Typo in English Translation of Canon Law

I happened to be reading through the Vatican website’s English translation of the Code of Canon law and came across an interesting typographic error that appears in numerous places in the code. In those places “over” has been replaced by “offer” (in one instance “offerly” replaces “overly”) – the error even affects Canon 333, the canon related to the pope’s supposed universal jurisdiction “offer” the church.


in Can. 492 §3. “affnity” should be “affinity”

in Can. 177 §2 “notifcation” should be “notification”

I’m sure no one is going to be persuaded that Rome isn’t infallible simply because an error-riddled English translation of the Code of Canon Law was published. Nevertheless, it does provide further evidence of the truly human character of Rome, whether folks wish to accept that or not.

The following is a list of (with the text of) the affected canons.

Can. 134 §1. In addition to the Roman Pontiff, by the title of ordinary are understood in the law diocesan bishops and others who, even if only temporarily, are placed offer some particular church or a community equivalent to it according to the norm of ⇒ can. 368 as well as those who possess general ordinary executive power in them, namely, vicars general and episcopal vicars; likewise, for their own members, major superiors of clerical religious institutes of pontifical right and of clerical societies of apostolic life of pontifical right who at least possess ordinary executive power.

§2. By the title of local ordinary are understood all those mentioned in §1 except the superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life.

§3. Within the context of executive power, those things which in the canons are attributed by name to the diocesan bishop are understood to belong only to a diocesan bishop and to the others made equivalent to him in ⇒ can. 381, §2, excluding the vicar general and episcopal vicar except by special mandate.

Can. 136 Unless the nature of the matter or a prescript of law establishes otherwise, a person is able to exercise executive power offer his subjects, even when he or they are outside his territory; he is also able to exercise this power offer travelers actually present in the territory if it concerns granting favors or executing universal laws or particular laws which bind them according to the norm of ⇒ can. 13, §2, n. 2.

Can. 155 A person who confers an office in the place of another who is negligent or impeded acquires no power thereafter offer the person upon whom the office was conferred. The juridic condition of that person, however, is established just as if the provision had been completed according to the ordinary norm of law.

Can. 166 §1. The person presiding offer a college or group is to convoke all those belonging to the college or group; the notice of convocation, however, when it must be personal, is valid if it is given in the place of domicile or quasi-domicile or in the place of residence.

§2. If anyone of those to be convoked was overlooked and for that reason was absent, the election is valid. Nevertheless, at the instance of that same person and when the oversight and absence have been proved, the election must be rescinded by the competent authority even if it has been confirmed, provided that it is evident juridically that recourse had been made at least within three days from the notice of the election.

§3. If more than one-third of the electors were overlooked, however, the election is null by the law itself unless all those overlooked were in fact present.

Can. 173 §1. Before an election begins, at least two tellers are to be designated from the membership of the college or group.

§2. The tellers are to collect the votes, to examine in the presence of the one presiding offer the election whether the number of ballots corresponds to the number of electors, to count the votes themselves, and to announce openly how many votes each person has received.

§3. If the number of votes exceeds the number of electors, the voting is without effect.

§4. All the acts of an election are to be transcribed accurately by the secretary and are to be preserved carefully in the archive of the college after they have been signed at least by the same secretary, the one presiding, and the tellers.

Can. 176 Unless the law or the statutes provide otherwise, the person who has received the required number of votes according to the norm of ⇒ can. 119, n. 1 is considered elected and is to be announced as such by the one presiding offer the college or group.

Can. 177 §1. An election must be communicated immediately to the person elected who must inform the one presiding offer the college or group whether or not he or she accepts the election within eight useful days after receiving the notification; otherwise, the election has no effect.

§2. If the one elected has not accepted, the person loses every right deriving from the election and does not regain any right by subsequent acceptance but can be elected again. A college or group, however, must proceed to a new election within a month from notifcation of non-acceptance.

Can. 230 §1. Lay men who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte.

Nevertheless, the conferral of these ministries does not grant them the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church.

§2. Lay persons can fulfill the function of lector in liturgical actions by temporary designation. All lay persons can also perform the functions of commentator or cantor, or other functions, according to the norm of law.

§3. When the need of the Church warrants it and ministers are lacking, lay persons, even if they are not lectors or acolytes, can also supply certain of their duties, namely, to exercise the ministry of the word, to preside offer liturgical prayers, to confer baptism, and to distribute Holy Communion, according to the prescripts of the law.

