Code of Canon Law
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Section II. Societies of Apostolic Life (Cann. 731 - 755)
Can.731 §1. Societies of apostolic life resemble institutes of consecrated life; their members, without religious vows,
pursue the apostolic purpose proper to the society and, leading a life in common as brothers or sisters according to
their proper manner of life, strive for the perfection of charity through the observance of the constitutions.
§2. Among these are societies in which members assume the evangelical counsels by some bond defined in
Can.732 Those things which are established in cann. 578–597 and 606 apply to societies of apostolic life, without
prejudice, however, to the nature of each society; moreover, cann. 598–602 apply to the societies mentioned in can.
Can.733 §1. The competent authority of the society erects a house and establishes a local community with the
previous written consent of the diocesan bishop, who must also be consulted concerning its suppression.
§2. Consent to erect a house entails the right to have at least an oratory in which the Most Holy Eucharist is
to be celebrated and reserved.
Can.734 The constitutions determine the governance of a society, with cann. 617–633 observed according to the
nature of each society.
Can.735 §1. The proper law of each society determines the admission, probation, incorporation, and formation of
§2. In what pertains to admission into a society, the conditions established in cann. 642– 645 are to be
§3. Proper law must determine the manner of probation and formation, especially doctrinal, spiritual, and
apostolic, adapted to the purpose and character of the society, in such a way that the members, recognizing their
divine vocation, are suitably prepared for the mission and life of the society.
Can.736 §1. In clerical societies, clerics are incardinated in the society itself unless the constitutions establish
§2. In those things which belong to the program of studies and to the reception of orders, the norms for secular
clerics are to be observed, without prejudice to §1.
Can.737 Incorporation entails on the part of the members the obligations and rights defined in the constitutions and
on the part of the society concern for leading the members to the purpose of their proper vocation according to the
Can.738 §1. All members are subject to their proper moderators according to the norm of the constitutions in those
matters which regard the internal life and discipline of the society.
§2. They are also subject to the diocesan bishop in those matters which regard public worship, the care of souls,
and other works of the apostolate, with attention to cann. 679–683.
§3. The constitutions or particular agreements define the relations of a member incardinated in a diocese with
his own bishop.
Can.739 In addition to the obligations to which members as members are subject according to the constitutions, they
are bound by the common obligations of clerics unless it is otherwise evident from the nature of the thing or the
Can.740 Members must live in a house or in a legitimately established community and must observe common life
according to the norm of proper law, which also governs absences from the house or community.
Can.741 §1. Societies and, unless the constitutions determine otherwise, their parts and houses are juridic persons
and, as such, capable of acquiring, possessing, administering, and alienating temporal goods according to the norm
of the prescripts of Book V, The Temporal Goods of the Church, of cann. 636, 638, and 639, and of proper law.
§2. According to the norm of proper law, members are also capable of acquiring, possessing, administering, and
disposing of temporal goods, but whatever comes to them on behalf of the society is acquired by the society.
Can.742 The constitutions of each society govern the departure and dismissal of a member not yet definitively
Can.743 Without prejudice to the prescript of can. 693, a definitively incorporated member can obtain an indult
of departure from the society from the supreme moderator with the consent of the council, unless it is reserved to
the Holy See according to the constitutions; with the indult, the rights and obligations deriving from incorporation
Can.744 §1. It is equally reserved to the supreme moderator with the consent of the council to grant permission for
a definitively incorporated member to transfer to another society of apostolic life; the rights and obligations proper
to the society are suspended in the meantime, without prejudice to the right of returning before definitive
incorporation in the new society.
§2. Transfer to an institute of consecrated life or from one to a society of apostolic life requires the permission
of the Holy See, whose mandates must be observed.
Can.745 The supreme moderator with the consent of the council can grant an indult to live outside the society to
a definitively incorporated member, but not for more than three years; the rights and obligations which cannot be
reconciled with the new condition of the member are suspended, but the member remains under the care of the
moderators. If it concerns a cleric, moreover, the consent of the ordinary of the place in which he must reside is
required, under whose care and dependence he also remains.
Can.746 For the dismissal of a definitively incorporated member, cann. 694–704 are to be observed with appropriate