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Ima Lurker

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Ima Lurker

http://doihaveavocation.com/blog/archives/1051

 

I've been following certain Catholic bloggers outside phatmass. This article is both interesting and confusing to me. I'd be curious to hear other peoples' opinon...

 

Is this Orthodox or traditional Catholic teaching? I know young people who have asked me about it. Thoughts please?

 

 

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nunsense

Therese Ivers is a canon lawyer so I assume that the article is pretty spot on. Personally, I wondered at the SOLT website stating one could become a 'consecrated widow' with them, when there is no such animal these days under canon law. SoI wouldn't be surprised if they had a few other things wrong. On the other hand, I lived in a community that was serviced by a SOLT priest and he was fantastic so I wouldn't doubt their orthodoxy at all. They have had some bad publicity with the whole Father Corapi thing, but that's past now, and I think they did the best the could in that situation.

 

The whole area of consecrated life can be confusing. When I was at a Carmel, one of the sisters had to make new vows because she was going from being an enclosed nun to being an extern. Her vows changed from 'solemn vows' to 'perpetual vows', and it was explained to me that this allowed her the freedom to come and go outside the enclosure (with the Prioress' permission) and it also changed her status with regard to being able to inherit property. I didn't ask all the details, but as one can see, even within a single community, there are differences in the type of consecration and it effects.

 

SOLT may have ideas about becoming a religious institute that they haven't revealed to anyone - who knows. The points made by Therese Ivers are good, if one is considering joining them as it is always good to know where one stands canonically. But I wish that not only SOLT, but ALL communities who advertise themselves, would make it perfectly clear on their websites where they stand in relation to canon law. Some may have been approved by their Bishop but not yet be approved by Rome so not able to make vows.

 

One friend told me that she had been in the process of transferring from her Benedictine community to a Carmelite one when she discovered that due to some canonical regulation, the nuns in the new community were not at a stage where they could be consecrated under solemn vows, so she would have had to give up hers and make promises instead. When she found this out, she decided to stay where she was because it was important to her to be consecrated under solemn vows.

 

The whole issue is almost too complex for anyone who doesn't have a canon law degree!! :)

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TheresaThoma

I think this was really helpful on the different terminology used. Honestly I had no idea about the difference between Societies of Apostolic Life and a religious institute. However I went back and looked at canon law and they are covered in two completely different parts of cannon law.

I think her tone may be a bit harsh but it is always good to know the truth and exactly what the Church teaches on these matters.

Something I would like to investigate further is how public associations of the faithful would fit in. I somewhat remember hearing about communities starting out as a public association of the faithful and then becoming an institution of religious life. I could be wrong about this but would love if someone could find an example.

This is definitely something to keep in mind when discerning. I think especially with newer communities it is very important to learn what their standing is in the Church (and to know what each "classification" means) because as she points out this will affect what your vows actually mean.

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Cherie

Very interesting. I knew St. Vincent de Paul specifically set the Sisters of Charity up to be "different" canonically, and I knew they made annual vows (instead of perpetual vows), but I didn't realize they are, therefore, not considered consecrated. I appreciate her clarification, but I agree that the tone seemed a bit on the harsh side. (But who knows, maybe she needed to be.)

 

Something I would like to investigate further is how public associations of the faithful would fit in. I somewhat remember hearing about communities starting out as a public association of the faithful and then becoming an institution of religious life. I could be wrong about this but would love if someone could find an example.

 

 

I'm quite sure just about every religious community starts out as a private association of the faithful. To become a public association of the faithful, and then a religious institute of diocesan rite, and then a religious institute of pontifical rite (which is the normal progression) requires both steady increase in numbers, and a certain amount of time to have passed.

 

For example, I think at least 10 years must have passed between becoming a public association of the faithful and a religious institute of diocesan rite, and there needs to be at least a certain number of Sisters in the community. If the number nor the time period has not been met, then they must wait to become a religious institute of diocesan rite. A well-known example of this is the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, who just recently went from being a Public Association of the Faithful to being a Religious Institute of Diocesan Rite; it was mentioned in their e-mail newsletter in August, I think.

 

Most (not all, but most) new communities are looking to become religious institutes, so even as private associations of the faithful, they follow (under the authority of their bishops) the regulations that pertain to religious institutes.

 

It's different if they're Societies of Apostolic Life.

 

Overall, it is a bit confusing! But the information is good, and it's worth trying to understand the basics.

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ToJesusMyHeart

I have a question.

 

Does anybody know about the Apostles of the Interior Life?

 

Are they a society of apostolic life or a religous/secular institute? I can't find a clear answer on their website and I think they might have similar issues as SOLT.

 

Their "sisters" only go by "Sr. so-and-so" in America. In Italy (founder is an Italian priest) they are just called their names, w/o the Sr. title.

 

http://www.apostlesofil.com

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ToJesusMyHeart

On their website, they say "Since we are a religious community more similar in nature to a Society of Apostolic Life than to an Institute of Religious Life, the habit is not a requirement for our identity."

