Canonical Inquisition
Canonical Inquisition
    Canonical Inquisition
     Catholic_Encyclopedia Canonical Inquisition
    Canonical Inquisition is either extra-judicial or judicial: the former might be likened to a coroner's inquest in our civil law; while the latter is similar to an investigation by the grand jury. An extra-judicial inquiry, which is recommended in civil cases, is absolutely necessary in criminal matters, except the case be notorious. A bishop may not even admonish canonically a cleric supposedly delinquent without having first instituted a summary inquest — "summaria facti cognitio"; "informatio pro informatione curiæ" — into the truth of the rumours, denunciations, or accusations against said cleric. This examination is conducted by the bishop personally, or by another ecclesiastic, prudent, trustworthy, and impartial, deputed by the bishop, as secretly and discreetly as possible, without judicial form. This, however, does not preclude the examination of witnesses or experts, for example, to discover irregularities in the records or accounts of the Church. Great caution is to be observed in this preliminary inquiry, lest the reputation of the cleric in question suffer unnecessarily, in which case the bishop might be sued for damages. The acts with the result of the inquisition, if any evidence has been found, should be preserved in the archives; if evidence is wanting or is only slight, the acts should be destroyed.
    The outcome of the preliminary investigation will be to leave matters as they are; or to proceed to extra-judicial corrective measures; or to begin a public action, when the evil cannot be otherwise remedied. The bishop's judgment in this matter is paramount; for, even when a crime may he satisfactorily proven, it may be more beneficial to religion and the interests at stake not to prosecute. In matters of correction proper, in which medicinal penalties are employed, judicial action is barred by limitation in five years. The second inquisition is for the information of the auditor or judge, a judicial inquiry, being the beginning of the strictly judicial procedure — "processus informativus"; "inquisitio pro informando judice". If sufficient warrant for a judicial trial exist, the bishop will order his public prosecutor (procurator fiscalis) to draw up and present the charge. Having received the charge, the bishop will appoint an auditor to conduct the informative procedure, in which all the evidence bearing on the case, for the defence as well as for the prosecution, is to be obtained. This inquest consequently comprises offensive and defensive proceedings, for the auditor is to arrive at the truth, and not conduct the inquiry on the supposition that the defendant is guilty.
    When the auditor, assisted by the diocesan prosecutor, has procured all the evidence available for the prosecution, he will open the defensive proceedings with the citation (q. v.) of the accused. The accused must appear in person (see CONTUMACY) for examination by the auditor: the fiscal prosecutor may be present. He is not put under oath, and is granted perfect freedom in defending himself, proving his innocence, justifying his conduct, alleging mitigating or extenuating circumstances. All declarations, allegations, exceptions, pleas etc., of the defendant are recorded by the clerk in the acts. They are read to the defendant and corrected, if necessary, or additions made. Finally, the accused, if willing, the auditor, and the secretary should sign the acts. A stay must be granted the accused if he demand it, to present a defence in writing. This inquiry may open up new features, to investigate which stays may be necessary. The accused must be heard in his own defence after this new inquiry. When satisfied that the investigation is complete, the auditor will declare the inquest closed, and make out an abstract of the results of same. This abstract together with all the acts in the case are given to the diocesan prosecutor. Thus ends the judicial inquisition.
    Instructio S. C. EE. RR., 1880; Instructio S. C. de Prop. Fide pro Statibus Fœderatis Americœ Septentrionalis, 1884; MEEHAN, Compendium juris canonici (Rochester, 1899), p. 241 sqq.; DROSTE-MESSMER, Canonical Procedure in Disciplinary and Criminal Cases of Clerics (New York, 1886).
    ANDREW B. MEEHAN.
    Transcribed by Douglas J. Potter Dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ

The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume VIII. — New York: Robert Appleton Company. . 1910.


Catholic encyclopedia.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Inquisition — • By this term is usually meant a special ecclesiastical institutional for combating or suppressing heresy Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Inquisition     Inquisition      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Inquisition, Canonical — • Either extra judicial or judicial: the former might be likened to a coroner s inquest in civil law; while the latter is similar to an investigation by the grand jury Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006 …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Order of Preachers —     Order of Preachers     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Order of Preachers     As the Order of the Friars Preachers is the principal part of the entire Order of St. Dominic, we shall include under this title the two other parts of the order: the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Mexico — • Situated at the extreme point of the North American continent, bounded on the north by the United States, on the east by the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, British Honduras, and Guatemala, and on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Roman Catholicism — the faith, practice, and system of government of the Roman Catholic Church. [1815 25] * * * Largest single Christian denomination in the world, with some one billion members, or about 18% of the world s population. The Roman Catholic church has… …   Universalium

  • The Roman Congregations —     The Roman Congregations     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► The Roman Congregations     Certain departments have been organized by the Holy See at various times to assist it in the transaction of those affairs which canonical discipline and the… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Gospel of Barnabas — The Gospel of Barnabas is a book depicting the life of Jesus, and claiming to be by Jesus disciple Barnabas, who in this work is one of the twelve apostles. Two manuscripts are known to have existed, both dated to the late 16th century and… …   Wikipedia

  • biblical literature — Introduction       four bodies of written works: the Old Testament writings according to the Hebrew canon; intertestamental works, including the Old Testament Apocrypha; the New Testament writings; and the New Testament Apocrypha.       The Old… …   Universalium

  • History of Christianity — Church history redirects here. For the journal, see American Society of Church History#Church History. For the magazine, see Christianity Today#Christian History. Church historian redirects here. For LDS official church historian, see Church… …   Wikipedia

  • History of the Jews in Italy — The Great Synagogue of Rome Part of a series of articles on …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”