You are on page 1of 21

Original texts in Latin or Italian

with official English translations


The Rule of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic

(approved by the Congregation of Religious and Secular Institutes, 15.01.1987)

General Declarations of the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic

(promulgated by the Master of the Order, 16.02.1987)

General Declarations regarding the Rule of Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic

(promulgated by the Master of the Order, 15.11.2007)

Page 1 of 21
Prot. #D. 27-1-87
The Master General of the Order of Preachers on March 14, 1986, through the Procurator General,
sent this Congregation the text of the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic in order to
obtain a definitive approval of the text.
After mature consideration and paying attention to the favourable vote of the Congress, this
Congregation by force of the present decrees approves the text, of which there is an exemplary in
the Archives of the Congregation, together with the corrections of the Congress presented in the
letter sent with it.
Anything to the contrary notwithstanding.
Given at Rome on January 15, 1987.
Jerome Cardinal Hamer, OP,
Archbishop Vincent Fagiolo,


Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord and Saint Dominic:
Joyfully I give you the text of the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic, which has very
recently (January 15, 1987) been definitively approved by the Congregation for Religious and
Secular Institutes.
The text of the preceding Rule, promulgated by Father Aniceto Fernandez in 1969, was approved by
the Holy See on an experimental basis. The General Chapter held in Rome in 1983 commissioned
the Master General of the order to hold an international meeting of the Dominican Laity in order to
renew and adapt the Rule of the Dominican Laity. This meeting, held in Montreal, Canada, June 24-
29, 1985, produced the text which is now definitively approved.
Let this Rule be in your hearts and in your fraternities as a gospel ferment to nourish holiness and
promote the apostolate together with the whole Dominican Family.
Greetings in the Lord.
Given at Rome, January 28, 1987, on the Feast of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Damian Byrne, OP
Master of the Order

Page 2 of 21
Regula Fraternitatum Laicalium Sancti Dominici
(NB. Titulus “fraternitates laicales” exprimi potest modo diverso ad mentem linguarum diversarum)

I. Constitutio fundamentalis Laicatus dominicani

1. (De laicis in Ecclesia).

Inter Christi discipulos, viri et mulieres in saeculo degentes, virtute Baptismatis et confirmationis,
muneris prophetici, sacerdotalis et regalis Domini nostri Iesu Christi participes facti sunt. Ad hoc
vocantur ut Christi praesentiam in medio populorum vividam reddant et “divinum salutis nuntium
ab universis hominibus ubique terrarum congnoscatur et accipiatur” (Apost. Act. 4, 3).

The Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint Dominic

I. The fundamental constitution for the Dominican Laity

(Laity in the Church)

1. Among the disciples of Christ, men and women living in the world, have in virtue of Baptism and
Confirmation, been made sharers in the prophetic, priestly and royal office of our Lord Jesus Christ.
They are called to this so that Christ’s presence may be brought to life in the midst of peoples and
that “the divine message of salvation be made known and accepted by all people throughout the
world”. (Vatican Council II, Apostolicam actuositatem, Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, 4,
par. 3).

(De laicatu dominicano)

2. Aliqui vero, Spiritus Sancti motione ducti ad vitam secundum sancti Dominici spiritum et
charisma adimplendam, Ordini incorporantur speciali promissione, secundum statuta ipsis propria.

(Dominican Laity)
2. Some of them, moved by the Holy Spirit to live a life according to the spirit and charism of Saint
Dominic, are incorporated into the Order by a special promise according to statutes proper to them.

(De Dominica Familia)

3. In communitatibus coadunantur et cum aliis coetibus Ordinis unam familiam constituunt (cf.
LCO, 141).

(Dominican Family)
3. They are united in communities, and they constitute with other groups of the Order, one Family.
(Book of the Constitutions and Ordinations of the Friars of the Order of Preachers, LCO, 141)

Page 3 of 21
(De specifico caractere laicatus dominicani)
4. Peculiari proinde modo signantur tum in propria vita spirituali, cum in servitio Dei et proximi in
Ecclesia. Ut membra Ordinis, eius missionem apostolicam participant, studio, oratione et
praedicatione secundum propriam laicorum conditionem.

(Special Character of the Dominican Laity)

4. They are accordingly marked out both by their own kind of spiritual life and by their service to
God and neighbour in the Church. As members of the Order, they share its apostolic mission, by
study, prayer and preaching according to the state proper to lay persons.

(De missione apostolica)

5. Ad exemplum S. Dominici, S. Catharinae Senensis et maiorum nostrorum qui vitam Ordinis et
Ecclesiae illustraverunt, ipsi communione fraterna roborati, in primis de propria fide testimonium
reddunt, hominum huius temporis necessitates audiunt et veritati serviunt.

(Apostolic Mission)
5. They follow the example of Saint Dominic, Saint Catherine of Siena and our forbears who
illumined the life of the Order and the Church, and strengthened by their fraternal communion, bear
witness above all to their own faith, listen to the needs of their contemporaries, and serve the truth.

6. Apostolatus Ecclesiae hodierni fines praecipuos sedulo considerant, speciali modo impulsi ad
misericordiam veram erga omnes anxietates manifestandam, ad libertatem propugnandam, ad
iustitiam et pacem promovendam.
6. They pay careful attention to the principal goals of the church’s present-day apostolate, driven in
a special way to show real compassion to all who are troubled, to defend liberty and to promote
justice and peace.

