Can. 204 §1 Christs
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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 207 §1 By divine
institution, among Christs 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 Christs 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.
Title I : The Obligations And Rights Of All Christs
Can. 208 Flowing from their
rebirth in Christ, there is a genuine equality of dignity and action among all of
Christs 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.
Can. 209 §1 Christs
faithful are bound to preserve their communion with the Church at all times, even in their
§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.
Can. 210 All Christs
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
Can. 211 All Christs
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.
Can. 212 §1 Christs
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 Christs 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 Christs
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
Can. 213 Christs
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.
Can. 214 Christs
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.
Can. 215 Christs
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.
Can. 216 Since they share
the Churchs mission, all Christs 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.
Can. 217 Since Christs
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
Can. 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.
Can. 219 All Christs
faithful have the right to immunity from any kind of coercion in choosing a state in life.
Can. 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.
Can. 221 §1 Christs
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
Christs 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 Christs faithful
have the right that no canonical penalties be inflicted upon them except in accordance
with the law.
Can. 222 §1 Christs
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 Lords precept, to help the poor from
their own resources.
Can. 223 §1 In exercising
their rights, Christs 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 Christs faithful.
Title Ii: The Obligations And Rights Of The Lay Members Of
Can. 224 Lay members of
Christs 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 Christs faithful and
those stated in other canons.
Can. 225 §1 Since lay
people, like all Christs 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
Can. 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.
Can. 227 To lay members of
Christs 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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 229 §1 Lay people have
the duty and the right to acquire the knowledge of christian teaching which is appropriate
to each ones 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
Can. 230 §1 Lay men whose
age and talents meet the requirements prescribed by decree of the Episcopal Conference,
can be given the stable ministry of lector and of acolyte, through the prescribed
liturgical rite. This conferral of ministry does not, however, give them a right to
sustenance or remuneration from the Church.
§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.
§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.
Can. 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
Title Iii: Sacred Ministers Or Clerics
Chapter I : The Formation Of Clerics
Can. 232 It is the
duty and the proper and exclusive right of the Church to train those who are deputed to
Can. 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
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
Can. 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
2° men of more mature
years, whether celibate or married, are toprepare for three years in a manner determined
by the same Episcopal Conference.
Can. 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 inter-diocesan
seminary may not be established unless the prior approval of the Apostolic See has been
obtained, both for the establishment of the seminary and for its statutes. Approval is
also required from the Episcopal Conference if the seminary is for the whole of its
territory; otherwise, from the Bishops concerned.
Can. 238 §1 Seminaries
which are lawfully established have juridical personality in the Church by virtue of the
§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.
Can. 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 Bishop.
§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 rectors responsibility, especially in
regard to the maintenance of discipline.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Priestly Formation.
§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.
Can. 242 §1 In each country
there is to be a Charter of Priestly Formation. It is to be drawn up by the Episcopal
Conference, taking account of the norms issued by the supreme ecclesiastical authority,
and it is to be approved by the Holy See; moreover, it is to be adapted to new
circumstances, likewise with the approval of the Holy See. This Charter is to define the
overall principles governing formation in the seminary and the general norms which take
account of the pastoral needs of each region or province.
§2 The norms of the Charter
mentioned in §1 are to be observed in all seminaries, whether diocesan or inter-diocesan.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Christs 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.
Can. 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
§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
§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
§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.
Can. 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
Can. 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 peoples thinking.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter II : THE ENROLMENT OR INCARDINATION OF CLERICS
Can. 265 Every cleric
must be incardinated in a particular church, or in a personal Prelature, or in an
institute of consecrated life or a society which has this faculty: accordingly, acephalous
or wandering clergy are in no way to be allowed.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
Can. 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 clerics 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.
Can. 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 clerics
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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter III : THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF CLERICS
Can. 273 Clerics have
a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to their
Can. 274 §1 Only clerics
can obtain offices the exercise of which requires the power of order or the power of
§2 Unless excused by a
lawful impediment, clerics are obliged to accept and faithfully fulfil the office
committed to them by their Ordinary.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Conference;
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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 280 Some manner of
common life is highly recommended to clerics; where it exists, it is as far as possible to
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 284 Clerics are to wear
suitable ecclesiastical dress, in accordance with the norms established by the Episcopal
Conference and legitimate local custom.
Can. 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.
Can. 286 Clerics are
forbidden to practise commerce or trade, either personally or through another, for their
own or anothers benefit, except with the permission of the lawful ecclesiastical
Can. 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.
Can. 288 Permanent deacons
are not bound by the provisions of cann. 284, 285 §§3 and 4, 286, 287 §2, unless
particular law states otherwise.
Can. 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.
Chapter IV : LOSS OF THE CLERICAL STATE
Can. 290 Sacred
ordination once validly received never becomes invalid. A cleric, however, loses the
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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 293 A cleric who has
lost the clerical state cannot be enrolled as a cleric again save by rescript of the
Title Iv: Personal Prelatures
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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 of the diocesan Bishop,
exercises or wishes to exercise its pastoral or missionary activity.
Title V: Associations Of Christs Faithful
Chapter I : COMMON NORMS
Can. 298 §1 In the
Church there are associations which are distinct from institutes of consecrated life and
societies of apostolic life. In these associations, Christs 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 Christs faithful
are to join especially those associations which have been established, praised or
recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority.
Can. 299 §1 By private
agreement among themselves, Christs 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
§3 No private association
of Christs faithful is recognised in the Church unless its statutes have been
reviewed by the competent authority.
Can. 300 No association may
call itself catholic except with the consent of the competent ecclesiastical
authority, in accordance with can. 312.
Can. 301 §1 It is for the
competent ecclesiastical authority alone to establish associations of Christs
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
Christs faithful to pursue, directly or indirectly, other spiritual ends whose
attainment is not adequately provided for by private initiatives.
§3 Associations of
Christs faithful which are established by the competent ecclesiastical authority are
called public associations.
Can. 302 Associations of
Christs 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
Can. 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
Can. 304 §1 All
associations of Christs 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.
Can. 305 §1 All
associations of Christs 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.
Can. 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 associations own statutes,
and be not lawfully dismissed from it.
Can. 307 §1 The admission
of members is to take place in accordance with the law and with the statutes of each
§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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter II : PUBLIC ASSOCIATIONS OF CHRISTS FAITHFUL
Can. 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.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
§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 cann. 192--195.
Can. 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
§2 The association must
also faithfully account to the same authority for the disbursement of contributions and
alms which it has collected.
Can. 320 §1 Associations
established by the Holy See can be suppressed only by the Holy See.
§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.
Chapter III : PRIVATE ASSOCIATIONS OF CHRISTS FAITHFUL
Christs faithful direct and moderate private associations according to the
provisions of the statutes.
Can. 322 §1 A private
association of Christs faithful can acquire juridical personality by a formal decree
of the competent ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312.
§2 No private association
of Christs 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.
Can. 323 §1 Although
private associations of Christs 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.
