|The People of God » The Christian Faithful|
|Canon 204.||§1 Christ’s faithful are those who, since they are incorporated into Christ through baptism, are constituted the people of God. For this reason they participate in their own way in the priestly, prophetic and kingly office of Christ. They are called, each according to his or her particular condition, to exercise the mission which God entrusted to the Church to fulfil in the world.
§2 This Church, established and ordered in this world as a society, subsists in the catholic Church, governed by the successor of Peter and the Bishops in communion with him.
|Canon 205.||Those baptised are in full communion with the catholic Church here on earth who are joined with Christ in his visible body, through the bonds of profession of faith, the sacraments and ecclesiastical governance.|
|Canon 206.||§1 Catechumens are linked with the Church in a special way since, moved by the Holy Spirit, they are expressing an explicit desire to be incorporated in the
Church. By this very desire, as well as by the life of faith, hope and charity which they lead, they are joined to the Church which already cherishes them as its own.
§2 The Church has a special care for catechumens. While it invites them to lead an evangelical life, and introduces them to the celebration of the sacred rites, it already accords them various prerogatives which are proper to christians.
|Canon 207.||§1 By divine institution, among Christ’s faithful there are in the Church sacred ministers, who in law are also called clerics- the others are called lay people.
§2 Drawn from both groups are those of Christ’s faithful who, professing the evangelical counsels through vows or other sacred bonds recognised and approved by the Church, are consecrated to God in their own special way and promote the salvific mission of the Church. Their state, although it does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church, does pertain to its life and holiness.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » The Obligations and Rights of all the Christian Faithful|
|Canon 208.||Flowing from their rebirth in Christ, there is a genuine equality of dignity and action among all of Christ’s faithful. Because of this equality they all contribute, each according to his or her own condition and office, to the building up of the Body of Christ.|
|Canon 209.||§1 Christ’s faithful are bound to preserve their communion with the Church at all times, even in their external actions.
§2 They are to carry out with great diligence their responsibilities towards both the universal Church and the particular Church to which by law they belong.
|Canon 210.||All Christ’s faithful, each according to his or her own condition, must make a wholehearted effort to lead a holy life, and to promote the growth of the Church and its continual sanctification.|
|Canon 211.||All Christ’s faithful have the obligation and the right to strive so that the divine message of salvation may more and more reach all people of all times and all places.|
|Canon 212.||§1 Christ’s faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church.
§2 Christ’s faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.
§3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.
|Canon 213.||Christ’s faithful have the right to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the sacraments.|
|Canon 214.||Christ’s faithful have the right to worship God according to the provisions of their own rite approved by the lawful Pastors of the Church; they also have the right to follow their own form of spiritual life, provided it is in accord with Church teaching.|
|Canon 215.||Christ’s faithful may freely establish and direct associations which serve charitable or pious purposes or which foster the christian vocation in the world, and they may hold meetings to pursue these purposes by common effort.|
|Canon 216.||Since they share the Church’s mission, all Christ’s faithful have the right to promote and support apostolic action, by their own initiative, undertaken according to their state and condition. No initiative, however, can lay claim to the title
‘catholic’ without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.
|Canon 217.||Since Christ’s faithful are called by baptism to lead a life in harmony with the gospel teaching, they have the right to a christian education, which genuinely
teaches them to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation.
|Canon 218.||Those who are engaged in fields of sacred study have a just freedom to research matters in which they are expert and to express themselves prudently concerning them, with due allegiance to the magisterium of the Church.|
|Canon 219.||All Christ’s faithful have the right to immunity from any kind of coercion in choosing a state in life.|
|Canon 220.||No one may unlawfully harm the good reputation which a person enjoys, or violate the right of every person to protect his or her privacy.|
|Canon 221.||§1 Christ’s faithful may lawfully vindicate and defend the rights they enjoy in the Church, before the competent ecclesiastical forum in accordance with the law.
§2 If any members of Christ’s faithful are summoned to trial by the competent authority, they have the right to be judged according to the provisions of the law, to be applied with equity.
§3 Christ’s faithful have the right that no canonical penalties be inflicted upon them except in accordance with the law.
|Canon 222.||§1 Christ’s faithful have the obligation to provide for the needs of the
Church, so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship, for apostolic and charitable work and for the worthy support of its ministers.
§2 They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the Lord’s precept, to help the poor from their own resources.
|Canon 223.||§1 In exercising their rights, Christ’s faithful, both individually and in associations, must take account of the common good of the Church, as well as the rights of others and their own duties to others.
§2 Ecclesiastical authority is entitled to regulate, in view of the common good, the exercise of rights which are proper to Christ’s faithful.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » The Obligations and Rights of the Lay Christian Faithful|
|Canon 224.||Lay members of Christ’s faithful have the duties and rights enumerated in the canons of this title, in addition to those duties and rights which are common to all
Christ’s faithful and those stated in other canons.
|Canon 225.||§1 Since lay people, like all Christ’s faithful, are deputed to the apostolate by baptism and confirmation, they are bound by the general obligation and they have the right, whether as individuals or in associations, to strive so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all people throughout the world.
This obligation is all the more insistent in circumstances in which only through them are people able to hear the Gospel and to know Christ.
§2 They have also, according to the condition of each, the special obligation to permeate and perfect the temporal order of things with the spirit of the Gospel. In this way, particularly in conducting secular business and exercising secular functions, they are to give witness to Christ.
|Canon 226.||§1 Those who are married are bound by the special obligation, in accordance with their own vocation, to strive for the building up of the people of God through their marriage and family.
§2 Because they gave life to their children, parents have the most serious obligation and the right to educate them. It is therefore primarily the responsibility of christian parents to ensure the christian education of their children in accordance with the teaching of the Church.
|Canon 227.||To lay members of Christ’s faithful belongs the right to have acknowledged as theirs that freedom in secular affairs which is common to all citizens. In using this freedom, however, they are to ensure that their actions are permeated with the spirit of the Gospel, and they are to heed the teaching of the Church proposed by the magisterium, but they must be on guard, in questions of opinion, against proposing their own view as the teaching of the Church.|
|Canon 228.||§1 Lay people who are found to be suitable are capable of being admitted by the sacred Pastors to those ecclesiastical offices and functions which, in accordance with the provisions of law, they can discharge.
§2 Lay people who are outstanding in the requisite knowledge, prudence and integrity, are capable of being experts or advisors, even in councils in accordance with the law, in order to provide assistance to the Pastors of the Church.
[NB see m.p. Antiquum ministerium, 10.V.2021]
|Canon 229.||§1 Lay people have the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of christian teaching which is appropriate to each one’s capacity and condition, so that they may be able to live according to this teaching, to proclaim it and if necessary to defend it, and may be capable of playing their part in the exercise of the apostolate.
§2 They also have the right to acquire that fuller knowledge of the sacred sciences which is taught in ecclesiastical universities or faculties or in institutes of religious sciences, attending lectures there and acquiring academic degrees.
§3 Likewise, assuming that the provisions concerning the requisite suitability have been observed, they are capable of receiving from the lawful ecclesiastical authority a mandate to teach the sacred sciences.
|Canon 230.||§1 Lay persons who possess the age and qualifications established by decree of the conference of bishops can be admitted on a stable basis through the prescribed liturgical rite to the ministries of lector and acolyte. Nevertheless, the conferral of these ministries does not grant them the right to obtain support or remuneration from the Church.
[revised wording according to m.p. Spiritus Domini, 10.I.2021]
§2 Lay people can receive a temporary assignment to the role of lector in liturgical actions. Likewise, all lay people can exercise the roles of commentator, cantor or other such, in accordance with the law.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 230 §2, 11.VII.1992]
§3 Where the needs of the Church require and ministers are not available, lay people, even though they are not lectors or acolytes, can supply certain of their functions, that is, exercise the ministry of the word, preside over liturgical prayers, confer baptism and distribute Holy Communion, in accordance with the provisions of the law.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 910 §2, 1.VI.1988]
|Canon 231.||§1 Lay people who are pledged to the special service of the Church, whether permanently or for a time, have a duty to acquire the appropriate formation which their role demands, so that they may conscientiously, earnestly and diligently fulfil this role.
§2 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 230 §1, they have the right to a worthy remuneration befitting their condition, whereby, with due regard also to the provisions of the civil law, they can becomingly provide for their own needs and the needs of their families. Likewise, they have the right to have their insurance, social security and medical benefits duly safeguarded.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » The Formation of Clerics|
|Canon 232.||It is the duty and the proper and exclusive right of the Church to train those who are deputed to sacred ministries.|
|Canon 233.||§1 It is the duty of the whole christian community to foster vocations so that the needs of the sacred ministry are sufficiently met in the entire Church. In particular, this duty binds christian families, educa tors and, in a special way, priests, especially parish priests. DiocesanBishops, who must show the greatest concern to promote vocations, are to instruct the people entrusted to them on the importance of
the sacred ministry and the need for ministers in the Church. They are to encourage and support initiatives to promote vocations, especially movements established for this purpose.
§2 Moreover, priests and especially diocesan Bishops are to be solicitous that men of more mature years who believe they are called to the sacred ministries are prudently assisted by word and deed and are duly prepared.
|Canon 234.||§1 Minor seminaries and other institutions of a similar nature promote vocations by providing a special religious formation, allied to human and scientific education- where they exist, they are to be retained and fostered. Indeed, where the diocesan Bishop considers it expedient, he is to provide for the establishment of a minor seminary or similar institution.
§2 Unless the circumstances of certain situations suggest otherwise, young men who aspire to the priesthood are to receive that same human and scientific formation which prepares their peers in their region for higher studies.
|Canon 235.||§1 Young men who intend to become priests are to receive the appropriate religious formation and instruction in the duties proper to the priesthood in a major seminary, for the whole of the time of formation or, if in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop circumstances require it, for at least four years.
§2 Those who lawfully reside outside the seminary are to be entrusted by the diocesan Bishop to a devout and suitable priest, who will ensure that they are carefully formed in the spiritual life and in discipline.
|Canon 236.||Those who aspire to the permanent diaconate are to be formed in the spiritual life and appropriately instructed in the fulfilment of the duties proper to that order, in accordance with the provisions made by the Episcopal Conference:
1° young men are to reside for at least three years in a special houseunless the diocesan Bishop for grave reasons decides otherwise,
2° men of more mature years, whether celibate or married, are toprepare for three years in a manner determined by the same Episcopal Conference.
|Canon 237.||§1 Where it is possible and advisable, each diocese is to have a major seminary; otherwise, students preparing for the sacred ministries are to be sent to the seminary of another diocese, or an inter-diocesan seminary is to be established.
§2 An interdiocesan seminary is not to be erected unless the conference of bishops, if the seminary is for its entire territory, or the bishops involved have obtained the prior confirmation of the Apostolic See for both the erection of the seminary and its statutes.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
|Canon 238.||§1 Seminaries which are lawfully established have juridical personality in the Church by virtue of the law itself.
§2 In the conduct of all its affairs, the rector acts in the person of the seminary, unless for certain matters the competent authority has prescribed otherwise.
|Canon 239.||§1 In all seminaries there is to be a rector who presides over it, a vice-rector, if circumstances warrant this, and a financial administrator. Moreover, if the students follow their studies in the seminary, there are to be professors who teach the various subjects in a manner suitably coordinated between them.
§2 In every seminary there is to be at least one spiritual director, though the students are also free to approach other priests who have been deputed to this work by the
§3 The seminary statutes are to determine the manner in which the other moderators, the professors and indeed the students themselves, are to participate in the rector’s responsibility, especially in regard to the maintenance of discipline.
|Canon 240.||§1 Besides ordinary confessors, other confessors are to come regularly to the seminary; while maintaining seminary discipline, the students are always to be free to approach any confessor, whether inside or outside the seminary.
§2 In deciding about the admission of students to orders, or their dismissal from the seminary, the vote of the spiritual director and the confessors may never be sought.
|Canon 241.||§1 The diocesan Bishop is to admit to the major seminary only those whose human, moral, spiritual and intellectual gifts, as well as physical and psychological health and right intention, show that they are capable of dedicating themselves permanently to the sacred ministries.
§2 Before they are accepted, they must submit documentation of their baptism and confirmation, and whatever else is required by the provisions of the Charter of
§3 If there is question of admitting those who have been dismissed from another seminary or religious institute, there is also required the testimony of the respective superior, especially concerning the reason for their dismissal or departure.
|Canon 242.||§1 Each nation is to have a programme of priestly formation which is to be established by the conference of bishops, attentive to the norms issued by the supreme authority of the Church, and which is to be confirmed by the Holy See. This programme is to be adapted to new circumstances, also with the confirmation of the
Holy See, and is to define the main principles of the instruction to be given in the seminary and general norms adapted to the pastoral needs of each region or province.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
§2 The norms of the Charter mentioned in §1 are to be observed in all seminaries, whether diocesan or inter-diocesan.
|Canon 243.||In addition, each seminary is to have its own rule, approved by the diocesan
Bishop or, in the case of an inter-diocesan seminary, by the Bishops concerned. In this, the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation are to be adapted to the particular circumstances and developed in greater detail, especially on points of discipline affecting the daily life of the students and the good order of the entire seminary.
|Canon 244.||The spiritual formation and the doctrinal instruction of the students in a seminary are to be harmoniously blended. They are to be so planned that the students, each according to his talents, simultaneously develop the requisite human maturity and acquire the spirit of the Gospel and a close relationship with Christ.|
|Canon 245.||§1 Through their spiritual formation students are to be fitted for the fruitful exercise of the pastoral ministry, and are to be inculcated with a sense of mission.
They are to learn that a ministry which is always exercised with lively faith and charity contributes effectively to their personal sanctification. They are to learn to cultivate those virtues which are highly valued in human relationships, in such a way that they can arrive at an appropriate harmony between human and supernatural values.
§2 Students are to be so trained that, filled with love for Christ’s Church, they are linked to the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, in humble and filial charity, to their own Bishop as his faithful co-workers and to their brethren in friendly cooperation. Through the common life in the seminary, and by developing relationships of friendship and of association with others, they are to be prepared for the fraternal unity of the diocesan presbyterium, in whose service of the Church they will share.
|Canon 246.||§1 The celebration of the Eucharist is to be the centre of the whole life of the seminary, so that the students, participating in the very charity of Christ, may daily draw strength of soul for their apostolic labour and for their spiritual life particularly from this richest of sources.
§2 They are to be formed in the celebration of the liturgy of the hours, by which the ministers of God, in the name of the Church, intercede with Him for all the people entrusted to them, and indeed for the whole world.
§3 Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, including the rosary, mental prayer and other exercises of piety are to be fostered, so that the students may acquire the spirit of prayer and be strengthened in their vocation.
§4 The students are to become accustomed to approach the sacrament of penance frequently. It is recommended that each should have a director of his spiritual life, freely chosen, to whom he can trustfully reveal his conscience.
§5 Each year the students are to make a spiritual retreat.
|Canon 247.||§1 By appropriate instruction they are to be prepared to observe celibacy and to learn to hold it in honour as a special gift of God.
§2 The students are to be given all the requisite knowledge concerning the duties and burdens which are proper to the sacred ministers of the Church, concealing none of the difficulties of the priestly life.
|Canon 248.||The doctrinal formation given is to be so directed that the students may acquire a wide and solid teaching in the sacred sciences, together with a general culture which is appropriate to the needs of place and time. As a result, with their own faith founded on and nourished by this teaching, they ought to be able properly to proclaim the Gospel to the people of their own time, in a fashion suited to the manner of the people’s thinking.|
|Canon 249.||The Charter of Priestly Formation is to provide that the students are not only taught their native language accurately, but are also well versed in latin, and have a suitable knowledge of other languages which would appear to be necessary or useful for their formation or for the exercise of their pastoral ministry.|
|Canon 250.||The philosophical and theological studies which are organised in the seminary itself may be conducted either in succession or conjointly, in accordance with the Charter of Priestly Formation. These studies are to take at least six full years, in such a way that the time given to philosophical studies amounts to two full years and that allotted to theological studies to four full years.|
|Canon 251.||Philosophical formation must be based on the philosophical heritage that is perennially valid, and it is also to take account of philosophical investigations over the course of time. It is to be so given that it furthers the human formation of the students, sharpens their mental edge and makes them more fitted to engage in theological studies.|
|Canon 252.||§1 Theological formation, given in the light of faith and under the guidance of the magisterium, is to be imparted in such a way that the students learn the whole of catholic teaching, based on divine Revelation, that they make it a nourishment of
their own spiritual lives, and that in the exercise of the ministry they may be able properly to proclaim and defend it.
§2 Students are to be instructed with special care in sacred Scripture, so that they may acquire an insight into the whole of sacred Scripture.
§3 Lectures are to be given in dogmatic theology, based always on the written word of God and on sacred Tradition; through them the students are to learn to penetrate more deeply into the mysteries of salvation, with St. Thomas in particular as their teacher. Lectures are also to be given in moral and pastoral theology, canon law, liturgy, ecclesiastical history, and other auxiliary and special disciplines, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter on Priestly Formation.
|Canon 253.||§1 The Bishop or the Bishops concerned are to appoint as teachers in philosophical, theological and juridical subjects only those who are of outstanding virtue and have a doctorate or a licentiate from a university or faculty recognised by the Holy See.
§2 Care is to be taken that different professors are appointed for sacred Scripture, dogmatic theology, moral theology, liturgy, philosophy, canon law and church history, and for other disciplines which are to be taught by their own distinctive methods.
§3 A professor who seriously fails in his or her duty is to be removed by the authority mentioned in §1.
|Canon 254.||§1 In their lectures, the professors are to be continuously attentive to the intimate unity and harmony of the entire doctrine of faith, so that the students are aware that they are learning one science. To ensure this, there is to be someone in the seminary who is in charge of the overall organisation of studies.
§2 The students are to be taught in such a way that they themselves are enabled to research various questions in the scientific way appropriate to each question. There are, therefore, to be assignments in which, under the guidance of the professors, the students learn to work out certain subjects by their own efforts.
|Canon 255.||Although the whole formation of students in the seminary has a pastoral purpose, a specifically pastoral formation is also to be provided there; in this the students are to learn the principles and the techniques which, according to the needs of place and time, are relevant to the ministry of teaching, sanctifying and ruling the people of God.|
|Canon 256.||§1 Students are to be carefully instructed in whatever especially pertains to the sacred ministry, particularly in catechetics and homiletics, in divine worship and in a special way in the celebration of the sacraments, in dealing with people,
including non-catholics and unbelievers, in parish administration and in the fulfilment of other tasks.
§2 The students are to be instructed about the needs of the universal Church, so that they may have a solicitude for encouraging vocations, for missionary and ecumenical questions, and for other pressing matters, including social problems.
|Canon 257.||§1 The formation of students is to ensure that they are concerned not only for the particular Church in which they are incardinated, but also for the universal
Church, and that they are ready to devote themselves to particular Churches which are beset by grave need.
§2 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that clerics who intend to move from their own particular Church to a particular Church in another region, are suitably prepared to exercise the sacred ministry there, that is, that they learn the language of the region, and have an understanding of its institutions, social conditions, usages and customs.
|Canon 258.||In order that the students may also by practice learn the art of exercising the apostolate, they are in the course of their studies, and especially during holiday time, to be initiated into pastoral practice by suitable assignments, always under the supervision of an experienced priest. These assignments, appropriate to the age of the student and the conditions of the place, are to be determined by the Ordinary.|
|Canon 259.||§1 It belongs to the diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter-diocesan seminary, to the Bishops concerned to determine those matters which concern the overall control and administration of the seminary.
§2 The diocesan Bishop or, in the case of an inter-diocesan seminary, the Bishops concerned, are frequently to visit the seminary in person. They are to oversee the formation of their students, and the philosophical and theological instruction given in the seminary. They are to inform themselves about the vocation, character, piety and progress of the students, in view particularly to the conferring of sacred orders.
|Canon 260.||In the fulfilment of their duties, all must obey the rector, who is responsible for the day to day direction of the seminary, in accordance with the norms of the
Charter of Priestly Formation and the rule of the seminary.
|Canon 261.||§1 The rector of the seminary is to ensure that the students faithfully observe the norms of the Charter of Priestly Formation and the rule of the seminary; under his authority, and according to their different positions, the moderators and professors have the same responsibility.|
|Canon 262.||The seminary is to be exempt from parochial governance. For all those in the seminary, the function of the parish priest is to be discharged by the rector of the
seminary or his delegate, with the exception of matters concerning marriage and without prejudice to the provisions of can. 985.
|Canon 263.||The diocesan Bishop must ensure that the building and maintenance of the seminary, the support of the students, the remuneration of the teachers and the other needs of the seminary are provided for. In an inter-diocesan seminary this responsibility devolves upon the Bishops concerned, each to the extent allotted by their common agreement.|
|Canon 264.||§1 To provide for the needs of the seminary, the Bishop can, apart from the collection mentioned in can. 1266, impose a levy in the diocese.
