Canon 1: Every cleric, whatever may be his status, condition, order, or dignity, who two months after the publication of the present constitution in the cathedral churches is still a notorious concubinarius, shall be deprived for a period of three months of the revenues of all his benefices, which his superior shall return or apply to the churches from which they were derived. Moreover, the superior, as soon as he becomes aware of the transgression, shall warn every concubinarius to dismiss the concubine infra brevissimum terminum. If the concubinarius fails to do so or, having done so, takes her back or takes another, this hold council commands that he be deprived of all his benefices. But even when he has dismissed her, he shall be unqualified to received ecclesiastical revenues, honors, benefices, or appointments of any kind until he has given his bishop or superior satisfactory proof of amendment. Should he again become a transgressor in this matter, he shall be forever disqualified from receiving honors, benefices, or appointments of any description whatsoever. But, if those whose duty it is to correct such persons neglect to do so, then they themselves are to be punished by their superiors.

... All concubines and suspicious women shall be removed by the prelates from the residence of the clergy, even with the aid of the secular authorities if necessary, and it shall not be tolerated that the children thus born in concubinage live with their fathers. This council decrees, moreover, that the present constitution be published in provincial and diocesan synods and in general and provincial chapters, and that superiors warn their subjects to put away their concubines.


If anyone in truth, either lay or cleric, is convicted of the crime for which God's wrath visits upon the sons of faithlessness, let him be punished by the penalties imposed by the holy canons or by civil law respectively.

1561      (During the reign of Pope Pius IV)

Since recently, not without vexation of Our soul, We have heard that various priests in the Spanish Kingdoms, and also in their States, and in the Dioceses, who have care of souls, or exercise it for others, or are otherwise deputed to hear the confessions of penitents, have burst into such iniquity that they abuse the Sacrament of Penitence in the act of hearing confessions, nor do they fear to do injury to him who established it for Lord God, and Our Savior Jesus Christ: namely, by charming female penitents into dishonorable acts when they hear their confessions, and by provoking them or by trying to provoke them, and by procuring [sex] - and this in the penitents' p1ace for a kind of reconciliation with their Creator - through burdening them with a weightier mass of sins, and delivering them into the hands of the Devil, into offense of the Divine Majesty, and perdition of souls, and an enormous scandal of all the Christian faithful.

             (During the reign of Pope Pius V)

If anyone should perpetrate an unspeakable crime against nature, on account of which the wrath of God comes upon his sons, let him be brought before the anxious care of the Curia Secularis for consideration,. and if he be a cleric, let him be degraded from all ranks and subject to fitting punishment.

1568      (During the reign of Pope Pius V)

Clearly it is known to the Lateran Council that it has been established that any Clerics who have been caught working in that wantonness which is against nature, for which God's wrath comes against the sons of faithlessness, must be cast out from the clergy or forced to lead a life of penance in the Monasteries.

... That those demoted by Ecclesiastic judge should be immediately delivered to secular power, and that among them he ought to receive the same punishment as those downgraded into the laity in this pestilence, is found to be established by legitimate sanctions.

1622          (During the reign of Pope Gregory XV)

We order all Confessors that they warn their penitents whom they know to have been solicited by others, as above, concerning the obligation of denouncing those who either solicit [sex] or seduce [penitents] to the Inquisitors or appointed Ordinaries of Place; but if they should omit this duty, or if they should instruct the penitents that Confessors who solicit [sex] or seduce [penitents] are not to be liable for denunciation, then those same Ordinaries and Inquisitors must not neglect to punish them in accordance with their guilt.

1741        Curia   (During the reign of Pope Benedict XIV)

Let us, then -- properly weighing how important it is that things be observed everywhere with exactness for the purpose of the eternal salvation of souls and the importance of caring for an infirm flock, mindful of the dignity of the Holy Church of God that must be maintained -- take care lest any priests nefariously abuse the sacrament of confession and to the penitents proffer a wound instead of healing, a stone instead of bread, a serpent for a fish, poison for medicine.

