Same Reality, Different Appearances

– Mathew Kochupurackal

Codex luris Canonici (CIC)11 and Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium (CCEO)22 are the two codes that regulate the life of the Catholic Church today. Both were promulgated by the same legislator, and they express the one and the same faith in different ecclesiastical discipline. Such unity and diversity have always existed in the Church. Pope John Paul II in his Apostolic Constitution promulgating CCEO stated. “From the very beginnings of the codification of the canons of the Eastern Churches, the constant will of the Roman Pontiffs has been to promulgate two Codes: one for the Latin Church, the other for the Eastern Churches. This demonstrates very clearly that they wanted to preserve that which in God’s providence had taken place in the Church: that the church gathered by the one Spirit breathes, as it were, with the two lungs of East and West, and burns with the love of Christ, having one heart, as it were, with two ventricles”.

A proper and comparative study of both the Codes is very necessary by all of us, especially because we live in a country where different Churches suie iuris coexist. Such a study has been repeatedly advocated by Pope John Paul II. “it appears obvious to urge that a proper and comparative study of both Codes be promoted in the Faculties of Canon Law even if, by their constitutions, they have the study of one or the other of the Codes as their principal subject-matter. Indeed, a canonical science that fully corresponds with the degree of studies that these Faculties confer cannot omit such a study”33 . The same Pope repeated,”The knowledge of this entire corpus, as I emphasized on October 25, 1990, at the last Synod of Bishops, must be opportunely promoted in priestly formation and, above all, in all the Faculties of Canon Law. Indeed, this knowledge cannot but enrich these studies and ensure that canonical science, undertaken at these Faculties, be plene respondens titulis studiorum, quos hae Facultates conferunt.”44

Inspired by the exhortation of the supreme law giver of the Church, we attempt to make a comparative study with regard to the canonical legislation of both the Codes on the sacraments except Divine Eucharist and marriage. The Churches of the East and the

1. Codex Iuris Canonici, promulgated by Pope John Paul II for the Latin Church on January 25, 1983, through the Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges, AAS 75, pars 2 (1983) xxx, 1 – 324.
2. Codex Canonum Ecclesiarum Orientalium, promulgated by Pope John Paul II for the Eastern Catholic Churches on October 18, 1990, through the Apostolic Constitution Sacru canones, AAS 82 (1990) 1033 -1363.
3. Words of the Pope presenting CCEO to the twenty-eight General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops on October 25, 1990. AAS 83 (1991) 490.
4. Address of the Pope at the International symposium held at the Vatican (April 19 – 24, 1993) to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the promulgation of the Latin Code, Communicationes 25 (1993) 13 – 14.
West, while conserving the unity of faith, have followed various modes of celebrating sacraments. This varietas is to a great extent due to different theological, cultural and historical reasons. We, in this paper, highlight only those matters regarding which CCEO prescribes differently from CIC.

Sacraments in CCEO: Points of Divergence from CIC

Canons on sacraments of the Eastern Churches were ready for promulgation as the fifth motu proprio.5 But Pope John XXIII was not willing to promulgate them since he had decided to convoke an ecumenical council and revise the canons in the light of the deliberations of the council

The canons on sacraments and other acts of divine worship come in CIC Book IV under the title the Sanctifying Office of the Church cc, 840 – 1165. CCEO puts the canons on sacraments and other acts of divine worship under title 16 Divine Worship and especially Sacraments cc. 667 – 866. Though the arrangement is different, in substance the matter of treatment is the same. In the work of PCCICOR there was a proposal to call the section with the name De sacra liturgia. It was not accepted on the reasons that the word sacred liturgy does not cover the whole material treated in the section and according to the Eastern tradition the sacraments constitute acts of divine worship, similarly, the principal effect of the sacraments, that is, the sanctification of the souls is not controlled by canon law but the liturgical laws regulate the valid and lawful administration of the sacraments.66

Both CIC and CCEO contain deep theology around the notion of the nature of the sacraments. According to the Eastern sacramental discipline sacraments are not isolated acts through which a particular grace is granted to single individuals but are considered as aspects of one and the same mystery of the Church in which God shares with humanity the divine life redeeming man form sin and death, and conferring on him the glory of immorality. This, the ultimate destiny of man is theosis (deification or human participation in the divine will) and the foundation of this deification is the hypostatic union of divinity and humanity in Christ. The locus or sphere in which theosis take place ins the Church, and the primary means by which Holy Spirit works to give grace and to deify people are the sacraments. Trinitarian communion is the essential goal of the personal transformation of the human being.

5. Pope Pius XI had appointed in 1935 a commission by name The Pontifical Commission for the Redaction of the Eastern Code of Canon Law to organize the work and to prepare a text of canons after carefully examining the observations of the Bishops. The commission prepared a text and it was printed with the title Codex Iuris Canonici Orientalis (Code of Eastern Canon Law – CICO). Pope Pius XII promulgated 1571 canons through four motu proprios, namely, Crebrae allatae sunt in 1949 on marriage, Sollicitudinem nostrum in 1950 on trial, Postquam apostolicis litteris in 1952 on temporal goods and Cleri sanctitati in 1957 on Eastern rites, physical and moral persons, clerics and laity. 1095 canons remained in the archives of the commission. In 1958 Pope Pius XII died. John XXIII, the pope who succeeded, did not wish to promulgate the rest. He wanted that the canons be studied in the light of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. In 1972 Pope Paul VI appointed the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Eastern Code of Canon Law (PCCICOR) for implementing the wish of Pope John XXIII.
6. Nuntia 15 (1982) 6.
Sacraments are visible signs. They are efficacious signs, that is, they realize what they indicate. The mysteries of Christ are communicated through the sacraments. St.John Chrysostom says that sacrament is a mystery because we do not see everything we believe. We see one thing and believe another thing.7 CIC affirms that the sacraments are the actions of Christ and of the Church.

The activity of the Holy Spirit in every sacrament is well insisted and explicitly stated in CCEO. Instead, the Latin code gives more insistence to the Christological dimension of the sacraments instituted by Christ are actions of Christ and the Church. Referring to the effects of the sacraments, CIC c.840 states, “the sacraments […] stand out as the signs and means by which the faith is expressed and strengthened worship is rendered to God and the sanctification of human kind is effected, and they this contribute in the highest degree to the establishment, strengthening and manifestation of ecclesial communion […], CCEO c. 667 also contains the same idea, but explicitly mentions the activity of the Holy Spirit. It reads, “Through the sacraments, which the Church is bound to dispense in order to communicate the mysteries of Christ under visible signs, our Lord Jesus Christ sanctifies people by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that they may become in a unique way true worshippers of God the Father and be inserted into Christ and the Church, His Body;[…]

The axiom lex orandi lex credendi is very well operative in the sacramental theology, especially of the Eastern Churches. Sacraments are the supreme actions through which the faith is professed, lived and transmitted.