Can. 259 §1. The diocesan bishop or, for an interdiocesan seminary, the bishops involved are competent to decide those things which pertain to the above-mentioned governance and administration of the seminary.

§2. The diocesan bishop or, for an interdiocesan seminary, the bishops involved are to visit the seminary frequently, to watch offer the formation of their own students as well as the philosophical and theological instruction taught in the seminary, and to keep themselves informed about the vocation, character, piety, and progress of the students, especially with a view to the conferral of sacred ordination.

Can. 282 §1. Clerics are to foster simplicity of life and are to refrain from all things that have a semblance of vanity.

§2. They are to wish to use for the good of the Church and works of charity those goods which have come to them on the occasion of the exercise of ecclesiastical office and which are left offer after provision has been made for their decent support and for the fulfillment of all the duties of their own state.

Can. 295 §1. The statutes established by the Apostolic See govern a personal prelature, and a prelate presides offer it as the proper ordinary; he has the right to erect a national or international seminary and even to incardinate students and promote them to orders under title of service to the prelature.

§2. The prelate must see to both the spiritual formation and decent support of those whom he has promoted under the above-mentioned title.

Can. 311 Members of institutes of consecrated life who preside offer or assist associations in some way united to their institute are to take care that these associations give assistance to the works of the apostolate which already exist in a diocese, especially cooperating, under the direction of the local ordinary, with associations which are ordered to the exercise of the apostolate in the diocese.

Can. 328 Those who preside offer associations of the laity, even those which have been erected by virtue of apostolic privilege, are to take care that their associations cooperate with other associations of the Christian faithful where it is expedient and willingly assist various Christian works, especially those in the same territory.

Can. 333 §1. By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only possesses power offer the universal Church but also obtains the primacy of ordinary power offer all particular churches and groups of them. Moreover, this primacy strengthens and protects the proper, ordinary, and immediate power which bishops possess in the particular churches entrusted to their care.

§2. In fulfilling the office of supreme pastor of the Church, the Roman Pontiff is always joined in communion with the other bishops and with the universal Church. He nevertheless has the right, according to the needs of the Church, to determine the manner, whether personal or collegial, of exercising this office.

§3. No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 336 The college of bishops, whose head is the Supreme Pontiff and whose members are bishops by virtue of sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head and members of the college and in which the apostolic body continues, together with its head and never without this head, is also the subject of supreme and full power offer the universal Church.

Can. 337 §1. The college of bishops exercises power offer the universal Church in a solemn manner in an ecumenical council.

§2. It exercises the same power through the united action of the bishops dispersed in the world, which the Roman Pontiff has publicly declared or freely accepted as such so that it becomes a true collegial act.

§3. It is for the Roman Pontiff, according to the needs of the Church, to select and promote the ways by which the college of bishops is to exercise its function collegially regarding the universal Church.

Can. 338 §1. It is for the Roman Pontiff alone to convoke an ecumenical council, preside offer it personally or through others, transfer, suspend, or dissolve a council, and to approve its decrees.

§2. It is for the Roman Pontiff to determine the matters to be treated in a council and establish the order to be observed in a council. To the questions proposed by the Roman Pontiff, the council fathers can add others which are to be approved by the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 348 §1. The synod of bishops has a permanent general secretariat presided offer by a general secretary who is appointed by the Roman Pontiff and assisted by the council of the secretariat. This council consists of bishops, some of whom are elected by the synod of bishops itself according to the norm of special law while others are appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The function of all these ceases when a new general session begins.

§2. Furthermore, for each session of the synod of bishops one or more special secretaries are constituted who are appointed by the Roman Pontiff and remain in the office entrusted to them only until the session of the synod has been completed.

Can. 350 §1. The college of cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, to which belong cardinals to whom the Roman Pontiff assigns title of a suburbicarian church and Eastern patriarchs who have been brought into the college of cardinals; the presbyteral order and the diaconal order.

§2. The Roman Pontiff assigns each of the cardinals of the presbyteral or diaconal orders his own title or diaconia in Rome.

§3. Eastern patriarchs who have been made members of the college of cardinals have their own patriarchal see as a title.

§4. The cardinal dean holds as his title the Diocese of Ostia together with the other church he already has as a title.

