1997 - 2017

 

" A Welcoming Community of Faith Rooted in the Catholic Tradition "

 

The Evangelical Catholic Church
Code of Canon Law

Revised 2009

Canon Law Prelude

 

Canon 1:   Introduction

1.1 The corporate name of the faith community shall be The Independent Evangelical Catholic Church in America.

1.2 Within these canons it shall also be referred to as "this church", "this faith community", or "the Evangelical Catholic Church." 

1.3 The Independent Evangelical Catholic Church in America is a validly consecrated and constituent member of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, which unites all Christians throughout the world and throughout history.

1.4 The Independent Evangelical Catholic Church in America shall be incorporated in the State of Illinois as a not for profit religious corporation.

Canon 2:  Church Membership

2.1 Any person baptized, confirmed, or received into full membership, according to the approved liturgical and sacramental rites of this Church by a deacon, priest or bishop in good standing, is a full member of this Church.

2.2 This Church declares itself to be an open and affirming Catholic faith community, which particularly welcomes (all) those who have been injured or disenfranchised through religious bigotry or hatred, fear or ignorance. This Catholic faith community welcomes individuals and couples who have been divorced and remarried, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and those of the trans-gendered community, and those questioning their sexuality.

2.3 A person may terminate their membership with this Church through the sacramental rite of reception within another faith community, or by submitting a letter of intention to their pastor or local ordinary.

2.4 A person who terminates their membership with this Church may petition for readmission by submitting a written request to the local pastor or to the local ordinary.

2.5 Members who fail to profess or follow the Creedal Doctrines and Ecclesial Protocols of this Church will be notified by the local ordinary that, unless this failure is corrected, termination of membership through formal decree will occur. In such matters, a member must be provided with formal documentation of any charges and be given due process to respond and question any person making charges against them

    §1 If a member who has been formally confronted and informed of their error acknowledges such, but refuses to recant or correct their heresy, their membership shall be terminated by order of the diocesan bishop.

    §2 If a member who has been formally confronted and informed of their error recants and corrects their heresy, the termination process is thereby ended.

    §3 The House of Bishops, with the advice of the Council of Advisors shall be the Ecclesiastical Court of final appeal.

2.6 Any member who undermines the Body of Christ by word or deed against the sacramental, liturgical or spiritual life of any parish, diocese, religious institution or any person thereof, shall have their membership terminated through the processes of Canon 2.5

Canon 3:  Doctrine

3.1 This Catholic Faith Community shall worship the One True Triune God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

3.2 This Church shall be part of God’s Kingdom, unconditionally embracing all persons of faith, and all persons seeking to discover or rediscover their faith.

3.3 This Church shall establish dioceses, parishes, religious communities and other necessary institutions to evangelize the world.

3.4 This Church shall be subject to the creedal statements established by the Ecumenical Councils of the Universal Church at Nicaea, Constantinople, Ephesus, and Chalcedon.

3.5 This Church shall accept as the definition of Christianity the creed defined by the Ecumenical Council of Constantinople of AD 381. This creed is commonly referred to as the Nicene Creed.

3.6 This Church shall accept the Apostles’ Creed as a valid statement of faith.

3.7 This Church shall accept the Athanasian Creed as a valid statement of Trinitarian theology and Christology.

3.8 This Church cannot alter, change, or revise any of the abovementioned creeds.

Canon 4:  Liturgical and Sacramental Law

4.1  As a validly consecrated autocephalous catholic faith community, the Evangelical Catholic Church reserves unto herself the obligation to define and make binding her liturgical norms, customs and laws.

4.2  The common liturgical rite for this Church shall be the Novus Ordo.  The Church recognizes the historical and liturgical significance of the Tridentine Liturgy and shall reserve it as a extraordinary rite of this Church.

4.3  This Church accepts the sacramental validity of the liturgical rites contained within the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom and the Old Catholic Liturgy.

4.4  At the time of their establishment, all parishes of this Church shall be dedicated to her common liturgical rite, unless otherwise designated by the local ordinary to a another canonically approved rite.  For a compelling pastoral need, a parish may petition the local ordinary for permission to change its liturgical designation.

4.5  All clergy are obligated to celebrate any liturgical rite with all prescribed rubrics, yet modified to celebrate the ecclesiology of the Church.

4.6 Visiting clergy from outside jurisdictions are bound to following the liturgical norms, customs and laws of this Church when welcomed to celebrate the sacraments for the People of God.

4.7  The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders cannot be repeated since they impart a character on the human soul.

    §1 If, after diligent investigation, a prudent doubt still remains whether the Sacraments mentioned in paragraph 1 have been validly conferred, they are to be conferred conditionally.

4.8  The liturgical books approved by the House of Bishops in consultation with the House of Clergy and the House of Laity are to be faithfully observed in the celebrations of the Sacraments, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass; therefore no one on his or her personal authority may add, remove, or change anything in them.

4.9  The minister should ask nothing for the administration of the Sacraments beyond the offerings established by the local ordinary, always taking care to ensure that the needy are not deprived of the grace of the Sacraments, as well as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass because of their poverty.

4.10  Simony shall be defined as the deliberate will (intent) or attempt to buy or sell a spiritual reality, or the temporal thing joined to that spiritual reality for a temporal price.

    §1 Simoniacal conferral of Holy Orders or any other Sacrament, or appointment to any church office is invalid and without effect.

§2 Acknowledging the danger of scandal to the Faithful, even the appearance of trafficking in Mass Intentions is to be avoided.

4.11  Ministers of this jurisdiction licitly administer the Sacraments of Reconciliation/Penance, Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick to Catholics and other Christians whose jurisdictions are not in full communion with this jurisdiction, if they ask on their own for the Sacraments and are properly disposed to receive them.

4.12  Whenever necessity requires or spiritual advantage suggests, and provided that the danger of confusion is avoided, members of this jurisdiction may receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation/Penance, Eucharist and Anointing of the Sick from Catholic or other Christian ministers whose jurisdictions are not in full communion with this jurisdiction, provided these jurisdictions have valid Sacraments and Orders.

Canon 5:  Baptism

5.1 Baptism is necessary for salvation in fact or at least in intention, by which all people are freed from their sins, are reborn as Children of God and, configured to Christ by an indelible character, are incorporated into the Church, as validly conferred only by washing with true water together with the required form of words.

5.2 Baptism should be administered in accord with the order prescribed within the approved liturgical books.

5.3 One who is not of sound mind non sui compos is equated with an infant; so far as Baptism is concerned.

5.4 Baptism is to be conferred either by immersion or by pouring with the prescriptions of the proper authority being observed.

5.5 The proper place for Baptism is in a church or oratory.

5.6 As a rule adults are to be Baptized in their own local parish church, and infants are to be Baptized in the parish church proper to their parents, unless a just cause pastorally suggests otherwise.

5.7 Outside of cases of necessity, Baptism is not to be conferred in private homes, unless with the permission of the local ordinary.

5.8 The ordinary minister of Baptism is a bishop, priest, or deacon in good standing, with due regard that the prescriptions of the proper authority be observed.

5.9 To be Baptized, it is required that an adult have manifested the properly formed will to be Baptized, be sufficiently instructed in the Truths of Faith and in Christian obligations and be tested in the Christian life by means of the Catecumenate; the adult is also to be exhorted to have sorrow for personal sins.

5.10 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.

5.11 Parents and legal guardians are obliged to see that infants are Baptized.

5.12 An infant that is in danger of death is to be Baptized without any delay.

5.13 For the licit Baptism of an infant, it is necessary that:

    §1 The parents or legal guardians, or at least one of them gives consent.

    §2 There be a founded hope that the infant will be brought up in the Faith of this Catholic faith community.

    §3 If there is a doubt whether one has been Baptized or whether Baptism was validly conferred and the doubt remains after serious investigation, Baptism is to be conferred conditionally.

    §4 A foundling or abandoned child is to be Baptized unless upon diligent investigation proof of Baptism is established.

    §5 A child who is legally adopted is to be Baptized unless upon diligent investigation proof of Baptism is established.

    §6 If aborted fetuses are alive, they are to be Baptized if possible.

    §7 Insofar as possible, one to be Baptized is to be given a sponsor who is to assist an adult in Christian initiation.

5.14 To be admitted to the role of sponsor, a person must: §1 Be designated by the one to be Baptized, by the parents or legal guardians in the case of an infant, or in their absence, by the pastor and is to have the qualifications and intention of performing this role.

    §2 Have completed their sixteenth year.

    §3 Be a member in full standing within this Church.

    §4 Not be the father or mother of the one to be Baptized.

5.15 A Baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community, or another validly consecrated Catholic community may act as a witness to the Baptism, together with a member in full standing within this Church.

5.16 A person who enters into a family by means of legal adoption is to be considered a natural born, legitimate child as far as the provisions of this Code of Canon Law are concerned.

