The People of God
» The Christian Faithful
» The Obligations and Rights of all the Christian Faithful
Flowing from their rebirth in Christ, there is a genuine equality of dignity and action among all of Christ’s faithful. Because of this equality they all contribute, each according to his or her own condition and office, to the building up of the Body of Christ.
§1 Christ’s faithful are bound to preserve their communion with the Church at all times, even in their external actions.
§2 They are to carry out with great diligence their responsibilities towards both the universal Church and the particular Church to which by law they belong.
All Christ’s faithful, each according to his or her own condition, must make a wholehearted effort to lead a holy life, and to promote the growth of the Church and its continual sanctification.
All Christ’s faithful have the obligation and the right to strive so that the divine message of salvation may more and more reach all people of all times and all places.
§1 Christ’s faithful, conscious of their own responsibility, are bound to show christian obedience to what the sacred Pastors, who represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith and prescribe as rulers of the Church.
§2 Christ’s faithful are at liberty to make known their needs, especially their spiritual needs, and their wishes to the Pastors of the Church.
§3 They have the right, indeed at times the duty, in keeping with their knowledge, competence and position, to manifest to the sacred Pastors their views on matters which concern the good of the Church. They have the right also to make their views known to others of Christ’s faithful, but in doing so they must always respect the integrity of faith and morals, show due reverence to the Pastors and take into account both the common good and the dignity of individuals.
Christ’s faithful have the right to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the sacraments.
Christ’s faithful have the right to worship God according to the provisions of their own rite approved by the lawful Pastors of the Church; they also have the right to follow their own form of spiritual life, provided it is in accord with Church teaching.
Christ’s faithful may freely establish and direct associations which serve charitable or pious purposes or which foster the christian vocation in the world, and they may hold meetings to pursue these purposes by common effort.
Since they share the Church’s mission, all Christ’s faithful have the right to promote and support apostolic action, by their own initiative, undertaken according to their state and condition. No initiative, however, can lay claim to the title ‘catholic’ without the consent of the competent ecclesiastical authority.
Since Christ’s faithful are called by baptism to lead a life in harmony with the gospel teaching, they have the right to a christian education, which genuinely teaches them to strive for the maturity of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation.
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.
All Christ’s faithful have the right to immunity from any kind of coercion in choosing a state in life.
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.
§1 Christ’s faithful may lawfully vindicate and defend the rights they enjoy in the Church, before the competent ecclesiastical forum in accordance with the law.
§2 If any members of Christ’s faithful are summoned to trial by the competent authority, they have the right to be judged according to the provisions of the law, to be applied with equity.
§3 Christ’s faithful have the right that no canonical penalties be inflicted upon them except in accordance with the law.
§1 Christ’s faithful have the obligation to provide for the needs of the Church, so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship, for apostolic and charitable work and for the worthy support of its ministers.
§2 They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the Lord’s precept, to help the poor from their own resources.
§1 In exercising their rights, Christ’s faithful, both individually and in associations, must take account of the common good of the Church, as well as the rights of others and their own duties to others.
§2 Ecclesiastical authority is entitled to regulate, in view of the common good, the exercise of rights which are proper to Christ’s faithful.
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