The theology of the Latin Church distinguishes three elements in every sacrament: matter, form and minister. It is the division prescribed by the Council of Florence in line with the Aristotelian and Thomistic style. The Council of Florence (1439) in its Decree for the Armenians stated, “To effect these sacraments three things are necessary: the things (or symbols), that is, the “material”, the words, that is, the “form”; and the person of the “ministrant”, who administers the sacrament with the intention of carrying out what the Church effects through him. If any of these things be lacking, the sacrament is not accomplished”88, There was a discussion in PCCICOR whether to operate the division of the Council in CCEO. The commission decided not to restrict the terms used by a theology based on a single philosophical school, even though such a terminology had been accepted by certain Orthodox Churches.9.9 In fact, the commission decided to follow such terminology only when it was needed. However, it followed it in chapter six while dealing with sacred ordination.

7. Homily on 1 Cor 7:1 in PG LX1, 55.
8. (DS 1312)
9. Nuntia 4 (1977) 17 – 18. The Eastern traditions have generally resisted the Scholastic approach of analyzing sacraments into the component parts of matter and form, preferring simply to acknowledge the reality of divine action in physical acts by the term “Mystery”. See FRANCIS J. MARINI (ed.), Comparative Sacramental Discipline in the CCEO and CIC, Washington, D.C., 2003, 92
CCEO does not mention the reason for the irrepetibility of baptism, chrismation and sacred ordination (c. 672§1). CIC gives the reason as the indelible character of these sacraments (c.845§1), There was a proposal to insert the phrase in CCEO also. The proposal was not accepted on the ground that the ratio iuris does not belong to the law.1010

Baptism and Ascription to a Church sui iuris

Both Codes, CCEO and CIC, state that by baptism one is ascribed to a Church sui iuris. The former legislation (CIC 1917 cc. 98§1, 756§1 and CS c.6) spoke of ascription to a rite. The new legislation which is mainly ecclesiological and canonical speaks of Church sui iuris which is a juridical realty in the place of rite which is not a juridical person. Rite is something which constitutes a Church sui iuris. It is a liturgical, theological, spiritual and disciplinary heritage, differentiated by the culture and the circumstances of the history of peoples, which is expressed by each Church sui iuris in its own matter of living the faith (c. 28§1).

C.29§1 states, “A son or daughter who has not completed fourteen years of age is ascribed by virtue of baptism to the Church sui iuris to which his or her Catholic father is ascribed; or if only the mother is Catholic, or if both parents are of the same mind in requesting it, to the Church sui iuris of the mother, without prejudice to particular law enacted by the Apostolic See”. The parallel canon in CIC is c. 111§1 which reads, “A child of parents who belong to the Latin Church is ascribed to it by reception of baptism, or, if one or the other parent does not belong to the Latin Church and both parents agree in choosing that the child be baptized in the Latin Church, the child is ascribed to it by reception of baptism; but, if the agreement is lacking, the child is ascribed to the Ritual Church to which the father belongs:. The canon does not give a provision for the child to be ascribed to the Church of the mother who belongs to an Eastern Church sui iuris. We can argue that CCEO c. 29§1 fills a lacuna in the law that CIC has left in c. 111§1.

C. 37 speaks about the recording of ascription in the baptismal register. Such a norm is not seen in CIC but this eastern canon obliges also the Latin Church. Such a recording is necessary in order to avoid the possibility of blessing marriage invalidly by a priest who belongs to a Church sui iuris different from that/those of both the parties.

Manner of Administering Baptism

CCEO c. 675§1 states that baptism is administered through washing with natural water (per lavacrum aquae naturalis) with the invocation of the name of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The manner of administering it is not specified by the Eastern Code. But CIC prescribes how washing with water (aqua vera) is to be performed in baptism, that is, either by immersion or by pouring (cc. 849, 854). Administering baptism by aspersion is excluded by the Latin Code. Since CCEO does not specify the manner of giving baptism, one may argue that aspersion is also permitted.

10. Nuntia 15 (1982) 12.
The practice of administering baptism by triple immersion is a practice of the Church from ancient times. Didache11 St. Basil 1212 and Apostolic Canons (middle of the fourth century) c.5013 explicitly advocate baptism by immersion. A few orthodox theologians have even dared to deny the validity of the baptism administered per lavacrum other than triple immersion.14 However, Didache permitted the practice of pouring water for administering baptism in the early Church. But it was practiced in exceptional cases, like those of sick people who could not be immersed in water. Immersion was also the norm in the West at least till 13th century, as is evidenced in many baptisteries still preserved. Immersion has great theological significance. Immersion into water symbolizes death to sin and emergence from water assumption of new life. Thus, the baptized participates in the death and resurrection of Christ (cf. Rom. 6:4-5; Gal.3:27). On the basis of such theological vision, Schema Codicis Iuris Canonici Orientalis (SCICO)15 in c.672§1 contained a norm. “In baptismo homo pr immersionem in aquam naturalem vel abulutionem cum invocatione nominis Dei Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti a peccato liberator, ad vitam novam regenerator, Christum induit et Ecclesiae, quae Eius Corpus est, incorporator”. Intervening in the long discussion on the canon, the Secretary of the Pontificio Commissio Codice Iuris Canonici Orientalis Recognoscendo (PCCICOR) observed that the general terms lavacrum could be used in the place of immersion vel ablution in congruity with the Catholic doctrine and not to exclude the possibility of administering baptism by aspersion.16 The term lavacrum used in CCEO may tend certain Eastern Churches to include aspersion also as the form of baptism which the Latin Church has given up.

It may be noted that the Latin Code better reflects the genuine tradition of the Church with regard to the manner of administering baptism by excluding the possibility of adopting aspersion.

Baptismal Formula

In order to emphasize the action of the Holy Spirit in effecting the mystery and to highlight the instrumental role of the minister, the liturgies of the Eastern Churches, different from that of the Latin Church, use the baptismal formula in the passive. That is:”(Name) is baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”. The baptismal rite of the Latin Church is: “(Name) I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit”.

