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Rome Reports

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Vatican sets term limits for leaders of lay movements

Millions of Catholics all over the world live out their faith with lay groups like Neocatechumenal Way, Communion and Liberation, Regnum Christi and the Focolare Movement. The Vatican recognizes a total of about 100.

Many of these institutions were born in the middle of the 20th century, while others were founded more recently and are loosely structured.

That's why starting now, to avoid abuses of power, the Vatican is mandating that governing positions be limited to five-year terms, renewable only once.

“The movements and new communities that you represent are now in a stage of ecclesial maturity, which requires an attitude of vigilance and permanent conversion in order to make the evangelizing spirit more alive and fruitful.”

The term limit does not apply to founders, at least until they have established a clearly-defined charism.

Another important change is that all full members of each movement are now required to participate, directly or indirectly, in the election of new superiors.

The norm will go into effect on Sept. 11, and the Vatican asks leaders who have already surpassed the five-year mark, to call for new elections as soon as possible.

Javier Romero/JMB