Code of Canon Law 964
965 A priest alone is the minister of the sacrament of penance.
966 §1. The valid absolution of sins requires that the minister have, in addition to the power of orders, the faculty of exercising it for the faithful to whom he imparts absolution.
§2. A priest can be given this faculty either by the law itself or by a grant made by the competent authority according to the norm of CIC 969.
967 §1. In addition to the Roman Pontiff, cardinals have the faculty of hearing the confessions of the Christian faithful everywhere in the world by the law itself. Bishops likewise have this faculty and use it licitly everywhere unless the diocesan bishop has denied it in a particular case.
§2. Those who possess the faculty of hearing confessions habitually whether by virtue of office or by virtue of the grant of an ordinary of the place of incardination or of the place in which they have a domicile can exercise that faculty everywhere unless the local ordinary has denied it in a particular case, without prejudice to the prescripts of CIC 974, §§2 and 3.
§3. Those who are provided with the faculty of hearing confessions by reason of office or grant of a competent superior according to the norm of cann. CIC 968, §2 and CIC 969, §2 possess the same faculty everywhere by the law itself as regards members and others living day and night in the house of the institute or society; they also use the faculty licitly unless some major superior has denied it in a particular case as regards his own subjects.
968 §1. In virtue of office, a local ordinary, canon penitentiary, a pastor, and those who take the place of a pastor possess the faculty of hearing confessions, each within his jurisdiction.
§2. In virtue of their office, superiors of religious institutes or societies of apostolic life that are clerical and of pontifical right, who have executive power of governance according to the norm of their constitutions, possess the faculty of hearing the confessions of their subjects and of others living day and night in the house, without prejudice to the prescript of CIC 630, §4.
969 §1. The local ordinary alone is competent to confer upon any presbyters whatsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of any of the faithful. Presbyters who are members of religious institutes, however, are not to use the faculty without at least the presumed permission of their superior.
§2. The superior of a religious institute or society of apostolic life mentioned in CIC 968, §2 is competent to confer upon any presbyters whatsoever the faculty to hear the confessions of their subjects and of others living day and night in the house.
970 The faculty to hear confessions is not to be granted except to presbyters who are found to be suitable through an examination or whose suitability is otherwise evident.
971 The local ordinary is not to grant the faculty of hearing confessions habitually to a presbyter, even one having a domicile or quasi-domicile in his jurisdiction, unless he has first heard the ordinary of the same presbyter insofar as possible.
972 The competent authority mentioned in CIC 969 can grant the faculty to hear confessions for either an indefinite or a definite period of time.
973 The faculty to hear confessions habitually is to be granted in writing.
974 §1. The local ordinary and the competent superior are not to revoke the faculty to hear confessions habitually except for a grave cause.
§2. When the faculty to hear confessions has been revoked by the local ordinary who granted it as mentioned in CIC 967, §2, a presbyter loses the faculty everywhere. If some other local ordinary has revoked the faculty, the presbyter loses it only in the territory of the one who revokes it.
§3. Any local ordinary who has revoked the faculty of some presbyter to hear confessions is to inform the proper ordinary of incardination of the presbyter or, if he is a member of a religious institute, his competent superior.
§4. If the proper major superior of a presbyter has revoked the faculty to hear confessions, the presbyter loses the faulty to hear the confessions of members of the institute everywhere. If some other competent superior has revoked the faculty, however, the presbyter loses it only with regard to the subjects in the jurisdiction of that superior.
975 Besides by revocation, the faculty mentioned in CIC 967, §2 ceases by loss of office, excardination, or loss of domicile.
976 Even though a priest lacks the faculty to hear confessions, he absolves validly and licitly any penitents whatsoever in danger of death from any censures and sins, even if an approved priest is present.
977 The absolution of an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is invalid except in danger of death.
978 §1. In hearing confessions the priest is to remember that he is equally a judge and a physician and has been established by God as a minister of divine justice and mercy, so that he has regard for the divine honor and the salvation of souls.
§2. In administering the sacrament, the confessor as a minister of the Church is to adhere faithfully to the doctrine of the magisterium and the norms issued by competent authority.
