“Gosh!”, or words to that effect, “So much for the collegiality and decentralization that libs so crave”, quoth I.
Buried on page 8 of the number of Saturday, 21 May L’Osservatore Romano we read that the Congregation is concerned that there might spring up new institutes which might not have “l’originalita del carisma… originality of (their) charism”.
Does every new institute have to have an “original charism”? One that no other institute has ever had? Anyway…
Can. 579 says: “Provided the Apostolic See has been consulted, diocesan Bishops can, by formal decree, establish institutes of consecrated life in their own territories.”
That doesn’t speak to validity.
Looking at the actual wording of the new rescript, as of 1 June 2016, diocesan bishops will have to “consult” with the Congregation in order “validly” to erect a Diocesan Institute of Consecrated Life in his diocese.
NB: The bishops do not need to obtain permission. He needs to consult.
Say Bp. Noble of Black Duck receives some priests from the neighboring Diocese of Libville where Bp. Fatty McButterpants is persecuting traditional Catholics. They set up an Oratory at a sleepy inner-city parish with a fading school, near to the university and a couple hospitals. Bp. Noble “consults” with the Congregation. During the “consultation”, the Prefect, not known to be a friend of things traditional, gives a negative view of the project. Bp. Noble smiles, thanks the Prefect, returns to Black Duck and then sets up the Oratory. He has “consulted”.
I have no idea what the background story is here, but I think that somebody, somewhere, is nervous about the kind of institutes that are springing up, where they are on the ecclesiastical spectrum. I suspect, I don’t know but I suspect, that someone wants slow down a certain type of institute.
Meanwhile, the decision still rests with the diocesan bishop.
Bottom line: This seems to be more of a change of attitude than of law.
UPDATE 21 May:
The esteemed Vaticanista Marco Tossati has a similar view at La Stampa. HERE
He concludes (my translation):
In brief, this means that bishops, individual bishops are less free; and their authority as successors of the apostles – because that’s what we’re dealing with – is undergoing a severe limitation, in favor of a Roman Congregation, the one that handles religious life. They have to pass through its consensus to approve new diocesan religious institutes.
Good grief! Haven’t we heard at every turn about decentralization, synodality, and all that jazz?
The Spirit blows, as we know, where He will; but from now on He will have to make a phone call ahead of time to Card. Joao Braz de Aviz. And maybe even first get a recommendation from a theologian of Liberation Theology….
Tosatti, as you can see, has a somewhat negative view of this move. Also, it may be that, if I am reading this correctly, he misses the point that bishops – provided that they have backbones – are still free to establish institutes of consecrated life, provided that they “consult”… “consult”, not “obtain permission”.