Can. 573 ฿1 Life consecrated through profession of the evangelical counsels is a
stable form of living, in which the faithful follow Christ more closely under the action
of the Holy Spirit, and are totally dedicated to God, who is supremely loved. By a new and
special title they are dedicated to seek the perfection of charity in the service of God's
Kingdom, for the honor of God, the building up of the Church and the salvation of the
world. They are a splendid sign in the Church, as they foretell the heavenly glory.
฿2 Christ's faithful freely assume this manner of life in institutes of consecrated
life which are canonically established by the competent ecclesiastical authority. By vows
or by other sacred bonds, in accordance with the laws of their own institutes, they
profess the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. Because of the
charity to which these counsels lead, they are linked in a special way to the Church and
Can. 574 ฿1 The state of persons who profess the evangelical counsels in these
institutes belongs to the life and holiness of the Church. It is therefore to be fostered
and promoted by everyone in the Church.
฿2 Some of Christ's faithful are specially called by God to this state, so that they
may benefit from a special gift in the life of the Church and contribute to its saving
mission according to the purpose and spirit of each institute.
Can. 575 The evangelical counsels, based on the teaching and example of Christ the
Master, are a divine gift which the Church received from the Lord and which by His grace
it preserves always.
Can. 576 It is the prerogative of the competent authority in the Church to interpret
the evangelical counsels, to legislate for their practice and, by canonical approval, to
constitute the stable forms of living which arise from them. The same authority has the
responsibility to do what is in its power to ensure that institutes grow and flourish
according to the spirit of their founders and to their sound traditions.
Can. 577 In the Church there are many institutes of consecrated life, with gifts that
differ according to the graces given them: they more closely follow Christ praying, or
Christ proclaiming the Kingdom of God, or Christ doing good to people, or Christ in
dialogue with the people of this world, but always Christ doing the will of the Father.
Can. 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.
Can. 579 Provided the Apostolic See has been consulted, diocesan Bishops can, by formal
decree, establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 582 Fusions and unions of institutes of consecrated life are reserved to the
Apostolic See alone. To it are likewise reserved confederations or federations.
Can. 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 See.
Can. 584 Only the Apostolic See can suppress an institute and dispose of its temporal
Can. 585 The competent authority of an institute can suppress parts of the same
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
฿2 The individual members are bound to obey the Supreme Pontiff as their highest
Superior, by reason also of their sacred bond of obedience.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 594 An institute of diocesan right remains under the special care of the diocesan
Bishop, without prejudice to can. 586.
Can. 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
Can. 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 137144 apply to the authority mentioned in
Can. 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.
Can. 598 ฿1 Each institute, taking account of its own special character and purposes,
is to define in its constitutions the manner in which the evangelical counsels of
chastity, poverty and obedience are to be observed in its way of life.
฿2 All members must not only observe the evangelical counsels faithfully and fully,
but also direct their lives according to the institute's own law, and so strive for the
perfection of their state.
Can. 599 The evangelical counsel of chastity embraced for the sake of the Kingdom of
heaven, is a sign of the world to come, and a source of greater fruitfulness in an
undivided heart. It involves the obligation of perfect continence observed in celibacy.
Can. 600 The evangelical counsel of poverty in imitation of Christ who for our sake was
made poor when he was rich, entails a life which is poor in reality and in spirit, sober
and industrious, and a stranger to earthly riches. It also involves dependence and
limitation in the use and the disposition of goods, in accordance with each institute's
Can. 601 The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and
love in the following of Christ, who was obedient even unto death, obliges submission of
one's will to lawful Superiors, who act in the place of God when they give commands that
are in accordance with each institute's own constitutions.
Can. 602 The fraternal life proper to each institute unites all the members into, as it
were, a special family in Christ. It is to be so defined that for all it proves of mutual
assistance to fulfil their vocation. The fraternal union of the members, rooted and based
in charity, is to be an example of universal reconciliation in Christ.
Can. 603 ฿1 Besides institutes of consecrated life, the Church recognises the life of
hermits or anchorites, in which Christ's faithful withdraw further from the world and
devote their lives to the praise of God and the salvation of the world through the silence
of solitude and through constant prayer and penance.
฿2 Hermits are recognised by law as dedicated to God in consecrated life if, in the
hands of the diocesan Bishop, they publicly profess, by a vow or some other sacred bond,
the three evangelical counsels, and then lead their particular form of life under the
guidance of the diocesan Bishop .
Can. 604 ฿1 The order of virgins is also to be added to these forms of consecrated
life. Through their pledge to follow Christ more closely, virgins are consecrated to God,
mystically espoused to Christ and dedicated to the service of the Church, when the
diocesan Bishop consecrates them according to the approved liturgical rite.
฿2 Virgins can be associated together to fulfil their pledge more faithfully, and to
assist each other to serve the Church in a way that befits their state.
Can. 605 The approval of new forms of consecrated life is reserved to the Apostolic
See. Diocesan Bishops, however, are to endeavour to discern new gifts of consecrated life
which the Holy Spirit entrusts to the Church. They are also to assist promotors to express
their purposes in the best possible way, and to protect these purposes with suitable
statutes, especially by the application of the general norms contained in this part of the
Can. 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.
Can. 607 ฿1 Religious life, as a consecration of the whole person, manifests in the
Church the marvellous marriage established by God as a sign of the world to come.
Religious thus consummate a full gift of themselves as a sacrifice offered to God, so that
their whole existence becomes a continuous worship of God in charity.
฿2 A religious institute is a society in which, in accordance with their own law, the
members pronounce public vows and live a fraternal life in common. The vows are either
perpetual or temporary; if the latter, they are to be renewed when the time elapses.
฿3 The public witness which religious are to give to Christ and the Church involves
that separation from the world which is proper to the character and purpose of each
Can. 608 A religious community is to live in a lawfully constituted house, under the
authority of a Superior designated according to the norms of law. Each house is to have at
least an oratory, in which the Eucharist is celebrated and reserved, so that it may truly
be the centre of the community.
Can. 609 ฿1 A house of a religious institute is established, with the prior written
consent of the diocesan Bishop, by the authority competent according to the constitutions.