Can. 324 §1 A private
association of Christs faithful can freely designate for itself a moderator and
officers, in accordance with the statutes.
§2 If a private association
of Christs 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.
Can. 325 §1 A private
association of Christs 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
Can. 326 §1 A private
association of Christs 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.
Chapter IV : SPECIAL NORMS FOR LAY ASSOCIATIONS
Can. 327 Lay members
of Christs 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.
Can. 328 Those who head lay
associations, even those established by apostolic privilege, are to ensure that their
associations cooperate with other associations of Christs faithful, where this is
expedient. They are to give their help freely to various christian works, especially those
in the same territory.
Can. 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.
Part Ii : The Hierarchical Constitution Of The Church
Section I: The Supreme Authority Of The Church
Chapter I : The Roman Pontiff And The College Of Bishops
Can. 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.
Article 1: The Roman Pontiff
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Pontiff.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Article 2: The College of Bishops
Can. 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.
Can. 337 §1 The College of
Bishops exercises its power over the universal Church in solemn form in an Ecumenical
§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
§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
Can. 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
§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
Can. 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
Can. 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
Can. 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
§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.
Chapter II : THE SYNOD OF BISHOPS
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter III : THE CARDINALS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CHURCH
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
§4 If the Dean and sub-Dean
do not already have a domicile in Rome, they acquire it there.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Pontiff.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Chapter IV : THE ROMAN CURIA
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Chapter V : PAPAL LEGATES
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Legate:
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 See;
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 Apostolic See;
8° to exercise the
faculties and carry out the other instructions which are given to him by the Apostolic
Can. 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.
Can. 366 Given the special
nature of a Legates role: nn n nnnl;
1° the papal Legation is
exempt from the power of governance of the local Ordinary, except for the celebration of
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
Can. 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.
Section Ii : Particular Churches And Their Groupings
Title I : Particular Churches And The Authority
Constituted Within Them
Chapter I : Particular Churches
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
§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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter II : BISHOPS
Article 1: Bishops in General
Can. 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.
Can. 376 Bishops to whom the
care of a given diocese is entrusted are called diocesan Bishops; the others are called
Can. 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.
Can. 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
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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Article 2: Diocesan Bishops
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 383 §1 In exercising
his pastoral office, the diocesan Bishop is to be solicitous for all Christs
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 Church.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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 Christs 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 Christs faithful entrusted to his
care may grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments, and may know and live
the paschal mystery.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 393 In all juridical
transactions of the diocese, the diocesan Bishop acts in the person of the diocese.
Can. 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
faithfuls 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 402 §1 A Bishop whose
resignation from office has been accepted, acquires the title emeritus of his
diocese. If he so wishes, he may have a residence in the diocese unless, because of
special circumstances in certain cases, the Apostolic See provides otherwise.
§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
Article 3: Coadjutor and Auxiliary Bishops
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 411 The provisions of
cann. 401 and 402 §2, concerning resignation from office, apply also to a coadjutor and
an auxiliary Bishop.
Chapter III : THE IMPEDED OR VACANT SEE
Article 1: The Impeded See
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Article 2: The Vacant See
Can. 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 Bishop.
Can. 417 Until they have
received certain notification of the Bishops 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.
Can. 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 Bishop:
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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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. 502 §3.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 424 The diocesan
Administrator is to be elected according to the norms of cann. 165-178.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 426 Whoever governs the
diocese before the appointment of the diocesan Administrator, has the power which the law
gives to a Vicar general.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Title Ii: Groupings Of Particular Churches
Chapter I : Ecclesiastical Provinces And Ecclesiastical
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter II : METROPOLITANS
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter III : PARTICULAR COUNCILS
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 441 It is the
responsibility of the Episcopal Conference:
1° to convene a plenary
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
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.
Can. 442 §1 It is the
responsibility of the Metropolitan, with the consent of the majority of the suffragan
1° to convene a provincial
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
Can. 443 §1 The following
have the right to be summoned to particular councils and have the right to a deliberative
1° diocesan Bishops;
2° coadjutor and auxiliary
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
Christs 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
Can. 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
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Chapter IV : EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES
Can. 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 Christs 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Conference.
§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
Can. 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.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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
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.
Can. 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
Title Iii : The Internal Ordering Of Particular Churches
Chapter I : The Diocesan Synod
Can. 460 The diocesan synod
is an assembly of selected priests and other members of Christs faithful of a
particular Church which, for the good of the whole diocesan community, assists the
diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the following canons.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 463 §1 The following
are to be summoned to the diocesan synod as members and they are obliged to participate in
1° the coadjutor Bishop and
the auxiliary Bishops;
2° the Vicars general and
episcopal Vicars, and the judicial Vicar
3° the canons of the
4° the members of the
council of priests;
5° lay members of
Christs 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
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
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
Can. 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.
Can. 465 All questions
proposed are to be subject to the free discussion of the members in the sessions of the
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter II : THE DIOCESAN CURIA
Can. 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.
Can. 470 The appointment of
those who fulfil an office in the diocesan curia belongs to the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Bishops 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
Bishops 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 Vicars.
Can. 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.
Article 1: Vicars General and
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Vicar.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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,
§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.
Can. 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 Bishop.
Can. 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
§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.
Article 2: The Chancellor, other Notaries and the Archives
Can. 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
§3 The chancellor and
vice-chancellor are automatically notaries and secretaries of the curia.
Can. 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.
Can. 484 The office of
1° writing acts and
documents concerning decrees, arrangements, obligations, and other matters which require
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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
ARTICLE 3: THE FINANCE COMMITTEE AND THE FINANCIAL
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Chapter III : THE COUNCIL OF PRIESTS AND THE COLLEGE OF
Can. 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 Bishops senate. The
councils 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
Can. 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 Episcopal Conference.
Can. 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.
Can. 498 §1 The following
have the right to both an active and a passive voice in an election to the council of
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
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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
§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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
§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 Bishops 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
§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.
Chapter IV : THE CHAPTER OF CANONS
Can. 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.
Can. 504 The establishment,
alteration or suppression of a cathedral chapter is reserved to the Apostolic See.
Can. 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 Bishop.
Can. 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 chapter business is conducted and, while observing the
provisions of the universal 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
§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.
Can. 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.
Chapter V : THE PASTORAL COUNCIL
Can. 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
Can. 512 §1 A pastoral
council is composed of members of Christs 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
Christs 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
Christs faithful who are outstanding in firm faith, high moral standards and
prudence are to be assigned to the pastoral council.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Chapter VI : PARISHES, PARISH PRIESTS AND ASSISTANT
Can. 515 §1 A parish is a
certain community of Christs 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.
Can. 516 §1 Unless the law
provides otherwise, a quasi-parish is equivalent to a parish. A quasi-parish is a certain
community of Christs 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 518 As a general rule,
a parish is to be territorial, that is, it is to embrace all Christs 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.
Can. 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 Christs faithful, in accordance with the law.
Can. 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 §1.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 Christs faithful.
