APOSTOLIC LETTER ‘ECCLESIAE SANCTAE’, ISSUED MOTU PROPRIO, IMPLEMENTING THE FOLLOWING DECREES OF VATICAN COUNCIL II:
Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests
Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life
AD GENTES DIVINITUS
Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church
The governing of holy Church, following the conclusion of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, demands indeed that new norms be established and that new adjustments be made to meet relationships introduced by the Council and which will be more and more adapted to the new goals and areas of the apostolate which through the Council have been opened up to the Church in the modern world. Because of great changes this world is in need of a shining light and longs for the supernatural flame of charity.
Prompted therefore by these considerations, as soon as the Ecumenical Council ended we appointed study commissions to apply their learning and experience to determine to the best of their ability definite norms for the implementation of the decrees of the Council for which a suspension of the effects of the law (vacatio legis) had been decreed. As we gladly wrote in the letter issued motu proprio last June 10 beginning with the words Munus Apostolicum those commissions devoted themselves diligently to their assigned task, and at the appointed time informed us of their conclusions.
After careful consideration of these conclusions we consider that now is the time to publish these norms. However since this involves matters pertaining to discipline, an area in which experience can still offer more suggestions, and since on the other hand a special commission is engaged in revising and improving the Code of Canon Law in which all the laws of the Church will be arranged in a more consistent, and suitable, and at the same time definitive manner, we think that we will be acting wisely and prudently if we publish these norms on an experimental basis. During this interval it will be the right of episcopal conferences to make known to us their observations and comments which the implementation of the norms will perhaps suggest to be made and to present new measures to us.
Therefore after carefully examining the matter, motu proprio and by our apostolic authority we decree and promulgate the following norms for the implementation of the decrees of the Council which begin with these words: Christus Dominus (On the Bishops’ Pastoral Office in the Church) Presbyterorum Ordinis (On the Life and Ministry of Priests), Perfectae Caritatis (On the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life) and Ad Gentes Divinitus (On the Missionary Activity of the Church), and we command that they be observed by way of experiment, that is until the new Code of Canon Law is promulgated, unless in the meantime some other provision is to be made by the Apostolic See.
These norms will begin to be in force next October 11, the feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, on which day the holy Council was begun four years ago by our predecessor of venerable memory, John XXIII.
We order that whatever has been prescribed by us in this letter issued motu proprio be firm and ratified, all things to the contrary, even those worthy of most special mention, not withstanding.
Given at Rome at St. Peter’s, August 6, the feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ, 1966, in the fourth year of our pontificate.
POPE PAUL VI
I. NORMS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION
OF THE DECREES OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL
CHRISTUS DOMINUS AND PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS
The Episcopal Office, which the holy Second Vatican Council placed in a clearer light in the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium and in the Decree Christus Dominus, was divinely established for the building up of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church.
For this reason the sacred shepherds are bound to fulfill their office of teaching, sanctifying, and feeding the People of God with enduring care, both by generously sharing with the Roman Pontiff concern for all the churches, and by providing more zealously for the correct ruling of the dioceses entrusted to them, and lastly by working together energetically for the common good of the various churches.
In the government of the dioceses entrusted to them, however, the bishops have necessary helpers and counselors especially the priestsÂ—whom they should be willing to hear, in fact consult, preserving all the while the bishops’ power to act freely, in setting down methods of procedure and norms and in making laws in keeping with the awareness of their obligation and the principles of Church government (cfr. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, No. 27).
That bishops then may be able more easily and aptly to exercise their pastoral office and more effectively put into practice the principles which have been solemnly approved by the holy Council either in the Decree Christus Dominus or in the Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, the following norms are established.
DISTRIBUTION OF THE CLERGY
AND AID TO BE GIVEN TO DIOCESES
(No. 6 of The Decree Christus Dominus and no. 10 of Presbyterorum Ordinis)
1. If it seems opportune, a special committee will be established at the Apostolic See whose function it will be to propose general principles by which a more suitable distribution of the clergy is to be regulated, keeping in mind the needs of the various churches.
2. It will pertain to the patriarchal synods and the episcopal conferences, with careful attention to the prescriptions of the Apostolic See, to enact regulations and publish norms for the bishops in order to obtain a suitable distribution of the clergy, both of their own territory and of those coming from other regions, by which provision is made for the needs of all the dioceses in their territory and the welfare of the churches in mission countries and in nations suffering from a lack of clergy. In each episcopal conference, therefore, a commission should be established whose task will be to investigate the needs of the various dioceses within their territory and the possibilities of giving some of their own clergy to other churches, to carry out the decisions made and approved by the conferences regarding the distribution of the clergy and to inform the bishops of the territory of these decisions.
3. To facilitate the transfer of clerics from one diocese to anotherÂ—without prejudice to the system of incardination and excardination, which is of course to be adjusted to new circumstancesÂ—the following regulations should be observed.
(1) Clerics are to be so instructed in the seminaries as to be concerned not only for the diocese for whose service they are ordained, but also for the whole Church, and so that they may be ready to dedicate themselves, with the permission of their own bishops, to those particular churches whose needs are urgent;
(2) Aside from real necessity in their own diocese, Ordinaries or hierarchs should not deny permission to emigrate to those clerics whom they know to be prepared and consider suitable to go to regions suffering from a grave shortage of clergy, to carry on the sacred ministry there. They are to see to it, however, that by a written agreement with the Ordinary of the place in question the rights and obligations of their clerics are clearly determined;
(3) These same Ordinaries should see to it that clerics intending to transfer from their own diocese to the diocese of another country are suitably prepared for the exercise of the sacred ministry there; that is, that they acquire a knowledge of the region’s language and that they understand the country’s institutions, social conditions, customs and practices;
(4) Ordinaries can grant their clerics permission to transfer to another diocese for a specified time, even to be renewed repeatedly, in such a way, however, that these clerics remain incardinated in their own diocese and enjoy all the rights on their return which they would have if they had been assigned to the sacred ministry in the diocese; (5) However, a cleric who legitimately transfers from his own diocese to another is, by law, incardinated into the new diocese at the end of five years if he manifest such an intention in writing both to the Ordinary of the guest diocese and to his own Ordinary and provided that neither of these indicate his opposition to his intention in writing within four months.
4. Moreover, to carry on special pastoral or missionary work for various regions or social groups which are in need of special assistance, prelatures composed of priests from the secular clergy equipped with special training can be usefully established by the Apostolic See. These prelatures are under the government of their own prelate and possess their own statutes.
It will be in the competence of this prelate to establish and direct a national or international seminary in which students are suitably instructed. The same prelate has the right to incardinate the same students and to promote them to sacred orders under the title of service for the prelature.
The prelate must make provision for the spiritual life of those whom he has ordained according to the above title, and for the continual perfecting of their special training and their special ministry making agreements with the local Ordinaries to whom the priests are sent. He must likewise provide for their proper support, a matter which must be provided for through the same agreements, matter from the resources which belong to the prelature itself or from other suitable resources. In like manner he must provide for those who on account of poor health or for other causes must leave the task assisted to them.
Laymen, whether single or married, may also dedicate themselves with their professional skill to the service of these works and projects after making an agreement with the prelature.
