CrosiersCanons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross

Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross



Constitutions
Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross

Introduction


Introduction

0.1 By our acceptance of this, our common rule of life, or Constitutions, we incorporate our lives and persons into the community of the brethren of the Holy Cross, itself a part of the great community of the Church. Accordingly, to accept these Constitutions is to commit oneself to a life in this community dedicated to God and spent among the people.

0.2 For this reason, these Constitutions are proposed as a foundation for our life and work. They were approved by the general chapter of 1967, and confirmed by subsequent general chapters. The real value of the principles expressed in them will be determined by whether they take concrete form and shape in us as we continue to study them and live and work by them.

0.3 These Constitutions stress the essential. Few specific norms are given to persons, communities or provinces. In this way they call us to serve in freedom. Yet, for us, their strongest message is that we freely will to build community.

0.4 These Constitutions should be seen within the history of the Order as a new stage in its constant and ongoing development. In accordance with the desire of Vatican II, they attempt to reflect our history and our contemporary life. They try to set forth in a new way the traditions, which have always defined our community, and to carry this evolution towards ever-newer eras in the history of humanity and the Church. They certainly do not intend a break with the past. On the contrary, they consider continuity with the past of great value as they direct our eyes to the future and serve as a fruitful guide for our lives as “Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross” in our own times.

0.5 We recognize the authority of the Church and our obligation to observe pertinent ecclesiastical regulations, and so explicit references to Church laws have been omitted as a matter of principle.



Part One: The Religious Foundations

Chapter 1: Community Life

1.0 Our Identity

1.1 The Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross is a union of Christian men who will to live and work in a community to promote the accomplishment of God’s Kingdom in this world.

1.2 Together with all Christians, we share in the constitution of the Church, the Pilgrim People of God, where the Gospel of Jesus Christ is kept alive and proclaimed.

1.3 The Brethren of the Holy Cross proclaim the Gospel and share in the life of the Church through a diversity of ministry, where all are equal and where all are brothers in the crucified and risen Christ.

1.4 Our Order seeks its inspiration for this community in the Gospel, in the Rule of Augustine, in the vital elements of our own tradition and in the values and needs of our contemporary church and society.

2.0 The Gospel

2.1 Christ’s entering into our world and his going forth to the Father signify not estrangement or alienation from this world, but rather his total dedication to bringing the world to fullness and to establishing love in people’s relations with one another. In essence, our life is one with the life of every follower of Christ—a life of service in faith, hope and love. As religious we hear the call to free ourselves by professing a commitment to the Christian responsibility of collaborating in the work of bringing love and justice into this world.

2.2 The Cross of Christ is a sign for us of his total service in love to all of humanity. We wish to see our fidelity to the Cross most especially in our dedication to fashioning a truly evangelical community through our acceptance of our life and work, and in our apostolic presence where human and religious needs call out to us.

2.3 Although the certainty of death makes us aware of the limits of our earthly existence and directs us towards a life of soberness and simplicity, yet the resurrection of Christ is for us our guarantee of enduring hope. This sure hope of the eventual unity of all God’s chosen ones with the Lord is a source of our joy.

2.4 In our efforts to join together in a life that is truly Christian we adopt as our model Mary, who remains for the Church through the centuries an incomparable sign of love and service.

3.0 Rule of Augustine

3.1 The first brothers of the Holy Cross chose the Rule of Augustine as a vital form of evangelical community. In spite of some purely historical elements, the Rule remains in its spirit a sound foundation for community life today. Its message is clear: “First of all, and this is why you have entered community life, you must live with one purpose in the house of the Lord, and must have one heart and one mind in God” (Rule of Augustine, n. 3) . Unity with one another is an inescapable demand for those who are on the way to God. In love for one another, we meet the Lord. Human unity through love reaches out beyond itself and surges on towards ultimate Unity, perfect Peace and all-encompassing Love. Or, in words of our father Augustine: “We become one in the one Christ towards the one Father” (Exposition on Ps. 147, 28).

4.0 Our Traditions

4.1 The living elements of our tradition include this strong community life, and also a commitment to the life-giving Cross. In addition, our membership in a canonical order demands that we be faithful to common liturgical prayer and our other forms of worship within our own communities and in our apostolates. This heritage must be emphasized beginning in the years of novitiate and formation.

5.0 Values of our World

5.1 Since we believe in Christ, we believe that this world is God’s world and that we are called to have trust in this creation. We consider it our duty to recognize human values in today’s world as norms and sources of inspiration for building our common life. With people throughout the world, we affirm the principle of human dignity; we recognize and accept human longing for freedom and community; we acknowledge human demands for democracy and personal responsibility. In light of these convictions, we have incorporated the principles of subsidiarity and collegiality into the fabric and structure of our life in common. We see this vision of our life as an expression of our faith that God’s Spirit does speak in and through the world in which we live.

5.2 A life together in love liberates persons, since love is itself a force of freedom. This freedom, however, must be directed by such laws and structures as are necessary for community life, because these laws and structures are essentially concrete forms of freedom. They give a community the needed durability and they are absolutely necessary for the full growth of the members. However, they are valuable only insofar as they truly do serve to strengthen our bonds with one another and enable us to realize our own most basic aspirations. Thus we cannot neglect repeated critical examination of the laws and structures of our community and the revision of them where there is need.

5.3 We believe that these principles embody basic values of the Gospel and the Rule of Augustine in contemporary form.

6.0 Our Contemporary Church and Society

6.1 A true source of inspiration for our life as Christians and religious is also to be found in the signs and needs of our time, both in the Church and in society. Contact in faith with all people both inside and outside of the community is a meeting with the Lord and is therefore genuine Christian living. In this way we experience the call of the Spirit in the events of our own life. Thus the struggles, successes and failures of others fruitfully influence our personal and community dedication, and urge us to seek apostolates that will enable us to work with effective Christian inspiration.