11. Didache seu Doctrina duodecim apostolorum, 90/100, cf. Enchiridion Patristicum, Roma 1953, 1 – 2
12. De Spiritu Sancto, PG 32, 129.
13. C.50. If any bishop or presbyter does not perform the one initiation with three immersions, but with giving one immersion only, into the death of the Lord, let him be deposed. […]. See HENRY R. PERCIVAL, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers, vol. 14, The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Michigan 1991, 597
14. J.MEYENDORFF, Byzantine Theology, New York 1976, 235.
15. Nuntia 24-25 (1987).
16. Nuntia 29 (1989) 59.
Minister of Baptism

C. 677 states that baptism is administered ordinarily by a priest (sacerdos). In case of necessity, however, baptism can be administered by a deacon or, in his absence or if he is impeded, by another cleric, a member of an institute of consecrated life, or by any other member of the Christian faithful; even by the mother or father if another person is not available who knows how to baptize. This norm is in agreement with the Eastern canonical discipline found in the Apostolic Constitutions (380)17 and the Apostolic Canons cc. 47 and 4918 which assign bishops and presbyters to be ordinary ministers of baptism.

CIC c. 861 includes deacons also in the category of ordinary ministers; and if the ordinary minister (bishop, presbyter and deacon) is absent or impeded a catechist or other person deputed for this function by the local ordinary confers baptism licitly as does any person with the right intention. It is to be noted that there is the possibility of deputing some other person when an ordinary minister is absent or impeded. The fact that a deacon can be an ordinary minister of baptism in the Latin Church is considered by the Orthodox Church as a matter of great doctrinal difference.19

Both the Codes admit other ministers in administering baptism in case of necessity. But it is to be noted that as per CCEO, even in a case of necessity the one who administers baptism should be a Christian faithful (Christifidelis), not just ‘any person with the right intention’ as permitted in the Latin Church (CIC c.861§2). Baptism inserts a person to the ecclesial community. Therefore, only a member of the ‘community’ can baptize. But this does not exclude the validity of the baptism given by a non-baptized person. Catechism of the Catholic Church (hereafter CCC) no.1256 states, “In case of necessity, any person, even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention. The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The Church finds the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and the necessity of Baptism for salvation”. There was a canon in the Schema (CICO) OF 1986 AS C.671§1, “It is necessary that the minister intend t do what the Church intends in order to administer the sacraments validly”.20 This canon did not appear in CCEO, probably because, such a prescription is superfluous and it forms part of the Catholic doctrine.

17. The Apostolic Constitutions state that “to the hishops we have assigned the functions of being pontiffs, to the presbyters that of being priests and to the deacons the function to serve both the one and the other. Hence it is not permitted to the deacon to offer sacrifice, to baptize, to give the great and the little blessings, and to the priests (it is forbidden) to confer ordinations […]. VIII, 46: 28, 2-6; III, 11, 1-2
18. C. 47. Let a bishop or presbyter who shall baptize again [..]. C. 49. If any bishop or presbyter, contrary to th ordinance of the Lord, does not baptize into the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost […]. See HENRY R. PERCIVAL., Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers. Vol. 14. The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Michigan 1991, 597
19. Commissions internazionale mista per il dialogo teologico tra le Chiese cattolikca ed ortodossa: Documents di Bari II (1987) 126
20. Nuntia 24 – 25 (1987) 126
The orthodox tradition considers a baptism given by a non-baptized person invalid. The reason is that the Church wishes that the liturgical action of giving someone entry into Christ and the new life is to be performed at least by one of her sons/daughters who although do not possess the power of sacred order but only royal priesthood received in baptism.21

As per CCEO a presbyter can baptize both infant and adult alike. But CIC c.863 directs that a baptism of an adult, at least one who has completed fourteen years of age, is to be referred to the bishop so that it may be conferred by him, if he judges it expedient. This exhortation is justified by CIC c.866 which prescribes, “Unless a grave reason prevents it, an adult who is baptized is to be confirmed immediately after baptism and participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, also receiving Communion”.

We all know that there are Eastern Catholics in the world whose pastoral care is entrusted to the parish priests of the Latin Church. The question now is whether a deacon of the Latin Church can ordinarily administer baptism to one of those Eastern Catholics? Some canonists hold that these faithful are subjects of the local ordinary of the Latin Church and therefore, a Latin deacon can ordinarily administer. I am of the opinion that a Latin deacon cannot be an ordinary minister of baptism to a child of the Eastern parents. In this case, I think, the tradition of the Eastern Churches is to be upheld. The question of the ordinary minister in the celebration of baptism is not regulated by the principle locu regit actu, but by the law and the liturgical provisions of the proper Church to which the Eastern faithful are ascribed.22 Moreover, when a child belonging to an Eastern Catholic Church receives baptism, he/she is also chrismated together with that, which, of course, cannot be performed validly by a deacon.

Conditional Baptism

CIC c. 869§1 directs to confer baptism conditionally, if there exists doubt regarding one’s valid reception of baptism. But the practice of administering baptism with the insistence of condition is strange to the eastern tradition. In the case of strong doubt, the practice in the Eastern Churches has been conferred of it without any conditional formula.23 Therefore no such prescription is found in CCEO.

Baptism by Desire

All throughout the formulations much discussion was made on the concept of baptism by desire which finds its mention in CIC c. 849,24 CCEO c. 675§1, the parallel of CIC c. 849 does not refer to baptism of desire in connection with the necessity of baptism for salvation. Rather it states in §2 only by the actual reception of baptism is a person made capable for the other sacraments”. The idea of baptism by desire is not customary to the ancient Eastern tradition.

21. G. FERRARI, “Parusia dello Spirito Santo e sua opera di salvezza”. O Theologo 3 (1983) 434.
22. G. GALLARAO & D. SALACHAS, “Interecclesial Matters in the Communion of Churches”, The Jurist 60 (2000): 2, 287.
23. Synod of Carthage, c. 72; Council of Trullo, c. 84
24. CIC quotes LG 16 which reaffirms the teachings of the Church regarding baptism of desire. During the final redaction of the 1980 schema of the Latin code, it was suggested that the distinction between baptism with water and baptism of desire should be dropped since the latter produced no juridic effects. The suggestion was rejected because of the doctrinal importance of the distinction. See Communicationes 15 (1983) 177.


According to the most ancient tradition of the Churches the person who is to be baptized should have at least one sponsor (CCEO c. 684§1). CIC c. 873 prescribes that if there are two sponsors in a baptism, then one of each sex is to be employed. Such a prescription is not seen in CCEO. With regard to the qualifications of the sponsors, the norms of CCEO are to be considered seriously, because they affect the validity of the function as sponsors. Since there is a diriment impediment of spiritual relationship in marriage25 , it is necessary to specify who a true sponsor in baptism is.26 But the norms given in CIC c. 874§1 are to be considered only for liceity. It does not create problems since CIC has taken away the impediment of spiritual relationship in marriage which is still retained by CCEO.27 Besides, the Eastern Churches attach more importance to the role of sponsors in the faith formation of the baptized.