7. Charismate Ordinis inspirati, memores sunt apostolicam actionem ex abundantia contemplationis

7. Inspired by the charism of the Order, they are mindful that apostolic activity comes out of an
abundance of contemplation.

II. De vita fraternitatum

(De vita fraternitatum)

8. In vera communione fraterna ad mentem beatitudinum pro viribus vivant, quam etiam in qualibet
circumstantia exprimant opera misericordiae exercendo et quae sua sunt impertiendo inter sodales
fraternitatum, pauperes praesertim et infirmos; suffragia pro defunctis offerendo; ita ut omnibus sit
semper cor unum et anima una in Deo (Act., 4, 32).

Page 4 of 21
II. Life of the fraternities

(Life of the Fraternities)

8. They are, to the best of their ability, to live in true fraternal communion inspired by the
beatitudes, and to express this in all circumstances by exercising the works of mercy and by sharing
what they have with members of the fraternities, especially the poor and the sick; by offering
suffrages for the deceased; so that that all may ever have one heart and one mind in God. (Acts,

9. Cum fratribus et sororibus Ordinis in apostolatu partem capientes, sodales fraternitatum vitam
Ecclesiae actuose participent, semper parati ut operam dent cum aliis consociationibus apostolicis.
9. Whilst taking part in the apostolate with the brothers and sisters of the Order, members of the
fraternities are to share actively in the life of the Church, always prepared to work with other
apostolic associations.

10. Fontes praecipui e quibus laici S. Dominici vires hauriunt ad proficiendum in propria vocatione,
quae coniunctissime contemplativa est simul et apostolica, hi sunt:
a. Divini verbi auscultatio et sacrae Scripturae lectio, praesertim Novi Testamenti.
b. Quotidiana, quatenus possibilis sit, celebratio liturgica et sacrificii eucharistici participatio.
c. Reconciliationis sacramentum frequens celebratio.
d. Liturgiae horarum celebratio una cum universa Familia Dominicana, necnon oratio in privato,
sicut meditatio et mariale rosarium.
e. Conversio cordis iuxta spiritum et praxim paenitentiae evangelicae.
f. Studium assiduum veritatis revelatae et constans cogitatio de problematibus huius temporis sub
lumine fidei.
g. Devotio erga beatam Virginem Mariam, secundum traditionem Ordinis, erga sanctum
Dominicum patrem nostrum et sanctam Catharinam Senensem.
h. Spirituales recollectiones periodicae.

Page 5 of 21
10. The following are the chief sources from which the lay members of Saint Dominic draw
strength to advance in their proper vocation, which combines at one and the same time the
contemplative and the apostolic:
a. listening to the Word of God and reading the Sacred Scripture, especially the New Testament;
b. daily participation (as far as possible) in the celebration of the liturgy and participation in the
Eucharistic sacrifice;
c. frequent celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation;
d. celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours in union with the entire Dominican Family, as well as
prayer in private, such as meditation and the Marian Rosary;
e. conversion of heart according to the spirit and practice of evangelical penance;
f. assiduous study of revealed truth and constant reflection on contemporary problems under the
light of faith;
g. devotion to the blessed Virgin Mary, according to the tradition of the Order, to our holy father
Saint Dominic and to Saint Catherine of Siena;
h. periodic spiritual retreats.

(De formatione)
11. Dominicanae formationis propositum est veros adultos in fide praebere ita ut apti sint ad verbum
Dei accipiendum, celebrandum et proclamandum.
Cuique Provinciae competit rationem conficere:
a. sive formationis progressivae pro incipientibus.
b. sive formationis permanentis pro omnibus, etiam pro separatis membris.

11. The purpose of Dominican formation is to provide for true adults in the Faith, so that they may
be ready to welcome, celebrate and proclaim the Word of God.
It belongs to each province to draw up a program:
a. whether of progressive formation for beginners;
b. or of permanent formation for all, even for members living apart from a fraternity.

12. Quilibet dominicanus aptus esse debet ad verbum Dei praedicandum. In hac praedicatione
exercetur munus propheticum christiani baptizati et Sacramento Confirmationis roborati.
In mundo hodierno verbi Dei praedicatio modo speciali sese extendere debet ad humanae personae
dignitatem simulque vitam atque familiam propugnandam. Christianorum unitatem simul ac
dialogum cum non christianis et non credentibus promovere ad dominicam vocationem pertinet.

Page 6 of 21
12. Every Dominican must be prepared to preach the Word of God. It is in this preaching that
Christians, baptised and strengthened by the Sacrament of Confirmation, exercise the prophetic
In today’s world, the preaching of the Word of God must extend in a special way to defending the
dignity of the human person, as well as life and the family. Promoting Christian unity and dialogue
with non-Christians and non-believers is also part of the Dominican vocation.

13. Fontes praecipui ad dominicanam formationem perficiendam hi sunt:

a. Verbum Dei et theologica cogitatio.
b. Oratio liturgica.
c. Historia et traditio Ordinis.
d. Documenta recentiora Ecclesiae et Ordinis.
e. Scientia signorum temporum.

