CONGREGATION FOR INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE
AND SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE
OF THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION “VULTUM DEI QUAERERE”
ON WOMEN’S CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE
FIRST CHAPTER: THE AUTONOMOUS MONASTERY
II. CANONICAL ERECTION
VI. ECCLESIAL VIGILANCE OF THE MONASTERY
VII. RELATIONS BETWEEN MONASTERY & DIOCESAN BISHOP
SECOND CHAPTER: FEDERATION OF MONASTERIES
I. NATURE AND END
II. FEDERAL PRESIDENT
III. FEDERAL COUNCIL
IV. FEDERAL ASSEMBLY
V. FEDERAL OFFICES
VI. RELIGIOUS ASSISTANT
THIRD CHAPTER: SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD
I. CONCEPT AND RELEVANCE CONTEMPLATIVE LIFE
II. MEANS OF COMMUNICATION
IV. PAPAL CLOISTER
V. NORMS ABOUT PAPAL CLOISTER
VI. CLOISTER DEFINED IN THE CONSTITUTIONS
A. CONSTITUTIONAL CLOISTER
B. MONASTIC CLOISTER
VII. NORMS CONCERNING CONSTITUTIONAL CLOISTER
FOURTH CHAPTER: FORMATION
I. GENERAL PRINCIPLES
II. ONGOING FORMATION
III. INSTRUMENTS OF ONGOING FORMATION
IV. INITIAL FORMATION
Praying heart, guardian of gratuity, wealth of apostolic fruitfulness and of a
mysterious and multiform holiness is the feminine contemplative life in the
Church. The contemplative life of nuns, rooted in the silence of the cloister, from its
beginnings through a mysterious apostolic fruitfulness enriches the Church of
Christ with fruits of grace and mercy.
With our gaze turned to this unique form of the sequela Cristi,
XII, on November 21, 1950, published the Apostolic Constitution
with feminine monastic life as the object In this document, the Roman
Pontiff recognized the monasteries of nuns as true autonomous monasteries
and advocated the birth of the Federations
as structures of communion to overcome the isolation of monasteries in order to
favor the conservation of the common charism and collaboration in various forms
of reciprocal help, giving indications for the accommodata renovatio
of what was defined as the Institute of nuns, above all on the issue of cloister
XII anticipated for the monasteries of nuns what the
Vatican Council would ask a few years later of all the religious institutes.
As Pope Pius
XII himself recalled at the beginning of the Apostolic Constitution
which, almost as a historical introduction, delineates the essential features of
the various phases of female consecrated life in the Church
over the centuries, the intention and design of the founders, sanctioned by the
competent authority of the Church, has enriched the Church, the Bride of Christ,
with a multitude of charisms, modeling various forms of contemplative life in
diverse monastic traditions and different charismatic families.
The originality of the document, which dealt with the discipline/norms common to
the Institute of nuns, of the autonomous monastery, and the Federation among
autonomous monasteries, gave long life to the Apostolic Constitution
Christi Ecclesia, which remained in force even after the celebration of
Vatican Council II and the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law, up to the
In fact, Pope Francis, by promulgating the Apostolic Constitution
quaerere, on June 29, 2016, to help the contemplatives reach the aim of
their specific vocation, invited reflection and discernment on the precise
tied to consecrated life in general and to the monastic tradition in particular,
but he did not intend to abrogate
Christi Ecclesia that was
derogated only in some points
As a consequence, the two pontifical documents are to be held as normative in
force for monasteries of nuns and must be read in a unitary vision.
Pope Francis, in the wake of the teaching of
XII and reaffirmed by
Ecumenical Vatican Council II, intended to present in
the intense and fruitful path taken by the Church in the last decades, in the
light of the teachings of the same Council and considering the changed
As a consequence, from the moment that Institutes entirely dedicated to
contemplation always occupy an eminent place in the mystical body of Christ “no
matter how urgent the need of the active apostolate, the members of these
Institutes cannot be called to lend the help of their work in diverse pastoral
By the mandate of the Holy Father,
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic
Life has redacted the present Instruction application of the Apostolic
quaerere, offered “to the Church, with
particular reference to monasteries of the Latin Rite”
Instruction that intends to clarify the dispositions of the law, developing and
determining the procedures for implementing it.
1. According to the law, the term nuns, in addition to the religious of
solemn vows, refers to those who profess simple vows in monasteries, both
perpetual as temporary The Church, among the women consecrated to God through
the profession of the evangelical counsels, designates only to nuns the
commitment of public prayer, raising to God in its name the Divine Office as a
praying community to be celebrated in chorus.
2. The legitimate name nuns is not opposed to: 1) the simple profession
emitted legitimately in monasteries; 2) the exercise of apostolic works joined
to contemplative life whether by approved institution and confirmed by the Holy
See for some Orders, or for legitimate prescription or concession by the Holy
See in favor of some monasteries.
3. All monasteries in which only simple vows are professed can ask the Holy See for
the restoration of the solemn vows.
4. The particular form of religious life that nuns must live faithfully according
to the charism of their Institute, and to which they are destined by the Church,
is canonical contemplative life. The term canonical contemplative life
does not mean the internal and theological one to which all the faithful are
invited in the power of baptism, but rather the external profession of religious
discipline that, whether through the exercises of piety, prayer, and
mortification, or through the occupations which the nuns must attend to, is so
ordered to interior contemplation that their whole life and all actions can
easily and must efficaciously be imbued by the desire for it.
5. Holy See in the present Instruction refers to the Congregation for Institutes of
Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
6. Monastery sui juris refers to the religious house of a female monastic community that, having
the requisites for real autonomy of life, was legitimately erected by the Holy
See and enjoys juridical autonomy under the law.
7. Federation of monasteries means a structure of communion among some autonomous
monasteries of the same Institute, erected by the Holy See that approves the
Statutes, so that in sharing the same charism, the federated monasteries
overcome isolation and promote regular observance and contemplative life.
8. Association of monasteries is meant a structure of communion between several autonomous monasteries
of the same Institute erected by the Holy See so that, in sharing the same
charism, the associated monasteries collaborate among themselves according to
the Statutes approved by the Holy See.
9. Conference of monasteries means a structure of communion among autonomous monasteries, belonging to
diverse Institutes and present in the same region, erected by the Holy See that
approves the Statutes, with the aim of promoting contemplative life and of
favoring collaboration among the monasteries in particular geographical or
10. Confederation means a structure of connection among Federations of
monasteries, erected by the Holy See that approves the Statutes, for the study
of themes relative to contemplative life in relation to the same charism, to
give unitary direction and a certain coordination to the activity of the
11. International Commission means a centralized organ of
service and of study for the benefit of nuns of the same Institute, erected or
recognized by the Holy See that approves its Statutes, for the study of themes
relative to contemplative life in relation to the same charism.
12. Monastic Congregation means a structure of government, erected by
the Holy See, among several autonomous monasteries of the same Institute, under
the authority of a President, who is the Major Superior according to law,
and of a general chapter, that in the monastic Congregation is the supreme
authority, in accordance with the Constitutions approved by the Holy See.
13. The provisions of this Instruction for the Federation of Monasteries
are equally valid for the Association of Monasteries and for the
Conference of Monasteries, taking into account their unique nature and their
own Statutes approved by the Holy See.
14. The provisions of this Instruction for the Federation of Monasteries apply
congrua congruis referendo to the women monastic Congregations, unless
otherwise provided by the universal and proper law, or does not otherwise arise
from the context or nature of things.
THE AUTONOMOUS MONASTERY
15 The monastery sui juris is a religious house which enjoys legal
autonomy: its Superior is a Major Superior,
its community is permanently established for the number and quality of the
members; by law it is the place of the novitiate and of formation, is considered
a public juridical person, and its assets are ecclesiastical goods.
16 The Church recognizes for every monastery sui juris a proper
juridical autonomy of life and of government, through which the community of
nuns can enjoy its own discipline and be able to preserve its character and
protect its identity.
17 The autonomy of the monastery favors stability of life and the internal
unity of each community, ensuring the best conditions for the life of the nuns,
according to the spirit and the nature of the Institute to which they belong.
18 In order to obtain juridical autonomy for a monastery of nuns, it must
presuppose a real autonomy of life, that is, the ability to manage the life of
the monastery in all its dimensions (vocational, formative, governmental,
relational, liturgical, economic ...). In this case, an autonomous monastery is
alive and vital.
19 A monastery of nuns, as every religious house, is erected while keeping
in mind its usefulness for the Church and for the Institute.
20. The foundation of a monastery of nuns, keeping in mind what is
established in no. 39 of the present Instruction, can take place either by a
single monastery or through the action of the Federation, as established by the
21. The foundation on the part of a single monastery must be an expression of
the maturity of the community of a living and vital autonomous monastery, which
generates a new community capable of being, in turn, a witness of the primacy of
God, according to the spirit and the nature of the Institute to which the
22. The foundation established by the Federation must be an expression of the
communion among the monasteries and express the will to spread the contemplative
life, especially in particular churches where this is not present.
23. In discerning the foundation of a new monastery on the part of a single
monastery, the Federal President and the religious Assistant intervene to help
the Superior of the founding monastery. The discernment on the foundation of a
new monastery by the Federation is made within the framework of the Federal
24 The opportunity for the foundation of a monastery of nuns must be
prudently considered, especially if the foundation is carried out by a single
monastery, so that the founding community is not weakened, carefully considering
the choice of the place, because this choice involves a different and particular
form of preparation for the foundation and the members of the future community.
