The Pope’s Rescript on Lay Brothers: Who Can Become Major Superiors

Friday, 20 May 2022

With a Rescript of 18 May 2022, Pope Francis derogated from canon 588 §2 of the CIC and the norms regarding the access of non-clerical religious belonging to clerical Institutes of pontifical right, such as our Order, to government offices at all levels.

For appointment as Guardian, the Decree of appointment of the Minister General with the consent of his Definitory is sufficient; for appointment as Minister Provincial or Custos, the Rescript of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, requested by the Minister General with the consent of his Definitory, is necessary.

For election as Minister General, the General Chapter must request written permission from the same Congregation.

In the last two cases, the Congregation’s response is based on an assessment of the individual case and the reasons put forward by the applicants.

Requested from the Holy Father by eight Superiors General, including the Ministers General of the Franciscan Families, this Rescript fulfils a journey of many years to see the real equality of all brothers in the same fraternity recognised.

In this way, the Church recognises that the participation of all brothers in the life, government and mission of the Fraternity of the Order is determined by the charism.

We are truly happy about this decision of the Holy Father, and we welcome it as a great impulse to deepen our charismatic identity and renew our will to be formed, to live and be in mission as brothers and minors.

In the meeting of the Presidents of the Conferences that closed today, this will was strongly renewed. This calls for renewed adherence to the common vocation and mission from all. We will deepen this at all levels to respond to the gift and responsibility that the Church entrusts to us.

 

Br Massimo Fusarelli, ofm

General Minister

Prot. N. 0371

 

 

Rescript Issued by the Holy Father Francis
about the Derogation from Can. 588 §2 CIC

The Holy Father Francis, during the audience of 11 February, 2022, given to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect and Archbishop-Secretary, has granted the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life the faculty to authorise, discretionally and in individual cases, the conferment of the office of Major Superior in clerical religious institutes of pontifical right and in clerical societies of apostolic life of pontifical right in the Latin Church, and dependent upon it, in derogation of can. 588 §2 CIC and the proper law of the institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life, subject to can. 134 §1.

  1. A non-clerical member of an institute of consecrated life or a clerical apostolic society of apostolic life of pontifical right shall be appointed local superior by the supreme moderator with the consent of his council
  2. A non-clerical member of an institute of consecrated life or a clerical apostolic society of apostolic life of pontifical right shall be appointed Major Superior after obtaining a written license from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life at the request of the Supreme Moderator with the consent of his Council.
  3. A non-clerical member of an institute of consecrated life or a clerical apostolic society of apostolic life of pontifical right shall be elected Supreme Moderator or Major Superior in the manner prescribed by proper law, with confirmation required—by written license—from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
  4. In the cases provided for in can. 134 §§2-3, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life reserves the right to evaluate individual cases and the reasons given by the Supreme Moderator or the General Chapter.

The Holy Father has also ordered the Rescript to go into effect today. It shall be published in L’Osservatore Romano, and subsequently in the official commentary of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis [Acts of the Apostolic See].

From the Vatican, 18 May, 2022

 

João Braz Card. de Aviz

           Prefetto

José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M.

      Arcivescovo Segretario