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P. Rafael Mendoza

e-mail ocdproc@pcn.net

Tel. [+39] + 06 - 85443276

 The Procurator General is one of the three Major Officials of the Order elected by the Definitory General (cfr. Const. n° 189).

The Procurator General acts as liaison between the Order and the Apostolic See, and exercises this function under the direction of the Superior General or the Definitory, as the case may require. (Const. n° 190).


As he is the Legal Representantive of the Order to the Vatican and has to go very often to the Secretariat of the State and to the different Roman Congregations of the Holy See, in order to submit the multiple diversity of major issues of our friars and nuns that need the intervention of the Apostolic See, he offers below some guidelines for the most common cases, so that the submission and the resolution of these may be successful.

Consultations can be made with the Procurator for all the juridical cases, regardless of the nature, and the praxis to follow:

--concerning the cases of dispensation from the obligations of the Ordination and of the Votes, including the dismissal of the clerical status for the priests under 40 years old;

--concerning the priests in danger of death;

--concening the petitions of dispensations from the impediment to marry for the second time in regard of the widowed permanent Diacons.


1. The letter of the priest addressed to the Holy Father in a spirit of penitence and humility, summarizing the principal reasons that have led him to leave the priesthood and any others for which he considers it impossible to return to the sacred ministry.

The request is to be addressed to the Holy Father and personally signed by the Petitioner. It should be a clearly stated petition for a dispensation from celibacy and reduction to the lay state. This letter is to be submitted to the Ordinary together with a 'Curriculum Vitae'.

2. A 'Curriculum Vitae' of the Petitioner that serves as the 'libellus' whereby the case is introduced and in which is contained a detailed description of the reasons for the defection, and, if pertinent, why the situation is irreversible. Also included should be signficant dates, i.e., of birth, progress in the steps of formation and ordination, and the years and places where ministry was carried out.

3. A statement of every pastoral attempt made by the Ordinary of the Diocese or Religious Superiors to dissuade the Petitioner from making the request, along with all the measures taken to assist him in overcoming the crisis and taking up the ministry again.

4. A document that demonstrates that the Petitioner has been suspended from the exercise of the sacred ministry, once the Ordinary has reviewed the 'Curriculum' and decided to accept the formal request of the Petitioner for a dispensation - thereby avoiding all possible scandal and protecting his reputation.

5. A Decree nominating the Instructor of the case and an ecclesiastical Notary, including the explicit statement of the obligation to proceed according to the 'Substantial and Procedural Norms' promulgated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (A.A.S. 14 October 1980, pp. 1132-1137).

6. The Interrogation of the Petitioner under oath, by the Instructor in the presence of the Notary, with prepared and pertinent questions concerning, above all, the time of formation prior to Ordination, with a deeper inquiry into the reasons given by the Petitioner in the 'Curriculum' for the crisis, the defection, and the irreversibility of his choice.

7. The Interrogations or depositions of witnesses, either those indicated by the Petitioner or chosen by the Instructor: i.e., parents and relatives of the Petitioner, Superiors and companions from the time of formation, present Superiors and priest confreres.

8. Any testimony that might be obtained from physicians, psychologists, psychiatrics who were visited during the time of formation or later.

9. A copy of the 'Scrutinia' (i.e. all documents specified in Canon 1051) of those responsible for the admission to Holy Orders as well as other documents from the archives of the house of formation.

10. The personal Vote of the Instructor about the merit of the case as a whole, explaining whether it is recommended or it is deemed unadvisable that a dispensation be granted and why this is the case. To be taken into consideration are: not only the reasons set forth in the Instruction, as well as the personal well being of the Petitioner, but also the universal good of the Church, of the Diocese or Religious Institute as a whole, and of the souls formerly entrusted to the ministry of the Petitioner.

11. The personal Vote of the Bishop or the Religious Superior who arranged that the case be instructed - to be formulated upon the merit of the case- as presented in the Acts prepared by the Instructor, stating whether or not it is deemed opportune to grant the dispensation. An explicit statement must be included regarding the assurance that no scandal will be taken if the dispensation is given.

