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Dioceses forbidden to establish religious communities without prior Vatican consultation

May 20, 2016

Beginning June 1, diocesan decrees that establish religious institutes without prior consultation with the Vatican will be invalid, according to a rescript signed by Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State, on May 11 and made public by the Holy See Press Office on May 20.

According to the 1983 Code of Canon Law, “provided the Apostolic See has been consulted, diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories” (Canon 579).

In an April 4 audience with Cardinal Parolin, Pope Francis established that this consultation with the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life henceforth will be an essential condition for the validity of the bishop’s decree. Without the consultation, the decree will be null.

Cardinal Parolin’s rescript cited the need for “sufficient discernment that verifies the originality of the charism” as well as the “specific traits” of each new institute.


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: feedback - May. 22, 2016 2:40 AM ET USA

    I'm just glad to see someone in authority actually quoting the Canon Law. This hasn't happened in a while.

  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - May. 21, 2016 6:45 AM ET USA

    You can be sure that the consultation regarding "sufficient discernment” will most certainly not be directed against any group that supports what the Pope and Cardinal Kasper have been doing to the Church. On the other hand, any group that does not indicate such support can expect exceedingly close scrutiny of the "originality of the charism" and its "specific traits." In fact such scrutiny is likely to continue for a very long time indeed, until all potential institute members simply give up.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - May. 20, 2016 7:48 PM ET USA

    Hard to see this as anything but a liberal bureaucrat's attempt to reduce the proliferation of the mainly conservative religious communities springing up all over the world.