Guidelines for Associations of the Faithful in the Diocese
I. The faithful, whether clergy or laity,
or clergy and laity together, have the right on their own initiative to set up private associations in which the members seek by their united efforts to:
(a) lead a more perfect Christian life; (b) promote public worship or catechesis; (c) engage in tasks of the apostolate such
as evangelization, pious or charitable works, the animation of the temporal order by the Christian spirit.
2. The right, however, to found public associations in which the faithful take part in some special apostolic under-takings in the name of the Church is reserved to the Holy See, the Episcopal Conferences and Diocesan Bishops.
3. Local private associations must have their constitution approved in writing by the Bishop in order to be officially recognized in the diocese, and require his written consent before they may use the word “Catholic” in their title.
4. All associations duly operating in the diocese retain their internal autonomy and freedom, but the diocesan authorities have the right and duty to exercise vigilance over them especially in matters concerning faith and morals.
5. The dissolution of associations established by the Bishop is reserved to him and requires serious reasons and prior consultation with the officers. The dissolution of private associations takes place according to their constitution.
6. Of the associations active in the diocese only public associations and those private associations whose statutes have been given official church approval, as mentioned in no. 3, have the right to be accepted as member associations of the Hong Kong Council of Catholic Laity and the right to be entered in the Hong Kong Catholic Church Directory. Note: Whenever a private association
wishes to seek the approval o the Bishop or to use the word “Catho lie” in its title, it shall submit a written application through the Chancery Office together with three f copies o its constitution.
PRESIDENTS AND CHAPLAINS OF ASSOCIATIONS
1. Presidents and other office-bearers of private associations are freely designated by the members.
Spiritual advisors may be freely chosen
by the associations. If they wish to have a i priest as spirtual advisor, he must be chosen from among those working in the diocese and be approved by the Bishop.
2. Unless otherwise provided for in the constitution, Presidents of public asso ciations erected in the diocese, need to be approved by the Bishop, if elected; or appointed by him, if presented; or are directly nominated by him if he himself erected the association.
Chaplains or ecclesiastical assistants are nominated by the Bishop who, at his discretion, may consult the principal officers of the association
NON-CATHOLIC MEMBERS OF ASSOCIATIONS
1. If non-Catholics are admitted to private associations, they shall be entitled to vote in all matters except those which, in the opinion of the President/Spiritual Advisor, are directly related to questions concerning Catholic doctrines on faith and morals. When elections take place they shall enjoy active vote only.
2. If, even with the approval of the parish priest, non-Catholics establish a society in the parish for charitable, social or recreational purposes, this society may not be called a parish association and is not entitled to representation in the Parish Council. Whenever its representative is invited to attend Parish Council meetings he/she shall not enjoy voting rights.