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Laurie

New document from the Vatican on Consecrated Virginity

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BarbaraTherese

Paragraph 15 has much to say about celibacy:

Excerpt Only: "15. In the New Testament, the celibate enters onto the scene and is presented as the incarnate prophecy of the already and the not yet of the Kingdom of God that draws its origin and its own essential purpose from the novelty of the coming of the Kingdom into history. From the time that the Kingdom of God in the Gospels is identified with the preaching, works and the actual person of Jesus, the motivation of celibacy takes on a strongly Christocentric character. The infancy Gospels of Matthew (1:18-25) and above all of Luke (1:26-38) present the newness of the virginity (carnis et cordis) of the mother of Jesus, a visible sign of the invisible incarnation of the Son of God and a spousal expression of the covenant with God, to which all believers are called. In addition, the Gospels show Jesus as an itinerant preacher, free of all ties (Mt 8:19-20), who displays the imminence of the Kingdom already present and calls for faith and conversion. In fact, the itinerant style of Jesus entails a constant distancing from places and persons. It is not adapted to the needs of family life, where the concerns of one member are closely connected to the concerns of all the other members, giving rise to a strong solidarity and to family politics."

16. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul placed marriage side by side with virginity, presenting it not in the tone of a command, but as a recommendation (1 Cor 7:25), a personal call from God, or a charism (1 Cor 7:7). He characterizes it as a state of life that permits greater dedication to the Lord (1 Cor 7:32-35), a witness that Christians do not belong to this world, a sign of the Church straining towards its final goal, and an anticipation of the resurrected state (1 Cor 7:29,31). The accent is not on the physical state, but on the total dedication of the person to Christ and to service for the Kingdom. "

(Haven't read the whole document yet - much too heavy reading for me to not take it very slowly)

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Totus Tuus Maria

Paragraph 88 is very interesing

“As a treasure of inestimable value that God pours into clay vessels (cf. 2 Cor 4:7), this vocation is truly an undeserved gift. It encounters the person in her actual humanity, always in need of redemption and yearning for the full meaning of her existence. It finds its origin and dynamic centre in the grace of God, who unceasingly acts with the tenderness and the strength of his merciful love in the often complex and sometimes contradictory events of human life, helping the person to grasp her uniqueness and the unity of her being, enabling her to make a total gift of self. In this context it should be kept in mind that the call to give witness to the Church’s virginal, spousal and fruitful love for Christ is not reducible to the symbol of physical integrity. Thus to have kept her body in perfect continence or to have practised the virtue of chastity in an exemplary way, while of great importance with regard to the discernment, are not essential prerequisites in the absence of which admittance to consecration is not possible.”

Edited by Totus Tuus Maria

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Sponsa-Christi

Re. ESI 88...For the record, I see the new document as still requiring literal virginity (i.e., virginity as a moral state primarily pertaining to the will). I know ESI 88 is generating a lot of controversy, but I read it as applying to hard cases and gray areas. E.g., I think ESI 88 clarifies that rape victims can still be consecrated, and that women in situations where consent might have been merely questionable (as opposed to obviously lacking) are still able to at least engage in some serious discernment about whether they may have a call to consecrated virginity. 

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BarbaraTherese

Very happy to read Para 88 and thank you, TTM, for sharing.  Thank you too SC for your comments.  Posts to keep on file.

  I think that Para 88 should give hope to women who may not be physical virgins but remain moral virgins having lost literal virginity - not through their own volition and choice and feel they might be called to the Order of Virgins.  At least the latter, I would hope, would feel confidence in presenting their case to their diocesan authority for the Order of Virgins, which I presume would be their bishop.  That authority would decide whether they have an impediment(s) or not? and whether they can continue in the discernment process and any related matters?

The above is a question largely rather than a statement. :)  Sometimes I am asked about Church related matters and I do think that it is important that we can answer where we can.  If one cannot, then hopefully one is 'armed' with info which can direct them in the right direction for an answer.  I think this intrinsic to evangelisation and fortunately, I live alone and am now disabled and retired from active commitments largely and have plenty time to research and enquire.  I am acutely aware not all in the laity have this advantage and blessing of time on one's hands, although I am now at a stage where I can see that I need a timetable to 'work' and work efficiently, which I had been really trying to avoid and mistakenly thought disability and retirement would at long last make it feasible.  Our God of The Surprise. :) 

 

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BarbaraTherese

Here is a text from Catholic Culture.com commenting on Para 88.  It is an interesting commentary to me since it seems, again to me, to be commenting on what it is imagined the statement in 88 is about.  I don't think it is my place to comment much further at this point anyway since I have no vocation to the Order of Virgins but those in the Order or discerning a vocation to it in some way may have more to say and real interest in the text - I feel I have fulfilled my call and vocation from God through private vows renewed for life at a Home Mass.