6.2 All this signifies that our community life is directed to the apostolate, in accordance with the ideal which the first brothers of the Holy Cross lived out in fact, although, of course, in a manner proper to their own time. Our community life should be attuned to the apostolic activities of its members; however, these apostolic activities must find their needed counterweight and stimulus in authentic community life. This demands flexibility and creativity and obliges each member of the community continually to seek a dynamic balance.

6.3 We acknowledge and encourage new developments in the apostolate for us as religious. This work may well take on different forms within our Order.

7.0 Subsidiarity and Collegiality in our Community

7.1 Each person is a distinct individual with inalienable rights and obligations, and with his own vocation and talents, which must be respected by everyone at all times. It follows, then, that we, as members of the Order, must be able to exercise all our rights, take up our responsibilities, and bring our natural and charismatic gifts to their full perfection. We also hold that we can find personal fulfillment in committing ourselves fully, in fraternal solidarity, to the community.

7.2 We recognize the necessity of authority in every community. However, the exercise of all authority in our Order should be founded on Christian love, the first law of the Lord. This implies the principles of subsidiarity and collegiality.

7.3 The principle of subsidiarity signifies that we must respect the human dignity of persons and the rights of local communities within larger corporate structures. It also implies that each individual, local community and province must be sensitive to the common good. In instances where an individual, local community, or province, is incapable of respecting or fails to respect the common good, the local community, province, or Order, as the case may be, should supply such help, stimulation, or correction, as the situation may demand.

7.4 The principle of collegiality means that members should enjoy full and effective participation in the life, the responsibility, and the decisions of their communities on local, provincial, and general levels.

7.5 These two principles should be clearly distinguished from each other, but they should not be separated. They are two complementary aspects of one whole and therefore need to be balanced with each other. For collegiality to function successfully, it is necessary that the larger community and its leadership give serious consideration to the rights and needs of the smaller communities and individual members. Similarly, for subsidiarity to function successfully, it is necessary that individual members and smaller communities give serious consideration to the rights and needs of the larger community and its leadership. These principles apply to our local communities, our provinces, and to our Order as a whole.

8.0 Role of Chapters

8.1 The proper functioning of our chapters is both a requirement for the creation of genuine community and at the same time evidence of a vital community. The chapters constitute the heart, the nucleus, and the unifying force of a community. The general chapter is responsible for the well being of our entire Order; the provincial chapters are similarly obliged to foster the vitality of the various provinces. However, in the end, the effectiveness of these chapters depends upon the power of idea and initiative originating in the local community chapters and upon our day-to-day commitment to this community.

8.2 From the image of the local community as a union of religious and human society, it follows that to a large extent each community must regulate its own way of life. Hence the communities must undertake the task of education and formation in the values of traditional monastic observances, which formerly were spelled out in detail for the Order as a whole. In doing so, they are naturally expected to take into account the sources of inspiration of our Order. One of the main responsibilities of the community chapter is insuring the continual realization of our particular religious fellowship; consequently, our reflection and dialogue in chapter should be concerned with creating the conditions that foster true fellowship of life and work. At the same time, we must guard against our falling into pure routine. If its work is to be effective, the entire life of the community, its common prayer, life, and work, must again and again be critically examined in the light of our special sources of inspiration, and above all in the light of the Gospel and its actualization in today’s world. This entails a serious responsibility and challenge for every member of the community and most especially for the superior.

9.0 Principles of our Chapters

9.1 If they are to achieve their intended purpose, our community deliberations must take place in a spirit of candor and mutual trust, rooted in authentic faith. Our first task as members of a chapter is that of keeping ourselves open to hearing the voice of the Lord in the words of our brothers. Nothing is more in conflict with the spirit of these chapters than striving to be proved right at all costs or self-seeking which has not been purified by the desire to be led by the Spirit of God.

9.2 In the collegial community of life that we desire, all members have the same rights and duties except as stated otherwise in law.

9.3 In our communities, the superior holds an important and central place. By accepting his office, he assumes a new place and function in the community, one different from that of any other member. His role in community interaction and deliberation is one of creativity and leadership. Accordingly, while the day-to-day direction of the community does rest in his hands, his principal charge is to stimulate and to coordinate responsible initiative and brotherly collaboration in the community. He must create the opportunity for his brothers to experience a Gospel obedience to their calling by the Lord and by the community of the Church. Consequently he must strive to bring about a general climate of willingness to listen. He himself shall listen to the community, attempting to discover the true human and Christian desires of his brothers in order to reach decisions, which are truly communal. His charge and concern is the unity of life and action of his brothers.

9.4 In order not to descend into legalism, the very opposite of true collegiality, two extremes must be avoided: the superior must not be made a puppet at the beck and call of the community; on the other hand, the legitimate desires of the community must not be thwarted by the superior. The superior must never impose his private interests, preferences and opinions in the name of obedience. At the same time, his obligation to speak in the name of the community is not necessarily fulfilled by an automatic dependence on a simple majority of votes. To reject lightly a consensus reached by a large majority, however, would be to run the risk of isolating himself from the community and thus of losing all real authority. The majority required depends on the importance of the issue. When the superior realizes that no real agreement has been reached on an important question, he must reserve final judgment. He should make a temporary decision in order to be able to move ahead, but should also be prepared to review the decision later. To immobilize discussion is to disobey the Spirit of Christ. In cases of urgency, the superior can make decisions binding the community.

Chapter 2: The Vows

10.0 Vows in General

10.1 Following the example of the Lord, we accept a life of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience in order to build up our unity with one another and to create the freedom and flexibility needed to provide totally Christian service to others.

10.2 In making our profession among our brothers and before the People of God, we solemnly and publicly pledge ourselves to incorporate our life and call to Christian service into the Order of the Holy Cross. Our profession is a personal act of dedicating ourselves, empowered by the Spirit, to follow Christ in his total and free devotedness to the Father and to others, which reached its completion on the Cross.

