Rule of Life


The Apostolic Life
of Redemptorists


CONSTITUTIONS

of the
Congregation of
the Most Holy Redeemer

 

 

LETTERS OF APPROBATION

 

Letter of the Superior General
Josef G. Pfab, C.Ss.R.

J.M. + J.A.
To my dear Confreres in Christ
of the Congregation
of the Most Holy Redeemer
Health in the Lord

On the 28th of October, 1965, the Second Vatican Council issued the Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life. As part of that renewal our Constitutions had to be revised and submitted to the Holy See for approval.

The Constitutions so renewed have now obtained approval.

Here, my dear Brothers, is the new edition of the Constitutions and Statutes, which I promulgate officially and present to you.

The work of renewal to be undertaken by our Congregation, however, did not consist merely in the making of laws, but above all in promoting the spiritual and apostolic vitality of the whole Congregation.

For this reason, on the completion of our legislation, the Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes to which the task of approving religious constitutions was confided by the Supreme Pontiff, Pope John Paul II, "expresses the hope that the members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, led by the example of their holy Founder, will be impelled to carry on with renewed energy the mission entrusted to them by the Church" with the help of the renewed Constitutions.

Hence for all of us there is a mandate, and a pressing one, to promote without delay spiritual and apostolic vitality in each province, viceprovince, region and community, and in our own selves.

"Since the fundamental norm of the religious life is the following of Christ as presented in the Gospel, this must be considered as the supreme rule in our Congregation" (Const. 74). Therefore let our renewed Constitutions and Statutes be the foundation and means in this following of Christ, and consequently in promoting new vitality in the Congregation.

Open yourselves, then, to the spirit which flows from this updated text.

May Saint Alphonsus, by his earnest prayers, obtain for us all from Christ the Redeemer, this spirit as a gift for the 250th anniversary of the foundation of the Congregation. And may the Blessed Virgin Mary, Patroness of the Congregation, watch over this gift for us.

Given at Rome, 25th February, 1982.

Josef G. Pfab, C.Ss.R.
Superior General

 

Letter of the Superior General
Juan M. Lasso de la Vega, C.Ss.R.

My Dear Confreres in Christ

The XX General Chapter was held in Rome and completed on the 20th of November, 1985. Among other actions, it undertook the study and revision of some of the Constitutions and General Statutes of our Congregation. Changes were introduced to adapt our legislation to the new Code of Canon Law. The General Council had begun this revision in 1984 by means of a decree dated the 26th of February, 1984, using the authority given it by the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes (cf. Gen. 76/84: Communicanda 80). The General Chapter approved the Council's revision with a few amendments.

On the 23rd of July, 1986, the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, after making a few changes, approved and confirmed the proposed adaptations.

This is the origin of the new edition of the Constitutions and General Statutes. Dear Confreres, the Constitutions and Statutes give us a way and a rationale by which we Redemptorists achieve a share in the mission of the Redeemer, by following Christ himself and placing ourselves at the service of the Church and of the people of our day. They are the foundation, which unifies our lives of special dedication to God in the missionary work of the whole Congregation.

The new edition of the Constitutions and Statutes prepared in Latin I now promulgate with the expectation, grounded in hope, that the apostolic life of the confreres and of the (vice)provincial and local communities of the entire Congregation will progress and increase.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help, and Saint Alphonsus unceasingly obtain this grace for us.

Rome, the 15th of August, 1986.

Juan M. Lasso de la Vega, C.Ss.R.
Superior General

 

The Sacred Congregation for
Religious and Secular Institutes

Decree of Approval of Constitutions

The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori principally for the evangelization of the poor, adhering to the norms of the Second Vatican Council and other directives given by the Church, has diligently and with dedicated labour composed a new text of constitutions.

After this text had been examined and duly approved by General Chapters, the Supreme Moderator of the Congregation presented it to the Holy See, humbly asking that it get confirmation.

Therefore this Sacred Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes, after submitting if for special examination by the consultors, and taking into account the vote of the congress, weighed everything with due deliberation and deemed it should comply with this request.

Accordingly, by virtue of this present decree, it approves and confirms the text presented to it with the changes specified by the congress, according to the Latin copy preserved in its archives, together with the formulae for religious profession attached to the text, all prescriptions of law being observed.

The Sacred Congregation expresses the hope that the members of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, led by the example of their holy founder, will be impelled to carry on with renewed energy the mission entrusted to them by the Church.

Given at Rome, on the 2nd of February, the feast of the Presentation of the Lord, in the year 1982.

E. Card. Pironio, Pref.
+Augustine Mayer, Secr.

 

The Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes

Prot. n. R. 57-1/86

Decree

The General Chapter of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer which was held in 1985 completely and correctly adapted to the new Code of Canon Law the Constitutions of the Institute which had been revised according to the directives of the Second Vatican Council (PC nn. 2, 3, 4) and approved by the Holy See in 1982. On that occasion, the Chapter examined and modified the temporary adaptations which the General Council had made according to a decree from the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes dated the 2nd of February, 1984.

The Supreme Moderator of the Institute has submitted these changes to the Holy See for approval.

The Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes after carefully studying the proposed changes, by means of this decree, and subject to the few modifications attached, approves and confirms these changes, all legal requirements being observed. All to the contrary notwithstanding.

Given in Rome on the 23rd of July, 1986.

+Vicentius Fagiolo, Secretary

Jesús Torres, CMF
Undersecretary

 

Decrees Concerning the English Translations

To the (Vice)provincial Superiors and the Confreres of the English-speaking (Vice)provinces

Decree

Since the revisions of the Constitutions and General Statutes made by the XX General Chapter of 1985 required a revision of the English translation originally made by the Province of Dublin in 1982; and

Since the following translation into the English language of our Constitutions and General Statutes has been carefully examined,

I declare and testify that this revised translation conforms to the original text and may be used and cited as needed.

Nevertheless, all should keep in mind that the revised Latin text of 1986 is to be considered as the sole authentic text.

Rome, the 10th of January, 1988.

Juan M. Lasso de la Vega, C.Ss.R.
Superior General

José Vidigal, C.Ss.R.
Secretary General

*************************

To the (Vice)provincial Superiors and the Confreres of the English-speaking (Vice)provinces

Decree

Since the following translation into the English language of our Constitutions and General Statutes has been carefully examined by various experts,

I declare and testify that this revised translation conforms to the original text and may be used and cited as needed.

It must always be remembered that the Latin text is the authentic text.

Rome, the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, the 21st of July, 2002.

Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R.
Superior General

Raymond Douziech, C.Ss.R.
Secretary General

 

Abbreviations

Documents of the Second Vatican Council

AA    Apostolicam Actuositatem
        (Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity)

AG    Ad Gentes
        (Decree on the Missionary Activity of the Church)

CD    Christus Dominus
        (Decree concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops in the Church)

DV    Dei Verbum
       
(Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation)

GS    Gaudim et Spes
        (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World)

IM    Inter Mirifica
       
(Decree on Means of Social Communication)

LG    Lumen Gentium
       
(Dogmatic Constitution on the Church)

OT    Optatem Titus
       
(Decree on Priestly Training)

PC    Perfectae Caritatis
       
(Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life)

PO    Presbyterorum Ordinis
        (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests)

SC    Sacrosanct um Concilium
       
(Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy)

UR    Unitatis Redintegratio
        (Decree on Ecumenism)

Other Documents of the Church or
of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer

CIC   The Code of Canon Law, 1983

CR    Constitutions and Rule of the C.Ss.R., 1921, 1936

DC    Directory of Chapters (Directorium Capitulorum)

DM   Documenta miscellanea ad regulam et spiritum
        Congregationis nostrae illustrandum, Romae, 1904.

DS    Directory of Superiors (Directorium Superiorum)

EN    Evangelii Nuntiandi
        (Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Paul VI, 8 Dec. 1975)

ES    Ecclesiae Sanctae
        (Motu Proprio of Pope Paul VI, 6 Aug. 1966)

MR   Mutuae Relationes
        (Instruction of the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes
        and of the Congregation for Bishops, 14 Apr. 1978)

PP   Populorum Progressio
       (Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI, 26 Mar. 1967)

RC   Renovationis Causam
       (Instruction of the Congregation for Religious
       and Secular Institutes, 6 Jan. 1969)

SH   Spicilegium Historicum C.Ss.R.

VC   De Vita Contemplativa Religiosorum
       (Decree of the Congregation for Religious
       and Secular Institutes, 1980.

