PART III : INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE
SECTION I: INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE
TITLE I: NORMS COMMON TO ALL INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE
Can. 573 §1 Life consecrated through profession of the evangelical counsels is a stable form of living, in which the faithful follow Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, and are totally dedicated to God, who is supremely loved. By a new and special title they are dedicated to seek the perfection of charity in the service of God’s Kingdom, for the honor of God, the building up of the Church and the salvation of the world. They are a splendid sign in the Church, as they foretell the heavenly glory.
§2 Christ’s faithful freely assume this manner of life in institutes of consecrated life which are canonically established by the competent ecclesiastical authority. By vows or by other sacred bonds, in accordance with the laws of their own institutes, they profess the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. Because of the charity to which these counsels lead, they are linked in a special way to the Church and its mystery.
Can. 574 §1 The state of persons who profess the evangelical counsels in these institutes belongs to the life and holiness of the Church. It is therefore to be fostered and promoted by everyone in the Church.
§2 Some of Christ’s faithful are specially called by God to this state, so that they may benefit from a special gift in the life of the Church and contribute to its saving mission according to the purpose and spirit of each institute.
Can. 576 It is the prerogative of the competent authority in the Church to interpret the evangelical counsels, to legislate for their practice and, by canonical approval, to constitute the stable forms of living which arise from them. The same authority has the responsibility to do what is in its power to ensure that institutes grow and flourish according to the spirit of their founders and to their sound traditions.
Can. 577 In the Church there are many institutes of consecrated life, with gifts that differ according to the graces given them: they more closely follow Christ praying, or Christ proclaiming the Kingdom of God, or Christ doing good to people, or Christ in dialogue with the people of this world, but always Christ doing the will of the Father.
Can. 578 The whole patrimony of an institute must be faithfully preserved by all. This patrimony is comprised of the intentions of the founders, of all that the competent ecclesiastical authority has approved concerning the nature, purpose, spirit and character of the institute, and of its sound traditions.
Can. 580 The aggregation of one institute of consecrated life to another is reserved to the competent authority of the aggregating institute, always safeguarding the canonical autonomy of the other institute.
Can. 581 It is for the competent authority of the institute to divide the institute into parts, by whatever name these may be called, to establish new parts, or to unite or otherwise modify those in existence, in accordance with the constitutions.
Can. 586 §1 A true autonomy of life, especially of governance, is recognised for each institute. This autonomy means that each institute has its own discipline in the Church and can preserve whole and entire the patrimony described in can. 578.
Can. 587 §1 To protect more faithfully the vocation and identity of each institute, the fundamental code or constitutions of the institute are to contain, in addition to those elements which are to be preserved in accordance with can. 578, basic norms about the governance of the institute, the discipline of the members, the admission and formation of members, and the proper object of their sacred bonds.
§4 Other norms which are established by the competent authority of the institute are to be properly collected in other codes, but these can be conveniently reviewed and adapted according to the needs of time and place.
§2 A clerical institute is one which, by reason of the end or purpose intended by the founder, or by reason of lawful tradition, is under the governance of clerics, presupposes the exercise of sacred orders, and is recognised as such by ecclesiastical authority.
§3 A lay institute is one which is recognised as such by ecclesiastical authority because, by its nature, character and purpose, its proper role, defined by its founder or by lawful tradition, does not include the exercise of sacred orders.
Can. 589 An institute of consecrated life is of pontifical right if it has been established by the Apostolic See, or approved by it by means of a formal decree. An institute is of diocesan right if it has been established by the diocesan Bishop and has not obtained a decree of approval from the Apostolic See.
Can. 591 The better to ensure the welfare of institutes and the needs of the apostolate, the Supreme Pontiff, by virtue of his primacy in the universal Church, and with a view to the common good, can withdraw institutes of consecrated life from the governance of local Ordinaries and subject them to himself alone, or to some other ecclesiastical authority.
Can. 592 §1 To promote closer union between institutes and the Apostolic See, each supreme Moderator is to send a brief account of the state and life of the institute to the same Apostolic See, in the manner and at the time it lays down.
Can. 595 §1 It is the Bishop of the principal house who approves the constitutions, and confirms any changes lawfully introduced into them, except for those matters which the Apostolic See has taken in hand. He also deals with major affairs which exceed the power of the internal authority of the institute. If the institute had spread to other dioceses, he is in all these matters to consult with the other diocesan Bishops concerned.
Can. 597 §1 Every catholic with a right intention and the qualities required by universal law and the institute’s own law, and who is without impediment, may be admitted to an institute of consecrated life.
Can. 598 §1 Each institute, taking account of its own special character and purposes, is to define in its constitutions the manner in which the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience are to be observed in its way of life.
Can. 599 The evangelical counsel of chastity embraced for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, is a sign of the world to come, and a source of greater fruitfulness in an undivided heart. It involves the obligation of perfect continence observed in celibacy.
Can. 600 The evangelical counsel of poverty in imitation of Christ who for our sake was made poor when he was rich, entails a life which is poor in reality and in spirit, sober and industrious, and a stranger to earthly riches. It also involves dependence and limitation in the use and the disposition of goods, in accordance with each institute’s own law.
Can. 601 The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ, who was obedient even unto death, obliges submission of one’s will to lawful Superiors, who act in the place of God when they give commands that are in accordance with each institute’s own constitutions.
