Thursday, December 29, 2005

Associations of the Laity

ASSOCIATION: Right of the Laity


To pursue goods that are in consonance with the demands of baptism is a native right to each and every faithful in the Church. There are, however, ecclesial goods that cannot be effectively attained if the baptized is left to his own individual self and initiative. For their effectual attainment the associative bond and common endeavor is needed. This aggrupation of the faithful in pursuit of a common purpose is called association.

Technically, it is a stable union of at least three faithful (cf. c. 115, § 2) bound together in order to strive for specific ends conducive to the common good of its members or of other persons. In Church language, association is a group of Christ’s faithful, clerics or laity or clerics and laity together who strive with a common effort to further spiritual purposes in the church. The spiritual aims are: 1) foster a more perfect life, 2) to promote public worship; 3) Christian living; 4) other works of piety or charity; 5) animate the temporal order with the Christian spirit; 6) renewal and appreciation of prayer, liturgical and sacramental life; 7) readiness to participate in the activities and the programmes of the church; 8) Christian witness; 9) creation and awakening of charitable, cultural and spiritual works (c.298).

Within the concept of an association is contained the notion of juridical person. Juridical person is a creation of law for the purpose of distinguishing an association from physical or natural persons who constitute it or administer it or for whose benefit it exists. It is established by the competent Church authority for an apostolic purpose and possesses the capacity of a continuous existence, even when specific members die; acquires rights and obligations under the law and is solely accountable to canon law and to its creator, the Church authority.

There are two kinds of juridical persons: public and private. Public juridical person is created either by the law itself or by a decree issued by the competent authority of the Church. Private juridical person is created by the decree issued by the Church authority which possesses executive power of governance.


A. The Basis and its Nature. To associate is natural for man. It is a fellow-feeling deeply etched in the nature of a human person that drives him to join with other individuals in the pursuit of a good common to them. It is a natural offshoot of his social nature. In fact, it has been an accepted notion from time immemorial, even in the church, that to associate is a natural right, directly derive from man’s fellow-feeling nature. It is a right that is not the result of any human concession or a grant by any positive law. There is an inherent tendency and capacity in man to constitute, manage, and join with other individuals for the pursuit of a good that is not attainable on their own initiative (cf. A. Del Portillo, Faithful and Laity in the Church, Ecclesia Press, Ireland, 1972, p. 64), .

The Church accepts this doctrine and applies it in its teaching and governance. However, it is worth noting that the explicit recognition of the right of the lay to associate is a relatively recent development and its growth has been gradual. In fact it is only during the Second Vatican Council that this kind of recognition was conceded to the lay faithful the right to associate on their own. This Council has played a decisive role on this subject when it acknowledged the right of the laity to found, direct and become members of existing associations, provided the submission due to the ecclesiastical authority is in no way undermined. It stated: “As long as the proper relationship is kept to Church authorities, the laity have the right to found and run such associations and to join those already existing” (Apostolicam Actuositatem 19). This doctrine eventually entered into the provision of the new Code which runs this way: “Christ’s faithful may freely establish and direct associations which serve charitable or pious purposes or which foster the Christian vocation in the world, and they may hold meetings to pursue these purposes by common effort” (c. 215).

Evolution and History of the Recognition

It is interesting to note the slow yet gradual evolution and history of this recognition of the right of the lay to associate. As noted earlier, it is the Church that has for centuries defended the natural rights of each bona-fide citizen to associate in civil society. The Church, however, has reluctance to apply this principle to its own social life. It is because in the ecclesiastical society the reason to associate is not the same. This is due to the conception that the Church had about herself. It viewed itself as a society – a perfect society at that. In this society the organizational set-up is heavily placed on the shoulders of the Hierarchy. The power of jurisdiction, of orders, and of governance rest on the clergy. The other members of the faithful are considered as mere passive subjects. Within this framework, it is understandable that the constituent act of any association is the will of the hierarchy. The agreement of lay individuals to form associations to pursue supernatural goals does not constitute or create an associations. For their legitimate existence in the Church associations must have the stamping act of the ecclesiastical authority either erecting such associations or approving their existence. This mentality also gives way to the notion that the mission of the Church is identified with the mission of the Hierarchy. Active participation of the lay faithful in the activity of the Church would be considered as assistance rendered to the clergy and as an extension of the clergy’s mission (cf. A. Del Portillo, op. cit., p. 65).

