Association of the Christian faithful

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In the Catholic Church, an association of the Christian faithful or simply association of the faithful (Latin: consociationes christifidelium [1] ) is a group of baptized persons, clerics or laity or both together, who according to the 1983 Code of Canon Law jointly foster a more perfect life or promote public worship or Christian teaching, or who devote themselves to other works of the apostolate. [2] These associations are not necessarily established or even praised or recommended by the Church authorities. [3]

Catholic Church Largest Christian church, led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2017. As the world's oldest continuously functioning international institution, it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

Ecclesiastical Latin, also called Church Latin, Liturgical Latin or Italian Latin, is a form of Latin initially developed to discuss Christian thought and later used as a lingua franca by the Medieval and Early Modern upper class of Europe. It includes words from Vulgar Latin and Classical Latin re-purposed with Christian meaning. It is less stylized and rigid in form than Classical Latin, sharing vocabulary, forms, and syntax, while at the same time incorporating informal elements which had always been with the language but which were excluded by the literary authors of classical Latin. Its pronunciation is based on Italian.

Catholic laity

Catholic laity are the ordinary members of the Catholic Church who are neither clergy nor recipients of Holy Orders or vowed to life in a religious order or congregation. The laity forms the majority of the estimated over one billion Catholics in the world.

A 20th-century resurgence of interest in lay societies culminated in the Second Vatican Council, but lay ecclesial societies have long existed in forms such as sodalities (defined in the 1917 Code of Canon Law as associations of the faithful constituted as an organic body), [4] confraternities (similarly defined as sodalities established for the promotion of public worship), [5] medieval communes, and guilds.

Second Vatican Council Roman Catholic ecumenical council held in Vatican City from 1962 to 1965

The Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, commonly known as the Second Vatican Council or Vatican II, addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world. The council, through the Holy See, was formally opened under the pontificate of Pope John XXIII on 11 October 1962 and was closed under Pope Paul VI on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on 8 December 1965.

In Christian theology, a sodality, also known as a syndiakonia, is a form of the "Universal Church" expressed in specialized, task-oriented form as opposed to the Christian church in its local, diocesan form. In English, the term sodality is most commonly used by groups in the Anglican Communion, Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church and Reformed Church, where they are also referred to as confraternities. Sodalities are expressed among Protestant Churches through the multitude of mission organizations, societies, and specialized ministries that have proliferated, particularly since the advent of the modern missions movement, usually attributed to Englishman William Carey in 1792.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law, also referred to as the Pio-Benedictine Code, was the first official comprehensive codification of Latin canon law. It was promulgated on 27 May 1917 and took legal effect on 19 May 1918. It was in force until the 1983 Code of Canon Law took legal effect and abrogated it on 27 November 1983. It has been described as "the greatest revolution in canon law since the time of Gratian".

Terms

Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Christifideles laici of 30 December 1988 spoke of "the flourishing of groups, associations and spiritual movements as well as a lay commitment in the life of the Church" in the years following the Second Vatican Council, "resulting in the birth and spread of a multiplicity of group forms: associations, groups, communities, movements". [6]

Pope John Paul II 264th Pope of the Catholic Church, saint

Pope John Paul II was the Pope of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State from 1978 to 2005.

Christifideles laici is a post-synodal apostolic exhortation of Pope John Paul II, signed in Rome on December 30, 1988. It is summary of the teaching that arose from the 1987 synod of bishops on the vocation and mission of the laity in the church and the world. The document's subtitle was: On the Vocation and the Mission of the Lay Faithful in the Church and in the World. Its primary scriptural texts were the parable of the workers in the vineyard and the story of the True Vine and branches. In Christifideles laici, John Paul summarized many of his still-developing ideas regarding new evangelization.

A Pastoral Note of the Italian Episcopal Conference issued on 29 April 1993 defined three of these terms as follows:

However, it added that these terms are often applied quite loosely. [7] As an example, the Community of Sant'Egidio, which calls itself a community, is also described as a movement, [8] and is listed as an association in the Directory of International Associations of the Faithful.

Community of SantEgidio organization

The Community of Sant'Egidio is a lay Catholic association dedicated to social service, that arose in 1968 under the leadership of Andrea Riccardi. The group grew and in 1973 was given a home at the former Carmelite monastery and church of Sant'Egidio in Rome. In 1986 it received recognition from the Vatican as an international association of the faithful. Its activities include the Church's evening prayer together daily as a stimulus for lending assistance to a whole spectrum of needy persons: "lonely and non-self-sufficient elderly, immigrants and homeless people, terminally ill and HIV/AIDS patients, children at risk of deviance and marginalization, nomads and the physically and mentally handicapped, drug addicts, victims of war, and prisoners." The Community also has a high profile in the area of peace negotiations, in addressing the AIDs epidemic in Africa, and in its opposition to capital punishment. It takes an ecumenical approach in all of its work.

The Directory of International Associations of the Faithful, published by the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, lists the international associations of the faithful in the Catholic Church that have been granted official recognition. It gives the official name, acronym, date of establishment, history, identity, organization, membership, works, publications, and website of the communities and movements.

