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Catholic Dictionary

Term

CHAPTER, LEGISLATIVE

Definition

The general or regional meeting of delegates of a religious institute to discuss and decide on matters affecting the spiritual life and apostolate of the community. Chapters of religious institutes have assumed extraordinary importance since the Second Vatican Council. They were given the right to "alter, temporarily, certain prescriptions of the constitutions . . . by way of experiment, provided that the purpose, nature and character of the institute are safeguarded." (Ecclesiae Sanctae, 1966, II, 6).