Have you noticed in recent publicity...and on the Institute of Christ the King website, that the priests of the order are now being referred to as Canons, rather than priests. We were curious as to the purpose and reason for this recent change.
So, naturally we asked a priest of the order, Father (that is, Canon) Avis, who graciously referred the request to Canon Matthew Talarico, Vice Rector of the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago.
Here is Canon Talarico's very interesting response:
"Nothing has really changed in our community life or our identity, but the Holy See has approved our constitutions. Together with the Pontifical right, the canonical form of life and the title canon which expresses it were officially recognized."
Canon Talarico also sent us an excerpt from the Institute website which gives more explanatory detail:
CONSTITUTIONS OF THE INSTITUTE OF CHRIST THE KING APPROVED BY THE HOLY SEE: CANONS AND OBLATES LIVE PROPER IDENTITY ACCORDING TO CANONICAL FORM OF LIFE.
With the Decree Saeculorum Rex signed by the President of the Commission Ecclesia Dei, Dario Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, in the name of the Roman Pontiff, the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest was elevated to the status of Pontifical Right on October 7th 2008, the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. This favor was granted after a mature deliberation conducted according to the traditional procedures of the Roman Curia, including several positive Apostolic Visitations and the affirmative consultation of over fifty Bishops in whose Dioceses the Institute is present.So, now the proper title when formally contacting a priest of the Institute is now "Canon". Although we don't believe that anyone would feel insulted if they were called "Father" as usual.
The canonical form of the Institute’s life is mainly expressed in the emphasis its constitutions put on the regular and solemn celebration of the Sacred Liturgy during the day, foremost through the solemnity of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the focus of the community life, but also through the Holy Office, which, in its recited or chanted form, regulates and sanctifies the daily work. After the example of the secular Canons in the history of the Church, the Canons and Oblates of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest have the goal to spread the kingdom of Christ and to evangelize the world through the sanctification of life with the liturgical celebrations instituted by Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest and cultivated by the Church under the guidance of the Holy Ghost. For this reason, the members of the Institute make the glorification of God in the Liturgy the focus of their fraternal unity and of their apostolic work. Both are expressed in their Choir habit, which underscores their canonical order of life. The blue color of the choir habit signifies their consecration to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception as their main patroness and their devotion to St. Francis de Sales as the example of their desire for an ever greater charity. With these are combined the spirit of true Romanity and a faithful attachment to the Vicar of Christ on earth.
Now approved by the Holy See, the Institute’s canonical order of life as established by its constitutions under the governance of Monsignor the Prior General seals the distinctive identity of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. The Canons and Oblates of the Institute are humbled by the fact that their very own charism and identity was approved by the highest ecclesiastical authority. They promise to live the spirit and letter of their constitutions to the fullest, well knowing that perfection is a gift of God and that all their efforts can only come to fruition if commenced, accompanied and accomplished by divine grace.