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Consecrated Virginity Question


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Wow- Just a thought: maybe some softer tones/less combative approaches might be better suited for those who are engaging in a public debate. Love above all things, right?... even when that persons POV is different then your own. Especially if one is consecrated to the Lord or discerning to be. I doubt Jesus would be out with a slug hammer dealing with these details. It isn't like anyone is speaking heresy. Also not totally necessary to nit-pick everything said if they don't use exactly the right vocabulary or if this person has a different opinion. I see nothing wrong with debate, but I think as Catholics we have a higher responsibility to censor the way we might say something. It seems like there is a lot of room for person choice within the CV vocation. 

 

I am sorry you heard a tone I did not use to write my post or emotions I did not feel. As for vocabulary, words are important and in the topics discussed here make huge differences in what is actually being said. For instance, I did not make a vow of obedience to my Bishop. I made that vow to God in the hands of my Bishop. The difference in the two things in this particular case actually IS a matter of heresy or at least of blasphemy. We do not make vows to persons but ALWAYS to God. To say one makes a vow to one's Bishop is to arrogate to him a dignity which is due to God alone. It also changes very greatly the dynamics of the content of that vow and makes blind obedience to a human person normative when the obedience one owes one's Bishop is always discerned under a higher obligation --- that which one owes to God. It is a simple distinction but it has significant consequences. It is also one that seems to be not all-that-well understood by Catholics who are actually interested in making private vows, being consecrated, etc. I hope this explains my insistence on correct usage in these matters. Besides, I truly thought people interested in such discussion would like to be accurate and interested in the significant nuances involved.

 

Meanwhile, CV's do not make public vows at all. Those are proper to religious life because they create a kind of separation from the worldly dimensions of power, relationships, and money. I suspect that those called to secular lives and who consider private vows haven't always thought about the function of religious vows and may not have heard that baptism itself obliges one to live the evangelical counsels in a way proper to their state of life.

 

I agree with your last point and thought I indicated in my last post that there was quite a bit of freedom in the CV vocation or in my own for instance. Even so at the same time there are real limitations in just how far we can go. The CV vocation under canon 604 is essentially secular, a highly qualified secularity, but secular nonetheless. Those who would prefer to be quasi religious and would like to add specifications which are typical of the separation from the world proper to religious life seem to me to have crossed the line created by those limits.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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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

I wasn't referring to her? But later tonight I will do so. I guess that post was a bit passive-agressive, although I still think it holds true. This isn't the Debate Table. This is the VS where prospective people (many of whom are lurkers) are seeing how this exchange is going down and I think in some ways it shows bad form. At the very least the tone could be taken down a notch or tow. This is all pretty open to interpretation. I am running out to dinner now, but I will post your request in a bit. 

 

I 100% agree ... VS is not debate table.  It was never intended to be.  I've stayed quiet because honestly, it started to go overboard. 

 

AbrideofChrist -- you specifically said "ok I'll take the bait and debate"

 

This to me really shows how the discussion can go from a simple discussion to a full blown debate.  People are going to disagree ... and if it is going to become a back and forth, please, in all charity take it to the debate table.

 

I really used to like VS -- it was a home, a place to discuss vocation.  But when it becomes the debate table, it is no longer a welcoming place.

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To Jesus Through Mary
I am sorry you heard a tone I did not use to write my post or emotions I did not feel. As for vocabulary, words are important and in the topics discussed here make huge differences in what is actually being said. For instance, I did not make a vow of obedience to my Bishop. I made that vow to God in the hands of my Bishop. The difference in the two things in this particular case actually IS a matter of heresy or at least of blasphemy. We do not make vows to persons but ALWAYS to God. To say one makes a vow to one's Bishop is to arrogate to him a dignity which is due to God alone. It also changes very greatly the dynamics of the content of that vow and makes blind obedience to a human person normative when the obedience one owes one's Bishop is always discerned under a higher obligation --- that which one owes to God. It is a simple distinction but it has significant consequences. It is also one that seems to be not all-that-well understood by Catholics who are actually interested in making private vows, being consecrated, etc. I hope this explains my insistence on correct usage in these matters. Besides, I truly thought people interested in such discussion would like to be accurate and interested in the significant nuances involved.