฿2 For the establishment of a monastery of cloistered nuns, the permission of the
Apostolic See is also required.
Can. 610 ฿1 In establishing religious houses, the welfare of the Church and of the
institute are to be kept in mind, and care must be taken to safeguard everything that is
necessary for the members to lead their religious life in accordance with the purposes and
spirit proper to the institute.
฿2 No house is to be established unless it is prudently foreseen that the needs of the
members can be suitably provided for.
Can. 611 The consent of the diocesan Bishop for the establishment of a religious house
carries with it the right:
1 to lead a life according to the character and purposes proper to the institute;
2 to engage in the works which are proper to the institute, in accordance with the
law, and subject to any conditions attached to the consent;
3 for clerical religious institutes to have a church, subject to the provisions of
can. 1215 ฿3, and to conduct the sacred ministries, with due observance of the law.
Can. 612 The consent of the diocesan Bishop is required if a religious house is to be
used for apostolic works other than those for which it was established. This permission is
not required for a change which, while observing the laws of the foundation, concerns only
internal governance and discipline.
Can. 613 ฿1 A religious house of canons regular or of monks under the governance and
care of their own Moderator is autonomous, unless the constitutions decree otherwise.
฿2 The Moderator of an autonomous house is by law a major Superior.
Can. 614 Monasteries of cloistered nuns which are associated with an institute of men,
have their own rule of life and governance, in accordance with the constitutions. The
mutual rights and obligations are to be defined in such a way that spiritual good may come
from the association.
Can. 615 If an autonomous monastery has no major Superior other than its own Moderator,
and is not associated with any institute of religious in such a way that the Superior of
that institute has over the monastery a real authority determined by the constitutions, it
is entrusted, in accordance with the norms of law, to the special vigilance of the
Can. 616 ฿1 After consultation with the diocesan Bishop, a supreme Moderator can
suppress a lawfully established religious house, in accordance with the constitutions. The
institute's own law is to make provision for the disposal of the goods of the suppressed
house, with due regard for the wishes of founders or benefactors and for lawfully acquired
฿2 The Holy See alone can suppress the sole house of an institute, in which case it is
also reserved to the Holy See to prescribe concerning the property of the house.
฿3 Unless the constitutions enact otherwise, the suppression of the autonomous houses
mentioned in can. 613 belongs to the general chapter.
฿4 The suppression of an autonomous monastery of cloistered nuns pertains to the
Apostolic See; the provisions of the constitutions are to be observed concerning the
property of the monastery.
Can. 617 Superiors are to fulfil their office and exercise their authority in
accordance with the norms of the universal law and of their own law.
Can. 618 The authority which Superiors receive from God through the ministry of the
Church is to be exercised by them in a spirit of service. In fulfilling their office they
are to be docile to the will of God, and are to govern those subject to them as children
of God. By their reverence for the human person, they are to promote voluntary obedience.
They are to listen willingly to their subjects and foster their cooperation for the good
of the institute and the Church, without prejudice however to their authority to decide
and to command what is to be done.
Can. 619 Superiors are to devote themselves to their office with diligence. Together
with the members entrusted to them, they are to strive to build in Christ a fraternal
community, in which God is sought and loved above all. They are therefore frequently to
nourish their members with the food of God's word and lead them to the celebration of the
liturgy. They are to be an example to the members in cultivating virtue and in observing
the laws and traditions proper to the institute. They are to give the members opportune
assistance in their personal needs. They are to be solicitous in caring for and visiting
the sick; they are to chide the restless, console the fainthearted and be patient with
Can. 620 Major Superiors are those who govern an entire institute, or a province or a
part equivalent to a province, or an autonomous house; the vicars of the above are also
major Superiors. To these are added the Abbot Primate and the Superior of a monastic
congregation, though these do not have all the authority which the universal law gives to
Can. 621 A province is a union of several houses which, under one superior, constitutes
an immediate part of the same institute, and is canonically established by lawful
Can. 622 The supreme Moderator has authority over all provinces, houses and members of
the institute, to be exercised in accordance with the institute's own law. Other Superiors
have authority within the limits of their office.
Can. 623 To be validly appointed or elected to the office of Superior, members must
have been perpetually or definitively professed for an appropriate period of time, to be
determined by their own law or, for major Superiors, by the constitutions.
Can. 624 ฿1 Superiors are to be constituted for a certain and appropriate period of
time, according to the nature and needs of the institute unless the constitutions
establish otherwise for the supreme Moderator and for Superiors of an autonomous house.
฿2 An institute's own law is to make suitable provisions so that Superiors constituted
for a defined time do not continue in offices of governance for too long a period of time
without an interval.
฿3 During their period in office, however, Superiors may be removed or transferred to
another office, for reasons prescribed in the institute's own law.
Can. 625 The supreme Moderator of the institute is to be designated by canonical
election, in accordance with the constitutions.
฿2 The Bishop of the principal house of the institute presides at the election of the
Superior of the autonomous monastery mentioned in can. 615, and at the election of the
supreme Moderator of an institute of diocesan right.
฿3 Other Superiors are to be constituted in accordance with the constitutions, but in
such a way that if they are elected, they require the confirmation of the competent major
Superior; if they are appointed by the Superior, the appointment is to be preceded by
Can. 626 Superiors in conferring offices, and members in electing to office, are to
observe the norms of the universal law and the institute's own law, avoiding any abuse or
preference of persons. They are to have nothing but God and the good of the institute
before their eyes, and appoint or elect those whom, in the Lord, they know to be worthy
and fitting. In elections, besides, they are to avoid directly or indirectly lobbying for
votes, either for themselves or for others.
Can. 627 ฿1 Superiors are to have their own council, in accordance with the
constitutions, and they must make use of it in the exercise of their office.
฿2 Apart from the cases prescribed in the universal law, an institute's own law is to
determine the cases in which the validity of an act depends upon consent or advice being
sought in accordance with can. 127.
Can. 628 ฿1 Superiors who are designated for this office by the institute's own law
are at stated times to visit the houses and the members entrusted to them, in accordance
with the norms of the same law.
