The World Apostolate of Fatima is a Public International Association of the Faithful under the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
What is a Public Association of the Faithful?
The following canons from the Church’s Code of Canon Law explain:
- In the Church there are associations distinct from institutes of consecrated life and societies of apostolic life; in these associations the Christian faithful, whether clerics, lay persons, or clerics and lay persons together, strive in a common endeavor to foster a more perfect life, to promote public worship or Christian doctrine, or to exercise other works of the apostolate such as initiatives of evangelization, works of piety or charity, and those which animate the temporal order with a Christian spirit.
- The Christian faithful are to join especially those associations which competent ecclesiastical authority has erected, praised, or commended.
- It is for the competent ecclesiastical authority alone to erect associations of the Christian faithful which propose to hand on Christian doctrine in the name of the Church or to promote public worship, or which intend other purposes whose pursuit is of its nature reserved to the same ecclesiastical authority.
- Associations of the Christian faithful which are erected by competent ecclesiastical authority are called public associations.
The authority competent to erect public associations is:
- the Holy See for universal and international associations;
- the conference of bishops in its own territory for national associations, that is, those which from their founding are directed toward activity throughout the whole nation;
- the diocesan bishop in his own territory, but not a diocesan administrator, for diocesan associations, except, however, for those associations whose right of erection has been reserved to others by apostolic privilege.
The official Vatican documents are available below.