Can. 602 The fraternal life proper to each institute unites all the members into, as it were, a special family in Christ. It is to be so defined that for all it proves of mutual assistance to fulfil their vocation. The fraternal union of the members, rooted and based in charity, is to be an example of universal reconciliation in Christ.
Can. 603 §1 Besides institutes of consecrated life, the Church recognises the life of hermits or anchorites, in which Christ’s faithful withdraw further from the world and devote their lives to the praise of God and the salvation of the world through the silence of solitude and through constant prayer and penance.
§2 Hermits are recognised by law as dedicated to God in consecrated life if, in the hands of the diocesan Bishop, they publicly profess, by a vow or some other sacred bond, the three evangelical counsels, and then lead their particular form of life under the guidance of the diocesan Bishop .
Can. 604 §1 The order of virgins is also to be added to these forms of consecrated life. Through their pledge to follow Christ more closely, virgins are consecrated to God, mystically espoused to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church, when the diocesan Bishop consecrates them according to the approved liturgical rite.
Can. 605 The approval of new forms of consecrated life is reserved to the Apostolic See. Diocesan Bishops, however, are to endeavour to discern new gifts of consecrated life which the Holy Spirit entrusts to the Church. They are also to assist promotors to express their purposes in the best possible way, and to protect these purposes with suitable statutes, especially by the application of the general norms contained in this part of the Code.
TITLE II: RELIGIOUS INSTITUTES
Can. 607 §1 Religious life, as a consecration of the whole person, manifests in the Church the marvellous marriage established by God as a sign of the world to come. Religious thus consummate a full gift of themselves as a sacrifice offered to God, so that their whole existence becomes a continuous worship of God in charity.
§2 A religious institute is a society in which, in accordance with their own law, the members pronounce public vows and live a fraternal life in common. The vows are either perpetual or temporary; if the latter, they are to be renewed when the time elapses.
CHAPTER I : RELIGIOUS HOUSES AND THEIR ESTABLISHMENT AND SUPPRESSION
Can. 608 A religious community is to live in a lawfully constituted house, under the authority of a Superior designated according to the norms of law. Each house is to have at least an oratory, in which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved, so that it may truly be the centre of the community.
Can. 610 §1 In establishing religious houses, the welfare of the Church and of the institute are to be kept in mind, and care must be taken to safeguard everything that is necessary for the members to lead their religious life in accordance with the purposes and spirit proper to the institute.
Can. 612 The consent of the diocesan Bishop is required if a religious house is to be used for apostolic works other than those for which it was established. This permission is not required for a change which, while observing the laws of the foundation, concerns only internal governance and discipline.
Can. 614 Monasteries of cloistered nuns which are associated with an institute of men, have their own rule of life and governance, in accordance with the constitutions. The mutual rights and obligations are to be defined in such a way that spiritual good may come from the association.
Can. 615 If an autonomous monastery has no major Superior other than its own Moderator, and is not associated with any institute of religious in such a way that the Superior of that institute has over the monastery a real authority determined by the constitutions, it is entrusted, in accordance with the norms of law, to the special vigilance of the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 616 §1 After consultation with the diocesan Bishop, a supreme Moderator can suppress a lawfully established religious house, in accordance with the constitutions. The institute’s own law is to make provision for the disposal of the goods of the suppressed house, with due regard for the wishes of founders or benefactors and for lawfully acquired rights.
CHAPTER II : THE GOVERNANCE OF INSTITUTES
ARTICLE 1: SUPERIORS AND COUNCILS
Can. 618 The authority which Superiors receive from God through the ministry of the Church is to be exercised by them in a spirit of service. In fulfilling their office they are to be docile to the will of God, and are to govern those subject to them as children of God. By their reverence for the human person, they are to promote voluntary obedience. They are to listen willingly to their subjects and foster their cooperation for the good of the institute and the Church, without prejudice however to their authority to decide and to command what is to be done.
Can. 619 Superiors are to devote themselves to their office with diligence. Together with the members entrusted to them, they are to strive to build in Christ a fraternal community, in which God is sought and loved above all. They are therefore frequently to nourish their members with the food of God’s word and lead them to the celebration of the liturgy. They are to be an example to the members in cultivating virtue and in observing the laws and traditions proper to the institute. They are to give the members opportune assistance in their personal needs. They are to be solicitous in caring for and visiting the sick; they are to chide the restless, console the fainthearted and be patient with all.
Can. 620 Major Superiors are those who govern an entire institute, or a province or a part equivalent to a province, or an autonomous house; the vicars of the above are also major Superiors. To these are added the Abbot Primate and the Superior of a monastic congregation, though these do not have all the authority which the universal law gives to major Superiors.
Can. 621 A province is a union of several houses which, under one superior, constitutes an immediate part of the same institute, and is canonically established by lawful authority.
Can. 622 The supreme Moderator has authority over all provinces, houses and members of the institute, to be exercised in accordance with the institute’s own law. Other Superiors have authority within the limits of their office.
Can. 623 To be validly appointed or elected to the office of Superior, members must have been perpetually or definitively professed for an appropriate period of time, to be determined by their own law or, for major Superiors, by the constitutions.
Can. 624 §1 Superiors are to be constituted for a certain and appropriate period of time, according to the nature and needs of the institute unless the constitutions establish otherwise for the supreme Moderator and for Superiors of an autonomous house.