 

Meanwhile, CV's do not make public vows at all. Those are proper to religious life because they create a kind of separation from the worldly dimensions of power, relationships, and money. I suspect that those called to secular lives and who consider private vows haven't always thought about the function of religious vows and may not have heard that baptism itself obliges one to live the evangelical counsels in a way proper to their state of life.

 

I agree with your last point and thought I indicated in my last post that there was quite a bit of freedom in the CV vocation or in my own for instance. Even so at the same time there are real limitations in just how far we can go. The CV vocation under canon 604 is essentially secular, a highly qualified secularity, but secular nonetheless. Those who would prefer to be quasi religious and would like to add specifications which are typical of the separation from the world proper to religious life seem to me to have crossed the line created by those limits.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

 

Sister, I wasn't really referring to you in this thread honestly. I didn't feel like your correction to my post had any undertone in it. It was pretty informative. Thanks for elaborating on that point though because I do think it is important for discerners to consider as they are contemplating making a vow. Although I knew what I was referring to, maybe someone reading did not. 

 

I think Cma pretty much summed up my point, so I won't go any further and pull out the portions I felt were out of line. I don't want to call more attention to the portions I felt were unnecessary. 

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I 100% agree ... VS is not debate table.  It was never intended to be.  I've stayed quiet because honestly, it started to go overboard. 

 

AbrideofChrist -- you specifically said "ok I'll take the bait and debate"

 

This to me really shows how the discussion can go from a simple discussion to a full blown debate.  People are going to disagree ... and if it is going to become a back and forth, please, in all charity take it to the debate table.

 

I really used to like VS -- it was a home, a place to discuss vocation.  But when it becomes the debate table, it is no longer a welcoming place.

 

It is pretty weird to see VS people bat it out.

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To any CV interested in knowing what the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome said about this in yr 2003 :

 

My Question: According to the Roman Pontifical the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity is used for women living in the world and those in monasteries.Does 'living in the world' mean only that it is 'not in a monastery' or should it be lived strictly 'in the world' like in secular institutes ?

 

The charism of cons.virgins is to be an eschatological image of the Heavenly Bride and the life to come, when the Church will at last live her love for Christ the Bridegroom.The charism of Secular Inst. is to transfigure the world from within, acting like a leaven within the cultural, economic and political life. Hence it would be improper for a member of a Secular Inst. to wear clothing which would identify them as a consecrated person. However,Cons.virgins are called to be an image of the Chruch's love for Christ.Would it be proper if the local circumstances demand, to wear clothing which would identify one as a consecrated person or be addressed as 'Sister'  even though one does not live in a religious community ?

 

The following was the response with the Official reference number. 

 

 Prot n.SpR 862-4/2003

 

The life of virginity lived in the world gives public witness in everyday life , in some self-supporting work and in her service to the Church. It is not quite the same as the style of a secular institute because the virgin's consecration is public ,yet it is secular in the sense that she is not a religious.

 

The use of the veil, provided for in the Rite is decided on in the local circumstances with the Diocesan Bishop.The same would be true regarding any other identifying clothing and/or the use of the title Sister.

 

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For those interested  in getting clarifications regarding Consecrated life, if you visit their site on vatican.va , you can write to   them with your queries by email. It is accepted if you also give your postal address.  You receive a response  between 1 to 6 months as I can state from my own experience , if they know you, even by email.

 

Hope this helps. They seem to avoid putting any kind of uniform code at universal level  and leave it to the local churches.

 

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The following was the response with the Official reference number. 

 

 Prot n.SpR 862-4/2003

 

The life of virginity lived in the world gives public witness in everyday life , in some self-supporting work and in her service to the Church. It is not quite the same as the style of a secular institute because the virgin's consecration is public ,yet it is secular in the sense that she is not a religious.

 

The use of the veil, provided for in the Rite is decided on in the local circumstances with the Diocesan Bishop.The same would be true regarding any other identifying clothing and/or the use of the title Sister.

