Appendices to Norms for Governance


Governance, Rights, and Duties in Individual Consecration


  1. The profession of the evangelical counsels indisputably belongs to the life  and holiness of the Church.  It is intimately connected with the mystery of Christ, and has the duty of making somehow present the way of life which Jesus himself chose and indicated as an absolute eschatological value.  The call is accompanied by a specific gift of the Holy Spirit, so that consecrated persons can respond to their vocation and mission.[1]
  2. The profession of the evangelical counsels is a development of the grace of the Sacrament of Confirmation, a call to live out chastity of celibacy or virginity; obedience to God and to the Church; and a reasonable detachment from material possessions; a specific call to holiness in the perfection of love.[2]
  3. Christ proposes the evangelical counsels, in their great variety, to every disciple.  The perfection of charity, to which all the faithful are called, entails for those who freely follow the call to consecrated life the obligation of practicing chastity in celibacy for the sake of the Kingdom, poverty, and obedience.  It is the profession of these counsels, within a permanent state of life recognized by the Church, that characterizes the life consecrated to God.[3]  Profession of the evangelical counsels through vow or other bond is the essence of the state of consecrated life.  Their ecclesial relevance begins from the moment that their practice becomes established in stable forms of life.    Consecrated life is a stable form of living, a canonical state of life among the faithful who profess the evangelical counsels, founded in consecration and the ecclesial office or function of the consecrated person. 
  4. In the fundamental equality of all the faithful, the differences in the states of life are situated according to their ecclesial office or function.  All are called to live the evangelical counsels according to their state in life.  Consecration establishes a particular condition of life in the Church, without in itself belonging to the hierarchical structure of the Church. 
  5. The character of consecrated life is the consecrated form of living the evangelical counsels in a stable form of life recognized by the Church.  Within this common condition of life several diversified ways of being consecrated arise.[4]  The Church acknowledges three ways of giving rise to individual consecrated life, which are not institutes, and which are to be governed according to their Plan of Life which has received a recognitio of the Diocese of ________________, and according to the application of the general norms contained in this part of the Code.[5]
  6. The evangelical counsel of chastity assumed in consecrated life for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, which is a sign of the world to come and a source of more abundant fruitfulness in an undivided heart, entails the obligation of perfect continence in celibacy.[6]
  7. The evangelical counsel of poverty in imitation of Christ who, although he was rich, was made poor for us, entails a life which is poor in fact and in spirit and is to be led productively in moderation and foreign to earthly riches.[7]
  8. The evangelical counsel of obedience in imitation of Christ who remained subject to his parents and obedient to God the Father, entails a life in obedience to the Supreme Pontiff, who is also their Superior in the strict sense of that term in consecrated life,[8] and the Bishop of ________________, his Vicar for Vocations, and director of consecrated life.[9]
  9. In order to observe their own resolution more faithfully and to perform by mutual assistance service to the Church in harmony with their proper state, consecrated virgins can be associated together.[10]  This association does not amount to the creation of a separate juridic person.
  10. Individuals consecrated pursuant to these Norms shall have a written Plan of Life which describes their charism, vocation, Rule, and sacred bonds; their habit as a sign of their consecration and as a witness of poverty; their status, mission and life; their governance, rights and duties, including their work and horarium; their formation and transfer; their duties of self-support and minimum insurance requirements; and their departure with dissolution of any juridic person they may create.[11]  The Plan of Life shall  be submitted to the Bishop of ________________, asking to receive a recognitio from him; which recognitio does not convert the Plan of Life to particular law of the Diocese of ________________.  No one has a right to receive such recognitio, which is a privilege granted at the sole discretion of the Bishop of ________________.  The Director of Consecrated Life shall establish guidelines and work with the person to create a Plan which would be submitted for recognitio.
  11. The Church recognizes multiple ways in which the faithful act in conditio libertatis and the inherent autonomy of that freedom.  The Plan of Life should recognize a true autonomy of life, especially of governance, which is founded on the constitutional principle that emanated from the conditio libertatis of the faithful, so that it can be suitable for recognitio by the Bishop of ________________.[12]  True autonomy of life and governance is not absolute, nor is it the equivalent of independence.  It express the consecrated individual’s own charismatic identity, own ways of operating, and particular spiritualities; in full communio,[13] in balance with subordination and consultation,[14] and always in coordination.[15]
  12.   The individual may establish an irrevocable trust or other juridic person, for the purposes of their way of consecrated life, which qualifies for treatment as a civilly recognized person capable of making a contract, which juridic person may, or may not, qualify for civilly tax-deductible donations in the Diocese of ________________.  In that  event, any individual consecrated person providing services to the Diocese of ________________ may be treated similarly to a member of a religious institute, in that the juridic person and the Diocese of ________________ will enter into a separate contract for the services of the individual consecrated person, concerning the terms of service, financial arrangements, conditions of service, website listing for vocation recruitment and discernment, and annual retreat.[16]
  13.  The special bond between the diocesan bishop and the individually consecrated person requires a special degree of spiritual and psychological stability, suitable health, and maturity.   The Bishop of the Diocese may designate one or more houses as formation houses for people preparing for individual consecration.  In that event, the Bishop of the Diocese may conduct an annual visitation of the formation house, in the manner of a visitation to an institute of consecrated life.