Canon 6:  Confirmation

6.1 The Sacrament of Confirmation impresses a character and by it the baptized, continuing on the path of Christian initiation, are enriched by the gift of the Holy Spirit and bound more perfectly to the Church; it strengthens them and obliges them more firmly to be witnesses to Christ by word and deed and to spread and defend the faith.

6.2    The Sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism on the forehead, which is done by the imposition of the hand, and through the words prescribed in the approved liturgical books.

6.3    The chrism to be used in the Sacrament of Confirmation must be consecrated by a bishop, even if the sacrament is administered by a presbyter.

6.4    It is desirable that the Sacrament of Confirmation be celebrated in a church and during Mass, but for a just and reasonable cause it may be celebrated outside of the norm and in any worthy place.

6.5    The ordinary minister of the Sacrament of Confirmation is a bishop or someone delegated by the local ordinary.

6.6    All baptized persons who have not been confirmed and only they are capable of receiving confirmation.

6.7    Outside the danger of death, to be licitly confirmed it is required, if the person has the use of reason, that one be suitable instructed, properly disposed and able to renew one's baptismal promise.

6.8    The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time, their parents/guardians and shepherds of souls, especially pastors, are to see to it that the faithful are properly instructed to receive it and approach the sacrament at the appropriate time.

6.9    The Sacrament of Confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion or unless a grave cause urges otherwise.

6.10   Sponsors for the one to be confirmed should be present; it is for the sponsor to see that the confirmed person acts as a true witness to Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations connected with this sacrament.

Canon 7:  Eucharist

7.1 The celebration of the Eucharist is the action of Christ Himself and the Church; in it Christ the Lord, by the ministry of a priest, offers Himself, substantially present under the forms of bread and wine, to God the Father, and gives Himself as spiritual food to the Faithful who are associated with His offering.

7.2 The minister, who in the person of Christ can confect the sacrament of the Eucharist, is solely a validly ordained priest, or validly consecrated bishop.

7.3 A priest or bishop who is not canonically impeded celebrates the Eucharist licitly, observing the prescriptions of the following canons.

7.4 A priest or bishop may apply the Mass for anyone, living or dead.

7.5 Priests or bishops may concelebrate the Eucharist, unless the welfare of the Faithful requires or urges otherwise.

7.6 A priest is to be permitted to celebrate the Eucharist even if said priest is unknown to the rector of the Church. Such priests must present a current letter of faculties or recommendation issued by their local ordinary or competent religious superior.

7.7 Remembering that the work of redemption is continually accomplished in the Mystery of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, priest and bishops are to celebrate frequently; indeed daily celebrations is strongly recommended, since even if the Faithful cannot be present, it is the act of Christ and the Church in which priests and bishops fulfill their principal function.

7.8 The ordinary minister of the Eucharist is a bishop, priest, or deacon.

7.9 The extraordinary minister of the Eucharist is an acolyte or other member of the Christian Faithful appointed by the ordinary of the diocese.

7.10 The pastor and parochial vicars, chaplains and the superior of a community of apostolic life have the right and duty to bring the Most Holy Eucharist to the sick in the form of Viaticum.

7.11 Any Baptized person, who is not prohibited by law, can and must be admitted to Holy Communion.

7.12 The Most Holy Eucharist may be given to children who are in danger of death.

7.13 It is the responsibility of the parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the pastor to see that children who have reached the use of reason are correctly prepared and are nourished by the Divine Food as early as possible.

7.14 All the Faithful, after they have been initiated into the Most Holy Eucharist, are bound by the obligation of receiving Communion at least once per year.

§1 The above precept must be fulfilled during the Easter season unless it is fulfilled for a just cause at some other time of the year.

7.15 The Christian Faithful, who are in danger of death, arising from any cause, are to be nourished by Holy Communion in the form of Viaticum.

7.16 The Most Sacred Eucharistic Sacrifice must be celebrated with bread and wine, with which a small quantity of water is to be mixed.

7.17 Holy Communion is to be given under the form of bread alone or under both kinds in accord with the norm of the liturgical laws or even under the form of wine alone in case of necessity.

7.18 It is sinful, even in extreme necessity, to consecrate one matter without the other, or even both outside the celebration of the Eucharist.

7.19 In celebrating and administering the Eucharist, bishops, priests, and deacons are to wear the liturgical vestments prescribed by the rubrics.

7.20 The celebration and distribution of the Eucharist may take place on any day, and at any hour, except for those times excluded by liturgical norms.

7.21 The celebration of the Eucharist is to be celebrated in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity demands otherwise; in such a case the celebration must be done in a respectable place.

7.22 In sacred places where the Most Holy Eucharist is reserved, there must always be someone who has the care of it.

7.23 The Most Holy Eucharist is to be reserved regularly in only one tabernacle of a church or oratory.

7.24 Consecrated hosts are to be reserved in a ciborium or other suitable vessel in sufficient quantity for the needs of the Faithful; they are to be frequently renewed and the old ones properly consumed.

7.25 In churches and oratories where it can be permitted to reserve the Most Holy Eucharist, there can be exposition either with a ciborium, or monstrance, or other suitable vessel, observing the norms prescribed in the liturgical books.

7.26 Exposition of the Most Holy Sacrament is not to be held in the same part of the church or oratory during the celebration of the Mass.

7.27 The minister of exposition of the Most Holy Eucharist and the Eucharistic Benediction is either a bishop, priest, or deacon. In particular circumstances the minister of exposition and reposition, without benediction, is an acolyte, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion or another person designated by the local ordinary.

Canon 8:  Confession and Reconciliation

8.1 Individual and integral confession and absolution constitutes the ordinary way by which the faithful person who is aware of serious sin is reconciled to God and with the Church.

8.2 A person who has had serious sins remitted by a general absolution is to approach individual confession as soon as there is an opportunity to do so before receiving another general absolution unless a just cause intervenes.

8.3 Absolution cannot be imparted in a general manner to a number of penitents at once without previous individual confession unless:

    §1 the danger of death is imminent, and there is not time for the confessor or confessors present to hear the confessions of the individual penitents.

    §2 a serious necessity exists, that is, when in light of the number of penitents, or when the number of confessors is inadequate to hear individual confessions within a suitable period of time to prevent the unwarranted prolongation of a service.

8.4 It is solely the prerogative of the diocesan bishop to judge whether the conditions laid out in paragraphs 1 and 2 of Canon 7.3 are present, using criteria arrived at in consultation with the other members of the House of Bishops.

8.5 Priests and bishops who are in good standing are the ministers of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

8.6 For the valid absolution of sins it is required that, besides the power received through Sacred Ordination, the minister possesses the faculty to exercise over the Faithful to whom the minister imparts absolution.

8.7 The absolution of an accomplice in any sin whatsoever is invalid except in the danger of death.

8.8 The local ordinary, as well as the competent religious superior, may revoke the faculties to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation from a priest for a just cause.

8.9 When the faculty to hear confessions is revoked by his or her local ordinary or competent major religious superior, a cleric loses the right to hear confessions everywhere. When the faculty to hear confessions is revoked by a positive act of another local ordinary or competent major religious superior, the cleric loses the faculty to hear confessions only as regards the subjects of that ordinary’s jurisdiction.

8.10 Other than revocation, the faculty to hear confessions ceases by loss of office, excardination, or loss of domicile.

8.11 Even though a priest or bishop may lack the faculty to hear confessions, any priest or bishop validly and licitly absolves from any kind of censures and sins any penitent who is in danger of death, even if an approved priest or bishop is present.

8.12 In hearing confessions, the confessor is to remember that he or she acts as a judge as well as a healer and is placed by God as the minister of divine justice and mercy, concerned with the Divine Honor and the salvation of souls.

8.13 The confessor, in posing questions, is to proceed with prudence and discretion, with attention to the condition and age of the penitent, and that the confessor is to refrain from asking the name of an accomplice.

8.14 If the confessor has no doubt about the disposition of a penitent who asks for absolution, absolution is not to be refused or delayed.

8.15 The confessor is to enjoin salutary and suitable penance in keeping with the quality and number of the sins, but with attention to the condition and age of the penitent; the penitent is obliged to perform the penance personally.

8.16 The sacramental seal of the confessional is inviolable. Therefore it is a crime for a confessor, in any way or form, to betray a penitent by word or in any other manner for any reason.

8.17 An interpreter, if needed, is also obliged to preserve the secret, and also all others to whom knowledge of sins from confession shall come in any way.

8.18 Even if every danger of revelation is excluded, a confessor is absolutely forbidden to use any knowledge about sins from confession when it may harm the penitent.

8.19 One who is placed in authority can in no way use for external governance knowledge about sins which the confessor, or others cited, has received in confession at any time.