Can. 525 When a see is
vacant or impeded, it is for the diocesan Administrator or whoever governs the diocese in
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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Christs 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.
Can. 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 Christs 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
Can. 530 The functions
especially entrusted to the parish priest are as follows:
1° the administration of
2° the administration of
the sacrament of confirmation to those in danger of death, in accordance with can. 883, n.
3° the administration of
Viaticum and of the anointing of the sick, without prejudice to can. 1003 §§2 and 3, and
the imparting of the apostolic blessing;
4° the assistance at
marriages and the nuptial blessing;
5° the conducting of
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.
Can. 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 donors 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.
Can. 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 cann. 1281-1288.
Can. 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 priests absence, the care of
the parish is provided for by a priest with the requisite faculties.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§2 In the register of
baptisms, a note is to be made of confirmation and of matters pertaining to the canonical
status of the faithful by reason of marriage, without prejudice to the provision of can.
1133, and by reason of adoption, the reception of sacred order, the making of perpetual
profession in a religious institute, or a change of rite. These annotations are always to
be reproduced on a baptismal certificate.
§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
Can. 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, Christs faithful, together with those who by virtue of their
office are engaged in pastoral care in the parish, give their help in fostering pastoral
§2 The pastoral council has
only a consultative vote, and it is regulated by the norms laid down by the diocesan
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 546 To be validly
appointed an assistant priest, one must be in the sacred order of priesthood.
Can. 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 §1.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 551 The provisions of
can. 531 are to be observed in respect of offerings which Christs faithful make to
the assistant priest on the occasion of his exercise of the pastoral ministry.
Can. 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.
Chapter VII : VICARS FORANE
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 555 §1 Apart from the
faculties lawfully given to him by particular law, the Vicar forane has the duty and the
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
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
§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.
Chapter VIII : RECTORS OF CHURCHES AND CHAPLAINS
Article 1: Rectors of Churches
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Article 2: Chaplains
Can. 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 Christs faithful, to be exercised in accordance
with universal and particular law.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 569 Chaplains to the
armed forces are governed by special laws.
Can. 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.
Can. 571 In the exercise of
his pastoral office a chaplain is to maintain the due relationship with the parish priest.
Can. 572 In regard to the
removal of a chaplain, the provisions of can. 563 are to be observed.
Part III : INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND SOCIETIES OF
Section I: Institutes of Consecrated Life
TITLE I: NORMS COMMON TO ALL INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE
Can. 573 §1 Life
consecrated through profession of the evangelical counsels is a stable form of living, in
which the faithful follow Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, and are
totally dedicated to God, who is supremely loved. By a new and special title they are
dedicated to seek the perfection of charity in the service of Gods 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 Christs faithful
freely assume this manner of life in institutes of consecrated life which are canonically
established by the competent ecclesiastical authority. By vows or by other sacred bonds,
in accordance with the laws of their own institutes, they profess the evangelical counsels
of chastity, poverty and obedience. Because of the charity to which these counsels lead,
they are linked in a special way to the Church and its mystery.
Can. 574 §1 The state of
persons who profess the evangelical counsels in these institutes belongs to the life and
holiness of the Church. It is therefore to be fostered and promoted by everyone in the
§2 Some of Christs
faithful are specially called by God to this state, so that they may benefit from a
special gift in the life of the Church and contribute to its saving mission according to
the purpose and spirit of each institute.
Can. 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.
Can. 576 It is the
prerogative of the competent authority in the Church to interpret the evangelical
counsels, to legislate for their practice and, by canonical approval, to constitute the
stable forms of living which arise from them. The same authority has the responsibility to
do what is in its power to ensure that institutes grow and flourish according to the
spirit of their founders and to their sound traditions.
Can. 577 In the Church there
are many institutes of consecrated life, with gifts that differ according to the graces
given them: they more closely follow Christ praying, or Christ proclaiming the Kingdom of
God, or Christ doing good to people, or Christ in dialogue with the people of this world,
but always Christ doing the will of the Father.
Can. 578 The whole patrimony
of an institute must be faithfully preserved by all. This patrimony is comprised of the
intentions of the founders, of all that the competent ecclesiastical authority has
approved concerning the nature, purpose, spirit and character of the institute, and of its
Can. 579 Provided the
Apostolic See has been consulted, diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, establish
institutes of consecrated life in their own territories.
Can. 580 The aggregation of
one institute of consecrated life to another is reserved to the competent authority of the
aggregating institute, always safeguarding the canonical autonomy of the other institute.
Can. 581 It is for the
competent authority of the institute to divide the institute into parts, by whatever name
these may be called, to establish new parts, or to unite or otherwise modify those in
existence, in accordance with the constitutions.
Can. 582 Fusions and unions
of institutes of consecrated life are reserved to the Apostolic See alone. To it are
likewise reserved confederations or federations.
Can. 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 See.
Can. 584 Only the Apostolic
See can suppress an institute and dispose of its temporal goods.
Can. 585 The competent
authority of an institute can suppress parts of the same institute.
Can. 586 §1 A true autonomy
of life, especially of governance, is recognised for each institute. This autonomy means
that each institute has its own discipline in the Church and can preserve whole and entire
the patrimony described in can. 578.
§2 Local Ordinaries have
the responsibility of preserving and safeguarding this autonomy.
Can. 587 §1 To protect more
faithfully the vocation and identity of each institute, the fundamental code or
constitutions of the institute are to contain, in addition to those elements which are to
be preserved in accordance with can. 578, basic norms about the governance of the
institute, the discipline of the members, the admission and formation of members, and the
proper object of their sacred bonds.
§2 This code is approved by
the competent ecclesiastical authority, and can be changed only with the consent of the
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 589 An institute of
consecrated life is of pontifical right if it has been established by the Apostolic See,
or approved by it by means of a formal decree. An institute is of diocesan right if it has
been established by the diocesan Bishop and has not obtained a decree of approval from the
Can. 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.
Can. 591 The better to
ensure the welfare of institutes and the needs of the apostolate, the Supreme Pontiff, by
virtue of his primacy in the universal Church, and with a view to the common good, can
withdraw institutes of consecrated life from the governance of local Ordinaries and
subject them to himself alone, or to some other ecclesiastical authority.
Can. 592 §1 To promote
closer union between institutes and the Apostolic See, each supreme Moderator is to send a
brief account of the state and life of the institute to the same Apostolic See, in the
manner and at the time it lays down.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 594 An institute of
diocesan right remains under the special care of the diocesan Bishop, without prejudice to
Can. 595 §1 It is the
Bishop of the principal house who approves the constitutions, and confirms any changes
lawfully introduced into them, except for those matters which the Apostolic See has taken
in hand. He also deals with major affairs which exceed the power of the internal authority
of the institute. If the institute had spread to other dioceses, he is in all these
matters to consult with the other diocesan Bishops concerned.
§2 The diocesan Bishop can
grant a dispensation from the constitutions in particular cases.
Can. 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 §1.