25. In choosing the country in which the foundation is to take place,
consideration must be given if monastic life is already present, all necessary
and useful information must be acquired, above all on the presence and vitality
of the Catholic Church, on vocations to consecrated life, on the religious
attitude of the population, and on the possibility of future vocations for the
26. In choosing the place for the foundation, the necessary conditions must
be ensured to guarantee the nuns the possibility of an adequate sustenance, of
regularly conducting contemplative life in the monastery, and of favoring relations among the monasteries.
27. In choosing the place of the foundation, particular attention must be
paid to the needs of the sacramental and spiritual life of the new monastery,
because the lack of clergy in some particular churches does not always allow the
appointment of a priest who has the competence and spiritual sensitivity to
accompany the community of a monastery of nuns.
28 In choosing the place of the foundation, the aspect of separation from
the world must be
especially foreseen and cared for given the public
witness that the nuns are obliged to render to Christ and the Church in
contemplative life, according to the nature and aims of the Institute of
belonging, in the discipline of
cloister, provided by law.
29 The monastery of nuns is founded with a capitular decision of the
community of an autonomous monastery or with a decision of the Federal Assembly,
and the sending of at least five nuns, at least three of them of solemn vows,
with the prior written consent of the diocesan Bishop and the authorization of the Holy See.
30 The foundation does not, however, enjoy any autonomy; until the time of
the canonical erection as monastery sui juris, it is entirely dependent
on the founding monastery or on the Federation.
31 The local Superior of the foundation is a nun of solemn vows, suitable
for the exercise of the service of authority, appointed by the Major Superior of
the founding monastery or by the Federal President, in accordance with their
32 The nuns of the foundation, who must freely adhere in writing to this
project, retain capitular rights in their own monastery which remain suspended
in their exercise until the erection of the new monastery.
33 The Major Superior of the founding monastery or the Federal President
may ask the Holy See that the foundation be established as the place of the
novitiate in the presence of a community of at least five professed nuns with
solemn vows, assuring the presence of a nun of solemn vows legitimately
appointed by the Major Superior of the founding monastery or the Federal
President, who performs the task of novice mistress.
34 If the foundation was made by a single monastery, until the time of the
erection as an autonomous monastery, candidates are admitted to the novitiate,
novices to temporary profession, and temporary professed to solemn profession by
the Major Superior of the founding monastery, in accordance with the universal
and proper law.
35 If the foundation was made by the Federation, until the time of its
erection as an autonomous monastery, candidates are admitted to the novitiate,
novices to temporary profession, and temporary professed to solemn profession by
the Federal President, with the consent of the Federal Council, after consulting
the local Superior and the foundation community, in accordance with the
universal law and the Statutes of the Federation.
36 The community of the foundation does not have a conventual chapter, but
a local chapter and, until the time of erection as an autonomous monastery,
profession will be emitted for the founding monastery - or for another
monastery of reference established by the Federal President at the time of the
foundation on the part of the Federation – although in view of the future
erection of a new autonomous monastery.
37 The foundation, if erected in the place of the novitiate, becomes the
place of formation for the temporary professed as well; therefore, it must
ensure the presence of a nun of solemn vows, legitimately appointed by the Major
Superior of the founding monastery or by the Federal President, who carries out
the task of formation.
38 It is established that the appropriate time between the foundation and
erection of a monastery of nuns will be fifteen years at most. After this period
of time the Holy See, having heard the Superior of the founding monastery, the
Federal President, the religious Assistant, and the competent Ordinary, must
assess whether there is a well-founded hope of continuing the foundation to
reach the canonical erection of the monastery or decree its end, according to
II. Canonical Erection
39 A monastery of nuns is erected as a monastery sui juris at the
request of the community of the founding monastery or by the decision of the
Federal Council with the approval of the Holy See
in the presence of the following requirements:
a) A community that has given good testimony of fraternal life in common with "the
necessary vitality in living and transmitting the charism”,
composed of at least eight nuns of solemn vows, “as long as most are not of
b) Besides the number, special skills are required of some nuns of the community
who must be able to assume: as Superior, the service of authority; as formator,
the initial formation of candidates; as financial administrator, the
administration of the goods of the monastery.
c) Rooms adapted to the lifestyle of the community, to ensure that the nuns can
regularly lead the contemplative life according to the nature and spirit of
d) Economic conditions that guarantee the community itself can provide for the
needs of daily life.
These criteria must be considered in their entirety and from an overall
40 It is the responsibility of the Holy See to evaluate the presence of
these requisites, after carefully considering the request transmitted by the
Major Superior of the founding monastery or by the Federal President, and having
acquired, on its part, other information.
41 The erection of a monastery of nuns cannot proceed if prudence does not
indicate it can adequately provide for the needs of the community
and there is no certainty in regard to the stability of the monastery.
42 Bearing in mind the particular apostolate of the contemplative
communities with the witness of their consecrated life, which the nuns are
called to render to Christ and to the Church, and the eminent place that they
occupy in the mystical Body of Christ, the nuns cannot be called on to lend the
help of their work in the various pastoral ministries nor should they accept
43 Autonomy of life, a constant prerequisite for maintaining juridical
autonomy, must be constantly verified by the Federal President
who, when in her judgment a monastery lacks autonomy of life, must inform the
Holy See in view of the nomination of an ad hoc commission.
44 The autonomous monastery is governed by a Major Superior, designated
according to the norm of the proper law.
45 When the number of professed members of solemn vows reaches five, the
community of said monastery loses the right to the election of its Superior. In
this case, the Federal President is obliged to inform the Holy See in view of
appointing the ad hoc commission
and whoever has the right to preside over the elective chapter, subject to
authorization from the Holy See, will proceed to the appointment of an
Administrator Superior, after having heard the members of the community
46 The autonomous monastery has the capacity to acquire, possess,
and dispose of temporal goods, in accordance with the universal and proper law.
47 The assets of the autonomous monastery are administered by a nun of
solemn vows, with the office of Financial Administrator, constituted according
to the proper law and distinct from the Major Superior of the monastery.
48 The community of the monastery considers the goods in its possession as
gifts received from God through benefactors and the work of the community, as a
necessary and useful means to achieve the proper ends of the Institute to which
they belong, always respecting the requirements of the profession of the
evangelical counsel of poverty by public vow.
49. Extraordinary administrative acts are those that exceed the usual needs for
the maintenance and work of the community and for the normal maintenance of the
buildings of the monastery.
50. Within the ordinary administration, the Major Superior and the Financial
Administrator of the monastery carry out valid administrative acts within the
confines of their roles.
51. For expenses and acts of extraordinary administration, the authorization of
the Council of the monastery and of the conventual Chapter is necessary
according to the value of the sum, to be determined by the proper law.
52. In derogation from can. 638, §4 CJC, for the validity of the alienation and
of any other transaction by which the patrimonial situation of the monastery
could be damaged, the written permission of the Major Superior is required with
the consent of the Council or of the conventual Chapter, depending on the value
of the sale and the transaction, and the opinion of the Federal President.
53. If it deals with a transaction or sale whose value exceeds the sum set by
the Holy See for the individual regions or of votive donations made to the
Church or of precious items of historical and artistic value, the permission of
the Holy See is also required.
54 Affiliation is a particular form of help that the Holy See establishes
in particular situations in favor of the community of a monastery sui juris
which has only an asserted autonomy, but in reality, very precarious or, in
55 Affiliation is configured as a juridical support that must assess
whether the inability to manage the life of the autonomous monastery in all its
dimensions is only temporary or is irreversible, helping the community of the
affiliated monastery to overcome difficulties or to put in place what is
necessary to bring about the suppression of this monastery.
56. In these cases, it is up to the Holy See to evaluate the opportunity of
setting up an ad hoc commission formed by the Ordinary, the Federation
President, the Federal Assistant, and the Major Superior of the monastery.
57 Through affiliation, the Holy See suspends the status of
autonomous monastery, rendering it donec aliter provideatur a
house dependent on another autonomous monastery of the same Institute or of the
Federation, according to what is established in the present Instruction and any
other provisions on the matter given by the Holy See itself.
58 The Major Superior of the autonomous affiliating monastery or the
Federal President is constituted Major Superior of the affiliated monastery.
59 The local Superior of the affiliated monastery is a nun of solemn vows,
named ad nutum by the Major Superior of the autonomous monastery or by
the Federal President, with the
consent of the respective Council, having heard the nuns of the community of the
affiliated monastery Said local Superior is constituted legal representative
of the affiliated monastery.
60 The affiliated monastery can accept candidates, but the novitiate and
initial formation must be performed in the affiliating monastery or in another
monastery established by the Federation.
61 The candidates of the affiliated monastery are admitted to the
novitiate, the novices to temporary profession, and the temporary professed to
solemn profession by the Major Superior of the affiliating monastery, having
heard the community of the affiliated monastery and obtained the favorable vote
of the conventual Chapter of the affiliating monastery or of the Federal
President with the consent of her Council.
62 Profession will be emitted for the affiliated monastery.
63 During the time of affiliation, the finances of the two monasteries are
64 The celebration of the conventual Chapter is suspended in the affiliated
monastery, but the possibility of calling local Chapters remains unaffected.