฿2 The diocesan Bishop has the right and the duty to visit the following, even in
respect of religious discipline:
1 the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615;
2 the individual houses of an institute of diocesan right situated in his territory.
฿3 The members are to act with confidence towards the visitator, to whom when lawfully
questioning they are bound to reply truthfully and with charity. It is not lawful for
anyone in any way to divert the members from this obligation or otherwise to hinder the
scope of the visitation.
Can. 629 Superiors are to reside each in his or her own house, and they are not to
leave it except in accordance with the institute's own law.
Can. 630 ฿1 While safeguarding the discipline of the institute, Superiors are to
acknowledge the freedom due to the members concerning the sacrament of penance and the
direction of conscience.
฿2 Superiors are to take care, in accordance with the institute's own law, that the
members have suitable confessors available, to whom they may confess frequently.
฿3 In monasteries of cloistered nuns, in houses of formation, and in large lay
communities, there are to be ordinary confessors, approved by the local Ordinary after
consultation with the community. There is however, no obligation to approach these
฿4 Superiors are not to hear the confessions of their subjects unless the members
spontaneously request them to do so.
฿5 The members are to approach their superiors with trust and be able to open their
minds freely and spontaneously to them. Superiors, however, are forbidden in any way to
induce the members to make a manifestation of conscience to themselves.
Can. 631 ฿1 In an institute the general chapter has supreme authority in accordance
with the constitutions. It is to be composed in such a way that it represents the whole
institute and becomes a true sign of its unity in charity. Its principal functions are to
protect the patrimony of the institute mentioned in can. 578 and to foster appropriate
renewal in accord with that patrimony. It also elects the supreme Moderator, deals with
matters of greater importance, and issues norms which all are bound to obey.
฿2 The composition of the general chapter and the limits of its powers are to be
defined in the constitutions. The institute's own law is to determine in further detail
the order to be observed in the celebration of the chapter, especially regarding elections
and the matters to be treated.
฿3 According to the norms determined in the institute's own law, not only provinces
and local communities, but also any individual member may freely submit their wishes and
suggestions to the general chapter.
Can. 632 The institute's own law is to determine in greater detail matters concerning
other chapters and other similar assemblies of the institute, that is, concerning their
nature, authority, composition, procedure and time of celebration.
Can. 633 ฿1 Participatory and consultative bodies are faithfully to carry out the task
entrusted to them, in accordance with the universal law and the institute's own law. In
their own way they are to express the care and participation of all the members for the
good of the whole institute or community .
฿2 In establishing and utilising these means of participation and consultation, a wise
discernment is to be observed, and the way in which they operate is to be in conformity
with the character and purpose of the institute.
Can. 634 ฿1 Since they are by virtue of the law juridical persons, institutes,
provinces and houses have the capacity to acquire, possess, administer and alienate
temporal goods, unless this capacity is excluded or limited in the constitutions.
฿2 They are, however, to avoid all appearance of luxury, excessive gain and the
accumulation of goods.
Can. 635 ฿1 Since the temporal goods of religious institutes are ecclesiastical goods,
they are governed by the provisions of Book V on 'The Temporal Goods of the Church',
unless there is express provision to the contrary.
฿2 Each institute, however, is to establish suitable norms for the use and
administration of goods, so that the poverty proper to the institute may be fostered,
defended and expressed.
Can. 636 ฿1 In each institute, and in each province ruled by a major Superior, there
is to be a financial administrator, distinct from the major Superior and constituted in
accordance with the institute's own law. The financial administrator is to administer the
goods under the direction of the respective Superior. Even in local communities a
financial administrator, distinct from the local Superior, is in so far as possible to be
฿2 At the time and in the manner determined in the institute's own law the financial
administrator and others with financial responsibilities are to render an account of their
administration to the competent authority.
Can. 637 Once a year, the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615 are to render an
account of their administration to the local Ordinary. The local Ordinary also has the
right to be informed about the financial affairs of a religious house of diocesan right.
Can. 638 ฿1 It is for an institute's own law, within the limits of the universal law,
to define the acts which exceed the purpose and the manner of ordinary administration, and
to establish what is needed for the validity of an act of extraordinary administration.
฿2 Besides Superiors, other officials designated for this task in the institute's own
law may, within the limits of their office, validly make payments and perform juridical
acts of ordinary administration.
฿3 For the validity of alienation, and of any transaction by which the patrimonial
condition of the juridical person could be adversely affected there is required the
written permission of the competent Superior, given with the consent of his or her
council. Moreover, the permission of the Holy See is required if the transaction involves
a sum exceeding that which the Holy See has determined for each region, or if it concerns
things donated to the Church as a result of a vow, or objects which are precious by reason
of their artistic or historical value.
฿4 For the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615, and for institutes of
diocesan right, the written consent of the diocesan Bishop is necessary.
Can. 639 ฿1 If a juridical person has contracted debts and obligations, even with the
permission of the Superior, it is responsible for them.
฿2 If individual members have, with the permission of the Superior, entered into
contracts concerning their own property, they are responsible. If, however, they have
conducted business for the institute on the mandate of a Superior, the institute is
฿3 If a religious has entered into a contract without any permission of Superiors, the
religious is responsible, not the juridical person.
฿4 However, an action can always be brought against a person who has gained from a
contract entered into.
฿5 Superiors are to be careful not to allow debts to be contracted unless they are
certain that normal income can service the interest on the debt, and by lawful
amortization repay the capital over a period which is not unduly extended.
Can. 640 Taking into account the circumstances of the individual places, institutes are
to make a special effort to give, as it were, a collective testimony of charity and
poverty. They are to do all in their power to donate something from their own resources to
help the needs of the Church and the support of the poor.
Can. 641 The right to admit candidates to the novitiate belongs to the major Superiors,
in accordance with the norms of the institute's own law.
Can. 642 Superiors are to exercise a vigilant care to admit only those who, besides
being of required age, are healthy, have a suitable disposition, and have sufficient
maturity to undertake the life which is proper to the institute. If necessary, the health,
disposition and maturity are to be established by experts, without prejudice to can. 220.
