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ToJesusMyHeart

Consecrated virginity question

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Sponsa-Christi    730
Sponsa-Christi
1 hour ago, Laurie said:

If you're going to give advice to discerners in a public forum on this vocation, you should have a baseline level of knowledge. We don't take vows.

I've never tried to argue that consecrated virgins technically took vows per se in a canonical sense.

I would say that we make a public, permanent commitments to a life of virginity (as well as, arguably, public commitments to serving the Church and to an "evangelical" way of life), while noting that this is a similar kind of thing to the common, colloquial, every-day usage of the word "vow." But I know CVs don't technically make vows and I've never tried to argue this. 

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Laurie    39
Laurie
16 hours ago, Sponsa-Christi said:

I've never tried to argue that consecrated virgins technically took vows per se in a canonical sense.

I would say that we make a public, permanent commitments to a life of virginity (as well as, arguably, public commitments to serving the Church and to an "evangelical" way of life), while noting that this is a similar kind of thing to the common, colloquial, every-day usage of the word "vow." But I know CVs don't technically make vows and I've never tried to argue this. 

That's the entire heart of the issue. You put in words like "per se" and "technically" to buffer yourself from having to straight out admit that we don't make vows OR promises. Period. And I think you do that b/c you aren't comfortable that we aren't enough like religious life. That's my sense. So you try to shoehorn in your own ideas about our vocation by using all kinds of buffer language that convolutes the truth.

To say "we don't technically make vows  per se" means absolutely nothing. By saying that you get to IMPLY that we do make some sort of vows or promises and yet when you get criticized for that thought, you've set it up so you can say "I never said that we make vows." Yet, at the end of the day, reading everything you've said & how you've said it, you DID say that. By twisting every sentence so hard to leave the door wide open to implied vows/promises, and also flat out ignoring & dismissing the official English translation of the Rite b/c it doesn't fit your theory, you ARE saying we take vows or promises.

"Per se" means "intrinsic." Either it is intrinsic to the vocation of consecrated virginity to make a vow or it is not. It is not.

To say we "technically don't make vows" and then to explain at length how we really do though make promises (???) means what? It means you are trying to shoehorn your preference for vows (call them promises if you prefer) where they don't fit. We don't make vows. Technically or otherwise.

And then after at length you've tried to say vota/vow/promise really is in the Rite, and I tell you that the correct & officially approved translation for vota there is "intention" not "vow" you respond along the lines: Oh, never mind anyhow, it's really not that important.

It's not important b/c it doesn't support your theory!

???

 

16 hours ago, Sponsa-Christi said:

Actually, I had heard that they were revising the English translation of the Rite. My understanding was that this was part of the wider project of revising the English translations of the Church's liturgy in general, which began with the new Mass translation we started using in Advent 2011. I just wasn't aware that the new translation of the Rite of Consecration was now already currently in use--this was the first time I had heard that the new translation was already out there.  

My understanding is that, when determining what the Church most accurately intends to say, you always go to the typical Latin edition of whatever document you are studying. Of course, a translations from the typical Latin into other languages can provide some useful theological insight, but a translation itself doesn't determine Church teaching (especially not universal Church teachings, as translations are by their very nature aimed at only a particular language group). 

Though if it really was the typical Latin edition that was changed, rather than just the English translation, that would be very significant (though I would have been surprised if a revision of that magnitude wasn't published in some official Vatican media channel.)

Of course the Church bases her theology on the Latin editions. And the very reason Pope Benedict wanted the English versions of the masses to be revised is because there were some very significant issues with some English words NOT reflecting their true Latin meanings.

So in the mass of consecration, when the word "vota" in Latin was translated as "vow," and in that instance it doesn't mean vow, it was corrected. It's precisely b/c the Latin cannot be read in that context as "vow" that the English version was changed. Relying upon the Latin original, the English was updated.

The fact that the Latin edition wasn't changes has nothing to do with anything. The Latin wasn't incorrect. The English was. The authority in reading & interpreting the LATIN versions of texts is the Church herself. So when she tells us (!) the Latin word here doesn't mean vow, we (I) listen. Because she knows Latin a lot better than I do.

Edited by Laurie

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Sponsa-Christi    730
Sponsa-Christi

@Laurie Honestly, I'm really not trying to turn consecrated virginity into religious life. I apologize if I've given that impression. I really do appreciate the difference between the two vocations. (I even wrote about this here: http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/2017/02/consecrated-virginity-and-religious-life.html )

Granted that consecrated virgins don't make "vows" in the technical sense of the term, insofar as we make a permanent public commitment I think it's safe to say that we do do something that is like a vow in the colloquial understanding of the term. I add qualifiers like "technically" because I'm concerned that, if I just said "CVs don't make any vows" absent any context, it makes it sound like CVs don't actually make any binding commitments, when of course we do. 

