Pastoral Handbook



In the Name of God. Amen

In order to provide for the effective governance, pastoral care and particular needs of the Archdiocese of Denver, I, Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., do hereby promulgate as particular law for the Archdiocese of Denver in accord with the provisions of the Code of Canon Law, specifically canons 7, 8, 13, 20, 381 and 391, the

Pastoral Handbook of the Archdiocese of Denver

and, as set forth in canon law, enjoin all pastors, priests, deacons, religious and lay faithful to dutifully observe these ecclesiastical norms.

These new norms are effective as of the 7th day of January, 2011, the feast day of St. Raymond Peñafort, the Patron Saint of Canon Law.  These norms abrogate the ecclesiastical and canonical norms and particular laws that were effective on October 4, 2007.

Given, from the office of the Archbishop at the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization, Denver, Colorado, this 2nd day of November 2010, All Souls Day.

+Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Archbishop of Denver

Francis X. Maier



The Pastoral Handbook represents a continuing effort to systematize part of the particular ecclesiastical law of the Archdiocese.  Please note that the Employee Handbook(s) and associated guidelines for each jurdic entity, the Risk Management and Insurance Manual and the Office of Catholic Schools Administrators Manual, (including forms utilized by the Office of Catholic Schools) are not included in the Pastoral Handbook.  Other than these separate documents, the Archdiocesan particular ecclesiastical law continues to be contained within this Pastoral Handbook.  With the promulgation of this volume of the Handbook, the prior Pastoral Handbook and previous norms, guidelines and policies are hereby superseded.  If a specific topic is not directly addressed, pastors and employees are asked to bring this to the attention of the Moderator of the Curia, the Chancellor, the Vice Chancellor, or the Chief Financial Officer of the Archdiocese for appropriate action.

Policies that refer to the sanctifying office and teaching office are applicable for all Roman Catholic individuals and organizations within the territory of the Archdiocese.

Consistent with the Code of Canon Law and specifically Canons 391 and 392, the Archbishop must preserve the unity of the universal Church and is bound to foster the religious discipline that is common to the Church and therefore must assure that the faithful observe all ecclesiastical laws.  In doing so, the Archbishop must ensure that no abuses flow into ecclesiastical discipline, especially concerning the ministry of the word, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals, the Worship of God and the cult of saints and the administration of goods.  In accordance with Canon 495, the Archbishop, with the assistance and guidance of his Presbyteral Council, is to ensure that the pastoral welfare of the People of God within the territory of the Archdiocese is most effectively promoted.  Likewise, in accordance with Canon 1276, the Archbishop must supervise the administration of all goods belonging to public juridic persons within the Archdiocese, and while taking into account the rights, lawful customs and circumstances, he must regulate the administration of such ecclesiastical goods by issuing particular law for the Archdiocese at all times, within the limits of universal Church Law.  Accordingly, the following persons, ecclesiastical organizations and/or public juridic persons, all of which follow Catholic teachings and are bound by Canon Law, are required to follow the Pastoral Handbook in its entirety:

  • The Archdiocese and its employees;
  • Archdiocesan priests and deacons and those with faculties;
  • All parishes within the territory of the Archdiocese, including those staffed by religious institutes and all parish schools and their employees;

Accordingly to the norms of canon law regarding statutes and particular law, and the legitimately interpreted principle of subsidiarity, the following entities and trusts – the Archdiocese of Denver Mortuary at Mount Olivet, Inc., The Mount Olivet Cemetery Association, St. Simeon Cemetery Association, Camp St. Malo Religious Retreat and Conference Center, Inc., The Archdiocese of Denver Management Corporation, The John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization, Bishop Machebeuf High School, Inc., Holy Family High School, Inc., Seeds of Hope Charitable Trust, Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary, The Redemptoris Mater House of Formation,  Family of Nazareth, Inc., Catholic Charities and Community Services for the Archdiocese of Denver, Inc., the Archdiocese of Denver Welfare Benefit Trust, The Archdiocese of Denver Irrevocable Revolving Fund Trust and The Archdiocese of Denver Risk Management and Property/Casualty Insurance Trust – are bound to follow the Pastoral Handbook.

Date: November 2, 2010

+Most Reverend Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap.

Francis Maier, Chancellor


Policy Creation

Principal Abbreviations and Definitions

2017 Decree to Handbook

2017 Handbook Appendix