CCEO permits an Eastern non-Catholic to stand as a sponsor but always at the same time with a Catholic sponsor. CIC also has such a norm. It permits even a person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community (c. 874§2). However, it doe not distinguish between an Orthodox (eastern non-Catholic) and a Protestant. CCEO admits only an Orthodox Christian as sponsor, while CIC admits both Orthodox and Protestant, however, not as sponsors but only as witnesses. Ecumenical Directory no.28 98 permits a Catholic to act as a sponsor in the baptism of an Eastern non-Catholic (not of a Protestant).

Chrismation with Holy Myron / Confirmation

CCEO C 692 states, “It is necessary for those who have been baptized to be chrismated with holy Myron, so that signed with the seal of the Holy Spirit they may become more suitable witnesses and co-builders of the Kingdom of Christ.

CIC c. 800§1 speaks of the mode of administering the sacrament, that is, anointing with chrism on the forehead which is done by the imposition of the hand with the words, “Accipe signaculum doni Spirius Sancti”. The eastern canon does not speak of imposition of hand in this sacrament. The Pontifical Commission for the Interpretation of the Decrees of Vatican II in its response dated June 9, 1972 clarified, “Anointing with chrism is to be done. It sufficiently expresses the lain on of hands”29 . The form – sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit – prescribed by CCEO and used in the Latin Church, has been adopted from the Byzantine Liturgy.

C. 693 prescribes, “Holy Myron, which is made from the oil of olives or other plants and from aromatics, is confected only by a bishop, without prejudice to particular law which reserves this power to the patriarch”, The competent minister to consecrate chrism is a bishop in the Latin Church also (c. 880§2). However, because of special circumstances, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples has granted permission to some apostolic administrators, although not bishops, to consecrate chrism. In the present circumstances, in China priests can consecrate chrism.

25. Nuntia 15 (1982) 73.
26. CCEO c. 811§1. From baptism there arises a spiritual relationship between a sponsor and the baptized person and the parents of the same that invalidates marriage.
27. Canon 53 of the Council of Trullo prescribes, “Whereas the spiritual relationship is greater than fleshly affinity; and it has come to our knowledge that in some places certain persons who become sponsors to children in holy salvation-bearing baptism, afterwards contract matrimony with their mothers (being widows), we decree that for the future nothing of this sort is to be done.
28. PONTIFICIUM CONSILIUM AD CHRISTIANORUM UNITATEM FOVENDAM, Directory for the Application of Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, Vatican 1993.
Minister of Chrismation / Confirmation

Chrismation is administered by a presbyter as per the Eastern Code (c.694). He validly administers it to Christian faithful of any Church sui iuris, including the Latin Church (c. 696§1). He administers it validly to children and to adults. He administers it validly along with baptism or separately (cf. OE 14). As per c. 696§3, he “lawfully administers this sacrament only to the Christian faithful of his own Church sui iuris; when it is a case of Christian faithful of other Churches sui iuris, he lawfully acts if they are his subjects, or those whom he lawfully baptizes in virtue of another title, or those who are in danger of death [..]” But he has to respect the agreements entered between the concerned Churches sui iuris in this matter. Similarly, a presbyter ascribed to an Eastern Catholic Church can administer the sacrament validly even outside his proper territory. Here, the principle of territoriality does not affect the validity of the act as in the case of marriage. It affects lawfulness if he does not have the permission, at least presumed, of the concerned parish priest.

But the discipline in the Latin Church is different. Accordingly, the ordinary minister of confirmation is a bishop (c. 882). For a presbyter to administer it validly needs to obtain faculty either by law itself or by special grant of competent authority. All those who are equivalent to diocesan bishops like territorial abbots, vicar apostolic, apostolic prefects (cc. 381§2, 368), diocesan administrators (c. 427§1), etc. have ipso iure faculty. But outside their proper territory, they can administer it only if they are bishops.

A presbyter ascribed to the Latin Church who has the faculty to administer confirmation confers it validly and lawfully only within the territory designated for him. He can administer it validly and lawfully in another territory only in the case of periculum mortis (c. 887) in which any presbyter is competent. It is because “the Church desires that none of her children, even the youngest, should depart this world without having been perfected by the Holy Spirit with the gift of Christ’s fullness” (CCC no. 1314). A presbyter who has obtained such a faculty can seek the help of other presbyters in administering the sacrament, if there is grave reason for that (c. 884§2)30

It is probably to retain the contact of the baptized person with the bishop that the Latin Church considers bishop as the ordinary minister of the sacrament.31 But the idea of relationship with the bishop is not altogether absent in the Eastern Churches also. Because, the myron used by the presbyters for chrismation, is that which has been consecrated by the bishop or by the patriarch, if the particular law reserves this power to him. 3232

The bishop is the ordinary minister of confirmation in the Latin Church. In the Eastern Churches, let us say, the bishop is the minister ordinarius of chrismation, because, a presbyter administer the sacrament with the chrism consecrated by a bishop. The terminology minister ordinarius can be applied to a bishop in the Latin Church also. Because, even though a presbyter with faculty from the bishop can administer the sacrament, he has to use the chrism consecrated by a bishop. It is because of that, the constitution of the Second Vatican Council Lumen Gentium 26 calls the bishops the minister ordinarii of confirmation.

As regards the registration of chrismation, we have to bear in mind that there is only register in the Eastern Churches for the baptism and chrismation since they are administered together. Similarly, there will not be a separate certificate of chrismation. A Latin priest who receives a certificate of baptism of an Eastern Catholic may not think that the person concerned has received only baptism and not chrismation (confirmation).