Can. 597 §1 Every catholic
with a right intention and the qualities required by universal law and the
institutes 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.
Can. 598 §1 Each institute,
taking account of its own special character and purposes, is to define in its
constitutions the manner in which the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and
obedience are to be observed in its way of life.
§2 All members must not
only observe the evangelical counsels faithfully and fully, but also direct their lives
according to the institutes own law, and so strive for the perfection of their
Can. 599 The evangelical
counsel of chastity embraced for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, is a sign of the world
to come, and a source of greater fruitfulness in an undivided heart. It involves the
obligation of perfect continence observed in celibacy.
Can. 600 The evangelical
counsel of poverty in imitation of Christ who for our sake was made poor when he was rich,
entails a life which is poor in reality and in spirit, sober and industrious, and a
stranger to earthly riches. It also involves dependence and limitation in the use and the
disposition of goods, in accordance with each institutes own law.
Can. 601 The evangelical
counsel of obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and love in the following of
Christ, who was obedient even unto death, obliges submission of ones will to lawful
Superiors, who act in the place of God when they give commands that are in accordance with
each institutes own constitutions.
Can. 602 The fraternal life
proper to each institute unites all the members into, as it were, a special family in
Christ. It is to be so defined that for all it proves of mutual assistance to fulfil their
vocation. The fraternal union of the members, rooted and based in charity, is to be an
example of universal reconciliation in Christ.
Can. 603 §1 Besides
institutes of consecrated life, the Church recognises the life of hermits or anchorites,
in which Christs faithful withdraw further from the world and devote their lives to
the praise of God and the salvation of the world through the silence of solitude and
through constant prayer and penance.
§2 Hermits are recognised
by law as dedicated to God in consecrated life if, in the hands of the diocesan Bishop,
they publicly profess, by a vow or some other sacred bond, the three evangelical counsels,
and then lead their particular form of life under the guidance of the diocesan Bishop .
Can. 604 §1 The order of
virgins is also to be added to these forms of consecrated life. Through their pledge to
follow Christ more closely, virgins are consecrated to God, mystically espoused to Christ
and dedicated to the service of the Church, when the diocesan Bishop consecrates them
according to the approved liturgical rite.
§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.
Can. 605 The approval of new
forms of consecrated life is reserved to the Apostolic See. Diocesan Bishops, however, are
to endeavour to discern new gifts of consecrated life which the Holy Spirit entrusts to
the Church. They are also to assist promotors to express their purposes in the best
possible way, and to protect these purposes with suitable statutes, especially by the
application of the general norms contained in this part of the Code.
Can. 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.
TITLE II: RELIGIOUS INSTITUTES
Can. 607 §1
Religious life, as a consecration of the whole person, manifests in the Church the
marvellous marriage established by God as a sign of the world to come. Religious thus
consummate a full gift of themselves as a sacrifice offered to God, so that their whole
existence becomes a continuous worship of God in charity.
§2 A religious institute is
a society in which, in accordance with their own law, the members pronounce public vows
and live a fraternal life in common. The vows are either perpetual or temporary; if the
latter, they are to be renewed when the time elapses.
§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.
Chapter I : RELIGIOUS HOUSES AND THEIR ESTABLISHMENT AND
Can. 608 A religious
community is to live in a lawfully constituted house, under the authority of a Superior
designated according to the norms of law. Each house is to have at least an oratory, in
which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved, so that it may truly be the centre of the
Can. 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.
Can. 610 §1 In establishing
religious houses, the welfare of the Church and of the institute are to be kept in mind,
and care must be taken to safeguard everything that is necessary for the members to lead
their religious life in accordance with the purposes and spirit proper to the institute.
§2 No house is to be
established unless it is prudently foreseen that the needs of the members can be suitably
Can. 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.
Can. 612 The consent of the
diocesan Bishop is required if a religious house is to be used for apostolic works other
than those for which it was established. This permission is not required for a change
which, while observing the laws of the foundation, concerns only internal governance and
Can. 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.
Can. 614 Monasteries of
cloistered nuns which are associated with an institute of men, have their own rule of life
and governance, in accordance with the constitutions. The mutual rights and obligations
are to be defined in such a way that spiritual good may come from the association.
Can. 615 If an autonomous
monastery has no major Superior other than its own Moderator, and is not associated with
any institute of religious in such a way that the Superior of that institute has over the
monastery a real authority determined by the constitutions, it is entrusted, in accordance
with the norms of law, to the special vigilance of the diocesan Bishop.
Can. 616 §1 After
consultation with the diocesan Bishop, a supreme Moderator can suppress a lawfully
established religious house, in accordance with the constitutions. The institutes
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.
Chapter II : THE GOVERNANCE OF INSTITUTES
Article 1: Superiors and Councils
Can. 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.
Can. 618 The authority which
Superiors receive from God through the ministry of the Church is to be exercised by them
in a spirit of service. In fulfilling their office they are to be docile to the will of
God, and are to govern those subject to them as children of God. By their reverence for
the human person, they are to promote voluntary obedience. They are to listen willingly to
their subjects and foster their cooperation for the good of the institute and the Church,
without prejudice however to their authority to decide and to command what is to be done.
Can. 619 Superiors are to
devote themselves to their office with diligence. Together with the members entrusted to
them, they are to strive to build in Christ a fraternal community, in which God is sought
and loved above all. They are therefore frequently to nourish their members with the food
of Gods word and lead them to the celebration of the liturgy. They are to be an
example to the members in cultivating virtue and in observing the laws and traditions
proper to the institute. They are to give the members opportune assistance in their
personal needs. They are to be solicitous in caring for and visiting the sick; they are to
chide the restless, console the fainthearted and be patient with all.
Can. 620 Major Superiors are
those who govern an entire institute, or a province or a part equivalent to a province, or
an autonomous house; the vicars of the above are also major Superiors. To these are added
the Abbot Primate and the Superior of a monastic congregation, though these do not have
all the authority which the universal law gives to major Superiors.
Can. 621 A province is a
union of several houses which, under one superior, constitutes an immediate part of the
same institute, and is canonically established by lawful authority.
Can. 622 The supreme
Moderator has authority over all provinces, houses and members of the institute, to be
exercised in accordance with the institutes own law. Other Superiors have authority
within the limits of their office.
Can. 623 To be validly
appointed or elected to the office of Superior, members must have been perpetually or
definitively professed for an appropriate period of time, to be determined by their own
law or, for major Superiors, by the constitutions.
Can. 624 §1 Superiors are
to be constituted for a certain and appropriate period of time, according to the nature
and needs of the institute unless the constitutions establish otherwise for the supreme
Moderator and for Superiors of an autonomous house.
§2 An institutes 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 institutes own law.
Can. 625 The supreme
Moderator of the institute is to be designated by canonical election, in accordance with
§2 The Bishop of the
principal house of the institute presides at the election of the Superior of the
autonomous monastery mentioned in can. 615, and at the election of the supreme Moderator
of an institute of diocesan right.
