abuse offend Our Lord, cause physical, psychological and spiritual damage to the victims and harm the community of the faithful. In order that these phenomena, in all their forms, never happen again, a continuous and profound conversion of hearts is needed, attested by concrete and effective actions that involve everyone in the Church, ... Therefore, it is good that procedures be universally adopted to prevent and combat these crimes that betray the trust of the faithful.

The document was issued three months after the sexual abuse summit convened by Pope Francis at the Vatican in February 2019.

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