The first explicit affirmation made by the Magisterium of the Church regarding the natural right of the faithful to constitute associations for a supernatural purpose is the Resolutio Corrientensis of the Sacred Congregation of the Council which came out on November 13, 1920 (cf. AAS 13 [1921], p. 139). Here the recognition of the natural right of the laity to associate was made. However, it did not reach the level of legislation. It was Vatican II which finally laid down the necessary and suitable ecclesiological premises for the correct understanding of the right of association for the vigent Code to come out with a provision giving it full recognition. It started with the notion of the People of God which as developed in the conciliar documents “imply that the principle of sociability in the Church resides in the union of all the faithful, with a view towards the sole and common purpose of the Church, for which all are responsible, according to the unique mission of each one” (Portillo, Faithful and Laity, op. cit., p. 123). Here, it is clear that the mission of the people of God is not exclusive to the clergy. It is true, the Hierarchy should supervise, encourage and direct all the baptized, but it should not stop the lay faithful from this mission, nor should it make it difficult for them to carry out the mission that belongs to them. And, since the fulfillment of that mission is hardly possible in an exclusively individual way, it can be rightly concluded that the right of association is a true and authentic natural right of each and every faithful, a right that corresponds to their demands. Vatican II, in short, recognized that the laity have the right to establish and to govern associations and to join them provided that due submission to ecclesiastical authority is always observed.

The 1917 Code and the Lay Association

To contextual everything that has been said so far, it is good to veer a little from the topic and to relish the memory of the world that we were then familiar with, the Catholic environment which looked after our birth to Christian life, and nourished our growth in the faith and tradition, and introduced us to the noble work in the apostolate. That was the world that was by and large shaped by the doctrine and the legislation of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. It was at that time that associations of the faithful were classified into the following category: Third orders, confraternities, and pious unions. These associations are classified according to the purpose or end for which they were established. The first kind of association, that is, the Third orders, was established for piety or spirituality among the members; the second, that is, Confraternities, was founded for public worship, for piety and other charitable ends. The third one, that is, pious union, was established to exercise some works of piety or charity. Later on, mandated organizations came into existence and flourished in the Church in the Philippines. Knights of Columbus, CWL, Sodality of Our Lady, Holy Name Society, Legion of Mary, and others mushroomed in the different parishes all over the country. Catholic Action of the Philippines came into being and strived to coordinate the various works of the apostolate. As can be observed, all these associations are closely associated with the Hierarchy. In fact, Canon 686 § 1 of the 1917 Code states: “Nulla in Ecclesia recognoscitur association quae a legitima auctoritate ecclesiastica erecta vel saltem approbata non fuerit.” The reason for all these is the prevailing concept of the time which states that the Church’s mission was identical with the mission of the Hierarchy, and so whenever the lay faithful intervened actively in the life of the Church it was understood that they did so simply to help the Hierarchy, particularly, the clergy in the parish (Portillo, op. cit., p. 65). And since, the principle of association was based on the Hierarchy-faithful relationship, every association in the Church is regarded as a particular hierarchical organization within that relationship. Ultimately, this practice was based on the concept prevalent at the time that the Church is a society that is heavily dependent on the Hierarchy because it has the power of jurisdiction and government in relation to the faithful.

The People of God Concept.

The Second Vatican Council changed that heavy hierarchical concept of the Church. It introduced, as stated above, the concept of the Church as People of God. Here, the principle of association is placed on the inherent right of the Christian faithful. This right of association has as its foundation the baptismal vocation. Baptism confers the dignity and liberty of the sons of God, incorporating man into the People of God. It creates bonds among the faithful and it gives them the rights and duties that allow them to fulfill the demands of the baptismal vocation or the divine will of God for the Church. In other words, if God wills the Church to be a People and a Body, this means that through baptism each individual faithful is united to God and to the other faithful, and that in the Church nobody is an isolated being. Everybody participates in the fundamental goods and aims, everybody is jointly responsible for the end of the Church and all members are united among them. It is therefore proper to the nature of the Church that there would be bonds of union and solidarity among her faithful (cf. Navarro, Luis, Right of Association in the Church, Philippine Canonical Forum, vol. VI, January-December, 2004, pp. 163-166).

