The People of God
» The Christian Faithful
» Associations of the Christian Faithful
» Common Norms
§1. In the Church there are associations distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life; in these associations the Christian faithful, whether clerics, lay persons, or clerics and lay persons together, strive in a common endeavor to foster a more perfect life, to promote public worship or Christian doctrine, or to exercise other works of the apostolate such as initiatives of evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with a Christian spirit.
§2. The Christian faithful are to join especially those associations which competent ecclesiastical authority has erected, praised, or commended.
§1. By means of a private agreement made among themselves, the Christian faithful are free to establish associations to pursue the purposes mentioned in can. 298,
§1, without prejudice to the prescript of can. 301,
§2. Even if ecclesiastical authority praises or commends them, associations of this type are called private associations.
§3. No private association of the Christian faithful is recognized in the Church unless competent authority reviews its statutes.
No association is to assume the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority according to the norm of can. 312
§1. It is for the competent ecclesiastical authority alone to erect associations of the Christian faithful which propose to hand on Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to promote public worship, or which intend other purposes whose pursuit is of its nature reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority.
§2. Competent ecclesiastical authority, if it has judged it expedient, can also erect associations of the Christian faithful to pursue directly or indirectly other spiritual purposes whose accomplishment has not been sufficiently provided for through the initiatives of private persons.
§3. Associations of the Christian faithful which are erected by competent ecclesiastical authority are called public associations.
Those associations of the Christian faithful are called clerical which are under the direction of clerics, assume the exercise of sacred orders, and are recognized as such by competent authority.
Associations whose members share in the spirit of some religious institute while in secular life, lead an apostolic life, and strive for Christian perfection under the higher direction of the same institute are called third orders or some other appropriate name.
§1. All public or private associations of the Christian faithful, by whatever title or name they are called, are to have their own statutes which define the purpose or social objective of the association, its seat, government, and conditions required for membership and which determine the manner of its acting, attentive, however, to the necessity or advantage of time and place.
§2. They are to choose a title or name for themselves adapted to the usage of time and place, selected above all with regard to their intended purpose.
§1. All associations of the Christian faithful are subject to the vigilance of competent ecclesiastical authority which is to take care that the integrity of faith and morals is preserved in them and is to watch so that abuse does not creep into ecclesiastical discipline. This authority therefore has the duty and right to inspect them according to the norm of law and the statutes. These associations are also subject to the governance of this same authority according to the prescripts of the canons which follow.
§2. Associations of any kind are subject to the vigilance of the Holy See; diocesan associations and other associations to the extent that they work in the diocese are subject to the vigilance of the local ordinary.
In order for a person to possess the rights and privileges of an association and the indulgences and other spiritual favors granted to the same association, it is necessary and sufficient that the person has been validly received into it and has not been legitimately dismissed from it according to the prescripts of law and the proper statutes of the association.
§1. The reception of members is to be done according to the norm of law and the statutes of each association.
§2. The same person can be enrolled in several associations.
§3. Members of religious institutes can join associations according to the norm of their proper law with the consent of their superior.
No one legitimately enrolled is to be dismissed from an association except for a just cause according to the norm of law and the statutes.
According to the norm of law and the statutes, legitimately established associations have the right to issue particular norms respecting the association itself, to hold meetings, and to designate moderators, officials, other officers, and administrators of goods.
A private association which has not been established as a juridic person cannot, as such, be a subject of obligations and rights. Nevertheless, the members of the Christian faithful associated together in it can jointly contract obligations and can acquire and possess rights and goods as co-owners and co-possessors; they are able to exercise these rights and obligations through an agent or a proxy.
Members of institutes of consecrated life who preside over or assist associations in some way united to their institute are to take care that these associations give assistance to the works of the apostolate which already exist in a diocese, especially cooperating, under the direction of the local ordinary, with associations which are ordered to the exercise of the apostolate in the diocese.
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