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» Norms Common to All Institutes of Consecrated Life
All must observe faithfully the mind and designs of the founders regarding the nature, purpose, spirit, and character of an institute, which have been sanctioned by competent ecclesiastical authority, and its sound traditions, all of which constitute the patrimony of the same institute.
Diocesan bishops, each in his own territory, can validly erect institutes of consecrated life by formal decree, with the previous permission of the Apostolic See given in writing.
The aggregation of one institute of consecrated life to another is reserved to the competent authority of the aggregating institute; the canonical autonomy of the aggregated institute is always to be preserved.
To divide an institute into parts, by whatever name they are called, to erect new parts, to join those erected, or to redefine their boundaries belongs to the competent authority of the institute, according to the norm of the constitutions.
Mergers and unions of institutes of consecrated life are reserved to the Apostolic See only; confederations and federations are also reserved to it.
Changes in institutes of consecrated life affecting those things which had been approved by the Apostolic See cannot be made without its permission.
The suppression of an institute pertains only to the Apostolic See; a decision regarding the temporal goods of the institute is also reserved to the Apostolic See.
It belongs to the competent authority of an institute to suppress its parts.
§1. A just autonomy of life, especially of governance, is acknowledged for individual institutes, by which they possess their own discipline in the Church and are able to preserve their own patrimony intact, as mentioned in can. 578
§2. It is for local ordinaries to preserve and safeguard this autonomy.
§1. To protect more faithfully the proper vocation and identity of each institute, the fundamental code or constitutions of every institute must contain, besides those things which are to be observed as stated in can. 578,
fundamental norms regarding governance of the institute, the discipline of members, incorporation and formation of members, and the proper object of the sacred bonds.
§2. A code of this type is approved by competent authority of the Church and can be changed only with its consent.
§3. In this code spiritual and juridic elements are to be joined together suitably; nevertheless, norms are not to be multiplied without necessity.
§4. Other norms established by competent authority of an institute are to be collected suitably in other codes and, moreover, can be reviewed appropriately and adapted according to the needs of places and times.
§1. By its very nature, the state of consecrated life is neither clerical nor lay.
§2. That institute is called clerical which, by reason of the purpose or design intended by the founder or by virtue of legitimate tradition, is under the direction of clerics, assumes the exercise of sacred orders, and is recognized as such by the authority of the Church.
§3. That institute is called lay which, recognized as such by the authority of the Church, has by virtue of its nature, character, and purpose a proper function defined by the founder or by legitimate tradition, which does not include the exercise of sacred orders.
An institute of consecrated life is said to be of pontifical right if the Apostolic See has erected it or approved it through a formal decree. It is said to be of diocesan right, however, if it has been erected by a diocesan bishop but has not obtained a decree of approval from the Apostolic See.
§1. Inasmuch as institutes of consecrated life are dedicated in a special way to the service of God and of the whole Church, they are subject to the supreme authority of the Church in a special way.
§2. Individual members are also bound to obey the Supreme Pontiff as their highest superior by reason of the sacred bond of obedience.
In order to provide better for the good of institutes and the needs of the apostolate, the Supreme Pontiff, by reason of his primacy in the universal Church and with a view to common advantage, can exempt institutes of consecrated life from the governance of local ordinaries and subject them to himself alone or to another ecclesiastical authority.
§1. In order better to foster the communion of institutes with the Apostolic See, each supreme moderator is to send a brief report of the state and life of the institute to the Apostolic See, in a manner and at a time established by the latter.
§2. The moderators of every institute are to promote knowledge of documents of the Holy See which regard the members entrusted to them and are to take care about their observance.
Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 586,
institutes of pontifical right are immediately and exclusively subject to the power of the Apostolic See in regards to internal governance and discipline.
Without prejudice to can. 586,
an institute of diocesan right remains under the special care of the diocesan bishop.
§1. It is for the bishop of the principal seat to approve the constitutions and confirm changes legitimately introduced into them, without prejudice to those things which the Apostolic See has taken in hand, and also to treat affairs of greater importance affecting the whole institute which exceed the power of internal authority, after he has consulted the other diocesan bishops, however, if the institute has spread to several dioceses.
§2. A diocesan bishop can grant dispensations from the constitutions in particular cases.
§1. Superiors and chapters of institutes possess that power over members which is defined in universal law and the constitutions.
§2. In clerical religious institutes of pontifical right, however, they also possess ecclesiastical power of governance for both the external and internal forum.
§3. The prescripts of cann. 131, 133, and 137-144
apply to the power mentioned in §1.
§1. Any Catholic endowed with a right intention who has the qualities required by universal and proper law and who is not prevented by any impediment can be admitted into an institute of consecrated life.
§2. No one can be admitted without suitable preparation.
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