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Code of Canon Law
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CHAPTER IV. The Obligations and Rights of Institutes and Their Members
Can.662 Religious are to have as the supreme rule of life the following of Christ proposed in the gospel and expressed
in the constitutions of their own institute.
Can.663 §1. The first and foremost duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of divine things and assiduous
union with God in prayer.
§2. Members are to make every effort to participate in the eucharistic sacrifice daily, to receive the most sacred
Body of Christ, and to adore the Lord himself present in the sacrament.
§3. They are to devote themselves to the reading of sacred scripture and mental prayer, to celebrate worthily
the liturgy of the hours according to the prescripts of proper law, without prejudice to the obligation for clerics
mentioned in can. 276, §2, n. 3, and to perform other exercises of piety.
§4. With special veneration, they are to honor the Virgin Mother of God, the example and protector of all
consecrated life, also through the marian rosary.
§5. They are to observe faithfully an annual period of sacred retreat.
Can.664 Religious are to strive after conversion of the soul toward God, to examine their conscience, even daily, and
to approach the sacrament of penance frequently.
Can.665 §1. Observing common life, religious are to live in their own religious house and are not to be absent from
it except with the permission of their superior. If it concerns a lengthy absence from the house, however, the major
superior, with the consent of the council and for a just cause, can permit a member to live outside a house of the
institute, but not for more than a year, except for the purpose of caring for ill health, of studies, or of exercising an
apostolate in the name of the institute.
§2. A member who is absent from a religious house illegitimately with the intention of withdrawing from the
power of the superiors is to be sought out solicitously by them and is to be helped to return to and persevere in his
or her vocation.
Can.666 In the use of means of social communication, necessary discretion is to be observed and those things are
to be avoided which are harmful to one’s vocation and dangerous to the chastity of a consecrated person.
Can.667 §1. In all houses, cloister adapted to the character and mission of the institute is to be observed according
to the determinations of proper law, with some part of a religious house always reserved to the members alone.
§2. A stricter discipline of cloister must be observed in monasteries ordered to contemplative life.
§3. Monasteries of nuns which are ordered entirely to contemplative life must observe papal cloister, that is,
cloister according to the norms given by the Apostolic See. Other monasteries of nuns are to observe a cloister
adapted to their proper character and defined in the constitutions.
§4. For a just cause, a diocesan bishop has the faculty of entering the cloister of monasteries of nuns which are
in his diocese and, for a grave cause and with the consent of the superior, of permitting others to be admitted to the
cloister and the nuns to leave it for a truly necessary period of time.
Can.668 §1. Before first profession, members are to cede the administration of their goods to whomever they prefer
and, unless the constitutions state otherwise, are to make disposition freely for their use and revenue. Moreover, at
least before perpetual profession, they are to make a will which is to be valid also in civil law.
§2. To change these dispositions for a just cause and to place any act regarding temporal goods, they need the
permission of the superior competent according to the norm of proper law.
§3. Whatever a religious acquires through personal effort or by reason of the institute, the religious acquires
for the institute. Whatever accrues to a religious in any way by reason of pension, subsidy, or insurance is acquired
for the institute unless proper law states otherwise.
§4. A person who must renounce fully his or her goods due to the nature of the institute is to make that
renunciation before perpetual profession in a form valid, as far as possible, even in civil law; it is to take effect from
the day of profession. A perpetually professed religious who wishes to renounce his or her goods either partially or
totally according to the norm of proper law and with the permission of the supreme moderator is to do the same.
§5. A professed religious who has renounced his or her goods fully due to the nature of the institute loses the
capacity of acquiring and possessing and therefore invalidly places acts contrary to the vow of poverty. Moreover,
whatever accrues to the professed after renunciation belongs to the institute according to the norm of proper law.
Can.669 §1. Religious are to wear the habit of the institute, made according to the norm of proper law, as a sign of
their consecration and as a witness of poverty.
§2. Clerical religious of an institute which does not have a proper habit are to wear clerical dress according to
the norm of can. 284.
Can.670 An institute must supply the members with all those things which are necessary to achieve the purpose of
their vocation, according to the norm of the constitutions.
Can.671 A religious is not to accept functions and offices outside the institute without the permission of a legitimate
Can.672 Religious are bound by the prescripts of cann. 277, 285, 286, 287, and 289, and religious clerics additionally
by the prescripts of can. 279, §2; in lay institutes of pontifical right, the proper major superior can grant the permission
mentioned in can. 255, §4.