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Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life Notes on Religious Life
Canon 573 Consecrated Life
Canon 574 Fostering the Life
Canon 575 Counsels 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.
Canon 576 Interpretation of Counsels 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.
Canon 577 Ideal In the Church there are many institutes of consecrated life, with gifts that differ according to the graces given them more closely follow Christ praying, or Christ proclaiming the Kingdom of God, or Christ doing good to people, or Christ in dialog with the people of this world, but always Christ doing the will of the Father.
Canon 578 Patrimony 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.
Canon 579 Establishing Diocesan Congregations Provided the Apostolic See has been consulted, diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories.
Canon 580 Aggregation 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.
Canon 581 Parts 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.
Canon 582 Restructuring Fusions and unions of institutes of consecrated life are reserved to the Apostolic See alone. To it are likewise reserved confederations or federations.
Canon 583 Changes 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.
Canon 584 Suppression Only the Apostolic See can suppress an institute and dispose of its temporal goods.
Canon 585 Suppression of Parts The competent authority of an institute can suppress parts of the same institute.
Canon 586 Autonomy §1 A true autonomy of life, especially of governance, is recognized 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 autonomy.
Canon 587 Constitutions
Canon 588 Clerical nor Lay
Canon 589 Pontifical Right An institute of consecrated life is of pontifical right if it has been established by the Apostolic See, or formally approved by it. 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.
Canon 590 Whole Church §1 Institutes of consecrated life, dedicated in a special way to the service of God and of the whole Church, are in a particular manner subject to its supreme authority. §2 The individuals are bound to obey the Supreme Pontiff as their highest Superior, by their sacred bond of obedience.
Canon 591 Exemption To provide for institutes and the needs of the apostolate, the Supreme Pontiff, can withdraw institutes of consecrated life from the governance of local Ordinaries and subject them to himself alone, or to some other.
Canon 592 Communion with Rome §1 To promote communion, 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 observance.
Canon 593 Pontifical Right In their internal governance and discipline, pontifical institutes are subject directly and exclusively to the authority of the Apostolic See, without prejudice to canon 586.
Canon 594 Diocesan Right An institute of diocesan right remains under the special care of the diocesan Bishop, without prejudice to canon 586.
Canon 595 Diocesan Bishop
Canon 596 Authority §1 Superiors and Chapters of institutes have that authority over the members which is defined in the universal law and in the constitutions.
Canon 597 Admission
Canon 598 Vows and Constitutions
Canon 599 Chastity Chastity 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.
Canon 600 Poverty 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 own law.
Canon 601 Obedience Obedience, following Christ, obedient even unto death, obliges submission of one's will to lawful Superiors, acting in the place of God when they command according to the constitutions.
Canon 602 Communion Members unite into a special family in Christ, in mutual assistance to fulfill their vocation. Communion rooted and based in charity is a sign of universal reconciliation in Christ.
Canon 603 Hermit Can. 603
Canon 604 Virgins
Canon 605 New Forms The approval of new forms is reserved to the Apostolic See. Diocesan Bishops, however, help discern new gifts of consecrated life from the Holy Spirit gives. They assist promoters in articulating and developing the life and statutes. See I am Making Something New
Canon 606 Gender Those things which are established for institutes of consecrated life and their members are equally valid in law for either sex, unless it is otherwise evident from the context of the wording or the nature of the matter.
Canon 607 Vows and Community
Canon 608 Religious House A religious community must live in a legitimately established house under the authority of a superior designated according to the norm of law. Each house is to have at least an oratory in which the Eucharist is to be celebrated and reserved so that it is truly the center of the community.
Canon 609 Establishing a House
|Sample Document: ERECTION OF A HOUSE|
|[Authorizing team or council] of [religious institute] at [address] in accord with number ## of the Constitutions of 19##, hereby erects a house of the institute: [the house name and address] in the diocese of [diocese].|
|This is authorized by vote of [authorizing team or council] on [date].|
|Written approval of the Diocesan bishop [name] of [diocese] was given on [date].|
|[name and title of person signing for the authority in the institute] [date]|
|[name and title of the person signing for the diocesan bishop] [date]|
Canon 610 Conditions
Canon 611 Rights of Houses The consent of the diocesan bishop to erect a religious house of any institute entails the right:
Canon 612 Other Work For a religious house to be converted to apostolic works different from those for which it was established, the consent of the diocesan bishop is required, but not if it concerns a change which refers only to internal governance and discipline, without prejudice to the laws of the foundation.
