Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Response to a Request for the Revision of Constitutions and the Erection of a Province, 1997.
A religious congregation of pontifical right has a thriving regional structure in Brazil. The major superior and membership of the region petitioned the superior general of the institute that the region be accorded the status of a province and submitted substantial reasons for the request.
The constitutions of the religious institute provide that the superior general with the consent of the council can divide the institute into regions. She does not have authority in the proper law to erect a province of the institute.
The general chapter met in ordinary session and by a two-third vote of the body petitioned the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (hereafter CICL) for a revision of a specific article of the constitutions. The chapter requested that the article read “that the superior general with the consent of the council erect, divide, join and suppress parts of the Institute in accord with canon 581 of the Code of Canon Law.’’ CICL responded to the request as follows:
Prot. n. _________
Dear Sister _________,
This Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has received your letter requesting the approval of a change in the Constitutions of _________ as proposed by the 1996 General Chapter.
With this letter, we approve the requested revision of article so that it provides for the General Superior with the consent of the Council to erect, divide, join and suppress parts of the Institute in accord with canon 581.
In view of this approval, you with your Council may proceed in reference to the Brazil region, making the necessary provisions.
We note your intent to study your proper law during this term of office for changes which may be required, and your intent that these be brought to the Chapter in 2000. Know that we are ready to be of any possible assistance in this work.
With prayer for God’s blessings and with personal best wishes, I remain
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Having received an affirmative response from CICL to revise article _________ in the constitutions of the institute, the superior general convoked the council and obtained their consent to erect the regional structure in Brazil as a province. She issued a decree that this would become effective on a specified date. Finally, she wrote a letter to the entire membership advising of the response from Rome and her decision to erect the region as a province in accord with Canon 581 and the revised article of the constitutions.
RRAO (1997): 13-14.