... And if there is any need, We again commit to and ask all the Inquisitors of Heretical Depravity, and the Orders of every place and realm -- of the provinces, states, dominions, and locations of the whole Christian world -- that they, in their respective dioceses, diligently and with all mortal respect cast aside [i.e., disregarding rank], seek out and proceed against everyone -- every priest. as much against Seculares as Regulares. however much exempt, and also those immediately subject to the Apostolic See, of whatever Orders, Institutions, Societies, or Congregations, whether supported by the privilege or dispensation of any rank or preeminence -- who have essayed to tempt a penitent, whoever that person is, either in the act of sacramental confession. whether before or immediately afterwards, whether on the occasion or the pretext of confession, whether even outside the times for confession in the confessional or in a place other than that designated for hearing confessions or in a place chosen for the alleged purpose of hearing a confession; the object of this temptation is to solicit or provoke the penitent toward impure and obscene matters, whether by words or signs or nods of the head, whether by touch or by writing whether then or after the note has been read or whether he has had with that penitent prohibited and improper speech or activity with brazen audacity.

... We especially wish and enjoin all the Ordinaries of localities, who exist now and in future time, that in the approval of confessors, just as much as in the prior Constitution of Gregory, Our Predecessor, as in this Our present one, they take care that the law is observed attentively and accurately by all priests who will be approved.

... Therefore, let no man at all infringe upon this page of Our will, sanction, precept, and mandated derogation, or go against it with brazen audacity. If, however, anyone presumes to attempt this, he shall know that he incurs the wrath of Omnipotent

God and His Apostles, Peter and Paul.

1775    Curia    (During the reign of Pope Pius VI)

There is allowance, nevertheless, in cases which are instituted concerning the crime of solicitation, since such cases are often committed in secret, away from witnesses. In these cases, sworn testimony of individual women and men who make accusations about a personal incident can be considered sufficient, as long as the total number of accusers is three people. Such accusers ought to be secretly deferred to you, as if you were of the rank of a Superior with jurisdiction. You cannot overlook such proof at all without committing a mortal sin.

1866    Curia   (During the reign of Pope Pius IX)

Clearly, there is no doubt but that these prescriptions, prohibitions, and reservations, each and every one of them, extend their force across all nations, universally, and must be observed in every part of the earth unshakably and without violation.

1869    (During the reign of Pope Pius IX)

[The following are subject to this kind of excommunication:]

4. Those who neglect or culpably omit to denounce within a month Confessors or Priests by whom they have been solicited to sinful acts in any of the situations described by Our Predecessors Gregory XV in the Constit. Universi, 30 August, 1622, and by Benedict XIV in the Const. Sacramentum Poenitentiae, 1 June, 1741.

1883    Curia     (During the reign of Pope Leo XIII)

In order to satisfactorily address the doubts raised toward this Supreme Congregation, it was asked by the Holy Congress of the Supreme Inquisition: "Can Apostolic Vicars without special faculty hear accusations in the matters of solicitation of sex, or when such accusations are received; are they bound to defer them to your office?" The Inquisitors General to his Eminence the Pope on the fourth day of the week, June 20 of the current year [1883] decided this is the best answer: "It is sought by His Most Holiness that the same extension of Instruction apply to all Apostolic Vicars as that of the Apostolic Vicar of Cochinchina dated June 1, 1775, with the addition that the names of the solicitors be sent to the Holy Office, through the intermediary of the S.C.de Propaganda Fide, in a sealed letter."

1890  Curia

... it has been found by experience that such examinations have been conducted neither knowledgeably nor legally by the delegated judges; so quite often these cases can no longer be prosecuted without becoming graver and turning into a source of damnation and scandal to the faithful.

... It must be noted first of all that caution beyond measure is to be used in summoning persons to examination; and indeed it will not always be appropriate that they meet at the public location of the Chancery, especially if those who will be subjected to examination are girls, are married, or are dedicated to service [nuns]; then truly it shall be advised that they discreetly summon them either inside the sacristys or another place according to the prudence of the Ordinary or the assessment of the judge where their examinations can be conducted. But if they must be examined in monasteries or infirmaries, or if they abide in the dwellings of pious women, then they will have to be summoned with great care and on different days according to the individual circumstances.

Moreover, the judges deputed for the purpose of conducting examinations, and their chancellors or notaries (who always ought to be clerics) must see to it that the person to be examined communicates alone and without the presence of a friend or witness: so truly is it necessary that all these things be conducted with inviolable secrecy.