12. A personal Vote from the Bishop of the place where the Petitioner now lives regarding the assurance that no scandal will be taken if the dispensation is given.

13. An official copy of certificates of attempted civil marriage or declarations of nullity of Matrimony, or civil divorce for the Petitioner and the woman.

N.B. THREE COPIES of the Acts of the case, should be sent to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. They are to be bound together in an orderly manner, with all the pages numbered in sequence and authenticated by the Notary. Please see to it that, for the legibility of the entire documentation, photocopies are well made and pages which have been handwritten in an illegible way are accompanied by a typewritten transcription.

If the Petitioner is under forty years of age, the copies of the Acts should be sent to this Congregation.



It is important that the petitions of the monasteries to the Holy See and to the Order are submited correctly. This accelerates the procedure of the case. That is why we indicate here the "praxis" or the way to submit the petitions to the Holy See and to the Order, depending on the cases.



1. The petitions are to be addressed to the Holy Father using the formula "Most Holy Father"; they must be typewritten and personnally signed by the "oratrix" (the petitioner or the person who submits the petition).

2. Always indicate :

   a) Religious name and surname.

   b) Civil name and surname.

   c) City and Diocesis of the Monastery.

   d) Number of the Protocol and Dates of other Rescripts which have been given to the same persons before (even those given several years ago).

3. Send two copies of the petitions to Rome, written on whole folios (22 x 28 cm) and leaving enough space at the end of these for the "preces commendatoriae" of the Procurator General of the Order.

4. We leave at the Communities' will the expenses of Secretariat, which may be added to the taxes of the Rescript.

5. The petitions can be sent through the Secretariat PRO MONIALIBUS, including the monasteries which are under the juridiction of the Ordinary of the Place. The Secretariat will submit them to the Fr. General and then to the Holy See so that the procedure may be as fast as possible.

6. The petitions must be "recommended" by the Prioress and by the Bishop (or the Provincial in the monasteries which are under the jurisdiction of the Order).


1. Definitive transfer of a nun, from one monastery of the Order to another . Both Chapter Acts of the monasteries concerned are to be sent together, recommended by the respective Ordinaries, besides the personnal petition of the nun concerned.

2. The religious person coming from other Institutes

   a) Petition of the person concerned.

   b) Chapter Act of the hosting monastery, signed by the Prioress and the Secretary.

   c) Consent of the Superior General of the Institute of origin (in which it is indicated the Diocese where the General House of that Institute is located).

3. Petitions of exclaustration:

   a) Petition of the person concerned ( or if the exclaustration has to be imposed, petition of the Prioress), in which the causes are specified.

   b) A short "curriculum vitae" of the petitioner nun, elaborated by the Prioress.

   c) If the exclaustration is on grounds of health, the medical certificate is to be sent. Bear always in mind the "Verbi Sponsa", n° 17, 1-2.

4. Dispensation of the Solemn Vows:

   a) Petition of the person concerned, which has to be on grounds of "most grave" causes, and duly motivated.

   b) A detailed "curriculum vitae" of the concerned nun, elaborated by the Prioress,

   c) Personnal opinion of the Prioress.

   d) Opinion of the Council of the Community.

5. Dispensation of the Temporary Vows:

   a) The petition of the person concerned is to be adressed to the Fr. General, indicating the causes thereof.

   b) Recomendation by the Prioress.

6. Foundations. When it is about a new foundation:

   a) Petition of the Prioress of the founder monastery.

   b) The Chapter Act of the monastery, in which it assummes the responsability of the foundation, has to be signed by the Prioress and the Secretary.

   c) Authorisation of the Ordinary of the Place where it is founded.

   d) Licence of the Ordinary of the Place of the founder monastery.

   e) List of the nuns who are going to the foundation (whole first and second names, dates of age and profession).

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Updated 12 giu 2003  by OCD General House
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