8.20 A member of the Christian Faithful is obliged to confess, in kind and in number, all serious sins committed after baptism and not yet directly remitted through the Keys of the Church, nor acknowledged in individual confession, of which one is conscious after diligent examination of conscience.

Canon 9:  Anointing of the Sick

9.1 The Anointing of the Sick is conferred by anointing the aged or infirm with oil and using the words prescribed in the liturgical books.

9.2 The anointing is to be carefully performed while observing the words, the order, and the manner prescribed in the liturgical books; but in cases of necessity it is sufficient that one anointing be made of the forehead or even on another appropriate part of the body, while saying the entire formula.

9.3 The communal celebration of the Anointing of the Sick can be performed according to the prescriptions of the ordinary of the diocese.

9.4 Every priest and bishop who are in good standing, validly administers the Sacrament of the Sick.

9.5 The Sacrament of the Sick can be administered again to a member of the Faithful, who, after a period of recovery begins to decline and once again becomes seriously ill.

Canon 10:  Marriage

10.1 The matrimonial covenant, by which a couple establishes between themselves a partnership of the whole life, is by its nature ordered toward the good of the spouses; this covenant between Baptized persons has been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a Sacrament.

10.2 Marriage is brought about through the consent manifested between the parties who are capable of giving consent. No human power can replace this consent.

10.3 All persons who are not prohibited by canon law can contract Marriage.

10.4 The Evangelical Catholic Church witnesses and celebrates the marriages of persons of the same sex, and declares that these marriages to be valid and equal sacraments of Matrimony in the Church as any other marriage celebrated by the Church.

10.5 Pastors of souls are obliged to see to it that their own ecclesial community furnishes the Christian Faithful assistance so that the matrimonial state is maintained in a Christian spirit and makes progress towards perfection. This assistance is especially to be furnished through:

§1 Preaching and catechesis; so that the Christian Faithful may be instructed concerning the meaning of Christian Marriage and the duty of Christian spouses and parents.

§2 Personal preparation for entering marriage so that the parties may be predisposed toward the holiness and duties of their new state.

§3 Assistance furnished to those already married so that, while faithfully maintaining and protected the conjugal covenant, they may come to lead holier and fuller lives.

10.6 If they can do so without serious inconvenience, Catholics who have not yet received the Sacrament of Confirmation are to receive it before being admitted into Marriage.

10.7 It is strongly recommended that those to be married approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Most Holy Eucharist so that they may fruitfully receive the Sacrament of Marriage.

10.8 Before Marriage is celebrated, it must be evident that nothing stands in the way of its valid and licit celebration.

10.9 All the faithful are obliged to reveal any impediments they are aware of to the pastor or to the local ordinary before the celebration of a Marriage.

10.10 A person must have completed their eighteenth year of age prior to entering into the Sacrament of Marriage.

10.11 A person who, for the purpose of entering Marriage with a certain person, has brought about the death of that person’s spouse or one’s own spouse, attempts such a Marriage invalidly.

10.12 Consanguinity in the direct line in any degree whatsoever invalidates Matrimony.

10.13 In the collateral line of consanguinity, Marriage is invalid up to and including the fourth degree.

10.14 A dispensation can never be given from the impediment of consanguinity in the direct line.

10.15 A dispensation can be given from the impediment of consanguinity in the fourth degree of the collateral line by the local ordinary only for a grave reason.

10.16 Affinity in the direct line in any degree whatsoever invalidates Matrimony.

§1 A dispensation from the impediment of affinity in the direct line can be given by the local ordinary only for a grave reason.

10.17 They cannot validly contract marriage between themselves who are related in any degree whatsoever in the direct line, or up to and including the fourth degree in the collateral line through a relationship arising from legal adoption.

§1 A dispensation can never be granted from the impediment of a relationship in the direct line arising from legal adoption.

§2 A dispensation from the impediment of a relationship arising from legal adoption in the fourth degree of the collateral line can be granted by the local ordinary only for a grave reason.

10.18 Those who lack sufficient use of reason are incapable of contracting Marriage.

10.19 A person contracts invalidly who enters Marriage deceived by fraud, perpetrated to obtain consent, concerning some quality in the other party which by its very nature can seriously disrupt the partnership of conjugal life.

10.20 In general, a marriage, which cannot be recognized or celebrated in accord with the norm of civil law, shall not be witnessed by a cleric of this denomination without the permission of the local ordinary. This Canon shall not be interpreted as prohibiting or invalidating Marriage between persons of differing races, different ethnic heritage or persons of a common gender.

10.21 The internal consent of the mind is presumed to be in agreement with the words or signs employed in celebrating Matrimony.

10.22 Marriage can be contracted by means of an interpreter.

10.23 Only those Marriages are valid which are contracted in the presence of the local ordinary or the pastor or a priest or deacon delegated by either of them, who assists, and in the presence of two witnesses, according to the norms expressed in the following:

§1 The one assisting at a marriage is understood to be only that person who, present at the ceremony, asks for the contractants’ manifestation of consent and receives it in the name of the Church.

10.24 Unless they have been excommunicated, interdicted, or suspended from office or declared such, whether by sentence or decree, within the confines of their territory, the local ordinary or pastor, by virtue of their offices, validly assist at the Marriages of their subjects as well as of non-subjects.

10.25 As long as they validly hold office, the local ordinary and the pastor can delegate to priests and deacons the faculty to assist at Marriages within the limits of their territory.

10.26 Outside of a case of necessity, the rites prescribed in the liturgical books approved by the Church or received through legitimate custom are to be observed in the celebration of Marriage.

10.27 If the Marriage was contracted in a parish where a spouse was not baptized, the pastor of the place where it was celebrated is to send a notice of the contracted Marriage as soon as possible to the pastor where the baptism was conferred.

10.28 Local ordinaries and other pastors of souls are to see to it that the Catholic spouse and children of an ecumenical Marriage do not lack spiritual assistance fulfilling their obligations and are to aid the spouses in fostering the unity of conjugal and family life.

10.29 For only serious and urgent reasons can the local ordinary permit a Marriage to be celebrated secretly.

10.30 Parents have the most serious duty and the primary right to do all in their power to see to the physical, social, cultural, moral, and religious upbringing of their children.

10.31 Persons who are bound by a public vow of chastity invalidly attempt marriage.

    § The impediment cited in Canon 9.31 ceases only after a dispensation from the vow has been granted by the appropriate authority.

Canon 11
Dissolution of the Marital Bond and Subsequent Marriage

 

11.1 Recognizing the reality that some marital bonds may dissolve and cannot be reconciled, the Church does not believe that the Sacramental Grace can remain present in a marital relationship in which there is emotional or physical violence, permanent abandonment, or the proven inability to maintain marital fidelity. The Grace of the Sacrament is not present in such relationships of pain and misery. Thus, the Church must allow persons the freedom to leave such relationships and to permit such persons the opportunity to invite Christ into a spirit-filled Marriage.

11.2 One may petition the Church to declare a Marriage non-binding and nullified for the following conditions:

    §1 Physical violence.

    §2 Psychological violence.

    §3 Permanent abandonment.

    §4 Proven inability to maintain marital fidelity.

    §5 Realization of true sexual orientation incompatible with the form of the Marriage.

11.3 One who wishes to enter into a subsequent Marriage must present documented evidence of such conditions from their previous Marriage to their pastor prior to attempting such a Marriage.

11.4 Upon obtaining all necessary information, evidence, and documentation related to a petition, the pastor will investigate and ascertain the weight of the evidence and submit a recommendation to the local ordinary that a Grant of Dissolution be issued

    §1 A Grant of Dissolution cannot be issued prior to the finalization of a civil decree of divorce.

    §2 The local ordinary must respond to petitions for a Grant of Dissolution within one calendar month of receipt.

    §3 The local ordinary alone possesses faculties to issue a Grant of Dissolution.

11.5 Petitioners for a Grant of Dissolution, who have had two or more previous Marriages, must make their petition directly to the local ordinary.

11.6 Petitioners who submit false or misleading information, or who omit relevant information on their applications will have their petitions for a Grant of Dissolution summarily dismissed.

11.7 Candidates for a subsequent Marriage must be provided with extended pastoral counseling prior to entering into the Sacrament.

11.8 A dispensation from the provisions of Canon 10.2 can be given by the local ordinary only for a grave reason.

Canon 12:  Holy Orders

12.1 By divine institution, some among the Christian faithful are constituted sacred ministers through the Sacrament of Orders by means of the indelible character with which they are marked. Accordingly, they are consecrated and deputed to shepherd the People of God, each in accord with their own grade of Orders, by fulfilling in the person of Christ the Head the functions of teaching, sanctifying, and governing.

12.2 The Orders are the Episcopacy, the Presbyterate, and the Diaconate.

12.3 Holy Orders are open to both men and women, without discrimination, who have properly fulfilled the required formation process.