Of course, the first offshoot of baptism is the communion of the faithful. But this communion leaves room for freedom and autonomy to the lay faithful in their Christian life. It is in this area that the lay, because of his baptism, has the true right of association in the Church. Here the faithful can propose ends, modalities of action, and can unite themselves with other faithful for common purposes (cf. Portillo, op.cit., p. 70).

B. Elements of the Right of Association. What then is the content of the right of association? What are the elements that are included in the right of the lay faithful to associate? The Council specified three elements, namely, 1. establishment of association; 2) government of the association; 3) enrollment to the association. Canon 215 specified only two elements, that is, the establishment and the management. The third element is dropped, not because it is not an essential part of the generic content of right of association. However, its exercise is limited to the right of a given association to deny a candidate in accordance to the statutory norm of said association. To avoid the tension that may occur between the two rights, the said Canon did not mention the third element (cf. Navarro, The Right of Association in the Church: Its Sense and Limits, Philippine Canonical Forum, Vol. VI, January-December 2004, pp. 171-174). This element is however picked up in succeeding canons when they provide for the proper exercise of the right of association.

To establish associations. The right to establish association means the power of the faithful to form a stable union among themselves for the pursuit of some common purposes. The exercise of this power implies the free agreement of wills of the individual faithful to constitute an associative bond in order to achieve some ecclesiastical ends. The existence or life of an association therefore flows from the act of the founding members. To state therefore that the faithful has the right to establish association means that it can do it on their own capacity; it does not need the acts of the ecclesiastical authority to give juridical birth to an association.
To govern and direct associations. If the faithful has the right to give birth to an association, it also has the right to direct and manage it. Needless to say, any association for it to operate effectively requires an authority which directs and properly coordinate the activities of the members. This power of government flows directly from the will of the faithful who form the association, set up its organizational system and decide on the how the internal power and activities flow. It is to be noted that in the establishment of the form of government in a given association the members themselves give up some of their autonomy and voluntarily submit not only to its rules and statutes, but to the governing body. The right to govern the members is an authentic right of the association of the faithful.
To enroll. To join an existing association is another manifestation of the exercise of the right of association. Usually this is done by the act of enrolling wherein the faithful submits his name to the desired association and expresses his willingness to be a member (cf. c. 298, § 2; also cf. Navarro, op. cit., pp. 171-174).

C. Limitations. The right of association though recognized by the Law as a native right of each and every faithful in the Church, its area of competence is limited by two determining factors, namely, 1) ends of the association; 2) the due relation to the ecclesiastical authority.

1. The ends of the association. Canon 215 while it recognized the right of association of the faithful, defines its limitations by specifying the goals that they should pursue. It states: “Christ’s faithful may freely establish and direct associations which serve charitable or pious purposes or which foster the Christian vocation in the world, and they may hold meetings to pursue these purposes by common effort” (c. 215). As an entity in the Church, the right of association has to be limited to aims that are in consonance with the nature of the Church. To pursue worldly or temporal purposes is therefore excluded from that right. On the other hand, not all ecclesial ends can be the object of this right, for there are some that are by their very nature reserved to the ecclesiastical authority (cf. c. 301, § 1). In other words, the faithful has the right of association to pursue ecclesial ends that are within the area of their autonomy.

2. The due relation with ecclesiastical authority. The right of association is not an absolute right. Like the right of the individual faithful the right of association is to be regulated by the ecclesiastical authority. This order is called “due relation” and consists in the dependence of the associations as well as of each faithful individually considered on the functions of vigilance and supervision of the hierarchy. This is expressed in Canon 223, §2: “Ecclesiastical authority is entitled to regulate, in view of the common good, the exercise of rights which are proper to Christ’s faithful.” This is an echo of what was defined by the Counciliar document “Apostolicam Actuositatem”: “The Hierarchy’s duty is to favor the lay apostolate, furnish it with principles and spiritual assistance, direct the exercise of the apostolate to the common good of the Church, and see to it that doctrine and order are safeguarded”(Chapter V, n. 24; also, Navarro, The Right of Association in the Church, op. cit., p. 175-177).

Consequently, the minimum “due relation” which every association should have with the duly constituted authority consists in being subordinate to the vigilance and governance in the above indicated areas. This is not arbitrary limitation of rights. Rather, it is an expression of a link wherein the rights of the faithful are regulated by the functions due to the hierarchy in the Church.