... Rules to be used for conducting an examination per generalia

By the power of letter of the Holy Supreme Congregation given on the day ___ (or by the power of the decree of the Most Illustrious and Reverend Lord, the Ordinary Archbishop) invoked personally, it has come to pass in the presence of his Most Illustrious and Reverend Lord __ sitting in the Chancery (or in the sacristy, or in the visiting room of the nunnery, or in the holy house) in the presence of myself, etc. ____ , an unmarried woman (or married) living in country , in the parish , daughter (or wife) of , of the age of a person of the city (or of the country, or devoted to service is the person to whom it was asked, after the oath was given to tell the truth, which was shown by touching the Holy Gospels of God: Question: Does [the person] know or imagine the reason for [her] summons or for the present examination? Response: ___ . Question: For how many years has she gone to holy Confession? Response: Question: Has she always had one and the same confessor of the holy Confession, or was it among many priests? Moreover, was it in one church, or many? Response: ___ . Question: Was it from each of the priests to whom she confessed that she received the holy admonitions and upright precepts which strengthened the examined person, and protected her from evil, etc.? Response: ___ . (Note: If the answer is "Yes," that is, if she says she has always been directed well, then the question proceeds in the following manner.) Question: Does she know or remember at any time to have said or heard that a certain confessor has conducted himself in an impious and shameful manner with respect to penitents - apart from rumors, or words uttered in contempt of said confessor? For example, did the examined person herself hear similar things from one or many penitents, and was it a year ago, or three or four months? (Note: If after this questioning and investigation the examined proceeds to answer in the negative, the proceedings are closed in the accustomed manner, which stands at the end of this instruction. But if anything appears concerning another confessor, with regard to the questions being asked, questioning will proceed further as follows.) Question: Let the examined person give the first name, last name, position, age, and place or seat of the Confessor; is he a secular presbyter or Regular, etc.? Response: . Question: Let the examined person give in order- honestly and clearly- the things which she heard in sacramental confession, whether before, after, or on the occasion of confession from the aforementioned confessor, which were less than honorable: was there any action on his part which lacked honor, made either through expression, touching, or deed, etc.? Response: ___ . (Note: At this point the judge will take scrupulous care that the testimony reflects the exact words which the confessor used: immoral speech, seductions, invitations to meet in another place with evil intent, and anything else which comprise the crime of solicitation, though with vulgar language removed when the responses are written down accurately and in accordance with the truth; let the judge give courage to the examined person if he observes that she is shackled by excessive fear or modesty for revealing the truth, by persuading her that everything will be suppressed by inviolable secrecy. Finally, he will ask the time at which the solicitations began, how long they lasted, how often they were repeated, with what words and by what actions intimating evil intent they were expressed. The judge shall be rigorously cautious about questions regarding the consensus of the examined person in the act of solicitation, or any questioning which might betray a desire to know about the examined person's transgressions.) Question: Does she know or has she heard it said that the aforementioned confessor has solicited shameful acts from other penitents; and to what degree can she name them? (Here the judge will order the first name and the last name, or at least very clear identification by which other solicited persons may be revealed.) (Note: If by chance other solicited persons can be deduced, it will be the judge's duty to summon them discreetly, and to examine them individually in the manner described above.) Response: . Question: Is the rumor [or reputation] of the aforementioned confessor the same to you as to others? Response: ___ . Has the deposition just given been done through a love of justice and truth, or rather from some animosity or the result of some hatred, or anything else, etc.? Response: ___ . When the proceedings were held and the testimony received, the examined was dismissed, having sworn again on the Holy Gospels of God to keep secrecy, and having signed her name below the record of examination in confirmation of her promises; (or, if illiterate, confirmation can be spoken [and the record will show]: "since she did not know how to write, she made the mark of the Cross"). (signature of the person examined) These proceedings performed by me, ____ , the chancellor or notary assigned to this task.

1897     Curia

4. Truly, since this Supreme Tribunal has perceived that [information] is not always maintained by all parties after a long passage of time, when the reception of testimonies are difficult and sometimes impossible, it [the Tribunal] has mandated that this Instruction be published, according to the norms of the Ordinaries, for this matter.

