Provida mater ecclesia

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The Apostolic Constitution Provida mater ecclesia ("The Foresighted Mother Church "; February 2, 1947) of Pope Pius XII. bears the subtitle "About the Order" and contains the provisions on the canonical estates and secular institutes.

About the secular institutes

Pope Pius XII With this constitution created a new form of consecrated life: the secular institutes or world communities. In them lay people and priests should lead a consecrated life under the conditions of today's society. So you forego the usual protective forms of religious life and monasteries in order to show people in the world what it means to be Christian. Paul VI That is why she called them "experimental laboratories", "in which the church tests the concrete possibilities of its relationship with the world." The way of life in a secular institute is recognized by the church, which means that life in a secular institute can lead to holiness in addition to life in a monastery as a religious, as a priest or in a marriage .

Further regulations

A total of three texts are published with this constitution - March 12, 1948 Motu Proprio “Primo Feliciter” and March 19, 1948 Instruction “Cum Sanctissimus” - which determine the basic legislation of the institutes and the law relating to them. For the Church it is the endorsement included in the Codex of Canon Law of 1983.

60th anniversary 2007

For Pope Benedict XVI. this Apostolic Constitution is a new form of ordination , namely the ordination of lay people and the ordination of diocesan priests who are called to do so. It is so important because for the first time consecrated life was recognized in the world as an independent vocation, unlike religious life.

See also


The instruction of the Congregation for the Sacraments on the handling of nullity matters at the diocesan courts of August 15, 1936 is also called "Provida mater Ecclesia" .


  • Secular institutes, secularization , In: Carl Andresen , Georg Denzler : dtv dictionary of church history , Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich, May 1982, ISBN 3-423-03245-6
  • Rudolf Fischer-Wollpert: Do you know - Lexicon of religious and ideological questions . Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 1980, ISBN 3-7917-0738-8

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