A divine - A divinis

Suspension A Divinis is a canonical penalty provided for in canon 1333 of the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church (established in the 1983 edition). The Latin phrase A Divinis translated literally means “of the divine [ministries]” , but is interpreted and applied as “far from the divine” .

Nature of suspension A Divinis

One of the traditional penalties of the Church is suspension. It falls within the censures, and unlike the other two censures ( excommunication and interdict ) this one can only be imposed on a cleric . Suspension could be defined as the medicinal penalty or censorship (canon 1312) that prevents the cleric from the ordinary exercise of the power of order. That is why the old law called this penalty suspension A divinis .

The Code of Canon Law (canon 1333) offers a series of effects for this type of suspension, so we have that it can only affect clerics, and prohibits all or some of the acts of the power of the order; all or some of the acts of the power of the regime; as well as the exercise of all or some of the rights or functions inherent to a trade. The law also contemplates that it can be established that, after the conviction or declaratory sentence, the person who has suffered suspension cannot validly carry out acts of the regime. [1]

This is a divisible penalty, as the suspension can be general or special. In case of being imposed in a general way, it prohibits all the acts enumerated in canon 1333.

The suspension can be infringed as ferendae sententiae or latae sententiae . If the cleric incurs in suspension latae sententiae , canon 1334. 2 indicates that the effects are all those listed in canon 1333. In the event that the suspension is ferendae sententiae , it must comply with what is established in the decree, with a Exception: it cannot affect “the offices or the power of government that are not under the authority of the Superior who establishes the penalty” (canon 1333. 3, 1).

With this, canon law intends to preserve canonical equity by establishing that the suspension cannot affect the right of residence that the offender has by reason of his office (cfr. Canon 1333. 3, 2). If the suspension is latae sententiae , it is established that it does not affect the administration of the goods that may belong to the trade. This rule guarantees legal certainty in the case of latae sententiae suspensions . Note, however, that the offender retains the right to administer the same assets if the excommunication latae sententiae is declared, since the literal wording of canon 1333. 3, 3 does not make any distinction or allusion to this assumption.

The suspension is explicitly applied to the cleric when physical force is used against a bishop (canon 1370) ( latae sententiae ); when he is not an ordained priest, and shows attempts to celebrate the Eucharist (canon 1378) ( latae sententiae); the cleric cannot give valid sacramental absolution, nor show attempts to do so, nor hear a confession (canon 1378). Furthermore, it is known that according to canon 1335, the prohibition of administering sacraments or sacramentals is suspended as many times as necessary to attend to the faithful in danger of death. Also if the censorship latae sententiae has not been declared, the prohibition is suspended as many times as a faithful asks for a sacrament or sacramental or an act of regime; and it is lawful to ask for them for any just cause. Naturally this does not excuse the clergyman who has incurred suspension from seeking the cessation of this censorship as soon as possible.

Some famous suspensions

In 1861 Father Giacomo Morocco from Poirino was suspended A divinis for having given Camillo Benso di Cavour absolution , and he gave him communion and extreme unction, despite the excommunication that weighed on him.

In 1907 Romolo Murri was suspended a divinis by Pope Pius X for having theorized the separation between Church and State .

The Archdiocese of Milan gave Luigi Maria Verzé " the prohibition to exercise the sacred ministry , " August 26, 1964. [ 1 ]

In 1976 Pope Paul VI suspended Bishop Marcel Lefebvre divinis for refusing to apply certain provisions of the Second Vatican Council.

Don Olindo Del Donno was suspended a divinis from 1976 to 1992, as a member of the elected MSI chamber.

Pope John Paul II suspended Solentiname's father and Trappist poet Ernesto Cardenal of Nicaragua to divinis in 1984. In 2019, Ernesto Cardenal was pardoned by Pope Francis. [ 2 ]

In 1985, Cardinal Giuseppe Siri suspended Don Gianni Baget Bozzo, who a year earlier had been elected MEP by the Italian Socialist Party. The suspension was put in place in 1994 at the end of his second term in parliament.

In 2017, the Bishop of Padua, Monsignor Claudio Cipolla, suspended the priest Andrea Contin, 49, accused of organizing orgies in the parish house. [ 3 ]


  1. Giovanni Guarino, Ruggeri Mario (1994). Berlusconi. The President's business . Kaos Editions. p. 20.
  2. «Ernesto Cardenal receives the letter from Pope Francis that absolves him of" canonical censures " » . February 20, 2019.
  3. ^ Ángel, Gómez Fuentes (February 2, 2017). «Suspended« a divinis »the priest of Padua who had a« sex shop »in the parsonage with whips and vibrators» . Retrieved February 6, 2017 .