Such prelatures are not erected unless the episcopal conferences of the territory in which they will render their services have been consulted. In rendering this service, diligent care is to be taken to safeguard the rights of local Ordinaries and close contacts with the same episcopal conferences are always to be maintained.
5. Finally it is also within the competence of patriarchal synods and episcopal conferences to establish appropriate regulations with regard to the use of ecclesiastical property, paying attention above all to the needs of the dioceses themselves in the territory. In these regulations certain subsidies may be imposed on dioceses to be given to works of the apostolate or of charity or to churches provided with meager resources or in poverty because of special circumstances.
THE POWER OF DIOCESAN BISHOPS
(No. 8 of The Decree Christus Dominus)
6. Norms for the implementation of the prescription of No. 8 have been set down in the Apostolic Letter issued motu proprio June 15, 1966, which begins with the words De Episcoporum Muneribus.
FOSTERING PASTORAL STUDY AND SCIENCE
(NO. 16 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS
AND NO. 19 OF THE DECREE PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS)
7. Bishops either individually or collectively should make provisions that all priests, even if engaged in the ministry, complete a series of pastoral lectures in the course of the year immediately after ordination and that they attend at specified times other lectures in which an opportunity is given to their priests both to acquire a fuller knowledge of pastoral methods and of the theological, moral and liturgical sciences, and to strengthen their spiritual life and to share their apostolic experiences with their brother priests.
Bishops or episcopal conferences should also see to it that, according to local conditions, one or several priests of proven learning and virtue are chosen as moderators of studies to promote and arrange pastoral lectures and other aids which are considered necessary to foster the scientific and pastoral training of priests of their own territory: study centers, mobile libraries, congresses on catechetics, homiletics or the liturgy and other subjects of this kind.
EQUITABLE REMUNERATION FOR PRIESTS
AND SOCIAL SECURITY FOR PRIESTS
(NO. 16 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS
AND NOS. 20-21 OF THE DECREE PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS)
8. Patriarchal synods and episcopal conferences are to see to it that norms are established, either for individual dioceses or for several of them together, or for the whole territory by which suitable provision is made for the sustenance of all clerics who exercise or have exercised an office for the service of the people of God. The remuneration to be given to clerics first of all should be the same for all those who work under the same circumstances, taking into account both the nature of the office and of times and places, and the remuneration must be sufficient so that clerics can lead an honorable life and be in a position to help the poor.
Reform of the system of benefices is entrusted to the Commission for the Revision of the Code of Canon Law. Meanwhile, the bishops having heard the councils of priests should see to it that an equitable distribution of goods is provided for, including revenues coming from benefices.
The same conferences should take care that at least in regions in which the sustenance of the clergy depends entirely or in great measure on the offerings of the faithful a special institution be established in each diocese to collect offerings for this purpose. The administrator of this institution is to be the bishop of the diocese who will be assisted by delegated priests and, where it seems useful, also by laymen skilled in economic affairs.
Finally, the same episcopal conferences should see to it that, with due regard always for ecclesiastical and civil laws, there be in each country, either diocesan institutions, which may also be affiliated with each other, or institutions established for several dioceses together, or an association established for the entire country by which under the vigilance of the sacred hierarchy sufficient provision is made both for suitable security and health insurance, as it is called, and for due sustenance of the clergy who are sick, incapacitated, or aged.
It will be the concern of the revision of the Code of Canon Law to determine the methods according to which another common fund is to be established in individual dioceses or regions by which the bishops will be able to satisfy other obligations to persons serving the Church and to meet various needs of the diocese and by which richer dioceses can also help the poorer ones.
THE CARE OF CERTAIN ORGANIZATIONS OF THE FAITHFUL
(NO. 18 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
9. The episcopal conferences are asked that, bearing in mind the great number of migrants and travelers today, they assign to a priest delegated for this purpose or to a special commission established for this purpose everything pertaining to the study and direction of the spiritual care of these persons.
NOMINATION OF BISHOPS
(NO. 20 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
10. The right of the Roman Pontiff to nominate and appoint bishops freely remaining intact and without prejudice to the discipline of the Eastern Churches, episcopal conferences according to norms established or to be established by the Apostolic See, shall with prudent counsel and in secret each year consider ecclesiastics to be promoted to the office of bishops in their own territory and propose the names of the candidates to the Apostolic See.
RESIGNATION OF BISHOPS
(NO. 21 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
11. That the prescription of No. 21 of the Decree Christus Dominus may be put into effect, all bishops of dioceses and others who are juridically their equals are earnestly requested of their own free will to tender their resignation from office not later than at the completion of their 75th year of age to the competent authority which will make provision after examining all circumstances of individual cases.
A bishop whose resignation from office has been accepted may maintain a home in his diocese if he wishes. Furthermore, the diocese itself must provide the bishop who resigns with appropriate and fitting sustenance. It is the right of the territorial episcopal conferences to determine by way of a general norm the ways in which dioceses must satisfy this obligation.
(NOS. 22-24 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
12. (1) In order that diocesan boundaries can be suitably revised episcopal conferences should subject present territorial divisions of the churches to scrutiny, each establishing for its own territory a special commission if the case warrants it. Therefore the status of the dioceses must be carefully investigated in relation to territory, personnel and means. Individual bishops directly involved and bishops of the entire province or ecclesiastical region within whose confines a revision of dioceses is made are to be heard. The assistance of real experts, whether ecclesiastical or lay, is to be sought as much as possible. Considerations based on natural locations which perhaps suggest a change in boundaries are to be weighed dispassionately. All changes which perhaps should be made, which are mentioned in Nos. 22-23 of the Decree Christus Dominus, should be proposed. In the division and dismembering of dioceses due care must be taken for an equitable and suitable distribution of priests and seminarians, taking into consideration both the needs of carrying on the ministry of salvation in each diocese and the special conditions and desires of the priests and seminarians involved.
(2) For the churches of the Eastern Rites it is indeed desirable that in determining the boundaries of eparchies the closer proximity of those places where faithful of the same rite live be taken into consideration.
FACULTIES OF AUXILIARY BISHOPS
(NOS. 25-26 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
13. (1) It is necessary to name auxiliary bishops for a diocese whenever the genuine needs of the apostolate exercised in the diocese demand it. Assuredly the well being of the Lord’s flock which must be fed, the unity of governing in the administration of the diocese, the position as a member of the episcopal college which an auxiliary bishop possesses, and effective cooperation with the bishop of the diocese, constitute the chief principles which must be kept in sight when dealing with the power to be granted to an auxiliary bishop.
(2) The bishop of the diocese must appoint the auxiliary either vicar generalÂ—(Syncellus)Â—or episcopal vicar so that in every case, however, he depends solely upon the authority of the bishop of the diocese.
(3) To provide sufficiently for the common good of the diocese and to safeguard the dignity of the auxiliary bishop, the Council has decided to make clear its desire that when a See is vacant, the governing of the diocese should be entrusted by those who have the right to do so to the auxiliary, or to one of the auxiliaries if there are several. However, unless some other provision has been made in a particular case the competent authority, the auxiliary bishop does not, when the See becomes vacant, lose the powers and faculties he enjoyed by law when the See was filled, as the vicar general or as the episcopal vicar. Then, however, an auxiliary who has not been elected to the office of vicar capitular until the new bishop takes possession of the See enjoys his power conferred upon him by the law to be exercised in full accord with the vicar capitular who is in charge of the government of the diocese.