§3 Other Superiors are to
be constituted in accordance with the constitutions, but in such a way that if they are
elected, they require the confirmation of the competent major Superior; if they are
appointed by the Superior, the appointment is to be preceded by suitable consultation.
Can. 626 Superiors in
conferring offices, and members in electing to office, are to observe the norms of the
universal law and the institutes 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.
Can. 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 institutes own law is to determine the cases in
which the validity of an act depends upon consent or advice being sought in accordance
with can. 127.
Can. 628 §1 Superiors who
are designated for this office by the institutes own law are at stated times to
visit the houses and the members entrusted to them, in accordance with the norms of the
§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;
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.
Can. 629 Superiors are to
reside each in his or her own house, and they are not to leave it except in accordance
with the institutes own law.
Can. 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 institutes 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
§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.
Can. 631 §1 In an institute
the general chapter has supreme authority in accordance with the constitutions. It is to
be composed in such a way that it represents the whole institute and becomes a true sign
of its unity in charity. Its principal functions are to protect the patrimony of the
institute mentioned in can. 578 and to foster appropriate renewal in accord with that
patrimony. It also elects the supreme Moderator, deals with matters of greater importance,
and issues norms which all are bound to obey.
§2 The composition of the
general chapter and the limits of its powers are to be defined in the constitutions. The
institutes 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 institutes own law, not only provinces and local communities, but
also any individual member may freely submit their wishes and suggestions to the general
Can. 632 The
institutes own law is to determine in greater detail matters concerning other
chapters and other similar assemblies of the institute, that is, concerning their nature,
authority, composition, procedure and time of celebration.
Can. 633 §1 Participatory
and consultative bodies are faithfully to carry out the task entrusted to them, in
accordance with the universal law and the institutes own law. In their own way they
are to express the care and participation of all the members for the good of the whole
institute or community .
§2 In establishing and
utilising these means of participation and consultation, a wise discernment is to be
observed, and the way in which they operate is to be in conformity with the character and
purpose of the institute.
Article 3: Temporal Goods and their Administration
Can. 634 §1 Since they are
by virtue of the law juridical persons, institutes, provinces and houses have the capacity
to acquire, possess, administer and alienate temporal goods, unless this capacity is
excluded or limited in the constitutions.
§2 They are, however, to
avoid all appearance of luxury, excessive gain and the accumulation of goods.
Can. 635 §1 Since the
temporal goods of religious institutes are ecclesiastical goods, they are governed by the
provisions of Book V on The Temporal Goods of the Church, unless there is
express provision to the contrary.
§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.
Can. 636 §1 In each
institute, and in each province ruled by a major Superior, there is to be a financial
administrator, distinct from the major Superior and constituted in accordance with the
institutes 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 institutes own law the financial administrator and others
with financial responsibilities are to render an account of their administration to the
Can. 637 Once a year, the
autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615 are to render an account of their
administration to the local Ordinary. The local Ordinary also has the right to be informed
about the financial affairs of a religious house of diocesan right.
Can. 638 §1 It is for an
institutes 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 institutes own law may, within the limits
of their office, validly make payments and perform juridical acts of ordinary
§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
§4 For the autonomous
monasteries mentioned in can. 615, and for institutes of diocesan right, the written
consent of the diocesan Bishop is necessary.
Can. 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.
Can. 640 Taking into account
the circumstances of the individual places, institutes are to make a special effort to
give, as it were, a collective testimony of charity and poverty. They are to do all in
their power to donate something from their own resources to help the needs of the Church
and the support of the poor.
Chapter III : THE ADMISSION OF CANDIDATES AND THE
FORMATION OF MEMBERS
Article 1: Admission to the Novitiate
Can. 641 The right to admit
candidates to the novitiate belongs to the major Superiors, in accordance with the norms
of the institutes own law.
Can. 642 Superiors are to
exercise a vigilant care to admit only those who, besides being of required age, are
healthy, have a suitable disposition, and have sufficient maturity to undertake the life
which is proper to the institute. If necessary, the health, disposition and maturity are
to be established by experts, without prejudice to can. 220.
Can. 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
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
5° one who has concealed
his or her incorporation in an institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life.
§2 An institutes own
law can constitute other impediments even for the validity of admission, or attach other
Can. 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.
Can. 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
§3 An institutes 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.
Article 2: The Novitiate and the Formation of Novices
Can. 646 The purpose of the
novitiate, by which life in an institute begins, is to give the novices a greater
understanding of their divine vocation, and of their vocation to that institute. During
the novitiate the novices are to experience the manner of life of the institute and form
their minds and hearts in its spirit. At the same time their resolution and suitability
are to be tested.
Can. 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
§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.
Can. 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
§3 The novitiate is not to
be extended beyond two years.
Can. 649 §1 Without
prejudice to the provisions of can. 647 §3, and can. 648 §2, a novitiate is invalidated
by an absence from the novitiate house of more than three months, continuous or broken.
Any absence of more than fifteen days must be made good.
§2 With the permission of
the competent major Superior, first profession may be anticipated, though not by more than
Can. 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 institutes own law.
§2 The governance of the
novices is reserved to the director of novices alone, under the authority of the major
Can. 651 §1 The director of
novices is to be a member of the institute who has taken perpetual vows and has been
§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
Can. 652 §1 It is the
responsibility of the directors of novices and their assistants to discern and test the
vocation of the novices, and gradually to form them to lead the life of perfection which
is proper to the institute.
§2 Novices are to be led to
develop human and christian virtues. Through prayer and 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
Can. 653 §1 A novice may
freely leave the institute. The competent authority of the institute may also dismiss a
§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
institutes own law, but for a period not exceeding six months.
Article 3: Religious Profession
Can. 654 By religious
profession members make a public vow to observe the three evangelical counsels. Through
the ministry of the Church they are consecrated to God, and are incorporated into the
institute, with the rights and duties defined by law.
Can. 655 Temporary
profession is to be made for the period defined by the institutes own law. This
period may not be less than three years nor longer than six years.
Can. 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.
Can. 657 §1 When the period
of time for which the profession was made has been completed, a religious who freely asks,
and is judged suitable, is to be admitted to a renewal of profession or to perpetual
profession; otherwise, the religious is to leave.
§2 If it seems opportune,
the period of temporary profession can be extended by the competent Superior in accordance
with the institutes 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.
Can. 658 Besides the
conditions mentioned in can. 656, nn. 3, 4 and 5, and others attached by the
institutes 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.
Article 4: The Formation of Religious
Can. 659 §1 After first
profession, the formation of all members in each institute is to be completed, so that
they may lead the life proper to the institute more fully, and fulfil its mission more
§2 The institutes 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
institutes own program of studies.
Can. 660 §1 Formation is to
be systematic, adapted to the capacity of the members, spiritual and apostolic, both
doctrinal and practical. Suitable ecclesiastical and civil degrees are to be obtained as
§2 During the period of
formation members are not to be given offices and undertakings which hinder their
Can. 661 Religious are to be
diligent in continuing their spiritual, doctrinal and practical formation throughout their
lives. Superiors are to ensure that they have the assistance and the time to do this.