§2 The Bishop of the principal house of the institute presides at the election of the Superior of the autonomous monastery mentioned in can. 615, and at the election of the supreme Moderator of an institute of diocesan right.
§3 Other Superiors are to be constituted in accordance with the constitutions, but in such a way that if they are elected, they require the confirmation of the competent major Superior; if they are appointed by the Superior, the appointment is to be preceded by suitable consultation.
Can. 626 Superiors in conferring offices, and members in electing to office, are to observe the norms of the universal law and the institute’s own law, avoiding any abuse or preference of persons. They are to have nothing but God and the good of the institute before their eyes, and appoint or elect those whom, in the Lord, they know to be worthy and fitting. In elections, besides, they are to avoid directly or indirectly lobbying for votes, either for themselves or for others.
§2 Apart from the cases prescribed in the universal law, an institute’s own law is to determine the cases in which the validity of an act depends upon consent or advice being sought in accordance with can. 127.
Can. 628 §1 Superiors who are designated for this office by the institute’s own law are at stated times to visit the houses and the members entrusted to them, in accordance with the norms of the same law.
§3 The members are to act with confidence towards the visitator, to whom when lawfully questioning they are bound to reply truthfully and with charity. It is not lawful for anyone in any way to divert the members from this obligation or otherwise to hinder the scope of the visitation.
§3 In monasteries of cloistered nuns, in houses of formation, and in large lay communities, there are to be ordinary confessors, approved by the local Ordinary after consultation with the community. There is however, no obligation to approach these confessors.
§5 The members are to approach their superiors with trust and be able to open their minds freely and spontaneously to them. Superiors, however, are forbidden in any way to induce the members to make a manifestation of conscience to themselves.
ARTICLE 2: CHAPTERS
Can. 631 §1 In an institute the general chapter has supreme authority in accordance with the constitutions. It is to be composed in such a way that it represents the whole institute and becomes a true sign of its unity in charity. Its principal functions are to protect the patrimony of the institute mentioned in can. 578 and to foster appropriate renewal in accord with that patrimony. It also elects the supreme Moderator, deals with matters of greater importance, and issues norms which all are bound to obey.
§2 The composition of the general chapter and the limits of its powers are to be defined in the constitutions. The institute’s own law is to determine in further detail the order to be observed in the celebration of the chapter, especially regarding elections and the matters to be treated.
§3 According to the norms determined in the institute’s own law, not only provinces and local communities, but also any individual member may freely submit their wishes and suggestions to the general chapter.
Can. 632 The institute’s own law is to determine in greater detail matters concerning other chapters and other similar assemblies of the institute, that is, concerning their nature, authority, composition, procedure and time of celebration.
Can. 633 §1 Participatory and consultative bodies are faithfully to carry out the task entrusted to them, in accordance with the universal law and the institute’s own law. In their own way they are to express the care and participation of all the members for the good of the whole institute or community .
§2 In establishing and utilising these means of participation and consultation, a wise discernment is to be observed, and the way in which they operate is to be in conformity with the character and purpose of the institute.
ARTICLE 3: TEMPORAL GOODS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION
Can. 634 §1 Since they are by virtue of the law juridical persons, institutes, provinces and houses have the capacity to acquire, possess, administer and alienate temporal goods, unless this capacity is excluded or limited in the constitutions.
Can. 635 §1 Since the temporal goods of religious institutes are ecclesiastical goods, they are governed by the provisions of Book V on ‘The Temporal Goods of the Church’, unless there is express provision to the contrary.
Can. 636 §1 In each institute, and in each province ruled by a major Superior, there is to be a financial administrator, distinct from the major Superior and constituted in accordance with the institute’s own law. The financial administrator is to administer the goods under the direction of the respective Superior. Even in local communities a financial administrator, distinct from the local Superior, is in so far as possible to be constituted.
§2 At the time and in the manner determined in the institute’s own law the financial administrator and others with financial responsibilities are to render an account of their administration to the competent authority.
Can. 637 Once a year, the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615 are to render an account of their administration to the local Ordinary. The local Ordinary also has the right to be informed about the financial affairs of a religious house of diocesan right.
Can. 638 §1 It is for an institute’s own law, within the limits of the universal law, to define the acts which exceed the purpose and the manner of ordinary administration, and to establish what is needed for the validity of an act of extraordinary administration.
§2 Besides Superiors, other officials designated for this task in the institute’s own law may, within the limits of their office, validly make payments and perform juridical acts of ordinary administration.
§3 For the validity of alienation, and of any transaction by which the patrimonial condition of the juridical person could be adversely affected there is required the written permission of the competent Superior, given with the consent of his or her council. Moreover, the permission of the Holy See is required if the transaction involves a sum exceeding that which the Holy See has determined for each region, or if it concerns things donated to the Church as a result of a vow, or objects which are precious by reason of their artistic or historical value.
§2 If individual members have, with the permission of the Superior, entered into contracts concerning their own property, they are responsible. If, however, they have conducted business for the institute on the mandate of a Superior, the institute is responsible.
§5 Superiors are to be careful not to allow debts to be contracted unless they are certain that normal income can service the interest on the debt, and by lawful amortization repay the capital over a period which is not unduly extended.