(NO. 27 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
14. (1) The new office of episcopal vicar has been established in the law by the Council so that the bishop, strengthened by new collaborators, can exercise the pastoral government of the diocese more effectively. Therefore it is left to the decision of the bishop of the diocese to appoint freely one or more episcopal vicars according to special local needs. Furthermore he retains the faculty of naming one or more vicars general according to the norms of canon 366 of the Code of Canon Law.
(2) Episcopal vicars enjoy the ordinary vicarious power which the common law grants to a vicar general, but in a specified part of the diocese, or for a certain class of affairs, or for the faithful of a certain rite or for groups of persons as specified in the nomination by the bishop of the diocese. Therefore, within the limits of their competence, the habitual faculties granted by the Apostolic See to the bishop and the execution of rescripts pertain to them unless a different arrangement has expressly been made, or unless they are granted to the bishop by reason of personal qualifications. The bishop of the diocese, however, is free to reserve to himself or the vicar general the cases he chooses and likewise to give an episcopal vicar the special mandate which is prescribed by the common law for certain matters.
(3) As a collaborator with the episcopal office, the episcopal vicar must refer all that has been done or is to be done by him to the bishop of the diocese. Indeed, he should never act contrary to the mind and will of the bishop of the diocese. Furthermore, he should not fail to have frequent dialogue with other collaborators of the bishopsÂ—especially the vicar general, according to the methods to be determined by the bishop of the dioceseÂ—in order to strengthen the unity of discipline among clergy and people and to reap more abundant fruits in the diocese.
(4) A request refused by a vicar general or an episcopal vicar cannot validly be granted by another vicar of the same bishop, even when the reasons for the refusal are received from the vicar who made the refusal of the request.
Furthermore, a request refused by a vicar general (or Syncellus) or by an episcopal vicar and later granted by the bishop is invalid if no mention has been made of this refusal; but if the bishop has refused a request, even if the refusal has been mentioned, the request cannot validly be obtained from a vicar general or an episcopal vicar without the consent of the bishop.
(5) Episcopal vicars who are not auxiliary bishops are named for a time to be specified in the act of appointment. They can, however, be removed at the will of the bishop. When the See is vacant, their office ceases unless they are auxiliary bishops. It is expedient however that the vicar capitular use them as his delegates lest the good of the diocese suffer some harm.
THE COUNCIL OF PRIESTS AND THE PASTORAL COUNCIL
(NO. 27 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS
AND NO. 7 OF THE DECREE PRESBYTERORUM ORDINIS)
15. In regard to the council of priests:
(1) In each diocese, according to a method and plan to be determined by the bishop, there should be a council of priests, that is a group or senate of priests who represent the body of priests and who by their counsel can effectively assist the bishop in the government of the diocese. In this council the bishop should listen to his priests, consult them and have dialogue with them on those matters which pertain to the needs of pastoral work and the good of the diocese.
(2) Religious may also be named members of the council of priests to the extent that they have the care of souls and take part in the works of the apostolate.
(3) The council of priests has only a consultative vote.
(4) When the See becomes vacant, the council of priests ceases unless in special circumstances to be reviewed by the Holy See the vicar capitular or apostolic administrator confirms its existence.
The new bishop will establish his own new council of priests.
16. In regard to the pastoral council, which is highly recommended by the Decree Christus Dominus:
(1) It is the function of the pastoral council to investigate everything pertaining to pastoral activities, to weigh them carefully and to set forth practical conclusions concerning them so as to promote conformity of the life and actions of the People of God with the Gospel.
(2) The pastoral council, which has a consultative vote only, can be set up in various ways. Ordinarily, although by its nature it is a permanent institution, with regard to members and activity it can be temporary and perform its function as the occasion demands. The bishop will be able to convoke it whenever it seems opportune to him.
(3) Clerics, Religious and laity specially chosen by the bishop take part in the pastoral council.
(4) That the purpose of this council actually be accomplished, it is expedient that advance study precede the common effort using the assistance, if the case warrants it, of institutes or offices which work to this end.
(5) Where there are hierarchies of different rites in the same territory, it is highly recommended that insofar as possible the pastoral council be interritual in character, that is, that it be composed of clerics, Religious and laity of the various rites.
(6) Other dispositions are left to the free determination of the bishop of the diocese, with due regard to what is said in No. 17.
17. (1) It is expedient that in questions concerning the council of priests and the pastoral council, and in those which touch upon their relationships with one another or with councils of the bishop already in existence by force of existing law, the bishops, especially when meeting in their conferences, take common counsel and publish similar norms for all dioceses of the territory.
Let the bishops also see to it that all diocesan councils are coordinated in the most suitable way by means of an accurate indication of competence, mutual participation of members in joint or successive sessions, and other ways.
(2) In the meantime, bishops’ councils already in existence by virtue of existing law, that is the cathedral chapter, the board of consultors and the like, if there are any, retain their own office and competence until these bodies are revised.
SUPPRESSION OF RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
IN CONFERRING OFFICES OR BENEFICES
(NO. 28 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
18. (1) The good of souls demands that the bishop have appropriate freedom in suitably and equitably conferring on more qualified clerics offices and benefices, even those to which the care of souls is not attached. The Apostolic See no longer reserves to itself the bestowal of offices or benefices, whether the care of souls is attached or not, except those which are consistorial. In the law of foundation of any benefice, those clauses are henceforth prohibited which restrict the bishop’s liberty in conferring it. Privileges entailing no obligation which may have been granted to physical or moral persons until now, and which include the right of election, nomination or presentation for any kind of vacant non-consistorial office or benefice are abrogated. The customs are abrogated and the rights are taken away of nominating, electing or presenting priests for a parochial office or benefice. The law of competitive examinations, even for offices or benefices which do not involve the care of souls, is suppressed.
With regard to popular elections as they are called, where such are in force, it is the function of the episcopal conference to propose to the Apostolic See measures which seem appropriate to bring about their abrogation insofar as possible.
(2) If however rights and privileges in this matter have been established by means of an agreement between the Apostolic See and a nation, or by means of a contract entered into with physical or moral persons, arrangements should be made with the interested parties for their cessation.
(NO. 30 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
19. (1) Those priests are to be considered among the more immediate collaborators with the bishop of the diocese who exercise a pastoral office of a supra-parochial nature; among these are the vicars forane who are also called archpriests or deans, and among the Orientals, Protopresbyters. Priests who are more outstanding for their learning and apostolic zeal are to be assigned to the exercise of this office so that, provided with the necessary faculties by the bishop, they may be able to promote and direct common pastoral activity in the territory entrusted to them. Consequently this office is not attached to a particular parish.
(2) Vicars forane, archpriests or deans are to be appointed for a time determined by particular law; however they can be removed at the will of the bishop. It is expedient that the bishop of the diocese listen to their opinions as often as there is a question of the appointment, transfer or removal of pastors within the territory of which they are in charge.