13. These are the principal sources to advance Dominican formation:

a. the Word of God and theological reflection;
b. liturgical prayer;
c. the history and tradition of the Order;
d. more recent documents of the Church and the Order;
e. awareness of the signs of our times.

(Professio seu promissio)

14. Ut Ordini incorporentur, sodales tenentur professionem emittere, seu promissionem qua
formaliter promittunt secundum spiritum S. Dominici et modum vivendi a Regula praescriptum
vitam ducere. Professio vel promissio ad tempus est aut perpetua. In professione emittenda sequens
aut similis quoad substantiam formula adhibeatur:
“Ad honorem Dei omnipotentis Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti, et Beatae Mariae Virginis et S.
Dominici, ego N.N., coram vobis N.N., priore (praesidente) huius fraternitatis et N.N., adsistente,
vice Magistri Ordinis Fratrum Praedicatorum, promitto me velle vivere secundum Regulam
Laicorum S. Dominici (per triennium) (per totam vitam)”.

Page 7 of 21
(Profession or Promise)
14. In order to be incorporated into the Order, members are bound to make profession, that is a
promise in which they formally promise to live a life according to the spirit of Saint Dominic and
the way of life prescribed by the Rule. This profession or promise is either temporary or perpetual.
The following or a substantially similar formula is to be used for making profession:
To the honour of almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of
Saint Dominic, I, ___ ___, promise before you ___ ___, the President of this Fraternity/Chapter,
and ___ ___, the Religious Assistant, in place of the Master of the Order of Friars Preachers, that I
will live according to the Rule of the Laity of Saint Dominic [for three years] or [for my entire life].

III. De structura et regimine fraternitatum

15. Fraternitas est medium idoneum ad dedicationem cuiuscumque in propria vocatione nutriendam
et augendam. Periodicitas coadunationum diversa est secundum fraternitates. Assiduitas cuiusvis
sodalis propriam fidelitatem demonstrat.

III. Organisation and government of the fraternities

15. The Fraternity is the suitable means for the dedication of each person to the nourishment and
growth of his or her own vocation. The frequency of meetings differs with fraternities. Each
member’s fidelity is indicated by his or her assiduity.

16. Candidatorum admissio, servatis dispositionibus a Directorio praescriptis quantum ad

conditionem personarum et tempus admissionis, committitur responsabili laicali qui (quae)
praehabita votatione decisiva consilii fraternitatis, ad receptionem candidati, ritu a Directorio
determinato, cum adsistente religioso, procedit.
16. The admission of candidates, given that the prescriptions of the `Directory in regard to the state
of persons and the time for admission have been observed, is committed to the lay person
responsible, who after having taken a decisive vote of the Council of the Fraternity, proceeds with
the Religious Assistant to the reception of the candidate in a rite determined by the Directory.

17. Post tempus probationis a Directorio determinatum et accedente voto Consilii fraternitatis,
responsabilis laicalis accipit, simul cum adsistente religioso, professionem ad tempus vel
17. After the time of probation determined by the Directory and with a favorable vote of the
Council of the Fraternity, the lay person responsible, together with the Religious Assistant, receives
the profession, either temporary or perpetual.

Page 8 of 21
(De iurisdictione Ordinis et fraternitatum autonomia)
18. Fraternitates laicorum subsunt iurisdictioni Ordinis; illa tamen autonomia gaudent, laicis
propria, qua seipsas gubernent.

(Jurisdiction of the Order and Autonomy of the Fraternities)

18. Lay Fraternities are under the jurisdiction of the Order; however, they enjoy that autonomy
proper to the laity, by which they may govern themselves.

(In universo Ordine)

19. a. Magister Ordinis, qua S. Dominici successor et totius familiae dominicanae caput, praeest
omnibus fraternitatibus in mundo. Ipsi competit integrum spiritum Ordinis in illis servare, normas
statuere practicas pro opportunitate temporum et locorum et promovere bonum spirituale et zelum
apostolicum sodalium
b. Promotor generalis vices gerit Magistri Ordinis pro omnibus fraternitatibus, quorum vota
praesentat Magistro vel Capitulo Generali.

(In the Whole Order)

19. a. The Master of the Order, as successor of Saint Dominic and head of the entire Dominican
Family, presides over all the fraternities in the world. It is his responsibility to preserve the integral
spirit of the Order in them, to establish practical norms in accordance with the needs of specific
times and places and to promote the spiritual good and apostolic zeal of the members.
b. The Promoter General represents the Master of the Order for all the fraternities, and transmits
their desires to the Master or the General Chapter.

(In Provinciis)
20. a. Prior provincialis praeest fraternitatibus intra limites territorii suae provinciae ac, de consensu
Ordinarii loci, novas fraternitates erigit.
b. Promotor provincialis (frater aut soror) vices gerit prioris provincialis et pleno iure participat
Consilium provinciale laicorum. Ipse nominatur a Capitulo provinciali vel a priore provinciali cum
suo consilio, audito prius Consilio provinciali laicorum S. Dominici.
c. In territorio Provinciae instituatur Consilium provinciale laicorum, quorum membra eliguntur a
fraternitatibus et regulatur iuxta normas a Directorio definitas.Tali Consilio competit eligere
Praesidem provincialem.