5. Therefore, as many times as an Ordinary shall receive any accusation concerning the unspeakable crime of solicitation, he will immediately proceed to diligent investigation. Toward that end, he will call two witnesses either by himself or a priest specially delegated (of course separately, and as circumspection allows), if possible of ecclesiastic rank, who are in every way above reproach, who know on the one hand the accused, and on the other hand each and every accuser. The judge shall interrogate them after they have sworn oaths about their truthfulness and to maintain the secret of the Holy Office, as the judge has the testimony put down in writing, according to the following formula; [given later] the judge will send an accurate copy of the testimonies of the two witnesses together with the accusation in question directly to this Supreme Congregation

as soon as possible.

1961  (Under the reign of Pope John XXIII)


(An Instruction,. Religiosorum institutio, to the Superiors of Religious Communities, Societies without vows, and Secular Institutes on the careful selection and training of candidates for the states of perfection and Sacred Orders is as follows.)

... Among the proofs and signs of a divine vocation the virtue of chastity is regarded as absolutely necessary "because it is largely for this reason that candidates for the ranks of the clergy choose this type of life for themselves and persevere in it." Consequently:

a) "Watchful and diligent care is to be taken that candidates for the clergy should have a high esteem and love for chastity, and should safeguard it in their souls.

b) "Not only, therefore, are clerics to be informed in due time on the nature of priestly celibacy, the chastity which they are to observe (cf. can. 132), and the demands of this obligation, but they are likewise to be warned of the dangers into which they can fall on this account. Consequently, candidates for Sacred Orders are to be exhorted to protect themselves from dangers from their earliest years."

... A candidate who shows himself certainly unable to observe religious and priestly chastity, either because of frequent sins against chastity or because of a sexual bent of mind or excessive weakness of will, is not to be admitted to the minor seminary and, much less, to the novitiate or to profession. If he has already been accepted but is not yet perpetually professed, then he should be sent away immediately or advised to withdraw, according to individual cases, no matter what point in his formation he has already reached.

... If a student in a minor seminary has sinned gravely against the sixth commandment with a person of the same or the other sex, or has been the occasion of grave scandal in the matter of chastity, he is to be dismissed immediately as stipulated in canon 1371, except if prudent consideration of the act and of the situation of the student by the superiors or confessors should counsel a different policy in an individual case, sc., in the case of a boy who has been seduced and who is gifted with excellent qualities and is truly penitent, or when the sin was an objectively imperfect act.

... Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and the priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers.

... Very special investigation is needed for those students who, although they have hitherto been free of formal sins against chastity, nevertheless suffer from morbid or abnormal sexuality, especially sexual hyperesthesia or an erotic bent of nature, to whom religious celibacy would be a continual act of heroism and a trying martyrdom.

... [T]he religious life must be defended against any appearance of false humanism or naturalism, and its supernatural character and sanctity must be safeguarded by all available means. "This is necessary particularly today, if at any time, when so-called naturalism has worked its way into the minds and souls of men."

... Consequently, supernatural reasons for embracing religious vows and the priestly life should be stressed and they should be preferred to the natural virtues in the training of young religious.

... Before temporary profession, which absolutely must precede promotion to tonsure and Minor Orders, novices are to present to their superiors a written declaration in which they attest explicitly to their vocation to the state of perfection and the clerical state, and at the same time declare their firm intention to bind themselves forever to the ranks of the clergy in the state of perfection.

... "I, the undersigned, ... a member of the (Order, Congregation, Society, Institute of ... ), in presenting this petition to Superiors for the reception of the Order of the Subdeaconate, after having carefully considered the matter before God, do hereby testify under oath: 1) that in the reception of the said Sacred Order I am moved by no coercion, compulsion, or fear, but am seeking it of my own accord, and do of my own full and free will desire to embrace it together with the obligations that are attached to it. 2) I acknowledge that I am fully informed of all the obligations that flow from the aforesaid Sacred Order, and I freely embrace them, and resolve with the help of God to keep them faithfully during my entire life. 3) I declare that I clearly understand all that the vow of chastity and the law of celibacy prescribe, and I firmly resolve with the help of God to observe these obligations faithfully until the end of my life. 4) Finally, I sincerely promise that I will always, according to the sacred canons, most respectfully obey in all things which are commanded me by my Superiors according to the discipline of the Church, and am prepared to give good example both in work and in word, so that in the reception of this great office I may be worthy to receive the reward which God has promised. To all this I testify and swear upon these sacred Gospels which I touch with my hand. This _ day of____ 19 __ (Signed) __________

