IMCS – Pax Romana Statutes

With the amendments made at the 2007 IMCS International Committee


Since its foundation in 1921, the national movements and associations of IMCS-Pax Romana have believed in the importance of coming together in solidarity for common reflection and action with and on behalf of students in the university, the Church and the world. These national movements and associations believe that the international and regional coordinations of IMCS play an important role in supporting their activities, representing their concerns and developing a common vision for students based on the message of Jesus Christ.

IMCS-Pax Romana, the successor to the International Union of Catholic Students, was founded as an association of Catholic students in Fribourg, Switzerland in 1921 and approved by a letter from Cardinal Gasparri to Max Gressly, President of the International Union of Catholic Students on 5 June 1921. Because of its powerful witness to reconciliation and solidarity under the motto of “Pax Christi in Regno Christi,” the Union began to be known as “Pax Romana.”

In 1946 and 1947, graduates and friends of Pax Romana formed an autonomous branch, the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA). With the foundation of ICMICA, the student branch of Pax Romana, with the approval of Cardinal Pizzardo, became known as the International Movement of Catholic Students.

Together ICMICA and IMCS constitute the two branches of Pax Romana. Relations between the two branches, especially in relation to international representation, are governed by their respective statutes and by any cooperation agreement entered into by the two organizations. Similarly, relations between IMCS and the International Young Catholic Students shall be governed by their respective statutes, the statutes and agreements concerning joint regions and any cooperation agreement entered into by the two organizations.


Article 1: Name, Nature and Composition of the Organization

The International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS)-Pax Romana is an international Association of the Faithful with private juridical personality, according to canons 298-311 and 321-329 of the Code of Canon Law.

The IMCS-Pax Romana, an organization of the student apostolate, is a federation of national movements and associations of Catholic students in higher education, without prejudice to their autonomy.

As a recognized international Non Governmental Organization by several inter-governmental institutions, including the United Nations ECOSOC, IMCS-Pax Romana represents its members and undertakes action on their behalf within the Community of Nations. In this role, IMCS will maintain close relationships with the Secretariat of State of the Holy See for all matters concerning its presence and activity in the International Organizations.

Article 2 – Legal Status and Headquarters

The IMCS is governed by its Statutes. From the civil point of view it is an association formed in accordance with articles 60 and 79 of the Swiss Civil Code. Its registered office is in Fribourg, Switzerland.

Article 3 – Objectives

The main objectives of IMCS are the following:

a)       to promote the student apostolate among students in higher education stressing their responsibility in life, in the Church’s mission and in the world;

b)      to recognize the problems of justice, a recognition which is vital to the transformation of society, and work with all concerned women and men for joint action and reflection leading to a more just and equitable social order at all levels: national, continental and international;

c)       to further the Christian faith experience lived in one’s own commitment and to try to communicate this faith to the student milieu by bearing witness to Jesus Christ;

d)      to encourage pedagogies of action which help students integrate their Christian faith in their efforts to build a more just society.

Article 4 – Form of Action

With these objectives the IMCS will try:

a)       to facilitate the formation of Catholic Student movements and associations in countries in which they do not yet exist and to see that their continued growth goes hand in hand with that of the existing movements;

b)      to provide the students and chaplains of member movements and associations with possibilities for meeting and reflecting on joint problems, on the basis of the situation in their own continents, as well as on international problems;

c)       to propose guidelines for actions to be carried out in solidarity by the member movements and associations in accordance with the possibilities and reality of each national group;

d)      to organize, within the framework of its International Secretariat, an efficient communication service for the exchange of information in all areas concerning the student apostolate’s spheres of competence in the institutions of higher education;

e)       to represent, at the international level, the Catholic student movement in university and tertiary institutions and to cooperate with other international organizations.


The IMCS is made up of three types of organizations: full members, ecumenical members and correspondent members.

Full and ecumenical membership in IMCS is granted by the World Assembly, the highest decision making body of the movement. Full and ecumenical members must be ratified by a 2/3 majority of members present, taking into account the voting rights in the World Assembly.

