Our CONSTITUTIONS

Premise

The Militia of the Temple was founded by Count Marcello Alberto Cristofani della Magione, by public deed notarized by Dr. Alberto Chieffi, a notary, in Florence on May 17th, 1979. Its purpose would be to propose to the young—formed in his own Scout Group’s spirit of chivalry, which he founded in Siena and in Poggibonsi—a choice of life service according to the ideal of "Knight" described by St. Bernard of Clairvaux in the Liber ad Milites Templi de laude novæ Militiæ. This service would be based on a "Rule" that would give preference to a lifestyle, rather than just the honorary aspect, of Chivalry; a true Christian Chivalry, revived and adapted to today, to be realized day by day.

The Militia of the Temple was civilly recognized on September 21st, 1979 by Decree n. 613 of the President of the Regional Council of Tuscany. Later, it was canonically erected on September 8th, 1988 with Decree n. 24 of the Archbishop Metropolitan of Siena - Colle di Val d'Elsa - Montalcino.

The Militia was then already in the process of acquiring the Castello della Magione, which belonged to the ancient Templar Order until its suppression. The project was finalized to accommodate the newly-formed Militia of the Temple. The Archbishop, His Excellency Mgr. Mario Castellano Jsmaele, warmly supported and promoted the initiative by providing an accurate spiritual and chivalrous preparation for those who had applied as the first Knights. He became, in a certain sense, the co-founder of the new institution, and appointed a priest as his representative with the authority to preside over the first Investiture and the election of the first Master, which took place on May 26th, 1979.

The castle was bought by Count Cristofani della Magione on January 21st, 1979, and subsequently donated to the Militia of the Temple.

Msgr. Castellano welcomed the intention to immediately apply for legal recognition from the Tuscan Region, which was obtained on the following 21st of September, thanks to the interest and active cooperation of the President, Hon. Dr. Mario Leone, and Councilor for Finance, Hon. Renato Pollini.

Having established the proper structure and goals of the association—especially for the religious, civil, and social education of the youth, and the reception and assistance of neighbor—on September 8th, 1988 Msgr. Castellano granted canonical recognition, after correcting the Statutes referred to as the “Constitutions".

The relations with the Church were optimal from the beginning: Msgr. Castellano frequently visited the Militia of the Temple, as did many other prelates and cardinals. The church was reopened for worship, and was consecrated by the Auxiliary Bishop, His Excellency Msgr. Fernando Charrier, on September 19th, 1989, after the canonical recognition granted by Msgr. Castellano on the 8th of September of the previous year.

Cordial relations were even established with the civil institutions. The Castello della Magione was home to the Meeting of Mayors of the Val d'Elsa several times and hosted a session of the Regional Council of Tuscany.

The experience of recent years, the expansion of the Militia, and the success of an initiative that has changed the lives of many young people and adults, engaged daily in prayer, service and community life have made it necessary to adjust the statutory rules. Therefor, the General Chapter has discussed, desired and deliberated.

HEADING I

(The General Principles)

 
ARTICLE I

(The Designation - Nature - The Inspiration)

I - The Militia of the Temple of the Poor Knights of Christ is a private association of Catholic faithful who, while not an equestrian order, offer a lifestyle inspired by the traditions and ideals of the ancient Order of the Temple conveniently adapted to the Church and society of our days (can.304 § 2 CJC).

II - The Association enjoys legal personhood and is governed by these Constitutions, approved by the competent authorities and by the canonical norms in force (can. 298, 299, 321 and 322 CJC).

 

ARTICLE II

(The Purpose)

 

I - The purpose of the Association is to promote the Christian life of its members, through doctrinal and liturgical formation and the pious practices outlined in these Constitutions, so that, in full communion with the Catholic Church, the members are living in today's world with Christian and human virtues, and those that characterized the life of the Knights (can. 298 § 1 CJC).

 

ARTICLE III

(The Special Purposes)

 

I - The Association also aims (can. 327 and 329 CJC):

  1. to deepen the knowledge and practice of the spirituality and culture of Christian Chivalry, as a service rendered to the ideal of said Chivalry;

  2. to educate the youth, to relieve and receive pilgrims, and in general, to render moral and material support of neighbor according to the tradition of the ancient Order, as a service to the Church and Civil Society;

  3. to foster in its members the love for the liturgy of the Church, in full fidelity to the Pontifical Magisterium;

  4. to promote cooperation with similar institutions (can. 328 CJC).​

ARTICLE IV

(Spirituality)

 

I - The Association proposes to its members a spiritual path that is rooted in a genuine prayer and sacramental life, the study of Catholic Doctrine, in the exercise of Charity through:

