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Consecrated Virginity Question


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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.

 

It should be noted however that simplicity of life is something ALL Christians are called to as are the evangelical counsels more generally. Not all are called to religious poverty or religious obedience, the evangelical counsels bind all Christians in some sense.

 

In any case I don't think anyone here called simplicity of life, "quasi-religious". Instead, the use of the term quasi-religious was used to refer to those things which are characteristic of religious life which some CV's would like to adopt or have made mandatory: habit or distinguishing garb, vows of obedience, parochial jobs only, mandated praying of the entire LOH or  specific devotionals, the use of titles or post-nomial initials, etc. These are things which set a religious apart from the world  because they qualify the ways they relate to various aspects of everyday life. They are not universal to consecrated life itself, but rather belong specifically to religious life.

 

Fortunately, the debate between Jenna Cooper and myself is largely resolved by the USACV and statements by Cardinal Burke, not to mention work by Sharon Holland, IHM and statements by Benedict XVI and John Paul II. They all agree with one another that this vocation is a secular one, not merely in the "weak" sense of taking place outside a monastery (though that is true), but also in the "strong" sense of being integrally given to God IN THE THINGS OF THE WORLD as well as the things of the Spirit. Thus, they reject many of the things mentioned above (titles, veils  ---except at the Rite of consecration and on the anniversary of consecration, post-nomial initials (OCV), vows, diocesan stability, and the like. Anything which mitigates the essential secularity of the vocation is explicitly rejected precisely so the CV living in the world is not seen as a "quasi-religious".

 

Even so, the historical and theological underpinnings of this (the eschatological witness rooted in the transfiguration of this world and the universal call to holiness) still need to be spelled out so the import of the vocation is clear. All of this is important, not only for CV's but for laity who have been conditioned to believe the secular is merely profane (it is not; it is potentially sacramental), and vocations to secularity are not also calls to an exhaustive holiness. CV's can speak to the Church and world in a way religious may be less able to do. I believe when the Church speaks of CV's living in the world as apostles this is precisely what she is speaking about. Consider what consecrated virginity can say to a sex-saturated, sex-trivializing world! Consider what they can say to people about God alone being able to complete them. The problem is this vocation cannot do this unless it's secularity is strongly affirmed. Only if this is done and the trappings of religious life are eschewed does the vocation make sense or can its apostolic mission to sacred secularity be clearly expressed to a Church and world that needs this very badly. And only if this is done can women truly consider this as a vocation they might well be called to.

 

all my best,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http:P//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

Fortunately, the debate between Jenna Cooper and myself is largely resolved by the USACV and statements by Cardinal Burke, not to mention work by Sharon Holland, IHM and statements by Benedict XVI and John Paul II. They all agree with one another that this vocation is a secular one, not merely in the "weak" sense of taking place outside a monastery (though that is true), but also in the "strong" sense of being integrally given to God IN THE THINGS OF THE WORLD as well as the things of the Spirit. Thus, they reject many of the things mentioned above (titles, veils ---except at the Rite of consecration and on the anniversary of consecration, post-nomial initials (OCV), vows, diocesan stability, and the like. Anything which mitigates the essential secularity of the vocation is explicitly rejected precisely so the CV living in the world is not seen as a "quasi-religious".

 

 

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 don’t—and right now, I’m kind of having mixed feeling about keeping this thread alive at all), but because I think this is one of the most important things for those considering discerning a vocation to consecrated virginity to be aware of.

 

Right now, it is perfectly legitimate to have different points of view on this issue. Of course, it’s good to take the opinions of knowledgeable people (like Sr. Sharon Holland or Card. Burke, or the leadership of the USACV) into account. But ultimately, right now they’re just that—opinions. In their writings, they share their own educated interpretations, but they don’t actually speak with the authority of the Church on this topic. And even when recent Popes have written about consecrated virgins, their actual words are really too general to be taken as a specific answer to this particular question.