Can. 640 Taking into account the circumstances of the individual places, institutes are to make a special effort to give, as it were, a collective testimony of charity and poverty. They are to do all in their power to donate something from their own resources to help the needs of the Church and the support of the poor.
CHAPTER III : THE ADMISSION OF CANDIDATES AND THE FORMATION OF MEMBERS
ARTICLE 1: ADMISSION TO THE NOVITIATE
Can. 642 Superiors are to exercise a vigilant care to admit only those who, besides being of required age, are healthy, have a suitable disposition, and have sufficient maturity to undertake the life which is proper to the institute. If necessary, the health, disposition and maturity are to be established by experts, without prejudice to can. 220.
§2 The admission of clerics or others who had been admitted to another institute of consecrated life, to a society of apostolic life, or to a seminary, requires in addition the testimony of, respectively, the local Ordinary, or the major Superior of the institute or society, or the rector of the seminary.
ARTICLE 2: THE NOVITIATE AND THE FORMATION OF NOVICES
Can. 646 The purpose of the novitiate, by which life in an institute begins, is to give the novices a greater understanding of their divine vocation, and of their vocation to that institute. During the novitiate the novices are to experience the manner of life of the institute and form their minds and hearts in its spirit. At the same time their resolution and suitability are to be tested.
§2 To be valid, a novitiate must take place in a house which is duly designated for this purpose. In particular cases and by way of exception and with the permission of the supreme Moderator given with the consent of the council, a candidate can make the novitiate in another house of the institute, under the direction of an approved religious who takes the place of the director of novices.
§2 To complete the formation of the novices, the constitutions can prescribe, in addition to the time mentioned in §1, one or more periods of apostolic activity, to be performed outside the novitiate community.
Can. 649 §1 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 647 §3, and can. 648 §2, a novitiate is invalidated by an absence from the novitiate house of more than three months, continuous or broken. Any absence of more than fifteen days must be made good.
§3 Those in charge of the formation of novices are to be members who have been carefully prepared, and who are not burdened with other tasks, so that they may discharge their office fruitfully and in a stable fashion.
Can. 652 §1 It is the responsibility of the directors of novices and their assistants to discern and test the vocation of the novices, and gradually to form them to lead the life of perfection which is proper to the institute.
§2 Novices are to be led to develop human and christian virtues. Through prayer and selfdenial they are to be introduced to a fuller way of perfection. They are to be instructed in contemplating the mystery of salvation, and in reading and meditating on the sacred Scriptures. Their preparation is to enable them to develop their worship of God in the sacred liturgy. They are to learn how to lead a life consecrated to God and their neighbour in Christ through the evangelical counsels. They are to learn about the character and spirit of the institute, its purpose and discipline, its history and life, and be imbued with a love for the Church and its sacred Pastors.
§5 The period of novitiate mentioned in can. 648 §1, is to be set aside exclusively for the work of formation. The novices are therefore not to be engaged in studies or duties which do not directly serve this formation.
§2 On the completion of the novitiate, a novice, if judged suitable, is to be admitted to temporary profession; otherwise the novice is to be dismissed. If a doubt exists concerning suitability, the time of probation may be prolonged by the major Superior, in accordance with the institute’s own law, but for a period not exceeding six months.
ARTICLE 3: RELIGIOUS PROFESSION
Can. 654 By religious profession members make a public vow to observe the three evangelical counsels. Through the ministry of the Church they are consecrated to God, and are incorporated into the institute, with the rights and duties defined by law.
Can. 657 §1 When the period of time for which the profession was made has been completed, a religious who freely asks, and is judged suitable, is to be admitted to a renewal of profession or to perpetual profession; otherwise, the religious is to leave.
§2 If it seems opportune, the period of temporary profession can be extended by the competent Superior in accordance with the institute’s own law. The total time during which the member is bound by temporary vows may not, however, extend beyond nine years.
ARTICLE 4: THE FORMATION OF RELIGIOUS
Can. 659 §1 After first profession, the formation of all members in each institute is to be completed, so that they may lead the life proper to the institute more fully, and fulfil its mission more effectively.
§2 The institute’s own law is, therefore, to define the nature and duration of this formation. In this, the needs of the Church and the conditions of people and times are to be kept in mind, insofar as this is required by the purpose and the character of the institute.
Can. 660 §1 Formation is to be systematic, adapted to the capacity of the members, spiritual and apostolic, both doctrinal and practical. Suitable ecclesiastical and civil degrees are to be obtained as opportunity offers.
Can. 661 Religious are to be diligent in continuing their spiritual, doctrinal and practical formation throughout their lives. Superiors are to ensure that they have the assistance and the time to do this.
CHAPTER IV : THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF INSTITUTES AND OF THEIR MEMBERS
§3 They are to devote themselves to reading the sacred Scriptures and to mental prayer. In accordance with the provisions of their own law, they are to celebrate the liturgy of the hours worthily, without prejudice to the obligation of clerics mentioned in can. 276, §2, n.3. They are also to perform other exercises of piety.
§4 They are to have a special devotion to the Virgin Mother of God, the example and protectress of all consecrated life, including by way of the rosary.