65. By transfer we mean the translocation of a monastic community from its own
location to another for a just cause, without modifying the juridical status
of the monastery, the composition of the community, and the holders of the
66. To perform the transference, it is necessary to:
- Obtain a decision of the monastery conventual Chapter by a two-thirds majority
of the votes;
- Advise in a convenient time the Bishop in whose diocese the monastery that will
be left is located;
- Obtain the prior written consent of the Bishop of the diocese where the
community of nuns is transferring;
- Submit the request for transfer to the Holy See, engaging in the conveyance of
assets owned by the monastery community, in accord with the canonical and civil
norms on the matter.
67 Affiliation can be an opportunity for recovery and rebirth when autonomy
of life is partially compromised. If the situation of incapacity is
irreversible, the solution, as painful as it is necessary, is the suppression of
68 A monastery of nuns that cannot express, according to the contemplative
nature and finality of the Institute, the particular public witness to Christ
and to the Church His Bride, must be suppressed, keeping in mind the usefulness
to the Church and to the Institute to which the monastery belongs.
69. In these cases, it is up to the Holy See to evaluate the opportunity of
setting up an ad hoc commission formed by the Ordinary, by the Federation
President, the Federal Assistant, and by the Major Superior of the monastery.
70 Among the criteria that can contribute to determine a judgment
concerning the suppression of a monastery, after having examined all the
circumstances, the following points should be considered as a whole: the number
of nuns, the advanced age of the majority of the members, the real capacity for
government and formation, lack of candidates for a number of years, lack of the
necessary vitality in living and transmitting the charism in dynamic fidelity.
71 A monastery of nuns is only suppressed by the Holy See after having
acquired the opinion of the diocesan Bishop
and, if it seems opportune, having heard the opinion of the Federal President,
of the religious Assistant, and of the religious Ordinary, if the monastery is
associated according to the norm of can. 614 CJC.
72. The assets of the suppressed monastery, respecting the will of the
founders and donors, follow the surviving nuns and go, in proportion, to the
monasteries that receive them, unless otherwise provided by the Holy See
which may dispose, in individual cases, of a portion of the assets to be given
to charity, to the particular church within whose boundaries the monastery is
located, to the Federation, and to the “Fund for the nuns”.
73 In the event of the suppression of a totally extinct monastery, when
there are no surviving nuns, unless otherwise provided by the Holy See,
the destination of the suppressed monastery's assets, in compliance with canon
and civil law, go to the respective higher juridical person, that is, to the
Federation of monasteries or to another structure of communion among the
monasteries equal to it or to the female monastic Congregation.
VI. Ecclesial Vigilance of the Monastery
74. Each structure of communion or government in which female monasteries
can be configured, are guaranteed the necessary and due supervision, exercised
principally – but not exclusively – through the regular visit of an authority
external to the monasteries themselves.
75. Under the universal and proper law, the service of supervision corresponds
1. The President of the female monastic Congregation in reference to
the communities of the congregated monasteries;
2. The Major Superior of the male associated institute, who is called
the religious Ordinary, in reference to the community of the juridically
associated female monastery, according to the law;
3. The diocesan Bishop in reference to the communities of monasteries
entrusted to his special vigilance according to the norm of law
present in his own particular church.
76. Each female monastery is entrusted to the vigilance of a single authority,
since the regime of simultaneous and cumulative “double dependence”, that
is, of the Bishop and of the regular Superior, present in various canons of the
Code of Canon Law of 1917, is no longer present in the Code of Canon Law.
77. As regards the monasteries of nuns united in the monastic
Congregation, the scope and concrete methods for carrying out the service of
vigilance are to be drawn from the Constitutions of the female monastic
Congregation, approved by the Holy See.
78. As regards the monasteries of juridically associated nuns, the scope and
modalities for carrying out the service of vigilance by the religious Ordinary
are established in their own Constitutions, approved by the Holy See, in which
must be defined the rights and duties of the associate Superior and of the
associated female monastery, according to their own spirituality and traditions.
79. As far as possible, the legal association of monasteries of nuns to the
corresponding male order should be encouraged
in order to protect the identity of the charismatic family
80. Congregated monasteries and juridically associated monasteries, however,
remain bound to the diocesan Bishop as established by the universal law and
reported in no. 83 of the present Instruction.
81. As regards the female monasteries entrusted to the particular vigilance of
the diocesan Bishop, this is expressed in respect to the monastery community
mainly in the cases established by the universal law; as the diocesan Bishop,
a) presides over the conventual Chapter that elects the Major Superior.
b) carries out the regular visit of the monastery, also with regard to internal
discipline, taking into account
the provisions of this Instruction;
c) examines, as the Local Ordinary, the annual report of the financial
administration of the monastery;
d) in derogation from can. 638, §4 CJC, gives as Local Ordinary, his written
consent for particular administrative acts, if established by its proper law.
e) confirms the indult of definitive departure from the monastery, granted to a
temporary professed member by the Major Superior with the consent of her Council;
f) issues the decree of dismissal of a nun, even of temporary vows.
82. These cases, expressed to delineate the scope and modality of the particular
vigilance of the diocesan Bishop, form the basis of the scope and the vigilance
of the religious Ordinary of the Associating Institute over the juridically
associated female monastery and must be present in the Constitutions of the
VII. Relations between the Monastery and the
83. All female monasteries, without prejudice to internal autonomy
and possible external exemption
are subject to the diocesan Bishop, who exercises pastoral care in the following
a) the community of the female monastery is subject to the power of the Bishop,
to whom it must devote respect and reverence in what concerns the public
exercise of divine worship, the care of souls,
and the forms of apostolate corresponding to their character;
b) the diocesan Bishop, on the
occasion of the pastoral visit or other paternal visits and even in case of
necessity, can provide appropriate solutions himself
when he finds that there are abuses and after appeals made to the Major Superior
have had no effect;
c) the diocesan Bishop intervenes in the erection of the monastery by giving
written consent before the approval of the Apostolic See is requested;
d) the diocesan Bishop intervenes, as local Ordinary, in the appointment of the
chaplain and, always as local
Ordinary, in the approval of ordinary confessors.
Everything must take place “considering the specificity of the proper charism
and the needs of fraternal life in community”;
e) the diocesan Bishop intervenes in the suppression of the monastery by
expressing his opinion;
f) the exclaustrated nun refers to the diocesan Bishop, as the local Ordinary,
and to her Superiors, remaining under their dependence and care;
g) the diocesan Bishop has the faculty, for a just cause, of entering the
cloister and allowing other people to enter, with the consent of the Major
84. For congregated monasteries and associated monasteries, the points of
pastoral care delineated above constitute the only possible forms of
intervention by the diocesan Bishop, since the rights/duties of the President of
the Congregation for the congregated monasteries and the rights/duties of the
religious Ordinary of the Associating Institute towards the associated monastery
must be safeguarded.
85. For monasteries entrusted to the particular vigilance of the diocesan
Bishop, the points of pastoral care just outlined are to be added to those that
the Code of Canon Law presents as expressions of particular vigilance, referred
to in no. 81 of the present Instruction.
THE FEDERATION OF MONASTERIES
I. Nature and End
86. The Federation is a structure of communion among monasteries of the same
Institute erected by the Holy See so that monasteries which share the same
charism do not remain isolated but keep it faithfully and, giving each other
mutual fraternal help, live the indispensable value of communion.
87. The Federation is made up of several autonomous monasteries that have
affinity of spirit and traditions and even if they are not necessarily
configured according to a geographical criterion, as far as possible, they must
not be geographically too distant.
88. The Holy See has the exclusive competence to erect, suspend, unite, and
suppress the Federations of
monasteries of nuns.
89. Likewise, the Holy See has the exclusive competence of ascribing an
autonomous monastery to a Federation or allowing the passage of a monastery from
one Federation to another of the same Institute.
90. The Federation of monasteries of nuns, by the source from which it derives
and by the authority on which it directly depends and is governed, is of
pontifical right, in accordance with canon law.
91. The Statutes of the Federation must conform not only to what is established
by this Instruction, but also to the nature, laws, spirit, and traditions of the
Institute to which they belong.
92. The Federation, in accordance with this Instruction and its Statutes, in the
distinctiveness of its own charism, promotes contemplative life in the
monasteries, guarantees assistance in initial and ongoing formation, as well as
the exchange of nuns and material goods.
93. Pursuant to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution
quaerere, all monasteries must initially enter a Federation.
A monastery, for special reasons that are objective and motivated, with the vote
of the conventual Chapter can ask the Holy See to be exempted from this
obligation. The granting of such dispensation is reserved to the Holy See. A
monastery, for objective and motivated reasons, with the vote of the conventual
Chapter can ask the Holy See to no longer belong to a Federation. The Holy See
must make an appropriate discernment before granting the exit from a Federation.
94. Once canonical erection has been obtained, the Federation seeks legal
recognition also in the civil sphere and places its legal see in one of the
monasteries belonging to it.
95. Several Federations of the same Institute, with the approval of the Holy
See, can constitute a Confederation among them
to give a unitary direction and a certain coordination to the activity of
the single Federations.
96. The Holy See can establish or approve an International Commission for
each Institute with the aim of encouraging the study of themes related to the
contemplative life in relation to its own charism.
97. The legitimately established Federation is a public juridic person in the
Church and is therefore able to acquire, possess, administer, and alienate
temporal, movable and immovable goods, which are ecclesiastical assets, in
accordance with the universal and proper law.
