Decretum laudis

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The decretum laudis, Latin for “decree of praise”, is the official measure with which the Holy See grants to institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life the recognition of ecclesiastical institution of pontifical right. When the decree of praise is issued in the form of an apostolic brief, it is just short of the decretum laudis.

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

The Holy See, also called the See of Rome, is the apostolic episcopal see of the bishop of Rome, known as the Pope, ex cathedra the universal ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the worldwide Catholic Church, and a sovereign entity of international law. Founded in the 1st century by Saints Peter and Paul, by virtue of Petrine and Papal primacy according to Catholic tradition, it is the focal point of full communion for Catholic bishops and Catholics around the world organised in polities of the Latin Church, the 23 Eastern Catholic Churches, and their dioceses and religious institutes.

An apostolic constitution is the most solemn form of legislation issued by the Pope. The use of the term constitution comes from Latin constitutio, which referred to any important law issued by the Roman emperor, and is retained in church documents because of the inheritance that the canon law of the Roman Catholic Church received from Roman law.

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Canon Law

To create a new religious community, it is necessary to get, in the beginning, permission from the proper department in the Roman Curia of the Catholic Church (the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, or the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, depending on the purpose of the institute and the coverage of its activities) and also the approval of the Ordinary of the diocese of origin, usually the bishop (or the archbishop). When they are obtained, the congregation is then called “of diocesan right”.

The Roman Curia comprises the administrative institutions of the Holy See and the central body through which the affairs of the Catholic Church are conducted. It acts in the Pope’s name and with his authority for the good and for the service of the particular Churches and provides the central organization for the Church to advance its objectives.

The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for everything which concerns Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, regarding their government, discipline, studies, goods, rights, and privileges.

The Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples in Rome is the congregation of the Roman Curia responsible for missionary work and related activities. It is perhaps better known by its former title, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith, or simply the Propaganda Fide.

When the congregation has grown in importance and when its spiritual and apostolic maturity is observed, it can be formally approved by the Pope with the decretum laudis, which transforms it into a congregation of pontifical right, subject to immediate and exclusive authority of the Holy See.

Pope leader of the Catholic Church

The pope, also known as the supreme pontiff, is the Bishop of Rome and ex officio leader of the worldwide Catholic Church. Since 1929, the pope has also been head of state of Vatican City, a city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. The current pope is Francis, who was elected on 13 March 2013, succeeding Benedict XVI.

Generally, it is followed by the temporary approval and the final approval.

Structure

The decretum laudis contains, as a rule, a summary of the historical origins of the congregation, and a brief description of the purpose and the constitution of the same, references and letters from the bishops, and the examination made by the appropriate Congregation of the institute. It concludes with the approval and recommendation, amplissimis verbis (Latin, “in the strongest terms”), of the institute in question.

There are currently nine congregations of the Roman Curia, the central administration of the Catholic Church. They are second highest-ranking departments, below the two Secretariats, and above the pontifical councils, pontifical commissions, tribunals and offices.

The practice of using decretum laudis by the Popes to grant the recognition of the pontifical right to the congregations began to be consolidated in the years between the 18th and 19th centuries, although in the beginning these decrees were followed by formal acts in the form of the Papal bull and Papal brief.

Papal bull type of letters patent or charter issued by a Pope of the Catholic Church

A papal bull is a type of public decree, letters patent, or charter issued by a pope of the Roman Catholic Church. It is named after the leaden seal (bulla) that was traditionally appended to the end in order to authenticate it.

A papal brief is a formal document emanating from the Pope, in a somewhat simpler and more modern form than a papal bull.

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Glossary of the Catholic Church

This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.

Di diritto pontificio is the Italian term for “of pontifical right”. It is given to the ecclesiastical institutions either created by the Holy See or approved by it with the formal decree, known by its Latin name, Decretum laudis [“decree of praise”].

Sons of the Holy Family

The Congregation of the Sons of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph is a Latin Institute of Consecrated Life for priests in the Catholic Church. The congregation is dedicated to educating the young and strengthening Catholic family life.

References

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

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