979 In posing questions, the priest is to proceed with prudence and discretion, attentive to the condition and age of the penitent, and is to refrain from asking the name of an accomplice.
980 If the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of the penitent, and the penitent seeks absolution, absolution is to be neither refused nor deferred.
981 The confessor is to impose salutary and suitable penances in accord with the quality and number of sins, taking into account the condition of the penitent. The penitent is obliged to fulfill these personally.
982 Whoever confesses to have denounced falsely an innocent confessor to ecclesiastical authority concerning the crime of solicitation to sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is not to be absolved unless the person has first formally retracted the false denunciation and is prepared to repair damages if there are any.
983 §1. The sacramental seal is inviolable; therefore it is absolutely forbidden for a confessor to betray in any way a penitent in words or in any manner and for any reason.
§2. The interpreter, if there is one, and all others who in any way have knowledge of sins from confession are also obliged to observe secrecy.
984 §1. A confessor is prohibited completely from using knowledge acquired from confession to the detriment of the penitent even when any danger of revelation is excluded.
§2. A person who has been placed in authority cannot use in any manner for external governance the knowledge about sins which he has received in confession at any time.
985 The director of novices and his associate and the rector of a seminary or other institute of education are not to hear the sacramental confessions of their students residing in the same house unless the students freely request it in particular cases.
986 §1. All to whom the care of souls has been entrusted in virtue of some function are obliged to make provision so that the confessions of the faithful entrusted to them are heard when they reasonably seek to be heard and that they have the opportunity to approach individual confession on days and at times established for their convenience.
§2. In urgent necessity, any confessor is obliged to hear the confessions of the Christian faithful, and in danger of death, any priest is so obliged.
987 To receive the salvific remedy of the sacrament of penance, a member of the Christian faithful must be disposed in such a way that, rejecting sins committed and having a purpose of amendment, the person is turned back to God.
988 §1. A member of the Christian faithful is obliged to confess in kind and number all grave sins committed after baptism and not yet remitted directly through the keys of the Church nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which the person has knowledge after diligent examination of conscience.
§2. It is recommended to the Christian faithful that they also confess venial sins.
989 After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is ob-liged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.
990 No one is prohibited from confessing through an interpreter as long as abuses and scandals are avoided and without prejudice to the prescript of CIC 983, §2.
991 Every member of the Christian faithful is free to confess sins to a legitimately approved confessor of his or her choice, even to one of another rite.
992 An indulgence is the remission before God of temporal punishment for sins whose guilt is already forgiven, which a properly disposed member of the Christian faithful gains under certain and defined conditions by the assistance of the Church which as minister of redemption dispenses and applies authoritatively the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.
993 An indulgence is partial or plenary insofar as it partially or totally frees from the temporal punishment due to sins.
994 Any member of the faithful can gain partial or plenary indulgences for oneself or apply them to the dead by way of suffrage.
995 §1. In addition to the supreme authority of the Church, only those to whom this power is acknowledged in the law or granted by the Roman Pontiff can bestow indulgences.
§2. No authority below the Roman Pontiff can entrust the power of granting indulgences to others unless the Apostolic See has given this expressly to the person.
996 §1. To be capable of gaining indulgences, a person must be baptized, not excommunicated, and in the state of grace at least at the end of the prescribed works.
§2. To gain indulgences, however, a capable subject must have at least the general intention of acquiring them and must fulfill the enjoined works in the established time and the proper method, according to the tenor of the grant.
997 As regards the granting and use of indulgences, the other prescripts contained in the special laws of the Church must also be observed.
998 The anointing of the sick, by which the Church commends the faithful who are dangerously ill to the suVering and glorified Lord in order that he relieve and save them, is conferred by anointing them with oil and pronouncing the words prescribed in the liturgical books.
999 In addition to a bishop, the following can bless the oil to be used in the anointing of the sick:
1/ those equivalent to a diocesan bishop by law;
2/ any presbyter in a case of necessity, but only in the actual celebration of the sacrament.
