Sacred Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes

…judges Francis’ idea that sin forms a part of religious life

  • Religious know that before the world they are a sign capable of attracting and inspiring a profound revision of life and values

Faithful to this supreme norm (PC 2a), religious know that they are caught up daily in a path of conversion to the kingdom of God, which makes them in the Church and before the world a sign capable of attracting, thus inspiring a profound revision of life and values (LG 44; EN 69). This is, without doubt, the most needed and fruitful commitment to which they are called (MR 16, 26-28), even in those areas where the Christian community works for human promotion and for the development of social relations inspired by principles of solidarity and fraternal communion. […] The power of transformation, which is contained in the spirit of the beatitudes and penetrates dynamically the life of religious, characterizes their vocation and mission (LG 31). (Plenary of the Sacred Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes, no. 18, April 25-28, 1978)

  • What counts most is not what religious do, but what they are as persons consecrated to the Lord

Their continuous individual renewal of life should be a source of new growth in the institutes to which they belong, recalling the words of Pope John Paul II: ‘What counts most is not what religious do, but what they are as persons consecrated to the Lord’ (Message to the Plenary Assembly of the SCRIS, March 1980). Not only directly in works of announcing the Gospel but even more forcefully in the very way that they live, they should be voices that affirm with confidence and conviction: We have seen the Lord. He is risen. We have heard his word. (Sacred Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes. Essential elements in the Church’s teaching on religious life, May 31, 1983)

…judges Francis’ idea on Ascetism and silence in the Spiritual Exercises

  • Asceticism is necessary in order to live the evangelical counsels

The consecration of religious enters into this way of his; it cannot be a reflection of his consecration if its expression in life does not hold an element of self-denial. […] It is true that much of today’s penance is to be found in the circumstances of life and should be accepted there. However, unless religious build into their lives ‘a joyful, well-balanced austerity’ (ET 30) and deliberately determined renunciations, they risk losing the spiritual freedom necessary for living the counsels. Indeed, without such austerity and renunciation, their consecration itself can be affected. This is because there cannot be a public witness to Christ poor, chaste, and obedient without asceticism. (Sacred Congregation for Religious and for Secular Institutes, Essential Elements in the Church´s teaching on Religious Life, no. 31, May 31, 1983)

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