 

SUPPLEX LIBELLUS

The Petition of Alphonsus de Liguori and his companions to the Pope, asking for his approbation of the Institute and its Rules (1748)

Most Holy Father,

Alphonsus de Liguori, a priest from Naples, with his companions who are also missionary priests, united under the title of the Most Holy Saviour, humbly bring to your Holiness' attention:

that the petitioner, having dedicated many years to the holy missions as a brother of the Apostolic Missions, worked in the Cathedral of Naples, and having felt deeply the great abandonment in which the poor find themselves in great areas of the Kingdom, especially the rural areas, has joined with the aforesaid priests, who have been his companions since 1732, under the direction of the late Mons. Falcoia, bishop of Castellamare, in order to dedicate themselves to help the rural poor by means of missions, instructions and other (ministerial exercises). These are the most in need of spiritual help, as frequently they have no one to administer to them the Holy Sacrament or the Word of God; their plight is such that many, for lack of (apostolic) labourers, reach death's door without knowing anything at all of the necessary truths of the faith. This is because the number of priests who dedicate themselves expressly to the care of the poor farmers is few, due to the expense involved and, even more, to the trouble such a work entails. For these reasons, the suppliants have, for some time, been helping these poor folk with missions, searching out the rural areas and the most abandoned places of the six provinces of the Kingdom (of Naples), with such success everywhere that when His Majesty the King himself heard of this work, and especially the work undertaken for the benefit of the numerous shepherds of Apulia, he issued various decrees which granted them an annual subsidy to maintain their work, recommending it as most useful for the general good of the Kingdom. The most eminent Archbishop of Naples himself, who governs his Church with such zeal, has seen fit to summon these suppliants to help him give missions in the small towns of his diocese.

To fulfill this objective, the suppliants, with the canonical approbation of the Ordinaries and the permission of the King, have united to live together in some houses or retreats, located outside the populated areas, in various parts of the Kingdom, such as the dioceses of Salerno, Bovino and Nocera, and most recently, in the diocese of Conza, in which the suppliants have, with the apostolic consent of the Sacred Congregation of Bishops and religious, been given the Church of St. Mary, Mater Domini, with an adjoining house, together with a benefice of the clergy of the Caposele area and some rents assigned to them by various benefactors, most notably the Archbishop of the said diocese. These houses, besides being residences for the suppliants who have continually preached missions, also provide an opportunity for the people from the rural areas where they have taken part in a mission, to renew their confession and rekindle their fervour through devout preaching. In these same houses, close spiritual exercises have been given several times during the year, sometimes for ordinands, as well as for pastors and priests sent by their bishops, and sometimes for the laity as well. This has proved to be of great benefit to them as well as to the others, because the priests, after being renewed by these exercises, have become worthy ministers of the Church for the good of their parishioners. All of this work goes on without interruption, giving ever-greater assistance and positive benefit to the people.

The Lord has greatly blessed this work, not only with the conversion of many abandoned souls and with the good done in the rural areas where the suppliants have laboured, but also with a growing number of candidates who, up to now, have been joining their association, which at this moment numbers nearly forty members.

Most Holy Father, this is the actual state of this new work. But if Your Holiness does not see fit to grant us your apostolic approbation, the mission will not be able to continue its favourable advance. For that reason, this suppliant and his companions, prostrate at your feet, beg you, for the love that your Holiness has for the glory of Jesus Christ and for the spiritual health of so many rural people who are the most abandoned children of the Church of God, to bestow your apostolic approval on them so that the aforementioned association be erected and constituted as a Congregation of secular priests under the title of the Most Holy Saviour, always subject to the jurisdiction of the local ordinaries, like the Congregation of the Fathers of the Missions and of the Pious Workers, but with the special character of having their houses outside the populated areas and in the midst of the most needy dioceses, so as to dedicate themselves better to the service of the rural people and to be more available to them in their need.

Deign also to approve the Rule that in its own time will be placed at your feet, in the expectation that Your Holiness, who has so much zeal for the good of souls, particularly for those poor rural people, (as is evident from the circular letter sent to the bishops of the Kingdom of Naples, insisting that they help in every way possible with the holy missions), will deign, through your supreme authority, to give stability to this work which is not only very useful but very necessary to help so many poor souls who live deprived of spiritual aid in the rural parts of this Kingdom.

And they shall have it as a the grace of God.

(Translated from a Spanish version of the Italian original, published in Spicilegium Historicum 17 (1969), 220-223.)

 

THE ORIGIN AND GROWTH OF THE
CONGREGATION OF THE MOST HOLY REDEEMER

Moved by compassion for the poor, especially those living in the country districts, who at that time formed a considerable section of the population, St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, in the year 1732, at Scala in the Kingdom of Naples, founded the Congregation of Missionaries of the Most Holy Saviour. Afterwards (1749), it came to be called the Congregation of Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer. These missionaries, after the example of the Redeemer himself, were to preach the Gospel to the poor: "He sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor" (Luke 4,18).

Alphonsus, with his companions, among whom St. Gerard Majella was outstanding, strove to come to the relief of the spiritual needs, at that time, of the poor of the country districts. These he sought to assist, especially by means of missions, spiritual exercises and renewals, after the manner of St. Paul (Acts 15,36).

But he felt an ardent desire, too, to preach the Gospel to non-Christians in Africa and Asia, as he often wrote in his letters, and to Christians separated from the Catholic Church, as for example, the Nestorians living in Mesopotamia. He took pains to enkindle this apostolic zeal in his sons, proposing in the Constitutions a special vow obliging them to preach the Gospel to non-believers (1743). This vow however was suppressed in Rome by those who revised them.

Alphonsus could never be shaken in the belief that his Congregation, under the protection of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, would labour vigorously together with the Church in the task of winning the world for Christ. Hence, with all his might he exerted himself to secure the spread of the Congregation. He sought to give it interior strength by means of a vow of perseverance (1740) and simple vows. He strove to have it officially recognized by the supreme authority of the Church. In this last he finally succeeded when the Supreme Pontiff, Benedict XIV, on the 25th of February, 1749, solemnly approved both the Institute and it Constitutions and Rule.

From that time onwards the confreres took simple vows recognized by pontifical authority. With the apostolic constitution "Conditae a Christo" of Pope Leo XIII (8 Dec. 1900), these simple vows obtained the character of public religious vows.

Due in a special way to the untiring zeal of St. Clement Mary Hofbauer († 1820), "a man with a wonderful strength of faith and possessed of the virtue of invincible constancy," our Congregation spread beyond the Alps where it found new fields for its apostolic zeal. There also, with the assent of St. Alphonsus, who was informed of the matter, it adopted new missionary methods.

By degrees, the Congregation began to expand through the regions of Europe and from there, due to the enterprise of Father Amand Joseph Passerat († 1858), it crossed the ocean and extended through the Americas where it found an energetic apostle in St. John Nepomucene Neumann. It spread through other regions as well, till at last its boundaries extended to the limits of the world itself.

In this way the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer gradually entered different fields of apostolic activity, devoting itself to missionary work among the faithful, among non-Christians and those separated from the Catholic Church.

Urged on by the same missionary spirit, it fosters, too, the scientific study of pastoral practice, thus following in the steps of St. Alphonsus who, in 1871, was declared a Doctor of the Church and, in 1950, the Patron of all Confessors and Moralists. It aims also to propose a way, suited to the changing conditions of our times, that gives sure guidance in responding to the Gospel and acquiring Christina perfection.

All the members, therefore, striving to carry on the missionary work of the Most Holy Redeemer and the apostles, put forth their most earnest efforts to preserve the spirit of their holy founder, Alphonsus. They ever identify themselves with the energetic missionary activity of the Church, especially in everything that has reference to the poor, and devote all their powers to relieving the needs of the world today.

 

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The Apostolic Life of
Redemptorists


CONSTITUTIONS


THE MISSION OF THE
CONGREGATION OF THE MOST HOLY
REDEEMER
IN THE CHURCH

1. The Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, founded by Saint Alphonsus, is a clerical missionary religious Institute of pontifical right, enjoying the privilege of exemption, and having members belonging to various rites. Its purpose is to "follow the example of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer, by preaching the word of God to the poor, as he declared of himself: 'He sent me to preach the Good News to the poor'." [1]

In this way the Congregation shares the mandate given to the Church, which, since it is the universal sacrament of salvation, is missionary of its very nature. [2]

It does so by responding with missionary thrust to the pressing pastoral needs of the most abandoned, especially the poor, and by devoting itself entirely to evangelization.

The Redemptorist Congregation truly follows the example of Christ in the apostolic life, which comprises at one and the same time a life specially dedicated to God and a life of missionary work.

2. In carrying out its mission in the Church the Congregation unites members who live together and form one missionary body. These dedicate themselves to God by profession, and so devote themselves to their mission as a living unit, each contributing through the ministry that belongs to him.

All Redemptorists, urged on by the apostolic spirit, and imbued with the zeal of their founder, continue the tradition developed by their confreres in the past, and are ever attentive to the signs of the times. "Sent as helpers, companions and ministers of Jesus Christ in the great work of redemption:" [3] to preach the word of salvation to the poor (Chapter 1), they build up an apostolic community (Chapter 11), specially dedicated to the Lord (Chapter 111), sustained by adequate formation (Chapter IV), and by suitable forms of government (Chapter V).


CHAPTER I


THE MISSIONARY WORK
OF THE CONGREGATION

First Section
Evangelization of the Poor

3. The most abandoned, to whom in particular the Congregation is sent, are those for whom the Church has not yet been able to provide sufficient means of salvation, those who have never heard the Church's message, or at least do not receive it as the "Good News", and finally those who suffer harm because of division in the Church.