Divine Eucharist as the Completion of Christian Initiation

The Christians considered the Divine Eucharist as the complement of Christian perfection. For this reason, the early Church always gave the Holy Eucharist to the neophyte immediately after he/she had been anointed with chrism. Even if the neophyte was an infant and as yet without the use of reason, he/she can receive the Holy Eucharist.33

30. CIC c. 884§2. “For a grave cause, a bishop and likewise a presbyter who has the faculty to confirm by virtue of law or special concession of competent authority may in individual cases associate presbyters with themselves so that they may administer the sacrament”. It is not a case of further delegating. It is neither a concelebration of the sacrament by a number of presbyters. Rather, it is the administration of the sacrament by more presbyters to the confirmandi separately. It is necessary, for example, when there is health problem of the minister or there is a good number of faithful to be confirmed.
31. Baptism and chrismation were jointly administered in the early Christendom with the local eparch (bishop) presiding. The tradition of joining baptism and chrismation went on in the Eastern Churches even when presbyters began to administer baptism. But the participation of the bishop continued to be regarded essential in the Western Church. Thus when the presbyters began to administer baptism, administration of the sacrament of confirmation was reserved to the bishop. Such a practice began after the ninth century.
32. The practice in the Syro Malabar Church is in general that the Myron is consecrated by the eparchial bishops in their respective Cathedral churches on Holy Thursday.
33. C.DAVIS, Sacraments of Initiation, New York 1964, 13: A.G. MARTIMORT, The Signs of the New Covenant, Minnesota 1963, 150: F.E.WARREN, The Liturgy and Ritual of the Ante-Nicene Church, London 1912, 116.
As regards the administration of chrismation, with holy myron, in conjunction with baptism, CCEO prescribes that it must be done except in a case of true necessity, in which case, however, care is taken to have it administered as soon as possible (c. 695§1). Even though the canon gives the possibility of administering the two sacraments separately, the spirit of the canon is to administer them conjunctively. An organ of consultation in Special Group of Consultors, to whom the denua recognition of Schema Canonum de Cultu Divino et praesertim de Sacraments (SCCDS) was entrusted, expressed its non placet because of the clause conferri debet which is against the practice of some Eastern Churches for centuries. The position was supported by none in the Study Group after having taken into consideration the genuine Eastern tradition and the invitation of OE 6 and 12.34 It is to be noted tht CCEO does not permit that a Church sui iuris enact its particular law which allows the administration of the two sacraments always separately.35

On the question of administering the Divine Eucharist to a person who has immediately received the sacraments of baptism and chrismation with holy Myron CCEO prescribes, “The sacramental initiation into the mystery is completed with the reception of the Divine Eucharist; therefore, after baptism and chrismation with holy Myron the Divine Eucharist is to be administered as soon as possible according to the norms of the particular law of each Church sui iuris” (c. 697).

As in the case of administering baptism and chrismation with holy myron together, the spirit of this canon is also the same. However, the canon leaves the possibility of not administering the Divine Eucharist in conjunction with baptism and chrismation. It permits the particular law of each Church sui iuris to enact norms in this regard. Two Organs of Consultation in PCCICOR demanded the suppression of the clause which permits the particular law of each Church sui iuris to regulate the matter, for, an Organ stated, such a norm would perpetuate latinized discipline,36 At the same time another Organ asked for the suppression of the words “as soon as possible”, because the practice of administering Divine Eucharist to children immediately after baptism and chrismation does not exist in all the Eastern Churches.37 As an observation to SCICO, one member asked to substitute the words “as soon as possible”, with the expression, “at a reasonable age”. Still another member proposed that the words, “as soon as possible”, might remain in the canon but the canons 913 and 914 of CIC which explain the obligations of the parish priest and the parents regarding the preparation of children for first communion must be added to it. His reason was. “the preparation of the children for firs communion should not be regulated by the particular law of each Church sui iuris, rather there would be uniformity of discipline in the whole Catholic Church”.38 None of the observations was sustained and PCCICOR did not wish to take away from each Church sui iuris the freedom to review the proper sacramental discipline in the light of OE 6 and 12 and to analyse the real significance of the term quam primum contained in the canon.

34. Nuntia 15 (1982) 23, Symeon Archbishop of Thessalonica says,”If one does not receive the chrism (myron), one is not perfectly baptized”, De Sacro Ritu Sancti Unguenti, in PG 155, 238 -239. Canon 48 of the Synod of Laodicea (343 – 381) states, “They who are baptized must after baptism be anointed with the heavenly chrism, and be partakers of the Kingdom of Christ”, See HENRY R. PERCIVAL, Nicene and Post Nicene Fathers. Vol. 14. The Seven Ecumenical Councils, Michigan 1991, 154
35. However, there is the possibility that the Supreme Legislator enacts exceptional rules in this regard different from the norms of CCEO, See Nuntia 15 (1982) 23.
36. Nuntia 15 (1982) 24.
37. Nuntia 15 (1982) 24.
The term quam primum intends to confirm the Eastern tradition of administering the three sacraments of initiation together. The temporal unity of the liturgical celebration of the three sacraments of baptism, chrismation and the Divine Eucharist underlines the unity of work of the Holy Spirit and the full incorporation of the infant to the sacramental life of the Church. There is no difference in the Eastern tradition between an infant and an adult in the matter of admission to the ecclesial community. In both cases, it is a human being, a perfect person before God who is introduced into new life through the reception of the three sacraments. The Holy Spirit acts in infants and adults in a mysterious and inexpressible way through the human reason as the sacraments are exclusively free gifts of the Holy Spirit. The expression quam primum does not mean ‘the age of reason’, If the mind of the legislator of the Eastern Code had intended that, the Code could have adopted the discipline of the Latin Code which distinguishes the reception of these sacraments by infants and adults. CIC c. 866 proposes, “Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, immediately after receiving baptism an adult is to be confirmed, to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist and to receive Holy Communion”.

It is to be noted that in the Latin Church it is licit to give Communion to a child baptized but not confirmed while it is not at all licit in the East to receive Communion by a baptized person before receiving Chrismation.39

The temporal separation of the administration of the sacraments of initiation introduces different categories of Christians who have received baptism, Christians who have received baptism and chrismation, and Christians who have received baptism, chrismation and Eucharist.

The theology of viewing the sacraments of initiation together as a unit is strong in the Latin Church also. CIC c. 842§2 states. “The sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and the most Holy Eucharist are so interrelated that they are required for full Christian initiation”. It is clear from the prescription of c. 893§2 that it is desirable that the one who undertook the role of sponsor at baptism be sponsor for confirmation.

But the Latin Church has adopted the practice of administering these sacraments separately for catechetical purposes. However, in the case of adults they can be administered conjunctively. Accordingly, CIC c. 866 prescribes that an adult who is baptized is to be confirmed immediately after baptism and participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, also receiving Communion. Since the intervention of the bishop is necessary in the case of administering the sacrament of confirmation, CIC c. 863 prescribes, “The baptism of adults, at least those who completed fourteen years of age is to be referred to the bishop so that tit may be conferred by him, if he judges it expedient”.