Canon 613 Autonomous Houses
Canon 614 Cloistered Monasteries Monasteries of nuns associated to an institute of men maintain their own way of life and governance according to the constitutions. Mutual rights and obligations are to be defined in such a way that spiritual good can come from the association.
Canon 615 Autonomous Monasteries The house that is dependent from any other superior - the house is the institute, also under vigilance the diocesan Bishop.
Canon 616 Suppression of Houses
Canon 617 Superiors Superiors are to fulfill their function and exercise their power according to the norm of universal and proper law.
Canon 618 Authority
Canon 619 Pastoral Care
Canon 620 Major Superiors Those who govern an entire institute, a province of an institute or part equivalent to a province, or an autonomous house, as well as their vicars, are major superiors. Comparable to these are an abbot primate and a superior of a monastic congregation, who nonetheless do not have all the power which universal law grants to major superiors.
Canon 621 Province 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 authority.
Canon 622 Supreme Moderator The supreme moderator holds power over all the provinces, houses, and members of an institute; this power is to be exercised according to proper law. Other superiors possess power within the limits of their function.
Canon 623 Qualifications In order for members to be appointed or elected validly to the function of superior, a suitable time is required after perpetual or definitive profession, to be determined by proper law, or if it concerns major superiors, by the constitutions.
Canon 624 Terms §1 Superiors are to be constituted for a certain and appropriate period of time according to the nature and need of the institute, unless the constitutions determine otherwise for the supreme moderator and for superiors of an autonomous house.
§2 Proper law is to provide suitable norms so that superiors, constituted for a definite time, do not remain too long in offices of governance without interruption.
§3. Nevertheless, they can be removed from office during their function or be transferred to another for reasons established in proper law.
Canon 625 Election The supreme moderator of the institute is to be designated by canonical election, in accordance with the constitutions.
§2 The bishop of the principal seat presides at the elections of a superior of the autonomous monastery mentioned in can. 615 and of the supreme moderator of an institute of diocesan right.
§3 Other superiors are to be constituted according to the norm of the constitutions, but in such a way that,
Canon 626 Integrity in Elections Superiors in the conferral of offices and members in elections
Canon 627 Council §1 According to the norm of the constitutions, superiors are to have their own council, whose assistance they must use in carrying out their function.
§2 In addition to the cases prescribed in universal law, proper law is to determine the cases which require consent or counsel to act validly; such consent or counsel must be obtained according to the norm of can. 127.
Canon 628 Visitation §1 The superiors whom the proper law of the institute designates for this function are to visit the houses and members entrusted to them at stated times according to the norms of this same proper law.
§2. It is the right and duty of a diocesan bishop to visit even with respect to religious discipline:
§3. Members are to act with trust toward a visitator, to whose legitimate questioning they are bound to respond according to the truth in charity. Moreover, it is not permitted for anyone in any way to divert members from this obligation or otherwise to impede the scope of the visitation.
Canon 629 Residence Superiors are to reside in their respective houses, and are not to absent themselves from their house except according to the norm of proper law.
Canon 630 Freedom of Conscience §1 Superiors are to recognize the due freedom of their members regarding the sacrament of penance and direction of conscience, without prejudice, however, to the discipline of the institute.
§2 According to the norm of proper law, superiors are to be concerned that suitable confessors are available to the members, to whom the members can confess frequently.
§3 In monasteries of nuns, in houses of formation, and in more numerous lay communities, there are to be ordinary confessors approved by the local ordinary after consultation with the community; nevertheless, there is no obligation to approach them.
§4 Superiors are not to hear the confessions of subjects unless the members request it on their own initiative.
§5 Members are to approach superiors with trust, to whom they can freely and on their own initiative open their minds. Superiors, however, are forbidden to induce the members in any way to make a manifestation of conscience to them.
Canon 631 General Chapter §1 The general chapter, which holds supreme authority in the institute according to the norm of the constitutions, is to be composed in such a way that, representing the entire institute_, it becomes a true sign of its unity in charity. It is for the general chapter principally:
§2. The constitutions are to define the composition and extent of the power of a chapter; proper law is to determine further the order to be observed in the celebration of the chapter, especially in what pertains to elections and the manner of handling affairs.
§3. According to the norms determined in proper law, not only provinces and local communities, but also any member can freely send wishes and suggestions to a general chapter.