REMOVAL, TRANSFER AND RESIGNATION OF PASTORS
(NO. 31 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
20. (1) Without prejudice to the law in force with regard to Religious, the bishop can legitimately remove any pastor from a parish whenever his ministry, even through no grave fault of his own, becomes harmful or at least ineffective for any of the reasons recognized by law, or for another similar reason according to the judgment of the bishop, following the method of procedure established for removable pastors (canons 2157-2161 of the Code of Canon Law) until the revision of the Code. The law of the Oriental Church is not affected by this norm.
(2) If the good of souls or the needs or welfare of the Church demand, the bishop can transfer a pastor from the parish which he is suitably directing to another parish or any other ecclesiastical office. If the pastor refuses, the bishop must observe the above mentioned procedure in all things for a valid decree of transfer.
(3) So that the prescription of No. 31 of the Decree Christus Dominus may be carried out all pastors are asked of their own free will to submit their resignation from office to their own bishop not later than at the completion of their 75th year. The bishop will make the decision whether to accept or defer the resignation after considering all circumstances regarding the person and the place. The bishop is to provide suitable support and housing for those who resign.
ESTABLISHMENT, SUPPRESSION AND CHANGE OF PARISHES
(NO. 32 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
21. (1) Every effort is to be made that parishes, in which apostolic activity can be performed only with difficulty or less effectively because of the excessive number of the faithful or too vast a territory or for any other reason, be suitably divided or dismembered according to the various circumstances. Likewise parishes which are too small should be united insofar as the situation demands it and circumstances permit.
(2) Parishes are no longer to be united pleno iure to chapters of canons. If such united parishes exist, they are to be divided, after consultation with both the chapter and the council of priests, and a pastor appointedÂ—whether chosen from the members of the chapter or notÂ—who enjoys all the faculties which belong to pastors according to the prescriptions of the law.
(3) The bishop of the diocese on his own authority can establish or suppress parishes or change them in any way after consultation with the council of priests in such a way, however, that, if there be agreement between the Apostolic See and the civil government, or rights acquired by other physical or moral persons, the matter be suitably settled with them by the competent authority.
(NOS. 33-35 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
22. The norms here established apply to all Religious, men and women, of whatever rite but the rights of Patriarchs for the Orientals remain intact.
23. (1) All Religious, including the exempt, who work in places where a rite different from their own is the only rite, or where the number of faithful of the other rite is so large that in common opinion it is considered the only rite, depend on the local Ordinary or hierarch of this rite in those things which pertain to the external activity of the ministry and are subject to him in accord with the norm of law.
(2) Where there are several local Ordinaries or hierarchs, however, these Religious, when engaged in work among the faithful of different rites, are bound by the norms which are given by the Ordinaries and hierarchs by mutual agreement.
24. Even though in mission areas the exemption of Religious is in effect within their own lawful sphere, nevertheless, on account of the special circumstances of exercising the sacred ministry in these areas, according to the intention of the Decree Ad Gentes Divinitus, the special statutes issued or approved by the Apostolic See to regulate the relationships between local Ordinaries and Religious superiors, especially in a mission entrusted to an institute, must be observed.
25. (1) All Religious, even the exempt, are bound by the laws, decrees and ordinances enacted by the local Ordinary for various activities, in those matters which touch upon the exercise of the sacred apostolate, as well as for pastoral and social action prescribed or recommended by the local Ordinary.
(2) Likewise, they are bound by the laws, decrees, and ordinances enacted by the local Ordinary or the episcopal conference which concern the following, among other things:
(a) The public use of all instruments of social communication, according to the norm of Nos. 20 and 21 of the Decree Inter Mirifica;
(b) Attendance at public entertainment;
(c) Enrollment in or cooperation with societies or associations which the local Ordinary or the episcopal conference has decreed should be avoided;
(d) Ecclesiastical attire, but without prejudice to Canon 596 of the Code of Canon Law and Canon 139 of the Oriental Code of Canon Law concerning Religious, and according to the following stipulation: the local Ordinary or the episcopal conference, to avoid things that would astonish the faithful, can forbid clerics, whether secular or Religious, even the exempt, to wear lay dress in public.
26. Moreover, Religious are also bound by the laws and decrees issued by the local Ordinary according to the norm of the law regarding the public exercise of worship in their own churches and in public and semi-public oratories if the faithful ordinarily attend them. The proper right of the Religious remains intact which they lawfully use for their own community alone, taking into consideration the order of the Divine Office in choir and the sacred functions which pertain to the special purpose of the institute.
27. (1) The episcopal conference of any country can, after consultation with the interested Religious superiors, establish norms for seeking alms which must be observed by all Religious, including those who by institution are called and are mendicants, though their right to beg remains intact.
(2) Likewise, Religious may not proceed in the collection of funds by public subscription without the consent of the Ordinaries of those places where the funds are collected.
28. Religious should zealously promote those works proper or special to their own institute, that is, those which with the approval of the Apostolic See were undertaken either from the institute’s very foundation or by reason of venerable traditions and then were defined and ordered by the institute’s constitution and other particular laws, special consideration being given to the spiritual needs of the dioceses and maintaining fraternal concord with the diocesan clergy and with other institutes which perform similar works.
29. (1) Works proper or special to the institute which are carried out in its own houses, even if these are rented, depend on the superiors of the institute who according to the constitutions rule and direct them. However, these works are also subject to the jurisdiction of the local Ordinary according to the norm of law.
(2) Works which have been entrusted to the institute by the local Ordinary, however, even though they may be proper or special to it, are under the authority and direction of the same Ordinary, without prejudice, however, to the right of Religious superiors to exercise vigilance over the life of the members of the institute, and, in combination with the local Ordinary, over the fulfillment of duties committed to them.
30. (1) When a local Ordinary entrusts an apostolic work to an institute, observing what must be observed according to law, a written agreement should be entered into between the Ordinary and the competent superior of the institute by which, among other things, the matters pertaining to the carrying out of the work, the assignment of personnel for the work and finances are clearly defined.
(2) For such works, members of the Religious institute who are truly qualified are to be selected by their own Religious superior, after mutual consultation with the local Ordinary, and if it is a case of conferring an ecclesiastical office on one of the members, the Religious must be named by the local Ordinary on presentation by, or at least with the consent of, the Religious superior, for a definite period of time set by mutual consent.
31. Also when an office is to be entrusted to a Religious by the local Ordinary or by an episcopal conference, it should be done with the consent of his superior and with a written agreement.
32. For a grave reason any member of a Religious institute can be removed from the position assigned to him either at the will of the authority who made the appointment, after he has advised the Religious superior, or at the will of the superior after he has advised the one who made the appointment. In this matter the superior and the authority are legally equal and the action of the one does not require the consent of the other, nor is the one bound to make known to the other the reason for his judgment, much less prove it, though recourse to the Apostolic See, without suspensive effect (in devolutivo), remains open.
33. (1) A local Ordinary can on his own authority, with the consent of the competent Religious superior, entrust a parish to a Religious institute even by establishing a parish in the Religious church of an institute. This assignment of a parish can be in perpetuity or for a certain specified time; in either case it must be done through a written agreement between the Ordinary and the competent superior of the institute. Among other things, this agreement is to define expressly and accurately those matters which pertain to carrying out the work, the assignment of personnel for the work and financial matters.