§2 Every ecclesiastical juridical person is subject to the levy for the seminary, including even private juridical persons, which have a centre in the diocese.
Exception is made for those whose sole support comes from alms, or in which there is actually present a college of students or of teachers for furthering the common good of the Church. This levy should be general, proportionate to the revenue of those who are subject to it and calculated according to the needs of the seminary.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » The Enrollment, or Incardination, of Clerics|
|Canon 265.||Every cleric must be incardinated either in a particular church or personal prelature, or in an institute of consecrated life or society endowed with this faculty, or also in a public clerical association which has obtained that faculty from the
Apostolic See, in such a way that unattached or transient clerics are not allowed at all.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
|Canon 266.||§1 By the reception of the diaconate a person becomes a cleric, and is incardinated in the particular Church or personal Prelature for whose service he is ordained.
§2 A member who is perpetually professed in a religious institute, or who is definitively incorporated into a clerical society of apostolic life, is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated as a cleric in that institute or society unless, in the case of a society, the constitutions determine otherwise.
§3 A member of a secular institute is by the reception of the diaconate incardinated into the particular Church for whose service he was ordained, unless by virtue of a concession of the Apostolic See he is incardinated into the institute itself.
|Canon 267.||§1 To be validly incardinated in another particular Church, a cleric who is already incardinated must obtain a letter of excardination signed by the diocesan
Bishop, and in the same way a letter of incardination signed by the diocesan Bishop of the particular Church in which he wishes to be incardinated.
§2 Excardination granted in this way does not take effect until incardination is obtained in the other particular Church.
|Canon 268.||§1 A cleric who has lawfully moved from his own particular Church to another is, by virtue of the law itself, incardinated in that latter Church after five years, if he has declared this intention in writing to both the diocesan Bishop of the host diocese and his own diocesan Bishop, and neither of the two Bishops has indicated opposition in writing within four months of receiving the cleric’s written request.
§2 By perpetual or definitive admission into an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, a cleric who in accordance with can. 266 is incardinated in that institute or society, is excardinated from his own particular Church.
|Canon 269.||A diocesan Bishop is not to incardinate a cleric unless:
1° the need or the advantage of his particular Church requires it and the provisions of law concerning the worthy support of the cleric are observed;
2° he knows by a lawful document that excardination has been granted, and has also obtained from the excardinating Bishop, under secrecy if need be, appropriate testimonials concerning the cleric’s life, behaviour and studies;
3° the cleric declares in writing to the same Bishop that he wishes to enter the service of the new particular Church in accordance with the norms of law.
|Canon 270.||Excardination can be lawfully granted only for a just reason, such as the advantage of the Church or the good of the cleric. It may not, however, be refused unless grave reasons exist; it is lawful for a cleric who considers himself to be unfairly treated and who has a Bishop to receive him, to have recourse against the decision.|
|Canon 271.||§1 Except for a grave need of his own particular Church, a Bishop is not to refuse clerics seeking permission to move whom he knows to be prepared and considers suitable to exercise the ministry in regions which suffer from a grave shortage of clergy. He is to ensure, however, that the rights and duties of these clerics are determined by written agreement with the diocesan Bishop of the place to which they wish to move.
§2 A Bishop can give permission to his clerics to move to another particular Church for a specified time. Such permission can be renewed several times, but in such a way that the clerics remain incardinated in their own particular Church, and on returning there enjoy all the rights which they would have had if they had ministered there.
§3 A cleric who lawfully moves to another particular Church while remaining incardinated in his own, may for a just reason be recalled by his own Bishop, provided the agreements entered into with the other Bishop are honoured and natural equity is observed. Under the same conditions, the Bishop of the other particular
Church can for a just reason refuse the cleric permission to reside further in his territory.
|Canon 272.||The diocesan Administrator cannot grant excardination nor incardination, nor permission to move to another particular Church, unless the episcopal see has been vacant for a year, and he has the consent of the college of consultors.|
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » The Obligations and Rights of Clerics|
|Canon 273.||Clerics have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the
Supreme Pontiff and to their own Ordinary.
|Canon 274.||§1 Only clerics can obtain offices the exercise of which requires the power of order or the power of ecclesiastical governance.
§2 Unless excused by a lawful impediment, clerics are obliged to accept and faithfully fulfil the office committed to them by their Ordinary.
|Canon 275.||§1 Since all clerics are working for the same purpose, namely the building up of the body of Christ, they are to be united with one another in the bond of brotherhood and prayer. They are to seek to cooperate with one another, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.
§2 Clerics are to acknowledge and promote the mission which the laity, each for his or her part, exercises in the Church and in the world.
|Canon 276.||§1 Clerics have a special obligation to seek holiness in their lives, because they are consecrated to God by a new title through the reception of orders, and are stewards of the mysteries of God in the service of His people.
§2 In order that they can pursue this perfection:
1° they are in the first place faithfully and untiringly to fulfil the obligations of their pastoral ministry;
2° they are to nourish their spiritual life at the twofold table of the sacred Scripture and the Eucharist; priests are therefore earnestly invited to offer the eucharistic
Sacrifice daily, and deacons to participate daily in the offering;
3° priests, and deacons aspiring to the priesthood, are obliged to carry out the liturgy of the hours daily, in accordance with their own approved liturgical books; permanent deacons are to recite that part of it determined by the Episcopal
4° they are also obliged to make spiritual retreats, in accordance with the provision of particular law;
5° they are exhorted to engage regularly in mental prayer, to approach the sacrament of penance frequently, to honour the Virgin Mother of God with particular veneration, and to use other general and special means to holiness.
|Canon 277.||§1 Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and are therefore bound to celibacy. Celibacy is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can more easily remain close to Christ with an undivided heart, and can dedicate themselves more freely to the service of
God and their neighbour.
§2 Clerics are to behave with due prudence in relation to persons whose company can be a danger to their obligation of preserving continence or can lead to scandal of the faithful.
§3 The diocesan Bishop has authority to establish more detailed rules concerning this matter, and to pass judgement on the observance of the obligation in particular cases.
|Canon 278.||§1 The secular clergy have the right of association with others for the achievement of purposes befitting the clerical state.
§2 The secular clergy are to hold in high esteem those associations especially whose statutes are recognised by the competent authority and which, by a suitable and well tried rule of life and by fraternal support, promote holiness in the exercise of their ministry and foster the unity of the clergy with one another and with their Bishop.
§3 Clerics are to refrain from establishing or joining associations whose purpose or activity cannot be reconciled with the obligations proper to the clerical state, or which can hinder the diligent fulfilment of the office entrusted to them by the competent ecclesiastical authority.
|Canon 279.||§1 Clerics are to continue their sacred studies even after ordination to the priesthood. They are to hold to that solid doctrine based on sacred Scripture which has been handed down by our forebears and which is generally received in the
Church, as set out especially in the documents of the Councils and of the Roman
Pontiffs. They are to avoid profane novelties and pseudo-science.
§2 Priests are to attend pastoral courses to be arranged for them after their ordination, in accordance with the provisions of particular law. At times determined by the same law, they are to attend other courses, theological meetings or conferences, which offer them an occasion to acquire further knowledge of the sacred sciences and of pastoral methods.
§3 They are also to seek a knowledge of other sciences, especially those linked to the sacred sciences, particularly insofar as they benefit the exercise of the pastoral ministry.
|Canon 280.||Some manner of common life is highly recommended to clerics; where it exists, it is as far as possible to be maintained.|
|Canon 281.||§1 Since clerics dedicate themselves to the ecclesiastical ministry, they deserve the remuneration that befits their condition, taking into account both the nature of their office and the conditions of time and place. It is to be such that it provides for the necessities of their life and for the just remuneration of those whose services they need.
§2 Suitable provision is likewise to be made for such social welfare as they may need in infirmity, sickness or old age.
§3 Married deacons who dedicate themselves full-time to the ecclesiastical ministry deserve remuneration sufficient to provide for themselves and their families. Those, however, who receive a remuneration by reason of a secular profession which they exercise or exercised, are to see to their own and to their families’ needs from that income.
|Canon 282.||§1 Clerics are to follow a simple way of life and avoid anything which smacks of worldliness.
§2 Goods which they receive on the occasion of the exercise of an ecclesiastical office, and which are over and above what is necessary for their worthy upkeep and the fulfilment of all the duties of their state, they may well wish to use for the good of the Church and for charitable works.
|Canon 283.||§1 Clerics, even if they do not have a residential office, are not to be absent from their diocese for a considerable time, to be determined by particular law, without the at least presumed permission of their proper Ordinary.
§2 They may, however, take a rightful and sufficient holiday every year, for the length of time determined by general or by particular law.
|Canon 284.||Clerics are to wear suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal Conference and legitimate local custom.|
|Canon 285.||§1 Clerics are to shun completely everything that is unbecoming to their state, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.
§2 Clerics are to avoid whatever is foreign to their state, even when it is not unseemly.
§3 Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means sharing in the exercise of civil power.
§4 Without the permission of their Ordinary, they may not undertake the administration of goods belonging to lay people, or secular offices which involve the obligation to render an account. They are forbidden to act as surety, even concerning their own goods, without consulting their proper Ordinary. They are not to sign promissory notes which involve the payment of money but do not state the reasons for the payment.
|Canon 286.||Clerics are forbidden to practise commerce or trade, either personally or through another, for their own or another’s benefit, except with the permission of the lawful ecclesiastical authority.|
|Canon 287.||§1 Clerics are always to do their utmost to foster among people peace and harmony based on justice.
§2 They are not to play an active role in political parties or in directing trade unions unless, in the judgement of the competent ecclesiastical authority, this is required for the defence of the rights of the Church or to promote the common good.
|Canon 288.||Permanent deacons are not bound by the provisions of cann. 284, 285 §§3 and 4, 286, 287 §2, unless particular law states otherwise.|
|Canon 289.||§1 As military service ill befits the clerical state, clerics and candidates for sacred orders are not to volunteer for the armed services without the permission of their Ordinary.
§2 Clerics are to take advantage of exemptions from exercising functions and public civil offices foreign to the clerical state, which are granted in their favour by law, agreements or customs, unless their proper Ordinary has in particular cases decreed otherwise.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Sacred Ministers or Clerics » Loss of the Clerical State|
|Canon 290.||Sacred ordination once validly received never becomes invalid. A cleric, however, loses the clerical state:
1° by a judgement of a court or an administrative decree, declaring the ordination invalid;
2° by the penalty of dismissal lawfully imposed;
3° by a rescript of the Apostolic See; this rescript, however, is granted to deacons only for grave reasons and to priests only for the gravest of reasons.
|Canon 291.||Apart from the cases mentioned in can. 290, n. 1, the loss of the clerical state does not carry with it a dispensation from the obligation of celibacy, which is granted solely by the Roman Pontiff.|
|Canon 292.||A cleric who loses the clerical state in accordance with the law, loses thereby the rights that are proper to the clerical state and is no longer bound by any obligations of the clerical state, without prejudice to can. 291. He is prohibited from exercising the power of order, without prejudice to can. 976. He is automatically deprived of all offices and roles and of any delegated power.|
|Canon 293.||A cleric who has lost the clerical state cannot be enrolled as a cleric again save by rescript of the Apostolic See.|
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Personal Prelatures|
|Canon 294.||Personal prelatures may be established by the Apostolic See after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned. They are composed of deacons and priests of the secular clergy. Their purpose is to promote an appropriate distribution of priests, or to carry out special pastoral or missionary enterprises in different regions or for different social groups.|
|Canon 295.||§1 A personal prelature is governed by statutes laid down by the Apostolic
See. It is presided over by a Prelate as its proper Ordinary. He has the right to establish a national or an international seminary, and to incardinate students and promote them to orders with the title of service of the prelature.
§2 The Prelate must provide both for the spiritual formation of those who are ordained with this title, and for their becoming support.
|Canon 296.||Lay people can dedicate themselves to the apostolic work of a personal prelature by way of agreements made with the prelature. The manner of this organic cooperation and the principal obligations and rights associated with it, are to be duly defined in the statutes.|
|Canon 297.||The statutes are likewise to define the relationships of the prelature with the local Ordinaries in whose particular Churches the prelature, with the prior consent ofthe diocesan Bishop, exercises or wishes to exercise its pastoral or missionary activity.|
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Associations of the Christian Faithful » Common Norms|
|Canon 298.||§1 In the Church there are associations which are distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life. In these associations, Christ’s faithful, whether clerics or laity, or clerics and laity together, strive with a common effort to foster a more perfect life, or to promote public worship or christian teaching. They may also devote themselves to other works of the apostolate, such as initiatives for evangelisation, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with the christian spirit.
§2 Christ’s faithful are to join especially those associations which have been established, praised or recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority.
|Canon 299.||§1 By private agreement among themselves, Christ’s faithful have the right to constitute associations for the purposes mentioned in can. 298 §1, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 301 §1.
§2 Associations of this kind, even though they may be praised or commended by ecclesiastical authority, are called private associations.
§3 No private association of Christ’s faithful is recognised in the Church unless its statutes have been reviewed by the competent authority.
|Canon 300.||No association may call itself ‘catholic’ except with the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with can. 312.|
|Canon 301.||§1 It is for the competent ecclesiastical authority alone to establish associations of Christ’s faithful which intend to impart Christian teaching in the name of the Church, or to promote public worship, or which are directed to other ends whose pursuit is of its nature reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority.
§2 The competent ecclesiastical authority, if it judges it expedient, can also establish associations of Christ’s faithful to pursue, directly or indirectly, other spiritual ends whose attainment is not adequately provided for by private initiatives.
§3 Associations of Christ’s faithful which are established by the competent ecclesiastical authority are called public associations.
|Canon 302.||Associations of Christ’s faithful are called clerical when they are under the direction of clerics, presuppose the exercise of sacred orders, and are acknowledged as such by the competent authority.
[In 2008 Benedict XVI granted the Congregation for the Clergy the privilege of allowing
public clerical assocations to incardinate clerics]
|Canon 303.||Associations whose members live in the world but share in the spirit of some religious institute, under the overall direction of the same institute, and who lead an apostolic life and strive for Christian perfection, are known as third orders, or are called by some other suitable title.|
|Canon 304.||§1 All associations of Christ’s faithful, whether public or private, by whatever title or name they are called, are to have their own statutes. These are to define the purpose or social objective of the association, its centre, its governance and the conditions of membership. They are also to specify the manner of action of the association, paying due regard to what is necessary or useful in the circumstances of the time and place.
§2 Associations are to select for themselves a title or name which is in keeping with the practices of the time and place, especially one derived from the purpose they intend.
|Canon 305.||§1 All associations of Christ’s faithful are subject to the supervision of the competent ecclesiastical authority. This authority is to ensure that integrity of faith and morals is maintained in them and that abuses in ecclesiastical discipline do not creep in. The competent authority has therefore the duty and the right to visit these associations, in accordance with the law and the statutes. Associations are also subject to the governance of the same authority in accordance with the provisions of the canons which follow.
§2 Associations of every kind are subject to the supervision of the Holy See.
Diocesan associations are subject to the supervision of the local Ordinary, as are other associations to the extent that they work in the diocese.
|Canon 306.||To enjoy the rights and privileges, indulgences and other spiritual favours granted to an association, it is necessary and sufficient that a person be validly received into the association in accordance with the provisions of the law and with the association’s own statutes, and be not lawfully dismissed from it.|
|Canon 307.||§1 The admission of members is to take place in accordance with the law and with the statutes of each association.
§2 The same person can be enrolled in several associations.
§3 In accordance with their own law, members of religious institutes may, with the consent of their Superior, join associations.
|Canon 308.||No one who was lawfully admitted is to be dismissed from an association except for a just reason, in accordance with the law and the statutes.|
|Canon 309.||Associations that are lawfully established have the right, in accordance with the law and the statutes, to make particular norms concerning the association, for the holding of meetings, and for the appointment of moderators, officials, ministers and administrators of goods.|
|Canon 310.||A private association which has not been constituted a juridical person cannot, as such, be the subject of duties and rights. However the faithful who are joined together in it can jointly contract obligations. As joint owners and joint possessors they can acquire and possess rights and goods. They can exercise these rights and obligations through a delegate or a proxy.|
|Canon 311.||Members of institutes of consecrated life who preside over or assist associations which are joined in some way to their institute, are to ensure that these associations help the apostolic works existing in the diocese. They are especially to cooperate, under the direction of the local Ordinary, with associations which are directed to the exercise of the apostolate in the diocese.|
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Associations of the Christian Faithful » Public Associations of the Christian Faithful|
|Canon 312.||§1 The authority which is competent to establish public associations is:
1° the Holy See, for universal and international associations
2° the Episcopal Conference in its own territory, for national associations which by their very establishment are intended for work throughout the whole nation;
3° the diocesan Bishop, each in his own territory, but not the diocesan Administrator, for diocesan associations, with the exception, however, of associations the right to whose establishment is reserved to others by apostolic privilege.
[NB see Rescript “ex audientia Ss.mi” of 15 June 2022 requiring the diocesan bishop, before erecting – by decree – a public association of the faithful with a view to becoming an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, to obtain the written permission of the Dicastery of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic
Life: cf. can. 579]
§2 The written consent of the diocesan Bishop is required for the valid establishment of an association or branch of an association in the diocese even though it is done in virtue of an apostolic privilege. Permission, however, which is given by the diocesan
Bishop for the foundation of a house of a religious institute, is valid also for the
establishment in the same house, or in a church attached to it, of an association which is proper to that institute.
|Canon 313.||A public association or a confederation of public associations is constituted a juridical person by the very decree by which it is established by the authority competent in accordance with can. 312. Moreover, insofar as is required, it thereby receives its mission to pursue, in the name of the Church, those ends which it proposes for itself.|
|Canon 314.||The statutes of any public association require the approval of the authority which, in accordance with can. 312 §1, is competent to establish the association; this approval is also required for a revision of, or a change in, the statutes.|
|Canon 315.||Public associations can, on their own initiative, undertake projects which are appropriate to their character, and they are governed by the statutes, but under the overall direction of the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1.|
|Canon 316.||§1 A person who has publicly rejected the catholic faith, or has defected from ecclesiastical communion, or upon whom an excommunication has been imposed or declared, cannot validly be received into public associations.
§2 Those who have been lawfully enrolled but who fall into one of the categories mentioned in §1, having been previously warned, are to be dismissed, in accordance with the statutes of the association, without prejudice to their right of recourse to the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1.
|Canon 317.||§1 Unless the statutes provide otherwise, it belongs to the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1 to confirm the moderator of a public association on election, or to appoint the moderator on presentation, or by his own right to appoint the moderator. The same authority appoints the chaplain or ecclesiastical assistant, after consulting the senior officials of the association, wherever this is expedient.
§2 The norm of §1 is also valid for associations which members of religious institutes, by apostolic privilege, establish outside their own churches or houses. In associations which members of religious institutes establish in their own church or house, the appointment or confirmation of the moderator and chaplain belongs to the
Superior of the institute, in accordance with the statutes.
§3 The laity can be moderators of associations which are not clerical. The chaplain or ecclesiastical assistant is not to be the moderator, unless the statutes provide otherwise.
§4 Those who hold an office of direction in political parties are not to be moderators in public associations of the faithful which are directly ordered to the exercise of the apostolate.
|Canon 318.||§1 In special circumstances, when serious reasons so require the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1 can appoint a commissioner to direct the association in his name for the time being.
§2 The moderator of a public association may be removed for a just reason, by the person who made the appointment or the confirmation, but the Moderator himself and the senior officials of the association must be consulted, in accordance with the statutes. The chaplain can, however, be removed by the person who appointed him, in accordance with can. 192--195.
|Canon 319.||§1 Unless otherwise provided, a lawfully established public association administers the goods it possesses, in accordance with the statutes, and under the overall direction of the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1. It must give a yearly account to this authority.
§2 The association must also faithfully account to the same authority for the disbursement of contributions and alms which it has collected.
|Canon 320.||§1 Associations established by the Holy See can be suppressed only by the
§2 For grave reasons, associations established by the Episcopal Conference can be suppressed by it. The diocesan Bishop can suppress those he has established, and also those which members of religious institutes have established by apostolic indult with the consent of the diocesan Bishop.
§3 A public association is not to be suppressed by the competent authority unless the moderator and other senior officials have been consulted.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Associations of the Christian Faithful » Private Associations of the Christian Faithful|
|Canon 321.||Christ’s faithful direct and moderate private associations according to the provisions of the statutes.|
|Canon 322.||§1 A private association of Christ’s faithful can acquire juridical personality by a formal decree of the competent ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312.
§2 No private association of Christ’s faithful can acquire juridical personality unless its statutes are approved by the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 §1. The
approval of the statutes does not, however, change the private nature of the association.
|Canon 323.||§1 Although private associations of Christ’s faithful enjoy their own autonomy in accordance with can. 321, they are subject to the supervision of ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with can. 305, and also to the governance of the same authority.