10.3 This bond with Christ and with the Crosier Community through our profession, received and recognized by the Church, is in its essence an expression of our existence as a Church community.

10.4 By this dedication we free ourselves for an ever more intense realization of the Kingdom of God among people. We accept in particular the task of cultivating the heritage of our Order along with our brothers. We embrace its present joys and struggles, and respond to the Spirit calling it to an ever-new actualization of its mission in the Church.

10.5 Our religious life is centered on Christian love. The three vows are a particular realization of the one Christian love, which is the pulse of our community and the goal of our work. In their deepest reality, the vows form but one dedication.

10.6 We accept this life of chastity, poverty and obedience in community as a public testimony to God’s Lordship and active presence in the world. Religious life is a witness to the transcendent that is present in the world of human existence.

10.7 Hence our life as religious has its own irreplaceable significance in the Church and in the world. Yet we properly and fully appreciate our vocation only when we remember that every vocation in Christ supports and sustains every other in building up the Body of Christ in love. Thus we must be open to receive inspiration and enrichment from all other vocations.

10.8. In accordance with our age-old tradition, those who make their profession in our Order are to use the following text. They may, of course, give expression to their more personal insights in an introduction or a conclusion.

I, N.N. do profess and promise obedience to God and to you, N.N., Master General of the Order of the Holy Cross, and to your successors, in accordance with the Rule of Augustine and the Constitutions of the Brethren of the Holy Cross, in such wise that I shall be obedient to you and your successors for ….” [if making a simple profession], or “until death,” [if making a solemn profession].

10.9 If the profession is being made to some other legally qualified superior, the formula is: “I, N.N., do profess and promise obedience to God, and to you, N.N. as the representative of N.N., the Master General of the Order of the Holy Cross, and to his successors, in accordance with the Rule of Augustine and the Constitutions of the Brethren of the Holy Cross, in such wise that I shall be obedient to the Master General and his successors for ….” [if making a simple profession], or “until death,” [if making a solemn profession].

11.0 Vow of Chastity

11.1 In religious life we respond in a particular way to the Christian vocation of realizing the fullness of love. We are called to follow Christ in the power of the Spirit into a chaste life, which Christ lived and which he himself keeps alive in the Church through the Gospel. Our vow of chastity is our personal response to that call.

11.2 By our vow of chastity, we forego marriage and live as celibates. However, our sacrifice of the deep values of family life and marriage is only the inverse side of a positive and joyful choice of a way of life. Our dedication to the proclamation of the Kingdom and the realization of brotherhood under God calls for a life of chastity, which opens us totally to others in love and friendship. Thus chastity is directed to generosity made real in sharing a life of Christian love and concern for all. Living chastely in this way is a source of human happiness. Hence, we must continually take care that our fellowship is in actual fact an opportunity for each brother to grow to maturity and personal fulfillment among people. Conversely, the chaste life will be supported and encouraged by those human relationships which constitute the joy and gladness of our existence.

11.3 In accepting chastity as our way towards love, we wish to strive for a spontaneous, cheerful forgetfulness of self and a willingness to bear the suffering and burdens without which love cannot come to fulfillment. We realize that the Cross is the embodiment of a life lived in that love which goes forth to embrace the whole world. To be a brother to all people is to live under the sign of the Crucified One.

11.4 Chastity therefore should not alienate us from the world, but rather must set us free to live in total availability in and for the world. As we live in this world of ours and collaborate in building a richer and more meaningful human community, we testify through our chaste life that God is the one true origin of all human love and community, and that He is the One alone who one day shall be all in all.

12.0 Vow of Poverty

12.1 To be poor in the sense of the Gospel is to base our existence on the life of others and no longer to root our concern in ourselves. We respond to evangelical poverty when we truly give preference to the other person in all the opportunities offered by our way of life, realizing that we are given to one another as brothers and sisters by the one Father of all. Evangelical poverty requires continual concern for our brothers and sisters. We must welcome their requests and be ready to modify our life according to their needs. A proper attitude towards the goods of this earth, to possessions, and to work follows naturally; in all these we are to be essentially directed to the other.

12.2 We find the deepest source of inspiration for this form of life in the life of Christ: “he was rich, but he became poor for your sake” (2 Corinthians 8, 9). The call to evangelical poverty invites us to enter into solidarity with the poor and needy, to whom Christ’s concern was particularly directed, either by living as they do or by working to promote their social progress. A profession of this poverty without concrete human solidarity would no longer be a poverty in the Spirit of Christ.

12.3 Our vow of evangelical poverty signifies a common commitment to keep our minds alert and our hearts open to every need of our fellow human beings, both in our community and outside of it. Our poverty is lived, moreover, in the context of our chaste state of life, which offers unique opportunities to serve our brothers and sisters. We must learn to see and appreciate the deepest reality of our vow of poverty as community-based openness and availability to the needs of others in the Church and world of today. This demands a sense of simplicity in food, clothing and recreation; an appreciation of the role of work; an effort to organize our lives efficiently in view of our work among people. An authentic practice of evangelical poverty is itself an apostolic presence to those who have need of us.

13.0 Specific Crosier Poverty

13.1 Evangelical poverty can legitimately be lived in many different ways. In what follows, we wish to specify certain characteristics of our practice of poverty.

13.2 By our solemn profession of poverty, we make total renunciation of all goods.

13.3 In order to build up our fellowship and our apostolate, we accept a community of goods and joint responsibility for property, income and expenditures; and we regard ourselves as subject to the common law of labor. This common responsibility should manifest itself in an equitable and efficient distribution of the resources of the community, corresponding to the needs and wants of our members and our work. We must recognize as well poverty’s demand for corporate witness by our willingness to share our resources with other communities, the Order, the Church, and society at large.