Can. 643 ฿1 The following are invalidly admitted to the novitiate:
1 One who has not yet completed the seventeenth year of age;
2 a spouse, while the marriage lasts;
3 one who is currently bound by a sacred bond to some institute of consecrated life,
or is incorporated in some society of apostolic life, without prejudice to can. 684;
4 one who enters the institute through force, fear or deceit, or whom the Superior
accepts under the same influences;
5 one who has concealed his or her incorporation in an institute of consecrated life
or society of apostolic life.
฿2 An institute's own law can constitute other impediments even for the validity of
admission, or attach other conditions.
Can. 644 Superiors are not to admit secular clerics to the novitiate without consulting
their proper Ordinary; nor those who have debts which they are unable to meet.
Can. 645 ฿1 Before candidates are admitted to the novitiate they must produce proof of
baptism and confirmation, and of their free status.
฿2 The admission of clerics or others who had been admitted to another institute of
consecrated life, to a society of apostolic life, or to a seminary, requires in addition
the testimony of, respectively, the local Ordinary, or the major Superior of the institute
or society, or the rector of the seminary.
฿3 An institute's own law can demand further proofs concerning the suitability of
candidates and their freedom from any impediment.
฿4 The Superiors can seek other information, even under secrecy, if this seems
necessary to them.
Can. 646 The purpose of the novitiate, by which life in an institute begins, is to give
the novices a greater understanding of their divine vocation, and of their vocation to
that institute. During the novitiate the novices are to experience the manner of life of
the institute and form their minds and hearts in its spirit. At the same time their
resolution and suitability are to be tested.
Can. 647 ฿1 The establishment, transfer and suppression of a novitiate house are to
take place by a written decree of the supreme Moderator of the institute, given with the
consent of the council.
฿2 To be valid, a novitiate must take place in a house which is duly designated for
this purpose. In particular cases and by way of exception and with the permission of the
supreme Moderator given with the consent of the council, a candidate can make the
novitiate in another house of the institute, under the direction of an approved religious
who takes the place of the director of novices.
฿3 A major Superior can allow a group of novices to reside, for a certain period of
time, in another specified house of the institute.
Can. 648 ฿1 For validity, the novitiate must comprise twelve months spent in the
novitiate community, without prejudice to the provision of can. 647 ฿3.
฿2 To complete the formation of the novices, the constitutions can prescribe, in
addition to the time mentioned in ฿1, one or more periods of apostolic activity, to be
performed outside the novitiate community.
฿3 The novitiate is not to be extended beyond two years.
Can. 649 ฿1 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 647 ฿3, and can. 648 ฿2, a
novitiate is invalidated by an absence from the novitiate house of more than three months,
continuous or broken. Any absence of more than fifteen days must be made good.
฿2 With the permission of the competent major Superior, first profession may be
anticipated, though not by more than fifteen days.
Can. 650 ฿1 The object of the novitiate demands that novices be formed under the
supervision of the director of novices, in a manner of formation to be defined by the
institute's own law.
฿2 The governance of the novices is reserved to the director of novices alone, under
the authority of the major Superiors.
Can. 651 ฿1 The director of novices is to be a member of the institute who has taken
perpetual vows and has been lawfully designated.
฿2 If need be, directors of novices may be given assistants, who are subject to them
in regard to the governance of the novitiate and the manner of formation.
฿3 Those in charge of the formation of novices are to be members who have been
carefully prepared, and who are not burdened with other tasks, so that they may discharge
their office fruitfully and in a stable fashion.
Can. 652 ฿1 It is the responsibility of the directors of novices and their assistants
to discern and test the vocation of the novices, and gradually to form them to lead the
life of perfection which is proper to the institute.
฿2 Novices are to be led to develop human and christian virtues. Through prayer and
selfdenial they are to be introduced to a fuller way of perfection. They are to be
instructed in contemplating the mystery of salvation, and in reading and meditating on the
sacred Scriptures. Their preparation is to enable them to develop their worship of God in
the sacred liturgy. They are to learn how to lead a life consecrated to God and their
neighbour in Christ through the evangelical counsels. They are to learn about the
character and spirit of the institute, its purpose and discipline, its history and life,
and be imbued with a love for the Church and its sacred Pastors.
฿3 Novices, conscious of their own responsibility, are to cooperate actively with the
director of novices, so that they may faithfully respond to the grace of their divine
฿4 By the example of their lives and by prayer, the members of the institute are to
ensure that they do their part in assisting the work of formation of the novices.
฿5 The period of novitiate mentioned in can. 648 ฿1, is to be set aside exclusively
for the work of formation. The novices are therefore not to be engaged in studies or
duties which do not directly serve this formation.
Can. 653 ฿1 A novice may freely leave the institute. The competent authority of the
institute may also dismiss a novice.
฿2 On the completion of the novitiate, a novice, if judged suitable, is to be admitted
to temporary profession; otherwise the novice is to be dismissed. If a doubt exists
concerning suitability, the time of probation may be prolonged by the major Superior, in
accordance with the institute's own law, but for a period not exceeding six months.
Can. 654 By religious profession members make a public vow to observe the three
evangelical counsels. Through the ministry of the Church they are consecrated to God, and
are incorporated into the institute, with the rights and duties defined by law.
Can. 655 Temporary profession is to be made for the period defined by the institute's
own law. This period may not be less than three years nor longer than six years.
Can. 656 The validity of temporary profession requires:
1 that the person making it has completed at least the eighteenth year of age;
2 that the novitiate has been made validly;
3 that admission has been granted, freely and in accordance with the norms of law, by
the competent Superior, after a vote of his or her council;
4 that the profession be explicit and made without force, fear or deceit;
5 that the profession be received by the lawful Superior, personally or through
Can. 657 ฿1 When the period of time for which the profession was made has been
completed, a religious who freely asks, and is judged suitable, is to be admitted to a
renewal of profession or to perpetual profession; otherwise, the religious is to leave.
฿2 If it seems opportune, the period of temporary profession can be extended by the
competent Superior in accordance with the institute's own law. The total time during which
the member is bound by temporary vows may not, however, extend beyond nine years.