Article 5 – Full Members

The Catholic student organizations in universities and institutions of higher education which fulfil the following conditions are eligible to be Full Members of IMCS:

a)       agree with articles 3 and 4;

b)      are not affiliated to any political party;

c)       are recognized by Church authorities;

d)      group together at the national level Catholic students or groups of Catholic students.

i.            in principle, only one Full Member movement per nation-state will be admitted;

ii.            a greater number of movements per nation-state can be admitted in the spirit to promote a diversity of experiences. This concerns above all nation-states in which there are very great cultural, linguistic, ethnic, political and/or pastoral differences;

iii.            all nation-states having more than two IMCS member movements should have, whenever possible, a coordination of these movements;

e)       they must be actively present within their own nation-state and in several cities.  Exceptions to this rule can be made for the existing groups when there is only one single student centre for higher education in their nation-state.

Article 6 – Ecumenical Members

National organizations having a large number of Catholic students can be affiliated as Ecumenical Members and be subject to the same rules as the Full Members. Their goals and objectives must correspond to those of the IMCS. These members can be invited to the World Assembly as observers. They have a right to the IMCS’s services.

Article 7 – Correspondent Members

a)       Those Catholic student organizations in universities and higher education institutions which do not fulfill the conditions stipulated in article 5 but which can usefully collaborate and participate with the IMCS are eligible to be Correspondent Members. They have a right to the IMCS’s services and can be invited to the World Assembly as observers.

b)      Membership as a Correspondent Member of IMCS can be granted by a 2/3 majority of the International Council or World Assembly with recommendation of regional council/coordination.

Article 8 – Admission Applications

a)       All applications for admission as Full and Ecumenical Members must be submitted to the International Secretariat six months before the World Assembly. The following documents must also be enclosed with the request for admission:

i.            the candidate’s declaration committing itself to fulfilling the obligations of a member of the IMCS;

ii.            three copies of the organization’s Statutes or similar document, with the commitment to send any modifications to these Statutes as soon as they are approved by the movement;

iii.            a summary of the work carried out during the previous year and the plan of action for the future;

iv.            a letter from the local Church hierarchy as proof of the candidate’s link with the Church.

b)      The International Secretariat must send copies of the following documents to all its member movements within a reasonable period of time before the World Assembly:

i.            a descriptive summary of the activities of the organization applying for affiliation;

ii.            a recommendation from the International Team of the organization concerned.

Article 9 – Withdrawal, Suspension or Expulsion

a)       A member movement can withdraw from the IMCS by unilaterally notifying the International Team which in turn will inform the World Assembly.

b)      An organization which does not conform to or no longer fulfils the conditions stipulated in articles 3, 4. 5 and 6 can be reprimanded, suspended or expelled by the International Council or the World Assembly. Such decisions taken at the International Council must be ratified by the World Assembly.

c)       If changes take place in the nature of a member movement, the World Assembly will decide on its status in the IMCS. In an emergency case between two World Assemblies, the International Council will have to take the necessary measures on issues related to affiliation.


Article 10 – Highest Governing Body

The governing body of the IMCS is the World Assembly.

Article 11 – Functions of the World Assembly

The World Assembly must be the most representative expression of the IMCS’s life. Its functions are:

a)       to evaluate and establish:

i.            the situation of the member movements of the regions;

ii.            the work of the International Team

iii.            the work of the Regional Teams and coordinations

iv.            the Movement’s overall situation;

b)      to study the hopes, problems and aspirations of the member movements and regions, to determine the goals and priorities of the movement’s programme, the policy to be pursued for the following period, in accordance with the challenges coming from the milieu, society and the Church, while fully recognizing both the diversity of the movements making up the IMCS and of the world situation;

c)       to elect the President and the General Secretary;

d)      to choose the General Ecclesiastical Assistant. The appointment requires having previously obtained the consensus of the ordinary from which the priest depends (cfr. CIC, can. 324 § 2);

e)       to study and vote on any proposed modifications to the Statutes;

f)        to decide on the admission or exclusion of Full Members and to ratify the admission of Correspondent Members

g)      to approve the accounts and vote on the Movement’s budget.

