2020 Forum

The Online Forum for Religious Law and Leadership offers professional development to those serving in leadership roles in Roman Catholic religious institutes and societies. It is organized into series and bundles so that leaders can obtain a broad foundation in those areas of civil and canon law that impact the life and ministry of religious institutes. 

We have been offering webcasts on various topics of civil and canon law for religious life for over a decade. Now we are offering our recordings at a discounted rate, bundled by topic, for those needing to enhance their understanding of these topics for their service in community leadership. You may prefer to order individual programs here.

Bundles are available on-demand or on USB. Orders are processed by manually as quickly as possible. You will generally receive on-demand instructions in a few days. USBs are generally mailed within ten days. For most programs, you will receive a video recording, an audio recording and one or more handouts. For a few programs, there is no video recording available. After viewing programs, feel free to contact me by phone or email with follow-up questions.
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These bundles are available. The programs in each bundle are listed, prices vary depending on the number of programs in each bundle. Click title for detailed description.

Detailed description - This series provides a broad-based introduction to Canon Law, including a section on Canon Law for Religious Life.
This small bundle has three programs, one focusing on the vow of poverty, one on the vow of obedience and the third on community, and each one focuses on the civil and canon law issues raised.
  1. Community in Civil and Canon Law Community is the privileged place of living religious life. It also gives rise to legal rights and responsibilities that will be explored in this program.
  2. The Vow of Obedience in Civil and Canon Law – The vow of obedience takes religious into the heart of the mystery of Christ that we celebrate in this Paschal season. In faith and love, we enter in a special way into the following of Christ, obedient to death. Undertaken in this spirit, each institute comes to an understanding and practice of the vow that develops over time. This webcast explores the legal issues raised by the vow. (audio only)
  3. The Vow of Poverty in Civil and Canon Law – The vow of poverty has many dimensions: simplicity, solidarity, sustainability, interdependence. This webcast explores the legal issues raised by the vow.
This bundle explores various aspects of mission and sharing charism.
  1. Transitioning Sponsorship – Many religious institutes are exploring the ways in which their sponsored ministries will need to transition in the coming years to ensure continuity of mission and charism. This webcast explores the issues and options for communities.
  2. Ministerial Public Juridic Persons – Forming a public juridic person as a successor sponsor for the separately incorporated ministries of religious institutes.
  3. Establishing and Running a Nonprofit - This 4-hour webcast provides an overview of the legal basics for establishing and running a nonprofit organization.
  4. Mission, Charism and Catholic Identity will explore the meaning and importance of ensuring the catholic identity of the sponsored ministries of religious institutes.
  5. Volunteers and Discernment Houses will examine Volunteer Programs and Discernment houses, especially as these are established by religious institutes. These programs give young people an opportunity to share in service and community living of religious institutes. They also offer opportunities to experience prayer and charism of a religious institute as they discern their path in life.
  6. Associates of Religious Institutes - a way forward... proposes models for understanding the evolving relationship of religious institutes and societies to their associates. It discusses the civil and canonical issues raised and explore best practices.
This bundle focuses on the legal aspects of Governance roles and responsibilities in religious institutes.
  1. Transitioning Leadership will explore transitioning leadership. It will discuss transition between leadership teams and during a merger, and will focus on those communities that no longer have members of their own institute able to provide canonical governance and must be led by someone outside the institute.
  2. Rights and Obligations of Leadership will discuss the nature of leadership in religious institutes and the canonical rights and obligations of leadership. It will note associated issues of civil law.
  3. Councils, Chapters, and E-Participation will examine the use and challenges of electronic participation in facilitating governance. They are increasingly used for Councils and Chapters are a cornerstone of governance in religious institutes as they provide for collaborative governance and broader input for the most important aspects of the life of the community.
  4. Governance, Permissions, Advice, and Consent in Religious Institutes In the exercise of authority, leadership is exercised in collaboration with church authorities external to the institute, and in collaboration with councils and others within the institute. This webcast will examine the requirements of canon law, which may be supplemented by requirements in an institute's own proper law.
  5. Collaborative Governance in Religious Institutes - This webcast will examine collaborative structures co-sponsored by religious institutes to assist aging religious communities with their needs for leadership and administration. It will examine the role of individuals and communities asked to assist in this ministry.

This bundle examines issues of civil and canon law specific to vocation and formation ministry. Programs explore the evolving nature of religious life and the process of incorporating new members.
  1. Legal Issues for New Members - This updated webcast discusses the various issues in screening and incorporating new members. New members are diverse in age, education, experience, culture and ethnicity. For this reason flexibility practices and policies is necessary.
  2. Legal Issues for Older and Indebted Candidates – As they enter into our formation programs, come with challenging issues. This webcast will explore particular issues of older candidates and those with education debt.
  3. Emerging and Transforming Religious Life Religious Life is undergoing a transformation, brought about by forces at work within the institutes themselves, in the church and in society at large. This one hour webcast will discuss the legal and structural concerns that can facilitate or inhibit this transformation.
  4. Formation in the 21st Century explores a renewed approach to attracting women and men to our communities and making them truly our sisters and brothers.

This bundle examines the rights and obligations of members of religious institutes and some issues particular to membership in a religious institute. 
  1. Transfer to Another Religious Institute examines the process of transfer of a member to another religious institute, including the conditions and effects of the transfer. It also discusses legal issues that may arise in this process.
  2. Canonical Rights and Obligations of Members examines the obligations and rights of Members of Religious Institutes, as found in Canons 662-672, exploring these rights and obligations in the light of the historical development of these canons.
  3. Records of Congregational Members discusses the issues involved with the records of members as well as confidentiality, privacy and discovery of confidential documents.
  4. Copyright Ownership and Transfer for Religious discusses the overlap of civil and canon law in determining how to approach issues of copyright ownership by authors, artists and composers who are members of Religious Institutes.
  5. Records Management and Archives examines records of religious institutes and their members. Institutes are challenged to develop policies and procedures dealing with the broad scope of documents that are received and produced by the institute. A related issue is the management of archives that provide the accumulated records of an individual or institution which merit preservation because of their possible subsequent value to the originating source for legal, administrative or personal reasons.

This webcast series examines those civil structures used by religious institutes to carry out their life and work in the civil sphere.
  1. Civil Structures of Religious Institutes - Overview examines those civil structures used by religious institutes to carry out their life and work in the civil sphere.
  2. Civil Corporation of the Religious Institute examines those institute corporation used by religious institutes to carry out their life and work in the civil sphere.
  3. Charitable Trusts of Religious Institutes will examine the retirement trust and / or retirement facility used by a religious institute to carry out its life and work in the civil sphere.
  4. Ministry Corporations of Religious Institutes and Societies will examine those civil structures used by religious institutes to carry out their ministries.

This small bundle explores the particular needs of religious institutes that are moving toward the end of their historical life journey as a congregation. In includes:
  1. Completion and Legacy explores the issues that arise as a religious institute enters into its final era, a difficult and grace-filled moment. A clear understanding of the challenges and concerns of completion and legacy can help a community make plans and live this moment with integrity and peace.
  2. Ownership and Control in Civil and Canon Law explores issues of property and control of corporations in civil and canon law. In planning and in amending documents, it is important to ensure that ownership and control are clearly defined.
  3. Commissaries and Collaboration explores the role of the commissary and the opportunities for collaboration among institutes on matters of sponsorship, eldercare, administration and canonical leadership

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Amy Hereford

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