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Code of Canon Law
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Title I. The Obligations and Rights of All the Christian Faithful (Cann. 208 - 223)
Can.208 From their rebirth in Christ, there exists among all the Christian faithful a true equality regarding dignity
and action by which they all cooperate in the building up of the Body of Christ according to each one’s own
condition and function.
Can.209 §1. The Christian faithful, even in their own manner of acting, are always obliged to maintain communion
with the Church.
§2. With great diligence they are to fulfill the duties which they owe to the universal Church and the
particular church to which they belong according to the prescripts of the law.
Can.210 All the Christian faithful must direct their efforts to lead a holy life and to promote the growth of the
Church and its continual sanctification, according to their own condition.
Can.211 All the Christian faithful have the duty and right to work so that the divine message of salvation more and
more reaches all people in every age and in every land.
Can.212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian
obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith
or establish as rulers of the Church.
§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual
ones, and their desires.
§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even
at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church
and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and
morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
Can.213 The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods
of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments.
Can.214 The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved
by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with
the doctrine of the Church.
Can.215 The Christian faithful are at liberty freely to found and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety
or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common pursuit of these
Can.216 Since they participate in the mission of the Church, all the Christian faithful have the right to promote or
sustain apostolic action even by their own undertakings, according to their own state and condition. Nevertheless,
no undertaking is to claim the name Catholic without the consent of competent ecclesiastical authority.
Can.217 Since they are called by baptism to lead a life in keeping with the teaching of the gospel, the Christian
faithful have the right to a Christian education by which they are to be instructed properly to strive for the maturity
of the human person and at the same time to know and live the mystery of salvation.
Can.218 Those engaged in the sacred disciplines have a just freedom of inquiry and of expressing their opinion
prudently on those matters in which they possess expertise, while observing the submission due to the magisterium
of the Church.
Can.219 All the Christian faithful have the right to be free from any kind of coercion in choosing a state of life.
Can.220 No one is permitted to harm illegitimately the good reputation which a person possesses nor to injure the
right of any person to protect his or her own privacy.
Can.221 §1. The Christian faithful can legitimately vindicate and defend the rights which they possess in the
Church in the competent ecclesiastical forum according to the norm of law.
§2. If they are summoned to a trial by a competent authority, the Christian faithful also have the right to be
judged according to the prescripts of the law applied with equity.
§3. The Christian faithful have the right not to be punished with canonical penalties except according to the
norm of law.
Can.222 §1. The Christian faithful are obliged to assist with the needs of the Church so that the Church has what
is necessary for divine worship, for the works of the apostolate and of charity, and for the decent support of ministers.
§2. They are also obliged to promote social justice and, mindful of the precept of the Lord, to assist the poor
from their own resources.
Can.223 §1. In exercising their rights, the Christian faithful, both as individuals and gathered together in
associations, must take into account the common good of the Church, the rights of others, and their own duties
§2. In view of the common good, ecclesiastical authority can direct the exercise of rights which are proper to
the Christian faithful.