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Consecrated Virginity Question


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ETA: This is not aimed at anyone- just to lighten the mood.  :saint2:

I ask one question and this happens.

I mean this as respectfully as possible, but the exact nature and extent of consecrated virgins’ secularity is far from a settled question. I’m saying this not because I want to debate (I truly do

To Jesus Through Mary

I don't think so. My understanding is she makes the vow of obedience to her bishop. Maybe with her bishops permission, but I think the norm would be to stay in the diocese she is consecrated in. I highly recommend this blog. This is a consecrated virgin from the NYC diocese. She is so level headed, orthodox, and sharp. She is studying in Rome at the moment.

 

http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/p/what-is-consecrated-virgin.html

 

 

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It’s a little embarrassing to post on a thread where someone has complemented you! (Thanks, TJTM, for the kind words!)

 

To put in my two cents…

 

First of all, whenever you talk about consecrated virgins, you have to keep in mind that there are very, very few clear authoritative directives from the magisterium about how this vocation is to be lived out concretely. E.g., there is only ONE canon in the entire Code of Canon Law that deals with CV’s.

 

Because of this, a lot of questions don’t have absolutely clear-cut, black-and-white answers right now. In many cases, the only practical way you can answer some questions is by prayerful discernment of educated, thoughtful opinions.

 

That being said, my own strong belief on this particular question is that ordinarily, an aspiring consecrated virgin should seek consecration in the diocese where she intends to spend the rest of her life; and that after she is consecrated, she should not move permanently out of her home diocese without a very serious reason.

 

As I see it, a strong connection with a particular Church is an essential part of the “charism” of consecrated virgins living in the world. (Even when I’m in Rome, I offer prayers and sacrifices for my archdiocese every day.) For consecrated virgins, our diocese is like our spiritual family, and being rooted in one specific diocese allows you to realize your call to spiritual motherhood in a deeper way than you would be able to if you were truly unattached.

 

(Plus, approaching the question from the other direction, I don’t think it would be spirituality healthy for any consecrated person to be without at least some kind of commitment or accountability to at least some sort of visible Christian community or authority figure—i.e., while of course the Lord is the one to whom we ultimately answer, in this life we also need to have a relationship with some tangible aspect of His Church. Otherwise, my thought is that we would run the risk of becoming modern-day gyrovagues.)

 

This is what the Holy Father has to say about consecrated virgins and their relationship to their dioceses:

 

“Dearest friends, your vocation is deeply rooted in the particular Church to which you belong: it is your Bishops’ task to recognize the charism of virginity in you, to consecrate you and, possibly, to encourage you on your way, in order to teach you fear of the Lord, as they commitment themselves to do during the solemn liturgy of consecration. From the sphere of the Diocese with its traditions, its Saints, its values, its limits and its problems you broaden your horizons to the universal Church, sharing above all in her liturgical prayer, which is also entrusted to you so that “the praise of our heavenly Father be always on your lips; pray without ceasing,”. In this way your prayerful “I” will gradually be enlarged, until there is no longer anything except a great “we” in the prayer.”

 

[Source: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2008/may/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20080515_ordo-virginum_en.html]

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Thank you for the information, sponsa-christi! :)

 

If I may ask, how many CVs are there in the USA? Is there normally a CV in each diocese, or is it such a unique calling that there are few of you?

 

Merry Christmas, everyone!

 

The U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins estimates that there are about 215 consecrated virgins in the United States, and about 3,000 worldwide. The webpage with their numbers is here: http://consecratedvirgins.org/whoarewe

 

However, this is really only an estimate, since there are no official statistics kept on consecrated virgins yet. And the statistical situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that, early on after the revised Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity was first promulgated, some women were consecrated without anyone making any formal record of their commitment.

 

In the United States, I believe there are some dioceses that don’t have any consecrated virgins. Many dioceses have one or two, but other diocese have 10+ (I think Chicago and Boston are the dioceses that have the most).

 

But in any case, right now consecrated virginity is still a comparatively rare vocation. In my case, I’m the only consecrated virgin that most of my friends and classmates have ever met!

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Another question if you have the chance ... do you happen to know some of the dioceses where the bishop allows CVs to have the Blessed Sacrament in their homes? I believe this is the case with Boston (I remember a video somewhere online with a Boston CV who had this) but I know it is not the case in Chicago, although one of them is hoping for it I know. What about NYC? 

 

Thanks in advance! God bless & Merry Christmas!

 

p.s. also something I read once on your blog that I found very neat/interesting and perhaps many do not know this ... some bishops require CVs to wear some type of a veil, like the Bishop of the Diocese of Peoria, IL. Do you know others by chance that also require this? Here's the post, http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/2010/10/dress-code-for-consecrated-virgins.html  I love everything you have to say there too! It's basically how I dress as someone discerning religious life also :like:

 

 

edit to add: what about Diocesan Hermits and having a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament in their homes too?

