Definition of motu proprio in English:

motu proprio

nounplural noun motu proprios

  • An edict issued by the Pope personally to the Roman Catholic Church or to a part of it.

    ‘Almost all the motu proprios are incomplete, even the encyclicals.’
    • ‘First, if you are among that marginal group of Catholics who understand the significance of the motu proprio and are grateful for it, write to thank our Holy Father for it.’
    • ‘What with all the rumored motu proprios waiting in the wings, I have a feeling this Pope is about to disappoint some significant numbers of Catholics in any case.’
    • ‘Between the end of the Second Vatican Council and the publication of the new Code of Canon Law, many motu proprios were issued to modify older legislation before the new code took effect.’
    • ‘The letter accompanying the motu proprio gives the pope's reasons.’
    • ‘I'm just curious about whether the motu proprios issued by one pope are binding upon future popes?’
    • ‘Pope Benedict explained that his motu proprio was an effort to promote ‘interior reconciliation in the heart of the Church.’’
    • ‘What I am referring to as ‘papal documents’ would be encyclicals, bulls, motu proprios, etc. - documents that rely solely on the Pope's authority as Supreme Pontiff, as opposed to his approval of the acts of an ecumenical council.’
    • ‘Pope John Paul II has written 14 encyclicals, 14 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 43 apostolic letters, and 28 motu proprios (documents of his own accord).’
    • ‘Apart from 14 encyclicals, 41 apostolic letters and 19 motu proprios, he has also published a large number of books.’


motu proprio

/ˌmōto͞o ˈprōprēō/ /ˌmoʊtu ˈproʊprioʊ/


Latin, literally ‘of one's own volition’.