Page 9 of 21
(In the Province)
20. a) The Prior Provincial presides over the fraternities within the territorial limits of his province,
and, with the consent of the local Bishop, establishes new fraternities.
b) The Provincial Promoter (brother or sister) represents the Prior Provincial, and is by right (pleno
iure) a member of the Provincial Lay Council. He/she is appointed by the Provincial Chapter, or by
the Prior Provincial with his Council, after the Provincial Lay Council of the Dominican Laity has
been heard.
c) A Provincial Council of the Laity of Saint Dominic is to be established in the territory of the
province. Its members are elected by the fraternities and are regulated according to the norms
defined by the Directory. It belongs to this Council to elect a provincial President.

(In fraternitatibus)
21. a) Fraternitas localis gubernatur a praeside cum suo consilio, qui plenam responsabilitatem
moderationis et administrationis assumunt.
b) Consilium eligitur ad tempus et secundum modum a Directoriis particularibus statutum. Praeses
eligitur a consiliariis inter membra Consilii.
c) Adsistens religiosus (frater aut soror) adiuvat sodales in materia doctrinali et vita spirituali. Ipse
nominatur a priore provinciali, auditis prius promotore provinciali et Consilio locali laicorum.

(Governance in Fraternities)
21. a) A local Fraternity is governed by a President with his or her Council, who assume the full
responsibility for direction and administration.
b) The Council is elected for a specific time and in the manner established by particular Directories.
The President is elected by the councillors from among the members of the Council.
c) The Religious Assistant (brother or sister) assists members in doctrinal matters and the spiritual
life. He or she is nominated by the Prior Provincial, after he has first heard the Provincial Promoter
and the local Laity Council.

(De Consilio nationali et internationali)

22. a. Ubi adsunt plures Ordinis provinciae in eodem ambitu nationali, institui potest Consilium
nationale, secundum normas a Directoriis particularibus statutas.
b. Simili modo exstare potest Consilium internationale, si tamen opportunum videatur, consultatis
fraternitatibus totius Ordinis.

Page 10 of 21
(National and International Councils)
22. a) Where there are several Provinces of the Order within the territory of the same nation, a
National Council can be instituted, according to the norms established by particular Directories.
b) An International Council can be formed in a similar way if it seems opportune, after the
fraternities of the entire Order have been consulted.

23. Consilia fraternitatum vota et petitiones ad Capitulum provinciale fratrum Praedicatorum

mittere possunt; Consilia provincialia et nationalia vero ad Capitulum Generale. Ad ista capitula
aliqui responsabiles fraternitatum libenter invitentur ad materias tractandas quae laicios spectant.
23. Fraternity Councils can send their proposals and petitions to a Provincial Chapter of the Friars
Preachers; Provincial and National Councils to a General Chapter. To these Chapters some
representative members of the fraternities are to be readily invited for treating matters which
concern the laity.

(Statuta fraternitatum)
24. Statuta propria fraternitatum laicalium sancti Dominici sunt:
a. Regula fraternitatum (Constitutio fundamentalis laicatus OP, normae vitae et regimen
b. Declarationes generales, seu Magistri Ordinis, seu Capituli Generalis.
c. Directoria particularia

(Statutes of the Fraternities)

24. The statutes proper to the lay fraternities of St Dominic are:
a. The Rule of the Fraternities (Fundamental Constitution of the OP Laity, the norms of life, the
governance of the fraternities)
b. General Declarations, whether of the Master of the Order, or of General Chapters.
c. Particular Directories

Page 11 of 21
Ad opus legislativum de laicalibus Fraternitatibus Sancti Dominici complendum «Delarationes
generales Regulae Fraternitatum laicalium Sancti Dominici» auctoritate qua fungimur adprobamus
atque promulgamus. Sic facilius atque maiore cum fructu spirituali observantia Regulae consequi
Datum Romae, die 16 mensis februarii, 1987
Fr. Damian Byrne, O.P.
Magister Ordinis
Fr. J.Martín
A secretis

To complete the legislative work concerning the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, we approve and
promulgate the following ‘General Declarations of the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of Saint
Dominic’ by the authority which we hold. Thus the observance of the Rule shall be attained more
easily and with greater spiritual fruitfulness.
Given at Rome, on February 16, 1987
Fr. Damian Byrne, O.P.
Master of the Order
Fr. J.Martin, O.P.

Declarationes generales regulae fraternitatum laicalium Sancti

1. Regula qua laicales fraternitates Sancti Dominici reguntur, lex fundamentalis pro fraternitatibus
laicalibus totius mundi est; praesentes vero Declarationes generales, a Magistro Ordinis
promulgatae, explicationes vel interpretationes supradictae Regulae sunt; Directoria autem
provincilia vel nationalia, ab ipsis fraternitatibus elaborata atque a Magistro Ordinis adprobata,
particulares normae sunt pro localibus fraternitatibus.