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Short response to OPs questions.

 

First, [mod]First, abride, please don't use full real life names without permission of said person.  Thanks! -BG [/mod] =- Sponsa Christi - is very much in the minority when it comes to questions like yours.  In communicating with several CV canonists around the world plus Cardinal Burke, plus others of repute, I have come to realize that hers is an extreme position favoring a nun-like existence for CVs living in the world.  While she is correct in saying that the magisterium has not ruled on several practical questions (like veils, moving from diocese to diocese, etc.), she should also realize as a budding canon lawyer that the Rite itself leaves it up to the individual Bishop as to the parameters of the CVs living arrangements.  Also, as my canonists remind me, a private individual cannot put false obligations where none are imposed by the (canon or liturgical) law.  She wishes to be more rigorous than the law.  If her personal spirituality calls for it, that's for her and for her spiritual director to follow, not the rest of the CVs.

 

That being said, there is no obligation for a CV to remain in the diocese in which she is consecrated.  None.  Unless of course, there is a contractual agreement of some kind (employment, diocesan, or whatever).  I personally know several CVs who have moved or will move.  Why?  Because they have reasons to move and because there is nothing that says one must stay in one's current diocese.  One is always free of course to stay within one's own diocese... for any sentimental or pious reason... but one is equally free to leave.  Think about it.  If religious are free to move because of their mission, why shouldn't CVs be free to move if they feel their Spouse wants them to?

 

CVs generally do not give out the locations of dioceses that allow for the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament in their homes.  It could lead to people "diocese shopping" and it can also be something which is so attractive that a person may erroneously "discern" it is her vocation simply because she desires to have the Bl. Sacrament in her home.

 

As for veils- yes, some dioceses ask for the CVs to wear them at Mass.  I was at a CV gathering not too long ago, and one of the CVs told me she was unhappy about how only some of the CVs were wearing veils at Mass in her area.  It turns out that apparently the bishop she was consecrated under must have had that as a requirement and that some of the "younger" CVs were not asked to wear a veil.  So even in the same diocese, there can be a variety of requirements.  I recently asked a canonist CV friend if she wore veils and she responded that she didn't usually, and gave some reasons why she refused to do so on a regular basis.  Now, all that being said, there are some CVs who do wear a habit/veil of sorts.  They are usually older vocations and wear it with the permission of their bishop because they were known as Sister so and so from such and such a congregation for so long that their bishop felt it was important to allow them to continue to wear distinctive garb.

 

P.S.  "Younger" in the above context refers to number of years one has been consecrated rather than chronological age.

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Praised be Jesus Christ! Thank you, abrideofchrist, for that informative answer! It is good to have your perspective here too. 

 

Sponsa-Christi is very clear that this is her personal belief/opinion here and I've noticed that written clearly on her blog too. But again, yes, it is very good to have another perspective too and to be reminded of this .. eg. that she has no obligation to remain within a particular diocese.

 

Also, thank you very much for your reply regarding the Blessed Sacrament and different dioceses. You are indeed very right! It would lead to "diocese shopping" I am sure and it definitely is something very attractive!

 

Here's the post, http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/2010/10/dress-code-for-consecrated-virgins.html  I love everything you have to say there too! It's basically how I dress as someone discerning religious life also :like:

 

Just wanted to say here though, I definitely do not mean to say here though that these two states (a CV and a lay woman discerning RL, in private vows or not) are similar. It is definitely much more important for a publicly consecrated CV to adhere to a strict dress code like this. Just thought I'd clarify. But again, I love everything you have written there.

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Praised be Jesus Christ! Thank you, abrideofchrist, for that informative answer! It is good to have your perspective here too. 

 

Sponsa-Christi is very clear that this is her personal belief/opinion here and I've noticed that written clearly on her blog too. But again, yes, it is very good to have another perspective too and to be reminded of this .. eg. that she has no obligation to remain within a particular diocese.

 

Also, thank you very much for your reply regarding the Blessed Sacrament and different dioceses. You are indeed very right! It would lead to "diocese shopping" I am sure and it definitely is something very attractive!

 

 

Just wanted to say here though, I definitely do not mean to say here though that these two states (a CV and a lay woman discerning RL, in private vows or not) are similar. It is definitely much more important for a publicly consecrated CV to adhere to a strict dress code like this. Just thought I'd clarify. But again, I love everything you have written there.