1000 §1. The anointings with the words, order, and manner prescribed in the liturgical books are to be performed carefully. In a case of necessity, however, a single anointing on the forehead or even on some other part of the body is sufficient, while the entire formula is said.
§2. The minister is to perform the anointings with his own hand, unless a grave reason warrants the use of an instrument.
1001 Pastors of souls and those close to the sick are to take care that the sick are consoled by this sacrament at the appropriate time.
1002 The communal celebration of the anointing of the sick for many of the sick at once, who have been suitably prepared and are properly disposed, can be performed according to the prescripts of the diocesan bishop.
1003 §1. Every priest and a priest alone validly administers the anointing of the sick.
§2. All priests to whom the care of souls has been entrusted have the duty and right of administering the anointing of the sick for the faithful entrusted to their pastoral office. For a reasonable cause, any other priest can administer this sacrament with at least the presumed consent of the priest mentioned above.
§3. Any priest is permitted to carry blessed oil with him so that he is able to administer the sacrament of the anointing of the sick in a case of necessity.
1004 §1. The anointing of the sick can be administered to a member of the faithful who, having reached the use of reason, begins to be in danger due to sickness or old age.
§2. This sacrament can be repeated if the sick person, having recovered, again becomes gravely ill or if the condition becomes more grave during the same illness.
1005 This sacrament is to be administered in a case of doubt whether the sick person has attained the use of reason, is dangerously ill, or is dead.
1006 This sacrament is to be conferred on the sick who at least implicitly requested it when they were in control of their faculties.
1007 The anointing of the sick is not to be conferred upon those who persevere obstinately in manifest grave sin.
1008 By divine institution, the sacrament of orders establishes some among the Christian faithful as sacred ministers through an indelible character which marks them. They are consecrated and designated, each according to his grade, to nourish the people of God, fufilling in the person of Christ the Head the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.
1009 §1. The orders are the episcopate, the presbyterate, and the diaconate.
§2. They are conferred by the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer which the liturgical books prescribe for the individual grades.
1010 Ordination is to be celebrated within the solemnities of the Mass on a Sunday or holy day of obligation.
For pastoral reasons it can take place also on other days, even weekdays.
1011 §1. Ordination generally is to be celebrated in the cathedral church; for pastoral reasons, however, it can be celebrated in another church or oratory.
§2. Clerics and other members of the Christian faithful must be invited to the ordination so that as large an assembly as possible is present at the celebration.
1012 The minister of sacred ordination is a consecrated bishop.
1013 No bishop is permitted to consecrate anyone a bishop unless it is first evident that there is a pontifical mandate.
1014 Unless the Apostolic See has granted a dispensation, the principal bishop consecrator in an episcopal consecration is to be joined by at least two consecrating bishops; it is especially appropriate, however, that all the bishops present consecrate the elect together with the bishops mentioned.
1015 §1. Each person is to be ordained to the presbyterate or the diaconate by his proper bishop or with legitimate dimissorial letters from him.
§2. If not impeded by a just cause, the proper bishop is to ordain his own subjects personally; without an apostolic indult, however, he cannot ordain licitly a subject of an Eastern rite.
§3. The person who can give dimissorial letters to receive orders can himself also confer the same orders personally if he possesses the episcopal character.
1016 As regards the diaconal ordination of those who intend to be enrolled in the secular clergy, the proper bishop is the bishop of the diocese in which the candidate has a domicile or the bishop of the diocese to which the candidate is determined to devote himself. As regards the presbyteral ordination of secular clerics, it is the bishop of the diocese in which the candidate was incardinated through the diaconate.
1017 A bishop cannot confer orders outside his own jurisdiction without the permission of the diocesan bishop.
1018 §1. The following can give dimissorial letters for secular clergy:
1/ the proper bishop mentioned in CIC 1016;
2/ an apostolic administrator and, with the consent of the college of consultors, a diocesan administrator; with the consent of the council mentioned in CIC 495, §2, an apostolic pro-vicar and an apostolic pro-prefect.
§2. A diocesan administrator, apostolic pro-vicar, and apostolic pro-prefect are not to grant dimissorial letters to those who have been denied admission to orders by the diocesan bishop, the apostolic vicar, or the apostolic prefect.