98. To keep alive and strengthen the union of monasteries, implementing one of
the aims of the Federation, a certain communication of goods is encouraged among
the monasteries, coordinated by the Federal President.
99. The communication of goods in a Federation is implemented through
contributions, gifts, loans that monasteries offer other monasteries that have
financial difficulties, and for the common needs of the Federation.
100. The Federation considers the assets in its possession as necessary and
useful means to achieve its goals.
101. Each Federation establishes an economic fund to be able to carry out the
Federation’s aims. This fund serves to cover the ordinary expenses of the
Federation itself and those relating to the formation of nuns at the federal
level, to support the necessities of the subsistence and health of the nuns, to
maintain the buildings, and to support new foundations.
102. The economic fund is nourished by the free donations of the monasteries, by
the donations of benefactors, and by revenues deriving from the alienation of
the assets of suppressed monasteries, as established by the present Instruction.
103. The Federation’s finances are managed by the Federal Council, presided over
by the Federal President, who makes use of the collaboration of the Federal
104. As part of ordinary administration, the Federal President and the Financial
Administrator of the Federation make purchases and carry out valid
administrative tasks within the limits of their role.
105. For expenses and acts of extraordinary administration, the authorization of
the Federal Council and of the Federal Assembly is required, according to the
value of the sum established in the proper law. Each Federation in the Elective
Assembly sets the sum for which it is necessary to have the authorization of the
Federal Council and the Federal Assembly.
106. If it is a negotiation or sale whose value exceeds the sum set by the Holy
See for the individual regions or deals with votive donations made to the Church
of precious items due to their historical and artistic value, the permission of
the Holy See is also required.
107. The validity of the sale and any other negotiation, through which the
financial situation of the Federation could suffer damage, requires the written
permission of the Federal President with the consent of the Council or the
Federal Assembly, depending on the value of the negotiation, established by the
108. In derogation from can. 638, §4 CJC, for the validity of the alienation of
the assets of the suppressed monasteries, the President of the Federation and
the Federal Council, beyond the value of the asset to be alienated, always and
exclusively requires written permission from the Holy See.
109. Unless otherwise provided by the Holy See,
the Federation President disposes of the proceeds from the alienation of the
assets of the totally extinct monasteries belonging to the Federation, as
established by this Instruction.
II. The Federal President
110. The President of the Federation, elected by the Federal Assembly in
accordance with the Statutes of the Federation for a period of six years, is not
a Major Superior and, in the exercise of her service, acts on the strength of
what the present Instruction attributes to her
in accordance with the universal and proper law.
111. In exemption of can. 628, §2, 1° CJC, the Federation President, within the
established time, accompanies the Regular Visitator in the canonical visit to
the federated monasteries as a Co-Visitator.
112. The President of the Federation, when it comes to the canonical visit to
the community of her own monastery, will delegate a Federal Councilor as a
Co-Visitator of the regular Visitator.
113. The President of the Federation, whenever the need requires it, can visit
the communities of the federated monasteries accompanied by a Co-Visitator,
chosen in turn from among the Councilors, and by the Financial Administrators of
114. All other visits – maternal or sisterly – are agreed on with the Superior
of the monastery.
115. The President of the Federation, at the end of the canonical visit,
indicates in writing to the Major Superior of the monastery, the most suitable
solutions for the cases and situations that emerged during the visit and informs
the Holy See of everything.
116. During the canonical visit, the President of the Federation verifies how
the items contained in the points listed in no. 12 and developed in nos. 13-35
of the Apostolic Constitution
quaerere, are lived
and if the inherent application rules, decided in the Federal Assemblies, are
117. The Federation President, in particular, watches over initial and ongoing
formation in the monasteries to see if it is in conformity with the charism
proper to the Institute, so that every community may be a beacon that illumines
the journey of the men and women of our time.
At the end of the visit, she will inform the Holy See about the real
possibilities that the monastery has or does not have of guaranteeing initial
118. The formation of the formators and their collaborators is entrusted in part
to the monasteries and in part to the Federation, therefore, the President of
the Federation is called to strengthen formation at the federal level
and to require the participation of those who exercise the service of formation;
if this does not happen, she will refer the matter to the Holy See.
119. The President of the Federation provides the formation foreseen by the
Federal Assembly for those who are called to exercise the service of authority
and requires their participation; if this does not happen, she will refer the
matter to the Holy See.
120. The President of the Federation, having heard the opinion of the Federal
Council, chooses the most appropriate places to hold the specific formative
courses for the formators and their collaborators, as well as those who are
called to exercise the service of authority, establishing the duration of these
courses in such a way that they are not detrimental to the needs of the
contemplative life and of the
121. When an autonomous monastery no longer possesses a real autonomy of life,
it is the responsibility of the Federation President to report the matter to the
122. When the Major Superior of a monastery denies a nun consent for the passage
to another monastery of the same Institute, the Federation President, having
made due discernment with her Council on the matter, communicates this to the
Holy See, who decides what to do.
III. The Federal Council
123. The Federal Council is composed of four councilors elected by the Federal
Assembly from among all the solemnly professed nuns of the monasteries of the
Federation and remains in office for six years.
124. The Federal Council has jurisdiction over what is attributed to it by this
Instruction and what may be
established in the Statutes; nevertheless, the Federation President can consult
it whenever she sees fit
125. The Federal Council is consulted by the Federation President at the end of
each canonical visit, before sending in writing to the Major Superior of the
monastery, the best solutions to the cases and situations that emerged during
126. The Federal Council expresses its opinion in choosing the most appropriate
times and places to hold specific formation courses for the formators and their
collaborators, as well as for those who are called to exercise the service of
127. The Federal Council collaborates with the Federation President in drafting
the Report on the state of the Federation and of the individual monasteries, to
be sent to the Holy See at the end of the six-year term.
128. The Federal Council is consulted by the Federation President before sending
the request for affiliation or suppression of a monastery to the Holy See.
129 The Federal Council gives its consent to the choice of the Federal
Formator who carries out and coordinates initial formation in common.
Likewise, for serious reasons, it expresses its consent for the removal of the
130. In exemption of can. 686, §2 CJC, the Federal Council gives its consent for
the request of the indult of exclaustration for a nun of solemn vows, after the
year granted by the Major Superior of the monastery, up to the completion of
131. The Federal Council gives its consent for the request for the extension of
the indult of exclaustration for a nun of solemn vows, to be requested from the
Holy See. Before presenting the matter to the Federal Council, the Federal President must
obtain the written opinion of the Major Superior of the nun professed with
solemn vows asking for the extension of the indult, expressed collegially
together with the Council of the monastery, with the consent of the local
Ordinary where the nun will have to live, and having acquired the opinion of the
diocesan Bishop or of the competent religious Ordinary.
132. The Federal Council assumes the functions of the Council of the autonomous
monastery when the latter, through affiliation, is entrusted to the Federation
President in the process of accompaniment for the revitalization or for the
suppression of the monastery.
IV. The Federal Assembly
133. The communion that exists among monasteries becomes visible in the Federal
Assembly, a sign of unity in charity, whose primary task is to protect the
charismatic patrimony of the Institute among the federated monasteries and to
promote an adequate renewal in harmony with it, providing that no Federation of
monasteries of nuns or Confederation of Federations represents the entire
134. The Federal President, the Federal Councilors, the Federal Financial
Administrator, the Major Superior, and a Delegate from each autonomous federated
monastery, elected by the conventual Chapter, are members of the Federal
Assembly; the Federal Secretary functions solely as an actuary.
135. The Ordinary Federal Assembly is convened every six years and the federal
offices are renewed in it.
136. The Intermediate Federal Assembly is convened every three years to verify
the progress made and to adopt any remedies or changes within them.
137. If necessity requires or expediency suggests it, the Federal President,
with the consent of the Federal Council, can convoke the Extraordinary Federal
138. The Federal Assembly, both ordinary and interim, is convened by the
President at least six months before the expiration of the six-year period or
the completion of the three-year period.
139. The Extraordinary Federal Assembly is convened by the President two months
before its celebration.
140. With the cessation of the office of the Federal President, by death or in
other ways provided by law, the
first Councilor convenes, within one month of the office's vacancy, the
Extraordinary Federal Assembly, to be celebrated within two months of the
convocation. In this case, the Federal Councilors and the Federal Financial
Administrator are elected again.
141. The Federal Assembly:
a. receives the report of the Federal President on the state of the Federation and
of the individual monasteries;
b. elects the Federal President and the Federal Council;
c elects the Federal Financial Administrator;
d. deals with issues of major importance;
e makes decisions and issues norms that all nuns are required to observe, after
the definitive approval of the Holy See;
f. develops for a six-year period, the common formation courses that each community
is obliged to carry out;
g. promotes the creation of new foundations and the methods for implementing them,
both as single monasteries and as a federation;
h. identifies a monastery as the place of initial common formation for the
monasteries of the Federation;
i. establishes a formation plan for those who are called to exercise the service of
authority and for the Formators.
V. Federal Offices
142. The administration of the Federation is entrusted to the Federal Financial
Administrator, elected by the Federal Assembly for six years.
143. The Federal Financial Administrator has the responsibility to carry out
what is established by the Federal Council and collaborates with the Federation
President, in the context of the regular Visit, in verifying the financial
performance of the individual monasteries, noting their positive and critical
aspects, data that must appear in the final Report of the visit.