Page 12 of 21
General Declarations of the rule of the lay fraternities of St Dominic
1. The Rule by which the lay fraternities of St Dominic are governed, is the fundamental law for lay
fraternities of the whole world; the present General Declarations, promulgated by the Master of the
Order, are explanations or interpretations of the aforementioned Rule: national or provincial
Directories drawn up by the fraternities themselves and approved by the Master of the Order, are
norms particular to local fraternities.
[Modified by Ordination of the 1992 General Chapter (Mexico), no. 201: “We ordain that the
Directories of the Dominican Laity, national or provincial, should be approved by the corresponding
Provincial Chapter(s) of the Province(s) in which these entities are established”]
[Also modified by Ordination of the 2007 General Chapter (Bogotá), no. 244: “We ordain that the
Directories of the Dominican Laity, national or provincial, should be approved by the Provincial
with his Council in the Province(s) in which these entities are established.]
[GC 2007 Decl II - § 2: The general Declaration, n. 1 of the Master, fr. D. Byrne, dated 16. 02.
1987, is hereby expressly declared and partially abrogated as to the section in which it was said that
the provincial and national Directories would be effective, once approved by the Master of the

2. Ut laicales fratres ac sorores suas obligationes adimpleant, “non sicut servi sub lege, sed sicut
liberi sub gratia constituti”, declaramus quod transgressiones moralem culpam non constituunt.
2. So that lay brethren and sisters may fulfil their obligations “not like slaves under the law but like
free persons under grace” we declare that transgressions do not constitute a moral fault.

3. Fraternitatum superiores Regulae vel Directorii praescriptionibus, ad tempus vel habitualiter, si

hoc opportunum iudicaverint, legitime dispensare possunt.
3. Superiors of fraternities can legitimately dispense from the prescriptions of the Rule or Directory,
for a time or habitually, if they judge this opportune.
[GC 2007 Decl. III: The general Declaration n. 3 by the Master Fr. D. Byrne, promulgated on 16.
02. 1987, is declared explicitly abrogated.]

4. Priores provinciales potestatem habent convalidandi actus invalidos Fraternitatis, praesertim circa
admissiones ad professionem vel promissionem.
4. Priors Provincial have the power to convalidate invalid acts of a Fraternity, particularly regarding
admissions to profession or a promise.

5. Praeter laicales Fraternitates, de quibus in ista Regula agitur, adsunt sacerdotales Fraternitates,
quae propria regula gubernantur.
5. In addition to lay Fraternities for which this Rule is intended, there are priestly Fraternities which
are governed by a rule proper to them.

Page 13 of 21
6. Singula Directoria inter alia determinare debent:
a. conditiones pro admissione ad Fraternitatem;
b. tempus probationis ac professionis seu promissionis;
c. frequentiam Sacramentorum atque orationes quas quotidie fratres et sorores laicales Deo elevare
d. frequentiam adunationum fraternitatum atque earum celebrationis formam, necnon frequentiam
conventuum de spiritualitate;
e. constitutionem tum internam uniuscuiusque fraternitatis tum communem fraternitatum unius
provinciae vel nationis;
f. modum procedendi ad electionem illorum officalium de quibus in Regula nihil determinatum
g. modus et limites dispensationis;
h. suffragia pro fratribus ac sororibus defunctis atque pro toto Ordine.

6. Individual Directories should determine among other things:

a. conditions for admission to a Fraternity;
b. the time for probation and profession or promise;
c. the frequency of Sacraments, and the prayers which the lay brethren and sisters should each day
raise to God;
d. the frequency of fraternity meetings and the form of their celebration, also the frequency of
spiritual retreats;
e. both the internal constitution of each fraternity and the common constitution of the fraternities of
a province or country;
f. the procedural manner of election of those officers about whom there is found nothing determined
in the Rule;
g. the manner and limitation of dispensation;
h. suffrages for deceased brothers and sisters and for the whole Order.

7. Rosarium, quo ad familiarem contemplationem mysteriorum Christi mediante Beata Virgine

Maria mens elevatur, traditionalis devotio Ordinis est; quapropter illius quotidiana recitatio fratribus
ac sororibus laicalibus Sancti Dominici commendatur.
7. The Rosary is a traditional devotion in the Order. By it the mind is raised to an intimate
contemplation of the mysteries of Christ through the mediation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Therefore its daily recitation is commended to the lay brethren and sisters of St Dominic.

Page 14 of 21

General Declarations regarding the Rule of Lay Fraternities of St.

To fan anew the flame of the tradition and vocation of the Lay branch of the Order of Preachers, an
International Congress of Lay Dominican Fraternities was convoked by the Promoter general in
Buenos Aires, in March 2007.
56 delegations, coming from around the world, participated in it. Therefore, the documents and the
Resolutions issued by the six commissions, articulating the work of the Congress, and approved by
the Assembly, can rightly be considered the voice of all the Dominican Laity.
The International Council of Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic met, in June 2007, in order to draw up
the definitive version of the Acts of the Congress and then it was sent to the Master of the Order.
From the Resolutions it emerged not only the necessity of the normative revision of the Rule but
also the opportunity of certain integrative definitions contained there, so that interpretative doubts
may disappear, normative contrasts may be cleared or legislative gaps may be filled in, and what the
Acts and Ordinations of the General Chapters of the Order have legislated for the Laity may be
Within the limits of the divine, canonical and proper laws of the Order, in conformity with the
Dominican charism and whatever is considered apt for the life of the Lay Fraternities of St.
Dominic, the glory of God and the salvation of souls, with the authority of our competence We
Promulgate the following general Declarations regarding the Rule of Lay Fraternities of St.
Dominic, establishing that, after publication in the next issue of Analecta Ordinis Praedicatorum
and notification of the same to all the provincial promoters, they will come into force on August 8
2008, Solemnity of Our Holy Father Dominic, and that they must be implemented, promptly and
with good will.