(2) The local Ordinary can also appoint a Religious, with the permission of his superior, as pastor of a parish which is not entrusted to Religious, entering into a special and suitable agreement with the competent Religious superior.
34. (1) A Religious house belonging to exempt Religious, whether “formal” or “non-formal,” cannot be suppressed without apostolic approval and consultation with local Ordinary.
(2) Religious superiors who, for whatever reason, ask for the suppression of any house or work, should not do so hastily. Let them remember that all Religious have the duty to work assiduously and diligently not only for building up and increasing the whole Mystical Body of Christ but also for the good of the particular churches.
(3) When, however, the suppression of a house or work is requested by superiors, especially because of insufficient personnel, the local Ordinary is to consider the request kindly.
35. Associations of the faithful which are under the leadership and direction of a Religious institute, even if they have been established by the Apostolic See, are subject to the jurisdiction and vigilance of the local Ordinary who, according to the norms of the sacred canons, has the right and the duty of holding a visitation of them.
If these associations are engaged in external works of the apostolate or in the promotion of divine worship, they must observe the prescriptions given by the local Ordinary or the episcopal conference in these matters.
36. (1) The apostolic activity of members of Institutes of perfection who lead a life which is not totally contemplative is not so circumscribed by the projects either proper to their institute or by others occasionally assumed that, in keeping with urgent spiritual needs and the lack of clergy, both priests and also all men and women members cannot be called upon by the local Ordinary, taking into account the special nature of each institute and with the consent of the competent Religious superior, to render assistance in the various ministries of dioceses of regions.
(2) If, in the judgment of the local Ordinary, the help of Religious is considered necessary or very useful to carry on the various works of the apostolate and to foster charitable projects and those of the pastoral ministry in secular parishes or diocesan associations, the requested help should be given as far as possible by Religious superiors upon request of the Ordinary.
37. In all churches and in all public and semipublic oratories belonging to Religious which de facto are habitually open to the faithful, the local Ordinary can prescribe that episcopal documents be read publicly, that catechetical instruction be given and finally that special collections be taken up for specified parish, diocesan, national or universal undertakings; such collections are carefully to be sent to the episcopal curia.
38. The local Ordinary has the right, with respect to the observance of general laws and episcopal decrees concerning divine worship to conduct a visitation of the churches of Religious, even exempt, and also their semipublic oratories, provided the faithful ordinarily frequent them. If he should discover abuses in this regard, and the Religious superior has been admonished in vain, he can himself by his own authority make provisions.
39. (1) According to the norm of No. 35, 4 of the Decree Christus Dominus, the right of Religious in regard to the direction of the schools remaining in effect, and observing the norms established there concerning the prior agreement to be mutually entered into between bishops and Religious superiors, the general policy of the Catholic school of Religious institutes involves the general distribution of all Catholic schools in a diocese, their common cooperation and supervision so that these schools no less than others may be adapted to pursue cultural and social aims.
(2) The local Ordinary can conduct a visitation, either personally or through a delegate, according to the norms of the sacred canons, of all schools, colleges, oratories, recreation centers, protectorates, hospitals, orphanages and other similar institutions of Religious institutes devoted to works of religion or to the temporal or spiritual works of charity, except those schools of an institute which are open exclusively to the institute’s own students.
40. Norms concerning the assignment of members of Religious institutes to diocesan undertakings and ministries to be carried out under the direction of the bishops are also to be applied to other projects and ministries which go beyond the area of a diocese, with appropriate principles adapted to similar cases.
(NO. 38 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
41. (1) Bishops of countries or territories which do not yet have an episcopal conference according to the norms of the Decree Christus Dominus are to see to its establishment as soon as possible, and to the drawing up of its statutes which are to be confirmed by the Apostolic See.
(2) Episcopal conferences already established must draw up their own statutes according to the prescriptions of the holy Council or, if they have already drawn them up, revise them according to the mind of the Council and submit them to the Apostolic See for confirmation.
(3) Bishops of countries where it is difficult to establish a conference should, after consultation with the Apostolic See, join that conference which is more suited to the needs of the apostolate in their own country.
(4) Episcopal conferences of several countries, or international conferences, can be established, only with the approval of the Apostolic See, to which it pertains to draw up special norms. Whenever such conferences undertake actions or programs which have an international character, however, the Holy See must be given advance notice.
(5) Relationships between episcopal conferences, especially those of neighboring countries, can be maintained in opportune and suitable ways through the secretariat of these conferences. Among other things, such relationships can include especially:
(a) Communicating the principal methods of action in pastoral matters and activities;
(b) Forwarding writings and papers which set forth the decisions of the conference or the acts or documents issued jointly by the bishops;
(c) Sending information about various undertakings of the apostolate, proposed or recommended by the episcopal conference, which may be useful in similar cases;
(d) Proposing more serious questions which seem to be of very great importance in modern times and particular circumstances;
(e) Indicating dangers or errors arising in their own country which can also creep into other countries, so that suitable and opportune measures can be taken to guard against them, remove them, or constrain them, and similar matters.
PROVINCIAL OR REGIONAL ECCLESIASTICAL BOUNDARIES
(NOS. 39-41 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
42. Episcopal conferences are to study carefully whether the more effective promotion of the good of souls in their territory: (a) demands more suitable boundaries for ecclesiastical provinces or (b) suggests the establishment of ecclesiastical regions. Insofar as the answer is affirmative plans are to be submitted to the Apostolic See for the revision of provincial boundaries and the juridical establishment of regions. Furthermore the conference should indicate to the Holy See plans for the grouping together of dioceses in the territory which have until now been immediately subject to the Apostolic See.
DRAWING UP PASTORAL DIRECTORIES
(NO. 44 OF THE DECREE CHRISTUS DOMINUS)
43. With regard to pastoral directories, patriarchal synods and episcopal conferences are asked to study promptly the questions which are to be treated in both general and special directories and to communicate their proposals and wishes to the Apostolic See as soon as possible.
II. NORMS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECREE
OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL PERFECTAE CARITATIS
That the fruits of the Council may carefully mature, it is necessary that Religious institutes promote first of all a renewal of spirit, and then that they take care to carry out this renewal adapted to their life and discipline prudently and yet skillfully by applying themselves assiduously to the study especially of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium (chapters 5 and 6) and the Decree Perfectae Caritatis, and by putting into effect the norms and teachings of the Council.
To speed up the implementation of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis the following norms which will affect all Religious, whether Latin or Oriental, with suitable adjustments, establish a procedure and give certain rules.
PART I: THE MANNER OF PROMOTING THE ADAPTATION
AND RENEWAL OF RELIGIOUS LIFE
I. Concerning Those Who Are Bound To Promote Adaptation and Renewal
1. The most important role in the adaptation and renewal of the Religious life belongs to the institutes themselves, which will accomplish it especially through general chapters, or among the Orientals through synaxes. The task of the chapters is not completed by merely making laws, but especially by promoting spiritual and apostolic vitality.