Focus of Spiritual Life, Obligations, and Matters of Conscience


  1.  In the Church there are a great many people in consecrated life which have different gifts according to the grace which has been given them; they more closely follow Christ who prays, or announces the kingdom of God, or does good to people, or lives with people in the world, yet who always does the will of the Father.[17]
  2.  The Church gives liturgical expression to the fact that consecrated life is a state of life consecrated to God.  She receives the vows of those who make profession, implores the divine aid and grace for them in her public prayer, commends them to God, and bestows a spiritual blessing on them, joining their self-offering to the Eucharistic sacrifice.[18]
  3.  Let all therefore who have been called to the profession of the counsels make every effort to persevere and excel still more in the vocation to which God has called them, for the increase of the holiness of the church, to the greater glory of the one and undivided Trinity, which in Christ and through Christ is the source and origin of all holiness.[19]
  4.  The profession of the evangelical counsels does not stand in the way of the true development of the human person but rather by its very nature is supremely conducive to that process.  The counsels, when willingly embraced in accordance with each one’s personal vocation, contribute to the purification of the heart and to spiritual freedom, to conform the person to the kind of virginal and poor life that Christ the Lord chose for himself and which his virgin mother also embraced.[20]
  5.  The Bishop may appoint a spiritual director for an individual consecrated person; they may also choose their own spiritual director from __ [describe qualifications].
  6.  The individual consecrated person shall take an annual spiritual retreat of one week in an appropriate sacred place.
  7.  A well-formed conscience is essential to individual consecrated life.  It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.  The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.  In the formation of conscience the Wjord of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice.  We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross.  We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.[21]

Appendix III

Formation for individual consecrated life


  1. Where the candidate was an only child or the only child of that sex, they grew to adulthood with no peer relationships in their homes.  Often for such children, the only people whose first duty was the child’s development were people who were paid for that work, and these children were aware of the fact.  The difficulty in formation is to teach such a person to relate to peers without giving offense within the culture in which they will serve, and without taking offense; to refrain from making interpretations that offense is intended; to teach the person to rejoice in the gifts and goodness of their peers; to teach choosing charity for the other in preference to one’s own rights and expectations.  It cannot be assumed they “should know” what all that means; they have never been in circumstances to experience it on a daily basis.  Their training has been more in the way of relativism.  We find that it is a matter of true ignorance among them.
  2.  The predominant character weakness in our culture is that of selfishness, which is a major obstacle of self-giving in every vocation.  The development which is to be sought in formation, a major indicator of affective maturity in every vocation, is self-giving.  Mature self-giving includes the ability to receive from God and from others.   Growth in charity through growth in affective maturity involves growth in the ability to address the most common emotional stresses; that is, anxiety, weak confidence, anger, loneliness, and sadness.  Anxiety can be overcome by growth in trust and confidence in God and in His Plan of Salvation; anger and sadness by growth in the virtues of humility and forgiveness; and loneliness by growth in one’s prayer life and in the ability to receive the love of God and others on a regular basis and to give oneself.   In these areas childhood and adolescent ignorance and a learned sense of self-centered entitlement, as much as conflicts, may also need to be uncovered and spiritually addressed.  A commitment to grow in numerous ways is necessary for the development of charity in daily life in an authentic vocational formation program.
  3.   It is the policy of this Diocese to prohibit punishment and disconfirmation as the means of teaching charity in daily life to such people, whose lack is one of ignorance.  After receiving such punishment, they still do not know what is their fault; they have only been dominated.  The teaching of John Paul PP. II is true, when he begged us to stop relating to others through domination.  The means of teaching in formation is to be positive education in the norms of charitable social behavior.  The education is to be done first on an organized and scheduled basis.  It is also to be done whenever the person gives evidence in their individual expression of that ignorance of the priority of life in Christ:  charity among their peers for the good of all, freely chosen over their own rights and expectations.  The latter education is necessarily to be patient and repetitious, to overcome habitual responses reinforced over a lifetime by the predominating secular culture.  Positive education does not include public humiliation of an individual.
  4.  For the beginnings of answering the call to individual consecrated life  with one’s spiritual director, it is the policy of this Diocese not to  institutionalize the process.   Profession of private vows are more appropriate to those beginnings.
  5.  The progression we have in mind is from the beginnings through a probationary period of at least one year, followed by private profession of at least three years, culminating in making an application for permanent profession to be received by the Bishop of ________________.  The application for permanent profession shall be made through the Diocesan  Vicar for  Vocations, and/or Director of Individual Consecrated Life, as the hierarchy may be for the applicant.  If at the time of application the applicant is a “religious” in the canonical sense,[22] the application shall be made through the Vicar for Religious Life.


