May 24, 2022

On Wednesday, May 18, 2022 Pope Francis promulgated a rescript which grants the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) the authority to allow non-clerics to serve as general or major superiors of mixed congregations. The rescript concerns, in part, canon 588, §2, which reads: “That institute is called clerical which, by reason of the purpose or design intended by the founder or by virtue of legitimate tradition, is under the direction of clerics, assumes the exercise of sacred orders, and is recognized as such by the authority of the Church.”

The rescript allows CICLSAL to grant exceptions to this canon in several circumstances. Vatican News summarizes:

The rescript provides for three separate cases: the supreme moderator of an institute of consecrated life or society of apostolic life can name a non-cleric as a superior for a local community with the consent of his council; likewise, the supreme moderator, acting with the consent of his council, can name a non-cleric as a major superior after having received written permission from the Congregation; and a non-cleric can be elected as a supreme moderator or a major superior, in accordance with the law providing for such cases, but such an election must be confirmed in writing by the congregation.

Vatican News covered the rescript here, as did CNS (via America), and The Pillar.

A battle over the ownership of one of the original Dorothy dresses from the Wizard of Oz has arisen between the Catholic University of America and the descendants of Fr. Gilbert Hartke, OP. The controversy stems in part from whether the late Fr. Hartke was the recipient of the gift or whether the university was, with CUA arguing that it would be consistent with Fr. Hartke’s vow of poverty for the gift to have been given to the university. CUA had planned to auction the dress to support their drama department. The Washington Post covers the story here, as does Aleteia.