Article 12 – Composition of the World Assembly

a)       The World Assembly is composed of:

i.            official delegations of the movements from each continent according to the region’s relative weight;

ii.            the Regional Teams;

iii.            the members of the outgoing International Team;

iv.            the candidates to the new International Team, as observers.

b)      One year before the World Assembly, the IMCS International Council should define the number of delegates per region in the World Assembly based on the number of national member movements in each region who have fulfilled their financial obligations.

c)       The delegation of national movements participating in the World Assembly are designated by their respective regional assemblies and committees. For regions where no such structures exist, the International Team will directly invite the movement(s) after consultation with the members present in the region. A fair representation of sub-regions and of the different types of experiences and national structures should be aimed at.

d)      Each movement participating in the World Assembly is represented by one student delegate (less than 30 years old).

e)       The International Team, in consultation with the International Council can invite other people as observers.

Article 13 – Convening the World Assembly

On statutory grounds, the World Assembly must convene every four years. The International Council will decide on the date and venue of the meeting.

Article 14 – Quorum

A quorum is attained when half plus one of the official delegates (who have the voting rights) are present or represented by proxy.

Article 15 – Standing Orders

At the beginning of each meeting, the World Assembly will adopt, by at least a 2/3 majority of the votes, the Standing Orders for the Statutory sessions. These cannot be changed during the meeting.

Article 16 – Voting Rights

a)       Each official national member movement delegate in the World Assembly has a voting right.

b)      Before the start of the meeting each Regional Secretariat will ensure that all the movements in its region have fulfilled their financial obligations, whilst the International Team does likewise for those movements from regions without a regional coordination and participating in the World Assembly. Only the number of national member movements who have paid will determine the number of votes granted to each region according to the formula for the number of delegates determined by the International Council.

c)       Decisions are taken by a majority of the votes cast, except in cases where the Statutes call for a qualified majority. In case of a tie, a second round of voting will be held. In the case whereby the second round again resulted in a tie, the IMCS President will cast the decisive vote.

d)      If a national movement member among those chosen to take part in the World Assembly is unable to attend, the regional assembly or committee can elect a replacement. Alternatively, the chosen movement which is unable to attend can delegate its vote to another member movement of the Assembly. No movement can hold more than one proxy. Those movements wishing to delegate their vote to another movement must inform the International Team in writing.

Article 17 – Decisions of the World Assembly

a)       IMCS, its regional structures and its national movements are bound by the World Assembly’s decisions.

b)      If an urgent decision must be made during the intermediate period between World Assembly and the Assembly cannot be convened, the International Team can request the Assembly to vote by correspondence. In such a situation, the members of the World Assembly are considered to be those national movements who served as delegates in the previous meeting of the World Assembly. Such decisions require the response from 2/3 of the national movement delegates.

c)       In some specific circumstances, the World Assembly may empower the IMCS Council to take certain provisional statutory decisions in the period between the World Assemblies.

Article 18 – The International Council

In order to promote understanding, accountability and co-responsibility (even in financial matters) between the different service structures of the IMCS, several elected national movements, the Regional Teams and the International Team will make up the IMCS International Council. The Council will meet at least twice between two World Assemblies.

Article 19 – Functions of the International Council

a)       The functions of the International Council are:

i.            to monitor and help in the implementation of the decisions of the World Assembly;

ii.            to address any pressing or urgent issues facing IMCS and to plan for the next year;

iii.            to decide on the admission or expulsion of correspondent members;

iv.            to exchange on, and to engage in the analysis of, the situation of the milieu and the movement, the celebration of faith and will promote formation on issues related to the IMCS orientations;

v.            to reflect on the activities and actions of the International and Regional Teams, including the financial policies and situations, ensuring their coordination. In order to help the reflection, external resource persons could be invited to assist, in particular the members of the IMCS Financial Commission.

vi.            to prepare the next international meeting (Council or World Assembly)

b)      As far as finances allow it, additional representatives from national movements will be invited to take part in these sessions of exchange, analysis, celebration and formation.

c)       As far as possible, these meetings should take place in the different regions, on a rota system.

d)      As far as possible, the IMCS Council should keep in regular contact and engage in regular consultation between the meetings.

