HOW A PERSON WHO IS ASCRIBED TO THE LATIN CHURCH OR ANOTHER RITUAL CHURCH "SUI IURIS" MAY TRANSFER
Charles Wilson
(A question was asked about how a person is ascribed to the Latin Church or another Ritual Church sui iuris and how one may transfer. It is a very complicated question and the variances of individual cases will be so wide as to preclude a simple and brief answer. There is an old adage: "Give me the facts and I will give you the law." That is about the best we could do without all the facts of an individual case. Nevertheless the common laws of the autonomous Churches (Latin and Eastern) is given here.)

The Code of Canon Law (Latin Church) makes the following provisions in these two canons:

Canon 111—1. A child of parents who belong to the Latin Church is ascribed to it by reception of baptism, or, if one or the other parent does not belong to the Latin Church and both parents agree in choosing that the child be baptized in the Latin Church, the child is ascribed to it by reception of baptism; but, if the agreement is lacking, the child is ascribed to the Ritual Church to which the father belongs.

2. Anyone to be baptized who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely choose to be baptized in the Latin Church or in another Ritual Church sui iuris, and in this case the person belongs to that Church which is chosen.

Canon 112—1. After the reception of baptism, the following are enrolled in another Ritual Church sui iuris:

(1) one who has obtained permission from the Apostolic See;

(2) a spouse who declares at the time of marriage or during marriage that he or she is transferring to the Ritual Church sui iuris of the other spouse; but when the marriage has ended, that person can freely return to the Latin Church;

(3) children of those in nn. 1 and 2 under fourteen complete years of age; and similarly children of a Catholic party in a mixed marriage who legitimately transferred to another Ritual Church. But, when such persons reach fourteen complete years of age, they may return to the Latin Church.

2. The custom, however prolonged, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of another Ritual Church sui iuris, does not carry with it enrollment in that Church.

The Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches on the other hand declares the following:

Canon 29—1. By virtue of baptism, a child who has not yet completed his fourteenth year of age is enrolled in the Church sui iuris of the Catholic father; or the Church sui iuris of the mother if only the mother is Catholic or if both parents by agreement freely request it, with due regard for particular law established by the Apostolic See.

2. If the child who has not yet completed his fourteenth year is:

(1) born of an unwed mother, he is enrolled in the Church sui iuris to which the mother belongs;

(2) born of unknown parents, he is to be enrolled in the Church sui iuris of those in whose care he has been legitimately committed are enrolled; if it is a case of an adoptive father and mother, 1 should be applied;

(3) born of non-baptized parents, the child is to be a member of the Church sui iuris of the one who is responsible for his education in the Catholic faith.

Canon 30—Anyone to be baptized who has completed the fourteenth year of age can freely select any Church sui iuris in which he or she then is enrolled by virtue of baptism received in that same Church, with due regard for particular law established by the Apostolic See.

Canon 31—No one can presume in any way to induce the Christian faithful to transfer to another Church sui iuris.

Canon 32—1. No one can validly transfer to another Church sui iuris without the consent of the Apostolic See.

2. In the case of Christian faithful of an eparchy of a certain Church sui iuris who petition to transfer to another Church sui iuris which has its own eparchy in the same territory, this consent of the Apostolic See is presumed, provided that the eparchial bishops of both eparchies consent to the transfer in writing.

Canon 33—A wife is at liberty to transfer to the Church of the husband at the celebration of or during the marriage; when the marriage has ended, she can freely return to the original Church sui iuris.

Canon 34—If the parents, or the Catholic spouse in the case of a mixed marriage, transfer to another Church sui iuris, children under fourteen years old by the law itself are enrolled in the same Church; if in a marriage of Catholics only one parent transfers to another Church sui iuris, the children transfer only if both parents consent. Upon completion of the fourteenth year of age, the children can return to the original Church sui iuris.

Canon 35—Baptized non-Catholics coming into full communion with the Catholic Church should retain and practice their own rite everywhere in the world and should observe it as much as humanly possible. Thus, they are to be enrolled in the Church sui iuris of the same rite with due regard for the right of approaching the Apostolic See in special cases of persons, communities or regions.

Canon 36—The transfer to another Church sui iuris takes effect at the moment a declaration is made before the local hierarch or the proper pastor of the same Church or a priest delegated by either of them and two witnesses, unless the rescript of the Apostolic See provides otherwise.

Canon 37—Every enrollment in a certain Church sui iuris or transfer to another Church sui iuris should be recorded in the baptismal register of the parish where the baptism was celebrated, even, as the case may be, in a Latin parish; if this cannot be done, it is to be kept by the proper pastor in another document in the archive of the parish of the Church sui iuris of enrollment.

Canon 38—Christian faithful of Eastern Churches even if committed to the care of a hierarch or pastor of another Church sui iuris, nevertheless remain enrolled in their own Church.


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