 

I think that charitable discussion and study of what it means to be a consecrated virgin is generally a good thing at this point in time. Also, especially for consecrated virgins themselves, I also think it’s often necessary for us to form our own strong convictions as to how this vocation can be most fully lived out.

 

But, in additions to respecting those who disagree with us, I think it’s also very important to have the humility to acknowledge that our own interpretations often can’t be absolutely proven correct or considered as definitely “settled” at this point in time.

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Just an aside -- I noticed that earlier on this thread (before I came back after the Advent/Christmas break) an association was made between a person's name and user name on PhatMass.

 

It is usually kept private ... the way I know whether or not a person wants their full name know is either via the signature or the username itself (i.e. if the user name is Jane Smith then I'd assume I can call the person "Jane").

 

Remember that this is a completely public forum, and everything can be read by everyone at all times.

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And to actually strengthen the point (thanks Chiquitunga :) )

 

http://www.phatmass.com/phorum/forum-17/announcement-71-privacy-in-the-vocation-station/

 

Also, to strengthen the point further, we should probably be careful when linking to other people's blogs, especially when we are recommending them, to be clear that this often allows people to see given names, hometowns, education, etc.  Otherwise it could seem a bit disingenuous for someone to provide such links, recommend articles from the blog where all the person's personal information is given, and then object to another's much more casual and understandable "transgression of privacy" when they refer to the author of these. For that matter someone desiring privacy or wishing to make sure that their given name is not referred to in a discussion (using this name for address in place of a screename was not the issue) may wish to rethink including links to their own blogs and personal information on their Phatmass profiles. So, I would add a caution about consistency as well.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

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Also, to strengthen the point further, we should probably be careful when linking to other people's blogs, especially when we are recommending them, to be clear that this often allows people to see given names, hometowns, education, etc.  Otherwise it could seem a bit disingenuous for someone to provide such links, recommend articles from the blog where all the person's personal information is given, and then object to another's much more casual and understandable "transgression of privacy" when they refer to the author of these. For that matter someone desiring privacy or wishing to make sure that their given name is not referred to in a discussion (using this name for address in place of a screename was not the issue) may wish to rethink including links to their own blogs and personal information on their Phatmass profiles. So, I would add a caution about consistency as well.

 

Sincerely,

Sister Laurel M O'Neal, Er Dio

Stillsong Hermitage

Diocese of Oakland

http://notesfromstillsong.blogspot.com

 

Just wanted to say really quick, actually that is a good point :like:

 

Also, I want to make sure you know, I did not speak negatively or objectionably about you via personal message. I really don't like offending people/or having even the slightest hard feeling out there over the internet, so I just wanted to make sure you knew this.  

 

I was pming cmaria about something else, and added that it was good she brought up the Privacy Policy again, and said perhaps this should be reposted by the mods maybe. I'm personally always in favor of reminding everyone about this in general, as it can be so easy to over-share here, thinking it is just "us" when really it's the whole world!

 

But again, I do not direct that at you personally or your use of someone's actual name. It had also been mentioned before in the thread too. And you are right, it is also on the blog, which I personally linked to.

 

So again, no hard feelings from me. I appreciate your and all other consecrated persons' thoughts and contributions to discussion here and in the other threads. Although I do not like debating also, I agree with Sponsa-Christi's earlier point about how although maybe VS may not the best place to delve into all of these details and different points of views (thus leading to debate) it has not been an entirely bad thing for people to see and be aware of, especially if they are considering this vocation. Personally, I had no idea about any of this, like the different interpretations of "living in the world" until all of this erupted on VS. So again, it has not been fruitless. I think next time I meet with a couple CVs I know, I will ask them their opinion on this.

 

God bless and peace to all! :pray:

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I got confused on a few points about the CV vocation reading this thread. I went to the USCCB recommended website http://consecratedvirgins.org/ for Consecrated Virgins and got my head sorted out about it from 'the horse's mouth' as it were, CV being a vocation I knew little about.