Article 20 – Composition and Voting Rights of the IMCS International Council

a)       The IMCS International Council is composed of:

i.            the President;

ii.            the Secretary General;

iii.            the International Chaplain;

iv.            all full time regional coordinators. In regions without any full time regional coordinators, the region is invited to select a coordinator to represent the region on the Council;

v.            one national movement from each region;

b)      As far as finances allow it, the IMCS International Council will also invite the following representatives as observers:

i.            a past IMCS International Coordinator:

ii.            the president of ICMICA-Pax Romana,

iii.            a member of the IYCS International Team;

iv.            other invited experts as determined by the IMCS Council.

c)       The national movement members of the IMCS Council are elected by their respective regional committees or assemblies for a two year, non renewable term until the next World Assembly. As far as possible, they should include a diversity of national experiences and rotate among sub regions.

d)      The national movement members should be represented on the Council by a registered student under 30 years of age. If the representative of the national movement ceases to be a registered student or reaches the age of 30, the national movement must find a suitable replacement to represent them on the Council. The representative chosen by the national movement members should be able to represent the national movement for the two year period.

e)       Each national movement member and regional coordination as whole has a right to one vote. The International Team as a whole may vote only in the case of a tie.

f)        If no representative of a national movement or regional coordination can be present, they may designate a proxy to another member of the Council. This designation must be submitted in writing to the International Team.

g)      At each meeting, the Council members will elect amongst the national movement delegates a Chairperson who will, in consultation with the International Team, prepare and chair the next meeting of the Council.


Article 21 – International Secretariat

The International Secretariat is located at the IMCS headquarters. It is composed of the International Team elected by the World Assembly. It also serves as an information and documentation office.

Article 22 – The International Coordination

Together, the International and Regional Teams make up the International Coordination of the movement, which is responsible for the international life of the IMCS. They must work together in a spirit of collegiality.

Article 23 – The International Team

The International Team is composed of the President, the General Secretary, the General Ecclesiastical Assistant; and one or several members, if necessary. It is elected for a four-year mandate renewable once.

Article 24 – Responsibilities of the International Team

a)       The International Team’s duties and responsibilities are the following:

i.            to carry out the work of the International Secretariat in all areas concerning the movement according to the decisions taken by the World Assembly;

ii.            to maintain close relations with the member movements and the Regional Secretariats

iii.            to prepare and organize the meetings of the World Assembly and the International Council;

iv.            to ensure the movement’s representation and participation in other international organizations;

v.            to guarantee the exchange of information and documentation within the movement;

vi.            to plan and administer the financial affairs, taking into account the movement’s life and growth;

vii.            to present a clear report on the Movement and its work at all levels at each meeting of the World Assembly.

viii.            to present to the Council an annual report of the activities, implementation of decisions and financial accounts of the International Secretariat;

b)      Each member of the International Team is equally responsible for the international life of the IMCS. As a team, it must always work in a spirit of collegiality

c)       The Team itself will determine the duties of each of its members, taking into account the opinion of each of them

Article 25 – The President

a)       Without prejudice to Article 23 and Article 24, the President is the legal representative of the IMCS.

b)      In the President’s absence, the General Secretary will replace him/her.

Article 26 – The General Secretary

Without prejudice to Article 23 and Article 24, the General Secretary is responsible for the Team’s coordination.