38. Nuntia 28 (1980) 87
39. Nuntia 2 (1976) 13.
Sacrament of Penance

The emphasis in both the codes is mainly pastoral starting from the penitent, his/her internal disposition for getting forgiveness for his/her sins through the ministry of the priest. This sacrament binds the penitent with Christ the redeemer, whose work of salvation proceeds from the love of the Father and is effected through the gift of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, both the codes clearly express the idea of the ecclesial dimension of sin and its forgiveness. As in the case of administering baptism, the formula used in the Eastern tradition is depreciative. That is, the formula: “is absolved from his/her sins” is recited in most Eastern Churches40 different from the formula: “I absolve you from all your sins” used in the Western Church.

Reserved Sins and Penalties latae sententiae

In order that the faithful may be better convinced of the seriousness of certain sins and it be beneficial to the welfare of their souls, the Eastern code restricts the faculty to absolved from such sins by reserving it to a determined authority41. CCEO contains certain such reservations42. Besides, the Apostolic See, the synod of bishops of a patriarchal/major archiepiscopal Church and the council of hierarchs of a metropolitan Church sui iuris have the right to impose such restrictions (c. 727). Absolutions attempted in normal circumstances disregarding such reservations are invalid. Absolving a confessor from his sin of direct violation of the sacramental seal and absolving a confessor from the sin of having absolved his accomplice in a sin against chastity are reserved to the Apostolic See, and absolving a person from his/her sin of completed abortion is reserved to the eparchial bishop (c. 728§ 1).

As per CIC, a confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal and a confessor who absolves an accomplice incur latae sententiae43 excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See (cc. 1388§1; 1378§1), and a person who procures a completed abortion incurs a latae sententiae excommunication (c. 1398), the penalty of which can be lifted by the ordinary according to cc. 1355 and 1356.

40. Maronite and Armenian Churches use the indicative form as the Latin Church.
41. Reserving absolution or deferring it until the penitent fulfils certain penance or repairs damage is not alien to the authentic eastern tradition. See Nuntia 20 (1985) 10, In fact, such a deferral is prescribed in the case of a person who confesses a false denunciation of an innocent confessor (cf .c. 731)
42. The reserved sins in CCEO are: (1) direct violation of the sacramental seal (c.728§1, 1°°); (2) absolution of an accomplice in a sin against chastity (c. 728§1, 2°); (3) procuring a completed abortion (728§2); and (4) reserved sin under the particular law of a Church sui luris (727)
43. An administrative or judicial process is not necessary to inflict such penalties. By the very commission of the crime, penalty is automatically inflicted. But as per CCEO, a canonical penalty can be inflicted only through penal process prescribed in cc. 1468 – 1482. Cf. Nuntia 28 (1989) 98.
It is to be noted that the concept of penalties latae sententiae is given up in the Eastern code44, while CIC still conserves them in certain cases. As per CIC, there are no sins, absolution of which is reserved to a higher authority, but only censures, remission of which is reserved45. Here one may ask, for example, a penitent with the sin of abortion gets immediate absolution in the Latin Church and it is delayed in and Eastern Church. Why such difference in the discipline of so important a sacrament? In fact, there is not much difference. In a normal case, a priest of an Eastern Catholic Church can absolve the sin of abortion only after obtaining the permission of the eparchial bishop. In the same situation, a priest of the Latin Church can absolve only after the automatic excommunication is remitted by the diocesan bishop.

At the same time, both the codes provide for granting absolution of sins and remission of excommunication or interdict in special situations. Thus, we have c. 729 in CCEO and 1357 in CIC.46 But absolution of an accomplice in a sin against chastity is valid only in danger of death (CCEO c. 730; CIC c. 977).

44. The eastern code admits only ferendae sententiae penalties, that is, imposed penalties. Accordingly, CCEO asks to impose a confessor who has directly violated the seal of confession or who has absolved an accomplice in a sin against chastity with major excommunication (c. 1456 § 1; c. 1457). Similarly, one who procured abortion effectively is to be punished with a major excommunication. But the hierarch may use the discretion whether to proceed with the process of inflicting penalties in above stated cases if permission to absolve from those sins has been obtained from the competent authority.
45. Latae sententiae penalties are incurred by (1) an apostate from the faith, a heretic or a schismatic (c. 1364§1); (2) a person who throws away the consecrated species or who takes them or retains them for a sacrilegious purpose (c.1367); (3) one who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff or against a person possessing the episcopal character (c.1370§§1,2); (4) a priest who absolves an accomplice in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue (cc. 977, 1378§1); (5) one who has not been promoted to the priestly order and who attempts to enact the liturgical action of the Eucharistic Sacrifice (c. 1378§2, 1°); (6) a person who attempts to impart sacramental absolution or a person who hears a sacramental confession when one cannot validly give sacramental absolution (c. 1378§2, 2°); (7) a bishop who consecrates someone a bishop and the person who receives such a consecration from a bishop without a pontifical mandate (c. 1382); (8) a confessor who directly violates the seal of confession (c.1388§1); (9) a person who falsely accuses a confessor before an ecclesiastical superior of solicitation (c. 1390); (10) a cleric who attempts even a civil marriage and a religious in perpetual vows who is not a cleric and who attempts even a civil marriage (c. 1394) and (11) a person who procures a completed abortion (c. 1398). Remission of certain penalties is reserved to the Apostolic See and some others to the local ordinary.
46. CCEO c. 729 – Any reservation of the absolution from sin lacks all force:
1° if a sick person who cannot leave the house or a spouse confess in order to celebrate marriage;
2° if in the prudent judgement of the confessor, the faculty cannot be requested from the competent authority without grave inconvenience to the penitent or without danger of violation of the sacramental seal:
3° outside the territorial boundaries in which the authority who makes the reservation exercises power.
CIC c. 1357§1. With due regard for the prescription of cann. 308 and 976, any confessor can remit in the internal sacramental forum an automatic censure of excommunication or interdict which has not been declared if it would be hard on the penitent to remain in a state of serious sin during the time necessary for the competent superior to provide, §2. In granting a remission, the confessor is to impose on the penitent the burden of having recourse within a month to a superior or a priest endowed with faculties and obeying his mandates under pain of reincidence of the penalty; in the meantime he should impose an appropriate penance and the reparation of any scandal or damage to the extent that it is imperative; recourse can also be made by the confessor without mentioning any names. §3. After they have recovered, those absolved in accord with can. 976 from an imposed or declared censure or one reserved to the Holy See are bound by the same obligation of recourse.
General Absolution