฿3 Perpetual profession can for a just reason be anticipated, but not by more than
Can. 658 Besides the conditions mentioned in can. 656, nn. 3, 4 and 5, and others
attached by the institute's own law, the validity of perpetual profession requires:
1 that the person has completed at least the twentyfirst year of age;
2 that there has been previous temporary profession for at least three years, without
prejudice to the provision of can. 657 ฿3.
Can. 659 ฿1 After first profession, the formation of all members in each institute is
to be completed, so that they may lead the life proper to the institute more fully, and
fulfil its mission more effectively.
฿2 The institute's own law is, therefore, to define the nature and duration of this
formation. In this, the needs of the Church and the conditions of people and times are to
be kept in mind, insofar as this is required by the purpose and the character of the
฿3 The formation of members who are being prepared for sacred orders is governed by
the universal law and the institute's own program of studies.
Can. 660 ฿1 Formation is to be systematic, adapted to the capacity of the members,
spiritual and apostolic, both doctrinal and practical. Suitable ecclesiastical and civil
degrees are to be obtained as opportunity offers.
฿2 During the period of formation members are not to be given offices and undertakings
which hinder their formation.
Can. 661 Religious are to be diligent in continuing their spiritual, doctrinal and
practical formation throughout their lives. Superiors are to ensure that they have the
assistance and the time to do this.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
฿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.
Can. 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
Can. 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.
฿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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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.
Can. 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
฿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.
Can. 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
฿2 Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear
clerical dress, in accordance with can. 284.
Can. 670 The institute must supply the members with everything that, in accordance with
the constitutions, is necessary to fulfil the purpose of their vocation.
Can. 671 Religious are not to undertake tasks and offices outside their own institute
without the permission of the lawful Superior.
Can. 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.
Can. 673 The apostolate of all religious consists primarily in the witness of their
consecrated life, which they are bound to foster through prayer and penance.
Can. 674 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.
Can. 675 ฿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
฿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.
Can. 676 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.
Can. 677 ฿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.
Can. 678 ฿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
฿3 In directing the apostolic works of religious, diocesan Bishops and religious
Superiors must proceed by way of mutual consultation.
Can. 679 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 Holy See.
Can. 680 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.
Can. 681 ฿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 can. 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
Can. 682 ฿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.
Can. 683 ฿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.
Can. 684 ฿1 Perpetually professed members cannot transfer from their own religious
institute to another, except by permission of the supreme Moderators of both institutes,
given with the consent of their respective councils.
฿2 On completion of a probationary period of at least three years, the member can be
admitted to perpetual profession in the new institute. A member who refuses to make this
profession, or is not admitted to do so by the competent Superiors, is to return to the
original institute, unless an indult of secularisation has been obtained.
฿3 For a religious to transfer from one autonomous monastery to another monastery of
the same institute, federation or confederation, the consent of the major Superior of both
monasteries and of the chapter of the receiving monastery is required and is sufficient,
unless the institute's own law has established further conditions. A new profession is not
฿4 The institute's own law is to determine the time and manner of the probation which
must precede the member's profession in the new institute.
฿5 To transfer to a secular institute or to a society of apostolic life, or to
transfer from these to a religious institute, the permission of the Holy See is required
and its instructions are to be followed.
Can. 685 ฿1 Until profession is made in the new institute, the rights and obligations
of the member in the previous institute are suspended, but the vows remain. From the
beginning of probation, the member is bound to observe the laws of the new institute.
฿2 By profession in the new institute the member is incorporated into it, and the
earlier vows, rights and obligations cease.
Can. 686 ฿1 With the consent of his or her council, the supreme Moderator can for a
grave reason grant an indult of exclaustration to a perpetually professed member for a
period not exceeding three years. In the case of a cleric, the indult requires the prior
consent of the Ordinary of the place where the clerics must reside. To extend this indult,
or to grant one for more than three years, is reserved to the Holy See or, in an institute
of diocesan right, to the diocesan Bishop.
฿2 Only the Apostolic See can grant an indult of exclaustration for cloistered nuns.
฿3 At the request of the supreme Moderator acting with the consent of his or her
council, exclaustration can be imposed by the Holy See on a member of an institute of
pontifical right, or by a diocesan Bishop on a member of an institute of diocesan right.
In either case a grave reason is required, and equity and charity are to be observed.
Can. 687 Members who are exclaustrated are considered as dispensed from those
obligations which are incompatible with their new condition of life. They remain dependent
on and under the care of their Superiors and, particularly in the case of a cleric, of the
local Ordinary. They may wear the religious habit, unless the indult specifies otherwise,
but they lack active and passive voice.
Can. 688 ฿1 A person who, on completion of the time of temporary profession, wishes to
leave the institute, is free to do so.
฿2 A person who, during the time of temporary profession, for a grave reason asks to
leave the institute, can obtain an indult to leave. In an institute of pontifical right,
this indult can be given by the supreme Moderator with the consent of his or her council.
In institutes of diocesan right and in the monasteries mentioned in can. 615, the indult
must, for validity, be confirmed by the Bishop in whose diocese is located the house to
which the person is assigned.
Can. 689 ฿1 The competent major Superior, after consulting his or council, can for
just reasons exclude a member from making further profession on the completion of
฿2 Even though contracted after profession, a physical or psychological infirmity
which, in the judgement of experts, renders the member mentioned in ฿1 unsuited to lead a
life in the institute, constitutes a reason for not admitting the member to renewal of
profession or to perpetual profession, unless the infirmity was contracted through the
negligence of the institute or because of work performed in the institute.
฿3 A religious who becomes insane during the period of temporary vows cannot be
dismissed from the institute, even though unable to make a new profession.
Can. 690 ฿1 A person who lawfully leaves the institute after completing the novitiate
or after profession, can be readmitted by the supreme Moderator, with the consent of his
or her council, without the obligation of repeating the novitiate. The same Moderator is
to determine an appropriate probation prior to temporary profession, and the length of
time in vows before making perpetual profession, in accordance with the norms of can. 655
฿2 The Superior of an autonomous monastery, acting with the consent of his or her
council, has the same faculty.