Appendix IV


  1.  Unless they are prohibited by law, all who possess suitable use of reason are capable of making a vow of individual consecration through the evangelical counsels.[23]  Prohibition by law may be:
    1. reservation to the Holy See of changes in the state of life[24]
    2. reserved to the local ordinary of changes in the state of life.  Priests and deacons are not granted the power to dispense changes in the state of life to enter individual consecrated life.[25] 
  1. A vow made out of grave and unjust fear or malice is null by the law itself.[26]  The fear in c. 1191.3 must be in response to something external to the person; it must have been unjustly induced; and is must be the cause of the vow and not merely the occasion of it.
  2. For the vow to be valid, it is necessary that the deliberation be exhaustive and the freedom with which it is performed be absolute.  [27]  The maxim avoid the multiplication of bonds is appropriate to the  deliberation prior to making the vow.
  3. A vow is public if a legitimate superior accepts it in the name of the Church; otherwise it is private.[28]
  4. A vow of individual consecration through the evangelical counsels may be personal, or mixed if it shares the nature of both a personal and real vow.[29]
  5. By its nature a vow obliges only the person who makes it.[30]
  6. A vow ceases by
    1. the lapse of the time designated to fulfill the obligation,
    2. a substantial change of the matter promised,
    3. the absence of a condition on which the vow depends,
    4. the absence of the purpose of the vow,
    5. dispensation, or
    6. commutation.[31]



[1]   VC 29, 30.

[2]   VC 30.

[3]   LG 42-43; CIC1983 c. 576; PC 1; Catechism , no. 915.

[4]   LG 42-43; VC 3, 4; PC 1; Exegetical Commentary p 1473-4-5; Catechism no. 915

[5]   LG 45; CIC1983 c. 603, 604, and 605; PC 1, 19; AG 18, RC prooemium; MR 9c, 51.

[6]   LG 42; PC 12; PO 16, ET 15; CIC1983 c. 599.

[7]   OT 11; PC 13.

[8]   cf., CIC1917 c. 499 §1; CIC1983 c 590 §2; see cc 336, 591, 593.

[9]   cf., CIC1983 c. 586.

[10]   AA 19; CIC1983 c. 604, §2; VC  7; S. Th. II II, q. 152.

[11]   Cf., principles of proper law in LG 45; CIC1983 c. 587; PC 4; ES II: 4d, 8, 11, 12, 13; MG: 569.

[12]   LG 9; Exeg. Comm., p 1500;

[13]   Cf., principles of communio expressed in CIC1983 c. 675 §1.

[14]   Cf., principles of subordination and consultation expressed in CIC1983 c. 678.

[15]   Exeg. Comm. pp. 1500-1503; cf., principles of coordination expressed in CIC1983 c. 678 §3, 680, 681 §1.

[16]   Cf. CIC1983 c. 680, 681.

[17]   LG 36, 46; CIC1983 c. 577, CIC1917 c. 488; PC 8a, 11.

[18]  LG 45.

[19]   LG 47.

[20]   LG 45.

[21]   Catechism, ¶¶ 1786 through 1802.

[22]  CIC1983, c. 607a.

[23]   CIC1983 cc. 60, 1191, §2; CIC1917, cc. 36 §1; SCSO Resp. I, 27 Jan 1928 (AAS 20 [1928] 75); 1307, §2.

[24]   CIC1983 c. 1078 §2.

[25]   Cf., CIC1983 cc. 87, 88, 89, 90, 1075, 1077, 1078.

[26]   CIC1983 c. 1191, §3; CIC1917 c. 1307, §3.

[27]   Exeget Com p 1727.

[28]   LG 44, 45; SC 80; CIC1983 c. 1192, 1; CIC1917 c. 1308, 1; Pius PP. XII, Apos. Const. Provida Mater Ecclesia, 1/2/47, 119.

[29]   CIC1983 c. 1192, 3; CIC1917 c. 1308, 4.

[30]   CIC1983 c. 1193; CIC1917 c. 1310; SCpC Resp., 18 Jan. 1936 (AAS 29 [1937] 343-345).

[31]   CIC1983 c. 1194; CIC1917 c. 1311.