§2 It is also the responsibility of ecclesiastical authority, with due respect for the autonomy of private associations, to oversee and ensure that there is no dissipation of their forces, and that the exercise of their apostolate is directed to the common good.
|Canon 324.||§1 A private association of Christ’s faithful can freely designate for itself a moderator and officers, in accordance with the statutes.
§2 If a private association of Christ’s faithful wishes to have a spiritual counsellor, it can freely choose one for itself from among the priests who lawfully exercise a ministry in the diocese, but the priest requires the confirmation of the local Ordinary.
|Canon 325.||§1 A private association of Christ’s faithful is free to administer any goods it possesses, according to the provisions of the statutes, but the competent ecclesiastical authority has the right to ensure that the goods are applied to the purposes of the association.
§2 In accordance with can. 1301, the association is subject to the authority of the local Ordinary in whatever concerns the administration and distribution of goods which are donated or left to it for pious purposes.
|Canon 326.||§1 A private association of Christ’s faithful is extinguished in accordance with the norms of the statutes. It can also be suppressed by the competent authority if its activity gives rise to grave harm to ecclesiastical teaching or discipline, or is a scandal to the faithful.
§2 The fate of the goods of a private association which ceases to exist is to be determined in accordance with the statutes, without prejudice to acquired rights and to the wishes of donors.
|The People of God » The Christian Faithful » Associations of the Christian Faithful » Special Norms for Associations of the Laity|
|Canon 327.||Lay members of Christ’s faithful are to hold in high esteem associations established for the spiritual purposes mentioned in can. 298. They should especially esteem those associations whose aim is to animate the temporal order with the christian spirit, and thus greatly foster an intimate union between faith and life.|
|Canon 328.||Those who head lay associations, even those established by apostolic privilege, are to ensure that their associations cooperate with other associations of
Christ’s faithful, where this is expedient. They are to give their help freely to various christian works, especially those in the same territory.
|Canon 329.||Moderators of lay associations are to ensure that the members receive due formation, so that they may carry out the apostolate which is proper to the laity.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops|
|Canon 330.||Just as, by the decree of the Lord, Saint Peter and the rest of the Apostles form one College, so for a like reason the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, and the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, are united together in one.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops » The Roman Pontiff|
|Canon 331.||The office uniquely committed by the Lord to Peter, the first of the
Apostles, and to be transmitted to his successors, abides in the Bishop of the Church of Rome. He is the head of the College of Bishops, the Vicar of Christ, and the Pastor of the universal Church here on earth. Consequently, by virtue of his office, he has supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church, and he can always freely exercise this power.
|Canon 332.||§1 The Roman Pontiff acquires full and supreme power in the Church when, together with episcopal consecration, he has been lawfully elected and has accepted the election. Accordingly, if he already has the episcopal character, he receives this power from the moment he accepts election to the supreme pontificate.
If he does not have the episcopal character, he is immediately to be ordained Bishop.
§2 Should it happen that the Roman Pontiff resigns from his office, it is required for validity that the resignation be freely made and properly manifested, but it is not necessary that it be accepted by anyone.
|Canon 333.||§1 By virtue of his office, the Roman Pontiff not only has power over the universal Church, but also has pre-eminent ordinary power over all particular
Churches and their groupings. This reinforces and defends the proper, ordinary and immediate power which the Bishops have in the particular Churches entrusted to their care.
§2 The Roman Pontiff, in fulfilling his office as supreme Pastor of the Church, is always joined in full communion with the other Bishops, and indeed with the whole
Church. He has the right, however, to determine, according to the needs of the
Church, whether this office is to be exercised in a personal or in a collegial manner.
§3 There is neither appeal nor recourse against a judgement or a decree of the Roman
|Canon 334.||The Bishops are available to the Roman Pontiff in the exercise of his office, to cooperate with him in various ways, among which is the synod of Bishops.
Cardinals also assist him, as do other persons and, according to the needs of the time, various institutes; all these persons and institutes fulfil their offices in his name and by his authority, for the good of all the Churches, in accordance with the norms determined by law.
|Canon 335.||When the Roman See is vacant, or completely impeded, no innovation is to be made in the governance of the universal Church. The special laws enacted for these circumstances are to be observed.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Pontiff and the College of Bishops » The College of Bishops|
|Canon 336.||The head of the College of Bishops is the Supreme Pontiff, and its members are the Bishops by virtue of their sacramental consecration and hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members. This College of Bishops, in which the apostolic body abides in an unbroken manner, is, in union with its head and never without this head, also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church.|
|Canon 337.||§1 The College of Bishops exercises its power over the universal Church in solemn form in an Ecumenical Council.
§2 It exercises this same power by the united action of the Bishops dispersed throughout the world, when this action is as such proclaimed or freely accepted by the Roman Pontiff, so that it becomes a truly collegial act.
§3 It belongs to the Roman Pontiff to select and promote, according to the needs of the Church, ways in which the College of Bishops can exercise its office in respect of the universal Church in a collegial manner.
|Canon 338.||§1 It is the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff alone to summon an
Ecumenical Council, to preside over it personally or through others, to transfer, suspend or dissolve the Council, and to approve its decrees.
§2 It is also the prerogative of the Roman Pontiff to determine the matters to be dealt with in the Council, and to establish the order to be observed. The Fathers of the
Council may add other matters to those proposed by the Roman Pontiff, but these must be approved by the Roman Pontiff .
|Canon 339.||§1 All Bishops, but only Bishops who are members of the College of
Bishops, have the right and the obligation to be present at an Ecumenical Council with a deliberative vote.
§2 Some others besides, who do not have the episcopal dignity, can be summoned to an Ecumenical Council by the supreme authority in the Church, to whom it belongs to determine what part they take in the Council.
|Canon 340.||If the Apostolic See should become vacant during the celebration of the
Council, it is by virtue of the law itself suspended until the new Supreme Pontiff either orders it to continue or dissolves it.
|Canon 341.||§1 The decrees of an Ecumenical Council do not oblige unless they are approved by the Roman Pontiff as well as by the Fathers of the Council, confirmed by the Roman Pontiff and promulgated by his direction.
§2 If they are to have binding force, the same confirmation and promulgation is required for decrees which the College of Bishops issues by truly collegial actions in another manner introduced or freely accepted by the Roman Pontiff.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Synod of Bishops|
|Canon 342.||The synod of Bishops is a group of Bishops selected from different parts of the world, who meet together at specified times to promote the close relationship between the Roman Pontiff and the Bishops. These Bishops, by their counsel, assist the Roman Pontiff in the defence and development of faith and morals and in the preservation and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline. They also consider questions concerning the mission of the Church in the world.|
|Canon 343.||The function of the synod of Bishops is to discuss the matters proposed to it and set forth recommendations. It is not its function to settle matters or to draw up decrees, unless the Roman Pontiff has given it deliberative power in certain cases; in this event, it rests with the Roman Pontiff to ratify the decisions of the synod.|
|Canon 344.||The synod of Bishops is directly under the authority of the Roman Pontiff, whose prerogative it is:
1° to convene the synod, as often as this seems opportune to him, and to designate the place where the meetings are to be held
2° to ratify the election of those who, in accordance with the special law of the synod, are to be elected, and to designate and appoint other members;
3° at a suitable time before the celebration of the synod, to prescribe the outlines of the questions to be discussed, in accordance with the special law;
4° to determine the agenda;
5° to preside over the synod personally or through others;
6° to conclude, transfer, suspend or dissolve the synod.
|Canon 345.||The synod of Bishops can meet in general assembly, in which matters are dealt with which directly concern the good of the universal Church; such an assembly is either ordinary or extraordinary. It can also meet in special assembly, to deal with matters directly affecting a determined region or regions.|
|Canon 346.||§1 The synod of Bishops meeting in ordinary general assembly is comprised, for the most part, of Bishops elected for each assembly by the Episcopal
Conferences, in accordance with the norms of the special law of the synod. Other members are designated according to the same law; others are directly appointed by the Roman Pontiff. Added to these are some members of clerical religious institutes, elected in accordance with the same special law.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 346 §1, 10.X.1991]
§2 The synod of Bishops meeting in extraordinary general assembly for the purpose of dealing with matters which require speedy resolution, is comprised for the most part, of Bishops who, by reason of the office they hold, are designated by the special law of the synod; others are appointed directly by the Roman Pontiff. Added to these are some members of clerical religious institutes, elected in accordance with the same law.
§3 The synod of Bishops which meets in special assembly is comprised of members chosen principally from those regions for which the synod was convened, in accordance with the special law by which the synod is governed.
|Canon 347.||§1 When the meeting of the synod of Bishops is concluded by the Roman
Pontiff, the function entrusted in it to the Bishops and other members ceases.
§2 If the Apostolic See becomes vacant after the synod has been convened or during its celebration, the meeting of the synod, and the function entrusted in it to the members, is by virtue of the law itself suspended, until the new Pontiff decrees either that the assembly is to be dissolved or that it is to continue.
|Canon 348.||§1 There is to be a permanent general secretariat of the synod, presided over by a Secretary general appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The Secretary is to have the assistance of a council of the secretariat, composed of Bishops, some elected by the synod of Bishops itself in accordance with the special law, others appointed by the Roman Pontiff. The function of all these persons ceases with the beginning of a new general assembly.
§2 For each assembly of the synod of Bishops there are one or more special secretaries, who are appointed by the Roman Pontiff. They remain in office only until the end of the synod assembly.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church|
|Canon 349.||The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church constitute a special
College, whose prerogative it is to elect the Roman Pontiff in accordance with the norms of a special law. The Cardinals are also available to the Roman Pontiff, either acting collegially, when they are summoned together to deal with questions of major importance, or acting individually, that is, in the offices which they hold in assisting the Roman Pontiff especially in the daily care of the universal Church.
|Canon 350.||§1 The College of Cardinals is divided into three orders: the episcopal order, to which belong those Cardinals to whom the Roman Pontiff assigns the title of a suburbicarian Church, and eastern-rite Patriarchs who are made members of the
College of Cardinals; the presbyteral order, and the diaconal order.
§2 Cardinal priests and Cardinal deacons are each assigned a title or a deaconry in
Rome by the Roman Pontiff.
[NB see Rescript “ex audientia Ss.mi” of 26 June 2018 by which four Cardinals were coopted into the Order of Bishops and made equivalent to Cardinals who hold the title of a suburbicarian Church, in derogation of can. 350 §§1-2 and 352 §§2-3
(Communicationes 50 (2018), pp. 431-432).]
§3 Eastern Patriarchs within the College of Cardinals have their patriarchal see as a title.
§4 The Cardinal Dean has the title of the diocese of Ostia, together with that of any other Church to which he already has a title.
§5 By a choice made in Consistory and approved by the Supreme Pontiff, Cardinal priests may transfer to another title; Cardinal deacons may transfer to another deaconry and, if they have been a full ten years in the diaconal order, to the presbyteral order: priority of order and of promotion is to be observed.
§6 A Cardinal who by choice transfers from the diaconal to the presbyteral order, takes precedence over all Cardinal priests who were promoted to the Cardinalate after him.
|Canon 351.||§1 Those to be promoted Cardinals are men freely selected by the Roman
Pontiff, who are at least in the order of priesthood and are truly outstanding in doctrine, virtue, piety and prudence in practical matters; those who are not already
Bishops must receive episcopal consecration.
§2 Cardinals are created by decree of the Roman Pontiff, which in fact is published in the presence of the College of Cardinals. From the moment of publication, they are bound by the obligations and they enjoy the rights defined in the law.
§3 A person promoted to the dignity of Cardinal, whose creation the Roman Pontiff announces, but whose name he reserves in petto, is not at that time bound by the obligations nor does he enjoy the rights of a Cardinal. When his name is published by
the Roman Pontiff, however, he is bound by these obligations and enjoys these rights, but his right of precedence dates from the day of the reservation in petto.
|Canon 352.||§1 The Dean presides over the College of Cardinals. When he is unable to do so, the sub-Dean takes his place. The Dean, or the subDean, has no power of governance over the other Cardinals, but is considered as first among equals.
§2 When the office of Dean is vacant, those Cardinals who have a suburbicarian title, and only those, under the presidency of the sub-Dean if he is present, or of the oldest member, elect one of their number to act as Dean of the College. They are to submit his name to the Roman Pontiff, to whom it belongs to approve the person elected.
§3 In the same way as set out in §2, the sub-Dean is elected, with the Dean presiding.
It belongs to the Roman Pontiff to approve also the election of the sub-Dean.
[See can. 350 §§1-2 above.]
§4 If the Dean and sub-Dean do not already have a domicile in Rome, they acquire it there.
|Canon 353.||§1 Cardinals assist the Supreme Pastor of the Church in collegial fashion particularly in Consistories, in which they are gathered by order of the Roman Pontiff and under his presidency. Consistories are either ordinary or extraordinary.
§2 In an ordinary Consistory all Cardinals, or at least those who are in Rome, are summoned for consultation on certain grave matters of more frequent occurrence, or for the performance of especially solemn acts.
§3 All Cardinals are summoned to an extraordinary Consistory, which takes place when the special needs of the Church and more serious matters suggest it.
§4 Only an ordinary Consistory in which certain solemnities are celebrated, can be public, that is when, in addition to the Cardinals, Prelates, representatives of civil states and other invited persons are admitted.
|Canon 354.||Cardinals who head the departments and other permanent sections of the
Roman Curia and of Vatican City, who have completed their seventy-fifth year, are requested to offer their resignation from office to the Roman Pontiff, who will consider all the circumstances and make provision accordingly.
|Canon 355.||§1 It belongs to the Cardinal Dean to ordain the elected Roman Pontiff a
Bishop, if he is not already ordained. If the Dean is prevented from doing so, the same right belongs to the sub-Dean or, if he is prevented, to the senior Cardinal of the episcopal order.
§2 The senior Cardinal Deacon announces the name of the newly elected Supreme
Pontiff to the people. Acting in place of the Roman Pontiff, he also confers the pallium on metropolitan Bishops or gives the pallium to their proxies.
|Canon 356.||Cardinals have the obligation of cooperating closely with the Roman
Pontiff. For this reason, Cardinals who have any office in the Curia and are not diocesan Bishops, are obliged to reside in Rome. Cardinals who are in charge of a diocese as diocesan Bishops, are to go to Rome whenever summoned by the Roman
|Canon 357.||§1 When a Cardinal has taken possession of a suburbicarian Church or of a titular Church in Rome, he is to further the good of the diocese or church by counsel and patronage. However, he has no power of governance over it, and he should not for any reason interfere in matters concerning the administration of its goods, or its discipline, or the service of the church.
§2 Cardinals living outside Rome and outside their own diocese, are exempt in what concerns their person from the power of governance of the Bishop of the diocese in which they are residing.
|Canon 358.||A Cardinal may be deputed by the Roman Pontiff to represent him in some solemn celebration or assembly of persons as a ‘Legatus a latere’, that is, as his alter ego; or he may, as a special emissary, be entrusted with a particular pastoral task. A
Cardinal thus nominated is entitled to deal only with those affairs which have been entrusted to him by the Roman Pontiff himself.
|Canon 359.||When the Apostolic See is vacant, the College of Cardinals has only that power in the Church which is granted to it by special law.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » The Roman Curia|
|Canon 360.||The Supreme Pontiff usually conducts the business of the universal Church through the Roman Curia, which acts in his name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the Churches. The Curia is composed of the Secretariat of State or Papal Secretariat, the Council for the public affairs of the Church, the
Congregations, the Tribunals and other Institutes. The constitution and competence of all these is defined by special law.
|Canon 361.||In this Code the terms Apostolic See or Holy See mean not only the Roman
Pontiff, but also, unless the contrary is clear from the nature of things or from the context, the Secretariat of State, the Council for the public affairs of the Church, and the other Institutes of the Roman Curia.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » The Supreme Authority of the Church » Legates of the Roman Pontiff|
|Canon 362.||The Roman Pontiff has an inherent and independent right to appoint
Legates and to send them either to particular Churches in various countries or regions, or at the same time to States and to public Authorities. He also has the right to transfer or recall them, in accordance with the norms of international law concerning the mission and recall of representatives accredited to States.
|Canon 363.||§1 To Legates of the Roman Pontiff is entrusted the office of representing in a stable manner the person of the Roman Pontiff in the particular Churches, or also in the States and public Authorities, to whom they are sent.
§2 Those also represent the Apostolic See who are appointed to pontifical Missions as Delegates or Observers at international Councils or at Conferences and Meetings.
|Canon 364.||The principal task of a Papal Legate is continually to make more firm and effective the bonds of unity which exist between the Holy See and the particular
Churches. Within the territory assigned to him, it is therefore the responsibility of a
1° to inform the Apostolic See about the conditions in which the particular Churches find themselves, as well as about all matters which affect the life of the Church and the good of souls;
2° to assist the Bishops by action and advice, while leaving intact the exercise of their lawful power;
3° to foster close relations with the Episcopal Conference, offering it every assistance;
4° in connection with the appointment of Bishops, to send or propose names of candidates to the Apostolic See, as well as to prepare the informative process about those who may be promoted, in accordance with the norms issued by the Apostolic
5° to take pains to promote whatever may contribute to peace, progress and the united efforts of peoples;
6° to work with the Bishops to foster appropriate exchanges between the Catholic
Church and other Churches or ecclesial communities, and indeed with non-christian religions;
7° to work with the Bishops to safeguard, so far as the rulers of the State are concerned, those things which relate to the mission of the Church and of the
8° to exercise the faculties and carry out the other instructions which are given to him by the Apostolic See.
|Canon 365.||§1 A papal Legate who at the same time acts as envoy to the State according to international law, has in addition the special role:
1° of promoting and fostering relationships between the Apostolic See and the
Authorities of the State;
2° of dealing with questions concerning relations between Church and State, especially, of drawing up concordats and other similar agreements, and giving effect to them.
§2 As circumstances suggest, in the matters mentioned in §1, the papal Legate is not to omit to seek the opinion and counsel of the Bishops of the ecclesiastical jurisdiction and to keep them informed of the course of events.
|Canon 366.||Given the special nature of a Legate’s role:
1° the papal Legation is exempt from the power of governance of the local Ordinary, except for the celebration of marriages;
2° the papal Legate has the right to perform liturgical celebrations, even in pontificalia, in all churches of the territory of his legation; as far as it is possible, he is to give prior notice to the local Ordinary.
|Canon 367.||The office of papal Legate does not cease when the Apostolic See is vacant, unless otherwise specified in the pontifical Letters- it does cease, however, on the expiry of the mandate, on receipt by him of notification of recall, and on acceptance of his resignation by the Roman Pontiff.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Particular Churches|
|Canon 368.||Particular Churches, in which and from which the one and only catholic
Church exists, are principally dioceses. Unless the contrary is clear, the following are equivalent to a diocese: a territorial prelature, a territorial abbacy, a vicariate apostolic, a prefecture apostolic and a permanently established apostolic administration.
|Canon 369.||A diocese is a portion of the people of God, which is entrusted to a Bishop to be nurtured by him, with the cooperation of the presbyterium, in such a way that,
remaining close to its pastor and gathered by him through the Gospel and the
Eucharist in the Holy Spirit, it constitutes a particular Church. In this Church, the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ truly exists and functions.
|Canon 370.||A territorial prelature or abbacy is a certain portion of the people of God, territorially defined, the care of which is for special reasons entrusted to a Prelate or an Abbot, who governs it, in the manner of a diocesan Bishop, as its proper pastor.|
|Canon 371.||§1 A vicariate apostolic or a prefecture apostolic is a certain portion of the people of God, which for special reasons is not yet constituted a diocese, and which is entrusted to the pastoral care of a Vicar apostolic or a Prefect apostolic, who governs it in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.
§2 An apostolic administration is a certain portion of the people of God which, for special and particularly serious reasons, is not yet established by the Supreme Pontiff as a diocese, and whose pastoral care is entrusted to an apostolic Administrator, who governs it in the name of the Supreme Pontiff.
|Canon 372.||§1 As a rule, that portion of the people of God which constitutes a diocese or other particular Church is to have a defined territory, so that it comprises all the faithful who live in that territory.
§2 If however, in the judgement of the supreme authority in the Church, after consultation with the Episcopal Conferences concerned, it is thought to be helpful, there may be established in a given territory particular Churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality.
|Canon 373.||It is within the competence of the supreme authority alone to establish particular Churches; once they are lawfully established, the law itself gives them juridical personality.|
|Canon 374.||§1 Each diocese or other particular Church is to be divided into distinct parts or parishes.
§2 To foster pastoral care by means of common action, several neighbouring parishes can be joined together in special groups, such as vicariates forane.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Bishops » Bishops in general|
|Canon 375.||§1 By divine institution, Bishops succeed the Apostles through the Holy
Spirit who is given to them. They are constituted Pastors in the Church, to be the teachers of doctrine, the priests of sacred worship and the ministers of governance.