 

The public insignia of a CV living in the world is her ring.  The public insignia of a married man or a married woman is a ring.  The ring shows that the person has entered another public vocation.  That is why it is GIVEN and not just put on.  Human spouses put the other's ring on.  The Bishop puts the ring on the CVs finger as the representative of her Divine Spouse.  There was a dress code and there was a habit of sorts in the previous Rites of Consecration.  They were deliberately dropped by the Fathers who put out the current 1970 Rite.  They were innovative and re-expanded it to two forms, thereby re-admitting women in the world to the consecration.  If the Fathers had felt a habit or the dark dress was appropriate, they would have retained it in the 1970 Rite for Women Living in the World.  They didn't.  They dropped it.  The veil given in antiquity to virgins was unsurprisingly a bridal veil (at the time a "flame" color).  And unsurprisingly, they wore it for the ceremony but not in everyday life (they did wear a veil daily because wearing a veil happened to be a custom of well bred women at the time). 

A historical novel set in the early Christian Church written by a cardinal in the late 1800s has the consecrated virgins wearing white for a specified number of days and then returning to their respective every day clothing (upper patrician attire, slave garb, etc.).  One can hardly accuse the good cardinal of wishing to strip the CVs of a habit or "distinctive garb" as a result of a post Vatican II mentality. 

Rather than put a strict dress code upon CVs, I feel it is far better to give prudent instruction on modesty to candidates and let them live as the brides of Christ in the manner befitting their station in life.  Modesty is a virtue and prudence governs its manifestation.  Let the virgins be prudent, and forget about constructing more rules for them.

Speaking of rules, this is precisely why only spiritually mature women should be consecrated.  One should look at the relatively few rules given to diocesan priests and ponder on why that is so.  One reason is that these secular priests are supposed to be mature and know how to grow spiritually, physically, mentally, and apostolically OUTSIDE the seminary!  There is no "rule of life".  Yes, they are given a priestly garb, but remember that they wore lay clothes for most centuries!

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"First, Jenna Cooper =- Sponsa Christi - is very much in the minority when it comes to questions like yours.  In communicating with several CV canonists around the world plus Cardinal Burke, plus others of repute, I have come to realize that hers is an extreme position favoring a nun-like existence for CVs living in the world.  While she is correct in saying that the magisterium has not ruled on several practical questions (like veils, moving from diocese to diocese, etc.), she should also realize as a budding canon lawyer that the Rite itself leaves it up to the individual Bishop as to the parameters of the CVs living arrangements.  Also, as my canonists remind me, a private individual cannot put false obligations where none are imposed by the (canon or liturgical) law.  She wishes to be more rigorous than the law.  If her personal spirituality calls for it, that's for her and for her spiritual director to follow, not the rest of the CVs. "

 

Hello !  I've just registered on this site and into some trial and error  regarding HOW to  pick up a quote and reply to it. So please forgive me if there is an accident !

 

Personally  I don't think Jenna  is in the minority. Various reasons for saying this. The number of followers on her site , the references to her site  , appreciation by catholics of all walks of life  around the world ,  does seem to indicate something of the Sensus Fidelium on  her  perspective of the vocation of CV. Putting myself in her shoes--I don't think hers is a nun-like or regimented approach. If one reads without  coloured glasses , one can  appreciate  her  views  as rather mature for her age and also perhaps applicable to  many  CVs  in their 20s and 30s. I shall write more on this later. The 200 CVs in USA might be a minority when compared to the perspecive of non-english speaking / all CVs around the world.

 

The statistics collected  during International pilgrimage of CV in Rome 4 yrs ago mentions around 3000 CVs around the world. This number has surely increased since then.  USA is only  1 of the English speaking countries. A google search  leads immediately to the site of USACV  and  many people around the world  seem to be taking the material posted on  the American site as authoritative  for the whole world. I think USACV should put a statement  on the site that   it is THEIR  perspective  of CV and not binding on  other countries . I'm saying this because CV is not understood around the world. The  USACV approach may not be suitable for the Asian/ African cultures/dioceses  . No- i'm not saying that CVs should dress in habits or  have a  convent like community/ lifestyle. But it becomes almost impossible to be innovative/  inculturate on other continents when  the clergy and religious land on the USACV site  and take the perspective as Rule of Law. The implications are horrible in a context where religious life  is flourishing. 

 

Canon law does not allow any particular country to subtly put obligaton on CVs around  the world  to live  the vocation according to their Post-Religious-life context. I shall write more after this gets posted. I don't mean to offend anyone. This is just my personal perspective.

 

 

http://ocvnewevangelisation.blogspot.in/

 

 

The ideas expressed in the posts are my own and based on prayer and searching for the truth . We need to reflect on them with discernment and possibly with sharing of opinions , healthy debate if necessary. This will help to refine the ideas and conform them to God’s will in the ongoing search.

 

 

 

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