Archconfraternity

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An archconfraternity (Spanish: archicofradía) is a Catholic confraternity, empowered to aggregate or affiliate other confraternities of the same nature, and to impart to them its indulgences and privileges.

A confraternity is generally a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. They are most common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and the Western Orthodox. When a confraternity has received the authority to aggregate to itself groups erected in other localities, it is called an archconfraternity. An example is the Confraternity of the Rosary.

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Status and operation

Canonical erection is the approval of the proper ecclesiastical authority which gives the organization a legal existence. Archconfraternities do not erect confraternities; they merely aggregate them. It ordinarily belongs to the bishop of the diocese to erect confraternities. [1]

A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight.

Diocese Christian district or see under the supervision of a bishop

The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis (διοίκησις) meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop. Sometimes it is also called bishopric.

In the case, however, of many confraternities and archconfraternities, the power of erection is vested in the heads of certain religious orders. Sometimes the privileges of these heads of orders are imparted to bishops. The vicar-general may not erect confraternities unless he has been expressly delegated for the purpose by his bishop. [1]

Aggregation, or affiliation, as it is also called, may be made by those only who have received from the Holy See express powers for that purpose. They must make use of a prescribed formula. In the same church only one confraternity of the same name and purpose may be aggregated. The consent of the bishop must be given in writing. [1]

Holy See Episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, Italy

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, refers to the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope, which includes the apostolic episcopal see of the Diocese of Rome with universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, as well as a sovereign entity of international law.

In the case of religious orders aggregating their own confraternities in their own churches, the consent of the bishop given for the erection of the house or church of the order is sufficient. The bishop must approve, but may modify the practices and regulations of the confraternity to be aggregated, except those to which the indulgences have been expressly attached. Only those indulgences are imparted by aggregation which have been conceded with that provision.

Only the general process of conducting the aggregation is given. If it pertains to the bishop to erect the confraternity, then the pastor of a church or the superior of a religious house petitions him for canonical erection,. If the erection pertains to the head of a religious order, then the bishop's consent to the aggregation is required.

Examples

Examples of archconfraternities include the following.

The Archconfraternity of the Holy Family is a Roman Catholic archconfraternity, founded in 1844 in Belgium.

Archconfraternity of the Most Precious Blood refers to a Roman Catholic archconfraternity, associated with confraternities which make it their special object to venerate the Blood of Christ.

The Archconfraternity of Holy Agony is a lay association for giving special honour to the mental sufferings of Christ during His Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was founded as a confraternity in 1862, at Valfleury, France, by Antoine Nicolle (1817–90), a priest of the Lazarist order.

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Further reading

Related Research Articles

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