In the right hand margin is "Vocation Information" and this was helpful, particularly all the links in the right hand margin again.

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"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 don’t—and right now, I’m kind of having mixed feeling about keeping this thread alive at all), but because I think this is one of the most important things for those considering discerning a vocation to consecrated virginity to be aware of.

 

Right now, it is perfectly legitimate to have different points of view on this issue. Of course, it’s good to take the opinions of knowledgeable people (like Sr. Sharon Holland or Card. Burke, or the leadership of the USACV) into account. But ultimately, right now they’re just that—opinions. In their writings, they share their own educated interpretations, but they don’t actually speak with the authority of the Church on this topic. And even when recent Popes have written about consecrated virgins, their actual words are really too general to be taken as a specific answer to this particular question."

 

[I hope I pasted Sponsa Christi's comments above correctly into the comments box.]

 

Sponsa Christi, the problem is that the quality of any kind of analysis is dependent upon solid starting points/foundations. I think your two paragraphs above demonstrate that the basic principles of your position are flawed:

 

1) While it is true that there is legitimate *flexibility* regarding a number of things that pertain to this vocation [where a woman works, how exactly she implements the call to dress modestly, what her service to the Church is (is she employed by the Church or does she serve the Church in her free time?), it is not true that there is legitimate debate. I say this because,

 

2) Bishop Burke, Bishop Boyea, the USACV, & our two recent Popes have given plenty of indications regarding how this vocation is to be interpretated and lived in our present day. (Anyone wishing to know more should visit the USACV website mentioned above.) I conclude from this that,

 

3) My own personal opinions should be weighed carefully and humbly against the above authorities. And they are most definitely authorities on the matter. I find your paragraph 2 above astonishing. When Cardinal Burke, in his role as episcopal moderator of the USACV, writes that a CV is not obliged to take on any specific work or apostolate, and goes on to mention that many CVs volunteer at their churches and even mentions "some even volunteer their time in civic responsibilities," it is clear that CVs are not in any sense obligated to work full time and directly for their Church as their means of employment. (See document located at the USACV website, "What is the Consecration of a Virgin?") I would therefore, myself, never,

 

4) Conclude that my own opinion on the matter, if it was opposed to Cardinal Burke's, was just as weighty and significant as his. I find it astonishing that you seem to pile together quite a representation of Church members (the USACV itself, its episcopal moderators, items from the Holy Fathers in sermons, etc.) and say that they are mere opinons, seemingly equal to your own. Furthermore,

 

5) I think insisting that how this vocation is currently being lived (by women who do work at a variety of jobs, etc.) is possibly not the true nature of the vocation and that in order to be true to what it is by nature it will develop into something quasi religious along the lines you advocate is baffling. The vocation has been lived for 4 decades now and while the Church will certainly grow in wisdom (and by that I include the individual CVs living the vocation) with more insights I think dismissing the lived reality of the vocation in the past 4 decades is grossly in error. To me this seems self-evident. That would be example two of how the foundations from which you conduct your analysis are flawed. Let me simply conclude with,

 

6) For any woman discerning this vocation, I'd like to point her to the USACV website which has a wealth of wonderful material. There is also a retreat each summer for those discerning this vocation (generally in Michigan, I think).

 

Finally, let's keep in mind that a CV's very life itself, as a Bride of Christ--if she lives it to the best of her ability in union with Him--is her deepest call to serving the Church. Let's not focus so much on Martha working for X diocese that we leave Mary in the ditch!!

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Can I make a suggestion?  If people want to continue this discussion can it be taken to the debate table?  This has gone back and forth a lot, and really starts to detract from VS.  What I mean is that the flavor of the discussion has already taken a debate like tone, and that is what makes it "detract" from what VS is intended to be.

 

(note I did mean detract vs. distract).

 

Edited by cmariadiaz
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