12.4 Orders are conferred by the imposition of hands and by the consecratory prayers, which the liturgical books prescribe for the individual grades.

12.5 Ordination is to be celebrated within the solemnities of the Mass of Sunday; however, it can take place on other days, even ordinary weekdays.

12.6 Ordination is to be celebrated in a church and the clergy and other members of the Christian Faithful are to be invited so that a large congregation may be present for the celebration.

12.7 The minister of Sacred Ordination is a validly consecrated bishop.

12.8 The principal consecrating bishop in an Episcopal consecration is to associate at least two other consecrating bishops; but it is especially appropriate that all bishops who are present should consecrate the bishop-elect along with the bishops mentioned.

12.9 Each candidate is to be ordained to the Presbyterate or Diaconate by their own bishop, or with legitimate dimissorial letters from their bishop or major religious superior.

12.10 A bishop can confer Orders outside of their own jurisdiction only with the written permission of the local diocesan bishop.

12.11 Only a Baptized candidate validly receives Sacred Ordination.

12.12 It is required that in the judgment of the same legitimate superior that a candidate for Sacred Ordination be considered useful for the ministry of the Church.

12.13 In order for a candidate to be ordained they must possess the required freedom.

    §1 In the case of a candidate for Sacred Ordination, who is married, the written consent of the spouse is required for the licit reception of the Sacrament.

12.14 Those who aspire to the Diaconate or Presbyterate are required to complete a prescribed program of formation.

    §1 In the case of candidates for Sacred Ordination, who are married, the formation program shall include the spouse to the extent deemed necessary by the local ordinary.

    §2 Candidates for the Diaconate or Presbyterate must be a full member of the Church prior to their consideration to enter into secular clerical formation.

12.15 As part of the application process to enter into secular clerical formation, candidates must complete the following:

    §1 Provide documentation of their Baptism, Confirmation, and Marriage

    §2 Provide documentation of the dissolution of any Marriage.

    §3 Complete a criminal background check at the candidate’s expense.

    §4 Complete a standard psychological examination at the candidate’s expense.

    §5 Provide documentation of required academic credentials.

    §6 All application forms

    §7 Declare their ability to meet all financial obligations for tuition to a graduate school of theology if the candidate has not yet completed a Master of Divinity degree or equivalent degree.

    §8 Meet the residency requirements of the local diocese.

12.16 The diocesan Director of Vocations will empanel a review board of five clerics in good standing to consider the applications of all candidates and present their recommendations to the local ordinary. The decision of the local ordinary to accept or reject any candidate is final and not subject to review.

12.17 As part of their formation process, candidates for Ordination will enter into the minor Orders of Lector, Acolyte, and Candidacy prior to being admitted to the Order of Deacon.

    §1 The Order of Lector will be celebrated at the start of the candidate’s formal graduate studies. The Order of Acolyte may be celebrated at the mid-point of the candidate’s graduate studies. Candidacy may be celebrated at the discretion of the local ordinary.

    §2 In the case of a candidate for Ordination who has completed the required academic studies prior to beginning the prescribed program of clerical formation, the conferral of the Minor Orders shall be at the discretion of the local ordinary or competent major religious superior, after consultation with the candidate and the Diocesan Director of Vocations.

12.18 Candidates will enter into the Order of Deacon just prior to the start of their internship. The local ordinary must evaluate the readiness of the candidate prior to the calling of the candidate to Orders.

    §1 The length of the internship will be decided by the local ordinary.

12.19 The Order of Deacon cannot be dispensed for candidates to the Presbyterate.

12.20 After all circumstances have been taken into account in the prudent judgment of the proper bishop or the competent major religious superior, only those should be promoted to Orders who have an integral faith, motivated by right intention, possess the requisite knowledge, enjoy a good reputation, good morals, proven virtues, and other physical and psychological qualities which are appropriate to the Order received.

12.21 Only for a canonical reason, even if it be occult, can the proper bishop or competent major religious superior forbid access to Orders with due regard for recourse in accord with the norm of law.

12.22 The Presbyterate is not to be conferred upon those who have not completed their twenty third year or who do not possess sufficient maturity; an interval of at least six months is to be observed between the Diaconate and Presbyterate Ordinations.

12.23 Candidates must complete their graduate studies prior to entering into the Order of the Presbyterate.

12.24 In order to be promoted to the Order of Deacon or Presbyter, the candidate is to give to the proper bishop or competent major religious superior a signed declaration written in their own hand, testifying that they are about to receive Sacred Orders of their own accord and freely; and they will devote themselves perpetually to the ecclesiastical ministry. This declaration is also to contain their petition for admission to the reception of Orders.

12.25 In order for any priest or deacon to validly function within the Church, they must be granted faculties from their Ordinary.  Letters of Faculties are a binding contract between the Church and its clergy.  Priests and Deacons from religious congregations may petition for faculties through the office of their religious superior.  All priests, secular and religious, serve within any given diocese at the discretion of the local ordinary.

    §1 Prior to entering into Orders or Incardination, all secular and religious candidates must sign the following letter of agreement:

" I, NAME OF CANDIDATE, accept and support the Sacramental, Liturgical and Ecclesial theology of the Evangelical Catholic Church.  I further state my acceptance and support for the Canon Law of this Church. I hereby acknowledge and accept the responsibilities of any and all faculties granted to me by my Ordinary and that I further acknowledge and accept the fact that I serve at the discretion of my Ordinary, to whom I pledge my respect and obedience.

I further swear and promise that should my faculties end, either through an official act of suspension by my Ordinary or through an act of resignation or self-termination, I will not attempt nor continue to engage in the pastoral activities granted to me through my former faculties, style myself as a cleric of this Church body or Religious Congregation nor promote myself as a legal representative of this Church body or Religious Congregation.

I make this pledge freely and without reservations. "

    §2 Candidates for Orders or Incardination who fail to sign this agreement cannot enter into Orders or be Incardinated into the Church or into any Religious Congregation within the Church.

12.26 The following are irregular regarding the reception of Orders:

    §1 A person who labors under some form of mental illness or other psychic defect due to which, after consultation with experts in the medical field, are judged incapable of rightly carrying out the ministry.

    §2 A person who has committed the delict of apostasy, heresy, or schism within the Church.

    §3 A person who has committed voluntary homicide.

    §4 A person who has committed sexual assault.

12.27 A neophyte is simply impeded from receiving Orders, unless they have been sufficiently proven in the judgment of the local ordinary

12.28 The faithful are obliged to reveal impediments to Sacred Orders, if they know of any and can provide documentation, to the local ordinary, competent major religious superior, or pastor before Ordination.

12.29 Ignorance of any irregularities or impediments does not exempt from them.

12.30 For one to be promoted to Sacred Orders, the following documents are required:

    §1 Certification that the academic studies prescribed have been completed.

    §2 Certification that the Diaconate has been received if it is a question of those to be ordained to the Presbyterate.

    §3 Certification that Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage (if applicable), or any Grant of Dissolution have been received and that any additional ministries requested have been received if it is a question of those to be promoted to the Diaconate.

12.31 As regards the inquiry concerning the qualities required of candidates for Ordination, the following prescriptions are to be observed:

    §1 Testimonials from competent persons.

§ In order that the inquiry may be properly conducted, the diocesan bishop or the competent major religious superior may employ other means which may seem useful in accord with the circumstances of time and place.

12.32 In order for a bishop to proceed to the Ordination of one who is not the bishop’s subject, it is necessary that the required dimissorial letters declare that all necessary documents have been furnished, and that the inquiry has been conducted in accord with the norm of law and that the suitability of the candidate has been proved.

12.33 If, despite all the above listed considerations, the bishop has certain reasonable concerns regarding the suitability of the candidate for Ordination, the bishop is not to ordain the candidate.

12:34  If, after attaining Orders, it is discovered that the candidate consciously submitted false and misleading information on his or her application to enter into the formation program for the Church, the Church shall declare such Orders null and void.

Canon 13:  Diocesan Priests

13.1  Diocesan Priests are priests residing and functioning within a canonical diocese.

13.2  Diocesan Priests are obligated to show respect for the Presiding Bishop of the Church.

13.3  Diocesan Priests are obligated to show respect and obedience to their local ordinary.

13.4 Unless they have been excused by their ordinary or are impeded by law, all diocesan priests are obligated to accept and faithfully fulfill the office and duties entrusted to them by their ordinary.

13.5 Since all diocesan priests are working for the same purpose, they are to be united to one another in the bonds of prayer and collegiality and are to cooperate with one another.

13.6 Diocesan priests are to acknowledge and promote the mission of the laity within the Church.

13.7 Diocesan priests have a special obligation to seek holiness in their lives because they have been consecrated to God and are stewards of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.

13.8  Diocesan priests are to nourish their spiritual life through the celebration of the Eucharist and through the reading of Holy Scripture.