Both the codes grant the possibility of a general sacramental absolution given to a number of people provided they are properly disposed and personally resolved to confess in due time each of the grave sins which they cannot for the moment so confess (CCEO c. 721§ 1; CIC c. 962§1). But CIC adds an invalidating clause which is not found in CCEO47 As per CIC, such a disposition is necessary for the valid reception of absolution. By proper disposition, we mean contrition of sins and decision not to sin again. The absence of such a disposition will invalidate the reception of absolution as per CIC. But it is not easy to evaluate the disposition. Therefore, it is difficult to be a matter of canon law. It may be a topic of fundamental sacramental theology.48

Anointing of the Sick

CCEO c. 737 § 1 beautifully explains the meaning of the sacrament. “By the sacramental anointing of the sick performed with prayer by a priest, Christ’s faithful who are gravely ill and sincerely contrite receive grace, by which, strengthened by the hope of eternal reward and freed from sins, they are disposed to amend their life and are helped to overcome their sickness or to suffer it patiently”. The parallel canon is CIC c. 998 which, while consistent, is more juridical in the sense that it deals mostly with the matter and form of the sacrament. The canon reads, “The anointing of the sick by which the Church commends to the suffering and glorified Lord the faithful who are dangerously sick so that He relieve and save them, is conferred by anointing them with oil and using the words prescribed in the liturgical books”. Moreover, CIC canon does not speak of the contrition of the recipient, but such a requirement may be implied in the provision of CIC in c.1007 that “The anointing of the sick is not to be conferred upon those who obstinately persist in manifest serious sin”.

While CCEO is more liberal in administering this sacrament, CIC seems to be restrictive. The idea of “extreme unction” or “last sacrament” is still lingering in CIC. It is true tht CIC permits the reception of the sacrament by a person more than once (c. 1004§2). The exhortation of CCEO is that the pastors of souls and the relatives are to see to it that the sick find relief in this sacrament at an opportune time (c. 738).

Only priests are valid ministers of this sacrament (CCEO c. 739§1; CIC c. 1003§).49 CCOE c. 737§2 speaks of a practice followed in certain Eastern Churches, especially in the Churches of Byzantine tradition. The number of ministers is to be, if possible, seven or at least three. To support this practice, Simon of Thessalonica is cited who says that St. James in his letter (5:14) asks to call presbyters and not one presbyter. He interprets the presence of seven priests as seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.50 .

Anointing the sick with oil is an indispensable element of the sacrament. Both the codes permit priests (bishops and presbyters) to bless the oil used for anointing the sick. But insistence differs. CIC exhorts that the oil be blessed by the diocesan bishop and in case of necessity by a presbyter and that also in the actual administration of the sacrament (c. 999). That means, the blessing of the oil in the Latin Church is in general for the bishops and only in case of necessity a presbyter can bless it. A case of necessity may be unavailability of the oil received from the bishop and inaccessibility to him at the time it is needed. CCEO directs tht the oil used in the sacrament should be blessed and the blessing can be done in every instance by any priest in the actual administration of the sacrament, unless the particular law of the Church sui iuris reserves this right to some other authority namely the eparchial bishop or patriarch (cf. c. 741). In most of the Eastern Churches, it is for the priest himself to bless the oil for the anointing.

47. CIC c. 10: “Only those laws which expressly state that an act is null or that a person is incapable of acting are to be considered to be invalidating or incapacitating” (= CCEO c. 1495).
48. CCC nos. 1490 and 1491 speak of such disposition in the light of doctrine and theology.
49. The Pontifical Commission for the Revision of Canon Law (PCCICR) once opined that the Church could enact a norm according to which persons other than priests could administer the sacrament (cf. Communicationes 9 (1977) 2, 342. But the constant discipline of the Church is that this sacrament is validly administered only by priests.

The formulation of the canon is inspired by the oriental patristic theology. It has a pneumatological dimension and reflects the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. The sacred ministers are first and foremost Christ’s faithful ‘who are incorporated as they are into Christ through Baptism and are constituted the people of God, and so, participating in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and royal function of Christ, and are called, each according to his condition, to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the Church to fulfil in the world: (c. 7§1). Those of the faithful who are marked by holy order are appointed in the name of Christ to feed the Church with the word and the grace of God (LG 11).

Definition of the sacred ministers is given in c. 323 § 1: “Clerics, who are also called sacred ministers, are Christ’s faithful who, chosen by the competent authority, are deputed through a gift of the Holy Spirit received in sacred ordination to be ministers of the Church participating in the mission and power of Christ, the Pastor”. Difference between sacred ministers and other faithful occurs by means of sacred ordination, by virtue of which sacred ministers are distinguished as bishops, presbyters and deacons (c. 325). “It is clear from tradition – a tradition expressed especially in the liturgical rites and in the usage of the Church both eastern and western – that through the imposition of hands and the words of consecration the grace of the Holy Spirit is conferred and the sacred character is imprinted: (LG 21)

50. SYMEON OF THESSALONICA, De Sacro Ritu Sancti Olei sive Euchelaei, in PC 155, 516 – 517. Even though the prescription of the presence of seven priests is liturgically meaningful, it is in many a time not practical. That is the reason, the clause ‘as much as possible’ is added to c. 737§2. See Nuntia 15 (1982) 43.
In the first schema the title of the canons on orders was called De sacramento sacredotii. In order to include also the deacons the name was not sufficient. So the name De sacra ordinatione was adopted. CIC keeps the title De Ordine, because it is traditionally used in the Latin law and it includes also ordination. In fact, both the codes treat here in this section more of sacred ordination rather than of sacred order.

Today the word ordinatio is reserved for the sacramental act which integrates a man into the order of bishop[s, presbyters, or deacons, and goes beyond a simple election, designation, or institution by community, for it confers a gift of the Holy Spirit that permits the exercise of a sacred power (potestas sacra) which can come only form Christ himself through his Church. Ordination is called consecration, for it is a setting apart and an investiture by Christ himself for his Church. They laying of hands by the bishop, with the consecratory prayer, constitutes the visible sign of this ordination (CCC 1537 – 1538).

