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Code of Canon Law
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ARTICLE 3: TEMPORAL GOODS AND THEIR ADMINISTRATION
Can. 634 §1 Since they are by virtue of the law juridical persons, institutes, provinces and houses have the capacity to acquire, possess, administer and alienate temporal goods, unless this capacity is excluded or limited in the constitutions.
§2 They are, however, to avoid all appearance of luxury, excessive gain and the accumulation of goods.
Can. 635 §1 Since the temporal goods of religious institutes are ecclesiastical goods, they are governed by the provisions of Book V on 'The Temporal Goods of the Church', unless there is express provision to the contrary.
§2 Each institute, however, is to establish suitable norms for the use and administration of goods, so that the poverty proper to the institute may be fostered, defended and expressed.
Can. 636 §1 In each institute, and in each province ruled by a major Superior, there is to be a financial administrator, distinct from the major Superior and constituted in accordance with the institute's own law. The financial administrator is to administer the goods under the direction of the respective Superior. Even in local communities a financial administrator, distinct from the local Superior, is in so far as possible to be constituted.
§2 At the time and in the manner determined in the institute's own law the financial administrator and others with financial responsibilities are to render an account of their administration to the competent authority.
Can. 637 Once a year, the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615 are to render an account of their administration to the local Ordinary. The local Ordinary also has the right to be informed about the financial affairs of a religious house of diocesan right.
Can. 638 §1 It is for an institute's own law, within the limits of the universal law, to define the acts which exceed the purpose and the manner of ordinary administration, and to establish what is needed for the validity of an act of extraordinary administration.
§2 Besides Superiors, other officials designated for this task in the institute's own law may, within the limits of their office, validly make payments and perform juridical acts of ordinary administration.
§3 For the validity of alienation, and of any transaction by which the patrimonial condition of the juridical person could be adversely affected there is required the written permission of the competent Superior, given with the consent of his or her council. Moreover, the permission of the Holy See is required if the transaction involves a sum exceeding that which the Holy See has determined for each region, or if it concerns things donated to the Church as a result of a vow, or objects which are precious by reason of their artistic or historical value.
§4 For the autonomous monasteries mentioned in can. 615, and for institutes of diocesan right, the written consent of the diocesan Bishop is necessary.
§2 If individual members have, with the permission of the Superior, entered into contracts concerning their own property, they are responsible. If, however, they have conducted business for the institute on the mandate of a Superior, the institute is responsible.
§3 If a religious has entered into a contract without any permission of Superiors, the religious is responsible, not the juridical person.
§4 However, an action can always be brought against a person who has gained from a contract entered into.
§5 Superiors are to be careful not to allow debts to be contracted unless they are certain that normal income can service the interest on the debt, and by lawful amortization repay the capital over a period which is not unduly extended.
Can. 640 Taking into account the circumstances of the individual places, institutes are to make a special effort to give, as it were, a collective testimony of charity and poverty. They are to do all in their power to donate something from their own resources to help the needs of the Church and the support of the poor.
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