At the same time the Congregation directs its apostolic zeal towards the faithful who enjoy ordinary pastoral care; for they need to be strengthened in faith, continually converted to God, and bear witness to the faith in everyday life. [4]

4. Among groups of people more in need of spiritual help, they will give special attention to the poor, the deprived and the oppressed. The evangelization of these is a sign of messianic activity (cf. Luke 4:18), and Christ, in a certain sense, wished to identify himself with them (cf. Matt. 25:40). [5]

5. Preference for situations where there is pastoral need, that is, for evangelization in the strict sense together with the choice in favour of the poor is the very reason why the Congregation exists in the Church, and is the badge of its fidelity to the vocation it has received.

Indeed the Congregation's mandate to evangelize the poor is directed to the liberation and salvation of the whole human person. The members have the duty of preaching the Gospel explicitly and of showing solidarity with the poor by promoting their fundamental rights to justice and freedom. The means employed must be effective and at the same time consistent with the Gospel. [6]

Second Section

The Work of Evangelization

Art. 1: The Gospel of Salvation

6. All Redemptorists, ever following the magisterium of the Church, must be humble and courageous servants among people of the Gospel of Christ, the Redeemer and Lord, who is the head and model of the new humanity. [7]

This message has for its special object plentiful redemption; it proclaims the love of God the Father "who first loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10) and through the Holy Spirit gives life to all who believe in him. [8]

This redemption affects the entire person. It brings to perfection and transforms all human values, so as to unite all things in Christ (cf. Eph. 1:10; 1 Cor. 3:23), and thus lead them to their completion in a new earth and a new heaven (cf. Rev. 21:1).

Art. 2: Evangelization Itself

7. As witnesses of the Good News of the grace of God (cf. Acts 20:24) they proclaim before everything else the very high destiny of the individual and of the whole human race. They know very well that all are sinners, but equally they know that, at a deeper level, all have been chosen, redeemed and gathered together in Christ (cf. Rom. 8:29 ff). [9]

Therefore, they will strive to encounter the Lord where he is already present and at work in his own mysterious way.

8. According to the situations in which they find themselves, they will eagerly try to discover what they should do or say: whether to proclaim Christ explicitly, or confine themselves to the silent witness of brotherly presence.

9. Should circumstances make it impossible for them at times to proclaim the Gospel directly and immediately or to preach it fully, then the missionaries, with patience and prudence, but at the same time with great confidence, must give witness to the charity of Christ and do all in their power to make themselves neighbours to everybody. [10]

This charity will show itself in prayer, in genuine service to others and in witness of life whatever form it may take.

This form of evangelization gradually prepares the ways of the Lord, and is a true exercise of the Redemptorist missionary vocation. [11]

10. Witness of life and charity opens the way to the testimony of the word (cf. Rom. 10:17), according to actual circumstances and the capabilities of each. Indeed Redemptorists have as their special mission in the Church the explicit proclamation of the word of God to bring about fundamental conversion.

When the opportune time comes, and the Lord opens the door to them for the preaching of the word (cf. Col. 4:9), the members are always ready to give witness to the hope that is in them (cf. 1 Pet. 3:15). They bring to completion the silent witness of their brotherly presence by preaching the mystery of Christ with confidence and constancy (cf. Acts 4:13, 29, 31).

They will never grow weary of invoking the Holy Spirit, so that they may always be able to co-operate more wholeheartedly in bringing the mystery of redemption in Christ to full effect. For the Spirit has command of every situation, puts the appropriate word on the lips of the preacher and opens hearts to receive it.

Art. 3: The Purpose of the Missionary Work

11. Blessed by God with the ministry of reconciliation (cf. 2 Cor. 5:18), the members announce the good news of salvation and the "favourable time" (2 Cor. 6:2), so that people be converted, believe in the Gospel (cf. Mark 1:15), really live their baptism and put on the new self (cf. Eph. 4:24).

Redemptorists are thus "apostles of conversion", in so far as the chief object of their preaching is to lead people to a radical choice regarding their life - a decision for Christ - and draw them firmly and gently to a continuing and total conversion. [12]

12. The conversion of the individual, however, is brought about in the ecclesial community. And therefore the object of their whole missionary activity is to raise up and develop communities that will walk worthily in the vocation to which they are called, and exercise the priestly, prophetic and royal offices with which God has endowed them.

The missionaries lead those who have been converted to share fully in redemption which is at work in the liturgy, especially in the sacrament of reconciliation, where the Good News of God's mercy in Christ is so wonderfully proclaimed and celebrated, but most of all in the Eucharist through which the Church is built up. [13]

In this way the Christian community becomes the sign of God's presence in the world. For, nourished by the word of God, it bears witness to Christ and continually passes with him to the Father in the mystery of the Eucharist. As a result it walks in love, aflame with the apostolic spirit.

Third Section
The Manner of Performing the Work of Evangelization

Art. 4: Dynamism in Mission Work

13. The Congregation strives earnestly to carry out its mission with bold initiative and wholehearted dedication.

Since it is called to perform faithfully the missionary work entrusted to it by God from one age to another, the Congregation develops and adapts the form of its missionary activity.

14. Indeed the apostolic work of the Congregation is distinguished more by its missionary dynamism than by any particular forms of activity; in other words, by evangelization in the true sense, and by service of persons and groups who are poor and more neglected within the Church and society (cf. CC. 3-5).

15. The mission of the Congregation, then, demands of the members that they be free and unimpeded in their choice of the peoples to be evangelized and the means to be employed in the mission of salvation.

Since they are always obliged to seek new apostolic initiatives under the guidance of legitimate authority, they cannot allow themselves to settle down in surroundings and structures in which their work would no longer be missionary. On the contrary, they will diligently pioneer new ways of preaching the Gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).

16. For this reason they hold in high esteem the different forms of missionary activity born of the missionary zeal of the members in the past, in their efforts to meet the needs of various places. Likewise, in time to come the Congregation will adopt any new form which, in its judgment, corresponds to its pastoral charity.

17. The decision whether certain priorities, established or to be established in relation to apostolic works in the (vice)province correspond to the missionary character of the Congregation, belongs to the (vice)provincial chapter, with the consent of the general council.

And so it is evident that all the members, especially when assembled in chapters, must periodically ask themselves whether the means of evangelization employed in their region answer to what is expected of them by the Church and the world. They should examine, too, whether their missionary methods need to be renewed and how this should be done. They should then retain whatever methods have proved successful modify those which are inadequate and abandon those no longer useful. [14]

Art. 5: Co-operation in the Church

18. Because of the particular nature of their pastoral charity, communities and individual members shall do all in their power to harmonize their own work with the enterprises of the universal and local Church. [15]

For the task the Congregation has assumed in the Church is in the service of Christ, and as a consequence, must necessarily also be in the service of his Church. Because their ministry is directed towards the good of the universal Church, the members are primarily subject to the Supreme Pontiff, even by virtue of the vow of obedience.

Nevertheless, according to the principles of exemption, they are also subject to the local ordinary in what relates to their particular ministry in the local church.

In working out and maintaining fraternal co-operation, the members shall keep in view both the pastoral programme of the territory they work in and the charism proper to the Congregation. With a sincere desire to be of service, and a generous availability, they shall fit in with the missionary works and structures which the diocese or the region has established to meet the more urgent needs of the Church and the times.

Art. 6: Dialogue with the World

19. In order that missionary work may develop and be really successful, adequate knowledge and practical familiarity with conditions in the world are essential as well as co-operation within the Church. For this reason the members of the Congregation confidently engage in missionary dialogue with the world.

In a spirit of brotherly concern they should try to understand people's anxious questionings and try to discover in these how God is truly revealing himself and making his plan known. [16]

Indeed they know that only the mystery of the Word Incarnate throws true light on the mystery of humanity and on the full reality of its calling. With this knowledge they reveal the all-embracing nature of redemption, and give witness to the truth that whoever follows Christ, the perfect human being, becomes more human. [17]

THE REDEMPTORIST MISSIONARY

20. Strong in faith, rejoicing in hope, burning with charity, on fire with zeal, in humility of heart and persevering in prayer, Redemptorists as apostolic men and genuine disciples of Saint Alphonsus follow Christ the Redeemer with hearts full of joy; denying themselves and always ready to undertake what is demanding, they share in the mystery of Christ and proclaim it in Gospel simplicity of life and language, that they may bring to people plentiful redemption. [18]


CHAPTER II


THE APOSTOLIC COMMUNITY

Art. 1: The Community Itself

21. To fulfil their mission in the Church, Redemptorists perform their missionary work as a community. For apostolic life in common paves the way most effectively for the life of pastoral charity.

Therefore, an essential law of life for the members is this: that they live in community and carry out their apostolic work through community. For this reason the community aspect must always be kept in mind when any missionary work is being accepted.

Community does not truly exist when members merely live together; it requires as well genuine sharing on the human and spiritual level.

22. The whole purpose of community life is to have members, like the apostles (cf. Mark 3:14; Acts 2:42-45; 4:32), in a spirit of genuine brotherly union, combine their prayers and deliberations, their labours and sufferings, their successes and failures, and their material goods as well, for the service of the Gospel.

Such concrete forms of this community life are to be set up as will meet the demands of evangelization and the requirements of brotherly love, bearing in mind that the term "community" can refer to the whole Congregation, to the (vice)province, or to a local or personal community.