Here is the text link: https://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/otc.cfm?id=1561

I am not as keen on Catholic Culture as I once was - sometimes in recent times commentaries jar and leave me scratching my head as it were.  This text did too although no idea at this point why and I may never realise why.

______

Although I have a bit more insight - maybe - into a Jesuit theologian years ago advising me to make a public vow of chastity.  I declined to follow that through but decided for private vows.  Not my call and vocation and I held that there was no such thing as a public vow of chastity - only a public vow of virginity in the Order of Virgins.  I was married for 15 years and have a son.  I am not a virgin.

Edited by BarbaraTherese

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BarbaraTherese

Why not a separate form of consecration for those who are not physical virgins (or lacking the requirements for The Order of Virgins) but who feel called to consecration to a life of celibate chastity for the rest of their lives?  Maybe that is what my Archbishop meant in his passing comment re my application for a Home Mass to renew life private vows i.e. "That is a good way to do it".    I actually didn't personally do the asking, my SD priest and religious did the asking and passed on comments and results to me.

 In my case, I remain in the laity in every way under private vows and what I feel called to do.  It is more a dedication of self to a privately vowed way of life - not a consecration (consecrated life) by The Church.  I felt a very clear call to remain in the lay state of life and it is central and intrinsic to my own personal call and vocation.

In the laity, there is celibate chastity and there is married chastity.

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Laurie
4 hours ago, BarbaraTherese said:

Why not a separate form of consecration for those who are not physical virgins (or lacking the requirements for The Order of Virgins) but who feel called to consecration to a life of celibate chastity for the rest of their lives? 

This is already in the works. :)

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BarbaraTherese
2 hours ago, Laurie said:

This is already in the works. :)

Good news and  thank you. :)

I wonder if it might be a follow on from Fr John A Hardon's text The Obligation in Every Vocation to follow Christ back approx. to 1999 :

Quote

"There is a fourth category contemplated by the Holy See in anticipation of the new Code of Canon Law, so that something may be done for the thousands of women who seem not to want religious life yet seem to want to live especially dedicated lives in the Church. The secular institutes are a recent development of the Catholic Church. If there would be a fourth category, it would be some form of what we now call “secular institutes,” but the implications still have to be worked out." http://www.therealpresence.org/archives/Religious_Life/Religious_Life_033.htm

Fr Hardon is now deceased.  After reading the above, I heard nothing more - but that is certainly not an indication that there is nothing more.  I wondered now and then if anything would come of what Fr Hardon had to state.

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Totus Tuus Maria

Sponsa Christi, 

Just curious. I thought it was already well known that a woman who had been raped had not willingly lost her virginity. 

But what do you think they could possibly mean by saying the practice of chastity in an exemplary way is noble but not required if it is the only thing not permitting a woman into the order of virgins? 

It seems that the practice of unchastity in the past is not an impediment anymore and perhaps up to the discretion of the bishop? I guess some clarity on the issue may be needed. It is very confusing. 

 

 

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Sponsa-Christi
16 minutes ago, Totus Tuus Maria said:

Sponsa Christi, 

Just curious. I thought it was already well known that a woman who had been raped had not willingly lost her virginity. 

But what do you think they could possibly mean by saying the practice of chastity in an exemplary way is noble but not required if it is the only thing not permitting a woman into the order of virgins? 

It seems that the practice of unchastity in the past is not an impediment anymore and perhaps up to the discretion of the bishop? I guess some clarity on the issue may be needed. It is very confusing. 

Re. the question of rape victims--it has been the Church's teaching at least since St. Augustine that a rape victim doesn't lose her virginity. However, there has been some questioning in some circles as to whether a rape victim should still be able to receive the consecration of virgins. The new document just settles this doubt, even if it was a doubt that was (fortunately) not all that wide-spread. 

Also, I'll also note that sometimes there are rape/abuse situations where it's unclear just how knowingly and freely a woman consented. For example, did a woman who "consented" while extremely drunk lose her virginity willingly? Or what about a statutory rape victim who thought she consented at the time? As I understand it, the new document isn't saying that women in such situations should be accepted into the Order of virgins with no questions asked; rather, it's allowing them to engage in serious discernment as to whether they may have this call. 

Likewise, before ESI there were some questions about what degree of chastity was "virgin enough" for this vocation. Without wanting to get too graphic here, there was some thought that serious sins against chastity which stopped short of actual intercourse would prevent a woman from being consecrated. (Or to put things in high school parlance, can a "half-virgin" still become a consecrated virgin?) ESI wound up giving us a somewhat more "generous" standard in this regard. 

So, I don't think a woman who has clearly, unambiguously lost her virginity is somehow now eligible for consecration. But ESI clarified that in situations where a woman's virginity is legitimately questionable--as in, there are good arguments for why she might still be considered a virgin--she's not automatically barred from this vocation and the responsibility of discerning her call lies with her and her bishop. 

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