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Imprimatur Process

Office of the Archbishop

Prior to the Imprimatur Process beginning, the work being considered for an imprimatur must be professionally edited. Once this is completed, proof of the work being professionally edited should be submitted, along with the publication itself, to the Office of the Chancellor.

There are two stages to the Imprimatur Process. The first involves assignment of a censor librorum by the Chancellor to review the publication. The censor will examine the work to ensure that it does not contradict the Church’s teaching on faith and morals. If any issues are uncovered, the censor will discuss them with the author and attempt to resolve them.

If the censor is able to state that nothing prevents the publication of the book, then he or she informs the ordinary that nihil obstat (nothing stands in the way) of publication. The second stage of the process involves the ordinary receiving the censor’s review and deciding whether or not to declare imprimatur, that is, “let it be printed.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What types of works can be submitted for an imprimatur?

A: There are two categories of publications that can be submitted for the imprimatur of the archbishop. These categories are described in canons 827 §1-3 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law. The first category of works are those that deal with catechetical instruction, such as catechisms, or text books on sacred scripture, theology, canon law, ecclesiastical history, and religious or moral disciplines. These publications must receive an Imprimatur.

The Code of Canon Law recommends that those works that are not used as textbooks for instruction but deal with the aforementioned topics should be also submitted for an imprimatur. However, the modern publishing industry has generated such a large quantity of books and other media that receiving an imprimatur for this category is done less frequently.

Q: How do I begin the imprimatur process?

A: The process begins with having a professional editor other than the author edit the work being submitted for review. Once that is completed, then the book or media should be sent to the Chancellor, either electronically or by mail. Please contact the Office of the Archbishop at 303-715-3263 for details on this process.

Q: How long does the imprimatur process take?

A: In general, it takes about two months for the censor to complete a review of the book and then submit it to the archbishop for his imprimatur. Due to the small number of people able to review works submitted to the Chancellor, this time table can fluctuate.

Q: What does the review process look like?

A: The censor reads through the work and searches for theological errors or things that could be misleading to the reader. The censor then sends a report of those problematic areas to the author, who must then show the censor that he or she has corrected the points of concern. Once the censor is satisfied that the work is free from error or any potentially misleading statements related to the Church’s teaching, then the censor will proceed with informing the chancellor that nothing impedes the publication being sent to the archbishop for approval.

The author will be informed in writing of the archbishop’s decision to grant or deny his imprimatur.

Q: Do I have to pay for the review process?

A: Individuals who submit their book for approval do not have to pay for the review, which will be covered by the Archdiocese. However, institutions or apostolates that submit more than one publication in a calendar year will be required to pay the censor for his or her work. The average cost for this is around $300, or $30 per hour of review.