1019 §1. The major superior of a clerical religious institute of pontifical right or of a clerical society of apostolic life of pontifical right is competent to grant dimissorial letters for the diaconate and the presbyterate to their subjects who are enrolled perpetually or defin-itively in the institute or society according to their constitutions.
§2. The law for secular clerics governs the ordination of all other candidates of any institute or society; any other indult granted to superiors is revoked.
1020 Dimissorial letters are not to be granted unless all the testimonials and documents required by law according to the norm of cann. CIC 1050 and CIC 1051 have been obtained beforehand.
1021 Dimissorial letters can be sent to any bishop in communion with the Apostolic See except to a bishop of a rite different from the rite of the candidate unless there is an apostolic indult.
1022 After the ordaining bishop has received legitimate dimissorial letters, he is not to proceed to the ordination unless it is clearly evident that the letters are authentic.
1023 Dimissorial letters can be limited or revoked by the one who granted them or by his successor, but once granted they do not lapse when the authority of the one who granted them ceases.
1024 A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.
1025 §1. To confer the presbyteral or diaconal orders licitly, it is required that the candidate, having completed the period of probation according to the norm of law, is endowed in the judgment of his own bishop or of the competent major superior with the necessary qualities, is prevented by no irregularity and no impediment, and has fulfilled the prerequisites according to the norm of CIC 1033-1039. Moreover, the documents mentioned in CIC 1050 are to be obtained and the investigation mentioned in CIC 1051 is to be completed.
§2. Furthermore, it is required that he is considered in the judgment of the same legitimate superior as useful for the ministry of the Church.
§3. The bishop ordaining his own subject who is destined to the service of another diocese must be sure that the one to be ordained is going to be attached to this other diocese.
1026 A person must possess due freedom in order to be ordained. It is absolutely forbidden to force anyone in any way or for any reason to receive orders or to deter one who is canonically suitable from receiving them.
1027 Those aspiring to the diaconate and presbyterate are to be formed by careful preparation, according to the norm of law.
1028 The diocesan bishop or the competent superior is to take care that before candidates are promoted to any order, they are instructed properly about those things which belong to the order and its obligations.
1029 Only those are to be promoted to orders who, in the prudent judgment of their own bishop or of the competent major superior, all things considered, have integral faith, are moved by the right intention, have the requisite knowledge, possess a good reputation, and are endowed with integral morals and proven virtues and the other physical and psychic qualities in keeping with the order to be received.
1030 Only for a canonical cause, even if occult, can the proper bishop or competent major superior forbid admission to the presbyterate to deacons subject to him who are destined to the presbyterate, without prejudice to recourse according to the norm of law.
1031 §1. The presbyterate is not to be conferred except on those who have completed the twenty-fifth year of age and possess sufficient maturity; an interval of at least six months is to be observed between the diaconate and the presbyterate. Those destined to the presbyterate are to be admitted to the order of deacon only after completing the twenty-third year of age.
§2. A candidate for the permanent diaconate who is not married is not to be admitted to the diaconate until after completing at least the twenty-fifth year of age; one who is married, not until after completing at least the thirty-fifth year of age and with the consent of his wife.
§3. The conference of bishops is free to establish norms which require an older age for the presbyterate and the permanent diaconate.
§4. A dispensation of more than a year from the age required according to the norm of §§1 and 2 is reserved to the Apostolic See.
1032 §1. Those aspiring to the presbyterate can be promoted to the diaconate only after they have completed the fifth year of the curriculum of philosophical and theological studies.
§2. After a deacon has completed the curriculum of studies and before he is promoted to the presbyterate, he is to take part in pastoral care, exercising the diaconal order, for a suitable time defined by the bishop or competent major superior.
§3. A person aspiring to the permanent diaconate is not to be promoted to this order unless he has completed the time of formation.
