VIEWPOINTS

BY OSCAR CRUZ

Thursday, December 7, 2017

WHEN CHURCHMEN denounce errant deeds of public officials and ask for their pursuant punishment as may be imposed by the observance of the pertinent judicial process, it might be good to herein explicitly state that contrary to the common knowledge or standard perception of the general public, they themselves – clerics, i.e., deacons, priests and bishops – are covered by Church Law when they violate given doctrinal posits and/or disregard a given ecclesiastical Office and/or offend against their clerical obligations.

In other words, it is but right and proper that churchmen, too, are bound to comply with the provisions of Church Law – or suffer the consequences for any of its deliberate and/or serious violation. This simply means that the principles and implications of justice are also relevant and applicable to Churchmen in whatever part of the world they are – considering that Code of Canon Law of the Church is universal and thus universally covers all clerics as well, irrespective of race, color and tongue.

So it is that the aforesaid Code of Canon Law comprised of seven Books containing some 1,752 general provisions with thousands of pursuant particular mandates thereunder furthermore provided – includes such sections as the following specifically applicable to clerics in general:

* Procedural Law for administrative or judicial trials

* Sanctions in the Church for proven violation of pertinent legislations

* Penal Process for the trial and punishment of violators through any duly stipulated canonical sanction

* Samples of penalties in the external forum for errant Clerics – depending on the gravity of the proven offence

* Prohibition of Residence

* Transfer to a minor pastoral assignment

* Deprivation of Ecclesiastical Office

* Suspension from the exercise of the priestly ministry

* Dismissal from the Clerical State

Other extra-canonical administrative penalties can also be imposed such as the following:

* Imposition of extraordinary Spiritual Retreat and/or specified particular penances

* Mandate of self-rehabilitation in a given place for a given time

* Mandatory permanent or temporary residence in a Monastery, a Cloister, or the like

* Prohibition of company with stipulated crowds or personalities

* Other penalties to counteract the offences committed.

And in the event that the proven misdeed of a cleric is also punishable by State Law, he may be further penalized by the pertinent Civil or Criminal Justice System of the Country – considering that he is a citizen thereof.

The “Separation of Church and State” only means that the State may not adopt an official religion just as the Church may not allow a Cleric to accept any public office with the exercise of civil power.

Just for the record./PN