Canon 632 Other Gatherings 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.
Canon 633 Consultation §1. Organs of participation or consultation are to fulfill faithfully the function entrusted to them according to the norm of universal and proper law and to express in their own way the concern and participation of all the members for the good of the entire institute or community.
§2. In establishing and using these means of participation and consultation, wise discretion is to be observed and their procedures are to conform to the character and purpose of the institute.
Sackett 85 CLSA Proceedings - case studies.
Canon 634 Capacity to Own
§1. As juridic persons by the law itself, institutes, provinces, and houses are capable of acquiring, possessing, administering, and alienating temporal goods unless this capacity is excluded or restricted in the constitutions.
§2. Nevertheless, they are to avoid any appearance of excess, immoderate wealth, and accumulation of goods.
Canon 635 Ecclesiastical Goods
§1. Since the temporal goods of religious institutes are ecclesiastical, they are governed by the prescripts of Book V, The Temporal Goods of the Church, unless other provision is expressly made.
§2. Nevertheless, each institute is to establish suitable norms concerning the use and administration of goods, by which the poverty proper to it is to be fostered, protected, and expressed.
Canon 636 Separate Finance Officer
§1. In each institute and likewise in each province which is governed by a major superior, there is to be a finance officer, distinct from the major superior and constituted according to the norm of proper law, who is to manage the administration of goods under the direction of the respective superior. Insofar as possible, a Finance officer distinct from the local superior is to be designated even in local communities.
§2. At the time and in the manner established by proper law, Finance officers and other administrators are to render an account of their administration to the competent authority.
Canon 637 Local Ordinary 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.
Canon 638 Extraordinary Administration §1. Within the scope of universal law, it belongs to proper law to determine acts which exceed the limit and manner of ordinary administration and to establish what is necessary to place an act of extraordinary administration validly.
§2. In addition to superiors, the officials who are designated for this in proper law also validly incur expenses and perform juridic acts of ordinary administration within the limits of their function.
§3. For the validity of alienation and of any other affair in which the patrimonial condition of a juridic person can worsen, the written permission of the competent superior with the consent of the council is required. Nevertheless, if it concerns an affair which exceeds the amount defined by the Holy See for each region, or things given to the Church by vow, or things precious for artistic or historical reasons, the permission of the Holy See itself is also required.
Ordinary and Extraordinary Administration: Canon 1277) See Canon 1292. The request requires:
§4. For the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615 and for institutes of diocesan right, it is also necessary to have the written consent of the local ordinary. Derogated for contemplative nuns by CO 52, 81d, 108
Canon 639 Responsibility for Debts
§1. If a juridic person has contracted debts and obligations even with the permission of the superiors, it is bound to answer for them.
§2. If a member has entered into a contract concerning his or her own goods with the permission of the superior, the member must answer for it, but if the business of the institute was conducted by mandate of the superior, the institute must answer.
§3. If a religious has entered into a contract without any permission of superiors, he or she must answer, but not the juridic person.
§4. It is a fixed rule, however, that an action can always be brought against one who has profited from the contract entered into.
§5. Religious superiors are to take care that they do not permit debts to be contracted unless it is certain that the interest on the debt can be paid off from ordinary income and that the capital sum can be paid off through legitimate amortization within a period that is not too long.
Canon 640 Collective Testimony 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.
Canon 641 Right to Admit The right to admit candidates to the novitiate belongs to the major Superiors, in accordance with the norms of the institute's own law.
Canon 642 Diligence in Screening 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 embrace 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.
Canon 643 Requirements
§1 The following are invalidly admitted to the novitiate:
§2 An institute's own law can constitute other impediments even for the validity of admission, or attach other conditions.
Canon 644 Secular Clerics 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.
Canon 645 Suitability
§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.
Canon 646 Purpose 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 confirmed (comprotentur).
Canon 647 Novitiate House
§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.
Canon 648 Length of Novitiate
§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.
Canon 649 Time Away
§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.
Canon 650 Director of Novices
§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 one director of novices alone, under the authority of the major Superiors.
Canon 651 Director of Novices
§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.
Canon 652 Responsibilities
§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.
§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 vocation.
§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.
Canon 653 Free to Leave
§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.
Canon 654 Profession 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.
Canon 655 Length of Temporary Profession 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.
Canon 656 Valid Temporary Profession The validity of temporary profession requires:
Canon 657 Perpetual Profession
§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 three months.