13.9  Diocesan priests are obligated to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

13.10  Diocesan priests are obligated to make spiritual retreats, to engage regularly in mental prayer and to approach the sacrament of penance.

13.11 Diocesan priests are obligated to honor and engage in acts of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through prayer and in the celebration of her particular Feasts.

13.12  Diocesan priests are to behave with due prudence in relations to persons who company could be a danger to the sacredness of their obligations and or could lead to scandal of the faithful.

13.13  Diocesan priests are encouraged to continue their studies and education after their ordinations.

Canon 14:  Diocesan Deacons

14.1  Diocesan Deacons are deacons residing and functioning within a canonical diocese assisting the local ordinary.

14.2  Diocesan Deacons are obligated to show respect for the Presiding Bishop of the Church.

14.3  Diocesan Deacons are obligated to show respect and obedience to their local ordinary.

14.4 Unless they have been excused by their ordinary or are impeded by law, all diocesan deacons are obligated to accept and faithfully fulfill the office and duties entrusted to them by their ordinary.

14.5 Since all diocesan deacons are working for the same purpose, they are to be united to one another in the bonds of prayer and collegiality and are to cooperate with one another.

14.6  Diocesan deacons are to acknowledge and promote the mission of the laity within the Church.

14.7 Diocesan deacons are to nourish their spiritual life through the celebration of the Eucharist and through the reading of Holy Scripture.

14.8  Diocesan deacons are obligated to pray the Liturgy of the Hours.

14.9  Diocesan deacons are obligated to make spiritual retreats, to engage regularly in mental prayer and to approach the sacrament of penance.

14.10  Diocesan deacons are obligated to honor and engage in acts of devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary through prayer and in the celebration of her particular Feasts.

14.11  Diocesan deacons are to behave with due prudence in relations to persons who company could be a danger to the sacredness of their obligations and or could lead to scandal of the faithful.

14.12  Diocesan deacons are encouraged to continue their studies and education after their ordinations.

Canon 15:  Incardination of a Secular Cleric

15.1 Candidates for Clerical Incardination into this Church must be full members of the Church prior to their application for Incardination. No application for Incardination shall be given prior to reception into the Church.

15.2 As part of the application process of Clerical Incardination, candidates must fulfill the requirements of Canon 12.14.

15.3 If there is a pastoral need, the local ordinary may grant candidates for Clerical Incardination the title of "cleric in residence", and provide them with the necessary faculties to assist the bishop.

15.4 A candidate for secular Clerical Incardination will be subject to the provisions of Canon 12.15 and 12.25

15.5 If it is determined that the candidate comes from a tradition that does not have valid Apostolic Succession and/or lacks the completion of the Rite of Orders, the local ordinary will supply the necessary sacramental validity through the Imposition of Hands and the required consecratory prayers for the Order received.

15.6 Candidates for Secular Clerical Incardination must possess a Master of Divinity degree, equivalent degree, or they must complete the required academic studies prior to being incardinated. This includes but is not limited to “reading for orders,” using one of the many Old Catholic or Independent Catholic online seminaries or schools of theology, or another “higher academic facility” as long as there is documented proof of completion of study through an officially issued certificate or diploma at Masters level by the competent authority.

15.7 The length of time for the process of Incardination will be determined by the local ordinary, in consultation with the candidate and the clergy of the diocese.

15.8 Candidates for secular incardination who are already clerics from within this Church body, may make a written petition the Local Ordinary of the Diocese they wish to incardinate into.  Before a cleric is permitted to incardinate, the petitioning cleric's current ordinary or religious superior must provide a letter of recommendation and a official copy of the petitioning cleric's files, records and documents to the ordinary being petitioned.  The ordinary being petitioned may, for just cause, decline a petition for secular incardination.

15.9  If, after attaining Secular Incardination within the Church, it is discovered that the candidate consciously submitted false and misleading information on his or her application for Secular Incardination into the Church, the incardinating diocese shall declare such Incardinations null and void.

Canon 16:  Bishops

16.1 Bishops within this Church are called forth in service and in leadership by the Presiding Bishop and the House of Bishops, upon the recommendation of the Council of Advisors, House of Clergy, House of Laity, and the People of God.

16.2 Bishops shall serve the Church as either a Local Ordinary of a Diocese, Auxiliary Bishop of a Diocese, or as Prefect of a Vicariate.

16.3 Bishops are called forth because of a liturgical, sacramental, or pastoral need. Bishops are also called for their spiritual guidance, theological knowledge, academic wisdom, and pastoral ability.

16.4 Candidates for the Episcopacy shall be priests who have been ordained or Incardinated into the Church for a period of no less than three years, are active in their standing without leave of absences during the three year period prior to candidacy and are currently in good standing within the Church.

16.5 Candidates for the Episcopacy must possess appropriate academic credentials.

16.6 For a just cause, a bishop may request a leave of absence from his/her faculties. Such requests are made to the Presiding Bishop, who shall grant such leaves after appropriate pastoral investigation of the cause and appointment of an Administrator for the period of the leave of absence, who will work directly with the Presiding Bishop.

16.7 An Auxiliary Bishop requesting a leave of absence must apply to the local ordinary, who will submit the request to the Presiding bishop.

16.8 The Bishop of the Diocese or Local Vicariate must reside within the jurisdiction to which they are appointed.

16.9 The Bishop of a Diocese or Vicariate possesses all the rights, prerogatives, and responsibilities inherent in that office, as long as they are not in violation of any Canons of the Church.

16.10  Auxiliary Bishops shall assist the Local Ordinary in the pastoral care of the Diocese or Vicariate they are called to serve.

16:11  All Bishops shall serve as members of the Church's Liturgical Commission.

Canon 17:  The Diocesan Bishop as Local Ordinary

17.1  Within the canonical boundaries of their diocese, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary power required for the exercise of their office, except in those matters reserved to some other ecclesiastical authority.

17.2  A person who has been appointed Bishop of a diocese cannot assume ordinary power until such time as they are canonically installed into that office.  Should one who has been appointed Bishop of a diocese already exercises an office within that diocese, they may continue exercising that office until their installation as Bishop.

17.3  Unless there is a canonical impediment, those who have been canonically appointed to the office of diocesan Bishop, must be installed into their office within four months of their appointment.  The installation of the diocesan Bishop must take place within an public liturgical act.

17.4  Within the exercise of their pastoral office, the diocesan Bishop must remain solicitous to the needs of all the faithful entrusted into their care.  The diocesan Bishop must demonstrate the apostolic spirit of this community of faith to all, especially to all those who are not sufficiently able to benefit of ordinary pastoral care and for those who have become pastorally orphaned.

    (1)  If there are faithful of a different rite residing within their diocese, the diocesan Bishop must provide for their spiritual needs by means of priests and parishes of that same rite.

17.5  The diocesan Bishop must exercise unconditional charity and humanity to those who are not in Communion with this Church and those who are not baptized and must always embrace and welcome all with the spirit of ecumenism of this Church.

17.6  The diocesan Bishop must always remember the needs of their clergy, of whom the diocesan Bishop must look upon as their counselors and helpers.  The diocesan Bishop must defend their rights at all times and must ensure that they fulfill all obligations of their offices.  The diocesan Bishop must also ensure that all clergy have the opportunity to develop their spiritual and intellectual life.

17.7  The diocesan Bishop must always foster vocations to the priesthood, deaconate and religious life.

17.8  The diocesan Bishop is bound to teach and witness to the faithful the truths of faith.  The diocesan Bishop must preach frequently and must ensure that the provisions of the Canons regarding her Liturgy, preaching of the Word and catechetical instructions are faithfully observed.

17.9  Remaining mindful that they are the bound to give examples of holiness, charity, humility and simplicity of life, the diocesan Bishop is to seek in every way all opportunities to promote the holiness of Christ's faithful. 

17.10  Upon their canonical installation, the diocesan Bishop must apply the Mass for those entrusted to their care each Sunday.

17.11  While the diocesan Bishop can function anywhere within their diocese, they may not do so publicly outside of their diocese without the consent of the local Ordinary, unless expressly given or reasonable presumed.

17.12  While the diocesan Bishop personally governs their diocese with legislative, judicial and executive power, they may appoint Vicar Generals or Episcopal Vicars to assist in the pastoral and sacramental care of all those entrusted to the care of the diocese.

17.13  The diocesan Bishop must promote and defend the unity of the Church and is bound to promote the discipline which is common for the welfare of the Church, and so press for the observance of all ecclesiastical laws and norms of the Church.

17.13   In all legal transactions, the diocesan Bishop acts in the person of the diocese.

17.14  The diocesan Bishop is to foster various forms of the apostolate within their diocese and to ensure that all works of the apostolate is under their direction.

17.16  The diocesan Bishop is obligated to visit all parishes, religious houses and sacred places within their diocese.

17.17  The diocesan Bishop is obligated to prepare a written report for presentation at the annual conference of the church.