13.4 The poverty we profess is not a poverty of destitution, but one in which the members enjoy that support and security which comes from belonging to our community. Discrimination cannot be tolerated in any form. At the same time we must remember that the sick and aged deserve our special attention. Moreover, both our individual and communal

standard of living must be adapted to the environment in which we live and work so that, by the moderation and simplicity of our life, we truly do manifest an evangelical detachment and freedom from concern about material things.

13.5 Our practice of poverty should not diminish adult responsibility or foster immature dependence on the superior. Collegiality in poverty implies: that everyone be adequately informed of the financial status of his community and province; that in appropriate ways, everyone share responsibility for the financial decisions of his community and province; and that a member may be entrusted with community funds for his apostolic projects and personal needs within the context of communal responsibility.

14.0 Vow of Obedience

14.1 To obey, in the Gospel tradition, is to respond to the call of the Spirit in the Church, an encompassing and enduring call to answer the appeals of the world in which we live with utmost generosity after the example of the Lord. Our response to the appeals of all women and men is our answer to the concrete invitation of the Spirit to build the Kingdom of God in justice and love. In short, our obedience is a response of love and service, and of being available to the Church and all people.

14.2 Our response to the call of God, as made real in our fellowship, is embodied in a personal commitment to integrate our initiative into the rhythm of life and responsibility of the entire community. Our commitment demands a continuous fidelity to our brothers and to our common will to live and work together. Thus our obedience implies that each brother retains an adult personal freedom and at the same time assumes an adult personal responsibility in the community.

14.3 The unity of our fellowship is to a great extent the burden of the superior. However, while this remains his responsibility it is also the enduring duty of each brother to contribute in idea and initiative to the well being of the community. This will guarantee that the decisions and policy-making of the community are truly the work of all its members. For this reason, we urge each brother to be frank and spontaneous with his superior, showing respect for his burden of service and authority as the steward of the Lord.

14.4 In a true spirit of collegiality, the superior must avoid every trace of authoritarianism. He should not seek to subject his brothers to himself, but to turn all together to the call of God and of people, thus building up oneness in Christ. While his office calls for great kindness and understanding, he must at the same time have steadfast courage in holding his brothers faithful to their vocations (Rule of Augustine, n. 46).

14.5 Sharing life with our brothers means to be willing to hear one another, to be open in our dealings with one another, to be ready to lay aside individual preferences. In this way we seek together that oneness of heart and mind, which is the cornerstone of our witness and service to others.

15.0 Further Considerations

15.1 The community life to which and in which we are called should be a force promoting our growth to Christian and human fulfillment. Consequently, each one of us is obliged to an unceasing effort to understand and respect our brothers for the unique person that each is.

15.2 Our religious community forms a cell in the building up of the Church, the People of God, just as every Christian family does. By a strong mutual love, our brotherhood, which is called to be a living parable of unity, proclaims an essential mark of the Church. Religious life in common fulfills its

prophetic function when the example given by its members challenges all people, Christian and non-Christian, to bestow on each person they meet a love that is universal and without regard for human rank. A religious fellowship of life and work is a special sign and instrument in the Church for true unity among people, a unity that is rooted and brought to completion in Christ, in whom, through whom, and for whom all things were created (cf. Colossians. 1,16). It is in a special way part of the prophetic and dynamic conscience of the Church.

15.3 Our community, however, will realize this prophetic function only when fellowship and true brotherly love define our lives. When this happens, we shall indeed be helping each other to be faithful to our calling. But even more, we shall then create the conditions for an apostolate which will break forth from our community into the world; and this is an essential element of our religious life in common.

15.4 Our life as confreres is living within community. Fidelity to this life calls for mutual love and forgiveness. Each confrere should recognize his personal responsibility to resolve disagreements with a confrere promptly, effectively, and justly.

15.5 When a confrere believes that he has suffered injustice, he has the right to recourse.

Chapter 3: Prayer

16.0 Conditions for Prayer

16.1 As a community founded in faith, we recognize that prayer is an essential expression and source of our life and work together. Prayer nourishes our faith and encourages us to bring our faith to completion in love. We open ourselves then to the call of the Spirit who dwells in our midst and transforms us into the likeness of Christ, enabling us to cry out “Abba, Father” (Romans 8,15). Fidelity to our calling thus requires each one of us and each community to persevere in prayer and in calling upon the name of the Lord.

16.2 In order that we learn to pray and that our prayer deepen and mature, we must be willing to make the effort to create an atmosphere of quiet in our communities. Above all, a spirit of generosity and an earnest will to persevere are essential requirements for an authentic life of prayer.

16.3 We must listen without ceasing to the word of God, which gives depth to human life. Accordingly, each of us must give himself to personal prayer and reflection based above all on the Holy Scriptures, in accordance with his need and the gifts he has received from the Lord. Only then will our prayer in common have a true source in deep and personal dedication. In this way we follow the example of Mary who pondered in her heart all that happened and who united with the apostles in prayer for the coming of the Spirit.

17.0 Community Prayer

17.1 Our liturgical and community prayer is a special offering of praise to the Father in union with the prayer of Christ and with the whole People of God. Here we become united in the Lord to give expression and nourishment to that unity to which we are called. From this follows the need for each community to come together regularly to pray. Indeed, it is our special vocation, one handed down through the ages by our predecessors, to foster the liturgy of the Church in this manner. We must creatively draw our inspiration for this prayer from the liturgical sources, from the living elements of our tradition, and from the needs and the ideals of our own time.

17.2 All prayer finds its source and summit in the celebration of the Eucharist, where we, in union with Mary and the whole Church, celebrate the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection. There we discover the true significance of the Cross and the joy of Christian life. There too we find reconciliation and true unity with our brothers. We hold then that every confrere and community must foster that unity by love and service of which the celebration of the Eucharist is both source and sign.