At this point however, it has to be noted that “due relation” is not the same as “higher direction”. “Higher Direction” refers to the power which the authority has over the associations it has erected. “Due Relation” refers to the power of the authority over the freely created associations of the faithful with regards to vigilance of the faith, morals, and ecclesiastical discipline; it also refers to the dependence of these associations to the governance and supervision of the areas mentioned.


With the official recognition by the Church’s Magisterium of the right of the laity to establish, govern and become members of associations there followed the profound modification of the legislation regarding associations. One of those affected deeply is the types and models of associative forms. The law has to give more space to this right of association so as not to kill the initiative generated by it and the diversity of associative forms that it opened. It is for this reason that the new Code did not explicitly mention the models of association based on the kinds of purposes they have to pursue – they are closed types. Rather, it opted to take on those types of association which are more open to differing modalities and possibilities, yet limited by their level of relationship with the Church authority. Hence, the general classification of associations into two main groups, namely, private and public associations.

This distinction is a new creation of the Church. This came about due to the legal recognition and Church’s official proclamation of natural right of the lay faithful to the mission and apostolate in the Church. This right lays down the foundation of the lay faithful’s right to establish, to direct and to join with other faithful in a stable manner to fulfill their obligation as baptized persons to build up the body of Christ. This empowered them to undertake the apostolate and form associations in their own initiative. Hence, the apostolate of the laity, distinct from the mission of the hierarchy, was born. Yet, since both apostolates pursue a common purpose, that is, the building up of the body of Christ, there came up the need to establish a mutual relationship between them. This relationship was conceived to be based on the degree of collaboration with the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Thus was born the notion of the public and private juridical personality modifying a given association of the faithful. Proper collaboration of the laity with the hierarchy in the apostolate was established (cf. Luis Navarro, Typical Forms of the Association of the Faithful, Philippine Canonical Forum, January-December 2003, p. 102-103).


In general, private associations are bodies constituted by the faithful through a private agreement among them to pursue through joint venture an end that is ecclesial in nature (cf. cann. 298, 299, § 1). Each of them possesses autonomy of government manifested in the following acts: drafts its own statutes, nominates a moderator, chooses a spiritual guide, and administers its own goods (cf. cann. 321, 323, 324, 325). All private associations have the duty to submit to duly constituted ecclesiastical authority for approval or at least for review. Some will receive the praise, others the recommendation and the proper endorsement of the authority, and others the title of “catholic” (cf. cann. 299, § 2 & § 3, 300). And still others may be granted the private juridical personality. All these associations have to respect the due relation to the hierarchy, submitting themselves to the supervision and governance of the competent ecclesiastical authority.

As can be observed, the right of association of the faithful is given the proper area for its full exercise in private associations. Among others, the basic right to organize, to direct, and to become members of an existing body, are contained in these associations. The principle of freedom that underlies the right of the faithful to associate is also present in these entities, for here are exercised the autonomy of the faithful to create a body in the Church through the act of their own will and to determine by and for themselves the purpose, the means and the activities to be undertaken.

Private Association. It may be observed that the Church legislation introduced into the concept of association two elements that are necessary for its proper stability. These elements are a) the statutes and its consequent recognition and b) conferment of the private juridical personality. A) Statutes and Recognition. In fact, Canon 299, § 3 demands that no private association is recognized unless its statutes have been reviewed by the ecclesiastical authority. “The recognition of an association constitutes a declaration of the ecclesiastical authority stating that the association is really in the Church, that everything in it is in agreement with the nature of the Church” (Navarro, Commentary on can. 299, in Commentario exegetico al Codigo de Derecho canonico, Pamplona, 1996, vol. II, p. 428-432). The recognition of the statutes, therefore, is a solid support to the stability of the association. The statutes guarantee the identity of the association in such a manner that members may change, the associative bonds among them and the whole organizational structure may be overhauled through the years, but the basic elements of the association will remain basically immutable as they are well enshrined in the statutes. The act of approval by the founders attribute to the association its separate existence from the members of the same association. To amend the statutes, for instance, cannot be done by any of the members. It can only be done if it follows the specific provision of the statutes. B) The private juridical personality. The granting to an association the private juridical personality is a means introduced by legislation for the association to earn its identity as perpetual. To have a juridical personality is not an arbitrary demand of law. The subject of law, holder of rights and duties, as an association, must needs have a personality. Canon 120 provides that when the association becomes a private juridical person it enjoys the perpetual nature of any juridical person. It will not be affected by the changes of the members and other personal substratum. It transcends the lives and works of physical persons associated with it, and continues in existence until terminated in one or the another ways hinted at in canon law.

