Canonical Transfer

After nearly 4 years of being involved with our Mission/Parish and being able to attend a semi regular Divine Liturgy schedule for the past 1.5 years, our priest has given us permission to write our letter to the Bishops.

First I was wondering if some of you who have been through this could give me some pointers on what to say? I honestly haven’t the faintest of clues and I don’t want to come off as disliking the Roman church (b/c honestly I don’t).

Secondly, I was informed recently by our priest that Rome must approve before we can transfer. I though this was just for East to West transfers not West to East?

I would really like to be able to have this done by the summer so my children can be chrismated and communed (our oldest would have gone through First Communion this year if we were staying Roman.)

What would be the reasons for the Bishop denying our request?

Transfer Ritual Church

Sufficient reasons:

  • Unification of Church sui iuris in a family (mother, father).
  • Return to the Church sui iuris of one’s ancestors.
  • Spouse who wishes to transfer for peace and unity in the home.
  • Physical or moral impossibility by permanent circumstances to use one’s own Church sui iuris.
  • Domicile and or activity among those who are almost all of another Church sui iuris.
  • Entry into religious life under different Church sui iuris.
  • Incardination to serve different Church sui iuris.

Insufficient reasons:

  • Education, attending school or church or sacraments, in another Church, or ignorance of own Church sui iuris with good knowledge of other Church sui iuris.
  • Good for the soul (because all churches are good for the soul).
  • Defects in a Church (because all churches are have defects).
  • Peace of mind or conscience cannot be judged.

If there are two overlapping jurisdicitons then the request goes to the bishop of the church sui iuris to receive you, and he should request permission from the bishop of the church sui iuris you are enrolled in. It can occur then, per the canon laws. If there is not agreement or there is not overlapping jurisdictions, then the Congregation for the Eastern Churches is the authority. It is sometimes denied, even if both bishops approve, when it is in the middle east.

I don’t fit any of those sufficient reasons! I’m at home in the East…that’s all I can say…I can’t go back and be spiritually fed in a Roman church…I can’t unlearn and unexperience all that I’ve learned and experienced. I was a pretty content Roman Catholic who was always curious about the East. The first time I attended Divine Liturgy I was hooked…I can’t explain it…but it’s my home. I’m not sure what I would do if I couldn’t’ transfer…

yes there are overlapping jurisdictions…I would be in the Eparchy of Chicago UGCC.

They aren’t different religions. I find the way you speak of the “Roman church” problematic.

I know that not all transfers are approved. A Catholic canonical norm is to follow one’s own Church sui iuris rules which include:- Holy days and penitential seasons.*

  • Fasting and abstinence.*
  • Proscriptions for baptism, confirmation, first confession, first communion, marriage, holy orders, and anointing of the sick.
  • May receive Holy Confession and Holy Eucharist in any Church sui iuris.
  • Contribute to the support of universal Church and Church sui iuris.

** *CCEO Canon 883

  1. The Christian faithful who are outside the territorial boundaries of their own Church sui iuris can adopt fully for themselves the feast days and days of penance which are in force where they are staying.
  2. In families in which the parents are enrolled in different Churches sui iuris, it is permitted to observe the norms of one or the other Church, in regard to feast days and days of penance.
    Here is the rescript that allows Latin Church faithful to transfer if both bishops approve in overlapping jurisdicitons:AAS 85 [1983] 81:

Acta Ioannis Pauli Pp. II


Fit facultas licentiam de qua in can. 112, 1, 1 C.I.C. legitime, in casu, praesumenda.


Ad normam can. 112, 1, I Codicis Iuris Canonici, quisque vetatur post susceptum Baptismum alii ascribi Ecclesiae rituali sui iuris, nisi licentia ei facta ab Apostolica Sede. Hac de re, probato iudicio Pontificii Consilii de Legum Textibus Interpetandis, Summus Pontifex Ioannes Paulus II statuit eiusmodi licentiam praesumi posse, quoties transitum ad aliam Ecclesiam ritualem sui iuris sibi petierit Christifidelis Ecclesia Latinae, quae Eparchiam suam intra eosdem fines habet, dummodo Episcopi diocesani utriusque dioecesis in id secum ipsi scripto consentiant.

Ex Audientia Sanctissimi, die xxvi mensis Novembris, anno MCMXCII.

Secratarius Status
CIC Can. 112 §1 After the reception of baptism, the following become members of another autonomous ritual Church:
1° those who have obtained permission from the Apostolic See;
2° a spouse who, on entering marriage or during its course, has declared that he or she is transferring to the autonomous ritual
Church of the other spouse; on the dissolution of the marriage, however, that person may freely return to the latin Church;
3° the children of those mentioned in nn. 1 and 2 who have not completed their fourteenth year, and likewise in a mixed marriage the children of a catholic party who has lawfully transferred to another ritual Church; on completion of their fourteenth year, however, they may return to the latin Church.
§2 The practice, however long standing, of receiving the sacraments according to the rite of an autonomous ritual Church, does not bring with it membership of that Church.

