THE CODE OF CANON LAW
Book II: THE PEOPLE OF GOD
Part I: CHRIST'S FAITHFUL
TITLE V: ASSOCIATIONS OF CHRIST'S FAITHFUL
Chapter I: COMMON NORMS
- § 1 In the Church there are associations which are distinct from
institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life. In these
associations, Christ's faithful, whether clerics or laity, or clerics and
laity together, strive with a common effort to foster a more perfect life,
or to promote public worship or Christian teaching. They may also devote
themselves to other works of the apostolate, such as initiatives for
evangelisation, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the
temporal order with the Christian spirit.
- § 2 Christ's faithful are to join
especially those associations which have been established, praised or
recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority.
- § 1 By private agreement among themselves, Christ's faithful have
the right to constitute associations for the purposes mentioned in can. 298
§ 1, without prejudice to the provisions of can. 301 § 1.
- § 2 Associations of this kind, even though
they may be praised or commended by ecclesiastical authority, are called
- § 3 No private association of Christ's faithful is recognised in
the Church unless its statutes have been reviewed by the competent
- No association may call itself `catholic´ except with the consent of the
competent ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with can. 312.
- § 1 It is for the competent ecclesiastical authority alone to
establish associations of Christ's faithful which intend to impart Christian
teaching in the name of the Church, or to promote public worship, or which
are directed to other ends whose pursuit is of its nature reserved to the
same ecclesiastical authority.
- § 2 The competent ecclesiastical authority,
if it judges it expedient, can also establish associations of Christ's
faithful to pursue, directly or indirectly, other spiritual ends whose
attainment is not adequately provided for by private initiatives.
- § 3 Associations of Christ's faithful which
are established by the competent ecclesiastical authority are called public
- Associations of Christ's faithful are called clerical when they are under
the direction of clerics , presuppose the exercise of sacred orders, and are
acknowledged as such by the competent authority.
- Associations whose members live in the world but share in the spirit of
some religious institute, under the overall direction of the same institute,
and who lead an apostolic life and strive for Christian perfection, are
known as third orders, or are called by some other suitable title.
- § 1 All associations of Christ's faithful, whether public or
private, by whatever title or name they are called, are to have their own
statutes. These are to define the purpose or social objective of the
association, its centre, its governance and the conditions of membership.
They are also to specify the manner of action of the association, paying due
regard to what is necessary or useful in the circumstances of the time and
- § 2 Associations are to select for themselves a
title or name which is in keeping with the practices of the time and place,
especially one derived from the purpose they intend.
- § 1 All associations of Christ's faithful are subject to the
supervision of the competent ecclesiastical authority. This authority is to
ensure that integrity of faith and morals is maintained in them and that
abuses in ecclesiastical discipline do not creep in. The competent authority
has therefore the duty and the right to visit these associations, in
accordance with the law and the statutes. Associations are also subject to
the governance of the same authority in accordance with the provisions of
the canons which follow.
- § 2 Associations of every kind are subject
to the supervision of the Holy See. Diocesan associations are subject to the
supervision of the local Ordinary, as are other associations to the extent
that they work in the diocese.
- To enjoy the rights and privileges, indulgences and other spiritual
favours granted to an association, it is necessary and sufficient that a
person be validly received into the association in accordance with the
provisions of the law and with the association's own statutes, and be not
lawfully dismissed from it.
- § 1 The admission of members is to take place in accordance with
the law and with the statutes of each association.
- § 2 The same person can be enrolled in
- § 3 In accordance with their own law,
members of religious institutes may, with the consent of their Superior,
- No one who was lawfully admitted is to be dismissed from an association
except for a just reason, in accordance with the law and the statutes.
- Associations that are lawfully established have the right, in accordance
with the law and the statutes, to make particular norms concerning the
association, for the holding of meetings, and for the appointment of
moderators, officials, ministers and administrators of goods.
- A private association which has not been constituted a juridical person
cannot, as such, be the subject of duties and rights. However, the faithful
who are joined together in it can jointly contract obligations. As joint
owners and joint possessors they can acquire and possess rights and goods.
They can exercise these rights and obligations through a delegate or a
- Members of institutes of consecrated life who preside over or assist
associations which are joined in some way to their institute, are to ensure
that these associations help the apostolic works existing in the diocese.
They are especially to cooperate, under the direction of the local Ordinary,
with associations which are directed to the exercise of the apostolate in
Chapter III: PRIVATE ASSOCIATIONS OF CHRIST´S FAITHFUL
- Christ's faithful direct and moderate private associations according to
the provisions of the statutes.
- § 1 A private association of Christ's faithful can acquire
juridical personality by a formal decree of the competent ecclesiastical
authority mentioned in can. 312.
- § 2 No private association of Christ's
faithful can acquire juridical personality unless its statutes are approved
by the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in can. 312 § 1. The approval of
the statutes does not, however, change the private nature of the
- § 1 Although private associations of Christ's faithful enjoy their
own autonomy in accordance with can. 321, they are subject to the
supervision of ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with can. 305, and
also to the governance of the same authority.
- § 2 It is also the responsibility of
ecclesiastical authority, with due respect for the autonomy of private
associations, to oversee and ensure that there is no dissipation, of their
forces, and that the exercise of their apostolate is directed to the common
- § 1 A private association of Christ's faithful can freely designate
for itself a moderator and officers, in accordance with the statutes.
- § 2 If a private association of Christ's
faithful wishes to have a spiritual counselor, it can freely choose one for
itself from among the priests who lawfully exercise a ministry in the
diocese, but the priest requires the confirmation of the local Ordinary.
- § 1 A private association of Christ's faithful is free to
administer any goods it possesses, according to the provisions of the
statutes, but the competent ecclesiastical authority has the right to ensure
that the goods are applied to the purposes of the association.
- § 2 In accordance with can. 1301, the
association is subject to the authority of the local Ordinary in whatever
concerns the administration and distribution of goods which are donated or
left to it for pious purposes.
- § 1 A private association of Christ's faithful is extinguished in
accordance with the norms of the statutes. It can also be suppressed by the
competent authority if its activity gives rise to harm to ecclesiastical
teaching or discipline, or is a scandal to the faithful.
- § 2 The fate of the goods of a private
association which ceases to exist is to be determined in accordance with the
statutes, without prejudice to acquired rights and the wishes of donors.
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