On July 1, 2020, CICLSAL issued a notice giving congregations and institutes the power to dispense with the “personal presence” required by canon 166§1 for the safety of all involved. Meetings between councilors and major superiors can now be held via “telecommunications,” provided the following conditions are met:

  • “that in the use of connection systems, confidentiality and, in the case of required secrecy, both must be ensured”
  • “the identity of the participants in the telecommunication meeting must be verified”
  • “the possibility of intervening in real time during the deliberations must be ensured.”

The notice goes on to say that Pope Francis has decreed “that no general or provincial chapters could be held by means of telecommunications, nor the combination of partial physical presence and partial presence through telecommunications, but only by means of physical presence.”

It also emphasizes that telecommunications is a temporary solution until it is safe to gather again.

Physical presence is the expression of walking together in direct discussion, and communication, not only verbal, in taking on the challenge of different approaches and, if necessary, in more correctly reconsidering a status quaestionis before proceeding to definitive resolutions that bind the whole Institute or Society.

The notice remains in force. Questions about this notice should be directed to your canonical counsel, to CICLSAL, and/or the Resource Center for Religious Institutes.

Read the whole notice here.