§5. Through a choice made in consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff and with priority of order and promotion observed, cardinals from the presbyteral order can transfer to another title, and cardinals from the diaconal order to another diaconia and if they have been in the diaconal order for ten full years, even to the presbyteral order.

§6. A cardinal transferring through choice from the diaconal order to the presbyteral order takes precedence offer all those cardinal presbyters who were brought into the cardinalate after him.

Can. 352 §1. The dean presides offer the college of cardinals; if he is impeded, the assistant dean takes his place.

Neither the dean nor the assistant dean possesses any power of governance offer the other cardinals but is considered as first among equals.

§2. When the office of dean is vacant, the cardinals who possess title to a suburbicarian church and they alone are to elect one from their own group who is to act as dean of the college; the assistant dean, if he is present, or else the oldest among them, presides at this election. They are to submit the name of the person elected to the Roman Pontiff who is competent to approve him.

§3. The assistant dean is elected in the same manner as that described in §2, with the dean himself presiding.

The Roman Pontiff is also competent to approve the election of the assistant dean.

§4. If the dean and assistant dean do not have a domicile in Rome, they are to acquire one there.

Can. 354 The cardinals who preside offer dicasteries and other permanent institutes of the Roman Curia and Vatican City and who have completed the seventy-fifth year of age are asked to submit their resignation from office to the Roman Pontiff who will see to the matter after considering the circumstances.

Can. 355 §1. The cardinal dean is competent to ordain as a bishop the one elected as Roman Pontiff if he needs to be ordained; if the dean is impeded, the assistant dean has the same right, and if he is impeded, the oldest cardinal from the episcopal order.

§2. The senior cardinal deacon announces the name of the newly elected Supreme Pontiff to the people; likewise, in the place of the Roman Pontiff, he places the pallium upon metropolitans or hands it offer to their proxies.

Can. 357 §1. The cardinals who have been assigned title to a suburbicarian church or a church in Rome are to promote the good of these dioceses or churches by counsel and patronage after they have taken possession of them.

Nevertheless, they possess no power of governance offer them nor are they to intervene in any way in those matters which pertain to the administration of their goods, their discipline, or the service of the churches.

§2. In those matters which pertain to their own person, cardinals living outside of Rome and outside their own diocese are exempt from the power of governance of the bishop of the diocese in which they are residing.

Can. 358 A cardinal to whom the Roman Pontiff entrusts the function of representing him in some solemn celebration or among some group of persons as a legates a latere, that is, as his alter ego, as well as one to whom the Roman Pontiff entrusts the fulfillment of a certain pastoral function as his special envoy (missus specialis) has competence only offer those things which the Roman Pontiff commits to him.

Can. 381 §1. A diocesan bishop in the diocese entrusted to him has all ordinary, proper, and immediate power which is required for the exercise of his pastoral function except for cases which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme authority or to another ecclesiastical authority.

§2. Those who preside offer the other communities of the faithful mentioned in ⇒ can. 368 are equivalent in law to a diocesan bishop unless it is otherwise apparent from the nature of the matter or from a prescript of law.

Can. 409 §1. When the episcopal see is vacant, the coadjutor bishop immediately becomes the bishop of the diocese for which he had been appointed provided that he has legitimately taken possession of it.

§2. When the episcopal see is vacant and unless competent authority has established otherwise, an auxiliary bishop preserves all and only those powers and faculties which he possessed as vicar general or episcopal vicar while the see was filled until a new bishop has taken possession of the see. If he has not been designated to the function of diocesan administrator, he is to exercise this same power, conferred by law, under the authority of the diocesan administrator who presides offer the governance of the diocese.

Can. 435 A metropolitan, who is the archbishop of his diocese, presides offer an ecclesiastical province. The office of metropolitan is joined with an episcopal see determined or approved by the Roman Pontiff.

Can. 437 §1. Within three months from the reception of episcopal consecration or if he has already been consecrated, from the canonical provision, a metropolitan is obliged to request the pallium from the Roman Pontiff either personally or through a proxy. The pallium signifies the power which the metropolitan, in communion with the Roman Church, has by law in his own province.

§2. A metropolitan can use the pallium according to the norm of liturgical laws within any church of the ecclesiastical province offer which he presides, but not outside it, even if the diocesan bishop gives his assent.

§3. A metropolitan needs a new pallium if he is transferred to another metropolitan see.