De Facto Associations. These are associations that are not officially recognized by the Church authority and does not have the private juridical personality. They are definitely not subject of rights and obligations, but the Code considers them as voluntary groupings, associative bodies that have been granted some rights. It has the right to choose a name, and to have its own statutes (cf. can. 304). It can and must have a statutes (cf. c. 304); it can be the subject of privileges and graces (cf. c.306); it can create some specific internal norms, it can hold assemblies, designate moderators, officials and other ministers (cf. can. 309); it can secure recognition or praise from an ecclesiastical authority (cf. c. 298, § 2); the members have some rights vis-à-vis the association, such as the right to intervene in the decision making, the right not to be dismissed unjustly, and all the rights spelled out in the statutes. Besides, the association is subject to the supervision and governance of the ecclesiastical authority (cf. c. 305). With all these concessions granted by law, associations de facto are to be considered as subject of law. Te lack of juridical personality does not imply the non-existence of the subject of rights. After all these associations are stable unions of persons with a precise ecclesiastical end to achieve(cf. Navarro, Typical Forms of the Association of the Faithful, op. cit., p.106-107).


Public associations in the Church are known by these characteristics: 1) they are erected by an official decree of a competent ecclesiastical authority; 2) they are governed by the statutes that are approved by the authority; 3) they possess public juridical personality; 4) they are open to the incorporation of the members; 5) they are created for the pursuit of an ecclesiastical end which may or may not be reserved to the hierarchy. Public associations therefore are stable unions of the faithful established and given a mission by the competent Church authority who approved their statutes. They possess that public juridical personality.

Of course, they still have certain degree of autonomy in the exercise of their right. But, their nature is such that they are placed under the “higher direction” of the ecclesiastical authority and not just governed by the due relation. This direction is composed of the following elements: 1) ecclesiastical authority intervenes in the nomination and removal of the moderator (chairman) (cf. c. 317, § 1 and c. 318 § 2); 2) the ecclesiastical authority directly nominates the chaplain (cf. c. 317, § 2); 3) the administration of the temporal goods is subject to the norms anent the ecclesiastical goods in Book V of the Code; 4) in some cases the authority can appoint a commissioner to govern the association on behalf of the ecclesiastical authority (cf. c. 318 § 1); 5) and lastly it can dispose the suppression of the association (cf. c. 320).

With this succinct description of public associations we can logically deduce that these associations have a closer bond with the hierarchy than the private associates. Fr. Navarro, an authority on lay associations, described the difference between the two with these words: “If in an association there is not such a presence of the authority in its birth, life and even in its extinction, it can be concluded that it is not a public association. It is in this broad and wide-ranging intervention of the authority that constitutes the difference in juridical regime between public and private associations.

Public associations are understood more clearly by the function they carry out in the Church. This function, which generally is to serve the mission and end of the Church, assumes some specific characteristics when it is undertaken by the two types of public associations.

Public associations of Canon 301 § 1. It states: “ These are associations that pursue ends reserved by its very nature to the ecclesiastical authority and therefore beyond the ambit of the lay faithful. Here, the exclusive function of the hierarchy is to be shared with the faithful. And this is made possible by the establishment of an association that allows the lay faithful to collaborate closely in the achievement of these ends which properly belong to the hierarchy. For this to happen, the Church authority entrust this end to the association by a concrete act called “mission”. These associations then perform the particular function of service in the task of the hierarchy. Their consent to fulfill this particular task makes these associations true instruments of the hierarchy in the performance of a specific function. Hence, the close collaboration between the hierarchy and the lay faithful in this type of public association.

Public associations of Canon 301 § 2. The associations foreseen in this Canon, that is, those that intend to achieve end not reserved to the hierarchy, have a different function. They are established by the hierarchy to make up for the lack of private initiative. The Code states: “…In the act of creation, the hierarchy does not put at the disposition of the faithful end that is reserved to the hierarchy. Actually the ends proposed are private by nature and therefore within the ambit of the lay faithful. But, due to the insufficiency of private initiative, the Church authority is prompted to establish association that would supplement this lack. This happens for instance when for whatever reason there is the faithful are not able to work sufficiently within the sphere of their competence (e.g., the secular nature of the apostolate) or are remiss in their performance proper to their mission, the ecclesiastical authority, considering the Christian community that is deprived of these basic services, has to exhort, promote, foster, give directives, so that the faithful could fulfill the mission due to the People of God. In addition to these acts that are proper to him as Church authority, he can opt for the erection of public associations that could meet the ecclesial demands of the Christian community. They become instruments of the hierarchy for the pursuit of ends that are within the ambit of the faithful. Hence, there close collaboration with the hierarchy..

