An expert in canonical matters informed me over the salad bar that I, and by extension former superior general Fr John Sivalon, are mistaken as to what vote by the council is required. Sivalon used the term "unanimous" but the expert contended it only need be "decisive."
He then "invited" me to look it up for myself, which till now I had been loathe to do as this blog was originally created to report on what guys were saying rather than fact-checking their groundless rumors.
Since this issue is serious enough, I took said expert up on his suggestion and looked it up on Google under "Dismissal from Apostolic Life." That being said, I reread this three times and could not find the word "decisive" nor, for that matter, any reference to involuntary laicization as a punishment. (It's a good thing Our Lord vacated his grave, or else he'd be spinning in it.)
Here, then, is the crux of the matter, with salient parts highlighted:
DISMISSAL OF MEMBERS
Can. 694 §1. A member must be held as ipso facto dismissed from an institute who:
1/ has defected notoriously from the Catholic faith;
2/ has contracted marriage or attempted it, even only civilly.
§2. In these cases, after the proofs have been collected, the major superior with the council is to issue without any delay a declaration of fact so that the dismissal is established juridically.
Can. 695 §1. A member must be dismissed for the delicts mentioned in cann. ⇒ 1397, ⇒ 1398, and ⇒ 1395, unless in the delicts mentioned in ⇒ can. 1395, §2, the superior decides that dismissal is not completely necessary and that correction of the member, restitution of justice, and reparation of scandal can be resolved sufficiently in another way.
§2. In these cases, after the proofs regarding the facts and imputability have been collected, the major superior is to make known the accusation and proofs to the member to be dismissed, giving the member the opportunity for self-defense. All the acts, signed by the major superior and a notary, together with the responses of the member, put in writing and signed by that member, are to be transmitted to the supreme moderator.
Can. 696 §1. A member can also be dismissed for other causes provided that they are grave, external, imputable, and juridically proven such as: habitual neglect of the obligations of consecrated life; repeated violations of the sacred bonds; stubborn disobedience to the legitimate prescripts of superiors in a grave matter; grave scandal arising from the culpable behavior of the member; stubborn upholding or diffusion of doctrines condemned by the magisterium of the Church; public adherence to ideologies infected by materialism or atheism; the illegitimate absence mentioned in ⇒ can. 665, §2, lasting six months; other causes of similar gravity which the proper law of the institute may determine.
§2. For the dismissal of a member in temporary vows, even causes of lesser gravity established in proper law are sufficient.
Can. 697 In the cases mentioned in ⇒ can. 696, if the major superior, after having heard the council, has decided that a process of dismissal must be begun:
1/ the major superior is to collect or complete the proofs;
2/ the major superior is to warn the member in writing or before two witnesses with an explicit threat of subsequent dismissal unless the member reforms, with the cause for dismissal clearly indicated and full opportunity for self-defense given to the member; if the warning occurs in vain, however, the superior is to proceed to another warning after an intervening space of at least fifteen days;
3/ if this warning also occurs in vain and the major superior with the council decides that incorrigibility is sufficiently evident and that the defenses of the member are insufficient, after fifteen days have elapsed from the last warning without effect, the major superior is to transmit to the supreme moderator all the acts, signed personally and by a notary, along with the signed responses of the member.
Can. 698 In all the cases mentioned in cann. ⇒ 695 and ⇒ 696, the right of the member to communicate with and to offer defenses directly to the supreme moderator always remains intact.
Can. 699 §1. The supreme moderator with the council, which must consist of at least four members for validity, is to proceed collegially to the accurate consideration of the proofs, arguments, and defenses; if it has been decided through secret ballot, the supreme moderator is to issue a decree of dismissal with the reasons in law and in fact expressed at least summarily for validity.
§2. In the autonomous monasteries mentioned in ⇒ can. 615, it belongs to the diocesan bishop, to whom the superior is to submit the acts examined by the council, to decide on dismissal.
Can. 700 A decree of dismissal does not have effect unless it has been confirmed by the Holy See, to which the decree and all the acts must be transmitted; if it concerns an institute of diocesan right, confirmation belongs to the bishop of the diocese where the house to which the religious has been attached is situated. To be valid, however, the decree must indicate the right which the dismissed possesses to make recourse to the competent authority within ten days from receiving notification. The recourse has suspensive effect.
Can. 701 By legitimate dismissal, vows as well as the rights and obligations deriving from profession cease ipso facto.
Nevertheless, if the member is a cleric, he cannot exercise sacred orders until he finds a bishop who receives him into the diocese after an appropriate probation according to the norm of ⇒ can. 693 or at least permits him to exercise sacred orders.
Can. 702 §1. Those who depart from a religious institute legitimately or have been dismissed from it legitimately can request nothing from the institute for any work done in it.
§2. Nevertheless, the institute is to observe equity and the charity of the gospel toward a member who is separated from it.
Can. 703 In the case of grave external scandal or of most grave imminent harm to the institute, a member can be expelled immediately from a religious house by the major superior or, if there is danger in delay, by the local superior with the consent of the council. If it is necessary, the major superior is to take care to begin a process of dismissal according to the norm of law or is to refer the matter to the Apostolic See.
Can. 704 In the report referred to in ⇒ can. 592, §1, which is to be sent to the Apostolic See, mention is to be made of members who have been separated from the institute in any way.