... At the outset of their ministry, both because of the passions besetting their youth and because of their more frequent contacts with the world, many serious difficulties usually arise along with new kinds of temptations. And since new priests experience a certain sense of independence and feel that they must do their work in their own way in the ministry entrusted to them, they easily tend to shake off all restraint and, because of their inexperience, can fall into numerous errors and failings which may rightly be feared to lead to deplorable defections. This is why young priests sometimes think they must act on their own and introduce many reforms, disregarding the methods and systems of older priests. Lastly, they frequently are either left without any fruitful occupation or else are overloaded with self-assigned work or work which has been given to them by their superiors, not without danger to their spiritual life.

47. The Danger Of The .. Heresy Of Action"

On this spiritual danger Pope Pius XII, of venerable memory, has warned us in the following most serious words: .. We cannot refrain from expressing Our concern and Our anxiety for those who, because of special circumstances of our day and age, have too frequently so engulfed themselves in a whirl of external activity as to neglect the first duty of priests, that is to say, procuring their own personal sanctification. We have already publicly stated (cf. A.A.S., 36 (1944]- 239, Letter Cum proxime exeat) that 'those men must be recalled to the right path who rashly hold that man can be saved by what is rightly and deservedly called the "heresy of action," that kind of action, We say, which is not based on the assistance of Divine Grace and does not make constant use of the necessary means for the pursuit of sanctity provided by Jesus Christ."'

... 1. The crime of solicitation takes place when a priest tempts a penitent, whoever that person is, either in the act of sacramental confession, whether before or immediately afterwards, whether on the occasion or the pretext of confession, whether even outside the times for confession in the confessional or [in a place] other than that [usually] designated for the hearing of confessions or [in a place] chosen for the simulated purpose of hearing a confession. [The object of this temptation] is to solicit or provoke [the penitent] toward impure and obscene matters, whether by words or signs or nods of the head, whether by touch or by writing whether then or after [the note has been read] or whether he has had with [that penitent] prohibited and improper speech or activity with reckless daring (Constitution Sacrum Poenitentiae, § 1).

2. [The right or duty of addressing] this unspeakable crime in the first instance pertains to the Ordinaries of the place in whose territory the accused has residence ... and this not to mention through proper law but also from a special delegation of the Apostolic See; It is enjoined upon these aforementioned persons to the fullest extent possible, [in addition to their being] gravely encumbered by their own consciences, that, after the occurrence of cases of this type, that they, as soon as possible, take care to introduce, discuss and terminate [these cases] with their proper tribunal.

... Nor is the accused prohibited from proposing a defender seen as favorable to him (Canon 1655), who, however, is to be a priest and approved by the Ordinary.

... Because, however, what is treated in these cases has to have a greater degree of care and observance so that those same matters be pursued in a most secretive way, and, after they have been defined and given over to execution, they are to be restrained by a perpetual silence (Instruction of the Holy Office, February 20, 1867, n. 14), each and everyone pertaining to the tribunal in any way or admitted to knowledge of the matters because of their office, is to observe the strictest secret. ...

... The oath of keeping the secret must be given in these cases also by the accusers or those denouncing [the priest] and the witnesses.

... Anonymous denunciations generally must be rejected. However, they can have supportive force or give the occasion for further investigations, if the particular circumstances of the matters involved render an accusation probable (Ofr. Can. 1942, § 2).

... If any priests condemned of the crime of solicitation, or even only admonished, should transfer his residence to another territory, the Ordinary a quo should immediately warn the Ordinary ad quem of the things that preceded that person and of his juridical status.

... All these official communications shall always be made under the secret of the Holy Office; and, since they concern the common good of the church to the greatest degree, the precept of doing these things obliges under serious sin [sub gravi].

... By the name of the worst crime is understood at this point a signification of any obscene external deed, gravely sinful, in any perpetrated by a cleric or attempt with a person of his own sex.

... To have the worst crime, for the penal effects, one must do the equivalent of the following: any obscene, external act, gravely sinful, perpetrated in any way by a cleric or attempted by him with youths of either sex or with brute animals (bestiality).