  1. frequent attendance at Mass, receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion, receiving the sacrament of Confession at least once a month, spiritual direction, the Spiritual Exercises and Retreats, the spirit of penance and reparation, the celebration of the Divine Office, communally and individually, and the recitation of the Holy Rosary;

  2. meetings of doctrinal formation, diligent reading of the classics of Christian spirituality; the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, of the documents of the Pontifical Magisterium, the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church;

  3. exercise of the practice of Christian virtues in everyday life: in a society like today’s, commitment is particularly focused on the concrete exercise of obedience, the public witness of faith, of detachment from earthly goods, such as inner freedom and independence from the possession of worldly goods, and conduct of life in holy purity of soul and body according to the doctrine of the Church and the duties of their state;

  4. the fraternal affection between members of the Association, expressed in mutual respect, mutual help, honoring the nobility of his brother in the sight of God, without regard to social status, providing support to live out the spirituality of the Association.

 

ARTICLE V

(The Motto)

 

I - The Motto of the Association is: “Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed Nomini tuo da gloriam!” (Ps. 113).

 

ARTICLE VI

(Patron Saints)

 

I - The Association is placed under the special patronage of Our Lady of the Knights with the title of “Regina Militæ" (May 17); It has as its principal patron St. John the Apostle and Evangelist, after which the Magistral Church is named (St. John in Jerusalem); Co-Patrons St. Michael the Archangel, St. George the Martyr, St. Bernard, Abbot and Doctor of the Church, St. John of Montfort of the Knights Templar, St. Galgano Knight and Hermit.

II - The Ladies of the Militia have as their particular Patronesses St. Catherine of Siena, St. Joan of Arc, and St. Clare of Assisi.

HEADING II

(The Members)

 

ARTICLE VII

(The Effective Members)

 

I - The Knights are the Effective Members of the Association.

II - The title of Knight does not grant any honorary distinction but must be understood solely as a synthesis of the implementation of the spirit, of the meaning, and the lifestyle of the "Miles Christi" as described by St. Paul (Eph. 6, 10-18) and as flows from the Liber ad Milites Templi de laude novæ militiæ of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

III - All Knights must be laity in their status.

IV - A Knight, later ordained a priest, can maintain the previous dignity and shall carry out the service with the permission of his Ordinary, but cannot be elected Grand Master.

 

ARTICLE VIII 

(The Dames)

 

I - The Dames are the women's branch of the Association.

II - The Dames participate in the life of the Association and in its activities and cooperate in its work as instructed by the Grand Master and his Representatives (Legates).

III - In particular, the Dames will collaborate for the defense and the sanctification of the Christian family, for the good education of the young, and in the area of assistance and charity.

IV - The Dames, through their Chapters, where constituted with the presence of at least three members, designate their representatives in the Magistral Council and the Preceptory Council; in the absence of these constituted Chapters the Grand Master provides delegation for the Magistral Council and his Representatives (Legate) for the Preceptory Council.

ARTICLE IX

(The Aggregate Members)

 

I – The following members of the Association are aggregates:

  1. Oblates: Adults of both sexes who share the ideals of the Association, but not being able to engage as Knights or Ladies, apply to be admitted to its service.

  2. Candidates: Adults admitted to preparation for the definitive entry as Knights or Ladies.

  3. The Friends: All who wish to support the Association and its activities.

 

ARTICLE X

(Honorary Members)

 

I – The following can be appointed as honorary members:

  1. Chaplains: diocesan and religious clerics belonging to the Catholic Church;

  2. Decorated: Lay men and women who have distinguished themselves in the service of the Church, the State, and Society, in the profession or support to the Association and its activities.

ARTICLE XI

(The Common Norms)

 

I - All Association members are bound to be faithful to the ideals, principles, the lifestyle and the Association's norms in relation to their position and responsibilities covered in the same.

II - They may be admitted among the Knights and Dames those who:

  1. Have completed the prescribed preparation (one to three years) and are of at least 21 years of age, unless otherwise justified by a decision of the Grand Master;

  2. Have demonstrated that they share the ideals and purposes of the Association and a willingness to assume the consequent obligations along with a real and continuous service;

  3. Enjoy an excellent religious, civil, and moral reputation;

  4. Carry out a dignified profession and have a sufficient standard of living for the decent support of the family and the livelihood of the Association;

  5. If married, they have obtained the consent of the spouse;

  6. Do not belong to associations condemned by the Church.

III - The Association Members shall enjoy the special benefits bestowed to the Association by the Supreme Pontiffs and the Diocesan Ordinaries according to the granted Rescripts (can. 306 CJC).