Canon 658 Requirements 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:
Canon 659 Continuing Formation
§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 fulfill 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 institute.
§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.
Canon 660 Systematic Formation
§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.
Canon 661 Life-long Formation 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.
Canon 662 Following Christ 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.
Canon 663 Prayer
§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 Sacrament.
§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.
Canon 664 Conversion 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.
Canon 665 Religious Houses
§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 authorize 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.
Canon 666 Social Communication 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.
Canon 667 Enclosure
§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 (now Cor orans). Other monasteries of cloistered nuns are to observe an enclosure which is appropriate to their nature and is defined in the constitutions.
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. Derogated by CO 83g, 174, 175
Canon 668 Poverty
§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 labor, 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 otherwise.
§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.
Canon 669 Sign of Consecration
§1 As a sign of their consecration and as a witness to poverty, religious are to wear the dress of their institute, determined in accordance with the institute's own law.
§2 Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress, in accordance with can. 284.
Canon 670 Right to All Necessary for Vocation The institute must supply the members with everything that, in accordance with the constitutions, is necessary to fulfill the purpose of their vocation.
Canon 671 Permission for Outside Offices Religious are not to undertake tasks and offices outside their own institute without the permission of the lawful Superior.
Canon 672 Other Canons Religious are bound by the provisions of cann. 277 (celibacy), 285 (exercise of civil power), 286 (unauthorized commercial activities), 287 (political or labor offices - except to defend the rights of the church or common good) and 289 (military service that is not avoidable). Religious who are clerics are also bound by the provisions of can. 279 §2 (continuing education). In lay institutes of pontifical right, the permission mentioned in can. 285 §4 (administering the affairs of lay people) can be given by the major Superior.
Canon 673 Life is Primary Mission The apostolate of all religious consists primarily in the witness of their consecrated life, which they are bound to foster through prayer and penance.
Canon 674 Contemplative Institutes 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.
Canon 675 Apostolate Essential
§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 spirit.
§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.
Canon 676 Participation in Pastoral Mission 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.
Canon 677 Proper Works
§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.
Canon 678 Relations of Bishop to Apostolate
§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 obligation.
§3 In directing the apostolic works of religious, diocesan Bishops and religious Superiors must proceed by way of mutual consultation.
Canon 679 Bishop Forbids Residence 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.
Canon 680 Apostolic Cooperation Organized 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.
Canon 681 Works Entrusted
§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 financial arrangements.
Canon 682 Ecclesiastical Office
§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.
Canon 683 Episcopal Visitation
§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.
Canon 684 Transfer
§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 secularization 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 required.
§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.
Canon 685 Rights during Transfers
§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.
Canon 686 Exclaustration
§1 With the consent of the council, the supreme Moderator can for a grave reason grant an indult of exclaustration to a finally professed member for up to three years. In the case of a cleric, this requires the prior consent of the Ordinary of the place where the cleric resides. 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. Derogated by CO 130, 177, 178
§3 At the request of the supreme Moderator acting with the consent of the 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.
Canon 687 Effects of Exclaustration
Canon 688 Temporary Professed
§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.
Canon 689 Exclusion From Further Profession
§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 temporary profession.
§2 Even though contracted after profession, a physical or psychological infirmity which, in the judgment 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.
Canon 690 Re-admission
§1 A person who lawfully leaves the institute after completing the novitiate or after profession, can be re-admitted 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 and 657.
§2 The Superior of an autonomous monastery, acting with the consent of his or her council, has the same faculty.
Canon 691 Grounds for Departure
§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.
Canon 692 Effect of Indult 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.
Canon 693 Incardination after Departure 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.
Canon 694 Automatic Dismissal
§1 A member is to be considered automatically dismissed if he or she:
§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 juridically established.
§3. In the case provided for in § 1 no. 3, for this declaration to be legally established it must be confirmed by the Holy See; for the institutes of diocesan right the confirmation is up to the Bishop of the principal house. added by Communis Vita 2019
Canon 695 Obligatory Dismissal
§1 A member must be dismissed for the offenses mentioned in cann. 1397, 1398 and 1395, unless, for the offenses 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 of scandal.
§2 In these cases the major Superior is to collect the evidence concerning the facts and the imputability of the offense. The accusation and the evidence are then to be presented to the member, who shall be given the opportunity for defense. 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.
Canon 696 Discretionary Dismissal
§1 A member can be dismissed for other causes, provided they are grave, external, imputable and juridically proven. Among such causes are:
§2 A member in temporary vows can be dismissed even for less grave reasons determined in the institute's own law.
