What are the Canon Law impediments to making Solemn Profession. I can understand debts and marriage being two but what others are there? references to relevant Canon Law appreciated
Here are the impediments listed in canons 643 and 644.
Can. 643 §1. The following are admitted to the novitiate invalidly:
1/ one who has not yet completed seventeen years of age;
2/ a spouse, while the marriage continues to exist;
3/ one who is currently bound by a sacred bond to some institute of consecrated life or is incorporated in some society of apostolic life, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 684;
4/ one who enters the institute induced by force, grave fear, or malice, or the one whom a superior, induced in the same way, has received;
5/ one who has concealed his or her incorporation in some institute of consecrated life or in some society of apostolic life.
§2. Proper law can establish other impediments even for validity of admission or can attach conditions.
Can. 644 Superiors are not to admit to the novitiate secular clerics without consulting their proper ordinary nor those who, burdened by debts, cannot repay them.
I understand that can. 643§2 means that an order or society may include additional impediments if they chose.
You realise, I presume, that a comprehensive answer isn’t possible. Universal Law accommodates particular law; institutes of perfection can enact proper law
Also these issues are cumulative. There is what is necessary for life profession/definitive incorporation but it presupposes compliance with what was mandated for temporary profession…which can only be validly effected with the accomplishment of the canonical novitiate and all that it demands
Starting at the beginning, the crucial points are – and note each use of the word valid/invalid
Can 641 The right to admit candidates to the novitiate belongs to major superiors according to the norm of proper law
Can 642 With vigilant care, superiors are only to admit those who, besides the required age, have the health, suitable character, and sufficient qualities of maturity to embrace the proper life of the institute. /…/
Can 643 §1 The following are admitted to the novitiate invalidly
1/ one who has not yet completed seventeen years of age
2/ a spouse, while the marriage continues to exist
3/ one who is currently bound by a sacred bond to some institute of consecrated life or is incorporated in some society of apostolic life, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can 684
4/ one who enters the institute induced by force, grave fear, or malice, or the one whom a superior, induced in the same way, has received
5/ one who has concealed his or her incorporation in some institute of consecrated life or in some society of apostolic life
§2 Proper law can establish other impediments even for validity of admission or can attach conditions
Can 644 Superiors are not to admit to the novitiate secular clerics without consulting their proper ordinary nor those who, burdened by debts, cannot repay them
Can 645 §1 Before candidates are admitted to the novitiate, they must show proof of baptism, confirmation, and free status
§2 If it concerns the admission of clerics or those who had been admitted in another institute of consecrated life, in a society of apostolic life, or in a seminary, there is additionally required the testimony of, respectively, the local ordinary, the major superior of the institute or society, or the rector of the seminary
§3 Proper law can require other proof about the requisite suitability of candidates and freedom from impediments
§4 Superiors can also seek other information, even under secrecy, if it seems necessary to them
Can 647 §1 The erection, transfer, and suppression of a novitiate house are to be done through written decree of the supreme moderator of the institute with the consent of the council
§2 To be valid, a novitiate must be made in a house properly designated for this purpose. In particular cases and as an exception, by grant of the supreme moderator with the consent of the council, a candidate can make the novitiate in another house of the institute under the direction of some approved religious who acts in the place of the director of novices
§3 A major superior can permit a group of novices to reside for a certain period of time in another house of the institute designated by the superior
Can 648 §1 To be valid, a novitiate must include twelve months spent in the community itself of the novitiate, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can. 647 §3
§2 To complete the formation of novices, in addition to the period mentioned in §1, the constitutions can establish one or more periods of apostolic exercises to be spent outside the community of the novitiate
§3 The novitiate is not to last longer than two years
Can 649 §1 Without prejudice to the prescripts of ⇒ can. 647, §3 and ⇒ can. 648, §2, an absence from the novitiate house which lasts more than three months, either continuous or interrupted, renders the novitiate invalid. An absence which lasts more than fifteen days must be made up
§2 With the permission of the competent major superior, first profession can be anticipated, but not by more than fifteen days*
If one petitions for and is accepted to temporary profession:
Can 655 Temporary profession is to be made for a period defined in proper law; it is not to be less than three years nor longer than six
Can 656 For the validity of temporary profession it is required that
1/ the person who is to make it has completed at least eighteen years of age
2/ the novitiate has been validly completed
3/ admission has been given freely by the competent superior with the vote of the council according to the norm of law
4/ the profession is expressed and made without force, grave fear, or malice
5/ the profession is received by a legitimate superior personally or through another*
If one perseveres to the moment of life profession, which is what you asked
*Can 657 §1 When the period for which profession was made has elapsed, a religious who freely petitions and is judged suitable is to be admitted to renewal of profession or to perpetual profession; otherwise, the religious is to depart
§2 If it seems opportune, however, the competent superior can extend the period of temporary profession according to proper law, but in such a way that the total period in which the member is bound by temporary vows does not exceed nine years
§3 Perpetual profession can be anticipated for a just cause, but not by more than three months
Can 658 In addition to the conditions mentioned in ⇒ can. 656, nn. 3, 4, and 5 and others imposed by proper law, the following are required for the validity of perpetual profession
1/ the completion of at least twenty-one years of age
2/ previous temporary profession of at least three years, without prejudice to the prescript of ⇒ can 657 §3*
To reach the point where Canon 658 applies, the other elements must have been realised
I wish I understood this stuff.
I’m sorry. What is it that you don’t understand?
Father, thank you for the more complete answer. I was only thinking of the novitiate and not the whole chain leading to the final profession.
Not to worry. I have been at it just a little bit longer. You did very well. You knew exactly where to begin, which was critical. And you accounted for proper law as well.
Tell your canon law teacher you received a virtual pat on the back. Not everyone in their studies would be ready to tackle the question as well as you did.
Many thanks to those who have answered my question