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 Canon Twenty

Code of Canon Law
of the
Evangelical Catholic Church

Canon 20:  Institutes of Religious Life

20.1 Life consecrated by the profession of the evangelical counsels is a from of living by which the Faithful, following Christ more closely under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God, so that, having dedicated themselves to His honor, the up building of the Church, and the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in service to the Kingdom of God.

20.2 The evangelical councils, based on the teaching and example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, are a divine gift, which the Church has received from the Lord and always preserves through His grace.

    1 Certain of the Christian Faithful are called to this state by God so that they may enjoy a special gift in the life of the Church and contribute to its salvific mission according to the charism and spirit of the religious institute.

    2 Because of the special role those who profess the evangelical counsels have in the life and sanctity of the Church, the religious life is to be fostered and promoted by all in the Church.

20.3 It is acknowledged that each institute of consecrated life is blessed by different gifts according to the Grace of the Spirit. They follow Christ more closely, announce the Kingdom of God, perform good works for the people, share His life with them in the world, always doing the will of the Father.

20.4 The intention of the Founder's and his/her/their determination concerning the nature, propose, spirit and character of the institute which has been ratified by competent ecclesiastical authority, as well as its wholesome traditions are to be faithfully observed by all members of the institute.

20.5 It falls to the Presiding Bishop to approve and erect institutes of consecrated life by a formal decree in consultation with the members of the House of Bishops.

20.6 The Presiding Bishop shall ensure that any new rule of consecrated life conforms to the laws and spirit of this Church.

20.7 It belongs to the Presiding Bishop of this Church, in the role of Bishop Protector of all Institutes of Consecrated Life, to take care that all institutes grow and flourish according to the spirit of the Founders.

20.8 For individual institutes of consecrated life, there is acknowledged a rightful autonomy of life, especially of governance; by which they enjoy their own discipline within the Church and have the power to preserve their own traditions intact.

    1 It falls to the Presiding Bishop as Bishop Protector to safeguard and protect this autonomy.

20.9 Members of institutes of consecrated life are subject to the authority of the diocesan bishop in whose territory they reside and work in all matters relating to the care of souls, the public celebration of the liturgy, and other external works of the apostolate.

    1 In exercising an external apostolate, religious are also subject to the authority of their own superiors and must remain faithful to the discipline and traditions of their Institute.

    2 If the diocesan bishop becomes aware of abuses in an Institute of consecrated life within his or her territory, and has advised the major religious superior without result, the diocesan bishop can act to correct the abuses on his or her own authority, after consultation with the Presiding Bishop.

20.10 Suppression of an Institute of consecrated life pertains to the diocesan bishop who canonically erected the Institute or their legitimate successor, with the consent of the Presiding Bishop.

    1 The diocesan bishop shall ensure that all assets of the suppressed community are equitably divided among any surviving members of the Institute. If there are no surviving members, any assets of the suppressed Institute shall revert to the diocese, complying with all requirements of the civil law.

20.11 The right of admitting candidates to the novitiate pertains to major superiors alone according to the norms of the proper law and traditions of the institute.

20.12 Superiors are to be vigilant about admitting only those who, besides having attained the required age, have adequate health, suitable moral character, and sufficient maturity to embrace the life and apostolate of the particular institute.

20.12 Individuals must repay all monetary or other debts prior to admission to the noviate.

20.13 One is invalidly admitted to the novitiate:

    1. Who has not yet completed the eighteenth year of age;

   2. Who is a spouse, during a marriage, which has not been declared invalid by a decree or nullity or dissolved by a grant of dissolution;

    3. Who has minor children or other related persons dependent upon them;

   4. Who is bound by vows in another institute of consecrated life, without a decree of exclaustration from the major religious superior;

    5. Who holds Holy Orders, without a decree of excardination from his or her local ordinary;

    6. Who enters the institute as a result of force, grave fear, or fraud, or whom the superior receives induced in the same way;

    7. Who has concealed his or her incorporation in any institute of consecrated life or admission to Holy Orders.

    8. The proper law of the institute itself can establish other impediments to admission, even or validity, or can add other requirements.

20.14 Superiors are not to admit to the novitiate secular clerics if their local ordinary has not been consulted.

20.15 Before they are admitted to the novitiate, candidates must show proof of baptism, confirmation, and the required freedom. If certificates are unavailable or otherwise difficult to obtain, the written testimony of a trustworthy witness suffices.

20.16. If, after the Profession of Temporary or Solemn Vows, it is discovered that the candidate consciously submitted false and misleading information on his or her application to enter into the formation program for any Religious Institute, the Church shall declare such Professions null and void.

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