Legal Issues for Older and Indebted Candidates for Religious Life

I often work with communities when they are considering candidates for entrance into their formation programs. Today's inquirers are a diverse group, from the perspective of age, life experience, professional and academic background, physical and psychological health, personal assets and debt, language and culture. Exploring these factors bri [...]

Covenants and Completion

Consider the following scenarios: Case One - Sixty remaining members of a community are mostly over 80, they are unsure of where to turn for leadership in their upcoming chapter. Case Two - A diocesan institute has thirty members. All are aging and they are no longer able to supply leadership. The institute has two ministries that it continue [...]

Apostolic Visitation - A Canonical Review

The Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Apostolic Women Religious in the USA began in 2008 with a stated purpose of looking into the quality of the life of religious women in the US. In December 2014, the Final Report was released, and individual reports were promised for some of the institutes concerned. Initially viewed with alarm and suspi [...]

Canon Law 101

The 2014 On-Line Canon Law Institute Canon law is the legal system of the Catholic Church; it has laws, courts, legislature, judges and lawyers that work together for the good order and governance of the community of faith. The Church's legal system began as soon as Christians began to gather in communities to live the Gospel, to worship to [...]

Community in Civil and Canon Law

Canon 665 provides that Sisters and Brothers have the right and obligation to live in “their own religious house.” The canon goes on to describe the parameters of absence from community: Observing a common life, religious are to live in their own religious house and not be absent from it without the permission of their superior. How [...]

Vow of Obedience

Canon 601 states: The evangelical counsel of obedience, undertaken in the spirit of faith and love in the following of Christ, who was obedient even unto death, obliges submission of one’s will to lawful Superiors, who act in the place of God when they give commands that are in accordance with each institute’s own constitutions. The [...]

Basic Taxation for Religious - 2014

Basic Taxation of Religious 2014 has gotten off to a cold start, and once again, it's time to review the basics of taxation. Although the religious order is exempt from taxation, members of a religious order are taxable like every other citizen. Religious may have taxable income coming from several sources. Its taxation depends on the sourc [...]

Vow of Poverty in Civil and Canon Law

The vow of poverty has many dimensions: spirituality, simplicity, solidarity, work, sustainability, interdependence. The vow of poverty binds members to one another in a common economic unit. Our actions affect one another, for better or for worse. The vow also has raises legal issues under both Civil and Canon Law. Canon 600 gives a theological [...]

Transitioning Sponsorship

A fundamental part of the life and work of religious is carrying on the mission of Jesus in the world of today. Most institutes have a specific mission or a particular way of doing ministry that inspired their founding members, and that continues to animate generation after generation: I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you ga [...]

Models for Emerging and Transforming Religious Life

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times... Religious life in the US today is at an important place within the life of the church and within the life cycles of many institutes. For many women's communities, the median age is approaching 80 years of age, nearly the life expectancy of women in this country; men's communities ar [...]

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