IV - The Association Members must be at least 18 years of age.

V - All the Association Members, from the moment and by the very fact of having applied for and/or been accepted for admission, for matters relating to the Association agree to make use of the internal bodies of the Association, as well as allow correspondence, news, and personal data to be stored in the archives, albeit with due confidentiality.

VI - The assignments, consultations, professional services and the work of all Association members rendered to the same agree to be given gratis, except where otherwise specified by the competent deliberating body.

VII - The admission to the Association is decided by the local bodies and is communicated to the Magistral See. Where no local bodies are formed, the application for admission must be submitted directly to the Magistral See.

 

ARTICLE XII

(Withdrawal - Deficiencies - Penalties)

 

I - Members cease to belong to the Association:

  1. with death, retaining, however, the special spiritual links and especially the prescribed suffrage;

  2. by resignation given in writing and accepted by the competent body;

  3. by deliberate exclusion by the competent bodies in the case of excommunication or abandonment of the Church, by unappealable defamatory convictions, loss of civil rights, for public membership in occult associations condemned by the Church (can. 1374 CJC), by serious acts against Catholic Faith and Morals, and by repeated and serious statutory breaches.

II - For faults against the Constitutions, or other provisions, the competent Superior may bring disciplinary action and impose proper sanctions, having guaranteed the right of the member’s defense (can. 308 CJC).

HEADING III

(The Government)

 

ARTICLE XIII

(The Central Bodies - The Local Bodies)

 

I - The Association is ordered as follows (can. 304 § 1, 321 CJC): 

  1. The Grand Master

  2. The Spiritual Director General 

  3. The General Chapter

  4. The Magistral Tribunal 

  5. The Magistral Council 

  6. The Grand Magistery

  7. The Local Bodies

II - The meetings of the Central and Local Bodies are valid on the first convocation whatever be the number of participants. Their decisions shall be adopted by a simple majority of those present, except in cases where other arrangements are made.

III - In urgent cases, the Central and Local Bodies can be validly and legitimately consulted using modern means of communication or virtual application, unless otherwise stated.

IV – Wherever there are no Local Bodies, the powers pass to the superior body.

V -  Proxy voting is never allowed.

VI - The Grand Master does not vote.

 

ARTICLE XIV

(The Grand Master)

 

I - The Grand Master is the supreme authority of the Association to which the general government is provided both directly and through the specific competencies delegated to the various bodies and offices, in accordance with universal and particular law (can. 323, § 1 CJC).

II - He legally represents the Association before third parties and in court;

III - He calls and chairs, directly or through his delegate, all the Central Bodies of the Association and ratifies their decisions.

IV - In urgent cases, and giving timely notice to the competent body, he can take measures of any kind—immediate executive actions for which he responds personally to the Magistral Tribunal for all the consequences, even if these have been executed partially.

V - The Grand Master, assisted by the Grand Magistery, may issue regulations and rules for the implementation of the Constitutions (can. 309 CJC).

VI - The Grand Master is elected by the Magistral Tribunal, preferably from among the Knights (can. 324 § 1 CJC) and with the choice of a life of celibacy.

VII - The Grand Master remains in office for five years and can be re-elected.

 

ARTICLE XV

(The Spiritual Director General)

 

I - The Spiritual Director General is the priest responsible for directing the apostolic actions and for the spiritual and religious care of all the Association's membership, freely chosen by the Grand Master, and confirmed by the local Ordinary (can. 324 § 2 CJC ), and of which the Grand Master may apply for revocation to the same Ordinary.

II - He deals primarily with regard to the organization of activities of a spiritual nature (liturgical celebrations, retreats, moments of community prayer etc…) and, in particular, to the preparation and administration of the Sacraments in the Magistral Church with respect to the legitimate powers of the parish priest.

III - He is part of the General Chapter, the Magistral Tribunal, and the Magistral Council and can be invited to the Grand Magistery sessions.

IV - He proposes to the Grand Master the choice of the Spiritual Counsellors of the Preceptories reported by the preceptors, to be confirmed by the competent ecclesiastical authority (can. 324 § 2 CJC).

ARTICLE XVI

(The General Chapter)

 

I - The Chapter General is the legislative body that sets the progression, spiritual goals, and fundamental direction of life and the actions for the fulfillment of the institutional aims.

II - It is for the General Chapter to approve changes to the Constitutions and the dissolution of the Association.

III - Any amendments to the Constitutions, having obtained the judgment of eligibility from the Magistral Tribunal, will be approved by an absolute majority of the General Chapter and will be ratified by the Grand Master. The changes must be approved by the Ordinary.

