Civil / Canon Law Issues in Vocation and Formation

Those who do vocation and formation ministry in our communities are challenged to be at the forefront of our community story. They are deeply imbued with the life and charism of our communities and they set out to engage younger generations of men and women. They invite them to our communities and for those that accept, they help them to become [...] Read more

Taxation and New Overtime Rules

2016 brings us the end of the Year of Consecrated Life and the Beginning of the Year of Mercy. As the year dawns, it is 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 [...] Read more

Associates of Religious Institutes

Background Throughout the history of religious life, from the early centuries of Christianity, there have been men and women who have associated to religious orders. In the Egyptian deserts, individuals would go out to converse with the hermits living there, receiving their guidance and blessing. In medieval monasteries, individuals sought to live [...] Read more

Privacy in Religious Life

Privacy is an important notion in modern society and in modern law. It may come as a surprise to learn that the right to privacy, enshrined in canon law, in modern human rights law and in many nations' Constitutions is of relatively recent vintage in the course of human history. Democracy and national Constitutions have only been around for a [...] Read more

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 [...] Read more

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 continues to [...] Read more

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 [...] Read more

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 [...] Read more

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. [...] Read more

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 [...] Read more

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