17.3 By continuing, in our personal and communal prayers, Christ’s offering of praise and thanksgiving to the Father in the name of all, as well as his prayer for reconciliation, we are apostolically present in the world. Since we are to bring all men and women to Christ by our lives of total service, we must help them pray; accommodating our prayer to them, we should invite them to participate in the redemptive prayer of praise which we, together with all creation, offer to the Lord of all.

Chapter 4: Other Aspects of Daily Life

18.0 General Guidelines

18.1 It is fully in accord with our ideal of life in community that much freedom be allowed to the provinces and individual local communities in specifying the details of their daily life within the framework of our proper law.

18.2 Each community shall take the responsibility, chiefly through its chapter, for creating a truly Christian and humanly effective form of daily life. Remembering that unity is more important than uniformity, it must weigh carefully the living values found in our own tradition of observance, the diversity of persons and activities in the community, the practice in other communities, the local religious and secular culture and customs, and the laws enacted by higher authority in the Order and the Church.

19.0 Specific Guidelines

19.1 A community cannot live in harmony without a minimum of order.

19.2 Community meals should be seen as special opportunities to experience and further the spirit of fellowship. Gathering together around the table in openhearted simplicity can be a true expression of Christian living. Some moments of prayer and reflection can help us to appreciate that our meals too have a Christian significance.

19.3 Our habit, a heritage from centuries past, should be an effective symbol of our unity, both in our own eyes and in those of others.

19.4 Conscious that we are sinners, we recognize the place of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in our lives. Christian penance, which we see above all in the joyful acceptance of the burdens of our life and work together, is a means to ever-greater Christian freedom and the purifying of our relations to persons and things.

19.5 Our observance of fast and abstinence should be in harmony with developments in the local Church.

19.6 We must keep in mind that bodily health and physical fitness are important for the vitality of our community and for personal development.

19.7 If our communities are to reflect upon their work and life effectively – to test themselves by the Gospel and contemporary social developments – regular personal and communal study and reflection are necessary. The local superior is to take care that competent and appropriate programs and personnel are available for the continuing development of the community and its members.

19.8 In order to foster work and reflection, it is proper that there be an atmosphere of peace and quiet in the place where we live. In this way, too, members of the community must express Christian love by being considerate of one another.

19.9 There should be an atmosphere of ease and naturalness in our communities. Accordingly, there is need for special times of relaxation in the course of the day and the year. Recreation must allow for a certain variety, and yet each person should have equal opportunities. Here again we must seek a balance between the demands of community life and the equally legitimate desires of the individual. In any event, we must avoid the situation where some can do what they please because they “have the right connections,” while others can only be passive onlookers.

19.10 The sick and the aged should receive their own special signs of respect. Caring for the sick is an appeal to us for Christian service in the community, and the aged should be able to rely on our gratitude and to feel welcome where they are content to live.

19.11 Christian piety entails the duty of praying for our deceased brothers, relatives, and benefactors and of keeping their memory in honor. This should be attended to by the communities and by each of us individually.

19.12 Guests must always be welcome among us. We must learn to receive them cordially and cheerfully put aside our own individual comfort for them. Hospitality requires freedom and flexibility and is to be practiced with sensitivity.

19.13 The respect due to people in society at large should be a part of our daily life in the Order. Accordingly, our comportment inside and outside of our communities must respect the rules of good manner and good taste. This respect includes a proper esteem for our brothers and our Order in conversation with others.

19.14 In view of our increasing participation in the society of today, determinations concerning the cloister are left to each community.

19.15 In all areas of life, let us accept as addressed to ourselves the words of Saint Paul: “Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind in the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1, 27).

Chapter 5: The Apostolate

20.0 Inspiration for the Apostolate

20.1 The life of Christ, from his first announcement of the Kingdom of Heaven to his final offering of himself in death, is the first source of our apostolic inspiration for our apostolic activity. We accept the commission of the Risen Lord, “Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations” (Matthew 28, 19).

20.2 Since the Lord has called us as part of the Church to serve him in our fellow men and women, we look upon our whole life as a following of Christ, who spent himself, even unto death, for the salvation of others. Our mission to service, originating in baptism, should be strengthened by the triple bond of our vows so that the charity whose growth they foster may urge us to be one with all people, to which indeed “the love of Christ urges us on” (II Corinthians 5, 14).

20.3 A second source is the life and works of Saint Augustine, who combined a most active apostolic life with a life in community. In choosing his rule, the first brethren of the Cross also joined life in community to an apostolic life of prayer and work. Today we continue this tradition, striving in life and work to make Christ present among people—Christ who prayed for his sisters and brothers, proclaimed the Kingdom, healed the sick and brought sinners back to God, doing good to all.

20.4 Our third source of apostolic inspiration flows from the profound human concern displayed by people in the world of today, and from the exemplary generosity and solicitude for others which characterize the truly outstanding people of our time.

21.0 Apostolate and Community

21.1 Our life in community forms our most immediate apostolate since we are called there to assist one another in charity and unity, by our prayers and by all our other activities.

21.2 Moreover, living in community is itself a proclamation of the Good News to others. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13, 35).

21.3 We likewise hold ourselves in readiness to serve the Church, according to our means, wherever there is need. Our desire is to follow Christ, who gave himself completely on the Cross, by giving ourselves totally to the needs of others so that indeed “the poor have good news brought to them” (Matthew 11, 5).

21.4 This willingness to serve the Church also means that there are confreres called to serve in the apostolate as ordained ministers. This ordained ministry is a significant expression of our charism and of the common priesthood we share through our baptism in Christ.

22.0 Forms of Apostolate

22.1 As part of the universal Church, the Order is especially attentive to needs throughout the world. Each province and local community, inspired by our charism and in deliberation with the provincial government, should consider its own forms of apostolic activity according to the needs of the local Church, whether it takes the form of parochial work, education, or the meeting of any other need. Particular attention should be given to the signs of the times, so that we will not remain immobilized in those forms of apostolate that served another period of time or other circumstances well, but which are no longer suitable for the contemporary situation.