Can. 691 ฿1 A perpetually professed religious is not to seek an indult to leave the
institute, except for very grave reasons, weighed before the Lord. The petition is to be
presented to the supreme Moderator of the institute, who will forward it to the competent
authority with his or her own opinion and that of the council.
฿2 In institutes of pontifical right this indult is reserved to the Apostolic See. In
institutes of diocesan right the indult can be granted by the Bishop in whose diocese is
located the house to which the religious is assigned.
Can. 692 An indult to leave the institute, which is lawfully granted and notified to
the member, by virtue of the law itself carries with it, unless it has been rejected by
the member in the act of notification, a dispensation from the vows and from all
obligations arising from profession.
Can. 693 If the member is a cleric, the indult is not granted until he has found a
Bishop who will incardinate him in his diocese or at least receive him there on probation.
If he is received on probation, he is by virtue of the law itself incardinated in the
diocese after five years, unless the Bishop has rejected him.
Can. 694 ฿1 A member is to be considered automatically dismissed if he or she:
1 has notoriously defected from the catholic faith;
2 has contracted marriage or attempted to do so, even civilly.
฿2 In these cases the major Superior with his or her council must, after collecting
the evidence, without delay make a declaration of the fact, so that the dismissal is
Can. 695 ฿1 A member must be dismissed for the offences mentioned in cann. 1397, 1398
and 1395, unless, for the offences mentioned in can. 1395 ฿2, the Superior judges that
dismissal is not absolutely necessary; and that sufficient provision can be made in some
other way for the amendment of the member, the restoration of justice and the reparation
฿2 In these cases the major Superior is to collect the evidence concerning the facts
and the imputability of the offence. The accusation and the evidence are then to be
presented to the member, who shall be given the opportunity for defence. All the acts,
signed by the major Superior and the notary, are to be forwarded, together with the
written and signed replies of the member, to the supreme Moderator.
Can. 696 ฿1 A member can be dismissed for other causes, provided they are grave,
external, imputable and juridically proven. Among such causes are: habitual neglect of the
obligations of consecrated life; repeated violations of the sacred bonds; obstinate
disobedience to the lawful orders of Superiors in grave matters; grave scandal arising
from the culpable behaviour of the member; obstinate attachment to, or diffusion of,
teachings condemned by the magisterium of the Church; public adherence to materialistic or
atheistic ideologies; the unlawful absence mentioned in can. 665 ฿2, if it extends for a
period of six months; other reasons of similar gravity which are perhaps defined in the
institute's own law.
฿2 A member in temporary vows can be dismissed even for less grave reasons determined
in the institute's own law.
Can. 697 ฿1 In the cases mentioned in can. 696, if the major Superior, after
consulting his or her council, judges that the process of dismissal should be commenced:
1 the major Superior is to collect or complete the evidence;
2 the major Superior is to warn the member in writing, or before two witnesses, with
an explicit caution that dismissal will follow unless the member reforms. The reasons for
dismissal are to be clearly expressed and the member is to be given every opportunity for
defence. If the warning has no effect, another warning is to be given after an interval of
at least fifteen days;
3 if this latter warning is also ineffectual, and the major Superior with his or her
council judges that there is sufficient proof of incorrigibility, and that the defence by
the member is insufficient, after fifteen days from the last warning have passed in vain
all the acts, signed by the major Superior and the notary, are to be forwarded, together
with the signed replies of the member, to the supreme Moderator.
Can. 698 In all the cases mentioned in cann. 695 and 696, the member always retains the
right to communicate with, and send replies directly to, the supreme Moderator.
Can. 699 ฿1 The supreme Moderator and his or her council are to proceed in collegial
fashion in accurately weighing the evidence, the arguments, and the defence. For validity,
the council must comprise at least four members. If by a secret vote it is decided to
dismiss the religious, a decree of dismissal is to be drawn up, which for validity must
express at least in summary form the reasons in law and in fact.
฿2 In the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615, the judgement about dismissal
belongs to the diocesan Bishop. The Superior is to submit the acts to him after they have
been reviewed by the council.
Can. 700 The decree of dismissal has no effect unless it is confirmed by the Holy See,
to whom the decree and all the acts are to be forwarded. If the matter concerns an
institute of diocesan right, the confirmation belongs to the Bishop in whose diocese is
located the house to which the religious belongs. For validity the decree must indicate
the right of the person dismissed to have recourse to the competent authority within ten
days of receiving notification of the decree. The recourse has a suspensive effect.
Can. 701 By lawful dismissal, both the vows and the rights and duties deriving from
profession automatically cease. If the member is a cleric, he may not exercise sacred
orders until he finds a Bishop who will, after a suitable probation, receive him into his
diocese in accordance with can. 693, or who will at least allow him to exercise his sacred
Can. 702 ฿1 Whoever lawfully leaves a religious institute or is lawfully dismissed
from one, cannot claim anything from the institute for any work done in it.
฿2 The institute, however, is to show equity and evangelical charity towards the
member who is separated from it.
Can. 703 ฿1 In a case of grave external scandal, or of extremely grave and imminent
harm to the institute, a member can be expelled forthwith from the house by the major
Superior. If there is danger in delay, this can be done by the local Superior with the
consent of his or her council. The major Superior, if need be, is to introduce a process
of dismissal in accordance with the norms of law, or refer the matter to the Apostolic
Can. 704 In the report to be sent to the Apostolic See in accordance with can. 592,
฿1, mention is to be made of members who have been separated in any way from the
Can. 705 A religious who is raised to the episcopate remains a member of his institute,
but is subject only to the Roman Pontiff by his vow of obedience. He is not bound by
obligations which he prudently judges are not compatible with his condition.
Can. 706 In the case of the religious mentioned above:
1 if he has lost the ownership of his goods through his profession he now has the use
and enjoyment and the administration of the goods which he acquires. In the case of a
diocesan Bishop and of those mentioned in can. 381 ฿2, the particular Church acquires
their ownership; in the case of others, they belong to the institute or the Holy See,
depending on whether the institute is or is not capable of possessing goods;
2 if he has not lost the ownership of his goods through his profession, he recovers
the use and enjoyment and the administration of the goods he possessed; what he obtains
later, he acquires fully;
3 in both cases any goods he receives which are not personal gifts must be disposed
of according to the intention of the donors.