§2 By their episcopal consecration, Bishops receive, together with the office of sanctifying, the offices also of teaching and of ruling, which however, by their nature, can be exercised only in hierarchical communion with the head of the College and its members.
|Canon 376.||Bishops to whom the care of a given diocese is entrusted are called diocesan Bishops; the others are called titular Bishops.|
|Canon 377.||§1 The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints Bishops or confirms those lawfully elected.
§2 At least every three years, the Bishops of an ecclesiastical province or, if circumstances suggest it, of an Episcopal Conference, are to draw up, by common accord and in secret, a list of priests, even of members of institutes of consecrated life, who are suitable for the episcopate; they are to send this list to the Apostolic
See. This is without prejudice to the right of every Bishop individually to make known to the Apostolic See the names of priests whom he thinks are worthy and suitable for the episcopal office.
§3 Unless it has been lawfully prescribed otherwise, for the appointment of a diocesan Bishop or a coadjutor Bishop, a ternus, as it is called, is to be proposed to the Apostolic See. In the preparation of this list, it is the responsibility of the papal
Legate to seek individually the suggestions of the Metropolitan and of the Suffragans of the province to which the diocese in question belongs or with which it is joined in some grouping, as well as the suggestions of the president of the Episcopal
Conference. The papal Legate is, moreover, to hear the views of some members of the college of consultors and of the cathedral chapter. If he judges it expedient, he is also to seek individually, and in secret, the opinions of other clerics, both secular and religious, and of lay persons of outstanding wisdom. He is then to send these suggestions, together with his own opinion, to the Apostolic See.
§4 Unless it has been lawfully provided otherwise, the diocesan Bishop who judges that his diocese requires an auxiliary Bishop, is to propose to the Apostolic See a list of the names of at least three priests suitable for this office .
§5 For the future, no rights or privileges of election, appointment, presentation or designation of Bishops are conceded to civil authorities.
|Canon 378.||§1 To be a suitable candidate for the episcopate, a person must:
1° be outstanding in strong faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence and human virtues, and possess those other gifts which equip him to fulfil the office in question;
2° be held in good esteem;
3° be at least 35 years old;
4° be a priest ordained for at least five years;
5° hold a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred Scripture, theology or canon law, from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least be well versed in these disciplines.
§2 The definitive judgement on the suitability of the person to be promoted rests with the Apostolic See.
|Canon 379.||Unless prevented by a lawful reason, one who is promoted to the episcopate must receive episcopal consecration within three months of receiving the apostolic letters, and in fact before he takes possession of his office.|
|Canon 380.||Before taking canonical possession of his office, he who has been promoted is to make the profession of faith and take the oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See, in accordance with the formula approved by the same Apostolic See.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Bishops » Diocesan bishops|
|Canon 381.||§1 In the diocese entrusted to his care, the diocesan Bishop has all the ordinary, proper and immediate power required for the exercise of his pastoral office, except in those matters which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme or to some other ecclesiastical authority.
§2 Those who are at the head of the other communities of the faithful mentioned in can. 368, are equivalent in law to the diocesan Bishop unless the contrary is clear from the nature of things or from a provision of the law.
|Canon 382.||§1 A person who is promoted to the episcopate cannot become involved in the exercise of the office entrusted to him before he has taken canonical possession of the diocese. However, he is able to exercise offices which he already held in the same diocese at the time of his promotion, without prejudice to can. 409 §2.
§2 Unless he is lawfully impeded, one who is not already consecrated a Bishop and is now promoted to the office of diocesan Bishop, must take canonical possession of his diocese within four months of receiving the apostolic letters. If he is already consecrated, he must take possession within two months of receiving the apostolic letters.
§3 A Bishop takes canonical possession of his diocese when, personally or by proxy, he shows the apostolic letters to the college of consultors, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact. This must take place within
the diocese. In dioceses which are newly established he takes possession when he communicates the same letters to the clergy and the people in the cathedral church, with the senior of the priests present making a record of the fact.
§4 It is strongly recommended that the taking of canonical possession be performed with a liturgical act in the cathedral church, in the presence of the clergy and the people.
|Canon 383.||§1 In exercising his pastoral office, the diocesan Bishop is to be solicitous for all Christ’s faithful entrusted to his care, whatever their age, condition or nationality, whether they live in the territory or are visiting there. He is to show an apostolic spirit also to those who, because of their condition of life, are not sufficiently able to benefit from ordinary pastoral care, and to those who have lapsed from religious practice.
§2 If he has faithful of a different rite in his diocese, he is to provide for their spiritual needs either by means of priests or parishes of the same rite, or by an episcopal Vicar.
§3 He is to act with humanity and charity to those who are not in full communion with the catholic Church- he should also foster ecumenism as it is understood by the
§4 He is to consider the non-baptised as commended to him in the Lord, so that the charity of Christ, of which the Bishop must be a witness to all, may shine also on them.
|Canon 384.||He is to have a special concern for the priests, to whom he is to listen as his helpers and counsellors. He is to defend their rights and ensure that they fulfil the obligations proper to their state. He is to see that they have the means and the institutions needed for the development of their spiritual and intellectual life. He is to ensure that they are provided with adequate means of livelihood and social welfare, in accordance with the law.|
|Canon 385.||He must in a very special way foster vocations to the various ministries and to consecrated life, having a special care for priestly and missionary vocations.|
|Canon 386.||§1 The diocesan Bishop is bound to teach and illustrate to the faithful the truths of faith which are to be believed and applied to behaviour. He is himself to preach frequently. He is also to ensure that the provisions of the canons on the ministry of the word, especially on the homily and catechetical instruction, are faithfully observed, so that the whole of christian teaching is transmitted to all.
§2 By whatever means seem most appropriate, he is firmly to defend the integrity and unity of the faith to be believed. However, he is to acknowledge a just freedom in the further investigation of truths.
|Canon 387.||Mindful that he is bound to give an example of holiness, charity, humility and simplicity of life, the diocesan Bishop is to seek in every way to promote the holiness of Christ’s faithful according to the special vocation of each. Since he is the principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, he is to strive constantly that Christ’s faithful entrusted to his care may grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments, and may know and live the paschal mystery.|
|Canon 388.||§1 After he has taken possession of the diocese, the diocesan Bishop must apply the Mass for the people entrusted to him on each Sunday and on each holyday of obligation in his region.
§2 The Bishop must himself celebrate and apply the Mass for the people on the days mentioned in §1; if, however, he is lawfully impeded from so doing, he is to have someone else do so on those days, or do so himself on other days.
§3 A Bishop who, in addition to his own, is given another diocese, even as administrator, satisfies the obligation by applying one Mass for all the people entrusted to him.
§4 A Bishop who has not satisfied the obligation mentioned in §§1-3, is to apply as soon as possible as many Masses for the people as he has omitted.
|Canon 389.||He is frequently to preside at the Eucharistic celebration in the cathedral church or in some other church of his diocese, especially on holydays of obligation and on other solemnities.|
|Canon 390.||The diocesan Bishop may use pontificalia throughout his diocese. He may not do so outside his diocese without the consent of the local Ordinary, either expressly given or at least reasonably presumed.|
|Canon 391.||§1 The diocesan Bishop governs the particular Church entrusted to him with legislative, executive and judicial power, in accordance with the law.
§2 The Bishop exercises legislative power himself. He exercises executive power either personally or through Vicars general or episcopal Vicars, in accordance with the law. He exercises judicial power either personally or through a judicial Vicar and judges, in accordance with the law.
|Canon 392.||§1 Since the Bishop must defend the unity of the universal Church, he is bound to foster the discipline which is common to the whole Church, and so press for the observance of all ecclesiastical laws.
§2 He is to ensure that abuses do not creep 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 the saints, and the administration of goods.
|Canon 393.||In all juridical transactions of the diocese, the diocesan Bishop acts in the person of the diocese.|
|Canon 394.||§1 The Bishop is to foster various forms of the apostolate in his diocese and is to ensure that throughout the entire diocese, or in its particular districts, all works of the apostolate are coordinated under his direction, with due regard for the character of each apostolate.
§2 He is to insist on the faithful’s obligation to exercise the apostolate according to the condition and talents of each. He is to urge them to take part in or assist various works of the apostolate, according to the needs of place and time.
|Canon 395.||§1 The diocesan Bishop is bound by the law of personal residence in his diocese, even if he has a coadjutor or auxiliary Bishop.
§2 Apart from the visit ‘ad limina’, attendance at councils or at the synod of Bishops or at the Episcopal Conference, at which he must be present, or by reason of another office lawfully entrusted to him, he may be absent from the diocese, for a just reason, for not longer than one month, continuously or otherwise, provided he ensures that the diocese is not harmed by this absence.
§3 He is not to be absent from his diocese on Christmas Day, during Holy Week, or on Easter Sunday, Pentecost and Corpus Christi, except for a grave and urgent reason.
§4 If the Bishop is unlawfully absent from the diocese for more than six months, the
Metropolitan is to notify the Holy See. If it is the Metropolitan who is absent, the senior suffragan is to do the same.
|Canon 396.||§1 The Bishop is bound to visit his diocese in whole or in part each year, so that at least every five years he will have visited the whole diocese, either personally or, if he is lawfully impeded, through the coadjutor or auxiliary Bishop, the Vicar general, an episcopal Vicar or some other priest.
§2 The Bishop has a right to select any clerics he wishes as his companions and helpers in a visitation, any contrary privilege or custom being reprobated.
|Canon 397.||§1 Persons, catholic institutes, pious objects and places within the boundaries of the diocese, are subject to ordinary episcopal visitation.
§2 The Bishop may visit the members of religious institutes of pontifical right and their houses only in the cases stated in the law.
|Canon 398.||The Bishop is to endeavour to make his pastoral visitation with due diligence. He is to ensure that he is not a burden to anyone on the ground of undue expense.|
|Canon 399.||§1 Every five years the diocesan Bishop is bound to submit to the Supreme
Pontiff a report on the state of the diocese entrusted to him, in the form and at the time determined by the Apostolic See.
§2 If the year assigned for submitting this report coincides in whole or in part with the first two years of his governance of the diocese, for that occasion the Bishop need not draw up and submit the report.
|Canon 400.||§1 Unless the Apostolic See has decided otherwise, in the year in which he is bound to submit the report to the Supreme Pontiff, the diocesan Bishop is to go to
Rome to venerate the tombs of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and to present himself to the Roman Pontiff.
§2 The Bishop is to satisfy this obligation personally, unless he is lawfully impeded; in which case he is to satisfy the obligation through the coadjutor, if he has one, or the auxiliary, or a suitable priest of his presbyterium who resides in his diocese.
§3 A Vicar apostolic can satisfy this obligation through a proxy, even through one residing in Rome. A Prefect apostolic is not bound by this obligation.
|Canon 401.||§1 A diocesan Bishop who has completed his seventy-fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the Supreme Pontiff, who, taking all the circumstances into account, will make provision accordingly.
§2 A diocesan Bishop who, because of illness or some other grave reason, has become unsuited for the fulfilment of his office, is earnestly requested to offer his resignation from office.
NB see m.p. Learn to take your leave, 12.II.2018:
Art. 1. Upon reaching 75 years of age, diocesan and eparchial Bishops, and those deemed equivalent to them according to canons 381 §2 cic and 313 cceo, as well as Coadjutor and Auxiliary Bishops or holders of special pastoral responsibilities, are invited to present to the Supreme Pontiff their resignation from pastoral office.
Art. 2. Upon reaching 75 years of age, non-Cardinal Dicastery Heads of the
Roman Curia, Superior Prelates of the Roman Curia and Bishops holding other
offices of the Holy See, do not ipso facto cede their office, but must present their resignation to the Supreme Pontiff.
Art. 3. Likewise, Pontifical Representatives do not ipso facto cede their office upon reaching seventy-five years of age, but in this circumstance must present their resignation to the Supreme Pontiff.
Art. 4. To be effective, resignation pursuant to articles 1-3 must be accepted by the Supreme Pontiff, who will decide by evaluating the concrete circumstances.
Art. 5. Once the resignation is presented, the office relative to articles 1-3 will be extended until acceptance of the resignation is communicated to the interested party, for a fixed or unspecified time, contrary to the general terms established by canons 189 §3 cic and 970 §1 cceo.
|Canon 402.||§1 A Bishop whose resignation from office has been accepted, acquires the unless, because of special circumstances in certain cases, the Apostolic See provides otherwise.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 402 §1, 10.X.1991]
§2 The Episcopal Conference must ensure that suitable and worthy provision is made for the upkeep of a Bishop who has resigned, bearing in mind the primary obligation which falls on the diocese which he served.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » Bishops » Coadjutor and auxiliary bishops|
|Canon 403.||§1 When the pastoral needs of the diocese require it, one or more auxiliary
Bishops are to be appointed at the request of the diocesan Bishop. An auxiliary
Bishop does not have the right of succession.
§2 In more serious circumstances, even of a personal nature, the diocesan Bishop may be given an auxiliary Bishop with special faculties.
§3 If the Holy See considers it more opportune, it can ex officio appoint a coadjutor
Bishop, who also has special faculties. A coadjutor Bishop has the right of succession.
|Canon 404.||§1 The coadjutor Bishop takes possession of his office when, either personally or by proxy, he shows the apostolic letters of appointment to the diocesan
Bishop and the college of consultors, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact.
§2 An auxiliary Bishop takes possession of his office when he shows his apostolic letters of appointment to the diocesan Bishop, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia, who makes a record of the fact.
§3 If the diocesan Bishop is wholly impeded, it is sufficient that either the coadjutor
Bishop or the auxiliary Bishop show their apostolic letters of appointment to the college of consultors, in the presence of the chancellor of the curia.
|Canon 405.||§1 The coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishop have the obligations and the rights which are determined by the provisions of the following canons and defined in their letters of appointment.
§2 The coadjutor Bishop, or the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2, assists the diocesan Bishop in the entire governance of the diocese, and takes his place when he is absent or impeded.
|Canon 406.||§1 The coadjutor Bishop, and likewise the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2, is to be appointed a Vicar general by the diocesan Bishop. The diocesan
Bishop is to entrust to him, in preference to others, those things which by law require a special mandate.
§2 Unless the apostolic letters provide otherwise, and without prejudice to the provision of §1, the diocesan Bishop is to appoint his auxiliary or auxiliaries as Vicar general or at least episcopal Vicar, in dependence solely on his authority, or on that of the coadjutor Bishop or of the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2.
|Canon 407.||§1 For the greatest present and future good of the diocese, the diocesan
Bishop, the coadjutor and the auxiliary Bishop mentioned in can. 403 §2, are to consult with each other on matters of greater importance.
§2 In assessing matters of greater importance, particularly those of a pastoral nature, the diocesan Bishop is to consult the auxiliary Bishop before all others.
§3 The coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishop, since they are called to share in the cares of the diocesan Bishop, should so exercise their office that they act and think in accord with him.
|Canon 408.||§1 As often as they are requested to do so by the diocesan Bishop, a coadjutor Bishop and an auxiliary Bishop who are not lawfully impeded, are obliged to perform those pontifical and other functions to which the diocesan Bishop is bound.
§2 Those episcopal rights and functions which the coadjutor can exercise are not habitually to be entrusted to another by the diocesan Bishop.
|Canon 409.||§1 When the episcopal see falls vacant, the coadjutor immediately becomes the Bishop of the diocese for which he was appointed, provided he has lawfully taken possession.
§2 Unless the competent authority has provided otherwise, when the episcopal see is vacant and until the new Bishop takes possession of the see, the auxiliary Bishop retains all and only those powers and faculties which he had as Vicar general or as episcopal Vicar when the see was occupied. If he is not appointed to the office of diocesan Administrator, he is to exercise this same power of his, conferred by the law, under the authority of the diocesan Administrator, who governs the diocese.
|Canon 410.||The coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishop are bound, like the diocesan
Bishop, to reside in the diocese. Other than for the fulfilment of some duty outside the diocese, or for holidays, which are not to be longer than one month, they may not be away from the diocese except for a brief period.
|Canon 411.||The provisions of cann. 401 and 402 §2, concerning resignation from office, apply also to a coadjutor and an auxiliary Bishop.
[NB see m.p. Learn to take your leave, 12.II.2018, art. 5 (cf. can. 401)]
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » The impeded see and the vacant see » The impeded see|
|Canon 412.||The episcopal see is understood to be impeded if the diocesan
Bishop is completely prevented from exercising the pastoral office in the diocese by reason of imprisonment, banishment, exile or incapacity, so that he is unable to communicate, even by letter, with the people of his diocese.
|Canon 413.||§1 Unless the Holy See has provided otherwise, when a see is impeded, the governance of the diocese devolves on the coadjutor Bishop, if there is one. If there is no coadjutor, or if he is impeded, it devolves upon the auxiliary Bishop, or the Vicar general, or the episcopal Vicar, or another priest: the order of persons to be followed is to be that determined in the list which the diocesan Bishop is to draw up as soon as possible after taking possession of his diocese. This list, which is to be communicated to the Metropolitan, is to be revised at least every three years, and kept under secrecy by the chancellor.
§2 If there is no coadjutor Bishop or if he is impeded, and the list mentioned in §1 is not at hand, it is the responsibility of the college of consultors to elect a priest who will govern the diocese.
§3 The person who undertakes the governance of the diocese according to the norms of §§1 or 2, is to notify the Holy See as soon as possible that the see is impeded and that he has undertaken the office.
|Canon 414.||Whoever is called, in accordance with can. 413, to exercise the pastoral care of the diocese for the time being, that is, only for the period during which the see is impeded, is in his pastoral care of the diocese bound by the obligations, and has the power, which by law belong to the diocesan Administrator.|
|Canon 415.||If the diocesan Bishop is prohibited from exercising his office by reason of an ecclesiastical penalty, the Metropolitan is to refer the matter at once to the Holy
See, so that it may make provision; if there is no Metropolitan, or if he is the one affected by the penalty, it is the suffragan senior by promotion who is to refer the matter.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Particular Churches and the Authority Established in Them » The impeded see and the vacant see » The vacant see|
|Canon 416.||The episcopal see becomes vacant by the death of the diocesan Bishop, by his resignation accepted by the Holy See, by transfer, or by deprivation notified to the
|Canon 417.||Until they have received certain notification of the Bishop’s death, all actions taken by the Vicar general or the episcopal Vicar have effect. Until they have received certain notification of the aforementioned papal acts, the same is true of actions taken by the diocesan Bishop, the Vicar general or the episcopal Vicar.|
|Canon 418.||§1 Within two months of receiving certain notification of transfer, the
Bishop must proceed to the diocese to which he has been transferred and take canonical possession of it. On the day on which he takes possession of the new diocese, the diocese from which he has been transferred becomes vacant.
§2 In the period between receiving certain notification of the transfer and taking possession of the new diocese, in the diocese from which he is being transferred the
1° has the power, and is bound by the obligations, of a diocesan Administrator; all powers of the Vicar general and of the episcopal Vicar cease, without prejudice to can. 409 §2;
2° receives the full remuneration proper to the office.
|Canon 419.||While the see is vacant and until the appointment of a diocesan
Administrator, the governance of the diocese devolves upon the auxiliary Bishop. If there are a number of auxiliary Bishops, it devolves upon the senior by promotion. If there is no auxiliary Bishop, it devolves upon the college of consultors, unless the
Holy See has provided otherwise. The one who thus assumes the governance of the diocese must without delay convene the college which is competent to appoint a diocesan Administrator.
|Canon 420.||Unless the Holy See has prescribed otherwise, when the see is vacant in a vicariate or a prefecture apostolic, the governance is assumed by the Pro-Vicar or
Pro-Prefect who was designated for this sole purpose by the Vicar or Prefect immediately upon taking possession.
|Canon 421.||§1 Within eight days of receiving notification of the vacancy of an episcopal see, a diocesan Administrator is to be elected by the college of consultors, to govern the diocese for the time being, without prejudice to the provisions of can.
§2 If, for any reason, the diocesan Administrator is not lawfully elected within the prescribed time, his appointment devolves upon the Metropolitan. If the metropolitan see is itself vacant, or if both the metropolitan see and a suffragan see are vacant, the appointment devolves on the suffragan who is senior by promotion.
|Canon 422.||The auxiliary Bishop or, if there is none, the college of consultors, must as soon as possible notify the Apostolic See of the death of the Bishop. The person elected as diocesan Administrator must as soon as possible notify the Apostolic See of his election.|
|Canon 423.||§1 Only one diocesan Administrator is to be appointed, contrary customs being reprobated; otherwise the election is invalid.
§2 The diocesan Administrator is not to be at the same time the financial administrator. Accordingly, if the financial administrator of the diocese is elected
Administrator, the finance committee is to elect another temporary financial administrator.
|Canon 424.||The diocesan Administrator is to be elected according to the norms of cann.
|Canon 425.||§1 Only a priest who has completed his thirty-fifth year of age, and has not already been elected, appointed or presented for the same see, can validly be deputed to the office of diocesan Administrator.
