Sunday, 11 November 2012

Pope Alexander III's "At Si Clerici" (ca 1178)

A decretal of Pope Alexander III, dated approximately 1178 contained later in Liber IV, Title IV, Chapter II, of the Corpus Juris Canonici, This Decretal, Licet praeter solitum, was a papal response to a query made by the Archbishop of Salerno, Italy,  Liber IV Liber Extra, was drafted in 1234 by the Dominican and jurist St. Raymond of Penafort Catalan and integrated in the Corpus Juris Canonici.

From Gregory IX's Decretals II

Idem Salernitano Archiepiscopo.
At si clerici coram saeculari iudice convicti fuerint vel confessi de crimine, non sunt propter hoc a suo episcopo aliquatenus condemnandi. Sicut enim sententia a non suo iudice lata non tenet, ita nec facta confessio coram ipso. Si vero coram episcopo de criminibus in iure confessi sunt, seu legitima probatione convicti, dummodo sint talia crimina, propter quae suspendi debeant vel deponi, non immerito suspendendi sunt a suis ordinibus, vel ab altaris ministerio perpetuo removendi. 2. De adulteriis vero et aliis criminibus, quae sunt minora, potest episcopus cum suis clericis post peractam poenitentiam dispensare, ut in ordinibus suis deserviant; sed non debet quemlibet depositum pro suis excessibus, quum suo sit functus officio, nec duplici debeat ipsum contritione conterere, iudici tradere saeculari. [Porro si clericus etc. (cf. c. 1. de cler. pugn. in duell. V. 14.)]

And if clerics have been convicted in the presence of [or before] a lay justice, or have been convicted or confessed to a crime, they are not to be condemned in any way by their bishop for this reason. For just as the sentence that was delivered by not his own judge does not hold,  so neither is any confession that has been made ​​before him,  just as long as they are not for any such crimes that they would be suspended or degraded, for not with good reason are they to be suspended from their orders, or permanently removed from service at the altar. In truth for other violations, and other crimes, which are minor offences, the bishop can, together with their clergy after pronouncing the penance can grant a dispensation, in service of their order, but should not in anyway be deposed for any excesses, which in the execution of his office, neither must the same case be ground up again grievously for a second time, by being handed over to secular justice.


Julius Friedrich Heinrich Abegg (1825). Grundriss zu Vorlesungen über den gemeinen und Preussischen Criminal-Prozess: mit Vorrede über die wissenschaftliche Behandlung des Criminal-Prozesses, und einem Anhange, eine Chrestomathie von Beweisstellen enthaltend. im Verlage der Gebrüder Bornträger. pp. 82–.

Gregory IX: Decretals II (n.d.) Gregory IX: Decretals II. [online] 
Available at:

Aemilius Ludwig Richter; Emil Albert Friedberg (2000). Corpus Iuris Canonici: Editio Lipsiensis Secunda - Post Aemilii Ludouici Richteri [1879]. The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.. pp. 1–.ISBN 978-1-58477-088-6

bibliotheca Augustana (n.d.) bibliotheca Augustana. [online] 
Available at:  Link

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