Can. 707 ฿1 A religious Bishop 'emeritus' may choose to reside outside the house of
his institute, unless the Apostolic See disposes otherwise.
฿2 If he has served a diocese, can. 402 ฿2 is to be observed concerning his suitable
and worthy maintenance, unless his own institute wishes to provide such maintenance.
Otherwise, the Apostolic See is to make other provision.
Can. 708 Major Superiors can usefully meet together in conferences and councils, so
that by combined effort they may work to achieve more fully the purpose of each institute,
while respecting the autonomy, nature and spirit of each. They can also deal with affairs
which are common to all, and work to establish suitable coordination and cooperation with
Episcopal Conferences and with individual Bishops.
Can. 709 Conferences of major Superiors are to have their own statutes, which must be
approved by the Holy See. Only the Holy See can establish them or give them juridical
personality. They remain under the ultimate direction of the Holy See.
Can. 710 A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which Christ's
faithful, living in the world, strive for the perfection of charity and endeavour to
contribute to the sanctification of the world, especially from within.
Can. 711 Without prejudice to the provisions of the law concerning institutes of
consecrated life, consecration as a member of a secular institute does not change the
member's canonical status among the people of God, be it lay or clerical.
Can. 712 Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 598601, the constitutions are
to establish the sacred bonds by which the evangelical counsels are undertaken in the
institute. They are to define the obligations which these bonds entail, while always
preserving in the manner of life the secular character proper to the institute.
Can. 713 ฿1 Members of these institutes express and exercise their special
consecration in apostolic activity. Like a leaven, they endeavour to permeate everything
with an evangelical spirit for the strengthening and growth of the Body of Christ.
฿2 Lay members participate in the evangelising mission of the Church in the world and
from within the world. They do this by their witness of christian life and of fidelity to
their consecration, and by the assistance they give in directing temporal affairs to God
and in animating the world by the power of the Gospel. They also offer their cooperation
to serve the ecclesial community in accordance with the secular manner of life proper to
฿3 Clerical members, by the witness of their consecrated life, especially in the
presbyterium, support their colleagues by a distinctive apostolic charity, and in the
people of God they further the sanctification of the world by their sacred ministry.
Can. 714 Members are to live their lives in the ordinary conditions of the world,
either alone, in their families or in fraternal groups, in accordance with the
Can. 715 ฿1 Clerical members incardinated in a diocese are subject to the diocesan
Bishop, except for whatever concerns the consecrated life of their own institutes.
฿2 Those who, in accordance with the norms of can. 266 ฿3, are incardinated in the
institute, and who are appointed to works proper to the institute or to the governance of
the institute, are subject to the Bishop in the same way as religious.
Can. 716 ฿1 All members are to take an active part in the life of the institute, in
accordance with the institute's own law.
฿2 Members of the same institute are to preserve a rapport with one another, carefully
fostering a unity of spirit and a genuine fraternity.
Can. 717 ฿1 The constitutions are to determine the institute's own form of governance.
They are to define the period of time for which Moderators exercise their office and the
manner in which they are to be designated.
฿2 No one is to be designated supreme Moderator unless definitively incorporated into
฿3 Those entrusted with the governance of the institute are to ensure that its unity
of spirit is maintained, and that the active participation of the members is developed.
Can. 718 The administration of the goods of the institute must express and foster
evangelical poverty. It is governed by the norms of Book V on 'The Temporal Goods of the
Church', and by the institute's own law. This same law of the institute is also to define
the obligations, especially the financial obligations, of the institute towards the
members engaged in its work.
Can. 719 ฿1 Members are to respond faithfully to their vocation, and their apostolic
action is to proceed from their union with Christ. They are therefore to devote themselves
assiduously to prayer and engage in a suitable way in the reading of the sacred
Scriptures. They are to make an annual retreat and perform other spiritual exercises in
accordance with their own law.
฿2 The celebration of the Eucharist, daily where possible, is to be the source and
strength of their whole consecrated life.
฿3 They are to go freely to the sacrament of penance and receive it frequently.
฿4 They are to be free to obtain the necessary spiritual direction. Should they so
desire, they may seek such counsel even from their Moderators.
Can. 720 The right of admitting a person to the institute, or to probation, or to the
taking of sacred bonds, both temporary and perpetual or definitive, belongs to the major
Moderators with their council, in accordance with the constitutions.
Can. 721 ฿1 The following are invalidly admitted to initial probation:
1 one who has not yet attained majority;
2 one who is currently bound by a sacred bond in another institute of consecrated
life, or incorporated in a society of apostolic life;
3 a spouse, while the marriage lasts.
฿2 The constitutions can establish other impediments to admission, even for validity,
or attach conditions to it.
฿3 For a person to be received into the institute, that degree of maturity is required
which is necessary to live the life of the institute properly.
Can. 722 ฿1 The initial probation is to be so arranged that the candidates can better
recognise their divine vocation and their vocation to that institute, and be trained in
the spirit and manner of life of the institute.
฿2 Candidates are to be properly formed to live a life according to the evangelical
counsels. They are to be taught how to translate this life completely into their
apostolate, applying those forms of evangelisation which best correspond to the purpose,
spirit and character of the institute.
฿3 The constitutions are to define the manner and time of the probation to be made
before the first sacred bonds are undertaken in the institute; this time is to be not less
than two years.
Can. 723 ฿1 When the time of the initial probation has been completed, a candidate who
is judged suitable is either to undertake the three evangelical counsels, sealed with a
sacred bond, or to leave the institute.
฿2 This first incorporation is to be temporary, in accordance with the constitutions,
but is to be for not less than five years.
฿3 When this period of incorporation has been completed, a member who is judged
suitable is to be admitted to perpetual, or definitive incorporation, that is, by
temporary bonds always to be renewed.
฿4 Definitive incorporation is equivalent to perpetual incorporation in respect of
defined juridical effects, which are to be established in the constitutions.
