All new institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life must now have written approval by the Apostolic See prior to their erection. A motu proprio issued by Pope Francis, Authenticum charismatis, updates Canon 579, which has allowed diocesan Ordinaries to approve institutes following consultation with the Holy See. Its effective date is Nov. 12, 2020.

As Vatican News reports, “The new motu proprio makes explicit that Diocesan Bishops can only validly erect institutes of consecrated life by a formal decree, and only when written permission has been given by the Apostolic See.”

Pope Francis quotes Vita consecrata in his new apostolic letter, which speaks to the growth of new forms of consecrated life: “Their vitality must be judged by the authority of the Church, which has the responsibility of examining them in order to discern the authenticity of the purpose for their foundation and to prevent the proliferation of institutions similar to one another, with the consequent risk of a harmful fragmentation into excessively small groups.” (12)