Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Procedure for a religious institute of diocesan right to obtain pontifical right status, 2001.
In 2003, a religious institute of diocesan right requested information regarding the process for obtaining pontifical status as a religious institute of pontifical right from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. The Congregation sent the religious institute a copy of this procedure as follows.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED IN VIEW OF OBTAINING PONTIFICAL RECOGNITION OF A RELIGIOUS INSTITUTE OF DIOCESAN RIGHT1. A historical-juridical account of the religious Institute from its beginning (not more than two or three pages). A copy of the document by which the ecclesiastical authority erected the religious institute of diocesan right should be included.
The history of the institute should include the following points: Name and surname of the founder; purpose, date and place of the foundation; name of the Bishop who authorized its beginning in his diocese; names of the first members; erection, date and place of the first house of novitiate; name of the bishop who erected it; number of the first novices and date of their admission to the novitiate; the same for the first members in temporary and perpetual private vows; who was the first master of novices; dates of the general chapters celebrated; who approved the first text of constitutions and when; apostolic activities of the institute at the beginning and at present; development of the Institute in other dioceses; particular spirituality of the institute; in case of clerical institute: place where the members are studying for the sacred orders; other important happenings during the history of the institute.
2. Curriculum vitae for the Founder and of the first Superior General of the Institute. Include clearly: name and surname; date and place of birth, of baptism and of confirmation; parents' names and surname; place where he made his elementary and secondary studies; date of entrance in the Association and of his temporary and perpetual private vows; date of election as first Superior General and the period for which he was elected; his situation at present or date of death.
If the founder is (or was) a member of a religious institute, the following are to be also included: place where he made his ecclesiastical studies; date of his admission to the novitiate and to temporary and perpetual religious profession; date of his sacred ordination; what kind of permission he got to follow his foundation. In case of a Foundress: date of her admission to the novitiate and to the temporary and perpetual religious profession in her previous religious institute and any dispensations granted to her.
3. Up-to-date statistics of membership: names and surnames of the perpetually and temporary professed members; number of novices and of postulants; age of the perpetually professed members; number of houses and name of the dioceses where the members are living and working.
To have a diocesan religious institute recognized as of pontifical right, the number of members required is about 80-100 professed of whom the major part in perpetual vows.
4. Financial status: besides declaring any debts, if any, point only: a) the number of houses owned by the institute; b) the sum of money (in USA dollars) in banks.
5. A statement regarding the following points: a) any facts of an extraordinary nature with reference to the founder, such as visions, etc.; b) whether in the diocese where the generalate is located, there exists already any other religious institute with the same name and charism.
6. Description of the religious habit of a novice and of a professed member.
7. Eight copies of the Constitutions and the Directory, revised in accord with the Code of Canon Law.
8. Testimonial letter from the diocesan Bishop of the Generalate of the Institute and from the other Bishops of those dioceses in which the Institute is present. Such letters are to be sent directly to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, together with the opinion of the same bishops about the following items, namely: a) stability and discipline of the institute; b) initial and on-going formation; c) ability to ensure a responsible government of a religious Institute of pontifical right, besides the present superior general; d) administration of goods; e) liturgical and sacramental dimension; f) collaboration with the local Church.
If possible, please, forward to the Cash Office of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life a deposit equivalent to $500 US on account for the expenses of the entire process.
Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Procedure for a religious institute of diocesan right to obtain pontifical right status, 2001, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2004, 10-12.