Canon 697 Development of Record
§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:
Canon 698 Communication with Supreme Moderator 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.
Canon 699 Dismissal Decision
§1 The supreme Moderator and his or her council are to proceed in collegial fashion in accurately weighing the evidence, the arguments, and the defense. 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 judgment about dismissal belongs to the diocesan Bishop. The Superior is to submit the acts to him after they have been reviewed by the council.
Canon 700 Decree of Dismissal 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.
Canon 701 Effect of Dismissal 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 orders.
Canon 702 Equity and Charity
§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.
Canon 703 Expulsion from a House §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 See.
Canon 704 Report Separated Members 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 institute.
Canon 705 Released from Religious obligations 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.
[http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/intrptxt/documents/rc_pc_intrptxt_doc_22091998_authentic-interp_lt.html|Authentic Interpretation] Religious Bishops loose active and passive vote.
Canon 706 Administration of Goods In the case of the religious mentioned above:
Canon 707 Emeritus
§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.
Canon 708 Establishment 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.
Canon 709 Statutes 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.
Canon 710 Definition 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 endeavor to contribute to the sanctification of the world, especially from within.
Canon 711 Canonical Status 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 state among the people of God, be it lay or clerical.
Canon 712 Sacred Bonds Without prejudice to the provisions of can. 598-601, 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.
Canon 713 Apostolic Activity
§1 Members of these institutes express and exercise their special consecration in apostolic activity. Like a leaven, they endeavor to permeate everything with an evangelical spirit for the strengthening and growth of the Body of Christ.
§2 Lay members participate in the evangelizing 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 them.
§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.
Canon 714 Life in the World 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 constitutions.
Canon 715 Clerical members
§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.
Canon 716 Active members
§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.
Canon 717 Governance
§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 the institute.
§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.
Canon 718 Temporal Goods 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.
Canon 719 Spiritual Obligations of Members
§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.
Canon 720 Who Admits 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.
Canon 721 Admission
§1 The following are invalidly admitted to initial probation:
§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.
Canon 722 Initial Probation
§1 The initial probation is to be so arranged that the candidates can better recognize 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 evangelizaion 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.
Canon 723 First Incorporation
§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.
Canon 724 Ongoing Formation
§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 the members.
Canon 725 Associate Members 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.
Canon 726 Departure of Temporary Incorporated
§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 council.
Canon 727 Departure
§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 be observed.
Canon 728 Effect of Departure When an indult to leave the institute has been lawfully granted, all bonds, rights and obligations deriving from incorporation cease.
Canon 729 Dismissal A member is dismissed from the institute in accordance with the norms of cann. 694 § 1, 1 and 2 and 695. The constitutions are also to determine other reasons for dismissal, provided they are proportionately serious, external, imputable and juridically proven. The procedure established in cann. 697-700 is to be observed, and the provisions of can. 701 apply to the person who is dismissed. reference to numbers 1 and 2 of 694 § 1 were added by Communis Vita 2019
Canon 730 Transfer 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.
Canon 731 Definition
§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.
Canon 732 Other Canons Cann. 578-597 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. 598-602 also apply.
Canon 733 Establishing Houses
§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.
Canon 734 Constitutions The governance of the society is determined by the constitutions, without prejudice, in accordance with the nature of each society, to cann. 617-633.
Canon 735 Admission
§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. 642-645 are to be observed.
§3 The society's own law must determine a program of doctrinal, spiritual and apostolic probation and formation that is adapted to the purpose and character of the society. In this way members can recognize their divine vocation and be suitably prepared for the mission and way of life of the society.
Canon 736 Incardination
§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 program of studies and reception of orders, without prejudice to §1.
Canon 737 Incorporation 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 constitutions.
Canon 738 Authority
§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. 679-683.
§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.
Canon 739 Clerical Obligations 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 indicates otherwise.
Canon 740 Live in Houses 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.
Canon 741 Juridic Personality
§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.
Canon 742 Departure The departure and dismissal of a member who is not definitively incorporated are governed by the constitutions of each society.
Canon 743 Dispensation 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.
Canon 744 Transfer
§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.
Canon 745 Live Outside 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.
Canon 746 Involuntary Dismissal For the dismissal of a member who is definitively incorporated, the provisions of cann. 694-704 are to be observed, making the appropriate adjustments.