2. The cooperation of all superiors and members is necessary to renew Religious life in themselves, to prepare the spirit of the chapters, to carry out the works of the chapters, to observe faithfully the law and norms enacted by the chapters.
3. A special general chapter, ordinary or extraordinary, should be convened within two or at most three years to promote the adaptation and renewal in each institute.
This chapter can be divided into two distinct periods, separated generally by not more than a year, if the chapter itself so decides by secret vote.
4. The general commission in preparing this chapter should suitably provide for full and free consultation of the members and arrange the results of this consultation in time so that the work of the chapter may be helped and directed. It will be possible to accomplish this, for example, by consulting conventual and provincial chapters, by establishing commissions, by proposing series of questions, etc.
5. For stauropagial monasteries it shall be the duty of the patriarch to set forth the norms for pursuing this consultation.
6. This general chapter has the right to alter certain norms of the constitutions, or among Orientals the norms of the Typika, as an experiment, as long as the purpose, nature and character of the institute are preserved. Experiments contrary to the common law, provided they are to be undertaken prudently, will be willingly permitted by the Holy See as the occasions call for them.
These experiments can be prolonged until the next Ordinary general chapter, which will have the faculty to continue them further but not beyond the chapter immediately following.
7. The general council has the same faculty during the time that intervenes between chapters of this kind, in accordance with conditions to be determined by the chapters, and among the Orientals in independent monasteries the Hegumen with the minor Synaxis has this power.
8. The definitive approval of the constitutions is reserved to the competent authority.
9. As far as the revision of the constitutions of nuns is concerned, each monastery by means of a chapter, or even the individual nuns, should make known their wishes which, to safeguard the unity of the Religious family in keeping with its nature, should be collected by the highest authority of the order, if she is present, otherwise by the delegate of the Holy See; among Orientals, by the patriarch or the local hierarch. The wishes and opinions can be sought from the assemblies of the federations or from other gatherings legitimately called together. The bishops’ pastoral solicitude should also lend benevolent assistance to this end.
10. If at times in monasteries of nuns certain experiments with respect to observances are judged opportune for an interval, these can be permitted by the superiors general or by delegates of the Holy See, and among Orientals by the patriarch or the local hierarch. Yet special consideration should be given to the special outlook and frame of mind of those who are cloistered and who have so great a need for stability and security.
11. It shall be the duty of those authorities mentioned above to provide for the revision of the texts of the constitutions with the help and consultation of the monasteries themselves and for their submission for the approval of the Holy See or the competent hierarch.
II. Revision of Constitutions and Typika
12. The general laws of each institute (constitutions, Typika, rules or whatever name they bear) should ordinarily include these elements:
(a) The evangelical and theological principles of the religious life and of its union with the Church and suitable and clear words in which “the spirit of the founders and their specific aims and healthy traditions, all of which constitute the patrimony of each institute, are acknowledged and preserved.” (No. 2b of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis);
(b) The necessary juridical norms for defining clearly the character, purpose and means of the institute, which norms should not be excessively multiplied but should always be presented in an adequate manner.
13. The union of both elements, spiritual and juridical, is necessary so that the principal codes of the institutes have a stable foundation and that the true spirit and life-giving norm pervade them; care must therefore be taken that a merely juridical or purely exhortatory text is not composed.
14. Those matters which are now obsolete, or subject to change according to a particular era, or which correspond with merely local usages should be excluded from the fundamental code of the institutes.
Those norms however which correspond with the needs of the present time, the physical and psychological conditions of the members and particular circumstances should be set down in supplementary codes called “directories,” books of customs, or in books bearing other titles.
III. The Criteria of Renewal and Adaptation
15. The norms and spirit to which adaptation and renewal must correspond should be gathered not only from the Decree Perfectae Caritatis but also from other documents of the Second Vatican Council, especially from chapters 5 and 6 of the Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium.
16. The institutes should take care that the principles established in No. 2 of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis actually pervade the renewal of their religious life; therefore:
(1) Study and meditation on the Gospels and the whole of Sacred Scripture should be more earnestly fostered by all members from the beginning of their novitiate. Likewise, care should be taken that they share in the mystery and life of the Church in more suitable ways;
(2) The various aspects (theological, historical, canonical, etc.) of the doctrine of the religious life should be investigated and explained.
(3) To achieve the good of the Church, the institutes should strive for a genuine knowledge of their original spirit, so that faithfully preserving this spirit in determining adaptations, their religious life may thus be purified of alien elements and freed from those which are obsolete.
17. Those elements are to be considered obsolete which do not constitute the nature and purpose of the institute and which, having lost their meaning and power, are no longer a real help to religious life. Nevertheless, consideration must be given to the witness which the religious state has as its role the obligation of giving.
18. The form of government should be such that “the chapters and councilsÂ… each in its own way express the participation and concern of all the members for the welfare of the whole community” (No. 14 of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis). This will be realized especially if the members have a really effective part in selecting the members of these chapters and councils. Similarly the form of government should be such that the exercise of authority is made more effective and unhindered according to modern needs. Therefore, superiors on every level should be given sufficient powers so that useless and too frequent recourse to higher authorities is not multiplied.
19. Nevertheless, suitable renewal cannot be made once and for all but should be encouraged in a continuing way, with the help of the zeal of the members and the solicitude of the chapters and superiors.
PART II: SOME THINGS TO BE ADAPTED
AND RENEWED IN THE RELIGIOUS LIFE
I. The Divine Office of Brothers and Sisters
(NO. 3 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
20. Although Religious who recite a duly approved Little Office perform the public prayer of the Church (cf. Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 98), it is nevertheless recommended to the institutes that in place of the Little Office they adopt the Divine Office either in part or in whole so that they may participate more intimately in the liturgical life of the Church. Religious of the Eastern Rites, however, should recite the doxologies and the Divine Lauds according to their own Typika and customs.
II. Mental Prayer
(NO. 6 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
21. In order that Religious may more intimately and fruitfully participate in the most holy mystery of the Eucharist and the public prayer of the Church, and that their whole spiritual life may be nourished more abundantly, a larger place should be given to mental prayer instead of a multitude of prayers, retaining nevertheless the pious exercises commonly accepted in the Church and giving due care that the members are instructed diligently in leading a spiritual life.
(NOS. 5 AND 12 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
22. Religious should devote themselves to works of penance and mortification more than the rest of the faithful. However, the special penitential practices of institutes should be revised insofar as it is necessary so that, taking into account traditions, whether of the East or of the West, and modern circumstances, the members may in practice be able to observe them, adopting new forms also drawn from modern conditions of life.
IV. On Poverty
(No. 13 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
23. Institutes especially through their general chapters should diligently and in concrete manner promote the spirit and practice of poverty according to the intention of No. 13 of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis while also seeking and urging new ways in keeping with the nature of their institute to make the practice and witness of poverty more effective in modern times.
24. It is the right of institutes with simple vows to decree in general chapter whether the renunciation of inheritances which have been acquired and will be acquired should be incorporated into the constitutions and, if this is done, whether such renunciation should be obligatory or optional. They should also decide when this is to be done, that is, whether before perpetual profession or some years later.