Under the 1917 Code of Canon Law, replaced in 1983 by a revised Code, associations of the faithful were called piae uniones ("pious unions"). [9]

The 1983 Code of Canon Law, also called the Johanno-Pauline Code, is the "fundamental body of ecclesiastical laws for the Latin Church". It is the second and current comprehensive codification of canonical legislation for the Latin Church sui iuris of the Catholic Church. It was promulgated on 25 January 1983 by John Paul II and took legal effect on the First Sunday of Advent 1983. It replaced the 1917 Code of Canon Law, promulgated by Benedict XV on 27 May 1917.

Ecclesiastical approval

For a list of the officially approved associations of the faithful that exist on an international level, see Directory of International Associations of the Faithful. Approval for those that exist on a national level can be obtained from the country's episcopal conference, while it is for the local bishop to grant approval to those that exist only at diocesan level.

Relationship with institutes of consecrated life and the like

Institutes of consecrated life (religious institutes and secular institutes) and societies of apostolic life are not classified as associations of the faithful. [2]

A group of people who intend to become a recognized religious institute, secular institute or society of apostolic life will normally come together at first as an association of the faithful, while awaiting the decision of the bishop, after consulting the Holy See, to establish them in the desired form. [10]

Some Associations

Franciscan Brothers of Peace

The Franciscan Brothers of Peace, a canonically recognized Public Association of the Faithful was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota, in 1982. In keeping with their pro-life charism, the Brothers advocate for the unborn, the handicapped, the elderly and the poor. They operate a food pantry and working with the Center For Victims of Torture provide temporary shelter for international victims of torture who have arrived in the Twin Cities area.. [11]

Amigonian Cooperators

The Amigonian Cooperators was instituted by the Capuchin Tertiaries (Amigonian Friars). Their work among the laity following the charism of the Capuchin Bishop Luis Amigó y Ferrer (1854-1934) dates back to 1937. On 8 December 1992, the Pontifical Council for the Laity recognized the Cooperadores Amigonianos as an international association of the faithful of pontifical right. [12]

Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist

The Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist, founded in 2002 as a companion community to the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, is a Public Association of the Faithful approved by the Archdiocese of Hartford. [13] As their particular and primary charism is upholding the dignity of the human person, their ministry has included public pro-life prayer vigils, counseling the mentally ill, caring for the elderly and coordinating outdoor adventure programs for youth. [14] Each Brother is assigned to work in a professional field suited to his personal talents and education. They also engage in manual labor, growing vegetable gardens, flower gardens, and raising small farm animals, such as chickens.

Saint Francis Third Order Confraternity of Penitents

The Saint Francis Third Order Confraternity of Penitents is a private association of the faithful recognized pursuant to CIC/83 canon 299 §3 by the Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend on March 25, 2019. [15]

See also

Related Research Articles

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María Concepción of the Nativity and the Perpetual Help of Mary

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References

  1. 1983 Code of Canon Law, Latin original, canon 298.
  2. 1 2 Canon 298 §1
  3. Cf. canon 298 §2
  4. Canon 707 §1 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law
  5. Canon 707 §2 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law
  6. Christifideles laici, 1 and 29
  7. Le aggregazioni laicali nella Chiesa, p. 88 Quote: "Col nome di associazioni si indicano le aggregazioni che hanno una struttura organica ed istituzionalmente caratterizzata quanto alla composizione degli organi direttivi e all'adesione dei membri. I1 nome di movimenti è attribuito a quelle realtà aggregative nelle quali l'elemento unificante non è tanto una struttura istituzionale quanto l'adesione «vitale» ad alcune idee-forza e ad uno spirito comune. Sono denominati gruppi le aggregazioni di vario tipo che sono caratterizzate da una certa spontaneità di adesione, da ampia libertà di auto-configurazione e dalle dimensioni alquanto ridotte, che permettono una maggiore omogeneità tra gli aderenti. In un campo nel quale ben raramente si danno realtà rigide e fisse, non sempre i termini di associazione, movimento e gruppo corrispondono alla figura sostanziale che designano."
  8. About the Community
  9. "Associationes fidelium quae ad exercitium alicuius operis pietatis aut caritatis erectae sun, nomine veniunt 'piarum unionum'; quae, si ad modum organici corporis sunt constitutae, 'sodalitia' audiunt" (Associations of the faithful which are established for carrying out some pious or charitable work are called "pious unions"; if they are constituted as an organic body, they are referred to as "sodalities") - canon 707 §1 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law
  10. Canons 579 and 732
  11. "Our History", Franciscan Brothers of Peace
  12. Pontifical Council for the Laity, "International Associations of the Faithful", Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2006 Archived September 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  13. Franciscan Brothers of the eucharist
  14. Beattie, Trent. "Surprising Revival for Men in Religious Life", National Catholic Register, November 25, 2011
  15. Saint Francis Third Order Confraternity of Penitents