CODE OF CANON LAW
THE PEOPLE OF GOD
THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL (Cann. 204 -
Can. 204 §1. The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been
incorporated in Christ through baptism, have been constituted as the people of
God. For this reason, made sharers in their own way in Christ’s priestly,
prophetic, and royal function, they are called to exercise the mission which God
has entrusted to the Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the
condition proper to each.
§2. This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society,
subsists in the Catholic Church governed by the successor of Peter and the
bishops in communion with him.
Can. 205 Those baptized are fully in the communion of the Catholic Church on
this earth who are joined with Christ in its visible structure by the bonds of
the profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical governance.
Can. 206 §1. Catechumens, that is, those who ask by explicit choice under the
influence of the Holy Spirit to be incorporated into the Church, are joined to
it in a special way. By this same desire, just as by the life of faith, hope,
and charity which they lead, they are united with the Church which already
cherishes them as its own.
§2. The Church has a special care for catechumens; while it invites them to
lead a life of the gospel and introduces them to the celebration of sacred
rites, it already grants them various prerogatives which are proper to
Can. 207 §1. By divine institution, there are among the Christian faithful in
the Church sacred ministers who in law are also called clerics; the other
members of the Christian faithful are called lay persons.
§2. There are members of the Christian faithful from both these groups who,
through the profession of the evangelical counsels by means of vows or other
sacred bonds recognized and sanctioned by the Church, are consecrated to God in
their own special way and contribute to the salvific mission of the Church;
although their state does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the
Church, it nevertheless belongs to its life and holiness.