1033 A person is promoted licitly to orders only if he has received the sacrament of confirmation.
1034 §1. A person aspiring to the diaconate or presbyterate is not to be ordained unless he has first been enrolled among the candidates through the liturgical rite of admission by the authority mentioned in cann. CIC 1016 and CIC 1019; his petition is previously to have been written in his own hand, signed, and accepted in writing by the same authority.
§2. A person who has been received into a clerical institute through vows is not bound to obtain this admission.
1035 §1. Before anyone is promoted to the permanent or transitional diaconate, he is required to have received the ministries of lector and acolyte and to have exercised them for a suitable period of time.
§2. There is to be an interval of at least six months between the conferral of the ministry of acolyte and the diaconate.
1036 In order to be promoted to the order of diaconate or of presbyterate, the candidate is to present to his bishop or competent major superior a declaration written in his own hand and signed in which he attests that he will receive the sacred order of his own accord and freely and will devote himself perpetually to the ecclesiastical ministry and at the same time asks to be admitted to the order to be received.
1037 An unmarried candidate for the permanent diaconate and a candidate for the presbyterate are not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless they have assumed the obligation of celibacy in the prescribed rite publicly before God and the Church or have made perpetual vows in a religious institute.
1038 A deacon who refuses to be promoted to the presbyterate cannot be prohibited from the exercise of the order received unless he is prevented by a canonical impediment or another grave cause to be evaluated in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or competent major superior.
1039 All candidates for any order are to make a spiritual retreat for at least five days in a place and manner determined by the ordinary. Before the bishop proceeds to ordination, he must be certain that the candidates properly made this retreat.
1040 Those aVected by any impediment, whether perpetual, which is called an irregularity, or simple, are prevented from receiving orders. The only impediments incurred, however, are those contained in the following canons.
1041 The following are irregular for receiving orders:
1/ a person who labors under some form of amentia or other psychic illness due to which, after experts have been consulted, he is judged unqualified to fulfill the ministry properly;
2/ a person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism;
3/ a person who has attempted marriage, even only civilly, while either impeded personally from entering marriage by a matrimonial bond, sacred orders, or a public perpetual vow of chastity, or with a woman bound by a valid marriage or restricted by the same type of vow;
4/ a person who has committed voluntary homicide or procured a completed abortion and all those who positively cooperated in either;
5/ a person who has mutilated himself or another gravely and maliciously or who has attempted suicide;
6/ a person who has placed an act of orders reserved to those in the order of episcopate or presbyterate while either lacking that order or prohibited from its exercise by some declared or imposed canonical penalty.
1042 The following are simply impeded from receiving orders:
1/ a man who has a wife, unless he is legitimately destined to the permanent diaconate;
2/ a person who exercises an office or administration forbidden to clerics according to the norm of cann. CIC 285 and CIC 286 for which he must render an account, until he becomes free by having relinquished the office or administration and rendered the account;
3/ a neophyte unless he has been proven sufficiently in the judgment of the ordinary.
1043 If the Christian faithful are aware of impediments to sacred orders, they are obliged to reveal them to the ordinary or pastor before the ordination.
1044 §1. The following are irregular for the exercise of orders received:
1/ a person who has received orders illegitimately while aVected by an irregularity to receive them;
2/ a person who has committed a delict mentioned in CIC 1041, n. 2, if the delict is public;
3/ a person who has committed a delict mentioned in CIC 1041, nn. 3, 4, 5, 6.
§2. The following are impeded from the exercise of orders:
1/ a person who has received orders illegitimately while prevented by an impediment from receiving them;
2/ a person who is aVected by amentia or some other psychic illness mentioned in CIC 1041, n. 1 until the ordinary, after consulting an expert, permits the exercise of the order.
1045 Ignorance of the irregularities and impediments does not exempt from them.
1046 Irregularities and impediments are multiplied if they arise from different causes. They are not multiplied, however, if they arise from the repetition of the same cause unless it is a question of the irregularity for voluntary homicide or for having procured a completed abortion.
1047 §1. Dispensation from all irregularities is reserved to the Apostolic See alone if the fact on which they are based has been brought to the judicial forum.