144. The Federal Secretary is chosen by the Federation President and remains in
office for six years; this office can be carried out by one of the Federal
145. The Federal Secretary, as far as possible, resides in the monastery
selected as the legal see of the Federation and retains the documents there and
keeps the Federation archives updated.
146. Following the indications of the Federation President, the Federal
Secretary draws up the agenda and convenes the Federal Council, during which she
acts as an actuary.
147. The Federal Secretary, following the indications of the Federation
President, prepares the Federal Assembly.
148. The Federal Formator is
appointed ad nutum by the Federation President with the consent of the
Federal Council. The Federal Formator may be removed from her office for serious
reasons, by the Federation President with the consent of the same Council.
VI. The Religious Assistant
149. The Federation Assistant represents the Holy See for the Federation, but
not for the individual monasteries that comprise it, and carries out his task
faithfully following the provisions relating to this office and carrying out the
task received within the limits of his competence.
150. The Federation Assistant, since he participates to a certain extent in the
jurisdiction of the Holy See, is a presbyter appointed by the Congregation for
Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life for one or more
151. The Federation Assistant is not a Major Superior and carries out his task
in a spirit of collaboration and service towards the Federation by encouraging
the preservation of the genuine spirit of the Institute and helping the
President and her Council in the conduct of the Federation, especially in
formation at the federal level and in solving the most important financial
152. The appointment of the Federation Assistant is reserved to the Holy See,
but the Federation has the faculty of presentation.
153. The appointment of the Assistant is ad nutum Sanctae Sedis.
154. The Federation President, within the established time, is obliged to
present to the Holy See the names of three possible candidates for the office of
Federation Assistant, attaching the results of the previous consultations of the
communities of the single monasteries of the Federation, the curriculum vitae
of each candidate, her own opinion and that of the Federation Council, the
nulla osta of the Ordinaries of the candidates. The Holy See reserves to
itself, in the manner deemed most appropriate and convenient, to integrate
information concerning candidates to the office of Assistant.
155. Each year, the Federation Assistant must send a brief report of his work,
on the progress of the Federation, reporting any particular situations. At the
conclusion of his mandate, the Assistant sends a more detailed report on the
state of the Federation to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life
and Societies of Apostolic Life
SEPARATION FROM THE WORLD
I. Concept and Relevance for Contemplative Life
156. Starting from the wordings of the Code,
it is affirmed that the separation from the world characterizes the nature and
purpose of the religious Institutes of consecrated life and corresponds to the
Pauline dictate of not conforming to the mentality of this century,
fleeing from every form of worldliness.
For the religious life, the cloister is a common obligation for all Institutes
and expresses the material aspect of separation from the world – which, however,
does not exhaust its scope – contributing to create in every religious house an
atmosphere and an environment favorable to recollection, necessary for the life
of each religious Institute, but particularly for those dedicated to
157. In the contemplative life of nuns, the aspect of separation from the world
deserves particular attention for the high esteem that the Christian community
nurtures towards this kind of life, sign of the exclusive union of the
Church-Bride with her Lord, supremely loved.
158. The life of contemplative nuns, engaged in prayer in a very special way, in
order to keep the heart constantly turned towards the Lord, in asceticism, and
in the fervid progress of spiritual life, is nothing other than a striving to
the heavenly Jerusalem, an anticipation of the Eschatological Church, fixed on
the possession and contemplation of the face of God.
159. The community of the monastery of nuns, placed as a city on the mountain
top and a light on the lampstand,
even in the simplicity of its life, visibly depicts the goal towards which the
whole ecclesial community walks, ardent in action and dedicated to
contemplation, it advances along the paths of time with eyes fixed on the future
recapitulation of everything in Christ.
160. The material aspect of separation from the world has a particular
manifestation in the cloister, which is the place of the Church’s intimacy
because, in the light of the particular vocation and ecclesial mission, the
cloister of the contemplatives responds to the need, perceived as a priority, to
remain with the Lord.
161. With the name cloister, we mean the monastic space separated from the
outside and reserved for the nuns, in which the presence of strangers can only
be admitted in case of necessity. It must be a space of silence and recollection
where the permanent search for the face of God can develop, according to the
charism of the Institute.
162. The cloister evokes that cell of the heart where each one is called
to live in union with the Lord. Accepted as a gift and a choice as a free
response to love, it is the place of spiritual communion with God and neighbor,
where the limitation of space and contacts works to the advantage of the
internalization of evangelical values.
163. The cloister is not only an ascetic means of immense value, but a way of
living the Passover of Christ, as a joyful proclamation and prophetic
anticipation of the possibility offered to each person and to the whole of
humanity to live solely for God, in Christ Jesus.
164. In the monasteries of nuns, the cloister must be understood in a positive
sense as a space for the use and intimacy of the nuns who live the contemplative
life, a space of domestic and family life, within which the community lives
fraternal life in its most intimate dimension.
165. In monasteries of nuns, the cloister, in a privative sense, is to be
considered as a space to be protected, to prevent access by strangers.
166. The modality of separation from the outside of the space exclusively
reserved for the nuns must be material and effective, not just symbolic or
spiritual. It is the responsibility of the Conventual Chapter of the monastery
to determine the modality of separation from the outside.
167. Each monastery is obliged to maintain its primarily or predominantly
contemplative physiognomy with all solicitude, engaging in a special way to
create and live an area of external and interior silence in prayer,
in asceticism, and fervent spiritual progress, in the careful celebration of the
liturgy, in fraternal life in common, in regular observance, and in the
discipline of separation from the world.
II. The Means of Communication
168. The legislation concerning the means of social communication, in all the
variety in which it is presented today, aims at safeguarding recollection and
silence: in fact, it is possible to empty contemplative silence when the
cloister is filled with noises, news, and words. Recollection and silence are of
great importance for the contemplative life as "the necessary space for
listening and pondering His Word and the prerequisite for that gaze of faith
that enables us to welcome God’s presence in our own life and in that of the
sisters [...] and in the events of today’s world ".
169. These means must therefore be used with sobriety and discretion, not only
with regard to the contents but also to the quantity of information and the type
of communication, “that they may be at the service of formation for the
contemplative life and necessary communication, and do not become occasions for
wasting time or escaping from the demands of fraternal life in community, nor
should they prove harmful for your vocation, or become an obstacle to your life
wholly dedicated to contemplation”
170. The use of the means of communication for reasons of information, formation
or work, can be allowed in the monastery, with prudent discernment, for common
utility, according to the provisions of the Conventual Chapter contained in the
community plan of life.
171. The nuns procure necessary information on the Church and the world, not
with a multiplicity of news, but knowing how to grasp the essential in the light
of God, to bring it to prayer in harmony with the heart of Christ.
III. The Cloister
172. Every single monastery of nuns or female monastic Congregation, according
to can. 667, §3 CJC and of the present Instruction, conforms to papal cloister
or defines it in the Constitutions or in another code of the proper law,
respecting its own character.
173. The diocesan Bishop or the religious Ordinary oversees the observance of
the cloister in the monasteries entrusted to their
respective care, helping the Superior, who is responsible for its immediate
174. In derogation from the provision of can. 667, §4 CJC, the diocesan Bishop,
as well as the religious Ordinary, does not intervene in granting dispensation
from the cloister.
175. In derogation of the provisions of can. 667, §4 CJC, the dispensation from
the cloister rests solely with the Major Superior who, in the event that such
dispensation exceeds fifteen days, can grant it only after having obtained the
consent of her Council.
176. The limitation in the Instruction Verbi Sponsa
has been repealed; for just cause the Major Superior, according to the norm of
can. 665, § 1 CJC, with the consent of her Council, may authorize the absence
from the monastery of a nun with solemn vows for not more than a year, after
hearing the diocesan Bishop or the competent religious Ordinary.
177. In derogation of can. 686, §2 CJC, the Major Superior, with the consent of
her Council, can grant the indult of exclaustration to a nun professed with
solemn vows, for not more than a year, after the consent of the Ordinary of the
place where the nun will have to live, and after having heard the opinion of the
diocesan Bishop or of the competent religious Ordinary.
178. In derogation of can. 686, §2 CJC, an extension of the indult of
exclaustration can be granted by the Federal President with the consent of her
Council, for a nun professed with solemn vows of a monastery of the Federation
for a period of no more than two years.
179. For this concession, the Federal President before presenting the matter to
the Federal Council, must obtain the written opinion of the Major Superior of
the nun professing solemn vows who is asking for the extension of the indult,
expressed collegially together with the Council of the monastery, with the prior
consent of the Ordinary of the place where the nun will have to live, and having
acquired the opinion of the diocesan Bishop or of the competent religious
180. Any further extension of the indult of exclaustration is reserved solely to
the Holy See.
181. During the canonical visit, the Visitators are required to verify the
observance of all the elements proper to the contemplative life as described in
with particular reference to the aspect of separation from the world.
182. The Church, because of the highest esteem it nourishes towards their
vocation, encourages the nuns to live faithfully and with a sense of
responsibility the spirit and the discipline of the cloister to promote in the
community a fruitful and complete orientation towards the contemplation of God
One and Triune.
IV. Papal Cloister
183. The papal cloister, established in 1298 by Boniface VIII, is that "in
conformity with the norms given by the Apostolic See”
and excludes external works of apostolate.