Chapter IV : THE OBLIGATIONS AND RIGHTS OF INSTITUTES AND
OF THEIR MEMBERS
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
Can. 665 §1 Religious are
to reside in their own religious house and observe the common life; they are not to stay
elsewhere except with the permission of the Superior. For a lengthy absence from the
religious house, the major Superior, for a just reason and with the consent of the
council, can authorise a member to live outside a house of the institute; such an absence
is not to exceed one year, unless it be for reasons of health, studies or an apostolate to
be exercised in the name of the institute.
§2 Members who unlawfully
absent themselves from a religious house with the intention of withdrawing from the
authority of Superiors, are to be carefully sought out and helped to return and to
persevere in their vocation.
Can. 666 In using the means
of social communication, a necessary discretion is to be observed. Members are to avoid
whatever is harmful to their vocation and dangerous to the chastity of a consecrated
Can. 667 §1 In accordance
with the institutes 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.
Can. 668 §1 Before their
first profession, members are to cede the administration of their goods to whomsoever they
wish and, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, they are freely to make dispositions
concerning the use and enjoyment of these goods. At least before perpetual profession,
they are to make a will which is valid also in civil law.
§2 To change these
dispositions for a just reason, and to take any action concerning temporal goods, there is
required the permission of the Superior who is competent in accordance with the
institutes 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 institutes 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
institutes 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 institutes own law.
Can. 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 institutes own law.
§2 Religious of a clerical
institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress, in accordance with
Can. 670 The institute must
supply the members with everything that, in accordance with the constitutions, is
necessary to fulfil the purpose of their vocation.
Can. 671 Religious are not
to undertake tasks and offices outside their own institute without the permission of the
Can. 672 Religious are bound
by the provisions of cann. 277,285, 286, 287 and 289. Religious who are clerics are also
bound by the provisions of can. 279 §2. In lay institutes of pontifical right, the
permission mentioned in can. 285 §4 can be given by the major Superior.
Chapter V : THE APOSTOLATE OF INSTITUTES
Can. 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.
Can. 674 Institutes which
are wholly directed to contemplation always have an outstanding part in the mystical Body
of Christ. They offer to God an exceptional sacrifice of praise. They embellish the people
of God with very rich fruits of holiness, move them by their example, and give them
increase by a hidden apostolic fruitfulness. Because of this, no matter how urgent the
needs of the active apostolate, the members of these institutes cannot be called upon to
assist in the various pastoral ministries.
Can. 675 §1 Apostolic
action is of the very nature of institutes dedicated to apostolic works. The whole life of
the members is, therefore, to be imbued with an apostolic spirit, and the whole of their
apostolic action is to be animated by a religious spirit.
§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.
Can. 676 Lay institutes of
men and women participate in the pastoral mission of the Church through the spiritual and
corporal works of mercy, performing very many different services for people. They are
therefore to remain faithful to the grace of their vocation.
Can. 677 §1 Superiors and
members are faithfully to hold fast to the mission and works which are proper to their
institute. According to the needs of time and place, however, they are prudently to adapt
them, making use of new and appropriate means.
§2 Institutes which have
associations of Christs faithful joined to them are to have a special care that
these associations are imbued with the genuine spirit of their family.
Can. 678 §1 In matters
concerning the care of souls, the public exercise of divine worship and other works of the
apostolate, religious are subject to the authority of the Bishops, whom they are bound to
treat with sincere obedience and reverence.
§2 In the exercise of an
apostolate towards persons outside the institute, religious are also subject to their own
Superiors and must remain faithful to the discipline of the institute. If the need arises,
Bishops themselves are not to fail to insist on this obligation.
§3 In directing the
apostolic works of religious, diocesan Bishops and religious Superiors must proceed by way
of mutual consultation.
Can. 679 For a very grave
reason a diocesan Bishop can forbid a member of a religious institute to remain in his
diocese, provided the persons major Superior has been informed and has failed to
act; the matter must immediately be reported to the Holy See.
Can. 680 Organised
cooperation is to be fostered among different institutes, and between them and the secular
clergy. Under the direction of the Bishop, there is to be a coordination of all apostolic
works and actions, with due respect for the character and purpose of each institute and
the laws of its foundation.
Can. 681 §1 Works which the
diocesan Bishop entrusts to religious are under the authority and direction of the Bishop,
without prejudice to the rights of religious Superiors in accordance with can. 678 §§2
§2 In these cases a written
agreement is to be made between the diocesan Bishop and the competent Superior of the
institute. This agreement must expressly and accurately define, among other things, the
work to be done, the members to be assigned to it and the financial arrangements.
Can. 682 §1 If an
ecclesiastical office in a diocese is to be conferred on a member of a religious
institute, the religious is appointed by the diocesan Bishop on presentation by, or at
least with the consent of, the competent Superior.
§2 The religious can be
removed from the office at the discretion of the authority who made the appointment, with
prior notice being given to the religious Superior; or by the religious Superior, with
prior notice being given to the appointing authority. Neither requires the others
Can. 683 §1 Either
personally or through a delegate, the diocesan Bishop can visit churches or oratories to
which Christs faithful have habitual access, schools other than those open only to
the institutes 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.
Chapter VI : THE SEPARATION OF MEMBERS FROM THE INSTITUTE
Article 1: Transfer to another Institute
Can. 684 §1 Perpetually
professed members cannot transfer from their own religious institute to another, except by
permission of the supreme Moderators of both institutes, given with the consent of their
§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
institutes own law has established further conditions. A new profession is not
§4 The institutes own
law is to determine the time and manner of the probation which must precede the
members 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
Can. 685 §1 Until
profession is made in the new institute, the rights and obligations of the member in the
previous institute are suspended, but the vows remain. From the beginning of probation,
the member is bound to observe the laws of the new institute.
§2 By profession in the new
institute the member is incorporated into it, and the earlier vows, rights and obligations
Article 2: Departure from the Institute
Can. 686 §1 With the
consent of his or her council, the supreme Moderator can for a grave reason grant an
indult of exclaustration to a perpetually professed member for a period not exceeding
three years. In the case of a cleric, the indult requires the prior consent of the
Ordinary of the place where the clerics must reside. To extend this indult, or to grant
one for more than three years, is reserved to the Holy See or, in an institute of diocesan
right, to the diocesan Bishop.
§2 Only the Apostolic See
can grant an indult of exclaustration for cloistered nuns.
§3 At the request of the
supreme Moderator acting with the consent of his or her council, exclaustration can be
imposed by the Holy See on a member of an institute of pontifical right, or by a diocesan
Bishop on a member of an institute of diocesan right. In either case a grave reason is
required, and equity and charity are to be observed.
Can. 687 Members who are
exclaustrated are considered as dispensed from those obligations which are incompatible
with their new condition of life. They remain dependent on and under the care of their
Superiors and, particularly in the case of a cleric, of the local Ordinary. They may wear
the religious habit, unless the indult specifies otherwise, but they lack active and
Can. 688 §1 A person who,
on completion of the time of temporary profession, wishes to leave the institute, is free
to do so.
