| Year 2004 Canonical Studies pp. 18-27
The Procedure and Praxis of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith regarding Graviora Delicta
(Msgr. Charles J Scicluna)
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A. Some preliminary considerations regarding substantive law

With reference to art. 52 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus of 28 June 1988, art. 1 of the motu proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela of the 30 April 2001 distinguishes between two types of graviora delicta

a) “delicta in sacramentorum celebratione commissa” (delicts committed in the celebration of the sacraments)

b) “delicta contra mores” (delicts against morals).

Concerning the delicta graviora in sacramentorum celebratione commissa, the motu proprio takes into account only two sacraments: i) the Most Holy Sacrifice and Sacrament of the Eucharist ii) the Sacrament of Penance.

The motu proprio, in art. 2, enumerates five (5) delicts against the Eucharist.

1. The profanation of the Sacred Species (art. 2, n. 1). The motu proprio makes explicit reference (cf. n.9) to the authentic interpretation of 4 June 1999 which included in the definition of the verb “abicere”, used in can. 1367 CIC and can 1442 CCEO “quamlibet actionem Sacras Species voluntarie et graviter despicientem” (any action which voluntarily and gravely offends the Sacred Species).

2. The attempt to celebrate the Eucharistic Sacrifice by someone not in Holy Orders (art. 2. N. 2; can. 1378 § 2, n. 1 CIC). This delict, while not mentioned in the CCEO, is explicitly included in the corpus canonum ecclesiarum orientalium in virtu of the motu proprio.

3. The imulation of the liturgical celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice (art. 2, n.2; can. 1379 CIC; can. 1443 CCEO). For both Codes, the simulation of any of the sacraments is a delict. The motu proprio only considers the simulation of Holy Mass or of the Divine Liturgy as a delictum gravius.

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