Canon Law Case. You Decide.

by Steve Ray on November 13, 2012

Good morning class. Our canon law topic for today is irregularity for the exercise of orders arising from mutilation. As you know:

Canon 1041 states “The following are irregular for receiving orders: . . . n. 5. A person who has mutilated himself or another gravely and maliciously or who has attempted suicide.”

Canon 1044 § 1 says “The following are irregular for the exercise of orders received: . . . n. 3. A person who has committed a delict mentioned in can. 1041, nn. 3, 4, 5, 6.” and

Canon 1397 reads “A person who commits a homicide or who kidnaps, detains, mutilates, or gravely wounds a person by force or fraud is to be punished . . . according to the gravity of the delict.”

Okay, let’s assume you’ve got two priests who get into a brawl and—why are they fighting? I dunno, let’s say they’re fighting over a parking space—anyway, while they are swinging away at each other, one bites an ear off the other. Clean off. Now, analyze the status of the biter and the bitee. Are either, neither, or both of them irregular for the exercise of orders due to mutilation? Cite the law, account for the facts, and explain your answers.

Any questions? Okay, then, see you this afternoon.

Excuse me? Whaddya mean, you don’t like my goofy classroom hypotheticals? Would it be more believable for you if I said these two clerics were, say, tough old Aussies? Anyway, who says this is a made-up case? Just for that, I’m gonna call on you first, young man.

See y’all this afternoon.

Taken from Ed Peters’ Canon Law Website.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

pablo November 13, 2012 at 1:36 PM

For swiftness of justice the biter escalated the minor brawl into an infraction of canon law and should be “punished . . . according to the gravity of the delict.”” But, the bitee priest participated in the initial altercation as well, should he get off free? It was within the bitee’s capacity to defuse the disagreement like giving the irritated man the parking space and later report him to their presbyters. Are there other codes to address this?
Backing up a bit, one or both aging priest must never have had matured into men of Godly wisdom who at their age it is a bit late, this side of purgatory.
Questions: How did they ‘fly under the bishop’s radar”? How did they end up living so close together? Would senility be a consideration in one or both?

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