( Latin renuntiare ).
A canonical term signifying the resignation of an ecclesiastical office or benefice. It may be defined as the abdication of a clerical dignity made freely and spontaneously, for just reasons, into the hands of the legitimate superior who accepts it. Generally speaking, any ecclesiastic may renounce his dignity whether his office be perpetual or temporal. To be valid, the resignation must be free, that is, not extorted by fear, or threats, or fraud. It must be made into the hands of the superior who had conferred it, that is of the pope for bishops and holders of major benefices ; of the ordinary for parish priests and all incumbents of minor benefices. As to the pope himself, he may abdicate his dignity, but, as he has no earthly superior, his resignation must simply be declared canonically (see A BDICATION ). Before a renunciation is canonically valid, it must be accepted by the legitimate superior, for otherwise it would work great detriment to the Church. Moreover, no one is at liberty to resign his office unless he is certain of revenues for his competent support. A resignation may be absolute or conditional. The latter term is used for renunciations that are made in favour of a third person, or with reservation of a pension, or when incumbents exchange benefices. The causes for which resignations are lawful are given in verse in the "Corpus juris canonici" (cap. x, "de renunt", 1, 9);Debilis, ignarus, male conscius, irregularis,
Therefore, one may justly resign on account of ill-health, want of proper knowledge, consciousness of guilt, clerical irregularity, ill-will of the people, or scandalous behavior.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online