The Vatican Press, 1962


    21.  The obligation of denunciation on the part of the solicited penitent does not cease because of a spontaneous confession by the soliciting confessor done by chance, nor because of his being transferred, promoted, condemned, or presumably reformed and other reasons of the same kind. It ceases, however, at his death.

    22.   Sometimes it happens that the confessor or another ecclesiastic man is deputed to receive some denunciation, together with an instruction concerning the acts to be assumed for a judicial reason. Then that person is to be expressly warned that he should tell everything to the Ordinary or to the person whom he deputed, keeping no example or trace of it to himself.

    23. In receiving the denunciations, this order is to be regularly observed: First, an oath to tell the truth while touching the Holy Gospels is to be given to the person making the denunciation; he should be interrogated according to the formula (Formula F), circumspectly, so that he narrates each and every circumstance briefly, indeed, and decently, but clearly and distinctly, pertaining to the solicitations he has suffered. In no way, however is it to be extracted from him whether he had consented to the solicitation. Rather, he should be expressly advised that he is not bound to manifest his consent which he perhaps gave. The responses uninterrupted fashion], not only as to what pertains to the substance but even to the words themselves of the testimony (Canon 1778) should be consigned to writing. The entire instrument  [of the testimony]  should be read in a clear and distinct voice to the one denouncing [the priest], givin [the one denouncing the priest] the option of adding, suppressing, correcting, or varying [his testimony].  His signature is then to be exacted [from him], or, if he does not know how to write, or cannot, the sign of the cross. And with him still being present, there should be added the signature of the person receiving the testimony, and if he is present (Cfr. n. 9), of the notary. And, before he is dismissed, there should be presented to him, as above, an oath of observing the secret, threatening him, if there is a need, with an excommunication reserved to the Ordinary or to the holy See (Cfr. n. 13).

    24.    Even if, sometimes, for grve obstructing reasons always to be expressed in the acts, this ordinary practice cannot be observed, it is permitted that one or the other for from the prescribed forms, saving however the substance, ++11++ be omitted.  Thus, if the oath cannot be taken upon the holy Gospels, it can be given with some notion and also with words only. If the instrument of denunciation cannot be put into writing in an uninterrupted fashion, it can be written down at a more opportune time and place by the interviewer  (the recipient of the denuncation) and then confirmed and signed by the person who is denunciating in the presence of the receiving the denunciation; if the instrument itself cannot be read to the denouncer, it can be given to him to read.

    25.   In more difficult cases, however, it is also permitted for the denunciation ( the previous permission of the denunciator having been given, lest the sacramental seal seemingly be violated, and on a day convenient to each party and in the confessional itself, it is to be read or given to read, and is confirmed with an oath and with one’s proper signature or the sign of the cross ( unless to do this is in every way impossible).  Concerning all of these things, as has been said in te number aboe, an express mention must aways be made in the Acts.

    26.   Still, if an entirely serious case also that is also clearly extraordinary urges, then the denunciation can also be done through a written account by the one denouncing, as long as, however, it is before the Ordinary of the place or his delegate or notary, if he is present (Cfr. n. 9), and afterwards confirmed by an oath and signed.  The same must be said concerning an informal denunciation, through a letter, for example, or given orally in an extra judicial manner.

    27.   Any denunciation once accepted, the Ordinary is bound most gravely to communicate this as soon as possible to the promoter of justice who must declare in writing, whether the specific crime of solicitation in the first sense is present in this case or not. Within ten days he must submit the matter to the Holy Office.


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