Canon Law

Associations Of Christ's' Faithful

Canon 298

1 In the Church there are associations which are distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life. In these, associations, Christ's faithful, whether clerics or laity, or clerics and laity together, strive with a common effort to foster a more perfect life, or to promote public worship or Christian teaching.

They may also devote themselves to other works of the apostolate, such as initiatives for evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit.

2 Christ's faithful are to join especially those associations which have been established, praised or recommended by the competent ecclesiastical authority.

Canon 299

1 By private agreement among themselves, Christ's faithful have the right to constitute associations for the purposes mentioned in canon 298 1, without prejudice to the provisions of canon 301 1.

2 Associations of this kind, even though they may be praised or commended by ecclesiastical authority, are called private associations.

3 No private association of Christ's faithful is recognized in the Church unless its statutes have been reviewed by the competent authority.

Private Associations Of Christ's Faithful

Canon 321

Christ's faithful direct and moderate private associations according to the provisions of the statutes.

Canon 322

1 A private association of Christ's faithful can acquire juridical personality by a formal decree of the competent ecclesiastical authority mentioned in canon 312.

2 No private association of Christ's faithful can acquire juridical personality unless its statutes are approved by the ecclesiastical authority mentioned in canon 312 1. The approval of the statutes does not however, change the private nature of the association.

Canon 323

1 Although private associations of Christ's faithful enjoy their own autonomy in accordance with canon 321, they are subject to the supervision of ecclesiastical authority, in accordance with canon 305, and also to the governance of the same authority

2 It is also the responsibility of ecclesiastical authority, with due respect for the autonomy of private associations, to oversee and ensure that there is no dissipation of their forces, and that the exercise of their apostolate is directed to the common good

Canon 324

1 A private association of Christ s faithful can freely designate for itself a moderator and officers, in accordance with the statutes.

2 If a private association of Christ's faithful wishes to have a spiritual counselor, it can freely choose one for itself from among the priests who lawfully exercise a ministry in the diocese, but the priest requires the confirmation of the local Ordinary.

Canon 325

1 A private association of Christ's faithful is free to administer any goods it possesses, according to the provisions of the statutes, but the competent ecclesiastical authority has the right to ensure that the goods are applied to the purposes of the association.

2 In accordance with canon 1301, the association is subject to the authority of the local Ordinary in whatever concerns the administration and distribution of goods which are donated or left to it for pious purposes.

Canon 326

1 A private association of Christ's faithful is extinguished in accordance with the norms of the statutes. It can also be suppressed by the competent authority if its activity gives rise to grave harm to ecclesiastical teaching or discipline, or is a scandal to the faithful.

2 The fate of the goods of a private association which ceases to exist is to be determined in accordance with the statutes, without prejudice to acquired rights and to the wishes of donors.

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