Can. 665 §1 Religious are to reside in their own religious house and observe the common life; they are not to stay elsewhere except with the permission of the Superior. For a lengthy absence from the religious house, the major Superior, for a just reason and with the consent of the council, can authorise a member to live outside a house of the institute; such an absence is not to exceed one year, unless it be for reasons of health, studies or an apostolate to be exercised in the name of the institute.
§2 Members who unlawfully absent themselves from a religious house with the intention of withdrawing from the authority of Superiors, are to be carefully sought out and helped to return and to persevere in their vocation.
Can. 666 In using the means of social communication, a necessary discretion is to be observed. Members are to avoid whatever is harmful to their vocation and dangerous to the chastity of a consecrated person.
Can. 667 §1 In accordance with the institute’s own law, there is to be in all houses an enclosure appropriate to the character and mission of the institute. Some part of the house is always to be reserved to the members alone.
§3 Monasteries of cloistered nuns who are wholly devoted to the contemplative life, must observe papal enclosure, that is, in accordance with the norms given by the Apostolic See. Other monasteries of cloistered nuns are to observe an enclosure which is appropriate to their nature and is defined in the constitutions.
§4 The diocesan Bishop has the faculty of entering, for a just reason, the enclosure of cloistered nuns whose monasteries are situated in his diocese. For a grave reason and with the assent of the Abbess, he can permit others to be admitted to the enclosure, and permit the nuns to leave the enclosure for whatever time is truly necessary.
Can. 668 §1 Before their first profession, members are to cede the administration of their goods to whomsoever they wish and, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, they are freely to make dispositions concerning the use and enjoyment of these goods. At least before perpetual profession, they are to make a will which is valid also in civil law.
§2 To change these dispositions for a just reason, and to take any action concerning temporal goods, there is required the permission of the Superior who is competent in accordance with the institute’s own law.
§3 Whatever a religious acquires by personal labour, or on behalf of the institute, belongs to the institute. Whatever comes to a religious in any way through pension, grant or insurance also passes to the institute, unless the institute’s own law decrees otherwise.
§4 When the nature of an institute requires members to renounce their goods totally, this renunciation is to be made before perpetual profession and, as far as possible, in a form that is valid also in civil law; it shall come into effect from the day of profession. The same procedure is to be followed by a perpetually professed religious who, in accordance with the norms of the institute’s own law and with the permission of the supreme Moderator, wishes to renounce goods, in whole or in part.
§5 Professed religious who, because of the nature of their institute, totally renounce their goods, lose the capacity to acquire and possess goods; actions of theirs contrary to the vow of poverty are therefore invalid. Whatever they acquire after renunciation belongs to the institute, in accordance with the institute’s own law.
Can. 672 Religious are bound by the provisions of cann. 277,285, 286, 287 and 289. Religious who are clerics are also bound by the provisions of can. 279 §2. In lay institutes of pontifical right, the permission mentioned in can. 285 §4 can be given by the major Superior.
CHAPTER V : THE APOSTOLATE OF INSTITUTES
Can. 674 Institutes which are wholly directed to contemplation always have an outstanding part in the mystical Body of Christ. They offer to God an exceptional sacrifice of praise. They embellish the people of God with very rich fruits of holiness, move them by their example, and give them increase by a hidden apostolic fruitfulness. Because of this, no matter how urgent the needs of the active apostolate, the members of these institutes cannot be called upon to assist in the various pastoral ministries.
Can. 675 §1 Apostolic action is of the very nature of institutes dedicated to apostolic works. The whole life of the members is, therefore, to be imbued with an apostolic spirit, and the whole of their apostolic action is to be animated by a religious spirit.
Can. 676 Lay institutes of men and women participate in the pastoral mission of the Church through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, performing very many different services for people. They are therefore to remain faithful to the grace of their vocation.
Can. 677 §1 Superiors and members are faithfully to hold fast to the mission and works which are proper to their institute. According to the needs of time and place, however, they are prudently to adapt them, making use of new and appropriate means.
Can. 678 §1 In matters concerning the care of souls, the public exercise of divine worship and other works of the apostolate, religious are subject to the authority of the Bishops, whom they are bound to treat with sincere obedience and reverence.
§2 In the exercise of an apostolate towards persons outside the institute, religious are also subject to their own Superiors and must remain faithful to the discipline of the institute. If the need arises, Bishops themselves are not to fail to insist on this obligation.
Can. 679 For a very grave reason a diocesan Bishop can forbid a member of a religious institute to remain in his diocese, provided the person’s major Superior has been informed and has failed to act; the matter must immediately be reported to the Holy See.
Can. 680 Organised cooperation is to be fostered among different institutes, and between them and the secular clergy. Under the direction of the Bishop, there is to be a coordination of all apostolic works and actions, with due respect for the character and purpose of each institute and the laws of its foundation.
Can. 681 §1 Works which the diocesan Bishop entrusts to religious are under the authority and direction of the Bishop, without prejudice to the rights of religious Superiors in accordance with can. 678 §§2 and 3.
§2 In these cases a written agreement is to be made between the diocesan Bishop and the competent Superior of the institute. This agreement must expressly and accurately define, among other things, the work to be done, the members to be assigned to it and the financial arrangements.
Can. 682 §1 If an ecclesiastical office in a diocese is to be conferred on a member of a religious institute, the religious is appointed by the diocesan Bishop on presentation by, or at least with the consent of, the competent Superior.
