Article 20

The Secular Franciscan Order is divided into fraternities of various levels — local, regional, national, and international. Each one has its own moral personality in the Church. These various fraternities are coordinated and united according to the norm of this rule and of the constitutions.

From the General Constitution of the Secular Franciscan Order:

Art. 28, ¶ 2: “The OFS is divided into fraternities of various levels,” the purpose being to promote, in an orderly form, the union and mutual collaboration among the brothers and sisters and their active and communal presence in both the local and the universal Church. The OFS shall also support the commitment of the fraternities in their service to the world, and specifically to the life of society.

Art. 28, ¶ 3: The brothers and sisters gather in local fraternities established in connection with a church or a religious house, or in personal fraternities, constituted for specific and valid reasons recognized in the decree of establishment.

Art. 29, ¶ 2: These fraternities, that each have their own juridical personality in the Church, should acquire, if possible, a civil juridical personality for the better fulfillment of their mission. It pertains to the national councils to give guidelines concerning the motivations and the procedures to be followed.

Art. 29, ¶ 3: National statutes should indicate the criteria for the organization of the OFS in the nation. The application of these criteria is left to the prudent judgement of the leaders of the fraternities concerned and of the national council.

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