Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pope Benedict on Consecrated Life

I have several, original posts, in development, including one on the former Intercessors of the Lamb which I mentioned the other day, but have not been home long enough to work on it. 

I can pass along something like this with little time on my part.  Pope Benedict XVI's words on consecrated life are worth the read, even if you are not in, or interested in, consecrated life.


VATICAN CITY, 5 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Vatican the Holy Father received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region south 2), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit.

Speaking of consecrated people, the Pope suggested that "they 'can be compared to a plant with many branches which sinks its roots into the Gospel and brings forth abundant fruit in every season of the Church's life'. Because charity is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit and the greatest of all the charisms", he said, "a religious community enriches the Church (of which it is a living part), first and foremost through love: loving its particular Church, enriching her with its own charism and opening her to a more universal dimension".

Referring then to the problem of "the diminishing numbers and increasing age of the members of many religious institutes, which is evident in some parts of the world", the Pope noted that "some people are asking themselves whether consecrated life continues to be a proposal capable of attracting young men and women".

Yet consecrated life, he went on to explain, "has its origins in the Lord Himself, Who chose a lifestyle of chastity, poverty and obedience. For this reason, it can never disappear or die in the Church for it was decided by Jesus Himself as an irremovable part of His Church. Hence the call to a general commitment to vocational pastoral care. If consecrated life is of benefit to the whole Church, something that concerns us all, then pastoral care that seeks to promote vocations to the consecrated life must also be a duty felt by all: bishops, priests, religious and lay people".

"As the Conciliar Decree 'Perfectae caritatis' says, 'adaptation and renewal depend greatly on the education of religious'. This affirmation is vital for all forms of consecrated life. The formative capacity of a religious institute, both in its initial stage and in later phases, is fundamental for any process of renewal".

Benedict XVI concluded by asking the bishops to transmit "the Pope's heartfelt gratitude to consecrated people, telling them that he prays for them, and that he particularly recalls the elderly and sick, and those going through moments of crisis, solitude, suffering or confusion, as well as the young who today knock at their doors and ask to be allowed to commit themselves to Jesus Christ through radical dedication to the Gospel".
AL/VIS 20101105 (420)
Source: Vatican Information Service

People typically think of religious sisters and brothers when it comes to consecrated life.  There are other forms of consecrated life, such as consecrated virgins (Canon 604) and consecrated hermits (Canon 603).  Both of these are diocesan vocations and consecration takes place in the hands of the diocesan bishop.

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke was the episcopal moderator for many years of the United States Association of Consecrated Virgins, before he became Prefect of the Signatura.  Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing has taken on this role.

You might enjoy following the blogposts of a diocesan hermit who blogs from the Stillsong Hermitage.

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