 

What does that mean? You are more similar in nature? 

 

But what is your nature?

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littlesister

Not long ago, we were at a SOLT ceremony of consecration for  a widow whom we know well.  It is a new concept, and they could well be the only community that has it available.  Leave it to the SOLTs to be forward-looking.  The formation, if I remember correctly, lasts a year and is largely at home with contact with others who have already made the consecration.  The ceremony itself was brief, simple, and lovely.  The presence of the DIrector of our Archdiocesan Office for Religious Life gave it a nice touch of formality.  The widows are not numerous yet, but as word gets out interest is growing.  A few decades back, Associates, Affiliates, and Co-Workers of various types were also new and suspect in some quarters, but time has proven their value.

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Maggyie

I hate to say this. But I can't not say it.

 

Just from the "some women aren't as consecrated as others!" stuff, the harsh ragey tone and the "vocations police" vibe, I suspected that this lady was a consecrated virgin. After some sleuthing, what do you know, I was right.

 

Just an observation.

 

Fascinating about the Sisters of Charity, though.

 

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Gabriela

I hate to say this. But I can't not say it.

 

Just from the "some women aren't as consecrated as others!" stuff, the harsh ragey tone and the "vocations police" vibe, I suspected that this lady was a consecrated virgin. After some sleuthing, what do you know, I was right.

 

Just an observation.

 

Fascinating about the Sisters of Charity, though.

 

How come CVs are so often like that? This isn't a personal attack on any individual CV, or on the vocation itself (which I find plenty laudable). It's just something I've noticed in a lot of CVs. So many of them seem bitter... Why?

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nunsense

Not long ago, we were at a SOLT ceremony of consecration for  a widow whom we know well.  It is a new concept, and they could well be the only community that has it available.  Leave it to the SOLTs to be forward-looking.  The formation, if I remember correctly, lasts a year and is largely at home with contact with others who have already made the consecration.  The ceremony itself was brief, simple, and lovely.  The presence of the DIrector of our Archdiocesan Office for Religious Life gave it a nice touch of formality.  The widows are not numerous yet, but as word gets out interest is growing.  A few decades back, Associates, Affiliates, and Co-Workers of various types were also new and suspect in some quarters, but time has proven their value.

 

 

Look, I not only have no problem with consecration of widows, but was also interested in it for myself at one point. The problem is that there is no canon law under which widows are consecrated, so I don't understand how they do this. I know that Bishops often do accept consecration of things that don't appear to be 'on the books' but I still wonder if in reality, they are really considered private vows, even if done in a public context.

 

There was one secular Carmelite in England, and she helped out at the convent a lot. The nuns told me she had made her vows. I asked under which canon, but they didn't know what I meant. When I tried to explain they said, 'Oh well, maybe she made promises-same thing.' According to canon law, it isn't the same thing. OCDS members make promises, not vows.

 

But since trying to understand all of this just takes one into the area of 'vocation police' as mentioned above, I just don't try to wrap my head around it all anymore. It is all very confusing - and it would be nice it if all got regularized and everyone explained very clearly where they stand, but I doubt that's going to happen.

 

I also don't think we need to make 'snarky' comments about CVs here. That isn't kind or helpful to anyone. We all have our own way of looking at things, and because consecration is a confusing issue - I say we read the rules and know them, and then just use a little common sense and kindness. God isn't bound by any of our rules at all. For those to whom they matter, that's fine, but let's treat each other with respect, all of us - ok?

 

 

Edited to add:

As for the article... let's not forget it was written by a canon lawyer so it is going to be focused on the rule of law - that's only natural.

Edited by nunsense

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Gabriela

I certainly hope my comment wasn't offensive to anyone. I wasn't implying all CVs are bitter, just that, in my experience, I've met a lot who seem to be, for some reason. I've asked this once before and someone responded that CVs have to put up with a lot of misunderstanding of their vocation. But nuns and priests have to as well, so I rather doubt that's the reason (at least in general; it may very well be for some particular people). I was just trying to get other opinions on the matter.

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nunsense

I certainly hope my comment wasn't offensive to anyone. I wasn't implying all CVs are bitter, just that, in my experience, I've met a lot who seem to be, for some reason. I've asked this once before and someone responded that CVs have to put up with a lot of misunderstanding of their vocation. But nuns and priests have to as well, so I rather doubt that's the reason (at least in general; it may very well be for some particular people). I was just trying to get other opinions on the matter.

 

 

curiousing - the thing is, that I've met a lot of bitter nuns and cranky priests as well, so I don't think it serves any purpose to try to understand a whole vocation from a few people who might have their own problems. I know you didn't mean any offence, but I was just hoping to head off at the pass any debates that might turn uncharitable.

 

If this subject is worthy of debate, then it needs to be put into the Debate Table, not discussed here on VS, where the focus hopefully can stay clear. Just my opinion of course - we can leave it up to the mods to take care of things if need be, but if we can police ourselves first, it might be better. :)

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