Article 27 – The Ecclesiastical Assistant

a)       The General Ecclesiastical Assistant, more commonly known as International Chaplain, is chosen by the World Assembly. He is appointed to a four-year renewable term.

b)      The Ecclesiastical Assistant advises the International Team and the different IMCS bodies on pastoral and theological matters and participates in their meetings.

c)       He will work with the Regional Chaplains in a spirit of collegiality. The General Ecclesiastical Assistant will appoint the Regional Chaplains who are nominated by the Regional Committee. The Regional Chaplain must be a priest or religious. Consequently, they must always have the consent of their Ordinary. For those regions that choose to have a chaplaincy team, at least one of the members must be a priest or religious. The General Ecclesiastical Assistant helps the National Movements so that they get the necessary chaplaincy services, by organizing appropriate activities to that end, including formation programs for chaplains.

Article 28 – Incapacity and Resignation

In the case where the President, General Secretary or another member of the Team is incapacitated or resigns, the International Team must propose a new candidate for the vacant post and must ask the World Assembly to vote by correspondence.

Article 29 – Regional Structures 

a)       The National Movements, taking into account geographical factors and the practical needs of the movement will be organized in regions. The regions are determined by the World Assembly

b)      The Movements in each region are organized in such a way as to ensure the representation of all groups.

c)       The regional structures include the Regional Assembly/Committee which consists of the region’s national movements and the Regional Secretariat members, including the Regional Chaplain.

d)      Each region defines its own type of organisation and rules of procedure, in line with the Statutes and Orientations of IMCS and the decisions of the World Assembly..

e)       The Regional Assembly/Committee will meet at regular intervals with the aim of:

i.            reviewing the overall situation of the region and the Movement, proposing a plan of action for the region, in light of the orientations and campaigns of IMCS decided upon at the World Assembly;

ii.            producing a fair critique of the work done at both the national and regional levels in the light of the orientations, formation programme and plan of action;

iii.            electing the Regional Coordinators and proposing candidates for the Regional Chaplain.

iv.            electing the national movement delegates to serve on World Assembly and International Council.

v.            approving the region’s accounts and budget submitted by the Regional Teams.

vi.            approving or amending the Statutes of the Regional Secretariat where these exist.

f)        All full member movements of the Regional Committee or Assembly have the right to vote.

g)      The Regional Structures are governed by the Statutes adopted by the Regional Committee or Assembly and approved by the World Assembly.

Article 30 – Regional Coordinators

a)       The Regional Coordinators coordinate the Regional Secretariat; he or she:

i.            helps implement the decisions of the World Assembly and regional bodies by taking the necessary initiatives;

ii.            ensures that the region’s and student milieu’s problems are reflected in the international work program;

iii.            prepares and organizes regional meetings, taking into account the general orientations of IMCS and the region’s needs and priorities;

iv.            supplies the International Council and Regional Committee with an annual report on the activities, implementation of decisions and financial accounts of the Secretariat;

v.            maintains close contact with the members in the region by mail, through exchange of information, etc;

vi.            ensures the movement’s representation and participation in regional  organizations and regional Church bodies;

vii.            participates in the International Council and World Assembly;

viii.            if a Regional Coordinator  resigns from office, the International Team will propose a new candidate and ask the members of the Regional Assembly/ Committee to vote by correspondence.

Article 31 – Commissions

a)       Depending on the need, the World Assembly can create or dissolve Commissions to address a specific issue. These Commissions serve in an advisory capacity to the Assembly and Council.

b)      In general, there should be at least the following two standing commissions:

i.            the Commission of Chaplains, made up of all Regional and International Chaplains

ii.            the Financial Commission, made up of individuals chosen by the Council to advise IMCS on financial issues.

Article32 – Specialized Sub-Secretariats

a)       The World Assembly can entrust a specific IMCS area of activities to a specialized Sub-Secretariat.

b)      The representatives of this Sub-Secretariat can participate in an advisory capacity in the World Assembly.

Article 33 – The Convening of International Meetings

All international meetings are convened by the International Secretariat in accordance with the World Assembly’s decisions and in consultation with the International Council.


Article 34 – Relationship with the Holy See

The Ecclesial character of IMCS is especially manifested through the functions that the Pontifical Council for the Laity is called to exercise (cf. CIC, can. 305) such as approval of the statutes and its supervision.