§2. Dispensation from the following irregularities and impediments to receive orders is also reserved to the Apostolic See:
1/ irregularities from the public delicts mentioned in CIC 1041, nn. 2 and 3;
2/ the irregularity from the delict mentioned in CIC 1041, n. 4, whether public or occult;
3/ the impediment mentioned in CIC 1042, n. 1.
§3. Dispensation in public cases from the irregularities from exercising an order received mentioned in CIC 1041, n. 3, and even in occult cases from the irregularities mentioned in CIC 1041, n. 4 is also reserved to the Apostolic See.
§4. An ordinary is able to dispense from irregularities and impediments not reserved to the Holy See.
1048 In more urgent occult cases, if the ordinary or, when it concerns the irregularities mentioned in CIC 1041, nn. 3 and 4, the Penitentiary cannot be approached and if there is imminent danger of grave harm or infamy, a person impeded by an irregularity from exercising an order can exercise it, but without prejudice to the obligation which remains of making recourse as soon as possible to the ordinary or the Penitentiary, omitting the name and through a confessor.
1049 §1. Petitions to obtain a dispensation from irregularities or impediments must indicate all the irregularities and impediments. Nevertheless, a general dispensation is valid even for those omitted in good faith, except for the irregularities mentioned in CIC 1041, n. 4, and for others brought to the judicial forum, but not for those omitted in bad faith.
§2. If it is a question of the irregularity from voluntary homicide or a procured abortion, the number of the delicts also must be mentioned for the validity of the dispensation.
§3. A general dispensation from irregularities and impediments to receive orders is valid for all the orders.
1050 For a person to be promoted to sacred orders, the following documents are required:
1/ a testimonial that studies have been properly completed according to the norm of CIC 1032;
2/ for those to be ordained to the presbyterate, a testimonial that the diaconate was received;
3/ for candidates to the diaconate, a testimonial that baptism, confirmation and the ministries mentioned in CIC 1035 were received; likewise, a testimonial that the declaration mentioned in CIC 1036 was made, and if the one to be ordained to the permanent diaconate is a married candidate, testimonials that the marriage was celebrated and the wife consents.
1051 The following prescripts regarding the investigation about the qualities required in the one to be ordained are to be observed:
1/ there is to be a testimonial of the rector of the seminary or house of formation about the qualities required to receive the order, that is, about the sound doctrine of the candidate, his genuine piety, good morals, and aptitude to exercise the ministry, as well as, after a properly executed inquiry, about his state of physical and psychic health;
2/ in order to conduct the investigation properly, the diocesan bishop or major superior can employ other means which seem useful to him according to the circumstances of time and place, such as testimonial letters, public announcements, or other sources of information.
1052 §1. For a bishop conferring ordination by his own right to proceed to the ordination, he must be sure that the documents mentioned in CIC 1050 are at hand and that, after the investigation has been conducted according to the norm of law, positive arguments have proven the suitability of the candidate.
§2. For a bishop to proceed to the ordination of someone who is not his subject, it is sufficient that the dimissorial letters mention that the same documents are at hand, that the investigation has been performed according to the norm of the law, and that the suitability of the candidate has been established. Moreover, if the candidate is a member of a religious institute or a society of apostolic life, the same letters must also attest that he has been received definitively into the institute or society and is a subject of the superior who gives the letters.
§3. If, all these notwithstanding, the bishop doubts for specific reasons whether a candidate is suitable to receive orders, he is not to promote him.
1053 §1. After an ordination has taken place, the names of those ordained and of the ordaining minister and the place and date of the ordination are to be noted in a special register to be kept carefully in the curia of the place of ordination; all the documents of individual ordinations are to be preserved carefully.
§2. The ordaining bishop is to give to each of the ordained an authentic testimonial of the reception of ordination; if a bishop other than their own promoted them with dimissorial letters, they are to show the testimonial to their own ordinary for notation of the ordination in a special register to be kept in the archive.
1054 The local ordinary if it concerns seculars, or the competent major superior if it concerns his own subjects, is to send notice of each ordination celebrated to the pastor of the place of baptism, who is to record it in his baptismal register according to the norm of CIC 535, §2.
Code of Canon Law 964