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The People of God » Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life » Institutes of Consecrated Life » Religious Institutes » The obligations and rights of institutes and their members
Canon 662. Religious are to find their supreme rule of life in the following of Christ as proposed in the Gospel and as expressed in the constitutions of their own institute.
Canon 663. §1 The first and principal duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of things divine and constant union with God in prayer.

§2 Each day the members are to make every effort to participate in the Eucharistic sacrifice, receive the most holy Body of Christ and adore the Lord himself present in the Sacrament.

§3 They are to devote themselves to reading the sacred Scriptures and to mental prayer. In accordance with the provisions of their own law, they are to celebrate the liturgy of the hours worthily, without prejudice to the obligation of clerics mentioned in can. 276, §2, n.3. They are also to perform other exercises of piety.

§4 They are to have a special devotion to the Virgin Mother of God, the example and protectress of all consecrated life, including by way of the rosary.

§5 They are faithfully to observe the period of annual retreat.
Canon 664. Religious are earnestly to strive for the conversion of soul to God. They are to examine their consciences daily, and to approach the sacrament of penance frequently
Canon 665. §1 Religious are to reside in their own religious house and observe the common life; they are not to stay elsewhere except with the permission of the
Superior. For a lengthy absence from the religious house, the major Superior, for a just reason and with the consent of the council, can authorise a member to live outside a house of the institute; such an absence is not to exceed one year, unless it be for reasons of health, studies or an apostolate to be exercised in the name of the institute.

NB Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
Instruction Cor Orans, 1 April 2018:

176. The limitation in the Instruction Verbi Sponsa, n. 17, §2,* has been repealed; for just cause the Major Superior, according to the norm of can. 665, §1 CJC, with the consent of her Council, may authorize the absence from the monastery of a nun with solemn vows for not more than a year, after hearing the diocesan Bishop or the competent religious Ordinary.
[*”It should be noted that the norm of can. 665, §1, on permanence outside the
Institute, does not regard enclosed nuns” Verbi Sponsa, n. 17, §2.]

§2 Members who unlawfully absent themselves from a religious house with the intention of withdrawing from the authority of Superiors, are to be carefully sought out and helped to return and to persevere in their vocation.
Canon 666. In using the means of social communication, a necessary discretion is to be observed. Members are to avoid whatever is harmful to their vocation and dangerous to the chastity of a consecrated person.
Canon 667. §1 In accordance with the institute’s own law, there is to be in all houses an enclosure appropriate to the character and mission of the institute. Some part of the house is always to be reserved to the members alone.

§2 A stricter discipline of enclosure is to be observed in monasteries which are devoted to the contemplative life.

§3 Monasteries of cloistered nuns who are wholly devoted to the contemplative life, must observe papal enclosure, that is, in accordance with the norms given by the
Apostolic See. Other monasteries of cloistered nuns are to observe an enclosure which is appropriate to their nature and is defined in the constitutions.

§4 The diocesan Bishop has the faculty of entering, for a just reason, the enclosure of cloistered nuns whose monasteries are situated in his diocese. For a grave reason and with the assent of the Abbess, he can permit others to be admitted to the enclosure, and permit the nuns to leave the enclosure for whatever time is truly necessary.

NB Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
Instruction Cor Orans, 1 April 2018:

83. All female monasteries, without prejudice to internal autonomy and possible external exemption are subject to the diocesan Bishop, who exercises pastoral care in the following cases:
… g) the diocesan Bishop has the faculty, for a just cause, of entering the cloister and allowing other people to enter, with the consent of the Major Superior.
[Partial derogation from can. 667, §4 CJC approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]

174. In derogation from the provision of can. 667, §4 CJC, the diocesan
Bishop, as well as the religious Ordinary, does not intervene in granting dispensation from the cloister.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]

175. In derogation of the provisions of can. 667, §4 CJC, the dispensation from the cloister rests solely with the Major Superior who, in the event that such dispensation exceeds fifteen days, can grant it only after having obtained the consent of her Council.
[Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.]
Canon 668. §1 Before their first profession, members are to cede the administration of their goods to whomsoever they wish and, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, they are freely to make dispositions concerning the use and enjoyment of these goods. At least before perpetual profession, they are to make a will which is valid also in civil law.

§2 To change these dispositions for a just reason, and to take any action concerning temporal goods, there is required the permission of the Superior who is competent in accordance with the institute’s own law.

§3 Whatever a religious acquires by personal labour, or on behalf of the institute, belongs to the institute. Whatever comes to a religious in any way through pension, grant or insurance also passes to the institute, unless the institute’s own law decrees otherwise.

§4 When the nature of an institute requires members to renounce their goods totally, this renunciation is to be made before perpetual profession and, as far as possible, in a form that is valid also in civil law; it shall come into effect from the day of profession. The same procedure is to be followed by a perpetually professed religious who, in accordance with the norms of the institute’s own law and with the permission of the supreme Moderator, wishes to renounce goods, in whole or in part.

§5 Professed religious who, because of the nature of their institute, totally renounce their goods, lose the capacity to acquire and possess goods; actions of theirs contrary to the vow of poverty are therefore invalid. Whatever they acquire after renunciation belongs to the institute, in accordance with the institute’s own law.
Canon 669. §1 As a sign of their consecration and as a witness to poverty, religious are to wear the habit of their institute, determined in accordance with the institute’s own law.

§2 Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress, in accordance with can. 284.
Canon 670. The institute must supply the members with everything that, in accordance with the constitutions, is necessary to fulfil the purpose of their vocation.
Canon 671. Religious are not to undertake tasks and offices outside their own institute without the permission of the lawful Superior.
Canon 672. Religious are bound by the provisions of cann. 277,285, 286, 287 and 289.
Religious who are clerics are also bound by the provisions of can. 279 §2. In lay institutes of pontifical right, the permission mentioned in can. 285 §4 can be given by the major Superior.

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