Ad Universalis Ecclesiae
A papal constitution dealing with the conditions for admission to religious orders of men in which solemn vows are prescribed. It was issued by Pius IX, 7 February, 1862. This Pope had issued from time to time various decrees : e.g. "Romani Pontifices" (25 January, 1848), "Regulari Disciplinae" (for Italy and adjacent isles, 25 January, 1848), and "Neminem Latet" (19 March, 1857). These three decrees found their completion and perfection in the constitution, "Ad Universalis Ecclesiae." It marks a distinct departure from the Tridentine law, both as to the necessary age and other requirements for admission of men to solemn vows in orders, congregations, and institutes, old and new, in which solemn vows are prescribed. The immediate occasion of its promulgation was the settlement, once and forever, of doubts which had arisen and been presented to the Holy See about the validity of solemn vows made without due observance of the decree, "Neminem Latet", i.e. without the three years' profession of simple vows. It gives the reason of the "Neminem Latet" regulation, which was to safeguard the religious orders, congregations, and institutes from losing their genuine spirit and former excellence by hastily and imprudently admitting youths having no true vocation or of whose lives, morals, bodily and mental endowments, no proper investigation had been made and no testimonial to the aforesaid had been requested of, or received from, the bishop of their native place, or of the places where they had sojourned for the year immediately preceding their admission to the house of postulants. This the "Neminem Latet" accomplished by decreeing that novices after the completion of their probation and novitiate and, if clerics, of the sixteenth year of their age (prescribed by the Council of Trent ), or of a more advanced age, if the rule of their order approved by the Holy See required it, if lay brothers, the age fixed by Pope Clement VIII (in Suprema), should make profession of simple vows for the term of three full years; and after the completion of said term, to be computed from day of profession to the last hour of the third year, if found worthy, they were to be admitted to solemn profession, unless their superiors, for just and reasonable cause, postponed the solemn profession; such postponement being prohibited beyond the twenty-fifth year of age, except in the orders and countries where a longer term of simple profession was conceded by special indult of the Holy See. The Pope says that, nevertheless, novices had been admitted to solemn profession without the three years' simple vows, thereby giving great cause for doubt concerning the validity of said solemn profession; and a decision upon that matter was requested from the Holy See. As the "Neminem Latet" said not a word about the nullity of solemn profession made in opposition to its regulation, the solemn profession made without the prescribed three years of simple vows was valid, though illicit. This was decided later (S. Cong. on State of Regulars, 16 August, 1866). "We, therefore," declares Pius IX in this constitution,in a matter of such great importance, desiring to remove all occasion of future doubt, of Our own motion and certain knowledge, and in the plenitude of Our Apostolic power as regards the religious communities of men of whatever order, congregation, or institution in which solemn vows are made, do determine and decree to be null and void and of no value the profession of solemn vows, knowingly or ignorantly, in any manner, colour or pretext, made bynovices or lay brothers, who, although they had completed the Tridentine probation and novitiate, had not previously made profession of simple vows and remained in that profession for the entire three years, even though the superiors, or they, or both respectively, had theintention of admitting to, or making, solemn vows, and had used all the ceremonies prescribed for solemn profession.
Women were not included in this law. They, unless where special indults were granted, as in Austria (Bizzarri, 158), and Bavaria (Bizzarri, 463), followed the Tridentine regulation until Leo XIII (3 May, 1902, Decretum "Perpensis", S.C. Epp. et Regul.) enjoined on them the same profession of simple vows for three years prior to the solemn profession, under penalty of nullity.
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online