§2 The religious can be removed from the office at the discretion of the authority who made the appointment, with prior notice being given to the religious Superior; or by the religious Superior, with prior notice being given to the appointing authority. Neither requires the other’s consent.
Can. 683 §1 Either personally or through a delegate, the diocesan Bishop can visit churches or oratories to which Christ’s faithful have habitual access, schools other than those open only to the institute’s own members, and other works of religion and charity entrusted to religious, whether these works be spiritual or temporal. He can do this at the time of pastoral visitation, or in a case of necessity.
CHAPTER VI : THE SEPARATION OF MEMBERS FROM THE INSTITUTE
ARTICLE 1: TRANSFER TO ANOTHER INSTITUTE
Can. 684 §1 Perpetually professed members cannot transfer from their own religious institute to another, except by permission of the supreme Moderators of both institutes, given with the consent of their respective councils.
§2 On completion of a probationary period of at least three years, the member can be admitted to perpetual profession in the new institute. A member who refuses to make this profession, or is not admitted to do so by the competent Superiors, is to return to the original institute, unless an indult of secularisation has been obtained.
§3 For a religious to transfer from one autonomous monastery to another monastery of the same institute, federation or confederation, the consent of the major Superior of both monasteries and of the chapter of the receiving monastery is required and is sufficient, unless the institute’s own law has established further conditions. A new profession is not required.
§5 To transfer to a secular institute or to a society of apostolic life, or to transfer from these to a religious institute, the permission of the Holy See is required and its instructions are to be followed.
Can. 685 §1 Until profession is made in the new institute, the rights and obligations of the member in the previous institute are suspended, but the vows remain. From the beginning of probation, the member is bound to observe the laws of the new institute.
ARTICLE 2: DEPARTURE FROM THE INSTITUTE
Can. 686 §1 With the consent of his or her council, the supreme Moderator can for a grave reason grant an indult of exclaustration to a perpetually professed member for a period not exceeding three years. In the case of a cleric, the indult requires the prior consent of the Ordinary of the place where the clerics must reside. To extend this indult, or to grant one for more than three years, is reserved to the Holy See or, in an institute of diocesan right, to the diocesan Bishop.
§3 At the request of the supreme Moderator acting with the consent of his or her council, exclaustration can be imposed by the Holy See on a member of an institute of pontifical right, or by a diocesan Bishop on a member of an institute of diocesan right. In either case a grave reason is required, and equity and charity are to be observed.
Can. 687 Members who are exclaustrated are considered as dispensed from those obligations which are incompatible with their new condition of life. They remain dependent on and under the care of their Superiors and, particularly in the case of a cleric, of the local Ordinary. They may wear the religious habit, unless the indult specifies otherwise, but they lack active and passive voice.
§2 A person who, during the time of temporary profession, for a grave reason asks to leave the institute, can obtain an indult to leave. In an institute of pontifical right, this indult can be given by the supreme Moderator with the consent of his or her council. In institutes of diocesan right and in the monasteries mentioned in can. 615, the indult must, for validity, be confirmed by the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to which the person is assigned.
§2 Even though contracted after profession, a physical or psychological infirmity which, in the judgement of experts, renders the member mentioned in §1 unsuited to lead a life in the institute, constitutes a reason for not admitting the member to renewal of profession or to perpetual profession, unless the infirmity was contracted through the negligence of the institute or because of work performed in the institute.
Can. 690 §1 A person who lawfully leaves the institute after completing the novitiate or after profession, can be readmitted by the supreme Moderator, with the consent of his or her council, without the obligation of repeating the novitiate. The same Moderator is to determine an appropriate probation prior to temporary profession, and the length of time in vows before making perpetual profession, in accordance with the norms of can. 655 and 657.
Can. 691 §1 A perpetually professed religious is not to seek an indult to leave the institute, except for very grave reasons, weighed before the Lord. The petition is to be presented to the supreme Moderator of the institute, who will forward it to the competent authority with his or her own opinion and that of the council.
§2 In institutes of pontifical right this indult is reserved to the Apostolic See. In institutes of diocesan right the indult can be granted by the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to which the religious is assigned.
Can. 692 An indult to leave the institute, which is lawfully granted and notified to the member, by virtue of the law itself carries with it, unless it has been rejected by the member in the act of notification, a dispensation from the vows and from all obligations arising from profession.
Can. 693 If the member is a cleric, the indult is not granted until he has found a Bishop who will incardinate him in his diocese or at least receive him there on probation. If he is received on probation, he is by virtue of the law itself incardinated in the diocese after five years, unless the Bishop has rejected him.
ARTICLE 3: THE DISMISSAL OF MEMBERS
Can. 695 §1 A member must be dismissed for the offences mentioned in cann. 1397, 1398 and 1395, unless, for the offences mentioned in can. 1395 §2, the Superior judges that dismissal is not absolutely necessary; and that sufficient provision can be made in some other way for the amendment of the member, the restoration of justice and the reparation of scandal.
§2 In these cases the major Superior is to collect the evidence concerning the facts and the imputability of the offence. The accusation and the evidence are then to be presented to the member, who shall be given the opportunity for defence. All the acts, signed by the major Superior and the notary, are to be forwarded, together with the written and signed replies of the member, to the supreme Moderator.
