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SECULAR INSTITUTES (Cann. 710 - 730) 

Can. 710 A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which the Christian faithful, living in the world, strive for the perfection of charity and seek to contribute to the sanctification of the world, especially from within.

Can. 711 The consecration of a member of a secular institute does not change the member’s proper canonical condition among the people of God, whether lay or clerical, with due regard for the prescripts of the law which refer to institutes of consecrated life.

Can. 712 Without prejudice to the prescripts of cann. 598-601, the constitutions are to establish the sacred bonds by which the evangelical counsels are assumed in the institute and are to define the obligations which these same bonds bring about; the proper secularity of the institute, however, is always to be preserved in its way of life.

Can. 713 §1. Members of these institutes express and exercise their own consecration in apostolic activity, and like leaven they strive to imbue all things with the spirit of the gospel for the strengthening and growth of the Body of Christ.

§2. In the world and from the world, lay members participate in the evangelizing function of the Church whether through the witness of a Christian life and of fidelity toward their own consecration, or through the assistance they offer to order temporal things according to God and to inform the world by the power of the gospel.

They also cooperate in the service of the ecclesial community according to their own secular way of life.

§3. Through the witness of consecrated life especially in the presbyterium, clerical members help their brothers by a particular apostolic charity, and by their sacred ministry among the people of God they bring about the sanctification of the world.

Can. 714 Members are to lead their lives in the ordinary conditions of the world according to the norm of the constitutions, whether alone, or in their own families, or in a group living as brothers or sisters.

Can. 715 §1. Clerical members incardinated in a diocese are subject to the diocesan bishop, without prejudice to those things which regard consecrated life in their own institute.

§2. Those who are incardinated in an institute according to the norm of can. 266, §3, however, are subject to the bishop like religious if they are appointed to the proper works of the institute or to the governance of the institute.

Can. 716 §1. All members are to participate actively in the life of the institute according to proper law.

§2. Members of the same institute are to preserve communion among themselves, caring solicitously for a spirit of unity and a genuine relationship as brothers or sisters.

Can. 717 §1. The constitutions are to prescribe the proper manner of governance; they are to define the time during which the moderators hold their office and the manner by which they are designated.

§2. No one is to be designated as supreme moderator who is not incorporated definitively.

§3. Those who have been placed in charge of the governance of an institute are to take care that its unity of spirit is preserved and that the active participation of the members is promoted.

Can. 718 The administration of the goods of an institute, which must express and foster evangelical poverty, is governed by the norms of Book V, The Temporal Goods of the Church, and by the proper law of the institute.

Likewise, proper law is to define the obligations of the institute, especially Financial ones, towards members who carry on work for it.

Can. 719 §1. For members to respond faithfully to their vocation and for their apostolic action to proceed from their union with Christ, they are to devote themselves diligently to prayer, to give themselves in a Fitting way to the reading of sacred scripture, to observe an annual period of spiritual retreat, and to perform other spiritual exercises according to proper law.

§2. The celebration of the Eucharist, daily if possible, is to be the source and strength of their whole consecrated life.

§3. They are to approach freely the sacrament of penance which they are to receive frequently.

§4. They are to obtain freely necessary direction of conscience and to seek counsel of this kind even from the moderators, if they wish.

Can. 720 The right of admission into the institute, either for probation or for the assumption of sacred bonds, whether temporary or perpetual or definitive, belongs to the major moderators with their council, according to the norm of the constitutions.

Can. 721 §1. A person is admitted to initial probation invalidly:

1/ who has not yet attained the age of majority;

2/ who is bound currently by a sacred bond in some institute of consecrated life or is incorporated in a society of apostolic life;

3/ a spouse, while the marriage continues to exist.

§2. The constitutions can establish other impediments to admission even for validity or can attach conditions.

§3. Moreover, to be received, the person must have the maturity necessary to lead rightly the proper life of the institute.

Can. 722 §1. Initial probation is to be ordered in a way that the candidates understand more fittingly their own divine vocation, and indeed, the one proper to the institute, and that they are trained in the spirit and way of life of the institute.

§2. Candidates are properly to be formed to lead a life according to the evangelical counsels and are to be taught to transform their whole life into the apostolate, employing those forms of evangelization which better respond to the purpose, spirit, and character of the institute.

§3. The constitutions are to define the manner and length of this probation before first taking on sacred bonds in the institute; the length is not to be less than two years.

Can. 723 §1. When the period of initial probation has elapsed, a candidate who is judged suitable is to assume the three evangelical counsels strengthened by a sacred bond or is to depart from the institute.

§2. This first incorporation is to be temporary according to the norm of the constitutions; it is not to be less than five years.

§3. When the period of this incorporation has elapsed, the member who is judged suitable is to be admitted to perpetual incorporation or to definitive incorporation, that is, with temporary bonds that are always to be renewed.

§4. Definitive incorporation is equivalent to perpetual incorporation with regard to the specific juridic effects established in the constitutions.

Can. 724 §1. Formation after the first assumption of sacred bonds is to be continued without interruption according to the constitutions.

§2. Members are to be formed in divine and human things at the same time; moreover, moderators of the institute are to have a serious concern for the continued spiritual formation of the members.

Can. 725 An institute can associate to itself by some bond determined in the constitutions other members of the Christian faithful who are to strive for evangelical perfection according to the spirit of the institute and are to participate in its mission.

Can. 726 §1. When the period of temporary incorporation has elapsed, a member is able to leave the institute freely or the major moderator, after having heard the council, can exclude a member for a just cause from the renewal of the sacred bonds.

§2. For a grave cause, a temporarily incorporated member who freely petitions it is able to obtain an indult of departure from the supreme moderator with the consent of the council.

Can. 727 §1. After having considered the matter seriously before the Lord, a perpetually incorporated member who wishes to leave the institute is to seek an indult of departure from the Apostolic See through the supreme moderator if the institute is of pontifical right; otherwise the member may also seek it from the diocesan bishop, as it is defined in the constitutions.

§2. If it concerns a cleric incardinated in the institute, the prescript of can. 693 is to be observed.

Can. 728 When an indult of departure has been granted legitimately, all the bonds as well as the rights and obligations deriving from incorporation cease.

Can. 729 A member is dismissed from an institute according to the norm of cann. 694 and 695; moreover, the constitutions are to determine other causes for dismissal provided that they are proportionately grave, external, imputable, and juridically proven, and the method of proceeding established in cann. 697-700 is to be observed. The prescript of can. 701 applies to one dismissed.

Can. 730 In order for a member of a secular institute to transfer to another secular institute, the prescripts of cann. 684, §§1, 2, 4, and 685 are to be observed; moreover, for transfer to be made to a religious institute or to a society of apostolic life or from them to a secular institute, the permission of the Apostolic See is required, whose mandates must be observed.