Canon 112 (NCCCL, Beal, Coriden, Green)
“… because ascription to a ritual church is definitive, it belongs to the status of persons.”
“In effect, the canon distinguishes membership from liturgical practice. This means that change of ritual church membership occurs in one of the three ways provided for in paragraph one.”

No, they aren’t different religions, and she didn’t say that they are. However, the two liturgical traditions are quite a bit different. There’s nothing wrong or offensive about someone having a very strong preference for either tradition.

You can just say the positive things about the rite you want to transfer to; you don’t have to say anything negative (or anything at all) about the rite you’re transferring out of. Just say something like, “I have been a member of the Latin Rite since childhood; for the past few years I have been attending (whatever Eastern Rite church you’re at) and am convinced it is where I now belong and will thrive spiritually. I have discussed this at length with Father (your priest’s name) who agrees with me and kindly ask that you approve my request for a transfer of rites.”

See how nice that was? Nothing bad at all about your old rite, just positive things about your new one. :thumbsup:

We were in the same position as you about 1.5 years ago. When we went to write our letters, our priest advised us to write from the heart as to why we wanted to switch canonical status. The only thing he suggested is to make sure we did not say we are switching because of some perceived defect in the latin rite church.

I wrote that I was a non-practicing catholic for more than 10 years when I found the Byzantine Church. I was on the way to the Orthodox Church and viewed the stop in the Byzantine Church as the final try with the Catholic Church.

But something changed and I found myself growing in the spiritual life by attending the Divine Liturgy and following the liturgical cycle of the Eastern Church. My wife & I immersed ourselves into the Church and that we found our spiritual home.

We had other things to say in the letter, but the general tone was that switching canonical status was for our spiritual well-being. It went through fine.

It might help to use the correct terms: Latin Church and Roman Rite - UGCC and Byzantine Rite. Roman church might sound weird. It sounds better to say Roman Rite. Also, c in Church should be capitalized. :thumbsup:

I said nothing bad about the Roman Catholic Church…I was raised in it and am grateful for it for having instilled in my a love of God among other things.

As others have said, they are very different traditions…trying to live both spiritualities has put me into a spiritual schizophrenia of sorts.

Thank you to everyone for your suggestions. I spoke with our priest today and told him of my reasons. As of right now we are going to chrismate and commune our kids in late May after he meets with the UGCC bishop to receive the chrism. I said I would like to be able to officially transfer by the end of summer and he seemed optimistic about that which gives us about 5-6 mths or so. Other people in our mission parish have transferred and the process was fairly simple for them. (granted that they were in a different jurisdiction).

The thing I love about our mission is that NONE of us is ethnically Ukrainian and all of us were either cradle Romans or converts from a protestant denomination to the Roman Catholic church or to the Orthodox church.

I encourage you to follow ByzCath08’s advice. It sounds really good. :slight_smile:

I can’t quote canon law on the subject and am most certainly unqualified to interpret canon law, but your reasons are among the most common that I have heard. My own transfer was for similar reasons, but my request was strengthened by the fact that I was raised in the Byzantine Church. In my limited experience, the reasons you cited are the most common reasons given. I know of one family who transferred into the same eparchy that you would be transferring into, with the same bishop, who gave nearly identical reasons. With the support of their pastor, they had no problems with the transfer. While not all transfer requests are approved, it seems that most are. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

Thank you for your prayers :slight_smile:

But that is, in fact, what is happening, is it not?

No, of course not! Well, I can’t actually answer for Erin, but generally speaking, no.

A positive reason would be that you have discovered a way of encountering God that speaks deeply to your soul in a way that Western Christianity does not. That isn’t a defect in the Roman Rite. Now, if you stated, “I cannot stand the liturgical abuse and irreverent liturgy that goes on in every parish of the Latin Church I have visited and I worship in the UGCC because I have finally found an island of sanity and reverence in this messed up, post-Vatican II Church.”, that might be problematic. :smiley:

In my case, no, I realize the defect is mine… but since the defect in my ability to connect to the Roman liturgy drives me away from the sacraments… I very nearly left the Catholic church over it. I find it fails to resonate with me, and I’ve experienced the EF/TLM, the Dominican Latin mass, the Roman OF Mass, the Dominican Use OF mass… Only the missa cantata comes close to the byzantine DL for me. And even then, it’s not very close.

I think that, as long as one has enough history of attending a sui iuris Church, he should be allowed to join. Maybe this will change one day.

yes this is it for me! the Byzantine rite just speaks to me…I love it! I have nothing against the Roman rite and I know lots of people who are great Catholics and who really love going to Mass and saying the traditional Roman Catholic devotions. That’s wonderful for them but I have come to identify and prefer the Eastern/Byzantine approach to theology and traditions.

I have also experienced the EF/TLM and although it was nice I ultimately found that I prefer the OF b/c I like the participation. But as I said before, the DL just speaks to me in a way that either the OF or EF don’t. I have also considered Orthodoxy.

I agree. :slight_smile: I am fortunate that I converted to and was baptized in the Orthodox Church before becoming Catholic. Prayers offered for you. :gopray2:

Well, technically the term would be “the Latin Church”; but in casual conversation lots of people say “the Roman Church”, so I’m not sure why this particular instance seems to bother you so much.

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