Art. 2: The Presence of Christ in the Community

23. Since the members are called to continue the presence of Christ and his mission of redemption in the world, they choose the person of Christ as the centre of their life, and strive day by day to enter ever more intimately into personal union with him. Thus, at the heart of the community, to form it and sustain it, is the Redeemer himself and his Spirit of love. And the closer their union with Christ, the stronger will become their union with each other.

24. So as to share truly in the love of the Son for his Father and for people, they will cultivate the spirit of contemplation which deepens and strengthens their faith. [19]

This will enable them to see God in the people and in the events of everyday life. They will see his plan of salvation in its true light, and be able to distinguish between what is real and what is illusory.

25
. They will be docile to the Holy Spirit who works without ceasing to conform them to Christ, so that they learn to view all things as Christ does (cf. Phil. 2:5ff), and be of one mind with him (cf. 1 Cor. 2:16). This same Spirit moves them interiorly through a variety of ministries for the work of the apostolate. [20]

For the gifts of the members and of communities vary "according to the measure of Christ's giving" (cf. Eph. 4:7), "but the Spirit is one and the same" (cf. 1 Cor. 12:14).

Art. 3: A Community of Prayer

26. Let the members ever take to themselves the exhortation of Christ the Redeemer: "they ought always to pray and not lose heart" (Luke 18:1). Let them imitate the disciples of the first community in the Church: "they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers," (Acts 2:42) "all these with one accord devoted themselves to prayer, together with Mary the mother of Jesus" (Acts 1:14).

Indeed, they will make every effort to have Saint Alphonsus' spirit of prayer in their own lives.

27. They will find Christ especially in the principal signs of salvation. For this reason their community life must be nourished by the teaching of the Gospel and the sacred liturgy, particularly the Eucharist. [21]

28. The word of God gives support and energy to the Church, strengthens the faith of her children, nourishes the soul and is the pure and never-failing wellspring of the spiritual life. [22]

Therefore, as ministers of the revelation of Christ's mystery among people, the members shall often have recourse to his living and life-giving word and steep themselves in it, both by constant reading of the Scriptures and by community celebrations of the word of God. With faith enlivened in this way, they become more effective apostles in every good work (cf. 2 Tim. 3:17).

29. In the liturgy they discover and live the mystery of Christ and of salvation. This is true in a special way of the Eucharist, which they recognize as the summit and source of their whole apostolic life, and the sign of their missionary solidarity. [23]

Consequently, priests will give first place to the daily celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice. Other members who are not priests will participate every day in the eucharistic sacrifice, taking account of the circumstances of life and work in their own community. [24]

30
. Since the members must live and work in community, they will come together for prayer in common. Each community will discover forms of community prayer, to be approved by the competent superior, which will give expression to the unity of the members and foster their missionary zeal. [25]

In addition to the celebration of the liturgy, that is of the Eucharist and the Liturgy of the Hours, the members have the right and duty to devote at least one hour every day to prayer. This prayer can be made either in private or in common.

The general statutes, however, will decide how often the members must come together to pray in common each day, and the arrangement will be included in the order of the day for each community.

31. In order to participate more deeply and fruitfully in the most holy mystery of the Eucharist and the liturgical life, and to nourish more abundantly their entire spiritual life, the members, both in the religious house and outside, will attach the greatest importance to mental prayer (cf. Matt. 6:6). They will direct it principally to the contemplation of the mysteries of redemption. [26]

The general statutes will determine the spiritual exercises to be performed by the members.

32. Let them take the Blessed Virgin Mary as their model and helper. For she went on her pilgrim way in faith, and embraced with her whole heart the saving will of God. She dedicated herself completely as a handmaid of the Lord to the person of her Son and to his work, and thus served the mystery of redemption. Indeed she still serves it, as the perpetual help of God's people in Christ. Therefore, let them relate to her as a mother with all the love and veneration they owe her as sons. [27]

Let them be generous in fostering devotion, especially of a liturgical nature, to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and celebrate her feasts with special fervour. [28]

All the confreres will honour the Blessed Virgin Mary every day, following the tradition of Saint Alphonsus. To all is recommended the recitation of the holy rosary, so that with grateful hearts they may reflect upon and imitate the mysteries of Christ in which Mary had a share.

33. They will try to reproduce in their lives the apostolic zeal of their founder in ways that are accommodated to the needs of our times. They will have very much at heart the development in their own lives of his way of thinking with the Church, for this is a sound criterion of their missionary service. To achieve this, let them carefully study his life, and make frequent use of his writings.

Art. 4: A Community of Persons


34. Christian community truly exists in every personal relationship which is formed between the members: "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20). This gathering together in the name of Christ brings into being that Gospel friendship which gives life to the apostolic community even in its juridic and administrative dimension; it is this Gospel friendship which also maintains and gives growth to the community life of the members.

35. Therefore, in community all the members are of themselves equal. Through the exercise of co-responsibility each in his own way plays his part in living the life and carrying out the mission to which they have dedicated themselves.

36. The community must further the personal growth of its members, develop interpersonal relations and build up genuine brotherhood. This will demand that persons, with their values and qualities, be highly esteemed. Moreover, opportunities must be given the members to make their own personal decisions, in order to promote real development of maturity and responsibility.

37. In this way the life and vigour of the community is maintained and strengthened, whether it be its internal life as a community or the work of evangelization entrusted to its members. There is, moreover, continual and fruitful interaction between the community and its individual members, by which the community supports and enriches each one's vocation.

38. Gathered in unity of purpose in Christ and in a spirit of mutual respect, they will readily reach a decision on what the common good of the entire group requires, both in regard to the practice of brotherly charity and the exercise of their missionary work. In their efforts to reach the common goal the individual members will then contribute all that is in them to the actual carrying out of whatever has been decided in the community in a spirit of complete self-sacrifice and moved by their love for each other.

Art. 5: A Community of Work

39. In keeping with his qualifications and talents, each one will undertake in accordance with the arrangements of the competent superior, that share of the labours of the community, and shoulder those burdens which his missionary calling requires. For such an exercise of his mission forms a special part of religious observance.

Art. 6: A Community of Conversion

40. It is most important that the members regard the community as something which must aim at continual progress through constant interior renewal.

41. 1 The members must give all their attention to putting on the new self, created in the image of Christ crucified and risen from the dead, so as to purify their motives in judging and acting. For conversion of heart and continual renewal of mind should characterize their whole daily life. [29]

This effort entails continual self-denial, which eliminates egoism, and opens the heart to others generously and fully, in accordance with the demands of the apostolic calling. Spending themselves for others in this way for the sake of Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 4:10ff), they will acquire that interior freedom which brings unity and harmony into their whole life. [30]

2 The members will examine their consciences daily, and it is praiseworthy to have this examination within a community exercise of prayer. To make this necessary conversion of heart more complete, they will frequently celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation. [31]

42. To deepen this interior conversion and give it expression in their lives, they will willingly choose for themselves some practices of mortification.

The community itself must similarly give expression to this same conversion, so that day by day it may give effective witness, and acquire a complete generosity which will be a worthy response to the word of God. [32]

Art. 7: An Open Community

43. For the members, the religious community is their first and basic community. Nevertheless, it must be open to the world in such a way that, through contact with people, it may learn to understand the signs of the times and of places, and adapt itself more fittingly to the demands of evangelization (cf. C. 19). For, in a certain sense, the members belong to other communities also, above all to the groups among whom they work.

This does not mean that they withdraw from their own religious community, but that they really share with all the joy the Gospel has brought into their lives. Thus they become like a leaven in the world and are a living witness of hope.

Art. 8: An Organized Community

44.Each community needs suitable organization and a way of life in common determined by certain norms, if it is to manifest and further the development of persons who have committed themselves as a body to pastoral charity.

The members will lay down for themselves opportune rules of life, to be decided according to the norm of the general statutes, which are in keeping with the human conditions of the community. These they will select from Christian and Redemptorist tradition, from social life, and in accordance with the rights which are inseparable from the human person.

45
. 1 Every member should accept these norms as binding on him. They must of their nature be adaptable to the requirements of the missionary work. They should be capable of being modified, too, according to what the Church, circumstances of time and place, and the particular culture and character of a nation require.

2 Through common dialogue let all collaborate in creating a climate which is favourable to prayer and work, to solitude and review of life, to rest and relaxation.

3 The legitimate superior is to define the extent to which every community is open to outsiders, while keeping a special section of the house reserved for itself and duly observing the norms on enclosure.

4 The religious habit traditionally worn in the Congregation is retained. Its use is to be regulated by the general statutes. When the members do not wear the habit, they are to observe the prescriptions of the local ordinaries regarding dress.


CHAPTER III

THE APOSTOLIC COMMUNITY DEDICATED
TO CHRIST THE REDEEMER

Art. 1: The Mission of Christ the Redeemer, the Reason for their Dedication

46. The members of the Congregation confirm their personal and community life by religious profession, so as to bind themselves totally to the work of the Gospel and to the perfect practice of apostolic charity, for this is the very purpose of the Congregation. [33]

47. Profession is deeply rooted in baptismal consecration, and is a fuller expression of it. Consequently, by this act, the members are incorporated in a particular way into the mission of Christ as ministers of the Gospel, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. [34]

48. In order to fulfil his mission, which is essentially the exercise of pastoral charity, Christ "emptied himself, taking the form of a servant" (Phil. 2:7) and submitted himself to the will of the Father in the work of redemption to which he dedicated his entire life.

