July 8, 2022

Over the past two years, Pope Francis has examined the way that the associations of the faithful operate, creating new regulations to help govern the associations. The new regulations will provide additional oversight to the associations aimed at helping them grow in a responsible manner. One of the significant changes to the creation of new associations is that they now need to be approved by the Holy See (see the text in Italian here). Previously, new associations of the faithful only required a group to obtain written approval from their own diocesan bishop.

A second major change that the pope added was that he created term limits for the lay leaders of the associations so that there would be increased turnover in the associations.

“Art. 1. – The terms of office in the central governing body at international level can have a maximum duration of five years each.

Art. 2 § 1. – The same person can hold positions in the central governing body at international level for a maximum period consecutive period of ten years.

Art. 2 § 2. – After the maximum period of ten years, re-election is possible only after a vacancy for one term.?”

This allowed the different orders to focus on their respective spiritualities instead of on charismatic leaders. The Vatican entering into more direct oversight of these new associations helps them to avoid abuses of authority and bad governance as well as gives the associations support in their growth.