Can. 696 §1 A member can be dismissed for other causes, provided they are grave, external, imputable and juridically proven. Among such causes are: habitual neglect of the obligations of consecrated life; repeated violations of the sacred bonds; obstinate disobedience to the lawful orders of Superiors in grave matters; grave scandal arising from the culpable behaviour of the member; obstinate attachment to, or diffusion of, teachings condemned by the magisterium of the Church; public adherence to materialistic or atheistic ideologies; the unlawful absence mentioned in can. 665 §2, if it extends for a period of six months; other reasons of similar gravity which are perhaps defined in the institute’s own law.
2° the major Superior is to warn the member in writing, or before two witnesses, with an explicit caution that dismissal will follow unless the member reforms. The reasons for dismissal are to be clearly expressed and the member is to be given every opportunity for defence. If the warning has no effect, another warning is to be given after an interval of at least fifteen days;
3° if this latter warning is also ineffectual, and the major Superior with his or her council judges that there is sufficient proof of incorrigibility, and that the defence by the member is insufficient, after fifteen days from the last warning have passed in vain all the acts, signed by the major Superior and the notary, are to be forwarded, together with the signed replies of the member, to the supreme Moderator.
Can. 699 §1 The supreme Moderator and his or her council are to proceed in collegial fashion in accurately weighing the evidence, the arguments, and the defence. For validity, the council must comprise at least four members. If by a secret vote it is decided to dismiss the religious, a decree of dismissal is to be drawn up, which for validity must express at least in summary form the reasons in law and in fact.
§2 In the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615, the judgement about dismissal belongs to the diocesan Bishop. The Superior is to submit the acts to him after they have been reviewed by the council.
Can. 700 The decree of dismissal has no effect unless it is confirmed by the Holy See, to whom the decree and all the acts are to be forwarded. If the matter concerns an institute of diocesan right, the confirmation belongs to the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to which the religious belongs. For validity the decree must indicate the right of the person dismissed to have recourse to the competent authority within ten days of receiving notification of the decree. The recourse has a suspensive effect.
Can. 701 By lawful dismissal, both the vows and the rights and duties deriving from profession automatically cease. If the member is a cleric, he may not exercise sacred orders until he finds a Bishop who will, after a suitable probation, receive him into his diocese in accordance with can. 693, or who will at least allow him to exercise his sacred orders.
Can. 703 §1 In a case of grave external scandal, or of extremely grave and imminent harm to the institute, a member can be expelled forthwith from the house by the major Superior. If there is danger in delay, this can be done by the local Superior with the consent of his or her council. The major Superior, if need be, is to introduce a process of dismissal in accordance with the norms of law, or refer the matter to the Apostolic See.
CHAPTER VII : RELIGIOUS RAISED TO THE EPISCOPATE
Can. 705 A religious who is raised to the episcopate remains a member of his institute, but is subject only to the Roman Pontiff by his vow of obedience. He is not bound by obligations which he prudently judges are not compatible with his condition.
1° if he has lost the ownership of his goods through his profession he now has the use and enjoyment and the administration of the goods which he acquires. In the case of a diocesan Bishop and of those mentioned in can. 381 §2, the particular Church acquires their ownership; in the case of others, they belong to the institute or the Holy See, depending on whether the institute is or is not capable of possessing goods;
§2 If he has served a diocese, can. 402 §2 is to be observed concerning his suitable and worthy maintenance, unless his own institute wishes to provide such maintenance. Otherwise, the Apostolic See is to make other provision.
CHAPTER VIII : CONFERENCES OF MAJOR SUPERIORS
Can. 708 Major Superiors can usefully meet together in conferences and councils, so that by combined effort they may work to achieve more fully the purpose of each institute, while respecting the autonomy, nature and spirit of each. They can also deal with affairs which are common to all, and work to establish suitable coordination and cooperation with Episcopal Conferences and with individual Bishops.
Can. 709 Conferences of major Superiors are to have their own statutes, which must be approved by the Holy See. Only the Holy See can establish them or give them juridical personality. They remain under the ultimate direction of the Holy See.
TITLE III: SECULAR INSTITUTES
Can. 710 A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which Christ’s faithful, living in the world, strive for the perfection of charity and endeavour to contribute to the sanctification of the world, especially from within.
Can. 711 Without prejudice to the provisions of the law concerning institutes of consecrated life, consecration as a member of a secular institute does not change the member’s canonical status among the people of God, be it lay or clerical.
Can. 712 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 598601, the constitutions are to establish the sacred bonds by which the evangelical counsels are undertaken in the institute. They are to define the obligations which these bonds entail, while always preserving in the manner of life the secular character proper to the institute.
Can. 713 §1 Members of these institutes express and exercise their special consecration in apostolic activity. Like a leaven, they endeavour to permeate everything with an evangelical spirit for the strengthening and growth of the Body of Christ.
§2 Lay members participate in the evangelising mission of the Church in the world and from within the world. They do this by their witness of christian life and of fidelity to their consecration, and by the assistance they give in directing temporal affairs to God and in animating the world by the power of the Gospel. They also offer their cooperation to serve the ecclesial community in accordance with the secular manner of life proper to them.
§3 Clerical members, by the witness of their consecrated life, especially in the presbyterium, support their colleagues by a distinctive apostolic charity, and in the people of God they further the sanctification of the world by their sacred ministry.