V. Living the Common Life
(NO. 15 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
25. In institutes devoted to works of the apostolate the common life, which is so important for Religious as a family united in Christ to renew fraternal cooperation, should be promoted by every means possible in a manner suitable to the vocation of the institute.
26. In institutes of this kind the order of the day cannot always be the same in all their houses, nor at times in the same house for all the members. The order, however, is always to be so arranged that the Religious, aside from the time given to spiritual things and to works, should also have some periods to themselves and be able to enjoy suitable recreation.
27. General chapters and synaxes should explore ways is which members who are called “conversi,” “cooperatores,” or by any other such name, may gradually obtain an active vote in specified community actions and elections and also a passive vote in the case of certain offices. Thus indeed it will come about that they are closely joined with the life and works of the community and the priests will be freer to devote themselves to their own ministry.
28. In monasteries where the stage of having one class of nun has been achieved, choir obligations should be defined in the constitutions, taking into consideration the diversity of persons which the distinction of activities and special vocations requires.
29. Sisters devoted to the external service of the monasteries, whether called oblates or some other name, should be governed by special statutes in which consideration should be given to the needs of their vocation which is not contemplative only and also to the needs of the vocation of the nuns with whom their lives are joined, even though they themselves areÂ—not nuns.
The superioress of the monastery has a grave obligation to have solicitous care for these Sisters, to provide them with a fitting religious training, to treat them with a true sense of charity and to promote a bond of sisterliness between them and the community of nuns.
VI. The Cloister of Nuns
(NO. 16 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
30. The papal enclosure of monasteries must be considered an ascetical institution closely joined to the special vocation of nuns. The enclosure is a sign, safeguard and special expression of their withdrawal from the world.
Nuns of the Oriental rites should observe their own cloister in the same spirit.
31. This enclosure should be arranged in such a way that material separation from the outside world is always preserved. Individual Religious families, according to their own spirit, can establish and define in their constitutions particular norms for this material separation.
32. Minor enclosure is abolished. Nuns, therefore, who by their rule are devoted to external works should define their own enclosure in their constitutions. However, nuns who, although contemplative by the rule, have taken up external works, after a suitable time which is granted them to deliberate, should either retain the papal enclosure and give up their external works or, continuing these works, should define their own enclosure in their constitutions, retaining their status as nuns.
VII. The Training of Religious
(NO. 18 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
33. The training of Religious beginning with the novitiate should not be organized in the same way in all institutes, but the special character of each institute should be considered. In the revision and adaptation of this training an adequate and prudent place is to be given for experience.
34. Those precepts set down in the Decree Optatam Totius (On the Training of Priests), adapted to suit the character of each institute, are to be observed faithfully in the education of Religious clerics.
35. Further training after the novitiate is to be given in a way suitable to each institute. This training is altogether necessary for all members, even for those living a contemplative life, for Brothers in lay religious institutes and for Sisters in institutes dedicated to apostolic works, such as now exists in many institutes and are called juniorates, scholasticates and the like. This training should generally be extended over the entire period of temporary vows.
36. This training is to be given in suitable houses and, lest it be purely theoretical, should for the sake of the inexperienced be complemented by the performance of works and duties in keeping with the nature and circumstances proper to each institute in such a way that they gradually become part of the life to be lived in the future.
37. While always maintaining the formation proper to each institute, when individual institutes cannot give adequate doctrinal or technical training this can be provided by the fraternal collaboration of many. This collaboration can take various forms at different levels: common lectures or courses, loan of teachers, associations of teachers, sharing of facilities in a common school to be attended by members of several institutes.
Institutes equipped with the necessary means should willingly assist others.
38. After adequate experimentation, each institute is to prepare its own suitable norms for the formation of its members.
VIII. The Union and Suppression of Institutes
(NOS. 21-22 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
39. Promoting any kind of union between institutes presupposes a suitable spiritual, psychological and juridical preparation, according to the intention of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis. For this purpose it will often be profitable that the institutes be helped be some assistant approved by the competent authority.
40. In the aforementioned cases and circumstances the good of the Church is to be kept in view, but with the consideration for the specific character of each institute as well as to the freedom of individual members.
41. Among the criteria that can contribute to forming a judgment on the suppression of an institute or monastery, taking all the circumstances into account, the following especially are to be considered together: the small number of Religious in proportion to the age of the institute or the monastery, the lack of candidates over a period of several years, the advanced age of the majority of its members. If a decision for suppression is reached, provision should be made that the institute be joined “if it is possible, with another more vigorous institute or monastery not much different in purpose and spirit” (No 21 of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis). The individual Religious, however, should be consulted beforehand and all should be done with charity.
IX. On Conferences or Unions of Major Superiors of Men and Women
(NO. 23 OF THE DECREE PERFECTAE CARITATIS)
42. Care is to be taken that the union of superiors general of men and women can be heard and consulted by means of a council established at the Sacred Congregation for Religious.
43. It is of greatest importance that national conferences or unions of major superiors of men and women cooperate with episcopal conferences with confidence and reverence (cfr. No. 35 of the Decree Christus Dominus; No. 33 of the Decree Ad Gentes Divinitus).
Therefore it is hoped that questions involving both sides be discussed in mixed commissions composed of both bishops and major superiors of men or women.
44. These norms, to be in force for Religious of the whole Church, leave untouched the general laws of the Church, both of the Latin Church and of the Eastern Churches and the special laws of Religious institutes, unless they explicitly or implicitly change them.
III. NORMS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DECREE
OF THE SECOND VATICAN COUNCIL AD GENTES DIVINITUS
Since the Decree Ad Gentes Divinitus (On the Missionary Activity of the Church) of the Holy Second Vatican Council must be in force for the universal Church and be faithfully observed by everyone so that the whole Church may become truly missionary and the entire People of God become aware of its missionary obligation, local Ordinaries should see to it that the Decree comes to the knowledge of all the faithful. Discourses on the Decree should be given to the clergy and sermons preached to the people in which everyone’s responsibility in conscience with regard to missionary activity is pointed out and inculcated.
To apply the Decree more readily and faithfully, the following are set down:
1. Mission Theology should be so incorporated in the teaching and development of theological doctrine that the missionary nature of the Church may be fully brought to light. In addition, the Lord’s plans of preparing for the Gospel and the possibility of salvation for those to whom the Gospel has not been preached are to be examined and the necessity of evangelization and incorporation in the Church is to be made clear.
(Ch. 1 of the Decree Ad Gentes Divinitus)
All these points are then to be taken into account in arranging studies in seminaries and universities in the proper sequence. (No. 39)
2. Episcopal conferences are invited to propose to the Holy See as soon as possible more general questions pertaining to the missions which can be dealt with in the coming meeting of the Synod of Bishops. (No. 29)
3. To increase the missionary spirit among the Christian people, daily prayers and sacrifices are to be encouraged so that the annual mission day will become as it were a spontaneous expression of that spirit. (No. 36)
Bishops or episcopal conferences should prepare various invocations on behalf of the missions to be inserted in the Prayer of the Faithful at Mass.
