To really get to know somebody, it’s necessary to observe different aspects of their character. We Catholics reveal our moral worth in diverse circumstances: for example, during times of physical and spiritual suffering, when we need to pardon our neighbor, when we detach ourselves from material goods, it is in these and so many other trials, that charity is really proven.
For religious men and women, this may be noted in a specific aspect: the virtue of obedience. Their sincerity in giving their lives to the Church is proved by the capacity they have of renouncing themselves and fulfilling the will of those who represent the Lord to them. We know that an obedient religious is loved by the Lord, while one who does his own will, strays from virtue.
This is the surest teaching of the Church, followed by numerous generations of consecrated people until our days. To accept rebellion as a characteristic of religious life is to consent to the transgression of the most sacred principles, above all when this is done, supposedly, to better serve God.
Note: As has already become customary, the CLAR (Conference of Latin American Religious) published a declaration stating that these words, which were widely published in the media, cannot be attributed to Francis as if they were verbatim since this summary is merely ‘based on the memories of the participants;’ and there has been no official version or rectification... Therefore, without focusing on the existence or not of such a declaration, it is a good opportunity to remember here what the Magisterium has affirmed on obedience, which the CLAR – and all religious men and women of the world – are obliged to follow.
Enter the various parts of our study
I – What does God prefer: Actions or Obedience?
II – Correction is the Duty of Ecclesiastical Shepherds
III – May Religious Dispense themselves from Obedience?
IV – The Consequences of Resisting Authority