I do think the candidates' responses during the "examination" part of the Rite are indeed promises, but this is based just on my objective observations of what is actually going on in the liturgy--it's not based on personal agenda.  I understand that these promises aren't the defining element of what makes a CV consecrated (e.g., if bishop rushed to consecrate a candidate in danger of death and skipped the examination to jump right into the central consecratory prayer, I would presume that that consecration would still be valid). 

Edited by Sponsa-Christi

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Sponsa-Christi    730
Sponsa-Christi

Tossing this out there as an honest attempt at understanding, I guess I don't understand why the use of the word "vow" is so controversial? While I certainly appreciate clear language that accurately reflects technical canonical categories, our "propositum" is similar enough to a vow in it's general nature--i.e., as a serious permanent commitment made to God, in public--that I think it could reasonably called a vow in informal, poetic, colloquial, or non-technical uses of the term.

Also, I don't think "vow" automatically blurs the line between CVs and religious, since other people in the Church besides religious make vows. E.g., married people make vows to each other (or at least, an exchange of consent that is popularly called "vows") and many lay people make private vows. 

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Laurie    39
Laurie
2 hours ago, Sponsa-Christi said:

Tossing this out there as an honest attempt at understanding, I guess I don't understand why the use of the word "vow" is so controversial? While I certainly appreciate clear language that accurately reflects technical canonical categories, our "propositum" is similar enough to a vow in it's general nature--i.e., as a serious permanent commitment made to God, in public--that I think it could reasonably called a vow in informal, poetic, colloquial, or non-technical uses of the term.

Also, I don't think "vow" automatically blurs the line between CVs and religious, since other people in the Church besides religious make vows. E.g., married people make vows to each other (or at least, an exchange of consent that is popularly called "vows") and many lay people make private vows. 

You can't have it both ways. You can't say you are giving your professional opinion as a canonist and then not use very precise canonical and theological terms in defense of your position. What you are saying is, "This is my professional canonical opinion and I'm going to base it on a colloquial understanding of the word 'vow.'"

Vows have explicit meanings in various vocations. They involve obligations and confer rights, in religious life, marriage, etc. The church uses the word all over the place whenever & wherever she finds it accurate. She doesn't use it for our vocation.

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God's Beloved    133
God's Beloved

My suggestion is that you read the writings of St Jerome on the sacrum virginitatis propositum. 

There are various traditions in the East and West and nuances in the understanding of the vocation in early Church history in different local churches.  You cannot interpret ancient practice with contemporary phenomenology or the paradigm of religious life.

Pope Francis rightly says that the problem with formation of leaders in the church is that we are taught to look at things in black and white.  OCV is a vocation with many grey areas and questions open to discussion.  I don't like the tone being used to judge Sponsa Christi's competency and intentions. It's hardly evangelical to non philosophers and non theologians reading this thread. 

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Francis Clare    630
Francis Clare

Amen!!!!  I realize this IS the internet and one can neither see the facial expressions nor hear the tone of voice of the posters, but IMHO as a SD and D.Min. (and a trained, credentialed S.D. to clear up any misunderstandings  if credentialing is an issue :))  ) isn't it simply time to say you agree to disagree? Instead of being a quasi-debate/informative thread, it's turned to almost one-sided ad hominem finger pointing..  If you agree that CV may be a bit of a misunderstood vocation, can you put this thread to bed?  For many reasons, I don't think this is the appropriate forum for this.  It's degenerated into "I'm right, you're wrong."  Just sayin......this thread is one of the reasons I don't post as much as I used to - it wears me out just to get through the replies!

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Laurie    39
Laurie

I am suddenly getting flashbacks to discussions long, long ago where CV topics were moved to the debate section. Maybe this shouldn't even be in vocation station? I don't know.

But what I do know is that, yes: I am saying I'm right and Sponsa-Christi is wrong.

That's not the same as an ad hominem. I DO expect her to speak canonically and theologically if she's giving professional advice. To do otherwise isn't acceptable.

It'd be one thing to have a thread here talking about everyone's personal opinions on the vocation. It's quite another to give advice to someone who has asked a clear question, offer your degree as proof your advice is solid, then proceed to give what is only personal opinion. (I have criticized Sponsa-Christi in the past for doing that. It's a very important matter.)

The consecrated virgin vocation is WILDLY misunderstood.

