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» The apostolate of institutes
The apostolate of all religious consists primarily in the witness of their consecrated life, which they are bound to foster through prayer and penance.
Institutes which are wholly directed to contemplation always have an outstanding part in the mystical Body of Christ. They offer to God an exceptional sacrifice of praise. They embellish the people of God with very rich fruits of holiness, move them by their example, and give them increase by a hidden apostolic
fruitfulness. Because of this, no matter how urgent the needs of the active apostolate, the members of these institutes cannot be called upon to assist in the various pastoral ministries.
§1 Apostolic action is of the very nature of institutes dedicated to apostolic works. The whole life of the members is, therefore, to be imbued with an apostolic spirit, and the whole of their apostolic action is to be animated by a religious spirit.
§2 Apostolic action is always to proceed from intimate union with God, and is to confirm and foster this union.
§3 Apostolic action exercised in the name of the Church and by its command is to be performed in communion with the Church.
Lay institutes of men and women participate in the pastoral mission of the
Church through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, performing very many different services for people. They are therefore to remain faithful to the grace of their vocation.
§1 Superiors and members are faithfully to hold fast to the mission and works which are proper to their institute. According to the needs of time and place, however, they are prudently to adapt them, making use of new and appropriate means.
§2 Institutes which have associations of Christ’s faithful joined to them are to have a special care that these associations are imbued with the genuine spirit of their family.
§1 In matters concerning the care of souls, the public exercise of divine worship and other works of the apostolate, religious are subject to the authority of the
Bishops, whom they are bound to treat with sincere obedience and reverence.
§2 In the exercise of an apostolate towards persons outside the institute, religious are also subject to their own Superiors and must remain faithful to the discipline of the institute. If the need arises, Bishops themselves are not to fail to insist on this obligation.
§3 In directing the apostolic works of religious, diocesan Bishops and religious
Superiors must proceed by way of mutual consultation.
For a very grave reason a diocesan Bishop can forbid a member of a religious institute to remain in his diocese, provided the person’s major Superior has been informed and has failed to act; the matter must immediately be reported to the
Organised cooperation is to be fostered among different institutes, and between them and the secular clergy. Under the direction of the Bishop, there is to be a coordination of all apostolic works and actions, with due respect for the character and purpose of each institute and the laws of its foundation.
§1 Works which the diocesan Bishop entrusts to religious are under the authority and direction of the Bishop, without prejudice to the rights of religious
Superiors in accordance with cann. 678 §§2 and 3
§2 In these cases a written agreement is to be made between the diocesan Bishop and the competent Superior of the institute. This agreement must expressly and accurately define, among other things, the work to be done, the members to be assigned to it and the financial arrangements.
§1 If an ecclesiastical office in a diocese is to be conferred on a member of a religious institute, the religious is appointed by the diocesan Bishop on presentation by, or at least with the consent of, the competent Superior.
§2 The religious can be removed from the office at the discretion of the authority who made the appointment, with prior notice being given to the religious Superior; or by the religious Superior, with prior notice being given to the appointing authority.
Neither requires the other’s consent.
§1 Either personally or through a delegate, the diocesan Bishop can visit churches or oratories to which Christ’s faithful have habitual access, schools other than those open only to the institute’s own members, and other works of religion and charity entrusted to religious, whether these works be spiritual or temporal. He can do this at the time of pastoral visitation, or in a case of necessity.
§2 If the diocesan Bishop becomes aware of abuses, and a warning to the religious
Superior having been in vain, he can by his own authority deal with the matter.
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