184. If Pius XII had distinguished it in major and minor papal cloister,
the Code of Canon Law recognizes only one type of papal cloister, which is
observed in the monasteries of nuns entirely dedicated to the contemplative life.
185. Papal cloister for nuns means the recognition of the specificity of an
entirely contemplative life which, by individually developing the spirituality
of the marriage with Christ, becomes a sign and realization of the exclusive
union of the Church Bride with her Lord.
186. A real separation from the world, primarily marked by silence and solitude,
expresses and protects the integrity and identity of wholly contemplative life,
so that it may be faithful to its specific charism and to the sound traditions
of the Institute.
187. A wholly contemplative life, to be considered of papal cloister, must be
fundamentally ordered to the attainment of union with God in contemplation.
188. An Institute is considered to be of wholly contemplative life if:
a) Its members direct all activities, both interior and exterior, to the intense
and continuous search for union with God in the monastery and to the
contemplation of His face;
b) It excludes external and direct tasks of apostolate and ordinarily, physical
participation in events and ministries of the ecclesial community. This
participation, subject to the consent of the Conventual Chapter, must be
permitted only on special occasions by the diocesan Bishop or by the religious
Ordinary of the monastery;
c) It implements separation from the world, according to concrete modalities
established by the Conventual Chapter, in a radical, concrete, and effective way
and not simply symbolic, in accordance with the universal and proper law, in
line with the Institute's charism.
V. Norms Regarding Papal Cloister
189. Given the variety of Institutes dedicated to a wholly contemplative life
and of their traditions, in addition to what is established in this Instruction,
some modalities of separation from the world are left to the Constitutions or
other codes of the Institute's proper law which, in line with its own charism,
can also establish stricter rules concerning the cloister, which must be
approved by the Apostolic See.
190. The law of papal cloister extends to the dwelling and to all the interior
and exterior spaces of the monastery reserved exclusively for the nuns in which
the presence of strangers can be admitted only in case of necessity. It must be
a space of silence and recollection, facilitated by the absence of external
works, where the permanent search for the face of God can develop more easily,
according to the Institute's charism.
191. The participation of the faithful in liturgical celebrations in the church
or oratory of the monastery or in the lectio divina does not allow the
exit of the nuns from papal cloister nor the entry of the faithful into the
nuns’ choir, except in special cases at the judgment of the conventual Chapter.
192. By virtue of papal cloister law, the nuns, novices, and postulants must
live within the cloister of the monastery, and it is not lawful for them to
leave, except in the cases contemplated by law nor is it permissible for anyone
to enter the cloister of the monastery, except for the foreseen cases.
193. In monasteries of wholly contemplative life, the legislation on separation
from the world of external sisters, if contemplated by the Constitutions or
other codes of the Institute's own law, is defined by particular law.
194. The granting of permission to enter and leave the papal enclosure always
requires a just cause, dictated by the true necessity of the individual nuns or
of the monastery: this is required to protect the necessary conditions for a
wholly contemplative life and, on the part of the nuns, of consistency with the
195. Where it is customary, the use of writing entries and exits in a book can
be preserved, at the discretion of the Conventual Chapter, also as a
contribution to the knowledge of the life and history of the monastery.
196. It is up to the Major Superior of the monastery to safeguard immediately
the cloister, to guarantee the concrete conditions of separation from the world,
and to promote, within the monastery, the love for silence, recollection, and
197. It is up to the Major Superior to express her judgment on the opportuneness
of the entrances and exits from the papal cloister, evaluating with prudent
discretion the necessity, in the light of the wholly contemplative vocation, as
established by the Constitutions or other text of the proper law and prescribed
by the present Instruction.
198. It is up to the Major Superior of the monastery with papal cloister to
appoint a nun professed with solemn vows for the service of the porter's lodge
and, if the law does not contemplate the presence of external nuns, to allow a
sister to perform the services of the external sisters for a limited period of
199. The entire community is responsible for the moral obligation of protection,
promotion, and observance of papal cloister, so that secondary or subjective
motivations do not prevail over the purpose of this type of separation.
200. Leaving the papal cloister, unless with particular indults of the Holy See
or in case of danger, is permitted by the Major Superior in ordinary cases,
regarding the health of the nuns, the assistance of the infirm nuns,
participation in courses of initial and ongoing formation meetings organized by
the Federation or by another monastery, the exercise of civil rights, and those
necessities of the monastery which cannot be provided for any other way.
201. To send novices or professed nuns with temporary vows when necessary to
perform part of their formation in another monastery of the Institute, as well
as to make temporary or definitive transfers to other monasteries of the same
Institute, the Major Superior expresses her consent, with the intervention of
the Council or of the Conventual Chapter according to the Constitutions or of
another code of the proper law.
202. Entry into papal cloister is permitted, except for special indults of the
Holy See, to Cardinals who may bring with them someone accompanying them, to
Nuncios and Apostolic Delegates in places subject to their jurisdiction, to
Visitators during the canonical visitation, to the diocesan Bishop,
to the competent religious Ordinary, and to other persons at the judgment of the
Major Superior and for a just cause.
203. Furthermore, entry into the papal cloister is allowed, subject to the
permission of the Superior:
– to the priest to administer the sacraments to the sick, to assist those who
are chronically or seriously ill, to celebrate Mass for them sometimes, for
liturgical processions, and funerals;
– to those whose jobs or skills are necessary to attend to the nuns' health, for
formation, and to provide for the needs of the monastery;
– to their aspirants and passing nuns, also from other institutes of
VI. The Cloister Defined in the Constitutions
204. The monasteries which associate with the contemplative life some activity
for the benefit of the people of God or practice wider forms of hospitality in
line with the tradition of their own Institute, define their cloister in the
Constitutions or in another code of the proper law.
a. Constitutional Cloister
205. The constitutional cloister, which has replaced in the Code of Canon Law
the minor papal cloister of Pius XII, is a type of cloister regarding nuns who
profess the contemplative life by associating "some legitimate work of
apostolate or Christian charity".
206. The name of constitutional cloister means the monastic space separated from
the outside which, as a minimum, must include that part of the monastery of farm
land or gardens reserved exclusively to the nuns, where only in case of
necessity can the presence of externs be admitted. It must be a space of silence
and recollection, where the permanent search for the face of God can develop,
according to the charism of the Institute, in consideration of the works of
apostolate or charity exercised by the nuns.
207. This type of cloister, "appropriate to the proper character and defined
by the Constitutions" is
approved by the Apostolic See that approves the Constitutions or another code of
the Institute's own law.
b. Monastic Cloister
208. To the expressions papal cloister and constitutional cloister, known from
the Code of Canon Law, St. John Paul II in the post-synodal apostolic
exhortation Vita Consacrata
added a third one, monastic cloister.
209. Before Vita Consacrata this expression had been used to define the
cloister of the monks, more
rigorous than that common to all religious,
but less rigid than the papal one and comparable, in some respects, to the
constitutional cloister of nuns.
210. For monasteries of contemplative nuns, the monastic cloister, while
retaining the character of a more rigorous discipline than the common one, makes
it possible to associate the primary function of divine worship with wider forms
of reception and hospitality.
211. The monastic cloister, as described in the Constitutions or in another code
of the proper law, is a special expression of the constitutional cloister.
VII. Regulations Regarding Constitutional Cloister
212. It is the responsibility of the Major Superior of the monastery, with the
consent of her Council, to clearly determine the extent of the constitutional
cloister, to limit it, and to modify it for just cause.
213. By virtue of the law of constitutional cloister, the nuns, novices, and
postulants must live within the cloister of the monastery, and it is not
permissible for them to leave, except in the cases contemplated by law, nor is
it permissible for anyone to enter the cloister of the monastery outside of the
foreseen cases and without the permission of the Superior.
214. The participation of the faithful in liturgical celebrations in the church
or in the monastery or lectio divina in another suitable place of the
monastery, allows the exit of the nuns from constitutional cloister remaining
within the same monastery, while the entrance of the faithful is always
forbidden in the part of the house subject to this type of cloister.
215. Every nun is co-responsible and must contribute, with great esteem for
silence and solitude, to ensure that the external regulation of constitutional
cloister preserves that fundamental inner value, through which the cloister is a
source of spiritual life and witness to the presence of God.
216. They can enter the constitutional cloister of the monastery, with the
consent of the Major Superior:
a) The people needed to serve the community from a spiritual,
formative, and material point of view;
b) The nuns from other communities who are passing through or are
guests in the monastery;
c) Young women in vocational discernment.
217. The Major Superior of the monastery may permit exits from the
constitutional cloister for a just cause, taking into account the indications
given by the present Instruction.
218. The Major Superior of the monastery with constitutional cloister appoints
nuns for the service of doorkeeper and of the guesthouse and authorizes some
nuns to work in the monastery's works or workshops outside the sphere of the
cloister, regulating their stay outside it.
219. A nun becomes with full rights a member of the community of the monastery
sui juris and participates in its spiritual and temporal goods with the
profession of solemn vows, the free and definitive response to the call of the
220. The candidates prepare themselves for solemn profession passing through the
various stages of the monastic life, during which they receive an adequate
formation and, although in a different degree, they are part of the community of
I. General Principles
221. Formation in contemplative monastic life is based on a personal encounter
with the Lord. It begins with the call of God and the decision of each one to
follow, according to her own charism, the footsteps of Christ, as His disciple,
under the action of the Holy Spirit.
