A resource for both professional and armchair canonists.

Also including the GIRM, GILH, CCC, CCEO, DC, SST, ESI, USCCB Norms, and Vos estis.


  • Section Numbers
  • Text Search    

  • Documents



The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Norms Common to All Institutes of Consecrated Life
Canon 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 sound traditions.
Canon 579. Diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, validly establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories, if the prior permission of the Apostolic See has been given in writing.
[revised wording according to m.p. Authenticum charismatis, 1.XI.2020]

[NB see Rescript “ex audientia Ss.mi” of 15 June 2022 requiring the diocesan bishop, before erecting – by decree – a public association of the faithful with a view to becoming an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, to obtain the written permission of the Dicastery of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic
Canon 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.
Canon 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.
Canon 582. Fusions and unions of institutes of consecrated life are reserved to the
Apostolic See alone. To it are likewise reserved confederations or federations.
Canon 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
Canon 584. Only the Apostolic See can suppress an institute and dispose of its temporal goods.
Canon 585. The competent authority of an institute can suppress parts of the same institute.
Canon 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.
Canon 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 same.

§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.
Canon 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.
Canon 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 Apostolic See.
Canon 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.
Canon 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.
Canon 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.
Canon 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.
Canon 594. An institute of diocesan right remains under the special care of the diocesan
Bishop, without prejudice to can. 586.
Canon 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.
Canon 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
Canon 597. §1 Every catholic with a right intention and the qualities required by universal law and the institute’s 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.
Canon 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.

Page generated in 0.0035 seconds.