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Code of Canon Law
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Part I. THE CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL (Cann. 204 - 207)
Can.204 §1. The Christian faithful are those who, inasmuch as they have been incorporated in Christ through
baptism, have been constituted as the people of God. For this reason, made sharers in their own way in Christ’s
priestly, prophetic, and royal function, they are called to exercise the mission which God has entrusted to the
Church to fulfill in the world, in accord with the condition proper to each.
§2. This Church, constituted and organized in this world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church governed
by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him.
Can.205 Those baptized are fully in the communion of the Catholic Church on this earth who are joined with Christ
in its visible structure by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical governance.
Can.206 §1. Catechumens, that is, those who ask by explicit choice under the influence of the Holy Spirit to be
incorporated into the Church, are joined to it in a special way. By this same desire, just as by the life of faith, hope,
and charity which they lead, they are united with the Church which already cherishes them as its own.
§2. The Church has a special care for catechumens; while it invites them to lead a life of the gospel and
introduces them to the celebration of sacred rites, it already grants them various prerogatives which are proper to
Can.207 §1. By divine institution, there are among the Christian faithful in the Church sacred ministers who in law
are also called clerics; the other members of the Christian faithful are called lay persons.
§2. There are members of the Christian faithful from both these groups who, through the profession of the
evangelical counsels by means of vows or other sacred bonds recognized and sanctioned by the Church, are
consecrated to God in their own special way and contribute to the salvific mission of the Church; although their
state does not belong to the hierarchical structure of the Church, it nevertheless belongs to its life and holiness.