Clergy Misconduct and Loss of Status‐amissio status clericalis

In fact, when one considers the nature of these offences, apart from the penalty imposed as a result of objective unfitness for the performance of his pastoral duties has arisen."
--Article 1335 of the Church Code The conditions for finding 'good cause' are extinguished.

Clergy Misconduct and Loss of Status.

1 Justice and Faith

Hannah Arendt was famous for saying the following. The greatest evil in the world is the evil done by the most ordinary people. And it is the masses who have stopped thinking about it.

She was speaking about the ‘banality of evil’ when she made this remark on the radio shortly before her death about ‘justice and faith’. On faith, she told a rabbi who had looked after her as a child that she had “lost faith”. Hannah Arendt’s parents were not religious. Nevertheless, Hannah had a childhood in which she attended synagogue and Christian Sunday school. Her interest in religion was complex. When the rabbi heard her confession, he was reasonable and did not accuse Hannah. Instead, he asked. “But who asks you to believe? The rest of the story is unfortunately not recorded.

Twentieth-century philosophy held that justice and faith could not be reconciled. The philosopher Lévinas, celebrated by Pope John Paul II, also argued that ‘deeds are more important than faith’ and was more wary of the ‘pursuit of happiness’ than of seeking justice for all. In practice, philosophy has failed to develop from an abstract concept of ‘justice’, which is necessary material for considering the nature of law as a philosophy of law. It is undeniable that ‘religion’ has become an outdated burden in the eyes of philosophy in the present day.

But if philosophy and literature are to survive, religion is inevitable. As long as there is history in science, such as world history, it is up to the individual to decide how much to know and whether to believe in it.

Also, modern psychology has made analytical psychology, such as the ‘unconscious’, obsolete, and has emphasised cognitive psychology. This has led to a neglect of the ‘soul’, which is a challenge; religion and the soul are also items to be considered in other countries when considering quality of life, but there is still a gap between the two.

Why is it that when we are in a difficult situation, the only recourse we have is self-serving violence, such as ‘mob justice’? As I said last time, Mob Justice is the desire for recognition of the oppressed and erased soul.(link) Such a choice is left to the past, where history has remained in the pursuit of happiness, the ‘greatest happiness of the greatest number’. I am suggesting that utilitarianism has become too dominant. As can be seen when we list the shortcomings of utilitarianism, “sometimes an answer that goes against human intuition and common sense is the right one”. I believe this is the case, for example, with the inequality suffered by the victims of religion.

Here’s the main part: Few Japanese know Canon Law. (The same goes for me.) In Japan, it is considered best to join a religion and leave if dissatisfied. Medical institutions also have few psychologists who are familiar with religion, and religion is not considered very important in the formation of the mind. The difficulties faced by Japanese religious believers are immense. We do not know what to do when we encounter absurdities. This is noticed when the Protective Presence does not work.

2Clergy Misconduct and Loss of Status

And ordination is not a privileged or honorary position, but a service to the people, and if you cannot adapt and live as a clergyman, you should get out of this position and at least try to live a decent life as a believer, which is good for the Church and sufficient for the salvation of the individual.

Fr.Noboru Tanaka  ” Clergy Misconduct and Loss of Status.”

This article is written by Father Noboru Tanaka.

Commentary on Church Law. It is titled ” Clergy Misconduct and Loss of Status.”

(amissio status clericalis)(Japanese)


Non-functional entitiesーーThe reality that one of them is a ‘priest’ and a ‘clergyman’ is a book that anyone who wants to know should pick up. Fr Noboru Tanaka was ordained in 2010, received his bachelor’s degree in theology from the Pontifical Urban University in 2011, and currently teaches ecclesiastical law as a deputy attorney general at the Tokyo District Church Court. I decided to include this book in my pages because it is not as well known as it might be on the left and because I was told by Father himself that the book was not welcomed by the Church Constitution.

The Church deals with criminal and civil cases under Church law. There is a different route for the Church to take, with priests as lay people and the congregation going to the police or lawyers for advice, and the Church also has canon law and church courts. And the information that needs to be given to the public perception is that Catholic clergy are inherently subject to separation from office for breaking their ordination vows. Father Tanaka’s book didn’t contain any defence of his fellow clergy.

First of all, we need to recognise ‘justice’, which is overlooked by the fact that the first law is ‘love’. (John13) In particular, what I didn’t know until I read this book was Clergy Misconduct and Loss of Status, starting with the fact that when I translated that title into English, I wasn’t sure how to translate it into English, but my previous perception was that I was looking for a word that corresponded to ‘clergy dismissal’ to see if I could make it a little more conciliatory. I found on page 134 a reference to the loss of clerical status. (Articles 290-293 of the Canons) Originally called ‘reduction to lay status’ in the old Canons, it is rephrased in the new Canons as ‘loss of status’.

Sacred ranks are manifestations of a sacramental state of an ontological nature. The clergy, who are given the capacity to work in the rank of Christ (art. 1008 of the Code of Canon Law), imprint on the soul an ineradicable sign in the same way as baptism and the profession of faith. Once validly conferred, the sacrament of Holy Orders cannot be extinguished or revoked, but it can be forfeited. The defrocking of a cleric who has committed a serious offence or an unlawful act is a penalty of life imprisonment, as provided for in article 1336 of the Code of Canon Law. There are other laws for the defrocking of clerics who are subject to separation in this way.