§2 As diocesan Administrator a priest is to be elected who is outstanding for doctrine and prudence.
§3 If the conditions prescribed in §1 have not been observed, the Metropolitan or, if the metropolitan see itself is vacant, the suffragan senior by promotion, having verified the truth of the matter, is to appoint an Administrator for that occasion. The
acts of a person elected contrary to the provisions of §1 are by virtue of the law itself invalid.
|Canon 426.||Whoever governs the diocese before the appointment of the diocesan
Administrator, has the power which the law gives to a Vicar general.
|Canon 427.||§1 The diocesan Administrator is bound by the obligations and enjoys the power of a diocesan Bishop, excluding those matters which are excepted by the nature of things or by the law itself.
§2 The diocesan Administrator obtains his power on his acceptance of the election, without the need of confirmation from anyone, but without prejudice to the provision of can. 833, n. 4.
|Canon 428.||§1 While the see is vacant, no innovation is to be made.
§2 Those who have the interim governance of the diocese are forbidden to do anything which could in any way prejudice the rights of the diocese or of the Bishop.
Both they, and in like manner any other persons, are specifically forbidden to remove, destroy or in any way alter documents of the diocesan curia, either personally or through another.
|Canon 429.||The diocesan Administrator is bound by the obligations of residing in the diocese, and of applying the Mass for the people in accordance with can. 388.|
|Canon 430.||§1 The office of the diocesan Administrator ceases when the new Bishop takes possession of the diocese.
§2 Removal of the diocesan Administrator is reserved to the Holy See. Should he perchance resign, the resignation is to be submitted in authentic form to the college which is competent to elect, but it does not require acceptance by the college. If the diocesan Administrator is removed, resigns or dies, another diocesan Administrator is to be elected in accordance with can. 421.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Ecclesiastical provinces and regions|
|Canon 431.||Neighbouring particular Churches are to be grouped into ecclesiastical provinces, with a certain defined territory. The purpose of this grouping is to promote, according to the circumstances of persons and place, a common pastoral action of various neighbouring dioceses, and the more closely to foster relations between diocesan Bishops.
§2 From now onwards, as a rule, there are to be no exempt dioceses. Accordingly, individual dioceses and other particular Churches which exist within the territory of an ecclesiastical province, must be included in that ecclesiastical province.
§3 It is the exclusive prerogative of the supreme authority in the Church, after consulting the Bishops concerned, to establish, suppress or alter ecclesiastical provinces.
|Canon 432.||§1 The provincial council and the Metropolitan have authority over the ecclesiastical province, in accordance with the law.
§2 By virtue of the law, an ecclesiastical province has juridical personality.
|Canon 433.||§1 If it seems advantageous, especially in countries where there are very many particular Churches, the Holy See can, on the proposal of the Episcopal
Conference, join together neighbouring provinces into ecclesiastical regions.
§2 An ecclesiastical region can be constituted a juridical person.
|Canon 434.||It is for a meeting of the Bishops of an ecclesiastical region to foster cooperation and common pastoral action in the region. However the powers given to
Episcopal Conferences in the canons of this Code do not belong to such a meeting, unless some of these powers have been specially granted to it by the Holy See.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 434, 23.V.1988]
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Metropolitans|
|Canon 435.||An ecclesiastical province is presided over by a Metropolitan, who is
Archbishop in his own diocese. The office of Metropolitan is linked to an episcopal see, determined or approved by the Roman Pontiff.
|Canon 436.||§1 Within the suffragan dioceses, the Metropolitan is competent:
1° to see that faith and ecclesiastical discipline are carefully observed and to notify the Roman Pontiff if there be any abuses;
2° for a reason approved beforehand by the Apostolic See, to conduct a canonical visitation if the suffragan Bishop has neglected it;
3° to appoint a diocesan Administrator in accordance with cann. 421 §2 and 425 §3.
§2 Where circumstances require it, the Apostolic See can give the Metropolitan special functions and power, to be determined in particular law.
§3 The Metropolitan has no other power of governance over suffragan dioceses. He can, however, celebrate sacred functions in all churches as if he were a Bishop in his own diocese, provided, if it is the cathedral church, the diocesan Bishop has been previously notified.
|Canon 437.||§1 The Metropolitan is obliged to request the pallium from the Roman
Pontiff, either personally or by proxy, within three months of his episcopal consecration or, if he has already been consecrated, of his canonical appointment.
The pallium signifies the power which, in communion with the Roman Church, the
Metropolitan possesses by law in his own province.
§2 The Metropolitan can wear the pallium, in accordance with the liturgical laws, in any church of the ecclesiastical province over which he presides, but not outside the province, not even with the assent of the diocesan Bishop.
§3 If the Metropolitan is transferred to another metropolitan see, he requires a new pallium.
|Canon 438.||The title of Patriarch or Primate gives a prerogative of honour, but in the latin Church does not carry with it any power of governance, except in certain matters where an apostolic privilege or approved custom establishes otherwise.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Particular councils|
|Canon 439.||§1 A plenary council for all the particular Churches of the same Episcopal
Conference is to be celebrated as often as the Episcopal Conference, with the approval of the Apostolic See, considers it necessary or advantageous.
§2 The norm laid down in §1 is valid also for a provincial council to be celebrated in an ecclesiastical province whose boundaries coincide with the boundaries of the country.
|Canon 440.||§1 A provincial council, for the various particular Churches of the same ecclesiastical province, is celebrated as often as, in the judgement of the majority of the diocesan Bishops of the province, it is considered opportune, without prejudice to can. 439 §2.
§2 A provincial council may not be called while the metropolitan see is vacant.
|Canon 441.||It is the responsibility of the Episcopal Conference:
1° to convene a plenary council;
2° to choose a place within the territory of the Episcopal Conference for the celebration of the council;
3° to elect from among the diocesan Bishops a president of the plenary council, who is to be approved by the Apostolic See;
4° to determine the order of business and the matters to be considered, to announce when the plenary council is to begin and how long it is to last, and to transfer, prorogue and dissolve it.
|Canon 442.||§1 It is the responsibility of the Metropolitan, with the consent of the majority of the suffragan Bishops:
1° to convene a provincial council
2° to choose a place within the territory of the province for the celebration of the provincial council;
3° to determine the order of business and the matters to be considered, to announce when the provincial council is to begin and how long it is to last, and to transfer, prorogue and dissolve it.
§2 It is the prerogative of the Metropolitan to preside over the provincial council. If he is lawfully impeded from doing so, it is the prerogative of a suffragan Bishop elected by the other suffragan Bishops.
|Canon 443.||§1 The following have the right to be summoned to particular councils and have the right to a deliberative vote:
1° diocesan Bishops;
2° coadjutor and auxiliary Bishops
3° other titular Bishops who have been given a special function in the territory, either by the Apostolic See or by the Episcopal Conference.
§2 Other titular Bishops who are living in the territory, even if they are retired, may be invited to particular councils; they have the right to a deliberative vote.
§3 The following are to be invited to particular councils, but with only a consultative vote:
1° Vicars general and episcopal Vicars of all the particular Churches in the territory;
2° the major Superiors of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life. Their number, for both men and women, is to be determined by the Episcopal Conference or the Bishops of the province, and they are to be elected respectively by all the major
Superiors of institutes and societies which have a centre in the territory;
3° the rectors of ecclesiastical and catholic universities which have a centre in the territory, together with the deans of their faculties of theology and canon law;
4° some rectors of major seminaries, their number being determined as in no. 2; they are to be elected by the rectors of seminaries situated in the territory.
§4 Priests and others of Christ’s faithful may also be invited to particular councils, but have only a consultative vote; their number is not to exceed half of those mentioned in 1-3.
§5 The cathedral chapter, the council of priests and the pastoral council of each particular Church are to be invited to provincial councils, but in such a way that each is to send two members, designated in a collegial manner. They have only a consultative vote.
§6 Others may be invited to particular councils as guests, if this is judged expedient by the Episcopal Conference for a plenary council, or by the Metropolitan with the suffragan Bishops for a provincial council.
|Canon 444.||§1 All who are summoned to particular councils must attend, unless they are prevented by a just impediment, of whose existence they are obliged to notify the president of the council.
§2 Those who are summoned to a particular council in which they have a deliberative vote, but who are prevented from attending because of a just impediment, can send a proxy. The proxy, however, has only a consultative vote.
|Canon 445.||A particular council is to ensure that the pastoral needs of the people of
God in its territory are provided for. While it must always respect the universal law of the Church, it has power of governance, especially legislative power. It can, therefore, determine whatever seems opportune for an increase of faith, for the ordering of common pastoral action, for the direction of morality and for the preservation, introduction and defence of a common ecclesiastical discipline.
|Canon 446.||When a particular council has concluded, the president is to ensure that all the acts of the council are sent to the Apostolic See. The decrees drawn up by the council are not to be promulgated until they have been reviewed by the Apostolic
See. The council has the responsibility of defining the manner in which the decrees will be promulgated and the time when the promulgated decrees will begin to oblige.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » Groupings of Particular Churches » Conferences of bishops|
|Canon 447.||The Episcopal Conference, a permanent institution, is the assembly of the
Bishops of a country or of a certain territory, exercising together certain pastoral offices for Christ’s faithful of that territory. By forms and means of apostolate suited to the circumstances of time and place, it is to promote, in accordance with the law, that greater good which the Church offers to all people.
|Canon 448.||§1 As a general rule, the Episcopal Conference includes those who preside over all the particular Churches of the same country, in accordance with can. 450.
§2 An Episcopal Conference can, however, be established for a territory of greater or less extent if the Apostolic See, after consultation with the diocesan Bishops concerned, judges that circumstances suggest this. Such a Conference would include only the Bishops of some particular Churches in a certain territory, or those who preside over particular Churches in different countries. It is for the Apostolic See to lay down special norms for each case.
|Canon 449.||§1 It is for the supreme authority of the Church alone, after consultation with the Bishops concerned, to establish, suppress, or alter Episcopal Conferences.
§2 An Episcopal Conference lawfully established has juridical personality by virtue of the law itself.
|Canon 450.||§1 By virtue of the law, the following persons in the territory belong to the
Episcopal Conference: all diocesan Bishops and those equivalent to them in law; all coadjutor Bishops, auxiliary Bishops and other titular Bishops who exercise in the territory a special office assigned to them by the Apostolic See or by the Episcopal
Conference. Ordinaries of another rite may be invited, but have only a consultative vote, unless the statutes of the Episcopal Conference decree otherwise.
§2 The other titular Bishops and the Legate of the Roman Pontiff are not by law members of the Episcopal Conference.
|Canon 451.||Each Episcopal Conference is to draw up its own statutes, to be reviewed by the Apostolic See. In these, among other things, arrangements for the plenary meetings of the Conference are to be set out, and provision is to be made for a permanent committee of Bishops, and a general secretary of the Conference, and for other offices and commissions by which, in the judgement of the Conference, its purpose can more effectively be achieved.|
|Canon 452.||§1 Each Episcopal Conference is to elect its president and determine who, in the lawful absence of the president, will exercise the function of vice-president. It is also to designate a general secretary, in accordance with the statutes.
§2 The president of the Conference or, when he is lawfully impeded, the vice-president, presides not only over the general meetings of the Conference but also over the permanent committee.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 452, 23.V.1988]
|Canon 453.||Plenary meetings of the Episcopal Conference are to be held at least once a year, and moreover as often as special circumstances require, in accordance with the provisions of the statutes.|
|Canon 454.||§1 By virtue of the law diocesan Bishops, those equivalent to them in law and coadjutor Bishops have a deliberative vote in plenary meetings of the Episcopal
§2 Auxiliary Bishops and other titular Bishops who belong to the Episcopal
Conference have a deliberative or consultative vote according to the provisions of the statutes of the Conference. Only those mentioned in §1, however, have a deliberative vote in the making or changing of the statutes.
|Canon 455.||§1 The Episcopal Conference can make general decrees only in cases where the universal law has so prescribed, or by special mandate of the Apostolic See, either on its own initiative or at the request of the Conference itself.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 455 §1, 5.VII.1985]
§2 For the decrees mentioned in §1 validly to be enacted at a plenary meeting, they must receive two thirds of the votes of those who belong to the Conference with a deliberative vote. These decrees do not oblige until they have been reviewed by the
Apostolic See and lawfully promulgated.
§3 The manner of promulgation and the time they come into force are determined by the Episcopal Conference.
§4 In cases where neither the universal law nor a special mandate of the Apostolic
See gives the Episcopal Conference the power mentioned in §1, the competence of each diocesan Bishop remains intact. In such cases, neither the Conference nor its president can act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given his consent.
|Canon 456.||When a plenary meeting of the Episcopal Conference has been concluded, its minutes are to be sent by the president to the Apostolic See for information, and its decrees, if any, for review.|
|Canon 457.||The permanent committee of Bishops is to prepare the agenda for the plenary meetings of the Conference, and it is to ensure that the decisions taken at those meetings are duly executed. It is also to conduct whatever other business is entrusted to it in accordance with the statutes.|
|Canon 458.||The general secretary is to:
1° prepare an account of the acts and decrees of the plenary meetings of the
Conference, as well as the acts of the permanent committee of Bishops and to communicate these to all members of the Conference; also to record whatever other acts are entrusted to him by the president or the permanent committee;
2° to communicate to neighbouring Episcopal Conferences such acts and documents as the Conference at a plenary meeting or the permanent committee of Bishops decides to send to them.
|Canon 459.||§1 Relations are to be fostered between Episcopal Conferences, especially neighbouring ones, in order to promote and defend whatever is for the greater good.
§2 The Apostolic See must be consulted whenever actions or affairs undertaken by
Conferences have an international character.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan synod|
|Canon 460.||The diocesan synod is an assembly of selected priests and other members of
Christ’s faithful of a particular Church which, for the good of the whole diocesan community, assists the diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the following canons.
|Canon 461.||§1 The diocesan synod is to be held in each particular Church when the diocesan Bishop, after consulting the council of priests, judges that the circumstances suggest it.
§2 If a Bishop is responsible for a number of dioceses, or has charge of one as his own and of another as Administrator, he may convene one diocesan synod for all the dioceses entrusted to him.
|Canon 462.||§1 Only the diocesan Bishop can convene a diocesan synod. A person who has interim charge of a diocese cannot do so.
§2 The diocesan Bishop presides over the diocesan synod. He may however, delegate a Vicar general or an episcopal Vicar to fulfil this office at individual sessions of the synod.
|Canon 463.||§1 The following are to be summoned to the diocesan synod as members and they are obliged to participate in it:
1° the coadjutor Bishop and the auxiliary Bishops;
2° the Vicars general and episcopal Vicars, and the judicial Vicar
3° the canons of the cathedral church;
4° the members of the council of priests;
5° lay members of Christ’s faithful, not excluding members of institutes of consecrated life, to be elected by the pastoral council in the manner and the number to be determined by the diocesan Bishop or, where this council does not exist, on a basis determined by the diocesan Bishop;
6° the rector of the major seminary of the diocese;
7° the vicars forane;
8° at least one priest from each vicariate forane to be elected by all those who have the care of souls there; another priest is also to be elected, to take the place of the first if he is prevented from attending;
9° some Superiors of religious institutes and of societies of apostolic life which have a house in the diocese: these are to be elected in the number and the manner determined by the diocesan Bishop.
§2 The diocesan Bishop may also invite others to be members of the diocesan synod, whether clerics or members of institutes of consecrated life or lay members of the faithful.
§3 If the diocesan Bishop considers it opportune, he may invite to the diocesan Synod as observers some ministers or members of Churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the catholic Church.
|Canon 464.||A member of the synod who is lawfully impeded from attending, cannot send a proxy to attend in his or her place, but is to notify the diocesan Bishop of the reason for not attending.|
|Canon 465.||All questions proposed are to be subject to the free discussion of the members in the sessions of the synod.|
|Canon 466.||The diocesan Bishop is the sole legislator in the diocesan synod. Other members of the synod have only a consultative vote. The diocesan Bishop alone signs the synodal declarations and decrees, and only by his authority may these be published.|
|Canon 467.||The diocesan Bishop is to communicate the text of the declarations and decrees of the synod to the Metropolitan and to the Episcopal Conference.|
|Canon 468.||§1 If he judges it prudent, the diocesan Bishop can suspend or dissolve the diocesan synod.
§2 Should the episcopal see become vacant or impeded, the diocesan synod is by virtue of the law itself suspended, until such time as the diocesan Bishop who succeeds to the see decrees that it be continued or declares it terminated.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia|
|Canon 469.||The diocesan curia is composed of those institutes and persons who assist the Bishop in governing the entire diocese, especially in directing pastoral action, in providing for the administration of the diocese, and in exercising judicial power.|
|Canon 470.||The appointment of those who fulfil an office in the diocesan curia belongs to the diocesan Bishop.|
|Canon 471.||All who are admitted to an office in the curia must:
1° promise to fulfil their office faithfully, as determined by law or by the Bishop;
2° observe secrecy within the limits and according to the manner determined by law or by the Bishop.
|Canon 472.||The provisions of Book VII on ‘Processes’ are to be observed concerning cases and persons involved in the exercise of judicial power in the curia. The following canons are to be observed in what concerns the administration of the diocese.|
|Canon 473.||§1 The diocesan Bishop must ensure that everything concerning the administration of the whole diocese is properly coordinated and is directed in the way that will best achieve the good of that portion of the people of God entrusted to his care.
§2 The diocesan Bishop has the responsibility of coordinating the pastoral action of the Vicars general and episcopal Vicars. Where it is useful, he may appoint a
Moderator of the curia, who must be a priest Under the Bishop’s authority, the
Moderator is to coordinate activities concerning administrative matters and to ensure that the others who belong to the curia properly fulfil the offices entrusted to them.
§3 Unless in the Bishop’s judgement local conditions suggest otherwise, the Vicar general is to be appointed Moderator of the curia or, if there are several Vicars general, one of them.
§4 Where the Bishop judges it useful for the better promotion of pastoral action, he can establish an episcopal council, comprising the Vicars general and episcopal
|Canon 474.||Acts of the curia which of their nature are designed to have a juridical effect must, as a requirement for validity, be signed by the
Ordinary from whom they emanate. They must also be signed by the chancellor of the curia or a notary. The chancellor is bound to notify the Moderator of the curia about these acts.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia » Vicars general and episcopal vicars|
|Canon 475.||§1 In each diocese the diocesan Bishop is to appoint a Vicar general to assist him in the governance of the whole diocese. The Vicar -general has ordinary power, in accordance with the following canons.
§2 As a general rule, one Vicar general is to be appointed, unless the size of the diocese, the number of inhabitants, or other pastoral reasons suggest otherwise.
|Canon 476.||As often as the good governance of the diocese requires it, the diocesan
Bishop can also appoint one or more episcopal Vicars. These have the same ordinary power as the universal law gives to a Vicar general, in accordance with the following canons. The competence of an episcopal Vicar, however, is limited to a determined part of the diocese, or to a specific type of activity, or to the faithful of a particular rite, or to certain groups of people.
|Canon 477.||§1 The Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar are freely appointed by the diocesan Bishop, and can be freely removed by him, without prejudice to can. 406.
An episcopal Vicar who is not an auxiliary Bishop, is to be appointed for a period of time, which is to be specified in the act of appointment.
§2 If the Vicar general is absent or lawfully impeded, the diocesan Bishop can appoint another to take his place. The same norm applies in the case of an episcopal
|Canon 478.||§1 The Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar are to be priests of not less than thirty years of age, with a doctorate or licentiate in canon law or theology, or at
least well versed in these disciplines. They are to be known for their sound doctrine, integrity, prudence and practical experience.
§2 The office of Vicar general or episcopal Vicar may not be united with the office of canon penitentiary, nor may the office be given to blood relations of the Bishop up to the fourth degree.
|Canon 479.||§1 In virtue of his office, the Vicar general has the same executive power throughout the whole diocese as that which belongs by law to the diocesan Bishop: that is, he can perform all administrative acts, with the exception however of those which the Bishop has reserved to himself, or which by law require a special mandate of the Bishop.
§2 By virtue of the law itself, the episcopal Vicar has the same power as that mentioned in §1, but only for the determined part of the territory or type of activity, or for the faithful of the determined rite or group, for which he was appointed; matters which the Bishop reserves to himself or to the Vicar general, or which by law require a special mandate of the Bishop, are excepted.
§3 Within the limits of their competence, the Vicar general and the episcopal Vicar have also those habitual faculties which the Apostolic See has granted to the Bishop.
They may also execute rescripts, unless it is expressly provided otherwise, or unless the execution was entrusted to the Bishop on a personal basis.
|Canon 480.||The Vicar general and episcopal Vicar must give a report to the diocesan
Bishop concerning more important matters, both those yet to be attended to and those already dealt with. They are never to act against the will and mind of the diocesan
|Canon 481.||§1 The power of the Vicar general or episcopal Vicar ceases when the period of their mandate expires, or by resignation. In addition, but without prejudice to cann. 406 and 409, it ceases when they are notified of their removal by the diocesan Bishop, or when the episcopal see falls vacant.
