Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Readmission to the religious institute and the time of temporary vows, 2003, Private.


After studying a course in consecrated life, a clerical religious requested that his perpetual profession be sanated. He entered his religious congregation, completed the novitiate and made temporary vows for a total of three consecutive years, after which he departed the institute before perpetual profession. Five years later, he re-entered the religious institute; after a month's probation, he was admitted to temporary vows for two years before being admitted to perpetual profession. Canon 690 provides that the supreme moderator, with the consent of the council, can readmit, without the burden of repeating the novitiate, one who had legitimately left the institute after completing the novitiate or after profession. The same moderator determines an appropriate period of probation prior to temporary profession and the time of vows to precede perpetual profession, according to canons 655 and 657. Canon 655 provides that temporary profession is made for a period defined in proper law; it is not to be less than three years nor longer than six years. Canon 657 provides that perpetual profession can be anticipated for a just cause, but not by more than three months. Since the religious had made temporary vows for a period of two years following readmission, he believed he did not fulfill the requirements of canon 690. The vicar general of the congregation presented the concern of the religious to the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and received the following reply:




CONGREGATION FOR INSTITUTES OF CONSECRATED LIFE AND SOCIETIES OF APOSTOLIC LIFE

Prot. N.

Dear Brother,

This letter comes in response to yours of _____, presenting the question posed by Father _____, regarding the validity of the perpetual vows which he professed in the Congregation _____, after being readmitted to the Congregation in accordance with canon 690. Thank you for forwarding also the copy of Father _____'s letter to his provincial superior.

As you are aware, there are diverse interpretations of how this canon is to be applied. One respected opinion is that which Father _____ has learned in his studies. The other is that the norms of Renovationis causam are to be followed, thus requiring a minimum of one year, if at least three years were completed in temporary vows before departure. In view of the doubt surrounding the interpretation of the canon and the mutual agreement that all acted with right intention, the profession could rightly be interpreted as valid. Also canon 144 provides for cases of common error regarding the law.

Nevertheless, for the peace of mind of Father _____, and to avoid any doubts which might arise in the future, with this letter we grant the requested sanatio ad cautelam of the perpetual profession of Father _____.

With personal best wishes and prayer for a most Blessed Easter Season, I remain

Yours Sincerely in Christ,

Undersecretary




Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Readmission to the religious institute and the time of temporary vows, 2003, Private, CLSA, Roman Replies and Advisory Opinions, 2003, 11-12.