Page 15 of 21
Dichiarazione I: Denominazione, identità ed incorporazione dei membri delle
Fraternite laiche di S. Domenico
§ 1. I Laici di S. Domenico sono quei fedeli che, battezzati nella Chiesa Cattolica od in essa accolti,
cresimati e nella piena comunione di fede, sacramenti e governo ecclesiastico, sono stati chiamati
per singolare vocazione a tendere alla vita cristiana e ad animare le cose temporali tramite il carisma
di S. Domenico. Per essere incorporati all’Ordine dei Predicatori del quale pienamente partecipano
la missione apostolica, essi emettono la promessa nella formula prevista dalla Regola. Solo con la
promessa si attua l’ingresso nel ramo laico dell’Ordine, denominato Fraternite laiche di S.
Domenico, soggette alla giurisdizione del Maestro e degli altri Superiori Maggiori dell’Ordine. La
promessa perpetua è preceduta da almeno un anno di accoglienza iniziale e da tre anni di promessa
temporanea di cui è conservata documentazione in appositi registri custoditi sia presso la Fraternita
locale, sia nell’archivio provinciale.

Declaration I: Denomination, identity and incorporation of the members of Lay

Fraternities of St. Dominic.
§ 1. The Lay persons of St. Dominic are those faithful, who are baptized in the Catholic Church or
accepted into it, confirmed and in full communion with faith, sacraments and ecclesiastical
government, have been called in a unique way to the pursuit of Christian life and to raise up
temporal realities through the charism of St. Dominic. In order to be incorporated into the Order of
Preachers, of which apostolic mission they participate fully, they make the promise using the
formula contained in the Rule. Only with the promise can the entry into the Lay branch of the Order
called Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, subject to the jurisdiction of the Master and to other Major
Superiors of the Order, come about. The perpetual promise is preceded by at least one year of initial
acceptance, and three years of temporary promise, of which records should be kept in the apposite
registers kept both at the local Fraternity and in the Provincial archives.

§ 2. La formula della promessa contenuta nella Regola delle Fraternite laiche di S. Domenico
approvata dalla S. Sede non è validamente utilizzata per altre forme di aggregazione alla Famiglia
Domenicana, a meno che non sia diversamente ed espressamente concesso dal Maestro dell’Ordine.
Restano salvi tutti i diritti delle Associazioni e Confraternite che, rette dai propri Statuti
legittimamente approvati dalla competente Autorità, a vario titolo, sono formalmente annesse alla
Famiglia Domenicana. Queste, costituendo una grande e multiforme ricchezza per la Chiesa e la
Famiglia Domenicana, siano massimamente apprezzate da parte di tutti i membri delle Fraternite
laiche in spirito di concorde e fattiva collaborazione, riconoscendoci tutti fratelli e sorelle in S.
Domenico, ciascuno nella propria condizione ed identità.
§ 2. The formula of the promise contained in the Rule of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic,
approved by the Holy See, cannot be used validly for other forms of aggregation to the Dominican
Family, unless it is expressed otherwise and granted by the Master of the Order. All the rights of the
Associations and Fraternities governed by their own Statutes, legitimately approved by the
competent authority, in various capacities, are formally annexed to the Dominican Family. Because
they constitute a great and multiform richness for the Church and the Dominican Family, they must
be greatly appreciated by all the members of the Lay Fraternities, in a spirit of concord and active
collaboration, recognizing one another as brothers and sisters in St. Dominic, each with his own
state of life and identity.

Page 16 of 21
§ 3. I Laici di S. Domenico sono sempre ascritti ad una Fraternita (possibilmente quella del proprio
domicilio o quasi domicilio canonico) o almeno posti in stabile contatto con un membro del
Consiglio provinciale o vicariale.
§ 3.The Lay persons of St. Dominic are always ascribed to a Fraternity (possibly in one’s own
domicile or quasi canonical domicile) or, at least, put in a stable contact with a member of the
provincial or vicariate council.

§ 4. I fedeli che vivono situazioni particolari, per le quali a giudizio del Consiglio di Fraternita non
è prudente siano ammessi alla promessa, possono ugualmente partecipare alla vita della Fraternita e
seguire la formazione permanente, in un cammino di sequela di Cristo attraverso il carisma
domenicano, ciascuno nella propria condizione, fatti sempre integralmente salvi la disciplina ed il
Magistero della Chiesa.
§ 4. The faithful who live particular situations, and because of that, according to the judgment of the
Council of the Fraternity, is not prudent to admit to the promise, can equally participate in the life of
the Fraternity and follow the permanent formation, in a Sequela Christi following the Dominican
charism, each in one’s own situation, always and integrally safeguarding the discipline and the
Magisterium of the Church.

Dichiarazione II: Direttori nazionali o provinciali

§ 1. L’approvazione e promulgazione dei Direttori nazionali e/o provinciali non spetta direttamente
al Maestro dell’Ordine che tuttavia, per giusta causa, può intimare l’emendazione di norme
particolari già promulgate. I Direttori provinciali, approvati dal Consiglio provinciale dei Laici,
sono ratificati e promulgati dal Priore provinciale con il consenso del suo Consiglio; i Direttori
nazionali, approvati dal Consiglio nazionale dei Laici di concerto con i relativi Consigli provinciali
dei Laici, ratificati dai rispettivi Priori provinciali col consenso dei loro Consigli, sono promulgati
dal Presidente di turno del Comitato nazionale dei Priori provinciali.

