Rome, February 24, 2015: On Wednesday of this week, Rorate Caeli published an interesting article on the possibility of heresy in the Pope, entitled, “Paul IV and the Heretics of His Time – by Roberto de Mattei“, translated by Francesca Romana. The article discussed the importance of the Papal Bull, issued by the same Pope, which bears the Latin title, « Cum ex apostolatus officio », which means, “On account of our Apostolic duty/office”. The original of Dr. de Mattei’s article was published the same day in Italian by Corrispondenza Romana.
In To what extent is Pope Paul IV’s « Cum ex apostolatus officio » still in effect?, The From Rome blog examined the intention of Pope Paul IV in promulgating this law, and whether the promulgation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law abrogated it, wherein we argued that it was not abrogated, since it was a law of positive right, exempted by canon 6 of that Code from abrogation (see revisions of conclusion therein).
Now let us consider..
Whether the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law of 1983 did anything?
The argument which arises as to the perpetually validity of the Papal Law, « Cum ex apostolatus officio » arises secondarily upon the occasion of the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law of 1983 (which we cite it from Intratext), and that due to canon 6 of that code, which reads:
Can. 6 §1 When this Code comes into force, the following are abrogated:
1° the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917;
2° other laws, whether universal or particular, which are contrary to the provisions of this Code, unless it is otherwise expressly provided in respect of particular laws;
3° all penal laws enacted by the Apostolic See, whether universal or particular, unless they are resumed in this Code itself;
4° any other universal disciplinary laws concerning matters which are integrally reordered by this Code.
- § 2 To the extent that the canons of this Code reproduce the former law, they are to be assessed in the light also of canonical tradition.
Here, we must considered, in accord with canon 6, § 1, 2°, whether Paul IV’s papal bull, Cum ex apostolatus officio, is contrary to the provisions of the code of 1983; and whether, in accord with 4° of the same, whether its matters were integrally reordered by it.
There are several ways this could be done, and a complete examination would be prolix for a blog post. So let us consider whether the new Code of 1983 conflicts with Cum ex apostolatus officio, in that section of the latter which regards the invalidity of a nomination to the office of Cardinal, since this was the basis of the recent petition to the College of cardinals.
The College of Cardinals in the Code of Canon Law of 1983
Let’s take a look at the section of the 1983 code on the College of Cardinals (Canons 349-359: source Intratext):
CHAPTER III : THE CARDINALS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CHURCH
Can. 349 The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church constitute a special College, whose prerogative it is to elect the Roman Pontiff in accordance with the norms of a special law. The Cardinals are also available to the Roman Pontiff, either acting collegially, when they are summoned together to deal with questions of major importance, or acting individually, that is, in the offices which they hold in assisting the Roman Pontiff especially in the daily care of the universal Church.
Can. 350 § 1 The College of Cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, to which belong those Cardinals to whom the Roman Pontiff assigns the title of a suburbicarian Church, and eastern-rite Patriarchs who are made members of the College of Cardinals; the presbyteral order, and the diaconal order.
- § 2 Cardinal priests and Cardinal deacons are each assigned a title or a deaconry in Rome by the Roman Pontiff.
- § 3 Eastern Patriarchs within the College of Cardinals have their patriarchal see as a title.
- § 4 The Cardinal Dean has the title of the diocese of Ostia, together with that of any other Church to which he already has a title.
- § 5 By a choice made in Consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff, Cardinal priests may transfer to another title; Cardinal deacons may transfer to another deaconry and, if they have been a full ten years in the diaconal order, to the presbyteral order: priority of order and of promotion is to be observed.
- § 6 A Cardinal who by choice transfers from the diaconal to the presbyteral order, takes precedence over all Cardinal priests who were promoted to the Cardinalate after him.
Can. 351 § 1 Those to be promoted Cardinals are men freely selected by the Roman Pontiff, who are at least in the order of priesthood and are truly outstanding in doctrine, virtue, piety and prudence in practical matters; those who are not already Bishops must receive episcopal consecration.
- § 2 Cardinals are created by decree of the Roman Pontiff, which in fact is published in the presence of the College of Cardinals. From the moment of publication, they are bound by the obligations and they enjoy the rights defined in the law.