 

God's Beloved, thank you so much for posting that! It is great to read such a clear and simple statement on this from the Congregation in Rome. What they say regarding the vocation being "secular" is the same interpretation that Sponsa-Christi gives in her post on "living in the world" on her blog, http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/2010/07/what-does-it-mean-to-be-in-world.html

 

The second statement there also makes it clear that it would not be incorrect for a CV to wear a veil or even identifying garb or be called Sister, making her much closer to a religious, if it were decided by the local bishop. Thus, I think we can conclude from all of this that again, the Fathers gave freedom on all of these matters, and that secularity is not an integral part of their charism as it is for secular institute for instance. The integral part of their charism is as you say, "to be an eschatological image of the Heavenly Bride and the life to come, when the Church will at last live her love for Christ the Bridegroom." How beautiful! :heart:

 

Besides, I truly thought people interested in such discussion would like to be accurate and interested in the significant nuances involved.

 

I'll just say, I personally really appreciate your, & all others, precise answers, with accurate terminology :like: although, not meaning to disagree with TJTM or others by saying that. I don't like debates here either, although I appreciate reading all of the different perspectives of the different posters here, including several consecrated persons. 

 

Back to the original question, I did notice mention of a few CVs moving here & in the comments, http://wdtprs.com/blog/2011/09/virgins-consecrated-virgins-yes-consecrated-virgins/ not saying I agree with this or not, or if it should only be rare, etc. Just something I noticed and thought I'd post here. 

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To any CV interested in knowing what the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome said about this in yr 2003 :

 

My Question: According to the Roman Pontifical the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity is used for women living in the world and those in monasteries.Does 'living in the world' mean only that it is 'not in a monastery' or should it be lived strictly 'in the world' like in secular institutes ?

 

The charism of cons.virgins is to be an eschatological image of the Heavenly Bride and the life to come, when the Church will at last live her love for Christ the Bridegroom.The charism of Secular Inst. is to transfigure the world from within, acting like a leaven within the cultural, economic and political life. Hence it would be improper for a member of a Secular Inst. to wear clothing which would identify them as a consecrated person. However,Cons.virgins are called to be an image of the Chruch's love for Christ.Would it be proper if the local circumstances demand, to wear clothing which would identify one as a consecrated person or be addressed as 'Sister'  even though one does not live in a religious community ?

 

The following was the response with the Official reference number. 

 

 Prot n.SpR 862-4/2003

 

The life of virginity lived in the world gives public witness in everyday life , in some self-supporting work and in her service to the Church. It is not quite the same as the style of a secular institute because the virgin's consecration is public ,yet it is secular in the sense that she is not a religious.

 

The use of the veil, provided for in the Rite is decided on in the local circumstances with the Diocesan Bishop.The same would be true regarding any other identifying clothing and/or the use of the title Sister.

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

For those interested  in getting clarifications regarding Consecrated life, if you visit their site on vatican.va , you can write to   them with your queries by email. It is accepted if you also give your postal address.  You receive a response  between 1 to 6 months as I can state from my own experience , if they know you, even by email.

 

Hope this helps. They seem to avoid putting any kind of uniform code at universal level  and leave it to the local churches.

 

Thanks for citing this. I think it goes well with the the document I cited stating CV's were given over ENTIRELY to their brothers and sisters both in the world and in the things of the world. A secular vocation is just that, a vocation lived in the world and in the things of the world. CV's consecration suggests they should be able to live this vocation with an integrity, radicality, and sacramentality others may not manage without veering into secularism. I note that the Congregation's response does not enter into statements or reasoning of quanitative difference (it is less secular than the vocation of those in secular institutes or it is "closer" to religious life than something else is); it distinguishes the publicly consecrated nature of this secularity from the "style" of commitment of secular institute members enjoy because of semi-public vows. Both are clearly stated to be secular vocations, however.