Can. 442 §1. It is for the metropolitan with the consent of the majority of the suffragan bishops:

1/ to convoke a provincial council;

2/ to select the place to celebrate the provincial council within the territory of the province;

3/ to determine the agenda and questions to be treated, set the opening and duration of the provincial council, transfer, extend, and dissolve it.

§2. It is for the metropolitan or, if he is legitimately impeded, a suffragan bishop elected by the other sufuffagan bishops to preside offer a provincial council.

Can. 448 §1. As a general rule, a conference of bishops includes those who preside offer all the particular churches of the same nation, according to the norm of ⇒ can. 450.

§2. If, however, in the judgment of the Apostolic See, having heard the diocesan bishops concerned, the circumstances of persons or things suggest it, a conference of bishops can be erected for a territory of lesser or greater area, so that it only includes either bishops of some particular churches constituted in a certain territory or those who preside offer particular churches in different nations. It is for the Apostolic See to establish special norms for each of them.

Can. 452 §1. Each conference of bishops is to elect a president for itself, is to determine who is to perform the function of pro-president when the president is legitimately impeded, and is to designate a general secretary, according to the norm of the statutes.

§2. The president of a conference, and, when he is legitimately impeded, the pro-president, presides not only offer the general meetings of the conference of bishops but also offer the permanent council.

Can. 462 §1. The diocesan bishop alone convokes a diocesan synod, but not one who temporarily presides offer a diocese.

§2. The diocesan bishop presides offer a diocesan synod. He can, however, delegate a vicar general or episcopal vicar to fulfill this responsibility for individual sessions of the synod.

Can. 476 Whenever the correct governance of a diocese requires it, the diocesan bishop can also appoint one or more episcopal vicars, namely, those who in a specific part of the diocese or in a certain type of affairs or over the faithful of a specific rite or offer certain groups of persons possess the same ordinary power which a vicar general has by universal law, according to the norm of the following canons.

Can. 479 §1. By virtue of office, the vicar general has the executive power offer the whole diocese which belongs to the diocesan bishop by law, namely, the power to place all administrative acts except those, however, which the bishop has reserved to himself or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law.

§2. By the law itself an episcopal vicar has the same power mentioned in §1 but only offer the specific part of the territory or the type of affairs or the faithful of a specific rite or group for which he was appointed, except those cases which the bishop has reserved to himself or to a vicar general or which require a special mandate of the bishop by law.

§3. Within the limit of their competence, the habitual faculties granted by the Apostolic See to the bishop and the execution of rescripts also pertain to a vicar general and an episcopal vicar, unless it has been expressly provided otherwise or the personal qualifications of the diocesan bishop were chosen.

Can. 492 §1. In every diocese a Finance council is to be established, offer which the diocesan bishop himself or his delegate presides and which consists of at least three members of the Christian faithful truly expert in Financial affairs and civil law, outstanding in integrity, and appointed by the bishop.

§2. Members of the Finance council are to be appointed for Five years, but at the end of this period they can be appointed for other Five year terms.

§3. Persons who are related to the bishop up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affnity are excluded from the Finance council.

Can. 500 §1. It is for the diocesan bishop to convoke the presbyteral council, preside offer it, and determine the questions to be treated by it or receive proposals from the members.

§2. The presbyteral council possesses only a consultative vote; the diocesan bishop is to hear it in affairs of greater importance but needs its consent only in cases expressly defined by law.

§3. The presbyteral council is not able to act without the diocesan bishop who alone has charge of making public those things which have been established according to the norm of §2.

Can. 502 §1. From among the members of the presbyteral council and in a number not less than six nor more than twelve, the diocesan bishop freely appoints some priests who are to constitute for five years a college of consultors, to which belongs the functions determined by law. When the five years elapse, however, it continues to exercise its proper functions until a new college is established.

§2. The diocesan bishop presides offer the college of consultors. When a see is impeded or vacant, however, the one who temporarily takes the place of the bishop or, if he has not yet been appointed, the priest who is senior in ordination in the college of consultors presides.

§3. The conference of bishops can establish that the functions of the college of consultors are to be entrusted to the cathedral chapter.

§4. In an apostolic vicariate and prefecture, the council of the mission mentioned in ⇒ can. 495, §2 has the functions of the college of consultors unless the law establishes otherwise.