Schematic Presentation and Comparison

1. Schema of the Associations of the Christian Faithful In Canon Law:


i. with commendation or praise
ii. with juridical personality
iii. with “catholic” title

Associations of Christian Faithful

de facto associations – without commendation/praise

2. Public

i. modeled according to Canon 301 § 1 – goals exclusive to Hierarchy;
ii. modeled according to Canon 301, § 2 – goals within the ambit of lay faithful

Comparative Presentation of Public and Private Associations of the Faithful:

Meantime, we can sum up into five points the Church’s attempt to legislate and codify the ramifications of the Council’s teaching on the different levels of relationship between the laity and the hierarchy, to wit:

“Public associations of the Christian faithful are always established by the competent Church authority. By this very fact, it is a public association of Christian faithful.

Private associations of the Christian faithful are established by the faithful themselves.

“Public associations of the Christian faithful have their own statutes approved by the competent Church authority.

Private associations of the Christian faithful have their statutes reviewed by the competent Church authority.

“Public associations of the Christian faithful are closely governed by Church authority.

Private associations of the Christian faithful are governed primarily by their statutes and less governed by Church authority.

“Public associations of the Christian faithful receive a mission to act in the name of the Church.

Private associations of the Christian faithful can receive a mission, though it is not necessary for them to do so.

“Public associations of the Christian faithful are always public juridical persons, that is the very establishment of the association makes them so. Hence, all of their goods are ecclesiastical goods and are governed by the norms of Book V of the Code.

On the other hand, the private associations of the Christian faithful can always be erected into private juridical person, though they need not be so. Furthermore, their goods and possessions are not considered ecclesiastical goods and their management is governed by their own statutes” (Laurence J. Spiteri, JCL, The Code in the Hands of the Laity, New York, 2005, pp. 12-13).


From the foregoing I would venture to make some conclusions that may be of pastoral use to the Christian faithful in general and to the laity in particular.

1. The Church in her 1983 legislation did not in anyway write off the associations that existed before that date. That means the Third Orders, the Confraternities, Pious Unions, sodalities, and the mandated organizations, such as Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League, Legion of Mary, remain in existence as moral or juridical entities. The reason is that the People of God concept of Vatican II is expansive in its implications, not limiting; it is open, not close. It awakens in the faithful the consciousness that with the inherent right that they have acquired from baptism they could come out with a thousand and one possibilities in the area of associative bond, like presenting innovative modes of actions, creating new models of bonding together, discovering various ways and means of attaining a common goal, experimenting on internal government and interrelationships within the existing associations.

2. The recognition of the autonomy of the faithful, of their equal dignity as members of the Church, and of their inherent right of association, does not mean that they are free to do what they can in ecclesiastical matters without any link whatsoever with the Hierarchy. The People of God concept does not do away with the reality and the truth that the Church is and always will be a hierarchical Church. Christ constituted it so. It is His will that the power of the keys – the magisteriuum and governance - is entrusted to the Hierarchy, that is, the Pope, bishops, priests, deacons. The power of the Hierarchy does not originate from the people; it directly comes from Christ. The Church therefore is not a democratic institution; it is a Hierarchical entity. Hence, the debita relatio – the due respect – is required not only from the individual faithful, but also from the associations that they have established.
3. The introduction of the concepts of juridical persons – public and private – to the establishment of associations does not entail the level of holiness or sanctity of a given association. The public juridical person is not holier than a private one; a private juridical person is not holier than de facto association. They simply declare the level or degree of the associations’ “collaboration” with the Hierarchy. The closer the collaboration with the Church’s authority, the higher is the direction; the farther the collaboration, the more remote is the direction. Hence, the public juridical associations, having a closer collaboration with the Hierarchy, are dependent to it along the area of administration and government; private juridical associations, having a more remote relation with the Hierarchy, are dependent to it along the area of supervision; de facto associations, having a very remote relation with the Hierarchy, are dependent to it along the area of vigilance, guidance and general governance in matters of faith, morals, and Church discipline.


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