Can. 724 ฿1 After the first acceptance of the sacred bonds, formation is to continue
without interruption in accordance with the constitutions.
฿2 Members are to be formed simultaneously in matters human and divine. The Moderators
of the institute are to have a serious concern for the continued spiritual formation of
Can. 725 The institute can associate with itself, by some form of bond determined in
the constitutions, other members of Christ's faithful who seek evangelical perfection
according to the spirit of the institute and who share in its mission.
Can. 726 ฿1 When the time of temporary incorporation is completed, the member can
freely leave the institute, or can for a just cause be excluded from renewing the sacred
bonds by the major Moderator, after consultation with his or her council.
฿2 A temporarily incorporated member who freely requests it, can for a grave reason be
granted an indult to leave the institute by the supreme Moderator, with the consent of the
Can. 727 ฿1 A perpetually incorporated member who wishes to leave the institute must,
after seriously weighing the matter before the Lord, petition the Apostolic See through
the supreme Moderator, if the institute is of pontifical right; otherwise, the indult can
also be obtained from the diocesan Bishop, as determined in the constitutions.
฿2 For a cleric who is incardinated in the institute, the provision of can. 693 is to
Can. 728 When an indult to leave the institute has been lawfully granted, all bonds,
rights and obligations deriving from incorporation cease.
Can. 729 A member is dismissed from the institute in accordance with the norms of cann.
694 and 695. The constitutions are also to determine other reasons for dismissal, provided
they are proportionately grave, external, imputable and juridically proven. The procedure
established in cann. 697700 is to be observed, and the provisions of can. 701 apply to
the person who is dismissed.
Can. 730 For a member to transfer from one secular institute to another, the provisions
of can. 684 ฿฿1, 2, 4 and 685, are to be observed. A transfer to or from another kind of
institute of consecrated life requires the permission of the Apostolic See, whose
instructions must be followed.
Can. 731 ฿1 Societies of apostolic life resemble institutes of consecrated life. Their
members, without taking religious vows, pursue the apostolic purpose proper to each
society. Living a fraternal life in common in their own special manner, they strive for
the perfection of charity through the observance of the constitutions.
฿2 Among these societies are some in which the members, through a bond defined in the
constitutions, undertake to live the evangelical counsels.
Can. 732 Cann. 578597 and 606 apply to societies of apostolic life, with due regard,
however, for the nature of each society. For the societies mentioned in can. 731 ฿2,
cann. 598602 also apply.
Can. 733 ฿1 A house is established and a local community is constituted by the
competent authority of the society, with the prior written consent of the diocesan Bishop.
The Bishop must also be consulted when there is question of its suppression.
฿2 Consent to establish a house carries with it the right to have at least an oratory
in which the blessed Eucharist is celebrated and reserved.
Can. 734 The governance of the society is determined by the constitutions, without
prejudice, in accordance with the nature of each society, to cann. 617633.
Can. 735 ฿1 The admission, probation, incorporation and formation of members are
determined by each society's own law.
฿2 For admission into the society, the conditions prescribed in cann. 642645 are to
฿3 The society's own law must determine a programme of doctrinal, spiritual and
apostolic probation and formation that is adapted to the purpose and character of the
society. In this way members can recognise their divine vocation and be suitably prepared
for the mission and way of life of the society.
Can. 736 ฿1 In clerical societies, the clerics are incardinated into the society,
unless the constitutions determine otherwise.
฿2 The norms concerning the secular clergy apply to the programme of studies and
reception of orders, without prejudice to ฿1.
Can. 737 For the members, incorporation carries with it the rights and obligations
defined in the constitutions. On the part of the society, it implies a responsibility to
lead the members towards the purpose of their vocation, in accordance with the
Can. 738 ฿1 All members are subject to their own Moderators in matters concerning the
internal life and discipline of the society, in accordance with the constitutions.
฿2 They are also subject to the diocesan Bishop in matters concerning public worship,
the care of souls and other works of the apostolate, with due regard to cann. 679683.
฿3 The relationship between a member who is incardinated in a diocese and his proper
Bishop is to be defined in the constitutions or in particular agreements.
Can. 739 Apart from the obligations which derive from their constitutions, members are
bound by the common obligations of clerics, unless the nature of things or the context
Can. 740 Members must live in a lawfully constituted house or community and observe a
common life, in accordance with their own law. This same law also governs their absence
from the house or community.
Can. 741 ฿1 Societies and, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, their
constituent parts and their houses, are juridical persons. As such, they are capable of
acquiring, possessing, administering and alienating temporal goods in accordance with the
provisions of Book V on 'The Temporal Goods of the Church', of cann. 636, 638 and 639, and
of their own law.
฿2 Members are also capable, in accordance with their own law, of acquiring,
possessing, administering and disposing of temporal goods, but whatever comes to them in
view of the society is acquired for the society.
Can. 742 The departure and dismissal of a member who is not definitively incorporated
are governed by the constitutions of each society.
Can. 743 A member who is definitively incorporated can obtain an indult to leave the
society from the supreme Moderator with the consent of the council, unless the
constitutions reserve this to the Apostolic See. This indult means that the rights and
obligations deriving from definitive incorporation cease, without prejudice to can. 693.
Can. 744 ฿1 Permission for a member who is definitively incorporated to transfer to
another society of apostolic life is likewise reserved to the supreme Moderator with the
consent of his or her council. The rights and obligations of the member's own society are
suspended for the time being, but the member has the right to return to it before
definitive incorporation into the new society.
฿2 To transfer to an institute of consecrated life or from such an institute to a
society of apostolic life, the permission of the Holy See is required, and its
instructions are to be followed.
Can. 745 The supreme Moderator, with the consent of his or her council, can grant a
definitively incorporated member an indult to live outside the society for a period not
exceeding three years. Rights and obligations which are not compatible with this new
condition are suspended, but the member remains under the care of the Moderators. If the
member is a cleric, the consent of the Ordinary of the place where he must reside is also
required, and the member remains under the care of the Ordinary and dependent upon him.
Can. 746 For the dismissal of a member who is definitively incorporated, the provisions
of cann. 694704 are to be observed, making the appropriate adjustments.