17.18  The diocesan Bishop has the prerogative to create Monsignors or Canons within their diocese according to church law.

17.19  All diocesan Bishops are requested to offer their resignations upon their 70th birthday.

17.20  Any diocesan Bishop who has retired from their office, acquires the title of "Bishop-Emeritus."  Unless there is a grave reason contrary, a Bishop-Emeritus retains their faculties to celebrate the sacraments.  A Bishop-Emeritus may, unless there is a grave reason contrary, be called upon by their successor to assist as need demands.

Canon 18:  The Office of the Presiding Bishop

18.1 The presiding Bishop shall proactively serve as national spokesperson for the Church.

18.2 The Presiding Bishop shall proactively evangelize the Gospels.

18.3 The Presiding Bishop, in his or her role as Bishop Protector of Institutes of Consecrated Life, shall actively promote the creation of new religious orders, and to take care that they grow and flourish according to the spirit and charism of their Founder.

18.4 The Presiding Bishop is responsible for convening monthly meetings of the House of Bishops.

18.5 The Presiding Bishop is responsible for convening the National Church Conference at a location accessible for all to attend.

18.6 The Presiding Bishop shall be elected, or affirmed in Office at the National Conference in the first and fifth year of each decade beginning with the year AD 2005.

    1.  Candidates for the office of Presiding Bishop must be bishops who are fully incardinated with in Church.

    2. Election of the Presiding Bishop shall take place before the convening of a National Conference and Retreat taking place during the first and fifth year of each decade.

    3. The Election of a Presiding Bishop shall follow the prescribed protocols: The Election of a Presiding Bishop

18.7 Upon election, the Presiding Bishop shall appoint a Vicar General who shall assume the duties of Presiding Bishop on a provisional basis should the office of Presiding Bishop become vacant before the end of the current term.

    1. The Vicar General shall have the responsibility to contact the members of the House of Bishops, Council of Advisors, House of Clergy, and the House of Laity of the vacancy. The Council of Advisors, the House of Clergy, and the House of Laity shall make recommendations to the House of Bishops regarding the selection of a new Presiding Bishop no later than three months after the vacancy occurs. At the time of their recommendations, the House of Bishops shall elect a new Presiding Bishop.

    2. The Vicar General shall perform other duties assigned by the House of Bishops.

    3. During the transitional period, the Vicar-General shall act as spokesperson for the Church; consulting with the House of Bishops and the Council of Advisors for guidance before making any pronouncements binding upon the Church and its members.

18.8 For the purpose of recognition and service to the edification of the people, the Church has instituted the position of Honorary Prelate as Canon to the Metropolitan.  

As a Canon to the Metropolitan, it is the Presiding Bishop’s prerogative to appoint any cleric to this position and duty. 

If a local Ordinary wishes to honor a member of his/her diocese in this way, they may petition the Presiding Bishop to appoint. 

If the Church, gathered in synod, deems someone worthy of this position they may by nomination of a bishop and popular acclaim (50% + 1 majority) elect this worthy cleric to the position.  The Presiding Bishop must appoint under such a vote. 

As a canon to the Metropolitan they will be obliged to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at least once a liturgical season for the Presiding Bishop’s intention and the welfare of the Church, living and dead. 

As a Canon to the Metropolitan the cleric is to be styled in the traditional manner as "Canon."

Canon 19:   Episcopal Incardination

19.1 Members of the Episcopacy from another Catholic community are permitted to make application for Incardination into this Church.

19.2  Candidates for Episcopal Incardination must fulfill the requirements of Canon 12.24, 12.25 and 14.1.

19.3  Candidates for Episcopal Incardination must make their applications directly to the Presiding Bishop of this Church, who will then act as Episcopal Director of Vocations.

19.4 Once a candidate for Episcopal Incardination has been received into this Church, the Presiding Bishop may grant presbyterial faculties to such bishops who have begun the process of Incardination. Such bishops will be granted the title of "Bishop in Residence." While accorded all the respect and honor due their office, such bishops are ineligible to participate in the functions of the House of Bishops, nor can they act as spokesperson for the Church. If a candidate for Episcopal Incardination has not fulfilled the requirements of Canon 11.6, they must do so prior to making final petition for Episcopal Incardination.

19.5  Upon completion of a one year transitional period, the House of Bishops will make their decision, which is final and not subject to review, regarding the granting of  plenary Episcopal faculties and duties to candidates for Episcopal Incardination in the Church.

19.6  Upon being granted plenary Episcopal faculties, such bishops will take their seat within the House of Bishops, with all the rights and privileges due their office.

19.7 If, after attaining Episcopal Incardination, it is discovered that the candidate consciously submitted false and misleading information on his or her application for Episcopal Incardination into the Church, the Church shall declare such Episcopal Incardinations null and void.

Canon 20:  Institutes of Religious Life

20.1 Life consecrated by the profession of the evangelical counsels is a from of living by which the Faithful, following Christ more closely under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God, so that, having dedicated themselves to His honor, the up building of the Church, and the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in service to the Kingdom of God.

20.2 The evangelical councils, based on the teaching and example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, are a divine gift, which the Church has received from the Lord and always preserves through His grace.

    §1 Certain of the Christian Faithful are called to this state by God so that they may enjoy a special gift in the life of the Church and contribute to its salvific mission according to the charism and spirit of the religious institute.

    §2 Because of the special role those who profess the evangelical counsels have in the life and sanctity of the Church, the religious life is to be fostered and promoted by all in the Church.

20.3 It is acknowledged that each institute of consecrated life is blessed by different gifts according to the Grace of the Spirit. They follow Christ more closely, announce the Kingdom of God, perform good works for the people, share His life with them in the world, always doing the will of the Father.

20.4 The intention of the Founder's and his/her/their determination concerning the nature, propose, spirit and character of the institute which has been ratified by competent ecclesiastical authority, as well as its wholesome traditions are to be faithfully observed by all members of the institute.

20.5 It falls to the Presiding Bishop to approve and erect institutes of consecrated life by a formal decree in consultation with the members of the House of Bishops.

20.6 The Presiding Bishop shall ensure that any new rule of consecrated life conforms to the laws and spirit of this Church.

20.7 It belongs to the Presiding Bishop of this Church, in the role of Bishop Protector of all Institutes of Consecrated Life, to take care that all institutes grow and flourish according to the spirit of the Founders.

20.8 For individual institutes of consecrated life, there is acknowledged a rightful autonomy of life, especially of governance; by which they enjoy their own discipline within the Church and have the power to preserve their own traditions intact.

    §1 It falls to the Presiding Bishop as Bishop Protector to safeguard and protect this autonomy.

20.9 Members of institutes of consecrated life are subject to the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose territory they reside and work in all matters relating to the care of souls, the public celebration of the liturgy, and other external works of the apostolate.

    §1 In exercising an external apostolate, religious are also subject to the authority of their own superiors and must remain faithful to the discipline and traditions of their Institute.

    §2 If the diocesan bishop becomes aware of abuses in an Institute of consecrated life within his or her territory, and has advised the major religious superior without result, the diocesan bishop can act to correct the abuses on his or her own authority, after consultation with the Presiding Bishop.

20.10 Suppression of an Institute of consecrated life pertains to the diocesan bishop who canonically erected the Institute or their legitimate successor, with the consent of the Presiding Bishop.

    §1 The diocesan bishop shall ensure that all assets of the suppressed community are equitably divided among any surviving members of the Institute. If there are no surviving members, any assets of the suppressed Institute shall revert to the diocese, complying with all requirements of the civil law.

20.11 The right of admitting candidates to the novitiate pertains to major superiors alone according to the norms of the proper law and traditions of the institute.

20.12 Superiors are to be vigilant about admitting only those who, besides having attained the required age, have adequate health, suitable moral character, and sufficient maturity to embrace the life and apostolate of the particular institute.

20.12 Individuals must repay all monetary or other debts prior to admission to the noviate.

20.13 One is invalidly admitted to the novitiate:

    1. Who has not yet completed the eighteenth year of age;

   2. Who is a spouse, during a marriage, which has not been declared invalid by a decree or nullity or dissolved by a grant of dissolution;

    3. Who has minor children or other related persons dependent upon them;

   4. Who is bound by vows in another institute of consecrated life, without a decree of exclaustration from the major religious superior;

    5. Who holds Holy Orders, without a decree of excardination from his or her local ordinary;

    6. Who enters the institute as a result of force, grave fear, or fraud, or whom the superior receives induced in the same way;

    7. Who has concealed his or her incorporation in any institute of consecrated life or admission to Holy Orders.

    8. The proper law of the institute itself can establish other impediments to admission, even or validity, or can add other requirements.