49. The members, set apart for the work to which they are called (Acts 13:2), are prepared to remain steadfast for life in their vocation. They renounce themselves with all they possess to become followers of Christ, and to be all things to all (cf. 1 Cor. 9:22).

50
. The members walk the same way as Christ himself, the way of virginity, poverty and obedience, the way of service and sacrifice of self unto death from which he ascended victorious through his resurrection. They do this within the Church which continues and unfolds the mission of salvation. [35]

Thus, they participate in a special way in the mystery of the Church, and are drawn to share more intimately in the paschal mystery.

Art. 2: Signs and Witnesses

51. Through this total dedication to the mission of Christ, the members share the self-renunciation of their crucified Lord, the virginal freedom of his heart and his wholehearted offering of himself for the life of the world. They must, therefore, become signs and witnesses before people of the power of his resurrection, proclaiming the new and eternal life. [36]

Art. 3: The Mission Unifying their Whole Life

52. Apostolic charity, through which the members share in the mission of Christ the Redeemer, is the principle that unifies their entire life. For it identifies them in a certain sense with Christ, who continues to fulfil the will of his Father by carrying on the redemption through them. [37]

53. Since the glory of God and the salvation of the world are one, and since love for God and love for people are the same, the members live their union with God in the form of apostolic charity and, through missionary charity, seek his glory. [38]

54. In this way pastoral charity gives soul and unity to the life of the members. Community life is really at the service of the apostolate. Continual conversion, the result of their total surrender to God, increases their availability for the service of others. Indeed the very religious bonds, by which the members dedicate themselves to God, necessarily involve commitment to the apostolate and strengthen that commitment.

Religious profession, therefore, becomes the definitive act of the whole missionary life of Redemptorists.

Art. 4: All are Missionaries


55. This profession makes all Redemptorists truly missionaries, whether they are engaged in different activities of the apostolic ministry or hindered from working at all, whether they are occupied with various services on behalf of the Congregation or the confreres, or are advanced in age, sick, or incapable of external work or whether, above all, they are suffering and dying for the salvation of the world.

Art. 5: Profession, a Response of Love

56. Moved and strengthened by the Holy Spirit, the members spare no effort to arrive at a total gift of themselves. They aim to become, through Christ, a response to the Lord "who first loved them" (1 John 4:10). They express this response in the profession of the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

Art. 6: Chastity

57. Religious chastity, which brings with it the obligation of perfect continence in celibacy, reveals the presence of God's kingdom on earth (cf. 1 Cor. 7:34; Eph. 5:25-32), because like marriage, though in a different way, it signifies and embodies the love of Christ and his Church. [39]

58. The members of the Congregation, giving themselves to this same mystery of love, choose celibacy for the sake of the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 19:12). They do so to dedicate themselves, as individuals and as a community, to God and the mission of Christ (cf. John 17:19), so that they may concern themselves wholeheartedly with the things of the Lord, love and serve their neighbour (cf. 1 Cor. 7:32), manifest the Church's own love of Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2) and proclaim the future realities of heavenly life (cf. Luke 20:35, 36).

59. Those to whom the Father has given this gift of grace, are so captivated by what the kingdom of God offers them, that only by choosing this religious chastity can they respond personally and fully to God's love for them.

To arrive at a more perfect understanding of the mystery of chastity and live it in freedom and joy, the members will pray with earnestness and humility in union with the Church, and they should constantly use suitable means of fostering it.

60. They should make use of all the means and helps towards mental and bodily health which the sciences offer. Above all, they must not neglect to follow those ascetical norms which have been tested by the experience of the Church. All, and especially superiors, should remember moreover that chastity is better safeguarded where there is an atmosphere of fraternal charity in the community (cf. CC. 23. 34). [40]

Art. 7: Poverty


61. As missionaries, Redemptorists will embrace in a spirit of trust the poverty of Christ, "who, being rich, became poor for our sakes, that by his poverty we might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). [41]

62. They will make every effort to live in the spirit that permeated the community of apostolic times. In this way they become the sign of that fraternal life of Christ's disciples, of whom it is said: "the whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own use anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common" (Acts 4:32).

Therefore all goods should be simple in style, in keeping with their state and held in common for common use.

Whatever the members acquire by their industry or in view of the fact that they are religious, they acquire for the Institute, and for that reason it must be incorporated in the goods of the community. [42]

63. Without neglecting traditional forms of poverty, they will willingly seek to discover new ways of practising it, which will be ever more in accord with the Gospel, and provide both personal and community witness of evangelical poverty.

64. As poor men, let them regard themselves as bound by the law of labour, so that performing his duties, each will contribute to the best of his ability to his own support and that of others. [43]

65. Missionary charity requires of the members that they live a life that is really poor, and adapted to the condition of the poor they are evangelizing. By doing so, they show solidarity with the poor and become a sign of hope for them.

66. In the same way, they will endeavour in all sincerity to understand those values that are held in esteem by other peoples though they may not perhaps appeal to themselves or their own culture. From this will be born that fruitful dialogue which brings to light the rich endowments God has entrusted to different nations.

67. Similarly, they will cheerfully accept any conditions that may require their moving from place to place and, in a spirit of self-denial, live in the freedom of which the Gospel speaks (cf. Luke 9:58-62).

Living their poverty will also ensure that they gladly take their place as faithful ministers of the Gospel in various organizations where, in the interests of their mission, they may be of service to all people (cf. C. 18).

68
. The vow of poverty taken by the members requires that they live a life that is poor in spirit and in fact, a life of labour, a life of moderation detached from earthly riches, a life which involves dependence and limitation in the use and disposal of material goods, according to the norm of the particular law of the Congregation.

69. The members are bound to make a will which is valid in civil law. The obligation of making this, however, may be deferred to the time immediately preceding perpetual vows.

70. To encourage the practice of poverty, the members are allowed to renounce the patrimonial goods they already possess or may acquire in future. If such a renunciation is made, however, it should be undertaken only by members of mature age, with the consent of the supreme moderator. In so far as possible, it should be made in a manner which is valid in civil law. Members and superiors should take care that this renunciation is made according to the principles of prudence and equity. [44]

A legal document is to be drawn up on the matter as a protection against any difficulties that might arise.

Art. 8: Obedience

71. Following the example of Christ, who came to do the will of his Father, and give his life as a redemption for many (cf. John 6:38; Matt. 20:28), the members through the vow of obedience dedicate their own will to God, and are obliged to submit their will to their lawful superiors when they issue commands in accordance with the constitutions and statutes. [45]

They should bring all their resources of mind and will, as well as their gifts of nature and grace, to the execution of commands and the discharge of the tasks assigned to them.

Let them do all this in a spirit of faith and love for God's will, realizing that they are seeking the kingdom of God, and are sharing intimately in the paschal mystery of Christ, which is the mystery of obedience.

72. Superiors should be docile to God's will in the exercise of their office, realizing that they will have to give an account of the souls entrusted to them (cf. Heb. 13:17). They should use their authority in a spirit of service for their brothers, so that they show forth how God loves them.

They should govern their brothers as sons of God and with respect for the human person, and thus lead them to a submission that is truly voluntary. [46]

They should lead the members in such a way that they will co-operate with an active and responsible obedience in applying themselves to their duties and to the activities they undertake.

Accordingly, let them willingly listen to the members and win their co-operation for the good of the Institute and the Church, and thus help them to activate their missionary zeal.

73
. 1 All the members are co-responsible and mutually dependent with superiors in carrying out the apostolic mission of the Congregation. The Holy Spirit gives life to the communities and inspires the members with a readiness to serve God in the Church and the world. Under his influence, let superiors and members engage in dialogue and fraternal discussion, in order that together they may discover God's will and devote themselves to its implementation. For he speaks through the voices of people and the signs of the times (cf. CC. 37. 38).

2 Although all contribute to the making of decisions through means of community discussion, nevertheless the superior retains the authority to make the decision and order what is to be done, unless particular law states otherwise.

3 Lawful superiors can impose formal precepts of obedience on the members of their community concerning matters contained in the constitutions and statutes. Ordinarily, however, they should not use this power unless there is a grave reason and with the consent of their consultors.

The members, because of the obedience they have professed before God, are bound to obey such precepts willingly and promptly.

74. "Since the fundamental norm of the religious life is the following of Christ as presented in the Gospel, this must be considered as the supreme rule" (PC, 2a) in our Congregation.

Superiors and members then, united in community by the Holy Spirit, must observe constitutions, statutes and decrees legitimately promulgated, looking on them as the authentic means whereby individual confreres and communities show their constant fidelity to God's will. In this way they carry out the mission of Christ who said of himself: "I have come down from heaven not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me" (John 6:38).

75. Evangelical obedience contributes to the true development of the human person dedicated to Christ. It bears witness before the world to the genuine freedom of the children of God and to their common union in Christ, and fills the missionaries with apostolic energy.

Art. 9: The Vow and Oath of Perseverance

76. In making perpetual profession, the members will add to the vows mentioned above a vow and oath of perseverance, by which they will bind themselves to live until death in the Congregation.


