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What does the North American Old Roman Catholic Church Say About Religious Life?



Excerpts from the Statement of Belief, and the Constitution and the Canons
of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church concerning Religious Life.


From the Statement of Belief
The Dogmatic Articles, Article 12 - The Monastic Estate

The monastic life, duly regulated according to the laws of the Church, is a salutary institution in strict accord with the Holy Scriptures; and is full of profit to them who, after being carefully tried and examined, make full proof of their calling thereto.


From the Constitution of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church
Title IX OF PERSONS, Section - Religious

Article 1

§1. Men or women wishing to live the Religious Life shall apply to the Bishop of the Diocese, Missionary Diocese or other Jurisdiction of this church wherein they are canonically resident for his guidance, and for his initial approval of a Rule or Constitution in keeping with the intention of the Order, Community, or Institute to live the Contemplative, Active, or Mixed Religious Life, as the case may be.


§2. The Ordinary will then forward all information and documentation to the College of Bishops for their recommendation and finally to the Primate for his authorization and approbation.

Article 2
Nothing in such Rule or Constitution shall be changed or altered, once approved by the Primate, without his express consent and approval, or that of his Successor, given in writing upon due Petition of the Chapter or similar Body of that Order, Community or Institute, which Petition and Approval shall both be kept amongst the records or archives of the Diocese, of the Primatial See and of that Order, Community or Institute itself.

Article 3
The Rule or Constitution of any Religious Order, Community, or Institute shall provide for the selection of an Episcopal Visitor who shall be a member of the College of Bishops of this Church, whose duty it shall be to approve and receive the Solemn Vows or Life Profession of Religious; to visit, enquire, and investigate that Order, Community or Institute to see that the Rule or Constitution, as approved, is duly observed and all its requirements fulfilled; and to hear and receive appeals, either from the Order, Community, or Institute, or any House thereof, or from any individual Religious thereof, whether professed or not, as to any and all transgressions of the Rule or Constitution.

Article 4
No fully Professed Member of any Order, Community, or Institute may be dismissed therefrom without the Member’s right of appeal to the Episcopal Visitor of that Order, Community, or Institute, with further appeal to the Metropolitan of that Province, and to the Primate, unless the Member, by written and signed Declaration, given of his or her own free will and volition, waive his or her right of appeal; and no fully Professed Member or any other Member under Vows, subject to the authority of this Church, shall be released from his or her obligation to or under such Vows or Profession without written Dispensation of the Episcopal Visitor of that Order, Community or Institute and of the Primate of this Church.

Article 5
 §1. Members of Religious Orders, Communities, or Institutes who are in any of the Holy Orders of the Church shall be and are subject to all Constitutions, Canons and Laws Ecclesiastical of this Church concerning the Clergy, and are in no wise exempted therefrom on account of their Religious Profession or other such standing.


§2. Except where the approved Rule or Constitution provides otherwise, they shall not be required to leave the enclosure of that Order, Community or Institute in compliance with canonical duties or obligations of that Holy Order as might be applicable outside the confines of the cloister.




Article 1
§1. The Primate alone has the power to sanction and approve the establishment of religious communities of men and religious communities of women, and he shall not approve such establishment without receiving the recommendation of the Committee on the Religious Life and having personally received and reviewed the written Rule and/or Constitution of such community and without having approved the same.

§2. No such community shall be established within a jurisdiction without the Ordinary’s invitation or consent.

Article 2
§1. In all respects, religious communities of men and religious communities of women shall conform to the provisions of the Code of Canon Law.

§2. The waiver of a provision or the dispensation from a provision, of the Code is reserved to the Primate and not to the religious superiors of such religious communities.

Article 3
§1. The provisions of Canon Law provide for the jurisdictional affairs concerning religious communities and local Ordinaries.

§2. Faithful adherence to the Code in all respects shall reduce potential conflicts between the religious community and the local Ordinary.

§3. Conflicts which may arise shall be resolved by the Primate or his delegate, with the right of appeal to the General Synod.

Article 4
No local Ordinary or other local ecclesiastical superior has the power or authority to suppress any religious community. Such power and authority is reserved to the Primate alone for good and sufficient cause, and is subject to appeal to the General Synod.

Article 5
Religious communities wishing to establish another house in the same jurisdiction or diocese shall receive, and not presume, the written permission of the Ordinary.

Article 6
§1. Religious communities wishing to establish their first house in another diocese or jurisdiction must secure the permission of both the Ordinary in which the Motherhouse is located as well as the Ordinary of the diocese or jurisdiction in which the proposed new house will be located.

§2. To establish any subsequent house to be located in the new diocese or jurisdiction only the permission of the local Ordinary is required.



From the Canons of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church
PART 2 - CHURCH ADMINISTRATION, Title IV - Standing Committees


Canon 69 - Committee on the Religious Life

§1. The Committee on the Religious Life, whose responsibility it is to support the establishment and growth of the Religious Life in the North American Old Roman Catholic Church. The Committee is charged with the responsibility of reviewing all requests from members of this church, whether clerical or lay, to establish any Religious Community or Order within our church. All such requests must include the name by which the community will be known, the proposed Rule and/or Constitutions, the habit to be worn, as well as the community life and prayer life proposed for the Community or Order. After formal review, the Committee will forward its recommendation to the College of Bishops and they in turn will forward their recommendation to the Primate for his approval and approbation. The Primate, will signify his approbation of the Community by issuing a Letter of Praise establishing the Community or Order as an official Religious Community of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church.

§2. The Committee on the Religious Life will also act as a resource for any and all established and recognized Religious Communities of the North American Old Roman Catholic Church, and their relationship to the general church, the College of Bishops, the Diocese, the Bishop, and the laity. They will also recommend a Bishop to serve as the official Episcopal Visitor to the community if the community has not already requested a particular bishop for this purpose.

Canons 258-314 form this part of our Canons and are dedicated to the Religious Life.

They are designated as follows:

  • General Norms,                           Canons 258-275

  • Establishment,                             Canons 276-282

  • Temporalities of Religious,        Canons 283-284

  • Postulancy,                                   Canons 285-289

  • Novitiate and Profession,          Canons 290-295

  • The Vows,                                     Canons 296-299

  • Obligations of Religious,            Canons 300-303

  • Religious Superiors,                    Canons 304-305

  • Obligations of Superiors,           Canons 306-307

  • Religious Women,                       Canons 308-312

  • Religious Clerics,                         Canons 313-314


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