Canon 20: Institutes of Religious Life
consecrated by the profession of the evangelical counsels is a from
of living by which the Faithful, following Christ more closely under
the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God, so
that, having dedicated themselves to His honor, the up building of
the Church, and the salvation of the world, they strive for the
perfection of charity in service to the Kingdom of God.
evangelical councils, based on the teaching and example of our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ, are a divine gift, which the Church has
received from the Lord and always preserves through His grace.
of the Christian Faithful are called to this state by God so that
they may enjoy a special gift in the life of the Church and
contribute to its salvific mission according to the charism and
spirit of the religious institute.
of the special role those who profess the evangelical counsels have
in the life and sanctity of the Church, the religious life is to be
fostered and promoted by all in the Church.
20.3 It is
acknowledged that each institute of consecrated life is blessed by
different gifts according to the Grace of the Spirit. They follow
Christ more closely, announce the Kingdom of God, perform good works
for the people, share His life with them in the world, always doing
the will of the Father.
intention of the Founder(s) and his/her/their determination
concerning the nature, propose, spirit and character of the
institute which has been ratified by competent ecclesiastical
authority, as well as its wholesome traditions are to be faithfully
observed by all members of the institute.
20.5 It falls
to the diocesan bishop, each in his or her own territory to approve
and erect institutes of consecrated life by a formal decree,
provided that the Presiding Bishop has been consulted.
diocesan bishop shall ensure that any new rule of consecrated life
conforms to the laws and spirit of this Church.
belongs to the Presiding Bishop of this Church, in the role of
Bishop Protector of all Institutes of Consecrated Life, to take care
that all institutes grow and flourish according to the spirit of the
individual institutes of consecrated life, there is acknowledged a
rightful autonomy of life, especially of governance; by which they
enjoy their own discipline within the Church and have the power to
preserve their own traditions intact.
falls to the Presiding Bishop as Bishop Protector to safeguard and
protect this autonomy.
of institutes of consecrated life are subject to the authority of
the diocesan bishop in whose territory they reside and work in all
matters relating to the care of souls, the public celebration of the
liturgy, and other external works of the apostolate.
exercising an external apostolate, religious are also subject to the
authority of their own superiors and must remain faithful to the
discipline and traditions of their Institute.
§2 If the
diocesan bishop becomes aware of abuses in an Institute of
consecrated life within his or her territory, and has advised the
major religious superior without result, the diocesan bishop can act
to correct the abuses on his or her own authority, after
consultation with the Presiding Bishop.
Suppression of an Institute of consecrated life pertains to the
diocesan bishop who canonically erected the Institute or their
legitimate successor, with the consent of the Presiding Bishop.
diocesan bishop shall ensure that all assets of the suppressed
community are equitably divided among any surviving members of the
Institute. If there are no surviving members, any assets of the
suppressed Institute shall revert to the diocese, complying with all
requirements of the civil law.
right of admitting candidates to the novitiate pertains to major
superiors alone according to the norms of the proper law and
traditions of the institute.
Superiors are to be vigilant about admitting only those who, besides
having attained the required age, have adequate health, suitable
moral character, and sufficient maturity to embrace the life and
apostolate of the particular institute.
Individuals must repay all monetary or other debts prior to
admission to the noviate.
20.13 One is
invalidly admitted to the novitiate:
1. Who has
not yet completed the eighteenth year of age;
2. Who is a
spouse, during a marriage, which has not been declared invalid by a
decree or nullity or dissolved by a grant of dissolution;
3. Who has
minor children or other related persons dependent upon them;
4. Who is
bound by vows in another institute of consecrated life, without a
decree of exclaustration from the major religious superior;
holds Holy Orders, without a decree of excardination from his or her
enters the institute as a result of force, grave fear, or fraud, or
whom the superior receives induced in the same way;
7. Who has
concealed his or her incorporation in any institute of consecrated
life or admission to Holy Orders.
proper law of the institute itself can establish other impediments
to admission, even or validity, or can add other requirements.
Superiors are not to admit to the novitiate secular clerics if their
local ordinary has not been consulted.
they are admitted to the novitiate, candidates must show proof of
baptism, confirmation, and the required freedom. If certificates are
unavailable or otherwise difficult to obtain, the written testimony
of a trustworthy witness suffices.
after the Profession of Temporary or Solemn Vows, it is discovered
that the candidate consciously submitted false and misleading
information on his or her application to enter into the formation
program for any Religious Institute, the Church shall declare such
Professions null and void.