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Temporalities in the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae

Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - English / Structure / Temporalities in the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae

Economic assets in the Sodalitium

In order to fulfill its evangelizing purposes, the Sodalitium is permitted to acquire, possess, administer and transfer economic assets that allow it to organize its apostolate and support its members. The assets of the Sodalitium are governed by canonical regulations¹ which apply to ecclesiastical institutions of public law.

It is important to always differentiate the assets of the Sodalitium from the assets of its members, just as the regime that regulates them is different, as seen in the case of personal assets.

As a Society of Apostolic Life, the members of the Sodalitium may acquire, possess, administer and transfer property, a regime that is more restricted in other Church institutions. The property of the Sodalitium is the property of the Sodalitium and belongs to it personally, and is governed by the civil norms applicable to natural persons. In order to protect the proper use of their property, according to the norms of the Sodalitium, the Sodalitium members are accountable to their authorities for their economic acts.

Sources of income in the Sodalitium

The resources to support the life and mission of the Sodalitium come from three sources: contributions from its members, donations and income from the Sodalitium’s own assets.

a) The contribution of its members: within the framework of the norms of canon law and those of the Sodalitium, the Sodalits collaborate in the common work by sharing their assets, which is a sign of unity and solidarity. The Sodalits may have assets of their own or generate them, and they are responsible for their administration and use, reporting them to their superiors.

Contributions may come from various types of remuneration, stipends, donations received from family members or third parties, and income from personal property. All the property received by a Sodalit is his or her own and serves, first of all, for his or her own support and for his or her apostolic activities. With complete freedom and in the spirit of co-responsibility, they help to the extent of their possibilities with the support of their communities or with other initiatives in accordance with their ecclesial status.

b) Donations: As is common in the Church, in the various countries where the Sodalitium is present, it has also received and continues to receive donations from third parties, legal or natural, which help to sustain its apostolic life and mission. In all cases, the will of the donor is respected. These donations are used to develop the Sodalit apostolic mission, they help the Sodalit charitable works, they support the lives of the Sodalits, and, in some cases, they assist the families of the Sodalits who are in need. In addition, these funds also help other works of the Church.

c) Income from owned assets: over the years, as requested by the Church, the Sodalitium has been able to create its own assets to ensure the support of apostolic works and the life of the Sodalits. This asset is administered according to the civil and canonical norms that apply to it.

The redistribution of assets in the Sodalitium

The communities in the Sodalitium live off the contributions of their members, or from donations and income that the community has. This is administered by a person responsible for economic affairs, who assists the corresponding authority, and ensures that the works, the Sodalit community and its members have the necessary support to carry out their mission.

The Sodalitium applies the principle of subsidiarity and responsibility, which is why it seeks to ensure that communities and works can be self-sustaining with their own income. In cases where this is not possible, due to various circumstances, communities and works can request a subsidy from the regional or general authorities. Currently, the General Government of the Sodalitium, from the donations and income it receives, helps various works, communities or regions that are not yet self-sustaining.

The Sodalits’ Allowance

Because of their vocation to the apostolate, the Sodalits freely give themselves to apostolic service, and do not expect anything in return for their service. This does not mean that they cannot receive allowances or other income.

In the event that a member of the Sodalit performs work in an institution that remunerates services, his income is subject to the labor regulations that govern said institutions. In this case, the member of the Sodalit receives the remuneration and social benefits that the laws grant. Everything received is the property of the member of the Sodalit, who may dispose of these assets in accordance with the provisions that govern the Sodalitium.

In the event that a Sodalit carries out an apostolic mission in the community, if he needs it, he receives an “allowance” that allows him to cover his expenses in carrying out said mission. This allowance is not a remuneration for the services rendered by the Sodalit.

As provided by the Code of Canon Law, those who legitimately leave the Sodalitium or are expelled from it have no right to demand anything for services rendered during their membership; however, equity and evangelical charity must be observed towards former members (c. 702), helping them to incorporate themselves into their new condition of life.

Institutions in the Sodalitium

Since the beginning of its history, the Sodalitium and its individual members have carried out many apostolic works and other initiatives in various countries, which have provided the resources and organization to develop and sustain the apostolate and the life of its members.

These works and initiatives have been established by the Sodalitium itself, by its members, by other people in the spiritual family, and by people close to it who share the mission of the Sodalitium. The works, although related, are autonomous and governed by their own statutes and the laws that apply to them.

These can be divided into:

  • Non-profit institutions: created to carry out specific missions in education, solidarity, integral human promotion, evangelization of culture, and other areas of evangelization that the Sodalitium promotes.
  • For-profit institutions: created to carry out specific missions, or to support the Sodalitium and non-profit institutions that are not self-sustaining, but necessary for the mission.

Legal entities, recognized civilly and/or canonically, as the case may be, operate according to the laws of the country where they are located, respecting the canonical regulations that apply to them, and their own provisions and statutes. These institutions, according to their nature and purposes, comply with all legal and tax regulations in all countries where they are present.

As legal entities distinct from the Sodalitium, the directors of these institutions are those who assume management responsibilities and are subject to the civil and canonical laws that apply to them. In some cases, according to the statutes of these institutions, the Sodalitium appoints at least some directors, and once appointed they act autonomously. In other cases, and depending on the participation of the Sodalitium in these works, the Sodalitium members form part of the boards of directors representing the interests of the Sodalitium.

1 Canon 741 of the Code of Canon Law:
§ 1. Societies and, unless the constitutions provide otherwise, their circumscriptions and houses, are juridical persons and, as such, have the capacity to acquire, possess, administer, and alienate temporal goods, in accordance with the prescriptions of Book V, On the Temporal Goods of the Church, of canons 636, 638, and 639, and also of proper law.
§ 2. In accordance with the norm of proper law, the members are also capable of acquiring, possessing, administering, and disposing of temporal goods, but everything they acquire by reason of it belongs to the society.