§2 A person who, during the
time of temporary profession, for a grave reason asks to leave the institute, can obtain
an indult to leave. In an institute of pontifical right, this indult can be given by the
supreme Moderator with the consent of his or her council. In institutes of diocesan right
and in the monasteries mentioned in can. 615, the indult must, for validity, be confirmed
by the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to which the person is assigned.
Can. 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.
Can. 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 can. 655 and 657.
§2 The Superior of an
autonomous monastery, acting with the consent of his or her council, has the same faculty.
Can. 691 §1 A perpetually
professed religious is not to seek an indult to leave the institute, except for very grave
reasons, weighed before the Lord. The petition is to be presented to the supreme Moderator
of the institute, who will forward it to the competent authority with his or her own
opinion and that of the council.
§2 In institutes of
pontifical right this indult is reserved to the Apostolic See. In institutes of diocesan
right the indult can be granted by the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to
which the religious is assigned.
Can. 692 An indult to leave
the institute, which is lawfully granted and notified to the member, by virtue of the law
itself carries with it, unless it has been rejected by the member in the act of
notification, a dispensation from the vows and from all obligations arising from
Can. 693 If the member is a
cleric, the indult is not granted until he has found a Bishop who will incardinate him in
his diocese or at least receive him there on probation. If he is received on probation, he
is by virtue of the law itself incardinated in the diocese after five years, unless the
Bishop has rejected him.
Article 3: The Dismissal of Members
Can. 694 §1 A member is to
be considered automatically dismissed if he or she:
1° has notoriously defected
from the catholic faith;
2° has contracted marriage
or attempted to do so, even civilly.
§2 In these cases the major
Superior with his or her council must, after collecting the evidence, without delay make a
declaration of the fact, so that the dismissal is juridically established.
Can. 695 §1 A member must
be dismissed for the offences mentioned in cann. 1397, 1398 and 1395, unless, for the
offences mentioned in can. 1395 §2, the Superior judges that dismissal is not absolutely
necessary; and that sufficient provision can be made in some other way for the amendment
of the member, the restoration of justice and the reparation of scandal.
§2 In these cases the major
Superior is to collect the evidence concerning the facts and the imputability of the
offence. The accusation and the evidence are then to be presented to the member, who shall
be given the opportunity for defence. All the acts, signed by the major Superior and the
notary, are to be forwarded, together with the written and signed replies of the member,
to the supreme Moderator.
Can. 696 §1 A member can be
dismissed for other causes, provided they are grave, external, imputable and juridically
proven. Among such causes are: habitual neglect of the obligations of consecrated life;
repeated violations of the sacred bonds; obstinate disobedience to the lawful orders of
Superiors in grave matters; grave scandal arising from the culpable behaviour of the
member; obstinate attachment to, or diffusion of, teachings condemned by the magisterium
of the Church; public adherence to materialistic or atheistic ideologies; the unlawful
absence mentioned in can. 665 §2, if it extends for a period of six months; other reasons
of similar gravity which are perhaps defined in the institutes own law.
§2 A member in temporary
vows can be dismissed even for less grave reasons determined in the institutes own
Can. 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
3° if this latter warning
is also ineffectual, and the major Superior with his or her council judges that there is
sufficient proof of incorrigibility, and that the defence by the member is insufficient,
after fifteen days from the last warning have passed in vain all the acts, signed by the
major Superior and the notary, are to be forwarded, together with the signed replies of
the member, to the supreme Moderator.
Can. 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.
Can. 699 §1 The supreme
Moderator and his or her council are to proceed in collegial fashion in accurately
weighing the evidence, the arguments, and the defence. For validity, the council must
comprise at least four members. If by a secret vote it is decided to dismiss the
religious, a decree of dismissal is to be drawn up, which for validity must express at
least in summary form the reasons in law and in fact.
§2 In the autonomous
monasteries mentioned in can. 615, the judgement about dismissal belongs to the diocesan
Bishop. The Superior is to submit the acts to him after they have been reviewed by the
Can. 700 The decree of
dismissal has no effect unless it is confirmed by the Holy See, to whom the decree and all
the acts are to be forwarded. If the matter concerns an institute of diocesan right, the
confirmation belongs to the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to which the
religious belongs. For validity the decree must indicate the right of the person dismissed
to have recourse to the competent authority within ten days of receiving notification of
the decree. The recourse has a suspensive effect.
Can. 701 By lawful
dismissal, both the vows and the rights and duties deriving from profession automatically
cease. If the member is a cleric, he may not exercise sacred orders until he finds a
Bishop who will, after a suitable probation, receive him into his diocese in accordance
with can. 693, or who will at least allow him to exercise his sacred orders.
Can. 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.
Can. 703 §1 In a case of
grave external scandal, or of extremely grave and imminent harm to the institute, a member
can be expelled forthwith from the house by the major Superior. If there is danger in
delay, this can be done by the local Superior with the consent of his or her council. The
major Superior, if need be, is to introduce a process of dismissal in accordance with the
norms of law, or refer the matter to the Apostolic See.
Can. 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.
Chapter VII : RELIGIOUS RAISED TO THE EPISCOPATE
Can. 705 A religious who is
raised to the episcopate remains a member of his institute, but is subject only to the
Roman Pontiff by his vow of obedience. He is not bound by obligations which he prudently
judges are not compatible with his condition.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Chapter VIII : CONFERENCES OF MAJOR SUPERIORS
Can. 708 Major Superiors can
usefully meet together in conferences and councils, so that by combined effort they may
work to achieve more fully the purpose of each institute, while respecting the autonomy,
nature and spirit of each. They can also deal with affairs which are common to all, and
work to establish suitable coordination and cooperation with Episcopal Conferences and
with individual Bishops.
Can. 709 Conferences of
major Superiors are to have their own statutes, which must be approved by the Holy See.
Only the Holy See can establish them or give them juridical personality. They remain under
the ultimate direction of the Holy See.
TITLE III: SECULAR INSTITUTES
Can. 710 A secular
institute is an institute of consecrated life in which Christs faithful, living in
the world, strive for the perfection of charity and endeavour to contribute to the
sanctification of the world, especially from within.
Can. 711 Without prejudice
to the provisions of the law concerning institutes of consecrated life, consecration as a
member of a secular institute does not change the members canonical status among the
people of God, be it lay or clerical.
Can. 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.
Can. 713 §1 Members of
these institutes express and exercise their special consecration in apostolic activity.
Like a leaven, they endeavour to permeate everything with an evangelical spirit for the
strengthening and growth of the Body of Christ.
§2 Lay members participate
in the evangelising mission of the Church in the world and from within the world. They do
this by their witness of christian life and of fidelity to their consecration, and by the
assistance they give in directing temporal affairs to God and in animating the world by
the power of the Gospel. They also offer their cooperation to serve the ecclesial
community in accordance with the secular manner of life proper to them.