20.14 Superiors are not to admit to the novitiate secular clerics if their local ordinary has not been consulted.

20.15 Before they are admitted to the novitiate, candidates must show proof of baptism, confirmation, and the required freedom. If certificates are unavailable or otherwise difficult to obtain, the written testimony of a trustworthy witness suffices.

20.16. If, after the Profession of Temporary or Solemn Vows, it is discovered that the candidate consciously submitted false and misleading information on his or her application to enter into the formation program for any Religious Institute, the Church shall declare such Professions null and void.

Canon 21:  The House of Clergy

21.1 All clergy who are on active status and in good standing in their Diocese or Religious community are members of the House of Clergy

21.2 The House of Clergy shall actively involve themselves in matters concerning the Church, and shall make recommendations to the House of Bishops regarding matters of importance to the Church.

21.3 The House of Clergy shall be convened and presided over by the Vicar of Clergy who shall act as a member of the Council of Advisors.

Canon 22:  The House of Laity

22.1 The purpose of the House of the Laity is to represent the needs of the laity, and to provide an authoritative and consultative role in the governance of the Church.

22.2 Membership in the House of Laity will consist of any adult members of the Church who have completed their eighteenth year of age, and who have formally been received into the Church.

Canon 23:  The House of Bishops

23.1 The Church shall accept its responsibility as an organization that must effectively and efficiently respond to the needs of its members.

23.2 The House of Bishops shall be responsible for pastorally governing the Church in all matters regarding Theology, Doctrine, Christology, and Orthodoxy. In addition, the House of Bishops shall be responsible to for ensuring that the Church functions within the confines of civil and federal law.

23.3 All secular and religious order Bishops, who are on active status and in good standing in the Church shall be members of the House of Bishops

23.4 The House of Bishops shall be responsible for the spiritual life of the Church and of all its members.

23.5 The House of Bishops shall be responsible for the collective adherence to the spirit and letter of the properly approved Canons and Policies of this Church.

23.6 Upon recommendation of those concerned with the welfare of the Church, who are in good and active standing, the House of Bishops shall elect one of their peers to serve this Church as Presiding Bishop for a two year term of service.

Canon 24
National Board of Directors,
Diocesan Boards of Directors & Parish Councils

24.1 The Evangelical Catholic Church shall have a National Board of Directors to assist in promoting the welfare and good of the Church.

24.2 The National Board of Directors for the Evangelical Catholic Church shall be composed of the Presiding Bishop and all other Bishops of the Church, together with appointed members from the ranks of clergy and laity.

24.3 All bishops are permanent members of the National Board of Directors.

24.4 All clerical and lay members of the National Board of Directors shall be appointed to serve terms of service for two years.

24.5 Only those members of the National Board of Directors, who have been fully and formally received into the Evangelical Catholic Church, shall enjoy voting rights on the National Board of Directors.

24.6 All members of the National Board of Directors are to be given Letters of Appointment welcoming them to their position and delineating the scope of their service.

24.7 The National Board of Directors shall convene and meet during the annual National Conference and Retreat of the Evangelical Catholic Church.

24.8 All meetings of the National Board of Directors will follow the guidelines of Robert's Rule of Order.

24.9 Any member of the National Board of Directors who abuses their role in office will be dismissed from their position.

24.10 All official documents of the National Board of Directors shall have a master and a scanned/approved copy and the scanned copy will be kept in a separate location from the Master.

24.11 Each Diocese of the Evangelical Catholic Church shall have a Diocesan Board of Directors to assist in promoting the welfare and good of the Church. The Diocesan Board of Directors shall also have the responsibilities and faculties to act as Board of Directors for any and all non-parish missions within each Diocese.

24.12 Each Diocesan Board of Directors of the Evangelical Catholic Church shall be composed of the Local Ordinary, who can solely appoint members from the ranks of clergy and laity.

24.13 All clerical and lay members of the Diocesan Board of Directors shall be appointed to serve terms of service for two years.

24.14 The Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Catholic Church shall enjoy the honor of being a consultative member of each Diocesan Board of Directors.

24.15 Only those members of the Diocesan Board of Directors, who have been fully and formally received into the Evangelical Catholic Church, shall enjoy voting rights on the Board.

24.16 Letters of Appointment will be sent to new Diocesan Board members welcoming them to their position and delineating the scope of their service.

24.17 All members of Diocesan Boards of Directors shall sign a contract accepting the scope of their duties and accepting the Canonical and legal limitations of their office and will abide with the Canon Law and by-laws of the Church

24.18 The Diocesan Board of Directors shall convene and meet during the National Conference and Retreat of the Evangelical Catholic Church and once during the months of January and July of each year. The winter Board meeting may be done in person or via teleconferencing, or some other electronic method of communication.

24.19 All meetings of the Diocesan Board of Directors will follow the guidelines of Robert's Rule of Order.

24.20 Any member of the Diocesan Board of Directors who abuses their role in office will be dismissed from their position.

24.21 All official Diocesan Board of Directors documents shall have a Master and a scanned/approved copy and the copy shall be held in a separate location from the Master.

24.22 Every parish shall create a local parish council, to assist the pastoral team in promoting the welfare and good of the Church.

    § Local Parish Councils shall be created at such time when the parish has a membership of five fully and formally received members into the Evangelical Catholic Church.

24.23 The Local Ordinary shall serve as a consultative member of all Diocesan Parish Councils.

24.24 All members of Parish Councils shall sign a contract accepting the scope of their duties and accepting the Canonical and Legal limitations of their office.

24.25 All Parish Councils shall meet at least four times per year.

24.26 All meetings of Parish Councils shall follow the guidelines of Robert's Rule of Order.

24.27 Any member of a Parish Council who abuses their role in office will be dismissed from their position.

Canon 25:  The National Conference

25.1    The Church shall meet annually to discuss and address matters of her needs.

25.2    All clergy, religious and laity of the Church possess canonical rights and privileges to attend.

25.3    The National Conference shall be called by the Presiding Bishop.  If the Presiding Bishop is indisposed to do so, the Vicar-General may be delegated to convene the conference on behalf of the Presiding Bishop.

25.4    The National Conference shall be held in a location most suitable for attendance and participation.  Dates and locations for conference are to be announced and published on or before the First Sunday of Lent.

25.5    The Presiding Bishop shall publish the agenda of the conference one month prior to its meeting.

25.6    The Presiding Bishop shall serve as presider for all sessions of the conference.

25.7    The Presiding Bishop shall appoint a recording secretary to take the notes and minutes at all sessions.   

25.8    Proxy voting is not permitted for those not in attendance.

25.9    Decisions made at Conference are binding upon all canonical members of this Church. The Presiding Bishop is obligated to promulgate and publish the Official Record of the Conference within one month of its adjournment for canonical validity.

Canon 26:  Ecumenical Faculties

26.1 Dual affiliation of clerics of the Independent Evangelical Catholic Church with other denominations not in communion with this Church are prohibited. Faculties may be granted by the local ordinary for a cleric of this Church to pastorally function within another Christian community.

26.2 A cleric of this Church may petition for permission from the local ordinary to provide ecumenical pastoral assistance to a Christian community not in communion with this Church, which is without pastoral care, or is in transition and attempting to secure pastoral care from their denomination. In such cases, this Church and its clerics are forbidden from initiating any type of recruitment of that parish body. To do otherwise would be in violation of the spirit of cooperative ecumenism.

26.3 A cleric of this Church may petition the local ordinary to provide pastoral care to a community that is not in communion with this Church, only if that faith community has formally expressed in writing their desire to discern the possibility of continuing their journey of faith with this Church.

26.4 It shall be the responsibility of the local ordinary to select a cleric suitable to assist such faith communities in their discernment process. It shall be the direct personal responsibility of the local ordinary to remain involved in this discernment process.

26.5 Clerics of this Church may freely celebrate or concelebrate with a faith community, which has entered into a formal covenant of Intercommunion. Prior to celebrating with such communities, clerics of this Church must have the written permission of the local ordinary of the sister community.

26.6 Pastoral free-lancing by clerics of this Church is strictly prohibited. Clerics, engaging in such activities, shall have their faculties suspended.

Canon 27:  Clerical Suspension

27.1 If after a leave of absence of one calendar year, a cleric declines or refuses to discuss their future with the local ordinary or competent major religious superior, all their clerical faculties shall be suspended, with the possibility of canonical removal from office if the cleric should remain obdurate in disobedience.

27.2 Should any cleric remain steadfast in disobedience to Theology, Doctrine, Christology, Orthodoxy, or Orthopraxis, despite the efforts of the local ordinary or competent major religious superior, such a cleric shall be placed under clerical suspension until they correct their error.

27.3 Any cleric who fails to fulfill their vow of obedience to their local ordinary regarding pastoral policies, directives and matters sacramental and ecclesial shall be placed on clerical suspension until they correct their error.