§2 When the office of the diocesan Bishop is suspended, the power of the Vicar general and of the episcopal Vicar is suspended, unless they are themselves Bishops.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia » The chancellor, other notaries, and the archives|
|Canon 482.||§1 In each curia a chancellor is to be appointed, whose principal office, unless particular law states otherwise, is to ensure that the acts of the curia are drawn up and dispatched, and that they are kept safe in the archive of the curia.
§2 If it is considered necessary, the chancellor may be given an assistant, who is to be called the vice-chancellor.
§3 The chancellor and vice-chancellor are automatically notaries and secretaries of the curia.
|Canon 483.||§1 Besides the chancellor, other notaries may be appointed, whose writing or signature authenticates public documents. These notaries may be appointed for all acts, or for judicial acts alone, or only for acts concerning a particular issue or business.
§2 The chancellor and notaries must be of unblemished reputation and above suspicion. In cases which could involve the reputation of a priest, the notary must be a priest.
|Canon 484.||The office of notary involves:
1° writing acts and documents concerning decrees, arrangements, obligations, and other matters which require their intervention;
2° faithfully recording in writing what is done, and signing the document, with a note of the place, the day, the month and the year;
3° while observing all that must be observed, showing acts or documents from the archives to those who lawfully request them, and verifying that copies conform to the original.
|Canon 485.||The chancellor and the other notaries can be freely removed by the diocesan
Bishop. They can be removed by a diocesan Administrator only with the consent of the college of consultors.
|Canon 486.||§1 All documents concerning the diocese or parishes must be kept with the greatest of care.
§2 In each curia there is to be established in a safe place a diocesan archive where documents and writings concerning both the spiritual and the temporal affairs of the diocese are to be properly filed and carefully kept under lock and key.
§3 An inventory or catalogue is to be made of documents kept in the archive, with a short synopsis of each document.
|Canon 487.||§1 The archive must be locked, and only the Bishop and the chancellor are to have the key; no one may be allowed to enter unless with the permission of the
Bishop, or with the permission of both the Moderator of the curia and the chancellor.
§2 Persons concerned have the right to receive, personally or by proxy, an authentic written or photostat copy of documents which are of their nature public and which concern their own personal status.
|Canon 488.||It is not permitted to remove documents from the archive, except for a short time and with the permission of the Bishop or of both the Moderator of the curia and the chancellor.|
|Canon 489.||§1 In the diocesan curia there is also to be a secret archive, or at least in the ordinary archive there is to be a safe or cabinet, which is securely closed and bolted and which cannot be removed. In this archive documents which are to be kept under secrecy are to be most carefully guarded.
§2 Each year documents of criminal cases concerning moral matters are to be destroyed whenever the guilty parties have died, or ten years have elapsed since a condemnatory sentence concluded the affair. A short summary of the facts is to be kept, together with the text of the definitive judgement.
|Canon 490.||§1 Only the Bishop is to have the key of the secret archive.
§2 When the see is vacant, the secret archive or safe is not to be opened except in a case of real necessity, and then by the diocesan Administrator personally.
§3 Documents are not to be removed from the secret archive or safe.
|Canon 491.||§1 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that the acts and documents of the archives of cathedral, collegiate, parochial and other churches in his territory are carefully kept and that two copies are made of inventories or catalogues. One of these copies is to remain in its own archive, the other is to be kept in the diocesan archive.
§2 The diocesan Bishop is to ensure that there is an historical archive in the diocese, and that documents which have an historical value are carefully kept in it and systematically filed.
§3 In order that the acts and documents mentioned in §§1 and 2 may be inspected or removed, the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop are to be observed.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The diocesan curia » The finance council and the finance officer|
|Canon 492.||§1 In each diocese a finance committee is to be established, presided over by the diocesan Bishop or his delegate. It is to be composed of at least three of the faithful, expert in financial affairs and civil law, of outstanding integrity, and appointed by the Bishop.
§2 The members of the finance committee are appointed for five years but when this period has expired they may be appointed for further terms of five years.
§3 Persons related to the Bishop up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity are excluded from the finance committee.
|Canon 493.||Besides the functions entrusted to it in Book V on ‘The Temporal Goods of the Church’, it is the responsibility of the finance committee to prepare each year a budget of income and expenditure over the coming year for the governance of the whole diocese, in accordance with the direction of the diocesan Bishop. It is also the responsibility of the committee to account at the end of the year for income and expenditure.|
|Canon 494.||§1 In each diocese a financial administrator is to be appointed by the
Bishop, after consulting the college of consultors and the finance committee. The financial administrator is to be expert in financial matters and of truly outstanding integrity.
§2 The financial administrator is to be appointed for five years, but when this period has expired, may be appointed for further terms of five years. While in office he or she is not to be removed except for a grave reason, to be estimated by the Bishop after consulting the college of consultors and the finance committee.
§3 It is the responsibility of the financial administrator, under the authority of the
Bishop, to administer the goods of the diocese in accordance with the plan of the finance committee, and to make those payments from diocesan funds which the
Bishop or his delegates have lawfully authorised.
§4 At the end of the year the financial administrator must give the finance committee an account of income and expenditure.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The presbyteral council and the college of consultors|
|Canon 495.||§1 In each diocese there is to be established a council of priests, that is, a group of priests who represent the presbyterium and who are to be, as it were, the
Bishop’s senate. The council’s role is to assist the Bishop, in accordance with the law, in the governance of the diocese, so that the pastoral welfare of that portion of the people of God entrusted to the Bishop may be most effectively promoted.
§2 In vicariates and prefectures apostolic, the Vicar or Prefect is to appoint a council composed of at least three missionary priests, whose opinion, even by letter, he is to hear in the more serious affairs.
|Canon 496.||The council of priests is to have its own statutes. These are to be approved by the diocesan Bishop, having taken account of the norms laid down by the
|Canon 497.||As far as the designation of the members of the council of priests is concerned:
1° about half are to be freely elected by the priests themselves in accordance with the canons which follow and with the statutes;
2° some priests must, in accordance with the statutes, be members ex officio, that is belong to the council by reason of the office they hold;
3° the diocesan Bishop may freely appoint some others.
|Canon 498.||§1 The following have the right to both an active and a passive voice in an election to the council of priests:
1° all secular priests incardinated in the diocese;
2° priests who are living in the diocese and exercise some useful office there, whether they be secular priests not incardinated in the diocese, or priest members of religious institutes or of societies of apostolic life.
§2 Insofar as the statutes so provide, the same right of election may be given to other priests who have a domicile or quasi-domicile in the diocese.
|Canon 499.||The manner of electing the members of the council of priests is to be determined by the statutes, and in such a way that as far as possible the priests of the presbyterium are represented, with special regard to the diversity of ministries and to the various regions of the diocese.|
|Canon 500.||§1 It is the prerogative of the diocesan Bishop to convene the council of priests, to preside over it, and to determine the matters to be discussed in it or to accept items proposed by the members.
§2 The council of priests has only a consultative vote. The diocesan Bishop is to consult it in matters of more serious moment, but he requires its consent only in the cases expressly defined in the law.
§3 The council of priests can never act without the diocesan Bishop. He alone can make public those things which have been decided in accordance with §2.
|Canon 501.||§1 The members of the council of priests are to be designated for a period specified in the statutes, subject however to the condition that over a five year period the council is renewed in whole or in part.
§2 When the see is vacant, the council of priests lapses and its functions are fulfilled by the college of consultors. The Bishop must reconstitute the council of priests within a year of taking possession.
§3 If the council of priests does not fulfil the office entrusted to it for the welfare of the diocese, or if it gravely abuses that office, it can be dissolved by the diocesan
Bishop, after consultation with the Metropolitan, in the case of a metropolitan see, the Bishop must first consult with the suffragan Bishop who is senior by promotion.
Within a year, however, the diocesan Bishop must reconstitute the council.
|Canon 502.||§1 From among the members of the council of priests, the diocesan Bishop freely appoints not fewer than six and not more than twelve priests, who are for five years to constitute the college of consultors. To it belong the functions determined by law; on the expiry of the five year period, however, it continues to exercise its functions until the new college is constituted.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 502 §1, 11.VII.1984]
§2 The diocesan Bishop presides over the college of consultors. If, however, the see is impeded or vacant, that person presides who in the interim takes the Bishop’s place or, if he has not yet been appointed, then the priest in the college of consultors who is senior by ordination.
§3 The Episcopal Conference can determine that the functions of the college of consultors be entrusted to the cathedral chapter.
§4 Unless the law provides otherwise, in a vicariate or prefecture apostolic the functions of the college of consultors belong to the council of the mission mentioned in can. 495 §2.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Chapters of canons|
|Canon 503.||A chapter of canons, whether cathedral or collegiate, is a college of priests, whose role is to celebrate the more solemn liturgical functions in a cathedral or a collegiate church. It is for the cathedral chapter, besides, to fulfil those roles entrusted to it by law or by the diocesan Bishop.|
|Canon 504.||The establishment, alteration or suppression of a cathedral chapter is reserved to the Apostolic See.|
|Canon 505.||Every chapter, whether cathedral or collegiate, is to have its own statutes, established by lawful capitular act and approved by the diocesan Bishop. These
statutes are not to be changed or abrogated except with the approval of the diocesan
|Canon 506.||§1 The statutes of a chapter, while preserving always the laws of the foundation, are to determine the nature of the chapter and the number of canons.
They are to define what the chapter and the individual canons are to do in carrying out divine worship and their ministry. They are to decide the meetings at which law, they are to prescribe the conditions required for the validity and for the lawfulness of the proceedings.
§2 In the statutes the remuneration is also to be defined, both the fixed salary and the amounts to be paid on the occasion of discharging the office, so too, having taken account of the norms laid down by the Holy See, the insignia of the canons.
|Canon 507.||§1 Among the canons there is to be one who presides over the chapter. In accordance with the statutes other offices are also to be established, account having been taken of the practice prevailing in the region.
§2 Other offices may be allotted to clerics not belonging to the chapter, so that, in accordance with the statutes, they may provide assistance to the canons.
|Canon 508.||§1 The canon penitentiary both of a cathedral church and of a collegiate church has by law ordinary faculties, which he cannot however delegate to others, to absolve in the sacramental forum from latae sententiae censures which have not been declared and are not reserved to the Holy See. Within the diocese he can absolve not only diocesans but outsiders also, whereas he can absolve diocesans even outside the diocese.
§2 Where there is no chapter, the diocesan Bishop is to appoint a priest to fulfil this office.
|Canon 509.||§1 It belongs to the diocesan Bishop, after consultation with the chapter, but not to the diocesan Administrator, to bestow each and every canonry both in the cathedral church and in a collegiate church, any privilege to the contrary is revoked.
It is also for the diocesan Bishop to confirm the person elected by the chapter to preside over it.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 509 §1, 20.V.1989]
§2 The diocesan Bishop is to appoint to canonries only priests who are of sound doctrine and life and who have exercised a praiseworthy ministry.
|Canon 510.||§1 Parishes are no longer to be united with chapters of canons. Those which are united to a chapter are to be separated from it by the diocesan Bishop.
§2 In a church which is at the same time a parochial and a capitular church, a parish priest is to be appointed, whether chosen from the chapter or not. He is bound by all the obligations and he enjoys all the rights and faculties which by law belong to a parish priest.
§3 The diocesan Bishop is to establish certain norms whereby the pastoral duties of the parish priest and the roles proper to the chapter are duly harmonised, so that the parish priest is not a hindrance to capitular functions, nor the chapter to those of the parish. Any conflicts which may arise are to be settled by the diocesan Bishop, who is to ensure above all that the pastoral needs of the faithful are suitably provided for.
§4 Alms given to a church which is at the same time a parochial and a capitular church, are presumed to be given to the parish, unless it is otherwise established.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » The pastoral council|
|Canon 511.||In each diocese, in so far as pastoral circumstances suggest, a pastoral council is to be established. Its function, under the authority of the Bishop, is to study and weigh those matters which concern the pastoral works in the diocese, and to propose practical conclusions concerning them.|
|Canon 512.||§1 A pastoral council is composed of members of Christ’s faithful who are in full communion with the catholic Church: clerics, members of institutes of consecrated life, and especially lay people. They are designated in the manner determined by the diocesan Bishop.
§2 The members of Christ’s faithful assigned to the pastoral council are to be selected in such a way that the council truly reflects the entire portion of the people of God which constitutes the diocese, taking account of the different regions of the diocese, of social conditions and professions, and of the part played in the apostolate by the members, whether individually or in association with others.
§3 Only those members of Christ’s faithful who are outstanding in firm faith, high moral standards and prudence are to be assigned to the pastoral council.
|Canon 513.||§1 The pastoral council is appointed for a determinate period, in accordance with the provisions of the statutes drawn up by the Bishop.
§2 When the see is vacant, the pastoral council lapses.
|Canon 514.||§1 The pastoral council has only a consultative vote. It is for the diocesan
Bishop alone to convene it, according to the needs of the apostolate, and to preside over it. He alone has the right to make public the matters dealt with in the council.
§2 It is to be convened at least once a year.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Parishes, pastors, and parochial vicars|
|Canon 515.||§1 A parish is a certain community of Christ’s faithful stably established within a particular Church, whose pastoral care, under the authority of the diocesan
Bishop, is entrusted to a parish priest as its proper pastor.
§2 The diocesan Bishop alone can establish, suppress or alter parishes. He is not to establish, suppress or notably alter them unless he has consulted the council of priests.
§3 A lawfully established parish has juridical personality by virtue of the law itself.
|Canon 516.||§1 Unless the law provides otherwise, a quasi-parish is equivalent to a parish. A quasi-parish is a certain community of Christ’s faithful within a particular
Church, entrusted to a priest as its proper pastor, but because of special circumstances not yet established as a parish.
§2 Where some communities cannot be established as parishes or quasi-parishes, the diocesan Bishop is to provide for their spiritual care in some other way.
|Canon 517.||§1 Where circumstances so require, the pastoral care of a parish, or of a number of parishes together, can be entrusted to several priests jointly, but with the stipulation that one of the priests is to be the moderator of the pastoral care to be exercised. This moderator is to direct the joint action and to be responsible for it to the Bishop.
§2 If, because of a shortage of priests, the diocesan Bishop has judged that a deacon, or some other person who is not a priest, or a community of persons, should be entrusted with a share in the exercise of the pastoral care of a parish, he is to appoint some priest who, with the powers and faculties of a parish priest, will direct the pastoral care.
|Canon 518.||As a general rule, a parish is to be territorial, that is, it is to embrace all
Christ’s faithful of a given territory. Where it is useful however, personal parishes are to be established, determined by reason of the rite, language or nationality of the faithful of a certain territory, or on some other basis.
|Canon 519.||The parish priest is the proper pastor of the parish entrusted to him. He exercises the pastoral care of the community entrusted to him under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, whose ministry of Christ he is called to share, so that for this community he may carry out the offices of teaching, sanctifying and ruling with the cooperation of other priests or deacons and with the assistance of lay members of
Christ’s faithful, in accordance with the law.
|Canon 520.||§1 A juridical person may not be a parish priest. However, the diocesan
Bishop, but not the diocesan Administrator, can, with the consent of the competent
Superior, entrust a parish to a clerical religious institute or to a clerical society of apostolic life, even by establishing it in the church of the institute or society, subject however to the rule that one priest be the parish priest or, if the pastoral care is entrusted to several priests jointly, that there be a moderator as mentioned in can. 517
§2 The entrustment of a parish, as in §1, may be either in perpetuity or for a specified time. In either case this is to be done by means of a written agreement made between the diocesan Bishop and the competent Superior of the institute or society. This agreement must expressly and accurately define, among other things, the work to be done, the persons to be assigned to it and the financial arrangements.
|Canon 521.||§1 To be validly appointed a parish priest, one must be in the sacred order of priesthood.
§2 He is also to be outstanding in sound doctrine and uprightness of character, endowed with zeal for souls and other virtues, and possessed of those qualities which by universal or particular law are required for the care of the parish in question.
§3 In order that one be appointed to the office of parish priest, his suitability must be clearly established, in a manner determined by the diocesan Bishop, even by examination.
|Canon 522.||It is necessary that a parish priest have the benefit of stability, and therefore he is to be appointed for an indeterminate period of time. The diocesan Bishop may appoint him for a specified period of time only if the Episcopal Conference has by decree allowed this.|
|Canon 523.||Without prejudice to can. 682, appointment to the office of parish priest belongs to the diocesan Bishop, who is free to confer it on whomsoever he wishes, unless someone else has a right of presentation or election.|
|Canon 524.||The diocesan Bishop is to confer a vacant parish on the one whom, after consideration of all the circumstances, he judges suitable for the parochial care of that parish, without any preference of persons. In order to assess suitability, he is to consult the vicar forane, conduct suitable enquiries and, if it is appropriate, seek the view of some priests and lay members of Christ’s faithful.|
|Canon 525.||When a see is vacant or impeded, it is for the diocesan Administrator or whoever governs the diocese in the interim:
1° to institute priests lawfully presented for a parish or to confirm those lawfully elected to one;
2° to appoint parish priests if the see has been vacant or impeded for a year.
|Canon 526.||§1 A parish priest is to have the parochial care of one parish only.
However, because of a shortage of priests or other circumstances, the care of a number of neighbouring parishes can be entrusted to the one parish priest.
§2 In any one parish there is to be only one parish priest, or one moderator in accordance with can. 517 §1; any contrary custom is reprobated and any contrary privilege revoked.
|Canon 527.||§1 One who is promoted to exercise the pastoral care of a parish obtains this care and is bound to exercise it from the moment he takes possession.
§2 The local Ordinary or a priest delegated by him puts the parish priest into possession, in accordance with the procedure approved by particular law or by lawful custom. For a just reason, however, the same Ordinary can dispense from this procedure, in which case the communication of the dispensation to the parish replaces the taking of possession.
§3 The local Ordinary is to determine the time within which the parish priest must take possession of the parish. If, in the absence of a lawful impediment, he has not taken possession within this time, the local Ordinary can declare the parish vacant.
|Canon 528.||§1 The parish priest has the obligation of ensuring that the word of God is proclaimed in its entirety to those living in the parish. He is therefore to see to it that the lay members of Christ’s faithful are instructed in the truths of faith, especially by means of the homily on Sundays and holydays of obligation and by catechetical formation. He is to foster works which promote the spirit of the Gospel, including its relevance to social justice. He is to have a special care for the catholic education of children and young people. With the collaboration of the faithful, he is to make every effort to bring the gospel message to those also who have given up religious practice or who do not profess the true faith.
§2 The parish priest is to take care that the blessed Eucharist is the centre of the parish assembly of the faithful. He is to strive to ensure that the faithful are nourished by the devout celebration of the sacraments, and in particular that they frequently approach the sacraments of the blessed Eucharist and penance. He is to strive to lead them to prayer, including prayer in their families, and to take a live and active part in the sacred liturgy. Under the authority of the diocesan Bishop, the parish priest must direct this liturgy in his own parish, and he is bound to be on guard against abuses.
|Canon 529.||§1 So that he may fulfil his office of pastor diligently, the parish priest is to strive to know the faithful entrusted to his care. He is therefore to visit their families, sharing in their cares and anxieties and, in a special way, their sorrows, comforting
them in the Lord. If in certain matters they are found wanting, he is prudently to correct them. He is to help the sick and especially the dying in great charity, solicitiously restoring them with the sacraments and commending their souls to God.
He is to be especially diligent in seeking out the poor, the suffering, the lonely, those who are exiled from their homeland, and those burdened with special difficulties. He is to strive also to ensure that spouses and parents are sustained in the fulfilment of their proper duties, and to foster the growth of christian life in the family.
§2 The parish priest is to recognise and promote the specific role which the lay members of Christ’s faithful have in the mission of the Church, fostering their associations which have religious purposes. He is to cooperate with his proper
Bishop and with the presbyterium of the diocese. Moreover, he is to endeavour to ensure that the faithful are concerned for the community of the parish, that they feel themselves to be members both of the diocese and of the universal Church, and that they take part in and sustain works which promote this community.
|Canon 530.||The functions especially entrusted to the parish priest are as follows:
1° the administration of baptism;
2° the administration of the sacrament of confirmation to those in danger of death, in accordance with can. 883, n. 3;
3° the administration of Viaticum and of the anointing of the sick, without prejudice to cann. 1003 §§2 and 3, and the imparting of the apostolic blessing;
4° the assistance at marriages and the nuptial blessing;
5° the conducting of funerals;
6° the blessing of the baptismal font at paschal time, the conduct of processions outside the church, and the giving of solemn blessings outside the church;
7° the more solemn celebration of the Eucharist on Sundays and holydays of obligation.
|Canon 531.||Even though another person has performed some parochial function, he is to give the offering he receives from the faithful on that occasion to the parish fund unless, in respect of voluntary offerings, there is a clear contrary intention on the donor’s part; it is for the diocesan Bishop, after consulting the council of priests, to prescribe regulations concerning the destination of these offerings and to provide for the remuneration of clerics who fulfil such a parochial function.|
|Canon 532.||In all juridical matters, the parish priest acts in the person of the parish, in accordance with the law. He is to ensure that the parish goods are administered in accordance with can. 1281-1288.|
|Canon 533.||§1 The parish priest is obliged to reside in the parochial house, near the church. In particular cases, however, where there is a just reason, the local Ordinary may permit him to reside elsewhere, especially in a house common to several priests, provided the carrying out of the parochial duties is properly and suitably catered for.
