Vatican City, Nov 4, 2020 / 10:00 am
Pope Francis has changed canon law to require a bishop to have permission from the Holy See prior to establishing a new religious institute in his diocese, further strengthening Vatican oversight over the process.
With a Nov. 4 motu proprio, Pope Francis modified canon 579 of the Code of Canon Law, which concerns the erection of religious orders and congregations, referred to in Church law as institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life.
The Vatican clarified in 2016 that by law the diocesan bishop was required to consult with the Apostolic See before giving canonical recognition to a new institute. The new canon provides further Vatican oversight by requiring the bishop to have the prior written permission of the Apostolic See.
According to Pope Francis' apostolic letter "Authenticum charismatis," the change ensures that the Vatican will accompany bishops more closely in their discernment about the erection of a new religious order or congregation, and gives "final judgment" over the decision to the Holy See.