| Year 1994 Canonical Studies, PP. 71-82
THE APOSTOLATE OF RELIGIOUS INSTITUTES IN THE DIOCESE
(Fr. Varghese Azhaketh )
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I. INTRODUCTION

This is a summary of the doctoral dissertation in Juris Utriusque that I presented at the Lateran University in 1978, a few years before the promulgation of the New Code of Canon Law. At that time the topic was of great relevance and actuality because Vatican II was considered to be eminently a pastoral one. It has mobilized the whole people of God and invited all the faithful, and in particular the religious to assume their proper responsibility in the apostolate of the Church, and invited them to update their legislation in order to suit the present needs of the Local Church in which they live and work.

In the past the apostolate of religious was considered to be a field of conflict and the relationship between the diocesan bishop and the religious was not very ideal. Though the religious were found within the territory of a diocese, they were often considered as outsider, having nothing to do with the life and activity of the diocese. In the diocesan programmes the specific role of the religious was neglected. Very often recourse was made to them in time of necessity and wherever the religious served it seemed to be based on personal sympathy rather than on institutional level. The religious too have contributed greatly in creating this type of attitude and mentality. The criterion in the past seemed to be one of separation rather than that of collaboration. The privilege of exemption led the religious to close themselves in without sharing the problems of the diocesan community in which they were living. The diocese and the religious institute seemed to compete with each other for power and prestige.

Vatican II has tried to change this kind of mentality. It furnished us with principles of doctrine to define in a new way the position of religious in the Church and in the individual diocese. Hence the scope of this study is to bring out these elements in order to establish an effective collaboration of religious in the apostolate of the diocese based no more on personal sympathy, but on permanent institutions and that there be a true balance between the legally recognized role of the bishop as pastor of the diocese ad the autonomy granted by law to the religious institutes.

In the new code Canons 673-683 deal on this topic. Thee canons rely substantially on Christus Dominus and Perfectae Caritatis of Vatican II and the two post-conciliar documents Ecclesiae Sanctae and Mutuae Relationes. These canons can be completely understood only when read against the background of the above mentioned documents.

II. THE PLACE OF RELIGIOUS IN THE CHURCH

a. In the Universal Church: Pre-Vatican Theology and Canon Law speaking about the constitution of the Church gave importance to the hierarchical structure, i.e. the Church was made up of Clerics and Latin

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