Orders in the Catholic Church are episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate (CCEO c. 325; CIC c. 1009) CCEO intends to call them major clerics. But CIC has abolished the concept of minor clerics and major clerics. CCEO c. 327 speaks of constituting ministries other than bishops, presbyters and deacons for serving the people of God or for exercising functions in the sacred liturgy, and calls them minor clerics. CIC also speaks of ministries of lector and acolyte and insists the necessity of one receiving such ministries and exercising them for a suitable period of time before being promoted to diaconate (c.1035§1). But CIC does not call them minor clerics, because those ministries can be on a stable basis entrusted to lay men (viri laici) who possess the age and qualifications determined by decree of the conference of bishops in accord with the prescribed liturgical rite (c. 230). According to the Eastern tradition, the minor orders are inserted in the ecclesiastical hierarchy according to the level of each one. In this context, the explanation given in Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches published by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches on January 6, 1996 in no.73 draws our attention: “Whoever has received these orders (minor orders), therefore, is no longer a lay person, but becomes a member of what the liturgical books of most Eastern Churches call the “clergy” or “Sacred Orders”. The difference between minor Orders and ministries entails consequences also in the way of interpreting can. 358 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches: it affirms that a candidate is enrolled as a cleric in the eparchy for whose service he is ordained, unless according to the norm of particular law of his own Church sui iuris, he has already been enrolled in the same eparchy”. That means, as per CCEO different from CIC there is the possibility of ascribing a person to an eparchy as cleric with the reception of a minor order, if the particular law of that Church sui iuris permits.

Both CIC and CCEO prescribe holy orders as diriment impediment to marriage (CCEO c.795§1, 1o, CIC c. 1087). CIC is correct in using the term “holy orders’, because by ‘holy orders’ it means episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate only. But CCEO should have specified the term with the qualification ‘major’ since it speaks also of minor orders that are not diriment impediments to valid marriage.

51. Nuntia 10 (1980) 32.
52. Nuntia 15 (1982) 44.
53. Communicationes 10 (1978) 179.
54. 1917 Code of Canon Law in c. 949 considered subdiaconate as a major order. The MP Crebrae allatae c. 62§2 extended the matrimonial impediment of sacred order to subdiaconate also.
55. It is in the tradition of the Eastern Churches that certain ministers below deacons are called by name clerics. Apostolic Canon 2 prescribes, “Let a presbyter, deacon, and the rest of the clergy, be ordained by one bishop”.
56. CIC c. 266§1. A person becomes a cleric through the reception of diaconate and is incardinated into the particular church or personal prelature for whose service he has been advanced.

Mandate and Episcopal Ordination

In the Latin Church, bishops are consecrated by the Roman Pontiff or by another bishop with pontifical mandate (c. 1013). In the patriarchal, major archiepiscopal and metropolitan Churches sui iuris, Episcopal ordination is reserved, besides to the Roman Pontiff, to the patriarch (c. 86§1, 2o), the major archbishop (c. 152), metropolitan who presides over a Church sui iuris (c. 159, 1o), the provincial metropolitan (133§1, 1o)57 or by another bishop with their lawful mandate (c.745).

Both the codes insist that a bishop be ordained by three bishops of the same Church sui iuris (CIC c. 1014; CCEP c/ 746§1). CCEO permits to admit the second and third bishop from other Churches sui iuris, if bishops of the same Church sui iuris as the first ordaining bishop cannot be present (c. 746§2). The Latin Church, applying the principle of recourse to parallel passages, may adopt this norm (CIC c. 17). Conferral of an Episcopal ordination by a single bishop is permitted only with a dispensation from the Apostolic See as per CIC. But CCEO does not speak anything about dispensation. However, it permits such a conferral only in cases of extreme necessity (for example, war, persecution, etc.) CIC c. 1014 exhorts that all the bishops who are present at the function consecrate the bishop-elect. Such a prescription is not seen in CCEO58.

Celibate and Married Clergy

There are married and celibate clergy in the Eastern Churches (c. 373). Clerical celibacy is obligatory in the Latin Church. CIC c. 1037 prescribes. “An unmarried candidate for the permanent diaconate and a candidate for the presbyterate is not to be admitted to the order of diaconate unless in a prescribed rite he has assumed publicly before God and the Church the obligation of celibacy or professed perpetual vows in a religious institute”. CCC no.1580 states, “In the Eastern Churches a different discipline has been in force for many centuries: while bishops are chosen solely from among celibates, married men can be ordained as deacons and presbyters. This practice has long been considered legitimate; these presbyters exercise a fruitful ministry within their communities. However, priestly celibacy is held in great honour in the Eastern Churches and many priests have freely chosen it for the sake of the Kingdom of God. In the East as in the West a man who has already received the sacrament of Holy Orders can no longer marry.”

57. CCEO does not speak of any mandate in case a patriarch, a major archbishop, a metropolitan who presides over a Church sui iuris or a provincial metropolitan ordains a bishop.
58. The Pontifical of the Syro Malabar Church (p. 82) prescribes that the bishops who are present at the ordination embrace the newly ordained as a sign of receiving him to the college of bishops.
Impediments to Receiving or Exercising Sacred Orders

CIC calls “irregularities and impediments’59. But, CCEO uses only the word ‘impediments’. The first schema was similar to CIC. A number of observations were made on the canons. The study group wished to drop out the concept of irregularity and simply use the term impediments which exclude because of one reason or other a candidate from the reception of a sacred order and from the exercise of it.

There was a question whether the elimination of the term ’irregularity’ is prudent. It is not good that the discipline of the Church in this matter be uniform in the whole Church, both East and West? The answer was that such uniformity is not necessary and the term ‘irregularity’ is not known in the East. Moreover, no difference in discipline exists in this matter between CIC and CCEO.60


We have analyzed the discipline of the Catholic Church – both Eastern and Western – regarding the administration of five sacraments. Since the sacraments constitute the deposit of faith, there is similarity of sacramental discipline in both the Churches of the East and the West. But we cannot ignore the fact that there exist differences in the Eastern Churches and in the Western Church in the theological vision and administration of sacraments. These differences do not destroy the unity of faith. The universal Church accepts and appreciates these differences as “a brilliant ornament for all the Church and this variety confirms the divine unity”.61 Moreover, the decree of the Second Vatican Council on ecumenism affirms, “Far from being an obstacle to the Church’s unity, a certain diversity of customs and observances only adds to her beauty and is of great help in carrying out her mission, as has been stated. To remove all shadow of doubt, then, this synod solemnly declares that the Churches of the East, while mindful of the necessary unity of the whole Church have the right to govern themselves according to the disciplines proper to themselves, since these are better suited to the character of their faithful, and more for the good of their souls. The perfect observance of this principle which is sanctioned by long standing tradition, but in fact has not always been followed, is one of the essential prerequisites for the restoration of unity” (UR 16).

59. CIC c. 1041, irregular for receiving: 1042. impeded from exercising; 1044 § 1. irregular for exercising; 1044 § 2. impeded from exercising
60. Nuntia 28 (1989) 102.
61. IOANNES PAULUS II, Constitutio Apostolica, Saci canones, AAS 82 (9190) 1035