IV - For the dissolution of the Association, the unanimous resolution of the General Chapter in extraordinary session is necessary, according to the provisions of the Regulations. Decided to dissolve of the Association, the same body shall determine the fate of assets according to the Constitutions, excluding any for-profits and giving priority to organizations which are inspired by ideals identical or similar to those of the Association itself, and respecting the will of the donors (can. 120 §§ 1, 2, 326 §§ 1, 2 CJC).

V - The General Chapter is convened and chaired by the Grand Master every five years and whenever he deems it appropriate.

VI - The General Chapter in ordinary session is composed of:

  1. Capitular Knights elected by the Preceptorial Chapters in the percentage decreed by the Grand Master;

  2. the members of the Grand Magistery;

  3. the Preceptors or their equivalents;

  4. the General Spiritual Counselor and the Spiritual Counsellors of the Preceptories.

VII - The Chapter in ordinary session must be preceded by the Preceptorial Chapters both for the election of Capitular Knights and to express the position of the same chapters on the topics to be discussed at the General Chapter.

VII - The General Chapter in special session consists of all the Knights, the Spiritual Director General and the Spiritual Directors of the Preceptories.

ARTICLE XVII

(The Magistral Tribunal)

 

I – The Magistral Tribunal is the controlling, disciplinary, and judicial body of the Association.

II - The Magistral Tribunal meets in special session, convened by suitable means, for the election or the removal of the Grand Master (Can. 324 § 1 CJC), according to the procedures provided for in the Regulations.

III - The Magistral Tribunal, safeguarding his right to defense, deposes the Grand Master in the following cases:

  1. declared excommunication;

  2. voluntary actions which cause serious harm to the Association or which have upset the smooth running and good name with irrefutable evidence;

  3. permanent incapacity that is caused by serious illness, that must be certified by a commission of three doctors.

IV - In the case of removal, or at the end of the term, or resignation, or death of the Grand Master, the Association's government is assumed by the Lieutenant General and Chancellor, limited to ordinary administrative functions.

V - The Lieutenant General will hold the election of the new Grand Master, within ninety days after the event.

VI - The Magistral Tribunal meets in regular session to:

  1. monitor the merit and legitimacy of acts of the central and local bodies; each member is obliged to inform the Tribunal of any irregularity which, once established, will be reported to the Grand Master for the appropriate measures

  2. examine the admissibility of proposals for changes to the Constitutions;

  3. hear opinions on the correct interpretation of the Constitutions;

  4. examine and pass judgment on appeals against the provisions and the central bodies, of the Preceptory of the Magistral See, and Preceptorial Tribunal.

VII – The Magistral Tribunal is composed of the Lieutenant General, of eleven knights, chosen by the Grand Master, and the Spiritual Director General.

VIII - The Magistral Tribunal is convened and chaired by the Lieutenant General, appointed by the Grand Master.

IX - Delegated to the Magistral Tribunal are all questions within the competence of the Preceptorial Tribunal where they are not established, and of the Preceptory the Magistral See.

 

ARTICLE XVIII

(Magistral Council)

 

I - The Magistral Council is the advisory body for the general direction of the government of the Association.

II - The Magistral Council proposes in particular:

  1. the appropriate and necessary activities for the achievement of the institutional aims;

  2. sources of ordinary and extraordinary financing;

  3. the amount payable by the various categories of members, excluding Honorary Members;

  4. the percentage of all actual revenue for each body dedicated to the operation of the Magistral See and the Preceptories.

III - The Magistral Council approves or rejects the Budgets of the Magistral See and of the Local Bodies.

IV - The Magistral Council is composed of the members of the Grand Magistery, of the heads of the Preceptories, of the Spiritual Director General, of a representative of the Ladies, and of a representative of the Oblates and of the Friends.

V - The Magistral Council shall be convened and chaired by the Grand Master at least once a year.

 

ARTICLE XIX

(The Grand Magistery - Offices)

 

I – The Grand Magistery is the governing body of the Association

(Can. 307 § 1, 325 § 1 CJC).

II - The Grand Magistery is convened and chaired by the Grand Master or by delegation, even verbal, to the Chancellor.

III - The Grand Magistery is composed of the Chancellor, appointed by the Grand Master, and the Heads of Offices.

IV - To the Grand Magistery are delegated all matters that are outside of the competency of the local bodies.