§3 Clerical members, by the
witness of their consecrated life, especially in the presbyterium, support their
colleagues by a distinctive apostolic charity, and in the people of God they further the
sanctification of the world by their sacred ministry.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 716 §1 All members are
to take an active part in the life of the institute, in accordance with the
institutes 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.
Can. 717 §1 The
constitutions are to determine the institutes 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.
Can. 718 The administration
of the goods of the institute must express and foster evangelical poverty. It is governed
by the norms of Book V on The Temporal Goods of the Church, and by the
institutes own law. This same law of the institute is also to define the
obligations, especially the financial obligations, of the institute towards the members
engaged in its work.
Can. 719 §1 Members are to
respond faithfully to their vocation, and their apostolic action is to proceed from their
union with Christ. They are therefore to devote themselves assiduously to prayer and
engage in a suitable way in the reading of the sacred Scriptures. They are to make an
annual retreat and perform other spiritual exercises in accordance with their own law.
§2 The celebration of the
Eucharist, daily where possible, is to be the source and strength of their whole
§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.
Can. 720 The right of
admitting a person to the institute, or to probation, or to the taking of sacred bonds,
both temporary and perpetual or definitive, belongs to the major Moderators with their
council, in accordance with the constitutions.
Can. 721 §1 The following
are invalidly admitted to initial probation:
1° one who has not yet
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
§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.
Can. 722 §1 The initial
probation is to be so arranged that the candidates can better recognise their divine
vocation and their vocation to that institute, and be trained in the spirit and manner of
life of the institute.
§2 Candidates are to be
properly formed to live a life according to the evangelical counsels. They are to be
taught how to translate this life completely into their apostolate, applying those forms
of evangelisation which best correspond to the purpose, spirit and character of the
§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.
Can. 723 §1 When the time
of the initial probation has been completed, a candidate who is judged suitable is either
to undertake the three evangelical counsels, sealed with a sacred bond, or to leave the
§2 This first incorporation
is to be temporary, in accordance with the constitutions, but is to be for not less than
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 725 The institute can
associate with itself, by some form of bond determined in the constitutions, other members
of Christs faithful who seek evangelical perfection according to the spirit of the
institute and who share in its mission.
Can. 726 §1 When the time
of temporary incorporation is completed, the member can freely leave the institute, or can
for a just cause be excluded from renewing the sacred bonds by the major Moderator, after
consultation with his or her council.
§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.
Can. 727 §1 A perpetually
incorporated member who wishes to leave the institute must, after seriously weighing the
matter before the Lord, petition the Apostolic See through the supreme Moderator, if the
institute is of pontifical right; otherwise, the indult can also be obtained from the
diocesan Bishop, as determined in the constitutions.
§2 For a cleric who is
incardinated in the institute, the provision of can. 693 is to be observed.
Can. 728 When an indult to
leave the institute has been lawfully granted, all bonds, rights and obligations deriving
from incorporation cease.
Can. 729 A member is
dismissed from the institute in accordance with the norms of cann. 694 and 695. The
constitutions are also to determine other reasons for dismissal, provided they are
proportionately grave, external, imputable and juridically proven. The procedure
established in cann. 697-700 is to be observed, and the provisions of can. 701 apply to
the person who is dismissed.
Can. 730 For a member to
transfer from one secular institute to another, the provisions of can. 684 §§1, 2, 4 and
685, are to be observed. A transfer to or from another kind of institute of consecrated
life requires the permission of the Apostolic See, whose instructions must be followed.
Section II: Societies of Apostolic Life
Can. 731 §1 Societies of
apostolic life resemble institutes of consecrated life. Their members, without taking
religious vows, pursue the apostolic purpose proper to each society. Living a fraternal
life in common in their own special manner, they strive for the perfection of charity
through the observance of the constitutions.
§2 Among these societies
are some in which the members, through a bond defined in the constitutions, undertake to
live the evangelical counsels.
Can. 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, cann. 598-602 also apply.
Can. 733 §1 A house is
established and a local community is constituted by the competent authority of the
society, with the prior written consent of the diocesan Bishop. The Bishop must also be
consulted when there is question of its suppression.
§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.
Can. 734 The governance of
the society is determined by the constitutions, without prejudice, in accordance with the
nature of each society, to cann. 617--633.
Can. 735 §1 The admission,
probation, incorporation and formation of members are determined by each societys
§2 For admission into the
society, the conditions prescribed in cann. 642-645 are to be observed.
§3 The societys own
law must determine a programme of doctrinal, spiritual and apostolic probation and
formation that is adapted to the purpose and character of the society. In this way members
can recognise their divine vocation and be suitably prepared for the mission and way of
life of the society.
Can. 736 §1 In clerical
societies, the clerics are incardinated into the society, unless the constitutions
§2 The norms concerning the
secular clergy apply to the programme of studies and reception of orders, without
prejudice to §1.
Can. 737 For the members,
incorporation carries with it the rights and obligations defined in the constitutions. On
the part of the society, it implies a responsibility to lead the members towards the
purpose of their vocation, in accordance with the constitutions.
Can. 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. 679-683.
§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.
Can. 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.
Can. 740 Members must live
in a lawfully constituted house or community and observe a common life, in accordance with
their own law. This same law also governs their absence from the house or community.
Can. 741 §1 Societies and,
unless the constitutions provide otherwise, their constituent parts and their houses, are
juridical persons. As such, they are capable of acquiring, possessing, administering and
alienating temporal goods in accordance with the provisions of Book V on The
Temporal Goods of the Church, of cann. 636, 638 and 639, and of their own law.
§2 Members are also
capable, in accordance with their own law, of acquiring, possessing, administering and
disposing of temporal goods, but whatever comes to them in view of the society is acquired
for the society.
Can. 742 The departure and
dismissal of a member who is not definitively incorporated are governed by the
constitutions of each society.
Can. 743 A member who is
definitively incorporated can obtain an indult to leave the society from the supreme
Moderator with the consent of the council, unless the constitutions reserve this to the
Apostolic See. This indult means that the rights and obligations deriving from definitive
incorporation cease, without prejudice to can. 693.
Can. 744 §1 Permission for
a member who is definitively incorporated to transfer to another society of apostolic life
is likewise reserved to the supreme Moderator with the consent of his or her council. The
rights and obligations of the members own society are suspended for the time being,
but the member has the right to return to it before definitive incorporation into the new
§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.
Can. 745 The supreme
Moderator, with the consent of his or her council, can grant a definitively incorporated
member an indult to live outside the society for a period not exceeding three years.
Rights and obligations which are not compatible with this new condition are suspended, but
the member remains under the care of the Moderators. If the member is a cleric, the
consent of the Ordinary of the place where he must reside is also required, and the member
remains under the care of the Ordinary and dependent upon him.
Can. 746 For the dismissal
of a member who is definitively incorporated, the provisions of cann. 694-704 are to be
observed, making the appropriate adjustments.