abuse of power

Also described as abuse of office. Described in canon law in the very wide sense of the evil and unlawful use of ecclesiastical power or office and the term is not restricted to tyrannical use. The Code devotes to it an entire title of the Fifth Book. The first canon of the title states: “Abuse of ecclesiastical power shall, at the prudent judgment of the legitimate superior, be punished according to the gravity of the fault, the prescriptions of the canons which enact a certain punishment for the same abuses being observed.” The remaining canons give the special sanctions decreed against abuses which take place in the general government of dioceses and of religious communities. Scattered through the Code provisions are to be found against other abuses, such as those committed in the administration of the sacraments, in the bestowing of benefices, etc.