22.2 Since we have been called to service of the Church in and through community, we favor those apostolic endeavors which require or are enriched by community life and which in turn foster it. However, it is sometimes necessary for a confrere to live and work outside of his community, either because there is a particular need in the area, or because he can thus be given the apostolic work best suited to his special talents. Hence it is in the broad context of the province as a whole that the vitality of the communities, the heart and embodiment of the spirit of our Order, must be safeguarded.

22.3 Within these limits, we accept the principle that our apostolate ought to be chosen in response to two sets of circumstances: first, the real and pressing needs of the Church and society; and second, the talents and training of the persons, and the financial support available within the community or province.

22.4 Those who are destined for work in the various apostolates should be given a truly adequate formation and training, along with appropriate authority, and should then be respected by their confreres for their competence in their work.

22.5 Those engaged in an apostolate need understanding, respect, and often active cooperation from the other members of the community. Our apostolate, moreover, can be fruitful only when there is vital contact and collaboration with the leaders of the local Church.

Chapter 6: Formation

23.0 Initial Formation

23.1 In order to be faithful to our calling and to create a fruitful apostolate inside and outside of the community, it is absolutely essential that we be men marked by a faith that is authentic. Consequently, in the years of initial formation and training, the greatest attention must be devoted to a genuine life of faith. Everything conducive to a personal realization of authentic faith must be incorporated into our program of formation.

23.2 It follows that the communities in which men prepare themselves to join our Order must be particularly conscious of their great responsibility. They must be prepared to share with these men an experience of genuine faith, communal life and prayer, collegiality and subsidiarity. Reflection on this responsibility always must remain a regular task in the chapters of these communities.

23.3 It belongs to the competence of each province to determine the program of initial formation, as well as the procedures and conditions for admission. This must be done in openness to developments in the local Church and the directives of the general chapter.

23.4 Our formation must be based on our present ideal of our life and work, and, at the same time, on an attentiveness to what the person in formation can contribute to us.

23.5 The novitiate shall be at least 12 months. However, in light of local circumstances or apostolic programs, a provincial chapter may provide for a longer novitiate, but not to extend beyond two years.

23.6 Our community may expect of the person in initial formation as a minimum:

23.6.a That he is willing to take up his life and work seriously, in accordance with his aptitudes;

23.6.b That he be able to develop in himself a sensitivity for the presence of God manifested in people and in things, in the Church and in society;

23.6.c That he be willing to test himself by what Christ in the Gospel expects of him, and that he listen to his fellow human beings to understand what they call on him to be and to do, in frank dialogue with the community in which he lives;

23.6.d That he work to achieve a genuinely human community life with others, so that he is open to their appeals and ready to integrate himself into the community’s rhythm of life;

23.6.e That he makes an earnest effort, after a reasonable time, to decide whether he will join our community.

23.7 The person in initial formation may expect of our community:

23.7.a That he be assisted in discovering and developing his own talents and gifts within the context of our community and, if at all possible, be given assignments accordingly;

23.7.b That his formation and training be realistic and honest, attentive to personal values, gradual, and adapted to his concrete situation and capacities.

23.8 In view of the care we must give those in initial formation, it is important for each province to have a sufficient number of persons competent in theology and in those disciplines that deal with the dynamics of the human person.

24.0 Ongoing Formation

24.1 It is essential that every community continue to be attentive to the spiritual, personal, and intellectual development of all members. For all of us, study and reflection are necessary conditions for the effective realization of our ideal of Christian service to people. We should learn to know our culture, participate in it, and be able to review it critically. As an aid in this, we should make use of the modern means of communication.


Part Two: The Structure and Governance of the Order

Chapter 7: Members and Local Communities

25.0 Members

25.1 By our profession we bind ourselves to live and work according to the ideals, principles and directives of our Order and its Constitutions; and the Order thereby accepts us as its members.

25.2 Since community participation is essential to our religious life, each one of us shall enjoy membership in a community according to the statutes of the province.

25.3 All members are called to leadership according to their gifts and may be elected for or appointed to all offices unless the law of the Church, the Order, or the province establishes particular requirements concerning these matters.

26.0 Local Community

26.1 Living together in a local community is a fundamental aspect of our life. A local community is a group of confreres living in one mind and one heart intent upon God (Rule of Augustine, n. 3).

26.2 The normative structure of a local community is that of a priory, with a chapter, a prior, and a council of the prior, and others exercising leadership in the community. Other forms of local community are defined by provincial statutes in line with this normative structure while sensitive to local cultures.

26.3 A prior provincial with the consent of his council can erect a local community with the approval of the master general with the consent of his council, and the written approval of the diocesan bishop. After appropriate consultation with the community chapter and the diocesan bishop, the prior provincial with the consent of his council can suppress a local community or alter its structure with the approval of the master general and the consent of his council. The provincial statutes can determine additional norms for the erection and suppression of a local community and, in case of suppression, also the determination of the assets.

27.0 Community Chapter

27.1 The community chapter is composed of those professed confreres assigned to the community except when the proper law provides otherwise. Outside of those restrictions given in the provincial statutes, all have fundamentally the same rights and responsibilities in the community chapter: the right to participate in the decisions of the chapter; an active vote in the election of the prior, the council of the prior, the delegates for the provincial chapter, and the stewardship of the community’s assets.

27.2 The community chapter in mutual and fraternal deliberation, along with the prior and his council, has the responsibility of determining the policies of the local community. These must reflect the principles given in Part One of these Constitutions. Along with the right of election, the community chapter must frame rules for the community and apply the provincial statutes to its own situation. It shall also be consulted by the prior for all serious decisions, and is to consider and discuss reports which the prior is to present concerning his administration and the financial situation of the community. Finally, the chapter is to meet regularly in order to reflect on and reappraise the life and work of the community. All this shall be done in accord with further guidelines established by the provincial chapter or by the community chapter itself.

