Rorate Caeli

False Collegiality: Full Text of new Rule demanding Bishops consult with Vatican before erecting Diocesan Institutes, and Our Comment

Comments below the text:

The Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, aware that every new Institute of Consecrated Life, even if coming into existence and developing within a Particular Church, is a gift made to the entire Church, seeing to the need of avoid that new Institutes be erected in the diocesan level without the sufficient discernment that will confirm the originality of the charism, which defines the specific characteristics that the consecration through the profession of the evangelical counsels will have in them and that specifies the real possibilities of development, has ascertained the opportunity of better determining the necessity, established by Can. 579 CIC [Code of Canon Law], of requesting its opinion before proceeding to the erection of a new Diocesan Institute.

Therefore, following the opinion of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts,

the Holy Father Francis

in the Audience granted to the undersigned Secretary of State, on April 4, 2016, has established that the prior consultation of the Holy See shall be understood as necessary ad validitatem [for the very validity] for the erection of a Diocesan Institute of Consecrated Life, under pain of nullity of the Decree of Erection of the Institute itself.

The present Rescript will be promulgated through publication on L'Osservatore Romano, entering into force on June 1st, 2016, and thereafter published on the Acta Apostolicae Sedis.

From the Vatican, on May 11, 2016.

Card. Pietro Parolin
Secretary of State
[Rorate Translation. Source: in Italian]

Comments: If this had been the case in the past, many of the Traditional Catholic institutes and congregations first established as Diocesan foundations might never have seen the light of day... It is the centralization (and bureaucratization) of a very important part of Diocesan Life, a grievous wound on the autonomy of Particular Churches in ascertaining the needs of their own spiritual lives.

The Vatican affirmed that it is not a "permission", but a mere "consultation" (as the mentioned Canon asks for, but which was pro forma and not at all considered a condition for the very validity of the erection)... This may convince the gullible, but any individual who has ever had contact with a stifling bureaucratic apparatus knows that the intent here is to promote centralization in an area that has always been under the great autonomy of each individual Ordinary, who has himself "divinely conferred authority".

How long will each procedure take? And will Institutes of a more "conservative" nature ever be allowed to exist? It is enough for a bureaucrat in the Congregation for Religious to stall the consultation forever -- it does not matter that the Congregation merely needs to be consulted, the Vatican bureaucracy may simply ask for clarifications perpetually and repeatedly and stall the erection of the Diocesan Institute forever. And this will certainly happen, and quite often. No "Collegiality" and "Sinodality" here at all... This pontificate is fast becoming the most centralizing (and dismissive of diocesan bishops) in all of recent Vatican history.