Declaration II: National or Provincial Directories

§ 1. The approval and promulgation of national and/or provincial Directories does not pertain
directly to the Master of the Order. However, for just reason, he can command the emendation of
particular norms already promulgated. The provincial Directories, approved by the provincial
council of Laity, are ratified and promulgated by the prior provincial with the consensus of his
Council; the national Directories, approved by the national council of the Laity, in concord with the
respective provincial council of the Laity, ratified by the respective priors provincials, with the
consent of their Councils, are promulgated by the President in charge of the national Committee of
the priors provincials.

§ 2. Si dichiara espressamente e parzialmente abrogata la Dichiarazione generale n. 1 del Maestro

Fr. D. Byrne del 16. 02. 1987 nella parte in cui si disponeva che i Direttori provinciali e nazionali
fossero vigenti dall’approvazione del Maestro dell’Ordine.
§ 2. The general Declaration, n. 1 of the Master, fr. D. Byrne, dated 16. 02. 1987, is hereby
expressly declared and partially abrogated as to the section in which it was said that the provincial
and national Directories would be effective, once approved by the Master of the Order.

Page 17 of 21
Dichiarazione III: Dispensa dal diritto proprio
Fermo il divieto di dispensa dalle norme della Regola che afferiscano il diritto divino o comune
meramente ecclesiastico, solo il Maestro dell’Ordine può dispensare dalle norme della Regola con
dispensa generale per tutti i Laici domenicani con o senza limiti di tempo.
Il Priore provinciale con gli stessi limiti può dispensare dalle norme della Regola o del Direttorio
con dispensa particolare per singole Fraternite anche in modo stabile senza limiti di tempo.
Il Presidente della Fraternita può legittimamente dispensare dalle norme non costitutive e non di
diritto divino o meramente ecclesiastico della Regola o del Direttorio in casi singoli e per un tempo
Si dichiara esplicitamente abrogata la Dichiarazione generale n. 3 del Maestro Fr. D. Byrne,
promulgata il 16. 02. 1987.

Declaration III: Dispensation from proper Law

While keeping the prohibition of dispensing from the norms of the Rule which are connected with
divine law or merely ecclesiastical common law, only the Master of the Order can dispense all the
Dominican Laity from the norms of the Rules with general dispensation with or without time limit.
The prior provincial, within those same limitations, can dispense from the norms of the Rule or the
Directory with particular dispensation for each Fraternity even in a stable form without time limit.
The President of the Fraternity can legitimately dispense from non constitutive norms and not
divine or purely ecclesiastical law of the Rule or of the Directory in specific situations and for a
specified time.
The general Declaration n. 3 by the Master Fr. D. Byrne, promulgated on 16. 02. 1987, is declared
explicitly abrogated.

Dichiarazione IV: Promotore provinciale e nazionale

§ 1. Si concede, in parziale dispensa generale dell’art. 20 b della Regola delle Fraternite laiche di S.
Domenico, senza limiti di tempo, che all’ufficio di Promotore provinciale e/o nazionale possa
essere nominato dalla competente Autorità, col parere del Consiglio provinciale e/o nazionale delle
Fraternite laiche sia un frate o una monaca appartenente all’Ordine sia, ove l’opportunità lo consigli
o la necessità lo richieda, un/a religioso/a non sottoposto/a alla diretta giurisdizione del Maestro
dell’Ordine, sia un chierico secolare, sia un laico domenicano che abbia emesso la promessa

Declaration IV: Provincial and National Promoter

§ 1. It is granted, in partial general dispensation from art. 20 b of the Rule of the Lay Fraternity of
St. Dominic, without time limit, that for the office of provincial and/or national Promoter of the
Fraternities, can be appointed, by the competent authority, in consultation with the
provincial/national Council of Lay Fraternities, a friar or a nun belonging to the Order, where the
opportunity suggests or the necessity requests it, a religious, not directly under the jurisdiction of
the Master of the Order, a secular cleric, a lay Dominican who made the perpetual promise.

Page 18 of 21
§ 2. Del predetto ufficio non prende validamente possesso colui che, non dipendente dalla
giurisdizione del Maestro dell’Ordine, dopo la nomina non abbia sottoscritto un accordo con il
Priore e Promotore provinciali ed abbia ottenuto licenza scritta dal proprio competente Superiore.
§ 2. Someone does not validly take possession of the abovementioned office who, not being
dependent on the jurisdiction of the Master of the Order, after his appointment has not underwritten
an agreement with the provincial Prior and Promoter and has not obtained written permission from
the proper competent Superior.

§ 3. Il Promotore provinciale e/o nazionale non possiede voce né attiva né passiva in nessun organo
collegiale delle Fraternite laiche al quale partecipi.
§ 3. The provincial and/or national promoter does not have either active or passive voice in any
collegiate body of the Lay Fraternities he participates in.

Dichiarazione V: Assistente religioso

Nei singoli casi di impossibile applicazione del diritto comune o particolare circa l’Assistente
religioso (Regola, art. 21 c; can. 317, §1, 2), si applicano le norme generali sulla dispensa del diritto
comune o proprio.

