(Latin intrudere .)
Intrusion is the act by which unlawful possession of an ecclesiastical benefice is taken. It implies, therefore, the ignoring of canonical institution, which is the reception of the benefice at the bands of him who has the right to bestow it by canon law. The necessity of proper canonical institution rests primarily on certain passages of the New Testament ( John 10:1 ; Hebrews 5:4 ), in which a legitimate mission from properly constituted authority in the Church is postulated. This is reaffirmed by the Council of Trent (Sess. XXIII, can. vii), and in the "Corpus Juris Canonici" it is decreed : "An ecclesiastical benefice may not be taken possession of without canonical institution " (cap. i, De reg. jur., in vi). Intrusion does not necessarily signify the employment of force in entering upon a benefice. To constitute him an intruder or usurper in the ecclesiastical sense, it is sufficient that the person has no true canonical title to the benefice when he takes possession. Historical examples of intrusion on a large scale are not wanting. To pass over the many violations of the Church's right during the investiture struggles of medieval times, we find wholesale intrusion practised in France in the reigns of Louis XIV and Napoleon I, when ecclesiastics, nominated to episcopal sees but whose elections were never confirmed by the pope, ruled the dioceses into which they were thus intruded. Pius IX, in his Constitution "Romanus Pontifex", decreed excommunication and privation of dignities against members of a cathedral chapel who hand over the administration of a diocese to one who, although nominated, has not yet presented his letters of canonical institution. When laymen have the right of presentation to a benefice, the confirmation of ecclesiastical authority is necessary before actual possession can be obtained. The nominee who does not wait for this canonical induction is an intruder.
The definition is also extended to persons who, having been repelled even unjustly by their ecclesiastical superiors, seek the aid of the civil power to obtain possession under pretext of abuse. As an intruder has no true title to receive the revenues of the benefice which he uncanonically holds, he is bound in conscience to make restitution of what are ill-gotten gains to the lawful titular. Even if the latter die, it does not legalize the position of the intruder, for in that case the restitution must be made to the true titular's lawful successor in the benefice. To remove the irregularity incurred by intrusion, the papal power must be invoked, as the censure is reserved to the Holy See. A dispensation from such an irregularity is the more difficult to obtain in proportion to the falsity of the title invoked or the employment of violence in entering on the benefice. Canonists also extend the term intrusion to the keeping possession of a benefice by a hitherto lawful possessor, after it has been vacated by violation of certain decrees of the Church. Thus, titulars of one benefice who fraudulently present themselves for examination in a concursus to obtain a benefice for another by impersonating him, who obtain a benefice for others on the understanding that they are to be rewarded for it, or who seek a benefice with the intention of resigning it to another with a secret provision that they are to receive a pension from its revenues, lose the right to their own benefices, which thus canonically become vacant. By retaining possession of them in such cases, they become intruders.
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online