 

I am concerned that folks feel the need to say "we are LESS secular than x" or or "more like religious than y". Is this a holdover from a time when the word secular was demeaned and despised? Given the emphasis of Vatican II on the sacramentality of ALL creation and the universal call to holiness (which clearly means those living and ministering in the saeculum are called to an identically exhaustive holiness as those called to religious life) the Church is trying very hard to reclaim the word secular as something of infinite (Divine) worth and potential. As Paul reminded us we live in a world in which God is meant to be ALL in ALL. In fact, the references to the eschatological value of the CV vocation calls attention to the theological fact that the Reign of God is not ultimately going to be (nor is it meant to be) realized in some merely otherworldly heaven but in a heaven (that is, a realm of Divine sovereignty and transcendence) which completely interpenetrates and transfigures this world.  It is sin which prevents this. Christ's ministry of reconciliation -- the ministry with which we are all entrusted --- includes allowing this world of everyday reality to become God's own true realm. Consecrated virgins living in the world are called to be a special sign of this tremendous eschatological paradox.

 

That is why it seems to me c 604 CV's ought to be among the first persons witnessing to the world that the Church has changed (recovered) the way she perceives the secular (again, secularism is a different matter); they should be among the first who witness to a universal call to holiness in which the secular becomes the sacrament of God's presence. In fact, from what I have read about the vocation it seems clear that the Church recovered this instance of it precisely to underscore Vatican II's emphasis on all of this. What is historically undoubted is that the Church has recovered a form of consecrated life which pre-dated religious life and which, throughout history stood side by side it, both distinct from it and of equal dignity until well into the 12th Century. As I have already noted, Sister Sharon Holland, IHM  is clear in documents written while she was a chief member of CICLSAL, that the appropriation of this vocation by cloistered religious actually turned the vocation on its head and contributed to its demise. Canon 604 is an attempt to recover the vocation and reverse the situation in which genuine esteem for the everyday world of speace and time (saeculum) was replaced by the less Scriptural notion of a merely otherworldly heaven and a focus on religious life which devalued the universal call to holiness. I don't think the issue of  a CV's secularity can be adequately discussed apart from this theological, Scriptural, and historical context.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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Gosh, after all this discussion I think one would be inspired to think not twice, but two hundred times before discerning this vocation. Perhaps this is a good thing! but I certainly admire anyone who would be willing to enter into a vocation that is so unknown even to the Church herself. I, myself find the debate rather disheartening and am rather glad that my discernment has reached a turning point where this topic does not concern me. I'm rather relieved for this after reading this thread. I also agree that if this discussion is to continue, it should be moved to the debate table.

Oh, oops I guess I just accidentally resurrected a dying topic... Just realized that. Oh well.

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No worries, carmenchristi, as I was planning to post one more time here myself. I realized this debate, or rather discussion/postings, took place about a year ago on Sr. Laurel and Sponsa-Christi's blogs. I read through Sponsa-Christi's reply to this here, http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/2011/11/secular-vocation.html  and reflecting on it, I have to say, I agree with it completely. She brings up many good points I'm not sure where to begin in trying to highlight them here. It is very much worth reading through. 

 

Also I realized I was wrong in using the term "quasi-religious" Sponsa-Christi points out that some things someone might call "quasi-religious" for a Consecrated Virgin, are rather characteristics of Consecrated Life, to which both CVs and religious belong .. for instance simplicity of life.

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My apologies, also, for perhaps needlessly prolonging the life of this thread. But this really struck me:

 

 

Gosh, after all this discussion I think one would be inspired to think not twice, but two hundred times before discerning this vocation. Perhaps this is a good thing! but I certainly admire anyone who would be willing to enter into a vocation that is so unknown even to the Church herself. I, myself find the debate rather disheartening and am rather glad that my discernment has reached a turning point where this topic does not concern me. I'm rather relieved for this after reading this thread. I also agree that if this discussion is to continue, it should be moved to the debate table.
 

 

 

In some ways, it hurt a little to read this, but I truly appreciate carmenchristi’s honesty.

 

I also think it’s very important to be charitable when talking about consecrated virginity, especially when you’re having a discussion with people who disagree with you. (After all, even if we think that someone is objectively wrong, it costs us nothing to presume that she is acting in good faith.) I sincerely did not come here to debate, so I apologize if I came across that way at any point.

 

I do think respectful discussions about consecrated virginity are necessary at this point; and while VS might not be the best place to delve too deeply into technical details, it also may not be an entirely bad thing for people who could possibly be discerning consecrated virginity to have some insight into different points of view.