28.0 Prior

28.1 The prior is the superior of the community.

28.2 A prior, exercising creative leadership in the community, is to help his brothers live and work together in an atmosphere of love, friendship, and unity, and to give them support through his leadership and advice. His responsibility extends to both the spiritual and temporal welfare of all his brothers. He should be open to all, and he should try “to serve through love rather than lord it over others by force” (Rule of Augustine, n. 46).

28.3 The prior is elected by the community chapter, and confirmed by the prior provincial. Provincial statutes shall determine further procedures for the election of a prior and the term of office.

29.0 Council of the Prior

29.1 The prior shall have a council to assist him in caring for the community.

29.2 Collaboration with and in this council is indispensable. The prior and his council shall frequently consult together regarding all aspects of life and work, and the most important points of these discussions shall be submitted to the priory chapter for their discussion.

Chapter 8: Province

30.0 Composition

30.1 A province is composed of local communities with their members.

30.2 After appropriate consultation, provinces can be established, changed or suppressed only by a general chapter; or, in urgent cases, outside of a general chapter, by the master general with the consent of his council.

30.3 For serious reasons, transfer from one province to another is possible after the mutual deliberation of the priors provincial concerned, the consent of the person involved, and the approval of the master general.

30.4 A proprovince is composed of local communities with their members and is part of a province with certain autonomy specified in the provincial statutes and the proper law.

31.0 Provincial Chapter

31.1 The principal responsibility of the provincial chapter is to review and appraise the problems and opportunities of the province so that it will be able to exercise the leadership necessary for our community life and work.

31.2 The provincial chapter is to be convoked by the prior provincial at least once every three years. An extraordinary provincial chapter may also be convoked by the prior provincial with the consent of his council. The prior provincial must convoke an extraordinary provincial chapter if a majority of his council requests it, or if the absolute majority of those who are eligible to vote for chapter delegates requests it.

31.3 The prior provincial, the members of the council of the prior provincial, the priors, the superiors of proprovinces are ex officio members of the provincial chapter. The manner of designating the other members of the chapter – delegates from the communities, proprovinces, and other ex officio members, alternates, and auditors – is to be further specified by the provincial statutes. These statutes are also to determine the time of convocation, the procedures to be followed, and other related questions.

31.4 The provincial chapter is to elect the prior provincial, his council, and the delegates to the general chapter according to the proper law.

31.5 The provincial chapter has the power to make regulations, issue guidelines, and approve statutes that remain in force unless revoked by a subsequent provincial chapter or explicitly stated otherwise in the decision.

31.6 All decisions of the provincial chapter require a simple majority of those present and voting, with due regard for those provisions in the proper law that require the approval of the prior provincial with the consent of his council. This approval must be given or withheld while the chapter is in session. If the prior provincial withholds consent, the proposition is to be submitted again to the chapter, which can then enact it with a two-thirds majority. All decisions of the chapter must be in accord with the Constitutions, General Statutes, and other decisions of the general chapter.

31.7 The provincial chapter alone has the power to make authentic interpretations of the provincial statutes. Between chapters, the prior provincial with the consent of his council has the power to make interpretations that remain in effect until the next chapter.

32.0 Prior Provincial

32.1 The principal responsibility of the prior provincial is to unify, inspire, and lead his confreres in the pursuit of the Order’s ideals. He is a major superior with the power of governance over the province. He is to keep in close contact with the persons, communities, and areas of the province, especially through a type of visitation that may be specified by the provincial statutes. In order to insure the necessary contact and bond with the master general and his council, he is to submit to it an annual report on the spiritual and temporal welfare of the province.

32.2 The provincial statutes shall determine who can be elected prior provincial, how the election is to take place, and what the term of office shall be. However, a candidate for prior provincial or any other office of major superior rank must have spent at least four years in solemn vows before being eligible for election or appointment. The election of the prior provincial is to be presided over by the master general or his delegate, and the person elected needs the confirmation of the master general or his delegate.

32.3 The prior provincial also has the right to make appointments in the province and in other territories of the province. In accord with the norms of the provincial statutes, he confirms the elected priors, and consults the members of his council and the concerned confreres when appointing other superiors.

32.4 The prior provincial is to convoke the provincial chapter and to preside over it as chairman. In it, he shall also present a report on the spiritual and temporal welfare of the province.

32.5. The prior provincial with the consent of his council can make rules and directives, which bind the entire province. Where it seems necessary, he can also issue rules and directives on his own authority affecting individual persons or communities.

32.6. If the prior provincial deems it necessary to take certain punitive or restrictive actions, he should keep in mind what our father Augustine wrote in his Rule: “to serve through love rather than lord it over others by force” (Rule of

Augustine, n. 46).

32.7 A prior proprovincial is a major superior but his power of governance may be limited by the provincial statutes and the proper law.

33.0 Council of the Prior Provincial

33.1 The council has, together with the prior provincial, the responsibility of coordinating and inspiring, and shall work in true collaboration; it should reach its decisions through mutual and open deliberation, by consensus insofar as possible. The council should strive to stimulate unity and collaboration between the local communities, and with the proprovinces. Consequently, the prior provincial is to keep his council informed of all problems arising in the province (except those involving matters of conscience), and although he fully retains his own proper responsibility, he is to consider these problems with his council. For important decisions, as specified in the provincial statutes, the consent of the council is necessary. The council of the prior provincial is to receive regular reports concerning the spiritual and temporal welfare of the province. These should include, among other subjects, the financial status of the province.

Chapter 9: The Order as a Whole

34.0 Composition

34.1 All provinces together form the full community of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross, an exempt institute of pontifical right, and participate in the general government through the general chapter.