- § 3 A person promoted to the dignity of Cardinal, whose creation the Roman Pontiff announces, but whose name he reserves in petto, is not at that time bound by the obligations nor does he enjoy the rights of a Cardinal. When his name is published by the Roman Pontiff, however, he is bound by these obligations and enjoys these rights, but his right of precedence dates from the day of the reservation in petto.
Can. 352 § 1 The Dean presides over the College of Cardinals. When he is unable to do so, the sub-Dean takes his place. The Dean, or the subDean, has no power of governance over the other Cardinals, but is considered as first among equals.
- § 2 When the office of Dean is vacant, those Cardinals who have a suburbicarian title, and only those, under the presidency of the sub-Dean if he is present, or of the oldest member, elect one of their number to act as Dean of the College. They are to submit his name to the Roman Pontiff, to whom it belongs to approve the person elected.
- § 3 In the same way as set out in §2, the sub-Dean is elected, with the Dean presiding. It belongs to the Roman Pontiff to approve also the election of the sub-Dean.
- § 4 If the Dean and sub-Dean do not already have a domicile in Rome, they acquire it there.
Can. 353 § 1 Cardinals assist the Supreme Pastor of the Church in collegial fashion particularly in Consistories, in which they are gathered by order of the Roman Pontiff and under his presidency. Consistories are either ordinary or extraordinary.
- § 2 In an ordinary Consistory all Cardinals, or at least those who are in Rome, are summoned for consultation on certain grave matters of more frequent occurrence, or for the performance of especially solemn acts.
- § 3 All Cardinals are summoned to an extraordinary Consistory, which takes place when the special needs of the Church and more serious matters suggest it.
- § 4 Only an ordinary Consistory in which certain solemnities are celebrated, can be public, that is when, in addition to the Cardinals, Prelates, representatives of civil states and other invited persons are admitted.
Can. 354 Cardinals who head the departments and other permanent sections of the Roman Curia and of Vatican City, who have completed their seventy-fifth year, are requested to offer their resignation from office to the Roman Pontiff, who will consider all the circumstances and make provision accordingly.
Can. 355 § 1 It belongs to the Cardinal Dean to ordain the elected Roman Pontiff a Bishop, if he is not already ordained. If the Dean is prevented from doing so, the same right belongs to the sub-Dean or, if he is prevented, to the senior Cardinal of the episcopal order.
- § 2 The senior Cardinal Deacon announces the name of the newly elected Supreme Pontiff to the people. Acting in place of the Roman Pontiff, he also confers the pallium on metropolitan Bishops or gives the pallium to their proxies.
Can. 356 Cardinals have the obligation of cooperating closely with the Roman Pontiff. For this reason, Cardinals who have any office in the Curia and are not diocesan Bishops, are obliged to reside in Rome. Cardinals who are in charge of a diocese as diocesan Bishops, are to go to Rome whenever summoned by the Roman Pontiff.
Can. 357 §1 When a Cardinal has taken possession of a suburbicarian Church or of a titular Church in Rome, he is to further the good of the diocese or church by counsel and patronage. However, he has no power of governance over it, and he should not for any reason interfere in matters concerning the administration of its goods, or its discipline, or the service of the church.
- § 2 Cardinals living outside Rome and outside their own diocese, are exempt in what concerns their person from the power of governance of the Bishop of the diocese in which they are residing.
Can. 358 A Cardinal may be deputed by the Roman Pontiff to represent him in some solemn celebration or assembly of persons as a ‘Legatus a latere’, that is, as his alter ego; or he may, as a special emissary, be entrusted with a particular pastoral task. A Cardinal thus nominated is entitled to deal only with those affairs which have been entrusted to him by the Roman Pontiff himself.
Can. 359 When the Apostolic See is vacant, the College of Cardinals has only that power in the Church which is granted to it by special law.
As one can see, there is nothing in the Code regarding the qualifications of office which contradict Pope Paul IV’s bull. The only canon dealing with their eligibility for office is 351 §1, which specifies that they are to be outstanding in doctrine, virtue, piety and prudence in practical matters. This is the same spirit underlying the prescriptions of Cum ex apostolatus officio.
Furthermore, there nothing in the Code which expressly addresses the invalidity of a nomination to the office of cardinal.
Thus, nothing in Paul IV’s decree, in this respect, is invalidated in virtue of Canon 6 of the present Code.