( CRIME OF SOLICITATION )
FROM THE SUPREME AND HOLY CONGREGATION OF THE HOLY OFFICEFOR ALL PATRIARCHS, ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS AND OTHER DIOCESAN ORDINARIES
“EVEN OF THE ORIENTAL RITE”
ON THE MANNER OF PROCEEDING IN CASES OF SOLICITATION
The Vatican Press, 1962
Then he will order him to relate the story
of his own life and career; where he was born, where he has been educated,
whether he was promoted to any academic grades or other signs of honour,
where he lives, what offices and duties he had been assigned and other
matters of a similar nature.
Having premised these general questions, the judge, before he address the single denunciations with the summoned accused, he will ask him about the particulars of the persons, places, and circumstances of the times brought out in the denunciation and what can demonstrate its probable truth or falsity: For example, where the place of the confessional is in the church or the rooms in the home of the priest; whether he receives the penitents before or after confession at home so that ++52++ he may impart counsel; whether he put books at their disposal, etc.; whether this took place that he should speak a long time with a woman at home or in the sacristy after confession and this with closed doors, whether it took place on such and such a day and in such and such a town or city, etc.
The judge will state to the accused -- always keeping secret the name of the one denouncing him -- each denunciation. But he will not, indeed, do so on a global or combined manner. He will bring up each and every denunciation distinctly in parts by reading them to the accused and then singly in sections such as has been revealed in each denunciation.
The judge will begin from the less serious words and deeds and slowly proceed to the more serious; nor will he omit proving also some saying or deed that is not criminal, if there is something borne out by the denouncers, so that, once the accused has admitted that, if perhaps then the accused is tainted, he can be shown that the criminal words or deeds have been so joined that the public authority of the church cannot consider some of these criminal words or deeds as true and others as false. These words and deeds will be brought forth to confirm each of the denunciations, and, should there be any, those the earnest efforts [diligent] ,” favourable to the one denouncing and not favourable to the one being denounced; “information” that is not favourable to him should not be thrown up against him. ‘information’, which is not held to be favourable to him.
By reason of association [ connexio ] or content [continential]’ the judge will also bring up the accused the crimes not pertaining to the Holy Office, for which the accused has been denounced and for which he has not yet gone into judgement.
Simultaneously, the counter arguments upon which the accused perhaps has relied, whether [based] upon subterfuges, evasions and meaningless responses, must be proved.
The declarations of all the denunciations having been completed, if there are indeed more denunciations and the accused remains negative, the judge should not omit to declare to the same accused that, not in conformity with his denials there stand more denunciations in number, distinct in time and reported by different persons, who, from reliable testimony are of good name, in every way worthy of credence; they are incapable of calumniating or of committing perjury; they are indeed unknown to each other, and hence conspiracy is impossible. Nor has enmity or an other human pathological state been added as the reason to accuse [the priest]. It is only in order to satisfy the ineluctable obligation that they have taken the counsel of their own conscience.
These things having
been brought up, the judge will interrogate the accused as to what he himself
feels about the sixth precept of the decalogue and the sacrament of penance;
whether he thinks it is licit for the confessor to act in such a way with
penitents, so that, from certain documents (or, if he has confessed, from
his own confession) it was proved that he had himself acted [in this way],
whether he perhaps thinks that all [his actions were] in no way sinful;
whether he was familiar with the Apostolic Constitution of s.m. Benedict
XIV, which begins: “The sacrament of penance”, and with the penalties which
this constitution and the holy canons thereafter against the confessor
in the sacred ministry who have abused their sacred ministry to the ruin
of souls; and finally whether he can offer anything to exonerate himself.