 

To be frank, living as a consecrated virgin can be extraordinarily challenging at times—and this thread probably does convey a decent idea of the nature of some of those challenges. Even though I love my vocation, I would absolutely never “push” anyone into discerning consecrated virginity for this reason. In my own opinion, at this present time you really need to have an exceptionally strong sense of being called by God to consecrated virginity specifically in order live this vocation happily and well.

 

But as sort of a last word, I would like to add that—for those who are called to this—ultimately, consecrated virginity is a very beautiful vocation that is worth the things you might have to suffer for it.

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My apologies, also, for perhaps needlessly prolonging the life of this thread. But this really struck me:

 

 

 

 

In some ways, it hurt a little to read this, but I truly appreciate carmenchristi’s honesty.

 

I also think it’s very important to be charitable when talking about consecrated virginity, especially when you’re having a discussion with people who disagree with you. (After all, even if we think that someone is objectively wrong, it costs us nothing to presume that she is acting in good faith.) I sincerely did not come here to debate, so I apologize if I came across that way at any point.

 

 

 

(...)

But as sort of a last word, I would like to add that—for those who are called to this—ultimately, consecrated virginity is a very beautiful vocation that is worth the things you might have to suffer for it.

 

 

SponsaChristi -- I can't 100% speak for carmenchristi but from my point of view I think your posts were ok.

 

I think you said it spot on when you said "it is important to be charitable."  That's true when speaking about ANY vocation (including the discussions on private vows, on the choice to stay single, etc.).  I know that the whole debate about whether the single state can be a vocational choice (i.e. is it really a vocation) can be hurtful to those of us that are currently living that life (be it by choice or by default), but in the whole debating back and forth it can be forgotten that there ARE people reading who can be hurt by what is said.  And that can happen in any of the debating (which is why I say leave the debates out of VS, since that's what the debate table is for).

 

And well ... yes the details are important, but when there is a back-and-forth on the details it can go overboard.  It seems like a debate at that point (or even maybe a "contest as to who is right").

 

Please don't misunderstand me ... I'm not saying that you necesarily did that.  I probably should let things go ... but I felt it was important to at least post this response. 

 

Finally your input in this board IS important because of your vocational choice, so I hope you do keep posting without worrying tooooo much :).

 

Blessings to you as you continue to live out your call,

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Apologies, I am unable to remove the red formatting.

I do not want to drag this thread off topic there are a couple of threads in the recent past discussiing private vows but since the subject of private vows have been raised Iin this thread, and if anyone wants to speak about private vows, it may be better to locate these threads or even better, to a debate forum if the poster has a debate in mind.  Since the subject of private vows has been raised in this thread, I would just like to point out that those who have spoken against private vows are not able to quote a single source where The Church speaks against private vows (because there aren't any), rather The Church has affirmed the private dedication of one's entire life to The Lord and in a radical form with private vows to the evengelical counsels.  

I am not personally seeking to be right in any discussion of private vows other than to strive to establish insfoar as I might be able private vows as a potentially quite valid call and vocation from God since it is my own vocation.  I think probably it is a rare/uncommon call and vocation rather than a common one.

 

Lumen Gentuium - Dogmatic Constitution on The Church

 

 

"(215) However, this holiness of the Church is unceasingly manifested, and must be manifested, in the fruits of grace which the Spirit produces in the faithful; it is expressed in many ways in individuals, who in their walk of life, tend toward the perfection of charity, thus causing the edification of others; in a very special way this (holiness) appears in the practice of the counsels, customarily called "evangelical." This practice of the counsels, under the impulsion of the Holy Spirit, undertaken by many Christians, either privately or in a Church-approved condition or state of life, gives and must give in the world an outstanding witness and example of this same holiness."

 

 

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031996_vita-consecrata_en.html

 

"Vita Consecrata" (The Consecrated Life)

"We are all aware of the treasure which the gift of the consecrated life in the variety of its charisms and institutions represents for the ecclesial community. Together let us thank God for the Religious Orders and Institutes devoted to contemplation or the works of the apostolate, for Societies of Apostolic Life, for Secular Institutes and for other groups of consecrated persons, as well as for all those individuals who, in their inmost hearts, dedicate themselves to God by a special consecration."

 

 

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