27.4 A suspended cleric who habitually declines to correct his or her error shall be canonically removed from office.

Canon 28:  Clerical Resignation from Church

28.1 Any cleric can petition to leave the Church by submitting a letter of resignation to the local ordinary or competent major religious superior, thus surrendering their clerical faculties from the Church, and all rights, privileges, and honors which they held with their office. Resigned Clerics are bound by Canon 12.25.

28.2 At the time a cleric tenders their resignation, they excardinate and lose all clerical faculties, official positions and association as a cleric within the Evangelical Catholic Church. They former cleric can, if they wish, remain a lay member of the Church if so requested of the Local Ordinary and approved by the Local Ordinary. The former cleric can petition the Local Ordinary to be re-appointed to any position, Board memberships, etc. they once held as a cleric within the Church, but such re-appointments as a layperson is problematic at best and not automatic.

Canon 29:
Nullification of Orders, Solemn Professions
and
Clerical and Religious Incardination.


Canon 12:26 identifies the particulars prerequisites rendering a candidate irregular and ineligible for Orders.  It is the duty and responsibility of those entrusted with the screening of candidates for Orders, Profession and Incardination to ensure eligibility. Despite all prudent safeguards, unworthy or ineligible candidates, through intentional acts of fraud and deception, will ascent to Holy Orders,  make Profession or obtain Incardination.

Should it be determined and documented  that a Cleric or Religious has attained their rank and status through acts of willful fraud and deception or lacked the necessary psychological and spiritual freedom to enter into Orders, Profession or Incardination, the appropriate Bishop or Religious Superior must move to have said Orders, Profession or Incardination declared Null and Void and return that person to their previous status.

Acts of Fraud and Deception include, but not limited to:

A. Submission of Application with false or misleading personal information.
B. Submission of False Academic Credentials or Canonical Credentials.
C. Withholding of any information which would deem one irregular for Orders, Profession or Incardination.

It is the belief of this Church that one who obtained Holy Orders through acts of willful fraud and deception or lacked the necessary interior psychological or spiritual freedom, lacked the necessary dispositional prerequisites [interior disposition] for the Sacrament to be validly received at the time of ordination, even when all necessary prescribed form was followed by the ordaining bishop.

It is the belief of this Church that one who made Profession or obtained Incardination through acts of willful fraud and deception or lacked the necessary interior psychological or spiritual freedom for the Canonical Act of Profession or Incardination to be validly conferred, even when all necessary prescribed liturgical form was followed by the bishop or religious superior.

It shall be the responsibility for Bishops or Religious Superiors to exercise all pastoral professionalism in the execution of Articles of Nullification.

Upon completion of the process of nullification of Holy Orders, Solemn Profession and Clerical and Religious Incardination, the names of those who have have their clerical or religious status nullified will be made part of the public record of this church body.

Canon 30:  Ecumenical Faculties

30.1 Dual affiliation of clerics of the Evangelical Catholic Church with other denominations not in communion with this Church are prohibited. Faculties may be granted by the local ordinary for a cleric of this Church to pastorally function within another Christian community.

30.2 A cleric of this Church may petition for permission from the local ordinary to provide ecumenical pastoral assistance to a Christian community not in communion with this Church, which is without pastoral care, or is in transition and attempting to secure pastoral care from their denomination. In such cases, this Church and its clerics are forbidden from initiating any type of recruitment of that parish body. To do otherwise would be in violation of the spirit of cooperative ecumenism.

30.3 A cleric of this Church may petition the local ordinary to provide pastoral care to a community that is not in communion with this Church, only if that faith community has formally expressed in writing their desire to discern the possibility of continuing their journey of faith with this Church.

30.4 It shall be the responsibility of the local ordinary to select a cleric suitable to assist such faith communities in their discernment process. It shall be the direct personal responsibility of the local ordinary to remain involved in this discernment process.

30.5 Clerics of this Church may freely celebrate or concelebrate with a faith community, which has entered into a formal covenant of Intercommunion. Prior to celebrating with such communities, clerics of this Church must have the written permission of the local ordinary of the sister community.

30.6 Pastoral free-lancing by clerics of this Church is strictly prohibited. Clerics, engaging in such activities, shall have their faculties suspended.

Canon 31:  Pastoral Sexual Ethics

31.1 From ancient times a penitent or individual seeking pastoral care and advice willingly puts themselves in the care and trust of priests and pastors. This sacred trust is given not to the man or woman, but the church cleric as an earthly representative of our Savior Jesus Christ and his apostles. This trust is a sacred and honorable duty to be maintained by the cleric. Breaking this trust is an act unconscionable to the Church as the Body of Christ. When a cleric breaks this sacred trust, they break the Body of Christ in this world.

31.2 A cleric is allowed to seek an intimate relationship, and within that context of a consenting relationship engage in conjugal relations. All clerics are strongly encouraged to ask their superior before engaging in any behavior about which they have any questions. Clerics of Evangelical Catholic Church are not required take a vow of celibacy. As St. Paul wrote "Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: It is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do, but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry…." (I Cor. 7: 8ff) A cleric in the Evangelical Catholic Church is called to responsible sexuality in which a person is neither used as a means of sexual gratification nor sexually objectified, but seen in the personal reality that God made them: as a son or daughter of God and a brother or sister of Jesus Christ. Conjugal relations must occur within the context of an adult consenting relationship. All physical relationships by an adult with a minor are illegal and grievously immoral, and immediate grounds for removal of clerical faculties and dismissal from clerical state or lay leadership in the Evangelical Catholic Church. Sex with a minor is never consensual. The Evangelical Catholic Church forbids any violation of this Canon. Any cleric or lay leader who violates this Canon and is reported to Church authorities as doing so, will be reported to the civil authorities for appropriate investigation and follow-up.

31.3 When abuse by any clergy of the Evangelical Catholic Church is reported or discussed in the confines of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that Sacrament is inviolable and no matter brought up in that Sacrament will be divulged to any person or authority by the priest Confessor giving absolution. The penitent making such statements and allegations in the Sacrament of Reconciliation fully accepts the limitations placed on the Confessor by the Church and may not seek civil, legal, or ecclesial damages when no civil report in made.

31.4 A cleric may not at any time engage in a romantic or conjugal relationship with any person who currently comes to that cleric for pastoral care. If either party realizes that the desire for a deeper more intimate relationship exists, the cleric must establish professional boundaries and follow professional ethics and refer the individual to another cleric for pastor care.

31.5 Any cleric who is accused of sexual impropriety with any person in their care shall immediately be put on a Leave of Absence. When and until such times as they are cleared of the charges through due process, be it legal, medical or psychiatric, they lose the use of public faculties and cannot portray themselves as a cleric of the Church. If after being accused of and found guilty for sexual impropriety with a person under their care the cleric shall be automatically suspended from all duties and their faculties revoked. All efforts shall be made to provide care of the souls to the individual and former cleric. The cleric involved will be responsible for any and all costs involved in resolving this matter since they knowingly and willfully violated this Church Canon.

31.6 For the purpose of this Canon, a cleric is defined as any minister of the church. This includes: bishop, priest, deacon, professed religious, Candidate, volunteer or lay leader.

31.7 In a person of the age of consent, sexual misconduct or impropriety is defined as any unwanted physical touching, language or behavior with another person then that person has asked for that behavior to cease. For the purpose of this Canon any inappropriate touching, abusive language or behavior as well as exposure to pornographic behavior or pornographic media are considered grounds for the suspension of the cleric and removal of their faculties. In persons under the age of consent any inappropriate touching, language, or behavior as well as forced exposure to pornographic behavior or sexual acts is illegal and grounds for immediate dismissal from the clerical state in the Evangelical Catholic Church. Any such allegations against a clergy person by a minor or their legal guardian must be reported to the proper civil authorities. The cleric involved will be responsible for any and all costs involved in resolving this matter since they knowingly and willfully violated this Church Canon.

31.8 Any evidence of sexual or physical impropriety with a communicant must be investigated and fully addressed before Incardination can occur. This includes legal findings, psychotherapy by a third party and inpatient treatment if necessary. If psychotherapy has occurred the applicant must release the findings of the psychotherapist to the Bishop Ordinary.

31.9 As a public representative of the Church, a cleric is advised that their actions speak louder than words. All clerics of the Evangelical Catholic Church acknowledges that they publicly witness a reality larger than themselves, and so must be aware of the philosophy of the organizations and clubs to which they belong and especially in which they hold a leadership role. All clerics of the Evangelical Catholic Church must not hold nor take a leadership position in any organization or club that endorses, openly or implicitly, licentiousness or unbridled and degrading sexual behavior.

Canon 32:  Documentation and Records

32.1 A cleric of the Evangelical Catholic Church is responsible to keep accurate up-to-date financial records and books, as well as official church records, or assign a competent person to keep said books for the members of the church who are in their care.

 

 

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