Pope adds new step to create diocesan religious orders

Pope Francis at his general audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican on Wednesday (CNS/Yara Nardi, Reuters)

Pope Francis has issued a decree requiring bishops to obtain written permission from the Vatican to start an “association of the faithful” as a first step toward forming a religious order. Source: Crux.

“Before the diocesan bishop erects – by decree – a public association of the faithful with a view to becoming an institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life of diocesan right, he must obtain a written licence from the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life,” said the decree published by the Vatican on Wednesday.

The new decree is a further sign that Pope Francis believes more care is needed in setting up diocesan religious orders, following his November 2020 decree that bishops must have written approval from the Vatican to start a diocesan religious order.

In May 2016, Pope Francis already had ruled invalid the establishment of diocesan-right orders established by bishops without consulting the Holy See, but if the consultation resulted in a negative judgment by the Vatican dicastery, some bishops moved ahead anyway, citing the fact that the consultation occurred.

Large, international religious orders answering directly to the Vatican are called congregations of “pontifical right.” Local congregations, approved by a diocesan bishop, are called congregations of “diocesan right.”

Pope Francis has spoken in the past of the need to ensure all religious orders have the constitutions, structure and assistance they need to contribute to the life of the local church and fully protect the rights, dignity and safety of all their members.


Pope adds preliminary step for creating diocesan religious orders (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via Crux)


New public associations of faithful require Vatican approval (Vatican News)

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