§2 Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, the parish priest may each year be absent on holiday from his parish for a period not exceeding one month, continuous or otherwise. The days which the parish priest spends on the annual spiritual retreat are not reckoned in this period of vacation. For an absence from the parish of more than a week, however, the parish priest is bound to advise the local Ordinary.
§3 It is for the diocesan Bishop to establish norms by which, during the parish priest’s absence, the care of the parish is provided for by a priest with the requisite faculties.
|Canon 534.||§1 When he has taken possession of his parish, the parish priest is bound on each Sunday and holyday of obligation in his diocese to apply the Mass for the people entrusted to him. If he is lawfully impeded from this celebration, he is to have someone else apply the Mass on these days or apply it himself on other days.
§2 A parish priest who has the care of several parishes is bound to apply only one
Mass on the days mentioned in §1, for all the people entrusted to him.
§3 A parish priest who has not discharged the obligations mentioned in §§1 and 2, is as soon as possible to apply for the people as many Masses as he has omitted.
|Canon 535.||§1 In each parish there are to be parochial registers, that is, of baptisms, of marriages and of deaths, and any other registers prescribed by the Episcopal
Conference or by the diocesan Bishop. The parish priest is to ensure that entries are accurately made and that the registers are carefully preserved.
§2. In the baptismal register, a note is also to be made of ascription to a Church ‘sui iuris’ or the transfer to another Church, as well as of confirmation and of all matters pertaining to the canonical status of the faithful by reason of marriage, without prejudice to the provision of can. 1133, adoption, the reception of sacred orders, the making of perpetual profession in a religious institute. These annotations are always to be stated on a Certificate of Baptism.
[revised wording according to m.p. De concordia inter Codices, 31.V.2016]
§3 Each parish is to have its own seal. Certificates concerning the canonical status of the faithful, and all acts which can have juridical significance, are to be signed by the parish priest or his delegate and secured with the parochial seal.
§4 In each parish there is to be an archive, in which the parochial books are to be kept, together with episcopal letters and other documents which it may be necessary or useful to preserve. On the occasion of visitation or at some other opportune time, the diocesan Bishop or his delegate is to inspect all of these matters. The parish priest is to take care that they do not fall into unauthorised hands.
§5 Older parochial registers are also to be carefully safeguarded, in accordance with the provisions of particular law.
|Canon 536.||§1 If, after consulting the council of priests, the diocesan Bishop considers it opportune, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish. In this council, which is presided over by the parish priest, Christ’s faithful, together with those who by virtue of their office are engaged in pastoral care in the parish, give their help in fostering pastoral action.
§2 The pastoral council has only a consultative vote, and it is regulated by the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop.
|Canon 537.||In each parish there is to be a finance committee to help the parish priest in the administration of the goods of the parish, without prejudice to can. 532. It is ruled by the universal law and by the norms laid down by the diocesan Bishop, and it is comprised of members of the faithful selected according to these norms.|
|Canon 538.||§1 A parish priest ceases to hold office by removal or transfer effected by the diocesan Bishop in accordance with the law; by his personal resignation, for a just reason, which for validity requires that it be accepted by the diocesan Bishop; and by the lapse of time if, in accordance with the particular law mentioned in can.
522, he was appointed for a specified period of time.
§2 A parish priest who is a member of a religious institute or is incardinated in a society of apostolic life, is removed in accordance with can. 682 §2.
§3 A parish priest who has completed his seventy fifth year of age is requested to offer his resignation from office to the diocesan Bishop who, after considering all the circumstances of person and place, is to decide whether to accept or defer it. Having taken account of the norms laid down by the Episcopal Conference, the diocesan
Bishop must make provision for the appropriate maintenance and residence of the priest who has resigned.
|Canon 539.||When a parish is vacant, or when the parish priest is prevented from exercising his pastoral office in the parish by reason of imprisonment, exile or
banishment, or by reason of incapacity or ill health or some other cause, the diocesan
Bishop is as soon as possible to appoint a parochial administrator, that is, a priest who will take the place of the parish priest in accordance with can. 540.
|Canon 540.||§1 The parochial administrator is bound by the same obligations and has the same rights as a parish priest, unless the diocesan Bishop prescribes otherwise.
§2 The parochial administrator may not do anything which could prejudice the rights of the parish priest or could do harm to parochial property.
§3 When he has discharged his office, the parochial administrator is to give an account to the parish priest.
|Canon 541.||§1 When a parish is vacant, or when the parish priest is impeded from exercising his pastoral office, pending the appointment of a parochial administrator the interim governance of the parish is to be undertaken by the assistant priest; if there are a number of assistants, by the senior by appointment; if there are none, by the parish priest determined by particular law.
§2 The one who has undertaken the governance of the parish in accordance with §1, is at once to inform the local Ordinary of the parish vacancy.
|Canon 542.||The priests to whom, in accordance with can. 516 §1,is jointly entrusted the pastoral care of a parish or of a number of parishes together:
1° must possess the qualities mentioned in can. 521;
2° are to be appointed in accordance with cann. 522 and 524;
3° obtain the pastoral care only from the moment of taking possession: their moderator is put into possession in accordance with can. 527 §2; for the other priests, the profession of faith lawfully made replaces the taking of possession.
|Canon 543.||§1 Each of the priests to whom the care of a parish or of a number of parishes together is jointly entrusted, is bound to fulfil the duties and functions of a parish priest mentioned in cann. 528, 529 and 530. They are to do this according to a plan determined among themselves. The faculty to assist at marriages, and all the faculties to dispense which are given to a parish priest by virtue of the law itself, belong to all, but are to be exercised under the direction of the moderator.
§2 All the priests who belong to the group:
1° are bound by the obligation of residence;
2° are by common counsel to establish an arrangement by which one of them celebrates the Mass for the people, in accordance with can. 534.
3° in juridical affairs, only the moderator acts in the person of the parish or parishes entrusted to the group.
|Canon 544.||When one of the priests, or the moderator, of the group mentioned in can.
517 §1 ceases to hold office, or when any member of it becomes incapable of exercising his pastoral office, the parish or parishes whose care is entrusted to the group do not become vacant. It is for the diocesan Bishop to appoint another moderator; until he is appointed by the Bishop, the priest of the group who is senior by appointment is to fulfil this office.
|Canon 545.||§1 Whenever it is necessary or opportune for the due pastoral care of the parish, one or more assistant priests can be joined with the parish priest. As cooperators with the parish priest and sharers in his concern, they are, by common counsel and effort with the parish priest and under his authority, to labour in the pastoral ministry.
§2 An assistant priest may be appointed either to help in exercising the entire pastoral ministry, whether in the whole parish or in a part of it or for a particular group of the faithful within it, or even to help in carrying out a specific ministry in a number of parishes at the same time.
|Canon 546.||To be validly appointed an assistant priest, one must be in the sacred order of priesthood.|
|Canon 547.||The diocesan Bishop freely appoints an assistant priest; if he has judged it opportune, he will have consulted the parish priest or parish priests of the parishes to which the assistant is appointed, and the Vicar forane, without prejudice to can. 682
|Canon 548.||§1 The obligations and rights of assistant priests are defined not only by the canons of this chapter, but also by the diocesan statutes, and by the letter of the diocesan Bishop ; they are more specifically determined by the directions of the parish priest.
§2 Unless it is otherwise expressly provided in the letter of the diocesan Bishop, the assistant priest is by virtue of his office bound to help the parish priest in the entire parochial ministry, with the exception of the application of the Mass for the people.
Likewise, if the matter should arise in accordance with the law, he is bound to take the place of the parish priest.
§3 The assistant priest is to report regularly to the parish priest on pastoral initiatives, both those planned and those already undertaken. In this way the parish priest and the assistant or assistants can by their joint efforts provide a pastoral care of the parish for which they are together answerable.
|Canon 549.||When the parish priest is absent, the norms of can. 541 §1 are to be observed, unless the diocesan Bishop has provided otherwise in accordance with can.
533 §3, or unless a parochial administrator has been appointed. If can. 541 §1 is applied, the assistant priest is bound by all the obligations of the parish priest, with the exception of the obligation to apply the Mass for the people.
|Canon 550.||§1 The assistant priest is bound to reside in the parish or, if he is appointed for a number of parishes at the same time, in one of them. For a just reason, however, the local Ordinary may permit him to reside elsewhere, especially in a house common to several priests, provided the carrying out of the pastoral duties does not in any way suffer thereby.
§2 The local Ordinary is to see to it that, where it is possible, some manner of common life in the parochial house be encouraged between the parish priest and the assistants.
§3 As far as holidays are concerned, the assistant priest has the same rights as the parish priest.
|Canon 551.||The provisions of can. 531 are to be observed in respect of offerings which
Christ’s faithful make to the assistant priest on the occasion of his exercise of the pastoral ministry.
|Canon 552.||Without prejudice to can. 682 §2, an assistant priest may for a just reason be removed by the diocesan Bishop or the diocesan Administrator.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Vicars forane|
|Canon 553.||§1 The Vicar forane, known also as the dean or the archpriest or by some other title, is the priest who is placed in charge of a vicariate forane.
§2 Unless it is otherwise prescribed by particular law, the Vicar forane is appointed by the diocesan Bishop; if he has considered it prudent to do so, he will have consulted the priests who are exercising the ministry in the vicariate.
|Canon 554.||§1 For the office of Vicar forane, which is not tied to the office of parish priest of any given parish, the Bishop is to choose a priest whom, in view of the circumstances of place and time, he has judged to be suitable.
§2 The Vicar forane is to be appointed for a certain period of time, determined by particular law.
§3 For a just reason, the diocesan Bishop may in accordance with his prudent judgement freely remove the Vicar forane from office.
|Canon 555.||§1 Apart from the faculties lawfully given to him by particular law, the
Vicar forane has the duty and the right:
1° to promote and coordinate common pastoral action in the vicariate;
2° to see that the clerics of his district lead a life befitting their state, and discharge their obligations carefully
3° to ensure that religious functions are celebrated according to the provisions of the sacred liturgy; that the elegance and neatness of the churches and sacred furnishings are properly maintained, particularly in regard to the celebration of the Eucharist and the custody of the blessed Sacrament; that the parish registers are correctly entered and duly safeguarded; that ecclesiastical goods are carefully administered; finally, that the parochial house is looked after with care.
§2 In the vicariate entrusted to him, the Vicar forane:
1° is to encourage the clergy, in accordance with the provisions of particular law, to attend at the prescribed time lectures and theological meetings or conferences, in accordance with can. 272 §2 .
2° is to see to it that spiritual assistance is available to the priests of his district, and he is to show a particular solicitude for those who are in difficult circumstances or are troubled by problems.
§3 When he has come to know that parish priests of his district are seriously ill, the
Vicar forane is to ensure that they do not lack spiritual and material help. When they die, he is to ensure that their funerals are worthily celebrated. Moreover, should any of them fall ill or die, he is to see to it that books, documents, sacred furnishings and other items belonging to the Church are not lost or removed.
§4 The Vicar forane is obliged to visit the parishes of his district in accordance with the arrangement made by the diocesan Bishop.
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Rectors of churches and chaplains » Rectors of churches|
|Canon 556.||Rectors of churches are here understood to be priests to whom is entrusted the care of some church which is neither a parochial nor a capitular church, nor a church attached to the house of a religious community or a society of apostolic life which holds services in it.|
|Canon 557.||§1 The rector of a church is freely appointed by the diocesan Bishop, without prejudice to a right of election or presentation to which someone may lawfully have claim: in which case the diocesan Bishop has the right to confirm or to appoint the rector.
§2 Even if the church belongs to some clerical religious institute of pontifical right, it is for the diocesan Bishop to appoint the rector presented by the Superior.
§3 The rector of a church which is attached to a seminary or to a college governed by clerics, is the rector of the seminary or college, unless the diocesan Bishop has determined otherwise.
|Canon 558.||Without prejudice to can. 262, the rector of a church may not perform in his church the parochial functions mentioned in can. 530 nn. 1--6, without the consent or, where the matter requires it, the delegation of the parish priest.|
|Canon 559.||The rector can conduct liturgical celebrations, even solemn ones, in the church entrusted to him, without prejudice to the legitimate laws of a foundation, and on condition that in the judgement of the local Ordinary these celebrations do not in any way harm the parochial ministry.|
|Canon 560.||Where he considers it opportune, the local Ordinary may direct the rector to celebrate in his church certain functions for the people, even parochial functions, and also to open the church to certain groups of the faithful so that they may hold liturgical celebrations there.|
|Canon 561.||Without the permission of the rector or some other lawful superior, no one may celebrate the Eucharist, administer the sacraments, or perform other sacred functions in the church. This permission is to be given or refused in accordance with the law.|
|Canon 562.||Under the authority of the local Ordinary, having observed the lawful statutes and respected acquired rights, the rector of a church is obliged to see that sacred functions are worthily celebrated in the church, in accordance with liturgical and canon law, that obligations are faithfully fulfilled, that the property is carefully administered, and that the maintenance and adornment of the furnishings and buildings are assured.
He must also ensure that nothing is done which is in any way unbecoming to the holiness of the place and to the reverence due to the house of God.
|Canon 563.||For a just reason, the local Ordinary may in accordance with his prudent judgement remove the rector of a church from office, even if he had been elected or presented by others, but without prejudice to can. 682 §2.|
|The People of God » The Hierarchical Constitution of the Church » Particular Churches and Their Groupings » The Internal Ordering of Particular Churches » Rectors of churches and chaplains » Chaplains|
|Canon 564.||A chaplain is a priest to whom is entrusted in a stable manner the pastoral care, at least in part, of some community or special group of Christ’s faithful, to be exercised in accordance with universal and particular law.|
|Canon 565.||Unless the law provides otherwise or unless special rights lawfully belong to someone, a chaplain is appointed by the local Ordinary, to whom also it belongs to appoint one who has been presented or to confirm one elected.|
|Canon 566.||§1 A chaplain must be given all the faculties which due pastoral care demands. Besides those which are given by particular law or by special delegation, a chaplain has by virtue of his office the faculty to hear the confessions of the faithful entrusted to his care, to preach to them the word of God, to administer Viaticum and the anointing of the sick, and to confer the sacrament of confirmation when they are in danger of death.
§2 In hospitals and prisons and on sea voyages, a chaplain has the further facility, to be exercised only in those places, to absolve from latae sententiae censures which are neither reserved nor declared, without prejudice to can. 976.
|Canon 567.||§1 The local Ordinary is not to proceed to the appointment of a chaplain to a house of a lay religious institute without consulting the Superior. The Superior has the right, after consulting the community, to propose a particular priest.
§2 It is the responsibility of the chaplain to celebrate or to direct liturgical functions; he may not, however, involve himself in the internal governance of the institute.
|Canon 568.||As far as possible, chaplains are to be appointed for those who, because of their condition of life, are not able to avail themselves of the ordinary care of parish priests, as for example, migrants, exiles, fugitives, nomads and sea-farers.|
|Canon 569.||Chaplains to the armed forces are governed by special laws.|
|Canon 570.||If a non-parochial church is attached to a centre of a community or group, the rector of the church is to be the chaplain, unless the care of the community or of the church requires otherwise.|
|Canon 571.||In the exercise of his pastoral office a chaplain is to maintain the due relationship with the parish priest.|
|Canon 572.||In regard to the removal of a chaplain, the provisions of can. 563 are to be observed.|
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Norms Common to All Institutes of Consecrated Life|
|Canon 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 honour 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.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 575.||The evangelical counsels, based on the teaching and example of Christ the
Master, are a divine gift which the Church received from the Lord and which by His grace it preserves always.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 579.||Diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, validly establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories, if the prior permission of the Apostolic See has been given in writing.
[revised wording according to m.p. Authenticum charismatis, 1.XI.2020]
[NB see Rescript “ex audientia Ss.mi” of 15 June 2022 requiring the diocesan bishop, before erecting – by decree – a public association of the faithful with a view to becoming an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, to obtain the written permission of the Dicastery of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 582.||Fusions and unions of institutes of consecrated life are reserved to the
Apostolic See alone. To it are likewise reserved confederations or federations.
|Canon 583.||Changes in institutes of consecrated life which affect elements previously approved by the Apostolic See, cannot be made without the permission of the same
|Canon 584.||Only the Apostolic See can suppress an institute and dispose of its temporal goods.|
|Canon 585.||The competent authority of an institute can suppress parts of the same institute.|
|Canon 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.
§2 Local Ordinaries have the responsibility of preserving and safeguarding this autonomy.
|Canon 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.
§2 This code is approved by the competent ecclesiastical authority, and can be changed only with the consent of the same.
§3 In the constitutions, the spiritual and juridical elements are to be aptly harmonised. Norms, however, are not to be multiplied without necessity.
§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.
|Canon 588.||§1 In itself, the state of consecrated life is neither clerical nor lay.
§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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 590.||§1 Institutes of consecrated life, since they are dedicated in a special way to the service of God and of the whole Church, are in a particular manner subject to its supreme authority.
§2 The individual members are bound to obey the Supreme Pontiff as their highest
Superior, by reason also of their sacred bond of obedience.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
§2 Moderators of each institute are to promote a knowledge of the documents issued by the Holy See which affect the members entrusted to them, and are to ensure that these documents are observed.
|Canon 593.||In their internal governance and discipline, institutes of pontifical right are subject directly and exclusively to the authority of the Apostolic See, without prejudice to can. 586.|
|Canon 594.||An institute of diocesan right remains under the special care of the diocesan
Bishop, without prejudice to can. 586.
|Canon 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.
§2 The diocesan Bishop can grant a dispensation from the constitutions in particular cases.
|Canon 596.||§1 Superiors and Chapters of institutes have that authority over the members which is defined in the universal law and in the constitutions.
§2 In clerical religious institutes of pontifical right, Superiors have in addition the ecclesiastical power of governance, for both the external and the internal forum.
§3 The provisions of cann. 131,133 and 137-144 apply to the authority mentioned in
|Canon 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.
§2 No one may be admitted without suitable preparation.
|Canon 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.
§2 All members must not only observe the evangelical counsels faithfully and fully, but also direct their lives according to the institute’s own law, and so strive for the perfection of their state.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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 .
|Canon 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.
§2 Virgins can be associated together to fulfil their pledge more faithfully, and to assist each other to serve the Church in a way that befits their state.
§3. The diocesan bishop is competent for the recognition and erection of such associations at the diocesan level, within his territory; the conference of bishops is competent at the national level, within its own territory.
[new paragraph added by m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
|Canon 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.
|Canon 606.||Provisions concerning institutes of consecrated life and their members are equally valid in law for both sexes, unless it is otherwise clear from the context or from the nature of things.|
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes|
|Canon 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.
§3 The public witness which religious are to give to Christ and the Church involves that separation from the world which is proper to the character and purpose of each institute.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » Religious houses and their creation and suppression|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 609.||§1 A house of a religious institute is established, with the prior written consent of the diocesan Bishop, by the authority competent according to the constitutions.
§2 For the establishment of a monastery of cloistered nuns, the permission of the
Apostolic See is also required.
|Canon 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.
§2 No house is to be established unless it is prudently foreseen that the needs of the members can be suitably provided for.
|Canon 611.||The consent of the diocesan Bishop for the establishment of a religious house carries with it the right:
1° to lead a life according to the character and purposes proper to the institute;
2° to engage in the works which are proper to the institute, in accordance with the law, and subject to any conditions attached to the consent;
3° for clerical religious institutes to have a church, subject to the provisions of can.
1215 §3, and to conduct the sacred ministries, with due observance of the law.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 613.||§1 A religious house of canons regular or of monks under the governance and care of their own Moderator is autonomous, unless the constitutions decree otherwise.
§2 The Moderator of an autonomous house is by law a major Superior.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
§2 The Holy See alone can suppress the sole house of an institute, in which case it is also reserved to the Holy See to prescribe concerning the property of the house.
§3 Unless the constitutions enact otherwise, the suppression of the autonomous houses mentioned in can. 613 belongs to the general chapter.
§4 The suppression of an autonomous monastery of cloistered nuns pertains to the
Apostolic See; the provisions of the constitutions are to be observed concerning the property of the monastery.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The governance of institutes » Superiors and councils|
|Canon 617.||Superiors are to fulfil their office and exercise their authority in accordance with the norms of the universal law and of their own law.|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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 An institute’s own law is to make suitable provisions so that Superiors constituted for a defined time do not continue in offices of governance for too long a period of time without an interval.