CHAPTER IV


FORMATION OF THE APOSTOLIC COMMUNITY

Art. 1: The Scope of Formation

77. The apostolic purpose of the Congregation must inspire and penetrate the whole formation process of its members. This process includes the selection of vocations, the different periods of training and the formation which must last throughout the whole of life. [47]

78. The aim of formation for both candidates and members is to lead them to such a degree of human and Christian maturity that, with the help of God's grace, they will be able to dedicate themselves intelligently, willingly and wholeheartedly to the service of the missionary Church in Redemptorist community life, in order to preach the Gospel to the poor. [48]

They should learn progressively what the following of Christ demands of them, required as it is by baptismal consecration and confirmed by religious profession, and thus become true missionaries.

Art. 2: The Fostering of Vocations

79. The vitality with which the Congregation pursues its apostolic mission depends on the number and quality of the candidates who seek admission to the Redemptorist community. [49]

For that reason, all the confreres, out of love and appreciation for their own vocation, should zealously engage in the apostolate of fostering vocations to the Congregation.

80. It is the Spirit of Christ himself who raises up missionaries in the Church. But ordinarily he makes use of human contacts and relationships to make Christ's invitation known to his apostles. Therefore every member, through his contact with people in the course of his apostolic ministry, must be ever alert to discover and evaluate the gifts which the Spirit imparts to so many young people. In addition, let each one remember that the best and most successful ways of promoting vocations are his own apostolic zeal, the example of his life and constant prayer (cf. Matt. 9:38, Luke 10:2). [50]

Art. 3: Formation in General


81. Willing help should be given to the candidates, so that they be led to assume full responsibility for the decision they make. They should be guided and encouraged towards making their choice in perfect freedom, and should be helped to prepare for the forms of the apostolate that are in accordance with the spirit of the Institute. [51]

Since their duty one day will be to preach the word of God, they must be abundantly nourished by it. They must constantly give themselves to meditation on the mystery of salvation. Let them think deeply too, on the needs of the world which are the Church's concern and which evoke sympathy in their own hearts. In the light of God's word, let them make every effort to discover, together with their confreres, in what way they can help to respond to these needs. [52]

The candidates must be animated also by unwavering faith if they are to be adequately prepared for the trial of loneliness and for the uncertainties which accompany the apostolic ministry. This faith will also lead them to seek a life of brotherly union, in order to hasten the coming of God's kingdom in which Christ desires to unite all. [53]

Becoming imitators of the apostle Paul, as he was of Christ (1 Cor. 4:16), and nourished by his teaching, they will be rooted in an inexhaustible and radiant hope which never deceives, for it is founded on charity (Rom. 5:5).

Art. 4: Directors of Formation

82. All the members share responsibility in the work of formation. They share it not only for those who are beginning life in the Congregation, but for all the confreres. For the whole Congregation is continually in process of formation and development, to be ready to meet the needs of the people to whom its members preach the Gospel.

But the chief responsibility in this matter rests on major superiors whose duty it is to provide for formation, particularly by appointing a team of qualified personnel. For those in charge of formation must be prepared by special training, and have adequate missionary experience in the Congregation. [54]

83. Those directing formation, in mutual harmony of mind and purpose, will follow a well thought-out programme which is of genuine service to those who look to them for assistance.

With the help of experts let them try to exercise discernment regarding vocations. They should so arrange conditions for the young men, that the choice they make will be free and deliberate. Let them look upon themselves, not so much as teachers imparting knowledge, but as servants of the truth, searching for it with patience and humility together with those committed to their care. [55]

Let the candidates co-operate humbly and generously with those directing them. In the light of faith nourished by meditation on the word of God, let them learn from them how to seek God at all times, interpret the signs of the times, see Christ in all people and have a proper appreciation of human values. They will so saturate their lives with the wisdom of the Gospel, that they become faithful witnesses and heralds of the Good News.

Art. 5: First Formation in the Apostolic Life

84. The time of preparation includes not only the novitiate but also the periods that precede and follow it, according to the norms of common law and the law of the Congregation.

85. The members are gradually incorporated into the Congregation in different stages. From the very beginning they will live in the spirit of the evangelical counsels. But when they have become sufficiently mature and stable in this evangelical way of life, they dedicate themselves in a more perfect way to the mission of Christ the Redeemer, in the Congregation, by making vows of chastity, poverty and obedience.

86. 1 It is the function of the general government to decide on the erection of the novitiate, and designate by a written decree some house of the Congregation where it will be situated; it defines the programme of training for the novitiate and determines other matters in accordance with the common law and the general statutes.

2 The aim of the novitiate is to have the candidates consider more thoroughly whether they are really called by God to follow Christ by making religious profession in the apostolic life of the Congregation.

The candidates are to experience our way of life, get to know the history and life of the Congregation, have their minds and hearts imbued with its spirit and have their determination and suitability put to the test.

a. That the novitiate be valid, it must be made for twelve months, spent in an approved house.
However, to complete the training of the novices, in addition to the time above, the general statutes can prescribe one or more periods of apostolic activity to be engaged in outside the novitiate community.

The novitiate is not to be extended beyond two years.

b. To the master of novices, under the authority of the (vice)provincial superior, belongs the government of the novitiate. The master and novices, however, are subject to its superior in regard to the discipline of the whole house.

c. The major superior with the consent of his council, according to the norm of the general statutes, admits candidates to the novitiate, and to temporary or perpetual profession.

d. When the novitiate has been completed, if the novice is judged suitable he is admitted to temporary profession. Otherwise, he is to be sent away, or if there is doubt about his suitability, the time of probation can be prolonged according to the norm of the general statutes, but not for more than six months.

e. The temporary profession to be made after the novitiate is not to be shorter than three years. This time can be prolonged, but not beyond six years, aside from exceptional cases.

f. The profession is to be made or renewed according to the approved formula (cf. Appendix). [56]

87. The members who aspire to the priesthood shall be trained with the object of forming them in the image of Christ the Eternal Priest. Let them learn to unite themselves with him, and endeavour to explore thoroughly the total mystery of Christ, by a scientific and systematic study of the sacred sciences and by a deeper knowledge of the human sciences. [57]

They will likewise share fully in community life, and participate in an appropriate way in the missionary apostolate.

88. During the whole course of studies our students will be entrusted to the special care of a prefect, whose function it will be to train their minds for the apostolic life, and help them to relate their theological studies and spirituality in such a way as to give unity to their life.

89. The other members are to be trained in a similar way. They, too, must be more intimately conformed to the mystery of Christ and share in the life of the Congregation, since all work together in the same missionary vocation, each contributing the service that is proper to himself. As far as possible, therefore, each must acquire the professional and ministerial competence that is needed.

Art. 6: Continuing Formation

90. Redemptorists will become more efficient as missionaries the more they are able to constantly adapt their skills in a suitable way in the work of the apostolate. With this adaptation they will unite continual self-renewal in spiritual, scientific and pastoral matters.

Therefore every member should eagerly try to give new life to his ministry. He should endeavour to make it more fruitful by constant study of the sacred and human sciences, and by fraternal sharing with his confreres.

The (vice)provincial superior, moreover, must make provision for the continual and progressive formation of all the members. This should be done by means of theological and pastoral courses or institutes, by availing of courses in colleges and universities, or by attending regional or national conferences.

In addition, following in the steps of our holy founder, our Congregation promotes higher studies of the sacred sciences, in order to attain its missionary purpose more successfully.


CHAPTER V

GOVERNMENT OF THE APOSTOLIC COMMUNITY

General Principles

91. The general principles embodied in the constitutions must inspire the entire government of the Congregation. It is these principles which should give true human and apostolic value to the norms ratified in the constitutions and statutes.

92. All members and communities must, in their own way, play an active and responsible role in the government of the Congregation in its different parts, making use of the various instruments of government with which it is provided. To each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the sake of the common good (cf. 1 Cor. 12:7; cf. C. 72). [58]

93. For this reason approved norms of decentralization shall be followed. In other words, each section, under the leadership of the general government, conducts its own affairs, whether by making laws and decrees and applying them, or by coordinating the life of the members, in communion with the other parts of the Institute, with the local church and with civil society of which it is part.

94. Furthermore, by virtue of the principle of subsidiarity, all the structures of government must serve to promote the responsibility of the members and communities. This is achieved when all the members and structures at lower level take their part in deciding matters which relate to themselves, and which they can implement with the means at their own disposal. When the occasion arises, higher-ranking structures must come to the assistance of those of lower rank in matters where the latter need their help. [59]

95. The principle of solidarity, which ensures real co-operation between institutions of the same level and between the members themselves, should also be maintained. Let superiors make every effort to establish the best possible conditions for fostering the apostolic life of all the members. [60]

96. Finally, the Congregation must adapt its own structure and institutions to its apostolic needs, and adjust them properly to the different character of each particular mission, always of course, in fidelity to the charism of the Congregation. [61]

First Section
The Structure of the Congregation

Art. 1: The Parts of the Congregation and its Institutions

97. The Congregation is made up of provinces and viceprovinces, which are composed of communities through which they live and carry out their mission. In the Congregation there are also regions.

1 It belongs to the general council to erect provinces and viceprovinces, to join them together after erection, or to change their boundaries.

2 It is also the function of the general council to suppress provinces and viceprovinces, and dispose of their property after suppression.