222. While the acquisition of knowledge remains important, formation in the
consecrated life, and particularly in contemplative monastic life, consists
above all in identifying with Christ. In fact, it is a question of "a
progressive assimilation of Christ's sentiments towards the Father”,
to the point of being able to say with St. Paul: "for me, to live is Christ".
223. Both the candidates and the nuns must bear in mind that in the formation
process, it is not so much a matter of acquiring concepts, as "of knowing the
love of Christ that goes beyond all knowledge”.
All this makes the formation process last a lifetime and every nun always feels
she is in formation.
224. Formation as a continuous process of growth and conversion that involves
the whole person must favor the development of the human, Christian, and
monastic dimension of the candidates and nuns, radically living the Gospel, so
that one's life becomes a prophecy.
225. Formation for the contemplative monastic life must be integral, that is,
taking the person as a whole into account so that she develops her own psychic,
moral, affective, and intellectual gifts harmoniously and becomes actively
involved in community life. None of these dimensions of the person must remain
excluded from the scope of either initial or ongoing formation.
226. Contemplative monastic formation must be organic, gradual, and coherent in
its various stages, as it is called to promote the development of the person in
a harmonious and progressive way, in full respect of the uniqueness of each one.
227. Under the action of the Holy Spirit, both candidates and nuns are the main
protagonists of their formation and responsible for accepting and internalizing
all the values of the monastic life.
228. For this reason, the formation process must be attentive to the uniqueness
of each sister and to the mystery that she bears in herself and to her
particular gifts, to foster her growth through self-knowledge and the search for
the will of God.
229. In initial formation, the figure of the formator is particularly important.
In fact, even if "God the Father is the formator par excellence", however
"in this artisan work He uses human mediations" among which are the
formators, "whose main mission is to show the beauty of following the Lord
and the value of the charism in which it is accomplished”.
230. It is the responsibility of the individual monastery and of the Federation
to pay particular attention to the selection of the formators and to take care
of their formation.
II. Ongoing Formation
231. For ongoing formation, we mean an itinerary of the whole of life,
both personal and community, "which must lead to configuration to the Lord
Jesus and the assimilation of His feelings in His total oblation to the Father”.
It is therefore a process of continuous conversion of the heart, "an
intrinsic requirement of religious consecration”,
and the need for creative fidelity to one's own vocation. Ongoing formation is
the humus of initial formation.
232. As such, ongoing formation must be considered as a priority both in the
plan of community life and in the plan of life of each nun
233. The purpose of ongoing formation is to nourish and preserve fidelity, both
of the individual nun and of the community, and to bring to completion what was
begun in initial formation, so that the consecrated person can express fully her
own gift in the Church, according to a specific charism.
234. What characterizes this stage compared to the others is the lack of
ulterior short-term goals, and this can have a psychological impact: there is
nothing left to prepare for, but only a daily life to be lived in the full gift
of oneself to the Lord and to the Church.
235. Ongoing formation takes place in the context of daily life: in prayer and
work, in the world of relationships, particularly in fraternal life in
community, and in rapport with the outside, according to the contemplative
236. Ongoing formation cultivates the spiritual, doctrinal, and professional
capacity, the updating and maturation of the contemplative, so that she can
carry out her service to the monastery, to the Church, and to the world in an
ever more appropriate manner, according to this form of life and the indications
of the Apostolic Constitution
237. Every nun is encouraged to take responsibility for her own human,
Christian, and charismatic growth, through the personal plan of life, dialog
with the sisters of the monastic community, and in particular, with her Major
Superior, as well as through spiritual direction and appropriate studies
contemplated in the Guidelines for Contemplative Monastic Life.
238. Each community, together with the community plan, is called to develop a
systematic and integral permanent formation program which embraces the whole
existence of the person.
This program will be structured taking into account the different seasons of
life and of the various
services exercised by nuns, especially by Superiors and formators.
239. The Major Superior promotes the ongoing formation of the community through
the Conventual Chapter, the days of retreat, the annual spiritual exercises, the
sharing of the Word of God, periodic revisions of life, recreations in common,
study days, personal dialog with the sisters, fraternal encounters.
240. It is the responsibility of the Major Superior and of each member of the
community to ensure that fraternal life is formative and helps each sister on
her journey towards total configuration with Christ, the ultimate goal of the
whole formation process, and
to manifest at every moment of her life "full and joyous belonging to Christ”.
241. Notwithstanding that the ordinary place of ongoing formation is her own
monastery and that fraternal life must favor the sisters' formation journey,
in order to ensure a more adequate ongoing formation, collaboration between
different monastic communities is warmly recommended, using the appropriate
means of communication.
III. Instruments of Ongoing Formation
242. Surely the first instrument of ongoing formation for all consecrated
persons, even more so for contemplatives, is care of the life of prayer:
liturgies well prepared and dignified, according to the possibility of the
community; fidelity to moments of personal prayer to guarantee that space where
one can establish an intimate relationship with the Lord; care of the
relationship with the Word, through personal lectio and community
collatio, when possible.
243. Care and attention to the sacrament of reconciliation and spiritual
direction, attention to the choice of confessors prepared to support and
accompany the journey of a community of contemplative life with discretion,
wisdom, and prudence.
244. Intellectual formation must be guaranteed through a plan established
by the community that possibly takes into account the cultural level of all, so
that everyone can gather something useful for their own journey.
245. Also useful and important are the formation courses common to several
monasteries of the same charismatic family,
thus, federal or inter-federal courses, without forgetting that "formation,
especially ongoing formation ..., has its own humus in the community and in
246. A climate of genuine fraternal relationships, marked by true charity
and goodness, is fundamental for allowing each member of the community to have
her own space for life and expression.
247. It is the task of each of them to find the right balance in the gift of
self through work, so that the latter may be lived as a serene and joyful
service to God and to the community. However, the community is also responsible
for seeing that no one is over-burdened by particularly heavy works, which
absorb the energies of the mind and body to the detriment of spiritual life.
Work as such can be a way to put to good use one’s talents and therefore a help
for the expression of the beauty of the person; it becomes dangerous when it is
absolutized and captures attention to the detriment of the spirit.
248. Ascetic means must not be neglected that are of the tradition of
each spirituality, as a way of curbing the instincts of one's own nature and
channeling them towards service to the kingdom according to their own charism..
249. Even the proper information about what is happening in the world is
an important means of reviving the awareness and responsibility of one's
apostolic mission through the means of communication, using them with prudence
and discretion, so that it is not detrimental to the contemplative life.
IV. Initial Formation
250 Initial formation is the privileged time in which the sisters who are
candidates for the contemplative monastic life, with a special accompaniment of
the formator and the community, are initiated in the sequela of Christ,
according to a particular charism, progressively assuming and integrating their
particular personal gifts with the authentic and characteristic values of their vocation.
251. Initial formation is structured in three consecutive stages: the
postulancy, the novitiate, and the time of temporary or junior profession,
preceded by aspirancy, in which the candidates grow and mature up to the
definitive assumption of the monastic life in a given Institute.
252. In initial formation, it is of great importance that between the various
stages there is harmony and gradualness of content. It is equally important that
between initial formation and ongoing or continuous formation there is
continuity and coherence, so that there is created in the subject “the
readiness to let themselves be formed every day of their lives”.
253. keeping in mind that the person is built very slowly, and that formation
must be attentive to root in the heart “the attitudes of Christ toward the
Father” and the proper
human, Christian, and charismatic values, “ample time must be reserved for
initial formation”, “no
less than nine years and not more than twelve”.
254. Activated during this time is “a serene discernment, free from the
temptations of numbers and of efficiency”.
Moreover, in each monastery special attention must be paid to spiritual and
vocational discernment, ensuring candidates a personalized accompaniment and
promoting appropriate formation itineraries.,
paying particular attention so that formation is truly integral - human,
Christian, and charismatic - and touches all the dimensions of the person.
255. The establishment of international and multicultural monastic communities
manifests the universality of a charism, therefore the reception of vocations
coming from other Countries must be the object of adequate discernment.
256. One of the reception criteria is given by the prospect of spreading
monastic life tomorrow in particular churches where this form of following
Christ is not present
257. The recruitment of candidates from other countries solely for the sake of
ensuring the survival of a monastery it to be absolutely avoided.
258. Every monastery sui juris, from the moment of its erection is the
place of the novitiate and of initial, permanent or ongoing formation,.
259. In the event that, as part of the canonical visit, it results that the
single monastery sui juris cannot guarantee a quality formation, initial
formation must be taken care of in another monastery of
the Federation or in the initial formation place common to various monasteries.
260. A monastery that is founded but not yet canonically erected and the
affiliated monastery are only the place of permanent or ongoing formation.
261. The founded, but not yet canonically erected monastery, may be the place of
the novitiate and place of initial formation, if the conditions set out in this
Instruction concerning formation are present.
262. The aspirancy, considered as a first knowledge of the monastery by the
candidate and the candidate by the monastery community, involves a series of
contacts and times of community experience, even prolonged. This knowledge will
also be useful to fill any gaps on the path of human and religious formation at
263. It is the responsibility of the Major Superior with her Council, taking
into account each individual candidate, to establish the times and ways that the
aspirant will spend in the community and outside the monastery.