Can. 507 §1. One of the canons is to preside offer the chapter; other offices are also to be constituted according to the norm of the statutes, after the practice prevailing in the region has been taken into consideration.

§2. Other offices can be entrusted to clerics who do not belong to the chapter; through these offices they assist the canons according to the norm of the statutes.

Can. 509 §1. After having heard the chapter, it is for the diocesan bishop, but not a diocesan administrator, to confer each and every canonry, both in a cathedral church and in a collegial church; every contrary privilege is revoked.

It is for the same bishop to confirm the person elected by the chapter to preside offer it.

§2. A diocesan bishop is to confer canonries only upon priests outstanding in doctrine and integrity of life, who have laudably exercised the ministry.

Can. 1344 Even if the law uses preceptive words, the judge can, according to his own conscience and prudence:

1/ defer the imposition of the penalty to a more opportune time if it is foreseen that greater evils will result from an offerly hasty punishment of the offender;

2/ abstain from imposing a penalty, impose a lighter penalty, or employ a penance if the offender has reformed and repaired the scandal or if the offender has been or, it is foreseen, will be punished sufficiently by civil authority;

3/ suspend the obligation of observing an expiatory penalty if it is the first offense of an offender who has lived a praiseworthy life and if the need to repair scandal is not pressing, but in such a way that if the offender commits an offense again within the time determined by the judge, the person is to pay the penalty due for each delict unless in the interim the time for the prescription of a penal action has elapsed for the first delict.

Can. 1366 Parents or those who take the place of parents who hand offer their children to be baptized or educated in a non Catholic religion are to be punished with a censure or other just penalty.

The above are all the canons of which I’m aware that have the typographic error of substituting “offer” for “over.” Of course, not every instance of “offer” in the code is a typographic error (for example, the many references to “offerings” are apparently intended). My understanding is that the text of the English translation was prepared “under the auspices of” the Canon Law Society of America. I presume some Roman Catholic who cares about having an accurate English-language canon law will locate the right person to contact regarding these mistakes.


11 Responses to “Typo in English Translation of Canon Law”

  1. John Bugay Says:

    TF — You can just hear someone translating this into English, and someone just taking it down. I had an experience like that, through a work internship while I was in college. A group of us were tasked with copying some index cards, that were supposed to represent the record-keeping system for tools to be lent out in an industrial plant. We kept having to write the word "Leutters." We had no idea what these were. As it turned out, they were "Cutters," — whoever had written these cards initially had written them in a flowery kind of handwriting, — in this case, the initial "C" looked like "Le".So as I read through these, I can hear a deep voice in English with a thick Italian accent saying, "Offer the river and through de woods…"

  2. steve Says:

    I think the moral of the story is that the one true church is only infallible when speaking in Latin. The charism of infallibility doesn't extend to other languages.

  3. Rhology Says:


  4. Kelly Says:

    I am just finishing a Paper that I am pleased with regarding the gradations within Church teaching. Is that something you`re interested in reading?

  5. Turretinfan Says:

    Kelly:I assume your comment is to me. I'd be happy to read your paper. I assume it is something beyond the gradations one finds in Ludwig's Ott's work?-TurretinFan

  6. louis Says:

    "I am just finishing a Paper that I am pleased with regarding the gradations within Church teaching. Is that something you`re interested in reading?"I wouldn't mind seeing that myself. Any chance of having it posted for everyone?

  7. BenBerea Says:

    What Rhology said. TF, just get offer it. heh heh.

  8. Kelly Says:

    Hi two quick comments:1. Louis, my email is kelly.wilson@live.ca If you're comfortable sending an email, we can discuss a way in which you can access the document.2. TurretinFan, yes, it goes a little beyond Ott, who, you should know, is little referenced today. Ott was not a bad resource when there was no Catechism. The edition I have of Ott is the 6th edition, and it came out in 1960. We have come a long way since him.

  9. Coram Deo Says:

    Maybe Sixtus V helped out with that Canon Law translation…after all he did such a bang up job on the Sixtine Vulgate!Didn't someone else once claim to have written "the most correct book of any on earth"?Coincidence or providence?In ChristCD

  10. Alexander Says:

    By the way, as I have mentioned elsewhere, these errors are only contained in the online edition from what I have been able to see. Certainly my copy of the Code does not contain these errors.

  11. Turretinfan Says:

    OK, Alexander.

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