3 Love and Justice

In Grace of God, a film about a French Catholic sex abuse trial, the accused priests also asked for ‘tolerance’ and ‘forgiveness’. For the group, over a long period of time, the many “prejudices of normality” have blunted their judgement and corrupted them into an “emotional country”. 〈⇔constitutional country〉

Indeed, Catholicism is a large institution, and for the faithful, who often know more about the priest’s humanity than the victims, the damage is hard to believe because ‘that priest was a good man’. Even more so if he was charismatic, as the accused priest in this film was. Only those who have fallen into the ditch of the world know the silent cry. It is a blind spot that makes people unhappy.

Father Tanaka gave me a new turning point. Originally, love and justice were abstract concepts, but some of their qualities are opposite. Love does not seek arguments, but justice seeks arguments to judge the authorities.

Jesus is ‘love’, but did he really have nothing to say about justice? It may be necessary to re-read the Bible with fresh eyes. Why is ‘justice’ difficult because it is a ‘social practice’? One person cannot do anything alone, that is ‘justice’. The true motivation is ‘love’. What distorts love as a conclusion is self-deception.

According to canon law, it is possible to punish and even defrock priests who break their ordination vows, by decree of the Pope. However, the reality of the current situation is that the abuse and concealment of ‘forgiveness’ is rampant. Forgiveness of the sins of the soul for things like sexual offences is not the same as absolution for crimes.

When people weigh ‘justice’ and ‘love’, they take total happiness as ‘good’, reject arguments for justice and flee to love. Without apology, consolation is itself a lie, and it is a deception even in the language of daily prayer. This is true not only in the Church, but also in contemporary thought. Whether it is the responsibility of the individual or the functioning of society, the answer to this question is that it has not been put into social practice. This has led to consequentialism and has had to promote violence. We need to rethink the social practice of justice today (after the assassination of former Prime Minister Abe), which has become a dichotomy between love (empathy) and violence, rather than love and justice. The clergy must also remember that the world will not be convinced by the cleanliness that has escaped the particular judgement.

Fr. Tanaka says this at the end of the book, quoting from the Gospel of John 8:32 (only the truth will set you free). It is a gift of the Holy Spirit, given to us by the Lord so that we can always walk towards Him. Therefore, let us not despise these gifts by not listening to the voice of the Lord and acting according to our own will, but let us be awake to hear God speak to us, even to the great apostles and saints of old. Let us try to learn from the turns

  The gift is the parable of the talents, which begins in Matthew 25:14. A talant is a currency, and it is said that one talant lasts a lifetime. Many Japanese are offended by this story when they think of it as a mere coin. They get angry that the only condition for a person to go to the Kingdom of Heaven is to earn money. For example, in Takehiko Fukunaga’s Flower of Grass, there is a story in which the church is said to be a money-maker. In addition, Jesus uses violent language to take away the cowards who fail to multiply in the end. This story requires God-given spontaneity, not external value. Just as in Nabokov’s novel, The Gift, he considers his poetic talent to be a gift, so the Christian means to increase the same given talent as ‘riches in heaven’.

I like to use this story, but for a long time there was one thing I could not understand. Why did Jesus say “gnashing of teeth” to a man who was only a coward, and who could see through the nature of his opponent? The same could be said of a clergyman who is in breach and yet has temporary stability. Outwardly humble, but inwardly very ugly.

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.

And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 25:29‐30

Those who are registered in the ministry by self-deception, without admitting their sins and voluntarily retiring, cannot go to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Charity thus demands that the Church’s pastors resort to the penal system whenever it is required, keeping in mind the three aims that make it necessary in the ecclesial community: the restoration of the demands of justice, the correction of the guilty party and the repair of scandals.



“Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, as God would have you” (cf. 1 Pet 5:2). 

A baptised person is considered to have an ‘apostolate of the faithful’. Spreading the Gospel in society is a ‘vocation’ in the broadest sense, but in the case of modern Catholicism the laity are less active missionaries. Therefore, we too live the Gospel and our souls are in it. That is why we must not be suppressed.

There are many people who say that although Catholics are not classified as a cult under the Japanese penal code, in non-religious countries Catholics are the same as ‘cults’ because they do not dismiss criminal priests. In their opinion, the faithful cannot say otherwise. Because justice is not lived. A clergyman who can only live by exploiting the goodwill of others and deceiving the love of God is sick. For the sake of self-preservation, the priest sometimes becomes Satan. And he attacks the weakest congregations the hardest.

For example, I was told.

You bitch who cannot forgive others.

Why are they attacking my vital points?

These words robbed me of my faith and my self-esteem. My weakness was my ‘faith’.

It is the believers who are criticised for being crazy about faith, where faith becomes a weakness. To exchange a good argument for a bad one is sophistry.

We do not want to see any more of this kind of damage. We are grateful for the meeting and dialogue with Father Tanaka, who does not turn away from the present situation and who seeks justice.


Clergy Misconduct and Loss of Status‐amissio status clericalis” への2件のフィードバック


Blog at

ページ先頭へ ↑