264. The Lord Jesus taught that whoever undertakes an important action must
first carefully consider whether there “is enough for its
For this reason, those who think of beginning the journey of contemplative life
must spend a certain time in reflection regarding their real ability and to
first make a personal verification of the authenticity of their call to the
contemplative monastic life.
265. Having "enough" means possessing natural and psychological gifts,
normal openness to others, psychic balance, a spirit of faith, and a firm will
that make it possible to spend life in community, in continence, in obedience,
in poverty, and in the cloister.
266. Without these initial qualities, one cannot conclude, either on the part of
the aspirant or on the part of the welcoming community, that there is a vocation
to the monastic and contemplative life. Therefore, throughout initial formation,
but particularly during the aspirancy, particular attention must be paid to the
267. During this time, the aspirant is entrusted by the Major Superior to a
solemnly professed sister so that she may be accompanied and guided in her
268. The aspirancy, of a minimum duration of twelve months, may be extended
according to need at the discretion of the Major Superior, after consulting her
Council, but for no longer than two years.
269. The postulancy is a necessary stage for proper preparation for the
novitiate, during which the
candidate confirms her determination to be converted through a progressive
passage from secular life to contemplative monastic life.
270. During this time, the postulant must be gradually introduced to the process
of assimilation of the fundamental elements of contemplative monastic life.
271. The postulancy offers a more direct and concrete experience of community
life according to a specific charism.
272. Before admitting an aspirant to the postulancy, one must examine her state
of health, if her maturity is appropriate for her age, if she has a suitable
disposition, if she is sociable, solid in Christian doctrine and practice, if
she aspires to the monastic life with a sincere intention, seeking the face of
God at all times.
273. The postulant must be entrusted to the novice formator or to a solemnly
professed nun who helps her to look within herself, who can discern if there is
a real call to contemplative monastic life, and to whom the postulant can open
herself with full trust.
274. The postulant, helped by the formator, is especially dedicated to her human
and spiritual formation and deepens her baptismal commitment.
275 The postulancy has a minimum duration of twelve months which can be
prolonged according to need by the Major Superior, having heard her Council, but
it must not exceed two years.
276. During this period, the postulants live in the monastery and follow the
life of the community according to the instructions of the formator and, besides
being helped to know their capacity for monastic life, they can deepen themes of
study or learn a trade, according to the needs of the community, as established
by the Major Superior with her Council.
277. The novitiate is the time when the novice begins life in a given institute;
her vocational discernment continues and the deepening of her own decision to
follow Jesus Christ in the Church and in today's world, according to a
278. The novitiate is the time of trial, and its objective is to lead the candidate
to become more fully aware of the vocation according to a specific charism,
verifying the real and concrete ability to live it with joy and generosity,
particularly in reference to fraternal life in community.
279. The novitiate in monasteries of nuns has a duration of two years, the
second being the canonical one, following the provisions of can. 648 CJC
280. During the novitiate, the novice must first of all deepen her friendship
with Christ because without this she will never be able to assume and keep the
promises of donation to Him and desire to grow in the knowledge of the charism
that she is called to live, questioning herself if she wants to share her
existence in a fraternal life in common with the sisters who make up the
community of the monastery.
281. The novice obtains this through the practice of prolonged lectio divina,
under the guidance of an expert sister who knows how to open her mind to the
intelligence of the Scriptures, guided by the writings of the Fathers of the
Church, and the writings and examples of life of their founders. Intimate
contact with Christ must necessarily lead to a strong sacramental life and to
personal prayer, to which the novice must be guided and for which adequate time
must be granted.
282. Personal prayer finds its outlet in community liturgical prayer, to which
the novice must devote all her best energies. In this atmosphere of love for
Christ and prayer, the novice opens herself to the sisters, loves them
cordially, and lives with them in fraternity.
283. The novice is guided by the formator to cultivate an authentic devotion to
the Virgin Mother of God, model and patron of every consecrated life, and to take her as the example of a consecrated woman.
284. The spiritual edifice cannot be built without human foundations, so the
novices must perfect the gifts of nature and education, and develop their own
personality, feeling truly responsible for their own human, Christian, and
285. In this stage, insertion into the life of the community is full, so the
goal is to experience the capacity of the temporary professed to find a proper
balance between the various dimensions of contemplative monastic life (prayer,
work, fraternal relationships, study ...) , succeeding in creating their own
personal synthesis of the charism and incarnating it in the various situations
of daily life.
286. Without prejudice to what is established by the universal law concerning
the valid and licit profession of temporary vows, the juniorate includes the
period of initial formation from the first profession of temporary vows to
solemn profession, in which the professed continues her spiritual, doctrinal,
and practical formation, according to the charism and the law proper to the
287. Temporary profession is emitted for three years and renewed annually up to
the completion of five years, until a minimum of nine years of initial formation
288. If it seems opportune, the time of temporary profession can be prolonged by
the Major Superior, according to the proper law and the norm of can. 657, §2
CJC, but making sure that twelve years of initial formation are not exceeded.
289. In each monastic community, the path of initial and ongoing or continuous
formation, as well as the formation of the Superior of the monasteries,
of the formators, and of the
financial administrators, will be modulated according to the charism and law of
the Institute, keeping in mind the Guidelines published by the
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life,
as a continuation and completion of the present Instruction.
· The present Instruction does not only concern future things
but it applies in the present to all monasteries of Latin rite nuns from the
moment of its publication.
· The provisions of the Apostolic Constitution
quaerere for all
the monasteries concerning the obligation to enter a Federation of monasteries
also applies to other structures of communion such as the Association of
monasteries or the Conference of monasteries.
· This obligation also applies to monasteries associated with a male institute or
united in an autonomous monastic congregation.
· Individual monasteries must comply with this within one year of the publication
of this Instruction, unless they have been legitimately dispensed.
· Once the time has passed, this Dicastery will assign monasteries to Federations
or to other existing structures of communion.
· The decisions that, after appropriate consultation and prior discussion in the
Congress of the Dicastery, will be taken by this Congregation for Institutes of
Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life towards a monastery of nuns
relating to the call for an apostolic visit, to the commissioning, to the
suspension of autonomy and to the suppression of a monastery will be presented
on a monthly basis to the Roman Pontiff for approval in a specific form.
With this Instruction, this Dicastery intends to confirm the high appreciation
of the Church for the contemplative monastic life and its solicitude to
safeguard the authenticity of this unique form of the sequela Christi.
On March 16, 2018, the Holy Father approved the present document of the
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
and authorized its publication.
On the same date, the Holy Father approved the present Instruction in specific
· nos. 52, 81d and 108, in derogation from can. 638,
· no. 83 g) in derogation from can 667, §4 CJC;
· no. 111 in derogation from can. 628, §2, 1° CJC;
· no. 130 in derogation from can. 686, §2 CJC;
· nos. 174 e 175 in derogation from can. 667, §4 CJC;
· no. 176, which abrogates the restriction of Verbi Sponsa n. 17, §2;
· nos. 177 e 178 in derogation from can. 686, §2 CJC;
· Final Dispositions.
From the Vatican, 1 April 2018
João Braz, Card. de Aviz
+ José Rodriguez Carballo, ofm
Cf. Statuta generalia monialium (= SGM), art. VI, in AAS XXXXIII
(1951), p. 17.
SCE, p. 12; SGM, art. VII, in AAS XXXXIII (1951), pp. 18-19.
SCE, p. 12; SGM, art. VII, in AAS XXXXIII (1951), pp. 18-19.
 Cf. can. 613, §2 and 620 CJC.
 Cf. can. 586, §1 CJC.
 Cf. can. 607, §3 CJC.
 Cf. can. 667, §§2-3 CJC; cf.
 Cf. can. 609, §1 CJC.
 Cf. can. 609, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 610, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 634, §1 CJC.
 Exemption approved in specific form by the Holy Father.
VDq, art. 8, §1; John Paul II,
Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Consecrated Life (= VC) Roma, 25
March 1996, 36-37.
 Cf. can. 616, §1 and §4 CJC.
 Cf. can. 616, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 616, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 625, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 628, §2 n. 1 CJC.
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.
 Cf. can. 688, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can.699, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 678, §1 CJC.
 Cf. can. 392; can. 680 CJC.
 Cf. can. 394; can. 673; can. 674; can. 612 CJC.
 Cf. can. 683, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 630, §3 CJC.
 Cf. can. 616, §1 CJC.
 Partial derogation from can. 667, §4 CJC approved by the Holy Father in a
 Cf. can. 582 CJC;
art. 9, §4.
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in specific form.
 Cf. can. 616, §2 CJC
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.
 Cf. can. 184, §1 CJC.
 Cf. can. 607, §3 CJC.
 Cf. can. 667, §1 CJC.
 Cf. Jn 13: 34; Mt 5: 3.8.
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.
 “It should be noted that the norm of can. 665, §1, on permanence outside
the Institute, does not regard enclosed nuns "Verbi Sponsa, n. 17, §2.
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.
 Exemption approved by the Holy Father in a specific form.
 Cf. can. 686, §1 CJC.
art. IV, n. 1-2; Inter praeclara VI – X.
 Cf. can. 667,§4 CJC.
 Cf. can. 667, §3 CJC.
 Cf. can. 667, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can. 667, §1 CJC.
 VC 69; Starting afresh from Christ, 15.
 Starting afresh from Christ, 18.
 Cf. can. 597, §2 CJC.
 Cf. can 663, §4 CJC.