Part of the issue here is that by leaving the door open to implied vows, I believe Sponsa-Christi does that because she wants to say we have all sorts of obligations we don't have (like not moving out of our dioceses unless for a grave reason, that a consecrated virgin must work directly for the church, etc.). I'm not conjecturing that latter part. There are all sorts of things written by her, written all sorts of places, over the years, outlining all the things that a consecrated virgin "should do" and that are implied in her vocation.

These distinctions are hugely important. Whether someone makes a vow or not matters. Whether someone "sort of makes a vow" (I mean, that's not even possible, but I'll go with it) matters.

The obligations a woman has in her vocation, and the corresponding rights she enjoys matter.

I do know I'm not going to just roll over because people don't like the nature of the discussion and say, okay, none of this really matters. It DOES matter. As I have said before, there are women who are genuinely good candidates for this vocation who have been led to think otherwise because they don't work directly for the Church, or because the thought of sitting in one diocese for their lives feels restrictive (and it is, this vocation doesn't require that). Or any number of other things that are hugely important when a woman is discerning her vocation.

I remember now the objection being brought up in the past here on the Phatmass site that "Debates don't make the cv vocation look good." Or, "a hostile tone doesn't make the vocation look good." Stuff like that. Those are personal judgments that apply to how some people feel and not others.

Meaning, there are some people who read a thread like this and think it's pointless. There are some who don't think it's "nice" to tell someone she's flat out in error. That might be someone's opinion, but the fact remains there are times when it is an act of justice and charity to tell someone she is wrong, most especially when her error is impacting many others.

I know quite a few women (30 plus, and counting) who have been deeply thankful that there are those of us willing to stand up, stand strongly, and argue coherently for what the Church teaches this vocation is, and isn't.

I can't tell you how many times I've spoken with women who thought at one point they were not a good candidate for this vocation, and when they realize they ARE a good candidate, are full of joy. In those instances a boulder has been removed, quite actually, from their spiritual shoulders. It's women like that whom I have in mind when I insist on speaking the truth about this vocation.

(Which is not to say there aren't also debatable things about the consecrated virgin vocation. There are.)

The only thing I've got left is this really good article by Sr. Sharon Holland, who is an expert on the vocation.

http://consecratedvirgins.org/usacv/sites/default/files/documents/VocRes/holland.pdf

Even though I only pop into Phatmass a few times I year, I pray for all of you, all the time. Take care!

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ToJesusMyHeart    1,555
ToJesusMyHeart

 Is Catholicism the only institution that has the vocation of consecrated virginity? Does the Orthodox church have consecrated virgins? I know they have nuns, but do they have CVs? 

 

Thanks.

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Sponsa-Christi    730
Sponsa-Christi
1 hour ago, ToJesusMyHeart said:

 Is Catholicism the only institution that has the vocation of consecrated virginity? Does the Orthodox church have consecrated virgins? I know they have nuns, but do they have CVs? 

 

Thanks.

I'm not an expert in Orthodoxy (or even on Eastern Catholicism for that matter), but as far as I know Catholicism is the only branch of Christianity that has CVs.

I haven't researched this particular topic that extensively, but my impression is that the consecration of virgins might be a primarily a Latin Catholic thing. As in, I think the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity mainly developed out of the Latin liturgical tradition. I know the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches (the counterpart of our Code of Canon Law for Eastern Catholics) mentions that individual Eastern Churches can decide in their own specific sets of laws whether they want consecrated virgins and/or consecrated widows.

However, I personally have never seen a specifically Eastern liturgy for the consecration of virgins. My impression--which may very well be wrong, because again, I haven't taken the time to look too deeply into this--is that Eastern Catholic CVs are often consecrated with the Latin Rite of Consecration. 

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God's Beloved    133
God's Beloved

The Anglican Church does have the Order of virgins. In UK they encourage ecumenical communication between Catholic and Anglican consecrated virgins, although Anglican theology has a liberal approach.

Ancient history shows varying theologies for the dedication or consecration of virgins, in different local churches. Vatican II also developed the ecclesiology of Local church which is more decentralized.  Hence the Order of virgins is understood and lived in many many ways according to what the bishop and consecrated virgins/s decide in each diocese. Even the consecrated virgins within the same diocese can be called to live the vocation in different ways according to God's will.  The essence of the vocation however, remains non negotiable.  

The Syrian tradition of virgins is very beautiful. There are several books on their theology of the vocation. In ancient history, the Order of virgins was a socioliturgical category, not necessarily tied to a common rite of consecration.

Edited by God's Beloved

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