V - The Offices are the competent bodies in various areas: Chancellery (internal and external affairs, certification and authentication of documents, moderation of the Offices, etc.), the Head Preceptor (formation), Eleemosynary (spiritual and material charity), Chamberlain (administration and finance), Governor of the Magistral See (organization of the Magistral See), Lieutenant General (election of the Grand Master, appeals, discipline, etc…), Offices that the Grand Master gives Effective Members or Aggregates, having consulted the Chancellor.

 

ARTICLE XX

(The Local Bodies)

 

I - The Association may open local divisions called Preceptories, under which will be subsections called Commanderies, of which the Grand Master will give notice to the competent diocesan ordinaries.

II - The organization on the local level reproduces the structure of the central level, with some modifications.

 

HEADING IV

(The Magistral See - The Patrimony - The Finances)

 

ARTICLE XXI

(The Magistral See)

 

I - The Magistral See and the legal seat of the Association is the Castello della Magione near Poggibonsi (Italy).

II - The Magistral See is the official residence of the Grand Master.

III - The Magistral See is the host to meetings of the other bodies of the Association and the natural seat of the Offices, unless otherwise provided by the Grand Master.

IV - The Grand Master, having consulted the Grand Magistery, may transfer the Magistral See and/or the legal seat of the Association elsewhere.

ARTICLE XXII

(The Patrimony)

 

I - The association has the right to possess, acquire, or dispense of material assets according to law (can. 1255 CJC).

II - The management of material assets lies with the Grand Master, assisted by the Grand Magistery, whose daily administration is delegated to the Chamberlain (can. 325 § 2 and 1301 CJC).

III - The patrimony of the Association is constituted by the contributions of the Members or of any other physical person or public or private entity.

IV - Acts of extraordinary administration (purchase and sale of physical property or real estate, which can deteriorate the balance sheet, the locations and the acceptance of inheritance) must obtain the prior consent of the Magistral Tribunal, and always respect the will of the donor.

 

ARTICLE XXIII

(Finances)

 

I - The Association is nonprofit.

II - The activities and aims of the Association are financially supported by all members according to their ability and their status in the Association, and the resolutions of the competent local bodies.

III - The Association furthermore maintains its financial commitment to cultural and recreational activities with the acceptance of donations, bequests, legacies and charity in general.

 

HEADING V

(The Norms and the Supplementary Provisions)

 

ARTICLE XXIV

(The Appeals)

 

I - In the Association there are three levels of Appeal against a contested decision and the body which adopted it:

  1. The Preceptorial Tribunal;

  2. The Magistral Tribunal;

  3. The Grand Master.

II - In the case of failure by a body to handle an appeal, the appeal passes to the immediately superior body.

III - In all phases of appeal, in particular against disciplinary action, the plaintiff should always be consulted.

 

ARTICLE XXV

(The Means of Study and Dissemination)

 

I - To achieve its purposes, the Association promotes institutions of study and research.

 

ARTICLE XXVI

(Politics)

 

I - The Association is politically independent, and "non-partisan".

 

ARTICLE XXVII

(Final Regulations)

 

I - For matters not explicitly stated in these Constitutions, the canonical norms in force shall be applicable in the spirit of associations of the faithful and in the tradition of the Association (can. 298-329 CJC).

DECLARATION OF COMPLIANCE

THE PRESENT TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTIONS CONFORMS

to that approved by His Excellency the Archbishop of Siena-Colle di Val d'Elsa- Montalcino with the Decree n. 13/2015 D of 24 June 2015, and shall be kept in the original in the ACTS of the Militia of the Temple.

THE CHANCELLOR

(Dr. dom. Lorenzo Scala)

  

APPENDIX

 

TEMPORARY PROVISIONS

(Resolution of the General Chapter of July 25, 1988)

 

I - His Excellency Count dom. Marcello Alberto Cristofani della Magione, current Grand Master and Duke of the Militia of the Temple, in consideration of the very particular and special merits acquired in the bringing together the Militia itself for having been the Founder and for having donated the Magistral See, is exceptionally confirmed Grand Master for life, unless he is dismissed for one of the motives foreseen for the “Removal of the Grand Master”.

II - In case of irrevocable dismissal, or permanent incapacity, His Excellency the Count dom. Marcello Alberto Cristofani della Magione will maintain ad honorem the title of Grand Master and Duke of the Militia of the Temple.

III - To His Excellency the Count dom. Marcello Alberto Cristofani della Magione is recognized the right to reside, during his natural life, in the Castello della Magione with all the rights, privileges and domestics acquired.

IV - To His Excellency the Count dom. Marcello Alberto Cristofani della Magione is recognized the right to be buried in the Magistral Church (public oratory on private property), having obtained authorization from the competent authority.