New public associations of faithful require Vatican approval
Before erecting, by decree, “a public association faithful with a view to becoming an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life of diocesan right,” the diocesan bishop must obtain a “written license” from the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
This was decreed by Pope Francis in a Rescript on Wednesday about public associations of the faithful “in itinere”, following an audience, granted on 7 February to Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and to Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, respectively Prefect and Secretary of the Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
The Rescript, which comes into effect today, 15 June, with its publication in L'Osservatore Romano, is part of the synodality process promoted by Pope Francis, intending to develop closer collaboration between the offices of the Holy See and diocesan bishops engaging them in "mutual listening."
This was emphasized by the Pope in his address to the Plenary Assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life on 11 December 2021.
The Code of Canon Law describes associations of the Christian faithful, which can be either public or private, as groups striving “in a common endeavor to foster a more perfect life, to promote public worship or Christian doctrine, or to exercise other works of the apostolate such as initiatives of evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with a Christian spirit.”