4. A priest should be appointed in each diocese for the effective promotion of missionary undertakings, and he should be a member of the pastoral council of the diocese. (No. 38)
5. To promote the missionary spirit, seminarians and young people in Catholic organizations should be encouraged to establish and maintain contact with seminarians and similar organizations in mission lands, so that an exchange of knowledge may foster among the Christian people a missionary and ecclesial awareness. (No. 38)
6. Realizing the urgency of the evangelization of the world, bishops should promote missionary vocations among their own clergy and youth; and they should provide institutes engaged in missionary work with the means and opportunity to make the diocese aware of the needs of the missions and to inspire missionary vocations. (No. 38)
In fostering vocations for the missions, the Church’s mission to all peoples and the ways in which various institutes, priests, Religious and laity of both sexes strive to fulfill this mission should be diligently explained. Particular emphasis should be given to the special missionary vocation “for life” (Nos. 23-24), and illustrative examples should be given.
7. The pontifical mission societies are to be promoted in every diocese and their statutes, particularly those which deal with the transmission of subsidies, should be duly observed. (No. 38)
8. Since the voluntary contributions of the faithful for the missions are not at all sufficient, it is recommended that, as soon as possible, there be established a certain fitting contribution to be made annually by the diocese itself and by the parishes and other diocesan groups from their own income and to be distributed by the Holy See, while other contributions made by the faithful remain intact. (No. 38)
9. In the episcopal conferences there should be an episcopal commission for the missions which will have the duty of fostering missionary activity, mission awareness, coordinated arrangements for cooperation among the dioceses, and also of maintaining relations with other episcopal conferences and seeking ways to maintain equity as far as possible in missionary aid. (No. 38)
10. Since missionary institutes remain extremely necessary, let all recognize that they have an office of evangelization entrusted to them by ecclesiastical authority to carry out the missionary duty of the entire People of God. (No. 27)
11. Bishops should also use missionary institutes to inspire the faithful with zeal for things missionary and they should, observing the right order, provide opportunities for these institutes to arouse and foster mission vocations among youth and to seek contributions. (Nos. 23, 37, 38)
However, to maintain greater unity and efficiency, bishops should make use of the national or regional mission council which will consist of the directors of the pontifical mission societies and the missionary institutes functioning in the country or region.
12. Each missionary institute should immediately take steps toward its own adaptation and renewal, particularly regarding its methods of preaching the Gospel and of Christian initiation and its form of community life (No. 3 of the Decree Perfectae Caritatis).
13. (1) There is to be but one competent curial office (dicasterium) for all the missions, namely the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. But since certain missions are for special reasons temporarily still subject to other curial offices, a missionary section should in the meantime be established in these offices which will maintain close relations with the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith so as to provide a completely constant and uniform method and norm in the organization and direction of all the missions.
(2) Subject to the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith are: the Pontifical Mission Societies, that is, the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith, the Society of St. Peter for the native clergy, the Missionary Union of the Clergy and the Holy Childhood Association.
14. The president of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, by reason of his office, is a member of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith; the secretary of this secretariat is one of the consultors of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. (No. 29)
The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith is to be represented in like manner in the Secretariat for Christian Unity.
15. Unless in individual cases the Supreme Pontiff decrees otherwise, 24 representatives take part in the direction of the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith with a deliberative vote. These are: 12 prelates from the missions, 4 from other regions, 4 from the superiors of institutes, 4 from the pontifical mission societies. All will be called together twice a year. Members of this body are to be named for five-year terms, with approximately one-fifth changed each year. On completion of their term, they can be named for another five years.
Episcopal conferences, however, institutes and the pontifical mission societies, observing norms to be communicated as soon as possible by the Apostolic See, are to propose the names from which the Supreme Pontiff will choose the above-mentioned representatives and also the names of those, even if they live in the missions, from whom consultors can be chosen.
16. Representatives of Religious institutes in the missions, of regional mission societies and lay councils, especially those which are international, are to take part in meetings of this curial office with a consultative vote. (No. 29)
17. The Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith after consultation with episcopal conferences and missionary institutes should as soon as possible outline general principles according to which agreements should be made between the local Ordinaries and missionary institutes to govern their mutual relations. (No. 32)
In making these agreements the continuance of missionary activity and the needs of the institutes are to be taken into account.
18. Because it is desirable that episcopal conferences in the missions be united in organic groups according to the so-called socio-cultural areas (see No. 9 above) the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (No. 29) should promote such coordinations of episcopal conferences.
It is the function of these conferences, in collaboration with the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith:
(1) To explore methods, even new ones, by which the faithful and the missionary institutes by uniting forces must incorporate themselves into the peoples or groups with whom they live or to whom they are sent (Nos. 10-11), and with whom they must undertake the dialogue of salvation;
(2) To establish study groups to investigate peoples’ ways of thinking about the universe, man and his attitude towards God, and to give theological consideration to whatever is good and true. (No. 22)
Such theological study should provide the necessary foundation for the adaptations which must be made, and which the study groups should investigate. These adaptations should among other things give attention to methods of preaching the Gospel, liturgical forms, the religious life and ecclesiastical legislation. (No. 19)
With regard to perfecting methods of evangelization and catechesis (Nos. 13-14), the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith should promote close cooperation among the higher institutes of pastoral studies.
With regard to liturgical forms, the study groups should submit documents and proposals to the council for the implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy.
As far as the religious condition is concerned (No. 18), care should be taken lest more attention be given to exterior forms (such as gestures, dress, the arts, etc.) than to the religious dispositions of the peoples which are to be adopted and the evangelical perfection which is to be assimilated.
(3) To promote at stated times meetings of seminary teachers to adapt study programs and to exchange information, and by conferring with the study groups mentioned above to provide more suitably for modern needs in the training of priests. (No. 16).
(4) To investigate a more suitable method by which personnel (priests, catechists, institutes, etc.) can be distributed in the territory especially to make better provision for the lack of personnel in densely populated places.
19. In the distribution of subsidies, a suitable share is to be set aside each year for the training and support of local clergy, the missionaries and catechists, and for the study groups mentioned above in No. 18. Bishops should present documentation on these matters to the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith. (Nos. 17, 29)
20. A pastoral council should be duly established which according to No. 27 of the Decree Christus Dominus will have the duty to “investigate pastoral works, to weigh them and to formulate practical conclusions regarding them.” They are also to devote themselves to the preparation of a diocesan synod and to see to the implementation of the synodal statutes.(No. 30)
21. Conferences and unions of men Religious and of women Religious are to be established in the missions in which the major superiors of all the institutes of the same country or region are to participate and by which their projects are to be coordinated.(No. 33).
22. Scientific institutes should be increased in the missions according to needs and possibilities. These should work together with concerted effort so that the labors of research and specialization are properly organized; care should be taken to avoid duplication of projects of the same nature in the same region (No. 34).
23. Cooperation with missionary bishops is necessary in order that immigrants from mission countries may be properly received and assisted by fitting pastoral care from bishops in established Christian countries (No. 38).
24. Regarding laymen in the missions:
(1) The sincere intention of serving the missions, maturity, suitable preparation, professional specialization as it is called, and a suitable time to be spent in the missions are to be urged.
(2) Lay mission organizations should be efficiently coordinated.
(3) The bishop of the mission should be solicitous for the welfare of such laymen.
(4) Social security is to be assured for these laymen (No. 41).