3 However, provinces and viceprovinces are empowered to establish and suppress regions, with the approval of the general council.

98. The chapter is the primary institution through which the members exercise responsibility for the apostolic life of the Congregation, and make provision for its government. For it is in chapters, held at determined times, that all the members either directly or through elected delegates, enter into consultation and unite their resources in the interests of the whole Congregation, or of their (vice)province, to bring about the renewal and adaptation of the Congregation and strengthen its unity. [62]

99. The entire Congregation, as well as each (vice)province and community, has its own superior who is assisted by his council. In addition, there are appropriate institutions, either of a permanent or temporary nature, which provide means for the participation of the members in the task of government.

Art. 2: Chapters and Superiors in General

100. By reason of the ministry they have received from the Church, chapters and superiors possess the power to govern, according to the norms of universal and proper law, both communities and members; furthermore, since the Congregation is a clerical institute of pontifical right, they also possess the power of governance or of jurisdiction for both the internal and external forum. The Congregation is also exempt. [63]

Let superiors exercise this power, however, in a collegial spirit together with their consultors, who represent the participation of the members in government.

101
. In dealing with the affairs of government, according to the norms of common and particular law, there are some matters in which consultors have a consultative vote; others in which they have a deliberative vote; and finally others, expressly determined, in which the council must decide the matter collegially, by an absolute majority.

An appeal against the decision of the majority can be made to the immediate major superior. Such an appeal will have suspensive effect, if it is a question of incurring expenses or alienation of property. In other matters, however, saving the common law, it will have only devolutive effect.

102. In matters that are purely disciplinary, superiors can grant dispensations from the constitutions and statutes, both general and (vice)provincial, according to the following norms:

a. If the dispensation concerns an individual member, and the case, especially if it is public, is likely to be prolonged, the superior of the community can grant it, but he must first hear his council.

b. But if there is question of dispensing an entire community in a matter of greater importance, the superior of the community, after he has heard his consultors, must have recourse, if time allows, to the (vice)provincial superior, who is empowered to grant the dispensation, after he has heard his own council; if, however, time does not allow, the superior himself, after he has heard his council, can dispense the community, but he must inform his (vice)provincial superior of the matter.

c. To obtain a dispensation for a whole viceprovince, its superior, after he has heard his council, is to have recourse to the provincial superior who can, with the consent of his council, grant the dispensation; if, however, time does not allow, the viceprovincial himself, with the consent of his council, can grant the dispensation, but must inform his provincial of the matter.

d. In the same way, if a whole province is to be dispensed, its superior, after he has heard his consultors, must have recourse, if time allows, to the superior general who can, with the consent of his consultors, grant the dispensation; if, however, time does not allow, the provincial superior himself, with the consent of his council, will have power to dispense it, but he must inform the superior general of the matter.

e. But if it is a question of dispensing the whole Congregation, the general council has power to dispense it until the next general chapter, which will decide whether to prolong the dispensation as circumstances require, or revoke it. Should the chapter, however, make no decision about such a dispensation, it is to be regarded as revoked.

103. Superiors should periodically ask themselves if they have a right understanding of their office, and if they exercise it in the proper way.

For this purpose they should take counsel together and, as far as possible, take part in seminars for the formation of superiors.

It will also be very profitable to hold meetings with superiors of other Institutes concerning this matter.

Second Section
Government at the General Level

Art. 3: The General Chapter

104. The general chapter, legitimately convoked and constituted, is the supreme organ of internal government of the Congregation; it also represents it. It is an expression of the concern and participation of all members in promoting the good of the whole Institute. [64]

The general chapter, both ordinary and extraordinary, is convoked by the superior general, according to the norms contained in the general statutes and the Directory of Chapters.

105. The ordinary chapter is convoked every six years. The general statutes are to decide when an extraordinary chapter must be convoked.

106. To every general chapter will come: the superior general, the consultors, procurator, treasurer and secretary general, as well as legitimately designated representatives of the (vice)provinces. The superior general is the president of the general chapter.

The superior general, the consultors, procurator, treasurer and secretary general, even though not re-elected, continue as members of the general chapter which elected their successors, until its conclusion, or if it has other periods of sessions, then until the end of the first period.

107. It is the function of the general chapter to care for the interests of the apostolic life of the entire Institute, to strengthen the links that bind its individual parts together, and to further the adaptation of the institutions and norms of life in the Congregation to the needs of the Church and humanity.

108. To carry out so serious a task adequately, the general chapter will subject the whole Congregation to a careful examination, to discover if it remains faithful to its own proper mission, in accordance with the spirit of the founder and its sound traditions. It will also examine whether the Congregation is giving willing attention to the voice of God who is ever challenging it through the Church and the world.

109. a. The general chapter will present suitable guidelines to the Congregation so that, renewed in accordance with its own proper spirit, it may continually be able to devote itself more wholeheartedly to the service of the Church and of people.

b. The general chapter is competent:

1 with a two-thirds majority vote to grant a general dispensation from the prescriptions of the constitutions, in accordance with the norm of C. 102 e;

2 with an absolute majority vote, to make amendments to the statutes, abrogate them and make new ones; to issue decrees; to confirm or revoke decisions of the general government, and grant particular dispensations for a time from the prescriptions of the constitutions in disciplinary matters (cf. CC. 102 e and 119);

3 with a two-thirds majority vote, to change the constitutions. But this change must be confirmed by the Holy See, to which it also belongs to give an authentic interpretation of the constitutions.

110. a. The general chapter makes provision for the general government of the Congregation, by electing for six years or reelecting the superior general, his vicar and the other members of this same government.

b. For the election or re-election of the superior general and his vicar, a two-thirds majority vote is required. But for the election or re-election of the general consultors an absolute majority vote suffices.

111. Moreover, the general chapter deals with any other matters of greater importance which may arise concerning the life and government of the Congregation.

Art. 4: The General Government

112. The superior general together with the general consultors, who are co-responsible in governing the whole Congregation, form the general government, which is a permanent directive and executive body.

113. The general government must give inspiration, and act as a stimulus to continual renewal, by being present regularly in the (vice)provinces in a way that is effective and provides leadership.

I. The Superior General and His Vicar

114. a. To be elected superior general a member must be a perpetually professed priest, have lived for at least seven years in the Congregation since perpetual profession, and must be at least thirty-five years of age.

b. The superior general, as supreme moderator of the Congregation and as president of the general council, has before all else the duty of seeing that the mission entrusted to the Congregation by the Church is properly carried out. Consequently, he must seek to give new vitality to the apostolic life of the Congregation, in accordance with the constitutions and statutes, the decrees and guidelines of the general chapter.

c. Therefore either himself or through another he shall visit the (vice)provinces to give inspiration to and co-ordinate the mission of the Congregation under all its aspects.

115. a. The superior general has authority, according to the norms of common law and the law of the Congregation, over all provinces, viceprovinces, regions, communities and members of the Congregation.

b. The superior general, as the one who principally activates and co-ordinates the Institute, must apply himself to understanding ever more thoroughly the mind of the Church and its needs, especially in places where the Congregation exercises its ministry. He should also endeavour to deepen his understanding of the mission of the Congregation in the Church.

116. a. The superior general is the official representative of the entire Congregation. He sees to it, moreover, that the Congregation has due contact with the Holy See, and that it also enters into co-operation with other ecclesiastical and civil institutions.

b. The superior general may resign his office either in the presence of the general chapter or in the presence of the general consultors, but in the latter instance confirmation by the Holy See is required. A majority of two-thirds of the votes is required so that the resignation be regarded as accepted.

117. The vicar of the superior general is elected by the general chapter from among the general consultors. He takes the place of the superior general when he is absent or impeded. In the event of his death, or termination of his office, the vicar succeeds him both in office and title until the next ordinary general chapter.

Should the vicar general renounce his office or be impeded, provision is to be made according to the norms of the general statutes.

II. The General Consultors

118. The general consultors, to be elected by the general chapter, shall be at least six in number.

Their principal duty is to promote the good of the Congregation. On their energy and ability depends the implementation of the decisions of the general chapter. It is through their co-operation that the power given to the superior general becomes effective, and all the (vice)provinces are brought to work together in promoting the missionary work of the Congregation.

119. The general council has the faculty - limited in time, i.e. up to the next general chapter -

1 of giving an authentic interpretation of the statutes, prescriptions of the directories, and of any decisions made by the general chapter;

2 of suspending decrees of the general chapter, provided it informs the Congregation of the reasons for suspending them;

3 of issuing new decrees.
It is for the general chapter to confirm or abrogate such acts. If, however, it makes no pronouncement regarding them, they cease automatically (cf. C. 109 b, 2).

Art. 5: The Officials of the General Curia

120. After appropriate consultation, the general council will choose the major officials, namely: the procurator, the treasurer, the secretary and the postulator general, and set up whatever bodies it considers necessary or useful.

Third Section
Government at the (Vice)provincial Level

Art. 6: The Province

121. The Province is an organic unit of the Congregation, consisting of several communities under one superior, which is constituted a juridical person by the general council. It has the structures required for its own life so that through its various ministries and gifts it can effectively attain the end of the Congregation in communion with the other parts of the Institute, under the authority of the general government.