35.0 General Chapter

35.1 The general chapter holds the supreme authority of the Order. The responsibility of the general chapter especially includes taking all steps necessary to insure and promote the unity of the Order and to stimulate cooperation between the provinces, safeguarding moreover the autonomy of the individual provinces.

35.2 The general chapter is to be convoked once every six years by the master general under whose leadership the chapter is to be conducted. The master general with the consent of his council may also convoke an extraordinary general chapter. The master general must convoke an extraordinary general chapter if a majority of his council requests it. The norms of an ordinary general chapter are to be applied to an extraordinary chapter except the term of the convocation and the specific agenda.

35.3 The general chapter is composed of the master general, the priors provincial, the other general councilors, the priors proprovincial, and the delegates elected in accordance with the General Statutes.

35.4 The general chapter elects the master general and has the power to make decisions binding the entire Order.

35.5 All decisions of the chapter are enacted by a simple majority of the votes, with due regard to the procedures mentioned elsewhere in these Constitutions, together with the approval of the master general and his council acting collegially. This approval must be given or withheld while the chapter is in session. Should the master general and his council withhold approval, the proposition may be submitted again to the chapter, which can then enact it with a two-thirds majority.

35.6. The general chapter retains a privilege, granted by Pope Innocent IV when first approving the Order in the Papal Bull of 1248, Religiosam vitam eligentibus. The privilege allows the chapter to approve new measures or changes in our Constitutions without seeking ecclesiastical approval. In order to maintain this privilege, the chapter follows these procedures: changes become a provisional part of the Constitutions and are effective immediately upon promulgation; however, any change requires the approval of three consecutive chapters before becoming a permanent part of the Constitutions. This procedure also discourages frequent changes and amendments to the Constitutions.

35.7. All other decisions enacted by a general chapter, including changes in the General Statutes, are effective upon promulgation and remain in effect until rescinded or changed.

35.8. The general chapter has the power to make authentic interpretations of the Constitutions. Between chapters, the master general with the consent of his council has the power to make interpretations that remain in effect until the next chapter.

35.9. The general chapter is to receive reports concerning the situation in the provinces and proprovinces, as well as a report from the master general on the overall state of affairs in the Order.

36.0 Master General

36.1 The master general bears the primary responsibility of keeping alive the Order’s unity and its own charismatic gifts, as well as promoting a fruitful religious life in its members. He is the general superior of the Order with the power of governance over the provinces and members as defined by the Constitutions. His governmental and administrative powers and functions include his obligation to see that the decisions of the general chapter are implemented. One of the principal means for fulfilling these responsibilities is the visitation, which the master general must make at least once every term in all the local communities of each province and proprovince of the Order.

36.2 In addition to his obligations within the Order, he also is its chief representative to outside ecclesiastical and governmental bodies.

36.3 The master general is elected by the general chapter for a term of six years. He may be elected for a second consecutive six-year term. Thereafter he may be elected for consecutive terms but only by a two-thirds majority on the first ballot, otherwise he is ineligible for election even by postulation. To be eligible for the office of master general, a confrere must be in solemn vows for at least five years and have attained the age of forty years.

36.4 Although legislative power belongs to the general chapter, the master general can give directives and, in special circumstances, regulations for the entire Order or for different provinces insofar as they do not violate the Constitutions and are necessary for the fulfillment of his responsibilities, with due regard for Constitutional norm. The master general needs the consent of his council to issue regulations or directives extending to the entire Order. All directives or regulations properly given by the master general remain in force until the following general chapter.

36.5 Whenever the office of master general becomes vacant, it is to be filled according to the provisions of proper law.

36.6 When a master general is elected outside an ordinary general chapter, his term of office continues until the second ordinary chapter following his election. The time between his election and the first ordinary chapter following the election is not counted in his six-year term.

37.0 Council of the Master General

37.1 The council of the master general is composed of the priors provincial and two additional general councilors elected by the general chapter. The council, in true collaboration with the master general, cares for matters concerning the whole Order and is seriously charged with concern for the various parts of the Order.

37.2 With the consent of his council, the master general may appoint a substitute council of up to four members to meet particular requirements of canon law in dealing with individual members of the Order, including novices and postulants.

37.3 The master general with the consent of his council can make authentic interpretations of the General Statutes.

38.0 Voting Procedures

38.1 Voting shall be by secret ballot for all elections. In all other cases, it shall be by secret ballot unless determined otherwise by the voting body. In all cases, each member shall have one vote only.

38.2 In matters requiring consent, the presiding officer neither has a vote nor can the presiding officer break a tie. If the vote is collegial, the presiding officer shall vote as an individual member of the body and may not cast an additional vote to break a tie.

39.0 Dispensation

39.1 Unless otherwise provided in the Constitutions, the master general with the consent of his council may dispense from provisions of the Constitutions. He may not dispense from procedural and constitutive norms. Unless otherwise provided in the Constitutions, the master general may dispense from the General Statutes. He may not dispense from procedural and constitutive norms contained in the General Statutes.

39.2 Unless otherwise provided in the provincial statutes, the prior provincial with the consent of his council may dispense from the provincial statutes. In all other cases, the prior provincial may dispense on his own authority. He may not dispense from procedural and constitutive norms.

39.3 Unless otherwise provided in the proprovincial statutes, the prior proprovincial with the consent of his council may dispense from the proprovincial statutes. In all other cases, the prior proprovincial may dispense on his own authority. He may not dispense from procedural and constitutive norms.

39.4 Unless prohibited by universal law, the master general delegates to each prior provincial authority to dispense from the universal law. The prior provincial may sub-delegate this authority.

39.5 The authority of the prior to dispense should be defined in the provincial statutes.

40.0 Unforeseen Circumstances

40.1 Should these Constitutions lack norms required for unforeseen circumstances, the master general with the consent of his council has full competence to provide for the matter. The master general shall report the actions to the next general chapter, and, if necessary, submit norms for approval by the general chapter.