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63 Jurist 213 (2003)
Privilege, Faculty, Indult, Derogation: Diverse Uses and Disputed Questions

handle is hein.journals/juristcu63 and id is 221 raw text is: THE JURIST 63 (2003) 213-252

PRIVILEGE, FACULTY, INDULT, DEROGATION:
DIVERSE USES AND DISPUTED QUESTIONS
JOHN M. HUELS*
This study examines various uses in canon law and ecclesial practice
of four common terms-privilege, faculty, indult, and deroga-
tion. It also considers some questions that are disputed by authors with
respect to these concepts. The aim in looking at the diverse uses of these
terms and certain disputed questions regarding them is to refine their
meaning and come to a better understanding of their juridic nature.
The institute of privileges has existed in the canonical system for cen-
turies, and canonists have disputed points about their nature almost as
long. The 1983 Code of Canon Law marks a major evolution in the re-
finement of the juridic nature of a privilege, especially in the founda-
tional norm on privileges, canon 76, § 1. Still, several new questions are
debated by authors today. The first section of this study presents a defi-
nition of a privilege that makes precise its juridic nature and applicabil-
ity in ecclesial practice. It further explores the juridic nature of privileges
by examining some disputed questions. Three principal questions are ad-
dressed: (1) Can true privileges be apart from the law, or are they always
contrary to the law? (2) Who is the competent authority to grant a priv-
ilege, and what kind of power is required, legislative or executive?
(3) May the conference of bishops grant a privilege?
The second part of this study treats the concept of faculties in canon
law. The grant by law or delegation of faculties is routine in ecclesial
practice at all levels, yet the lack of a systematic treatment of faculties in
the code may lead to a misunderstanding of their proper nature and igno-
rance of the numerous canonical rules applicable to their grant, use, in-
terpretation, cessation, and supply by law. Canon 132 is a fundamental
general norm on faculties, namely, habitual faculties, yet dozens of other
canons in Book I are applicable in one way or another to this institute.
This author has treated the juridic nature of faculties in detail elsewhere,
so reviewing this subject at any length is unnecessary here.1 Instead,
* Professor, Faculty of Canon Law, Saint Paul University. Ottawa
See John M. Huels, Empowermentfor Ministry: A Complete Manual on Diocesan
Faculties for Priests, Deacons and Lay Ministers (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2003);
idem, Permissions, Authorizations and Faculties in Canon Law, Studia Canonica 36
(2002) 25-58.

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