Vatican City, Jun 11, 2021 / 05:10 am
The Vatican issued a decree Friday setting limits on the terms of leaders of international associations of the faithful and new communities.
In an introduction to the June 11 norms, the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life said that it wanted to define “the criteria for prudently guiding government” in lay ecclesial movements.
The dicastery said that it therefore “considered it necessary to regulate the terms of office in government, with regard to their duration and number, as well as the representativeness of governing bodies, in order to promote a healthy renewal and to prevent misappropriations that have indeed led to violations and abuses.”
The new decree limits the terms of office in the central governing body to a maximum of five years, with one person being able to hold positions at the international governing level for no more than 10 years consecutively. Re-election is then possible after a vacancy of one term.
The decree states that founders can be exempted from the term limits at the discretion of the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life.
The norms, signed by dicastery prefect Cardinal Kevin Farrell, come into force on Sept. 11.
In a note explaining the decree, the dicastery said that “infrequently, for those called to govern, the absence of limits in terms of office favors forms of appropriation of the charism, personalization, centralization, and expressions of self-referentiality which can easily cause serious violations of personal dignity and freedom, and even real abuses.”
“Furthermore, bad government inevitably creates conflicts and tensions which injure communion and weaken missionary dynamism.”