§3 During their period in office, however, Superiors may be removed or transferred to another office, for reasons prescribed in the institute’s own law.
|Canon 625.||The supreme Moderator of the institute is to be designated by canonical election, in accordance with the constitutions.
§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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 627.||§1 Superiors are to have their own council, in accordance with the constitutions, and they must make use of it in the exercise of their office.
§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.
|Canon 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.
§2 The diocesan Bishop has the right and the duty to visit the following, even in respect of religious discipline:
1° the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615;
NB Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
Instruction Cor Orans, 1 April 2018:
111. In exemption of can. 628, §2, 1° CJC, the Federation President, within the established time, accompanies the Regular Visitator in the canonical visit to the federated monasteries as a Co-Visitator.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
2° the individual houses of an institute of diocesan right situated in his territory.
§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.
|Canon 629.||Superiors are to reside each in his or her own house, and they are not to leave it except in accordance with the institute’s own law.|
|Canon 630.||§1 While safeguarding the discipline of the institute, Superiors are to acknowledge the freedom due to the members concerning the sacrament of penance and the direction of conscience.
§2 Superiors are to take care, in accordance with the institute’s own law, that the members have suitable confessors available, to whom they may confess frequently.
§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.
§4 Superiors are not to hear the confessions of their subjects unless the members spontaneously request them to do so.
§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.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The governance of institutes » Chapters|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The governance of institutes » Temporal goods and their administration|
|Canon 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.
§2 They are, however, to avoid all appearance of luxury, excessive gain and the accumulation of goods.
|Canon 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.
§2 Each institute, however, is to establish suitable norms for the use and administration of goods, so that the poverty proper to the institute may be fostered, defended and expressed.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
§4 For the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615, and for institutes of diocesan right, the written consent of the diocesan Bishop is necessary.
NB Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
Instruction Cor Orans, 1 April 2018:
52. In derogation from can. 638, §4 CJC, for the validity of the alienation and of any other transaction by which the patrimonial situation of the monastery could be damaged, the written permission of the Major Superior is required with the consent of the Council or of the conventual Chapter, depending on the value of the sale and the transaction, and the opinion of the Federal President.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
81. As regards the female monasteries entrusted to the particular vigilance of the diocesan Bishop, this is expressed in respect to the monastery community mainly in the cases established by the universal law; as the diocesan Bishop, he:
… d) in derogation from can. 638, §4 CJC, gives as Local Ordinary, his written consent for particular administrative acts, if established by its proper law.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
108. In derogation from can. 638, §4 CJC, for the validity of the alienation of the assets of the suppressed monasteries, the President of the Federation and the Federal Council, beyond the value of the asset to be alienated, always and exclusively requires written permission from the Holy See.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
|Canon 639.||§1 If a juridical person has contracted debts and obligations, even with the permission of the Superior, it is responsible for them.
§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.
§3 If a religious has entered into a contract without any permission of Superiors, the religious is responsible, not the juridical person.
§4 However, an action can always be brought against a person who has gained from a contract entered into.
§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.
|Canon 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.|
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The admission of candidates and the formation of members » Admission to the novitiate|
|Canon 641.||The right to admit candidates to the novitiate belongs to the major
Superiors, in accordance with the norms of the institute’s own law.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 643.||§1 The following are invalidly admitted to the novitiate:
1° One who has not yet completed the seventeenth year of age;
2° a spouse, while the marriage lasts;
3° one who is currently bound by a sacred bond to some institute of consecrated life, or is incorporated in some society of apostolic life, without prejudice to can. 684;
4° one who enters the institute through force, fear or deceit, or whom the Superior accepts under the same influences;
5° one who has concealed his or her incorporation in an institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life.
§2 An institute’s own law can constitute other impediments even for the validity of admission, or attach other conditions.
|Canon 644.||Superiors are not to admit secular clerics to the novitiate without consulting their proper Ordinary; nor those who have debts which they are unable to meet.|
|Canon 645.||§1 Before candidates are admitted to the novitiate they must produce proof of baptism and confirmation, and of their free status.
§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.
§3 An institute’s own law can demand further proofs concerning the suitability of candidates and their freedom from any impediment.
§4 The Superiors can seek other information, even under secrecy, if this seems necessary to them.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The admission of candidates and the formation of members » The novitiate and the formation of novices|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 647.||§1 The establishment, transfer and suppression of a novitiate house are to take place by a written decree of the supreme Moderator of the institute, given with the consent of the council.
§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.
§3 A major Superior can allow a group of novices to reside, for a certain period of time, in another specified house of the institute.
|Canon 648.||§1 For validity, the novitiate must comprise twelve months spent in the novitiate community, without prejudice to the provision of can. 647 §3.
§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.
§3 The novitiate is not to be extended beyond two years.
|Canon 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.
§2 With the permission of the competent major Superior, first profession may be anticipated, though not by more than fifteen days.
|Canon 650.||§1 The object of the novitiate demands that novices be formed under the supervision of the director of novices, in a manner of formation to be defined by the institute’s own law.
§2 The governance of the novices is reserved to the director of novices alone, under the authority of the major Superiors.
|Canon 651.||§1 The director of novices is to be a member of the institute who has taken perpetual vows and has been lawfully designated.
§2 If need be, directors of novices may be given assistants, who are subject to them in regard to the governance of the novitiate and the manner of formation.
§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.
|Canon 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 self-denial 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.
§3 Novices, conscious of their own responsibility, are to cooperate actively with the director of novices, so that they may faithfully respond to the grace of their divine vocation.
§4 By the example of their lives and by prayer, the members of the institute are to ensure that they do their part in assisting the work of formation of the novices.
§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.
|Canon 653.||§1 A novice may freely leave the institute. The competent authority of the institute may also dismiss a novice.
§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.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The admission of candidates and the formation of members » Religious profession|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 655.||Temporary profession is to be made for the period defined by the institute’s own law. This period may not be less than three years nor longer than six years.|
|Canon 656.||The validity of temporary profession requires:
1° that the person making it has completed at least the eighteenth year of age;
2° that the novitiate has been made validly;
3° that admission has been granted, freely and in accordance with the norms of law, by the competent Superior, after a vote of his or her council;
4° that the profession be explicit and made without force, fear or deceit;
5° that the profession be received by the lawful Superior, personally or through another.
|Canon 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.
§3 Perpetual profession can for a just reason be anticipated, but not by more than three months.
|Canon 658.||Besides the conditions mentioned in can. 656, nn. 3, 4 and 5, and others attached by the institute’s own law, the validity of perpetual profession requires:
1° that the person has completed at least the twenty-first year of age;
2° that there has been previous temporary profession for at least three years, without prejudice to the provision of can. 657 §3.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The admission of candidates and the formation of members » The formation of religious|
|Canon 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.
§3 The formation of members who are being prepared for sacred orders is governed by the universal law and the institute’s own program of studies.
|Canon 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.
§2 During the period of formation members are not to be given offices and undertakings which hinder their formation.
|Canon 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.|
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The obligations and rights of institutes and their members|
|Canon 662.||Religious are to find their supreme rule of life in the following of Christ as proposed in the Gospel and as expressed in the constitutions of their own institute.|
|Canon 663.||§1 The first and principal duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of things divine and constant union with God in prayer.
§2 Each day the members are to make every effort to participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice, receive the most holy Body of Christ and adore the Lord himself present in the Sacrament.
§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.
§5 They are faithfully to observe the period of annual retreat.
|Canon 664.||Religious are earnestly to strive for the conversion of soul to God. They are to examine their consciences daily, and to approach the sacrament of penance frequently|
|Canon 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.
NB Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
Instruction Cor Orans, 1 April 2018:
176. The limitation in the Instruction Verbi Sponsa, n. 17, §2,* has been repealed; for just cause the Major Superior, according to the norm of can. 665, §1 CJC, with the consent of her Council, may authorize the absence from the monastery of a nun with solemn vows for not more than a year, after hearing the diocesan Bishop or the competent religious Ordinary.
[*”It should be noted that the norm of can. 665, §1, on permanence outside the
Institute, does not regard enclosed nuns” Verbi Sponsa, n. 17, §2.]
§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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
§2 A stricter discipline of enclosure is to be observed in monasteries which are devoted to the contemplative life.
§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.
NB Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
Instruction Cor Orans, 1 April 2018:
83. All female monasteries, without prejudice to internal autonomy and possible external exemption are subject to the diocesan Bishop, who exercises pastoral care in the following cases:
… g) the diocesan Bishop has the faculty, for a just cause, of entering the cloister and allowing other people to enter, with the consent of the Major Superior.
[Partial derogation from can. 667, §4 CJC approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
174. In derogation from the provision of can. 667, §4 CJC, the diocesan
Bishop, as well as the religious Ordinary, does not intervene in granting dispensation from the cloister.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
175. In derogation of the provisions of can. 667, §4 CJC, the dispensation from the cloister rests solely with the Major Superior who, in the event that such dispensation exceeds fifteen days, can grant it only after having obtained the consent of her Council.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
|Canon 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.
|Canon 669.||§1 As a sign of their consecration and as a witness to poverty, religious are to wear the habit of their institute, determined in accordance with the institute’s own law.
§2 Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress, in accordance with can. 284.
|Canon 670.||The institute must supply the members with everything that, in accordance with the constitutions, is necessary to fulfil the purpose of their vocation.|
|Canon 671.||Religious are not to undertake tasks and offices outside their own institute without the permission of the lawful Superior.|
|Canon 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.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The apostolate of institutes|
|Canon 673.||The apostolate of all religious consists primarily in the witness of their consecrated life, which they are bound to foster through prayer and penance.|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
§2 Apostolic action is always to proceed from intimate union with God, and is to confirm and foster this union.
§3 Apostolic action exercised in the name of the Church and by its command is to be performed in communion with the Church.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
§2 Institutes which have associations of Christ’s faithful joined to them are to have a special care that these associations are imbued with the genuine spirit of their family.
|Canon 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.
§3 In directing the apostolic works of religious, diocesan Bishops and religious
Superiors must proceed by way of mutual consultation.
|Canon 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
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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 cann. 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.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
§2 If the diocesan Bishop becomes aware of abuses, and a warning to the religious
Superior having been in vain, he can by his own authority deal with the matter.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » Separation of members from the institute » Transfer to another institute|
|Canon 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.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 684 §3, 20.VI.1987]
§4 The institute’s own law is to determine the time and manner of the probation which must precede the member’s profession in the new institute.
§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.
|Canon 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.
§2 By profession in the new institute the member is incorporated into it, and the earlier vows, rights and obligations cease.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » Separation of members from the institute » Departure from an institute|
|Canon 686.||§1 With the consent of the council, the supreme moderator for a grave cause can grant an indult of exclaustration to a member professed by perpetual vows, but not for more than five years, and if it concerns a cleric, with the prior consent of the ordinary of the place in which he must reside. To extend an indult or to grant it for more than five years is reserved to the Holy See, or to the diocesan bishop if it concerns institutes of diocesan right.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
§2 Only the Apostolic See can grant an indult of exclaustration for cloistered nuns.
NB Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
Instruction Cor Orans, 1 April 2018:
130. In exemption of can. 686, §2 CJC, the Federal Council gives its consent for the request of the indult of exclaustration for a nun of solemn vows, after the year granted by the Major Superior of the monastery, up to the completion of three years.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
131. The Federal Council gives its consent for the request for the extension of the indult of exclaustration for a nun of solemn vows, to be requested from the Holy See.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
177. In derogation of can. 686, §2 CJC, the Major Superior, with the consent of her
Council, can grant the indult of exclaustration to a nun professed with solemn vows, for not more than a year, after the consent of the Ordinary of the place where the nun will have to live, and after having heard the opinion of the diocesan Bishop or of the competent religious Ordinary.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
178. In derogation of can. 686, §2 CJC, an extension of the indult of exclaustration can be granted by the Federal President with the consent of her Council, for a nun professed with solemn vows of a monastery of the Federation for a period of no more than two years.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
§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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 688.||§1 A person who, on completion of the time of temporary profession, wishes to leave the institute, is free to do so.
§2 During the time of temporary profession, a person who asks to leave the institute for a grave cause can obtain an indult of departure from the supreme moderator with the consent of his or her council; in the case of an autonomous monastery, mentioned in can. 615, however, the bishop of the house of assignment must confirm the indult for it to be valid.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
|Canon 689.||§1 The competent major Superior, after consulting his or council, can for just reasons exclude a member from making further profession on the completion of temporary profession.
§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.
§3 A religious who becomes insane during the period of temporary vows cannot be dismissed from the institute, even though unable to make a new profession.
|Canon 690.||§1 A person who lawfully leaves the institute after completing the novitiate or after profession, can be re-admitted 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 cann. 655 and 657.
§2 The Superior of an autonomous monastery, acting with the consent of his or her council, has the same faculty.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » Separation of members from the institute » Dismissal of members|
|Canon 694.||§1 A religious must be held as dismissed ipso facto from an institute who:
1° has defected notoriously from the Catholic faith;
2° has contracted marriage or attempted it, even only civilly;
3° has been illegitimately absent from the religious house, pursuant to can. 665 §2, for 12 consecutive months, taking into account that the location of the religious himself or herself may be unknown.
§2 In such cases the Major Superior, with his or her council and without hesitation, having gathered the evidence, must issue the statement of the case so that the dismissal may be juridically constituted.
§3 In the case envisaged by §1 n. 3, in order to be juridically constituted, this statement must be confirmed by the Holy See; for institutes of diocesan right the confirmation rests with the Bishop of the principal See.
[revised wording according to m.p. Communis vita, 19.III.2019]
|Canon 695.||§1 A member must be dismissed for the offences mentioned in can. 1395,
1397, and 1398, unless, for the offences mentioned in can. 1395 §§2-3 and 1398 §1, 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.
[revised wording according to m.p. Recognitum Librum VI, 26.IV.2022]
§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.
|Canon 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 A member in temporary vows can be dismissed even for less grave reasons determined in the institute’s own law.
|Canon 697.||§1 In the cases mentioned in can. 696, if the major Superior, after consulting his or her council, judges that the process of dismissal should be commenced:
1° the major Superior is to collect or complete the evidence;
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.
|Canon 698.||In all the cases mentioned in cann. 695 and 696, the member always retains the right to communicate with, and send replies directly to, the supreme Moderator.|
|Canon 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, it belongs to the major superior, with the consent of his or her council, to decide on dismissa.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
|Canon 700.||A decree of dismissal issued in the case of a professed member takes effect from the time that it is communicated to the member concerned. To be valid, however, the decree must indicate the right which the dismissed possesses to make recourse to the competent authority within ten days from receiving notification. The recourse has suspensive effect.
[revised wording according to m.p. Competentias quasdam decernere, 11.II.2022]
[see Authentic Interpretation of canon 700, 17.V.1986]
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 702.||§1 Whoever lawfully leaves a religious institute or is lawfully dismissed from one, cannot claim anything from the institute for any work done in it.
§2 The institute, however, is to show equity and evangelical charity towards the member who is separated from it.
|Canon 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
|Canon 704.||In the report to be sent to the Apostolic See in accordance with can. 592,
§1, mention is to be made of members who have been separated in any way from the institute.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » Religious raised to the episcopate|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 706.||In the case of the religious mentioned above:
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 not lost the ownership of his goods through his profession, he recovers the use and enjoyment and the administration of the goods he possessed; what he obtains later, he acquires fully;
3° in both cases any goods he receives which are not personal gifts must be disposed of according to the intention of the donors.
|Canon 707.||§1 A religious Bishop ‘emeritus’ may choose to reside outside the house of his institute, unless the Apostolic See disposes otherwise.
§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.
[NB see Authentic Interpretation of canon 705-707, 17.V.1986]
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » Conferences of major superiors|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.|
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Secular institutes|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 712.||Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 598--601, 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.|
|Canon 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
§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.
|Canon 714.||Members are to live their lives in the ordinary conditions of the world, either alone, in their families or in fraternal groups, in accordance with the constitutions.|
|Canon 715.||§1 Clerical members incardinated in a diocese are subject to the diocesan
Bishop, except for whatever concerns the consecrated life of their own institutes.
§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.
|Canon 716.||§1 All members are to take an active part in the life of the institute, in accordance with the institute’s own law.
§2 Members of the same institute are to preserve a rapport with one another, carefully fostering a unity of spirit and a genuine fraternity.
|Canon 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.
§2 No one is to be designated supreme Moderator unless definitively incorporated into the institute.
§3 Those entrusted with the governance of the institute are to ensure that its unity of spirit is maintained, and that the active participation of the members is developed.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
§2 The celebration of the Eucharist, daily where possible, is to be the source and strength of their whole consecrated life.
§3 They are to go freely to the sacrament of penance and receive it frequently.
§4 They are to be free to obtain the necessary spiritual direction. Should they so desire, they may seek such counsel even from their Moderators.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 721.||§1 The following are invalidly admitted to initial probation:
1° one who has not yet attained majority;
2° one who is currently bound by a sacred bond in another institute of consecrated life, or incorporated in a society of apostolic life;
3° a spouse, while the marriage lasts.
§2 The constitutions can establish other impediments to admission, even for validity, or attach conditions to it.
§3 For a person to be received into the institute, that degree of maturity is required which is necessary to live the life of the institute properly.
|Canon 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.
§3 The constitutions are to define the manner and time of the probation to be made before the first sacred bonds are undertaken in the institute; this time is to be not less than two years.
|Canon 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.
§2 This first incorporation is to be temporary, in accordance with the constitutions, but is to be for not less than five years.
§3 When this period of incorporation has been completed, a member who is judged suitable is to be admitted to perpetual, or definitive incorporation, that is, by temporary bonds always to be renewed.
§4 Definitive incorporation is equivalent to perpetual incorporation in respect of defined juridical effects, which are to be established in the constitutions.
|Canon 724.||§1 After the first acceptance of the sacred bonds, formation is to continue without interruption in accordance with the constitutions.
§2 Members are to be formed simultaneously in matters human and divine. The
Moderators of the institute are to have a serious concern for the continued spiritual formation of the members.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
§2 A temporarily incorporated member who freely requests it, can for a grave reason be granted an indult to leave the institute by the supreme Moderator, with the consent of the council.
|Canon 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.
§2 For a cleric who is incardinated in the institute, the provision of can. 693 is to be observed.
|Canon 728.||When an indult to leave the institute has been lawfully granted, all bonds, rights and obligations deriving from incorporation cease.|
|Canon 729.||Dismissal of a member of the institute proceeds pursuant to cann. 694 §1, 1 and 2; and 695. The constitutions may also define other causes for dismissal, provided that they be commensurately serious, external, attributable and juridically proven, and that the procedure in can. 697-700 also be observed. The provisions of can. 701 are applicable to the dismissed member.
[revised wording according to m.p. Communis vita, 19.III.2019]
|Canon 730.||For a member to transfer from one secular institute to another, the provisions of cann. 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.
|The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Societies of Apostolic Life|
|Canon 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.
§2 Among these societies are some in which the members, through a bond defined in the constitutions, undertake to live the evangelical counsels.
|Canon 732.||cann. 578-597 and 606 apply to societies of apostolic life, with due regard, however, for the nature of each society. For the societies mentioned in can. 731 §2, can. 598-602 also apply.|
|Canon 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.
§2 Consent to establish a house carries with it the right to have at least an oratory in which the blessed Eucharist is celebrated and reserved.
|Canon 734.||The governance of the society is determined by the constitutions, without prejudice, in accordance with the nature of each society, to can. 617--633.|
|Canon 735.||§1 The admission, probation, incorporation and formation of members are determined by each society’s own law.
§2 For admission into the society, the conditions prescribed in can. 642-645 are to be observed.
§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.
|Canon 736.||§1 In clerical societies, the clerics are incardinated into the society, unless the constitutions determine otherwise.
§2 The norms concerning the secular clergy apply to the programme of studies and reception of orders, without prejudice to §1.
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 738.||§1 All members are subject to their own Moderators in matters concerning the internal life and discipline of the society, in accordance with the constitutions.
§2 They are also subject to the diocesan Bishop in matters concerning public worship, the care of souls and other works of the apostolate, with due regard to cann.
§3 The relationship between a member who is incardinated in a diocese and his proper Bishop is to be defined in the constitutions or in particular agreements.
|Canon 739.||Apart from the obligations which derive from their constitutions, members are bound by the common obligations of clerics, unless the nature of things or the context indicates otherwise.|
|Canon 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.|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 742.||The departure and dismissal of a member who is not definitively incorporated are governed by the constitutions of each society.|
|Canon 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.
|Canon 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.
§2 To transfer to an institute of consecrated life or from such an institute to a society of apostolic life, the permission of the Holy See is required, and its instructions are to be followed.
|Canon 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.
|Canon 746.||For the dismissal of a member who is definitively incorporated, the provisions of can. 694-704 are to be observed, making the appropriate adjustments.|
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