Article 35 – Confirmation of the Ecclesiastical Assistant

The appointment of the Ecclesiastical Assistant requires the successive confirmation of the Pontifical Council for the Laity. In case the Pontifical Council for the Laity cannot confirm the candidate presented, the Secretariat of IMCS, in consultation with the International Council, will present another candidate as soon as possible.


Article 36 – Representation Work

The autonomous national movements and associations which make up IMCS serve as a voice for their members in their own counties with the Churches and other student and civil society organizations.

The IMCS at the international level (continental and global) serves as a voice and liaison for its members within the Church, the Community of Nations and with other Church and civil society organizations and networks.

In its mission, especially in matters of representation where there is a common accreditation, IMCS will maintain a close collaboration with the graduate branch of Pax Romana, ICMICA.


Article 37 – Resources

The IMCS’s resources are the following:

a)       the annual membership fees fixed by common agreement by the International Team and the movements, approved by the World Assembly. Through their affiliation to the IMCS, the movements are committed to paying their dues. Each delegate to the World Assembly is responsible for ensuring that his/her movement fulfils the obligations contracted in its name; the International Team is pledged to ensure that those movements not present at the World Assembly also pay their dues.

b)      contributions made by the friends of Pax Romana;

c)       gifts, subsidies and bequests;

d)      income arising from its assets;

e)       special contributions obtained through the International Team’s negotiations;

f)        IMCS is free to administer any goods it possesses, according to the provision of these Statutes.  The Pontifical Council for the Laity has the right to ensure that the goods of IMCS are applied to the purposes of the association (cf. can. 325, § 1 CIC).

Article 38 – Accounting

The International Team has its accounts examined by a chartered accountant before submitting them to the World Assembly.

The World Assembly is authorized to appoint a chartered accountant to check the accounts.

Article 39 – Financial Year

The financial year is from January 1st to December 31st.

Article 40 – Financial Commitments

a)       Financially speaking, the IMCS is only obligated to a third party through General Secretary’s signature and within the limits laid down by the IMCS’ Statutes.

b)      The IMCS’s commitments are solely guaranteed by its assets. Its members and governing bodies bear no responsibility.

Article 41 – Financial Responsibility of the IMCS International Secretariat

The IMCS will meet the financial commitments made by its Regional Secretariats insofar as these commitments were explicitly authorized in advance by the World Assembly or the International Team.

Article 42 – Dissolution of Regional Secretariats

If a Regional Secretariat is dissolved, its assets are transferred to the International Secretariat.


Article 43 – Responsibilities Towards Third Parties

The IMCS is responsible towards a third party only through the signature of its President and General Secretary and this within the limits laid down by the IMCS’s Statutes.


Article 44 – Modifications and Amendments to the Statutes of IMCS

With the aim of ensuring an in-depth debate on proposed amendments to the Statutes before the World Assembly, the International Secretariat must send as soon as possible a copy of these to all the member Movements and to consult with the Pontifical Council for the Laity. All comments relating to these amendments will have to reach the International Secretariat before the World Assembly. A 2/3 majority is required for all amendments or revisions of the Statutes. The revised Statutes must then be sent to the Pontifical Council for the Laity for approval following their adoption by the World Assembly.


Article 45 – Dissolution

a)       The dissolution of the IMCS can only be decided by a World Assembly especially convened for this purpose. To be valid, the dissolution must reach a 2/3 majority vote of the members of the World Assembly.

b)      Before submitting the resolution of dissolution to vote, the Pontifical Council for the Laity has to give its assent.

Article 46 – Liquidation

a)       The liquidation of the IMCS is the responsibility of the World Assembly and International Council.

b)      Any remaining assets must be transferred to other similar International Associations of the Faithful that are at the service Catholic students.


Article 47 – Official Text

The English text of these Statutes prevails. In case of doubt, the World Assembly decides. All official versions of the Statutes must be approved by the World Assembly.

Article 48 – Last Amendments

The present Statutes, adopted by the 2007 IMCS International Committee on 6th of July, 2007 in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia, repeal all previous ones.