Declaration V: Religious Assistant

In individual situations where it is impossible to apply the common or particular law with regard to
Religious Assistant, (Rule, art. 21 c; can.317, §1,2), the general norms of dispensation from
common and proper law are applied.

Dichiarazione VI: Indulto temporaneo e definitivo

§ 1. Allo scadere della promessa temporanea, se questa non è rinnovata, il Laico può liberamente
lasciare l’Ordine. Colui che abbia emesso la promessa temporanea - prima della sua scadenza - o
perpetua, non chieda l’indulto temporaneo o l’indulto di lasciare definitivamente l’Ordine, se non
per gravi cause ponderate innanzi a Dio e con l’aiuto dei confratelli; presenti la sua domanda
motivata al Presidente della Fraternita, il quale la inoltrerà al Priore provinciale unitamente al suo
voto ed a quello del Consiglio di Fraternita. L’indulto temporaneo o definitivo, una volta
legittimamente concesso e notificato per iscritto all’interessato, comporta la dispensa dalla
promessa e dall’osservanza del diritto particolare delle Fraternite laiche di S. Domenico.

Page 19 of 21
Declaration VI: Temporary and Permanent Indult
§ 1. When the temporary promise expires, if it is not renewed, the lay person can freely leave the
Order. One who has made the temporary promise - before it expires - or perpetual, may not ask
temporary indult or the indult to leave definitively the Order, if not after pondering over it seriously
before God and seeking help from the brethren; he should present his request, with reasons to the
President of the Fraternity, who will forward it to the prior provincial together with his vote and that
of the council of the Fraternity. The temporary or definitive indult, once legitimately granted and
notified in writing to the interested person, brings about the dispensation from the promise and from
the observance of the particular law of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic.

§ 2. Chi abbia ottenuto l’indulto definitivo, ovunque domandi di essere reincorporato all’Ordine
deve essere nuovamente soggetto ai tempi del cammino formativo di base. La sua promessa
perpetua sarà ricevuta solo su licenza del Priore provinciale col consenso del Consiglio della
Fraternita alla quale sarà nuovamente ascritto. Non emette valida promessa e non viene validamente
ascritto colui che domandando l’ammissione ad una Fraternita, taccia del precedente indulto.
§ 2. Should those who have obtained the definitive indult, no matter where they ask to be
incorporated into the Order, need to undergo a basic formation period. His perpetual promise will be
received only with the permission of the prior provincial, with the consent of the council of the
Fraternity to which he will now be ascribed. If one who seeks admission to a Fraternity, conceals
the previous indult, then, he does not make a valid promise and is not validly enrolled.

Dichiarazione VII: Dimissioni

§ 1. Il Laico che abbia emesso la promessa temporanea o quella perpetua e risulti imputabile di
grave inosservanza della Regola o del Direttorio, o sia venuto meno alla comunione ecclesiale
(fede, sacramenti, governo) o sia causa di pubblico scandalo tra i fedeli, dopo l’ammonizione
formale del Presidente della Fraternita, se perdura nella propria condotta, ad istanza del Consiglio di
Fraternita può essere dimesso con decreto scritto del Priore provinciale. Il decreto di dimissione,
una volta legittimamente irrogato e notificato per iscritto all’interessato, comporta la cessazione dei
diritti e doveri derivanti dalla promessa. Tale decreto vale, a pena di nullità degli atti contrari, per
tutte le Fraternite laiche domenicane.

Declaration VII: Dismissal

§ 1. The lay person who has made his temporary or perpetual promise and is found guilty of grave
inobservance of the Rule or the Directory, or lacks ecclesial communion (faith, sacraments,
government) or is the cause of public scandal among the faithful, after formal warning by the
President of the Fraternity, if he persists in this behaviour, at the request of the council of the
Fraternity, can be dismissed by the written decree of the prior provincial. The decree of dismissal,
once legitimately issued, in writing, and notified to the interested person, entails the cessation of
rights and duties deriving from the promise. Such a decree has validity, on pain of nullity of
contrary acts, for all Lay Dominican Fraternities.

Page 20 of 21
§ 2. Previa attenta valutazione della condizione di vita ed avuta certezza dell’emendazione, chi sia
stato dimesso può essere reincorporato all’Ordine alle medesime condizioni, per la validità, di cui al
§ 2 della Dichiarazione VI.
§ 2. Following careful evaluation of the condition of life and having certainty as to amendment, the
one who has been dismissed can be reincorporated into the Order on the same conditions, as to
validity, for which see Declaration VI § 2.

§ 3. Avverso i predetti decreti è sempre ammesso ricorso gerarchico al Maestro dell’Ordine.

§ 3. Against the aforementioned decrees, it is always possible to have hierarchical recourse to the
Master of the Order.

Data a Roma, il 15 novembre 2007, Festa di S. Alberto Magno

Fr. Carlos Alfonso Azpiroz Costa OP
Maestro dell’Ordine
Fr. Christophe Holzer OP
a secretis
Prot. n. 73/07/1314 Regola

This compilation of the Rule and the two General Declarations was prepared by br. Jordanus of Oslo
30. December 2009

Page 21 of 21

You might also like