§2 Those who, in accordance with the norms of can. 266 §3, are incardinated in the institute, and who are appointed to works proper to the institute or to the governance of the institute, are subject to the Bishop in the same way as religious.
Can. 717 §1 The constitutions are to determine the institute’s own form of governance. They are to define the period of time for which Moderators exercise their office and the manner in which they are to be designated.
Can. 718 The administration of the goods of the institute must express and foster evangelical poverty. It is governed by the norms of Book V on ‘The Temporal Goods of the Church’, and by the institute’s own law. This same law of the institute is also to define the obligations, especially the financial obligations, of the institute towards the members engaged in its work.
Can. 719 §1 Members are to respond faithfully to their vocation, and their apostolic action is to proceed from their union with Christ. They are therefore to devote themselves assiduously to prayer and engage in a suitable way in the reading of the sacred Scriptures. They are to make an annual retreat and perform other spiritual exercises in accordance with their own law.
Can. 720 The right of admitting a person to the institute, or to probation, or to the taking of sacred bonds, both temporary and perpetual or definitive, belongs to the major Moderators with their council, in accordance with the constitutions.
Can. 722 §1 The initial probation is to be so arranged that the candidates can better recognise their divine vocation and their vocation to that institute, and be trained in the spirit and manner of life of the institute.
§2 Candidates are to be properly formed to live a life according to the evangelical counsels. They are to be taught how to translate this life completely into their apostolate, applying those forms of evangelisation which best correspond to the purpose, spirit and character of the institute.
Can. 723 §1 When the time of the initial probation has been completed, a candidate who is judged suitable is either to undertake the three evangelical counsels, sealed with a sacred bond, or to leave the institute.
Can. 725 The institute can associate with itself, by some form of bond determined in the constitutions, other members of Christ’s faithful who seek evangelical perfection according to the spirit of the institute and who share in its mission.
Can. 726 §1 When the time of temporary incorporation is completed, the member can freely leave the institute, or can for a just cause be excluded from renewing the sacred bonds by the major Moderator, after consultation with his or her council.
Can. 727 §1 A perpetually incorporated member who wishes to leave the institute must, after seriously weighing the matter before the Lord, petition the Apostolic See through the supreme Moderator, if the institute is of pontifical right; otherwise, the indult can also be obtained from the diocesan Bishop, as determined in the constitutions.
Can. 729 A member is dismissed from the institute in accordance with the norms of cann. 694 and 695. The constitutions are also to determine other reasons for dismissal, provided they are proportionately grave, external, imputable and juridically proven. The procedure established in cann. 697700 is to be observed, and the provisions of can. 701 apply to the person who is dismissed.
Can. 730 For a member to transfer from one secular institute to another, the provisions of can. 684 §§1, 2, 4 and 685, are to be observed. A transfer to or from another kind of institute of consecrated life requires the permission of the Apostolic See, whose instructions must be followed.
SECTION II: SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE
Can. 731 §1 Societies of apostolic life resemble institutes of consecrated life. Their members, without taking religious vows, pursue the apostolic purpose proper to each society. Living a fraternal life in common in their own special manner, they strive for the perfection of charity through the observance of the constitutions.
Can. 733 §1 A house is established and a local community is constituted by the competent authority of the society, with the prior written consent of the diocesan Bishop. The Bishop must also be consulted when there is question of its suppression.
§3 The society’s own law must determine a programme of doctrinal, spiritual and apostolic probation and formation that is adapted to the purpose and character of the society. In this way members can recognise their divine vocation and be suitably prepared for the mission and way of life of the society.
Can. 737 For the members, incorporation carries with it the rights and obligations defined in the constitutions. On the part of the society, it implies a responsibility to lead the members towards the purpose of their vocation, in accordance with the constitutions.
Can. 740 Members must live in a lawfully constituted house or community and observe a common life, in accordance with their own law. This same law also governs their absence from the house or community.
Can. 741 §1 Societies and, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, their constituent parts and their houses, are juridical persons. As such, they are capable of acquiring, possessing, administering and alienating temporal goods in accordance with the provisions of Book V on ‘The Temporal Goods of the Church’, of cann. 636, 638 and 639, and of their own law.
§2 Members are also capable, in accordance with their own law, of acquiring, possessing, administering and disposing of temporal goods, but whatever comes to them in view of the society is acquired for the society.
Can. 743 A member who is definitively incorporated can obtain an indult to leave the society from the supreme Moderator with the consent of the council, unless the constitutions reserve this to the Apostolic See. This indult means that the rights and obligations deriving from definitive incorporation cease, without prejudice to can. 693.
Can. 744 §1 Permission for a member who is definitively incorporated to transfer to another society of apostolic life is likewise reserved to the supreme Moderator with the consent of his or her council. The rights and obligations of the member’s own society are suspended for the time being, but the member has the right to return to it before definitive incorporation into the new society.
Can. 745 The supreme Moderator, with the consent of his or her council, can grant a definitively incorporated member an indult to live outside the society for a period not exceeding three years. Rights and obligations which are not compatible with this new condition are suspended, but the member remains under the care of the Moderators. If the member is a cleric, the consent of the Ordinary of the place where he must reside is also required, and the member remains under the care of the Ordinary and dependent upon him.
Can. 746 For the dismissal of a member who is definitively incorporated, the provisions of cann. 694704 are to be observed, making the appropriate adjustments.