I. The Provincial Chapter

122. a. In the government of the province the provincial chapter is the primary institution; it is a collegial, moral person, composed of representatives of all the members.

b. The Chapter is composed of members ex officio and members chosen by election, according to the norm of the general statutes.

123. It is the duty of the provincial chapter to give continual attention to the renewal and adaptation of the apostolic life and government of the province.

II. The Provincial Government

124. The provincial superior:

a. together with the provincial consultors, who are co-responsible with him in dealing with the affairs of the province, form the provincial government, which is a permanent directive and executive body. It must give an account to the provincial chapter of the task entrusted to it.

b. is to be designated in accordance with the norm of the general statutes. To be chosen for the office of provincial superior, however, a member must be a perpetually professed priest, have lived in the Congregation for at least five years after perpetual profession, and be at least thirty years of age.

125. The provincial superior, as moderator of the province and president of the provincial council, has a mandate to direct and govern the province in accordance with the constitutions and statutes, both general and particular.

126. Let the provincial superior exercise his office as a pastor, leader and coordinator of all the communities and members of his province. He should make himself completely available to them, while encouraging them to live worthily the vocation to which they are called, and to confidently undertake and carry through their apostolic enterprises.

127. A vicar of the provincial superior is to be elected, ordinarily from among the provincial consultors. He takes the provincial superior's place when he is absent or impeded; in the case of his death or other termination of his office, he succeeds him in office unless the provincial statutes decide otherwise.

128. The provincial superior, his vicar and the provincial consultors are to be designated for a period of time determined in the general statutes.

III. Officials and Institutions of the Province

129. It belongs to the provincial chapter or to the provincial council, according to the norms of the provincial statutes, to designate the officials of the province. In addition, care should be taken that the government of the province has appropriate institutions, such as secretariats and the like.

Art. 7: The Viceprovince

130. A viceprovince is the union of several communities constituted as a moral person in law by the general council. It usually takes its origin from the province on which it is dependent according to the following norms (CC. 131-134).

131. The viceprovince manifests the apostolic vitality of the entire Congregation, especially of the province by which it was founded.

It is established and erected to serve the Church, especially where a missionary situation exists, after ample consultation among the members who belong to the province, and the matter has been arranged with the general government.

132. In so far as a viceprovince has taken its origin from a province and is not fully sufficient of itself, it has a right to look for assistance from the province in regard to personnel and temporal goods.

133. The viceprovince has the same structure, the same institutions and the same competence to decide the manner of conferring offices as the province itself. Therefore all that is said about the province is valid also for the viceprovince, unless the law states otherwise, or it is evident from the nature of the matter in question.

134. The viceprovince enjoys the freedom and authority required to adjust its own manner of life in a suitable way to the particular needs of its mission, in order to carry out its apostolate.

Art. 8: Government of Communities in the (Vice)provinces

135. The (vice)province, in keeping with the needs of the apostolate and to promote the welfare of the local church, is responsible for establishing communities, whether they be houses or residences, through which it carries on its life and work.

It belongs to the general government to canonically erect houses or suppress them, observing the norms relating to this matter laid down by the Holy See.

136. The members of the community are to be called together by the superior for meetings at stated times, to unite their efforts in strengthening the spiritual energy of their own community, and to secure the progress of their apostolic undertakings and make decisions relating to them.

137. a. The (vice)provincial statutes must issue norms for establishing the government of a community and its organization in keeping with the different conditions in which communities are situated.

b. Matters which are left to the decision of communities by the (vice)provincial statutes, or in accordance with the decrees of the (vice)provincial chapter, must be approved by the (vice)provincial council.

138. a. The superior of a community must be a perpetually professed priest and is designated according to the norm of the general statutes.

b. Superiors of communities are to be designated for a period of time determined in the general statutes.

139. The superior of a community must first of all be a spiritual pastor and then a rector and administrator. His chief duty is to serve the community, so that it may be formed and grow in Christ and that all, with united effort, may devote themselves to the work of evangelization. [65]

He must likewise look upon himself as being co-responsible, by reason of his office, for the welfare of the whole province.

140. A vicar of the superior of the community is to be designated according to the norm of the general statutes. He takes the place of the superior when he is absent or impeded, and succeeds him in accordance with the norms of the general statutes.

Art. 9: Co-operation between (Vice)provinces

141. Though each (vice)province carries out its missionary work according to the needs of people and places, it must always do so in co-operation with the whole Congregation, so that the stronger (vice)provinces come to the assistance of the weaker ones.

142. Where several (vice)provinces are faced with similar problems, especially in matters relating to apostolic works and the formation of members, it is much to be desired that they work in co-operation. Matters of common interest and concern should be reviewed in a spirit of charity and mutual harmony. They should be discussed in a spirit of friendship, with the object of finding a common solution, and one that will be in the best interests of the Church.

143. To further co-operation, the general government should encourage inter-provincial meetings, since it is its function to invigorate and co-ordinate the missionary apostolate of the whole Congregation.

Fourth Section
The Temporal Goods of the Congregation

Art. 10: Purpose of temporal Goods

144. a. The members of the Congregation must use temporal goods for the purposes to which it is allowed to direct them, namely, to support themselves in a becoming way, to carry out works of the sacred apostolate or of charity, especially in favour of the poor, and to meet the expenses connected with divine worship. [66]

b. Let them procure what is necessary for their sustenance and work, but without worrying too much about it, entrusting themselves to the providence of their Father in heaven. [67]

c. The right to dispose of temporal goods belongs to superiors, councils and chapters according to the norm of the constitutions and statutes, always saving the common law.

Fifth Section

Departure from the Congregation

145. Only the Supreme Pontiff or the superior general can dispense from the temporary or perpetual vows made in the Congregation; and they are always considered to be made on this condition.

146. Members can be dismissed according to the norm of common law.

When dismissal takes place, however, the vows are dissolved when the Holy See has given confirmation of the decree of dismissal; but in the case of dismissal ipso jure, they are dissolved after the declaration of the fact has been issued.

147. The decree of dismissal given according to law is to be made known as soon as possible to the member in question, who has the right to make recourse to the Holy See, with suspensive effect, within ten days.

148. Members who leave the Congregation when the period of temporary vows has elapsed, or after obtaining an indult of secularization or laicization, or who have been dismissed from it, cannot make any claims for services they have rendered to the Congregation.

If, however, the one who has left or has been dismissed is not able to support himself from his own goods or by his own labour, the Congregation has, in the meantime, the obligation to give him charitable subsidy, according to the instructions of the Holy See.


ENDNOTES



[1] [Rule of St. Alphonsus]; cf. SH 16 (1968), 400.

[2] LG 48; AG 2. 35.

[3] [Cf. Constitutiones et Regulae (Roma 1921), No. 42].

[4] SC 9.

[5] CD 13; PO 6; LG 8.

[6] EN 9. 30-34.

[7] AG 2-4. 8.

[8] LG 2-4; UR 2.

[9] GS 3. 12; AG 3.

[10] AG 6. 12; GS 27.

[11] AG 11-12.

[12] SC 9.

[13] AG 15.

[14] GS 44; AG 10. 11. 17.

[15] CD 33. 35.

[16] CD 3.

[17] GS 11. 22. 41; AG 11; cf. DC 13.

[18] Cf. AG 25; Cf. Const. et Reg. 1923, 42-48.

[19] PO 15. 18.

[20] PO 12. 18.

[21] PC 6. 15; PO 18.

[22] DV 7. 21. 25.

[23] SC 5-7. 10.

[24] De vita contemplativa religiosorum (1980); cf. SC 48.

[25] SC 13; PC 6; PO 8.

[26] ES II, 21; SC 12.

[27] LG 56; PO 18.

[28] LG 66. 67.

[29] PO 13. 18.

[30] AG 24.

[31] PO 18.

[32] SC 110.

[33] RC 2.

[34] LG 3. 44; PC 5; AG 24.

[35] LG 44; PC 1. 5.

[36] LG 44; PC 25.

[37] AG 24.

[38] LG 41; PO 14; PC 8.

[39] PO 16; PC 12.

[40] PO 16; PC 12.

[41] PO 17; PC 13.

[42] [Cf. Can 668, 3].

[43] AG 11.

[44] PC 13 [cf. Can 668 4; Acta Cap. XX: 1985, 174].

[45] PO 15; PC 14.

[46] PC 14.

[47] PC 8. 18; OT 19.

[48] GE 2; OT 11; PC 5. 8; AG 25.

[49] PC 24.

[50] AG 23; LG 12; PC 24.

[51] OT 6. 7. 11; PO 18.

[52] PC 6.

[53] OT 9; AG 25.

[54] PC 18; OT 4. 5. 6.

[55] OT 6.

[56] [Can 646-648. 650. 653].

[57] OT 8. 17; PO 19.

[58] LG 13; GS 31. 75; PC 14.

[59] ES II, 18.

[60] GS 32.

[61] SC 1; PC 2-4.

[62] PC 14; ES II, 18.

[63] [Cf. Can 596, 2. 618. 622].

[64] PC 14 [Can 631, 1].

[65] PC 14; CD 16; LG 27.

[66] PO 17 [Can 1254, 2].

[67] PC 13; PO 17.