Origin and Development of CRI :
With the coming into existence of an independent nation, the Church in India had
to rely on its own sons and daughters for her vitality and mission. God blessed
us with numerous vocations to Religious Life. Drawing inspiration from Pope Pius
XII, the Major Superiors of Religious Institutes in India met in conference, separately
at first as men and women in 1960-61, and then jointly in 1962. In 1963 the Holy
See formally erected CRI by approving the Statutes. The same year it became a registered
society under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
CRI Structure :
The CRI is governed by the National Executive, composed of the President, National
Secretary, the Executives of Sisters’, Priests’ and Brothers’ Sections, and Regional
Presidents. It is normally meets twice a year. The Secretariat, headed by the National
Secretary, assisted by other Religious and lay staff, takes care of the day-to-day
administration, animation and follow-up of decisions and orientation.
The National Secretary also acts as the spokesperson of the CRI. The National Executive
elects one of the three Sectional Presidents as the National President of the CRI.
The National Secretary is appointed by the National Executive for a period of 4
years. The Regional and Local Units of CRI are governed by Statutes specific to
Statutes of C.R.I. (Extracts) :
These extracts are the more important articles of the statutes of the Conference
of Religious, India.
Article 2: CRI is a conference of the Major Superiors of all Religious Institutes
and of Societies of Apostolic life, (cf. CIC cc. 607, 731, 734), operating within
the territory of the Republic of India, constitutes in the tenor of CIC cc 708 and
709. This conference established by the Apostolic See in 1963, is a juridical person
(cf. CIC, c. 114). CRI is also a Society within the purview of the Constitution
of the Republic of India, registered under the Societies’ Registration Act of 1860
[Registration No. S.2316 of 1963-64].
3.1. To bring together the Major Superiors of Institutes of Consecrated Life and
Societies of Apostolic Life, so that they share the experiences, challenges and
concerns of their religious commitment and get mutually enriched.
3.2. To make combined effort to achieve more fully the purpose of each Institute,
while respecting the autonomy, nature and spirit of each (CIC c.708).
3.3. To deal with matters common to all Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies
of Apostolic Life, especially those affecting consecrated life in India, and to
work to establish suitable co-ordination and co-operation with various episcopal
bodies and with individual bishops (CIC c. 708).
3.4. To promote fellowship at all levels of the Christians community in a spirit
of humble service and in collaboration with all sections of the people of God and
all people of good will.
Article 5: At the national level, membership is open to (1) all Major Superiors
of Religious Institutes with public vows (CIC c.607 # 2); (2) and of Societies of
Apostolic Life and Societies of Common Life in the manner of Religious with public
bonds or promise (CIC C.731#2 and CCEO c. 572); (3) the Superior who exercises the
highest authority in an Institute that does not have in India a major superior.
(4) The legitimate successors of those already enrolled as members of CRI. (5) New
Institutes wishing to be enrolled as members have to apply formally in the prescribed
Form, to the National Secretary. (6) When a member is unable to attend a meeting
of CRI, his/her vicar or councilor in the absence of the vicar, can attend the meeting
as duly authorized representative with the right to vote. (7) The major moderators
of Secular Institutes are not members of CRI.
Article 7 (1) CRI though basically one conference, has, however, three sections,
each having functional autonomy, namely, Religious Priests, Religious Brothers and
Women Religious. (2) To exercise functional autonomy each of the above three sections
possess its own Plenary Assembly, Executive Council, and Permanent Committees.
Article 12: To ensure the complete solidarity of the three functionally autonomous
sections and to express that it is juridically and constitutionally one association,
CRI at the national level has an organizational set-up consisting of a National
Assembly, National Conference, National Executive Council and National Secretary.
Article 19: CRI may be organized at the regional local levels as per norms laid
down in the statutes approved by the National Assembly. Each regional assembly elects
one major Superior to the National Executive Council.