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Consecration Of Virgins Ceremony And Evangelical Poverty?


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Oremus1, the Church, for various reasons may specifically not want to use the word "irrevocable". At one time for Solemn Vows it was considered that one couldn't be dispensed from them which is what St. Thomas taught but over the time the Church has decided that one may be dispensed from the obligation of SV. There are some very strong arguments for and against this but the bottom line is that they Church has decided that one may be dispensed.

 

In the end if a CV wants "out" probably she will do it no matter what the Church says. It would be better that that person could be dispensed rather than she live in a state of serious sin.

 

It may seem that dispensation from Solemn Vows is easily done and not so very serious but it is a very serious matter which the Church doesn't do without serious reflection on the part of the person petitioning and on the part of the Congregation. Nor is it automatic. It may be refused.

 

BTW, matrimony is vows--vows to another human person. Profession of religious are vows made to God. It is a two-fold movement. Vows made to God and the person being consecrated to a life of divine worship.
 

But matrimony is indissoluble. you cannot be dispensed ever. you can be annulled but that says it never existed in the first place.

 

Holy Orders cannot be dispensed. Once a priest always a priest. you can be only dispensed from the obligations associated with it

 

Whereas solemn or simple vows can be dispensed.

 

The consecration, of an CV or of a religious cannot be dispensed.

 

religious can be dispensed of the obligations imposed by their vows but not of their consecration.

 

the problem is that CVs do not have specific obligations to be dispensed OF. so it makes no sense to ask to be dispensed of their consecration.

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I do agree that people who are responsible for forming consecrated virgins (or drafting diocesan policies with respect to them) should have a substantial theological and/or canonical background, even if this isn't absolutely necessary for all CV candidates. 

 

And, I agree it is very frustrating when CVs, Vicars for Religious, etc. misread things that are actually clearly stated in the Rite---like saying the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity can be used for widows, or substituting "celibacy" for "virginity", or removing some of the bridal imagery, and so on.

 

However, there are still questions right now that can and do admit a variety of opinions, particularly those questions which concern consecrated virgins' way of life. And a lot of these yet-to-be settled questions are ones which really can't admit simply a "yes" or "no" answer, or which can only be answered when other fundamental principles are established. 

 

As an illustration, it is totally legitimate right now to ask: what exactly is a CV's relationship to her diocese? Is it purely accidental? Or is it more akin to the incardination of a priest? Or is it something in between? The Rite doesn't spell out the answer to this question explicitly. And although one might reasonably argue that the Rite might imply certain things, there are good arguments coming from all sides of the issue.

 

(Btw, I'm not actually trying to talk about CVs and their stability within their dioceses, I'm just highlighting this as an example of a question that the Church hasn't really commented on in any kind of final or definite way.)

 

So I think the bottom line is that all participants in discussions on consecrated virginity need to be generous with each other. The Church thinks in centuries on a good day, and there's necessarily going to be a lot more prayerful discernment and scholarship before we can get definite answers on a lot of things.

 

In the meantime, I think it's good when CVs study this vocation on their own and then share their studied opinions---and sharing an opinion isn't the same thing as imposing it on other people, and it's certainly not the same thing as disseminating false information. If we're committed to a cordial on-going discussion, those of us who have more of an academic background can share our knowledge and scholarship with those of us who might have less formal education. And even when CVs honestly disagree about certain things, that doesn't mean that we can't still learn from each other.

i think it is great that such discussions are on the web, i read many of these a few years ago and found it infomrative

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My background is in civil law, so i am accustomed to having the statute , then case law, ratio and obiter etc . i did not realise that commentaries of theologians held so much weight. what is they are no good? or there are two contradicting opinions? which is to be followed?

 

 

I have a background in canon law and theology, but NOT in civil law, so I don't know how well we will be able to put things into each other's respective "languages." But no, I don't think it would be correct to say that theological commentary has quite as much weight as a precedent set by a court case in civil law. 

 

Of course, even eminent theologians and canonists do disagree with each other at times. So it's certainly not a matter of just saying: This canon means this because a theologian said so once!

 

Theological and canonical commentaries have weight insofar as they demonstrate that a certain point has been understood in a certain way before (or even that its been understood in a certain way consistently). For example, if most canonists who have commented on issue X say that it means Y, then a person who's also arguing Y doesn't have to go to great lengths to prove that he's not coming from some place way out in left field. On the other hand, a person arguing Z in this case would have more of a burden of proof to work against, because he would have to demonstrate that he's not being innovative in a problematic way. 

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Dear , I'm writing amidst a lot of other things to do. But this topic is so important. I did spend an hour in the library trying to trace the reference to the CDF statement I had read earlier. I'm really not in the position to give more time since there are other priorities. It is very clear in my country that the consecration cannot be delegated to a priest.

 

The situation you're describing is not different from some other parts of the world. What I read inbetween the lines is that there are some women  who are ex-religious who wish to continue living in the  consecrated state or there are women starting new kind of vocatons with a different charism......BUT THE CHURCH DOES NOT HAVE A RITE FOR THEM....so they are modifying the rite meant only for virgins, to fulfill their need. The bishops without seeing the seriousness of this , are allowing this to happen.

 

The solution to the problem is that the Church could formulate another ceremony for such new vocations or ex -religious. I don't think the Order of virgins which is a beautiful vocation by itself should be strangulated.

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Dear , I'm writing amidst a lot of other things to do. But this topic is so important. I did spend an hour in the library trying to trace the reference to the CDF statement I had read earlier. I'm really not in the position to give more time since there are other priorities. It is very clear in my country that the consecration cannot be delegated to a priest.

 

The situation you're describing is not different from some other parts of the world. What I read inbetween the lines is that there are some women  who are ex-religious who wish to continue living in the  consecrated state or there are women starting new kind of vocatons with a different charism......BUT THE CHURCH DOES NOT HAVE A RITE FOR THEM....so they are modifying the rite meant only for virgins, to fulfill their need. The bishops without seeing the seriousness of this , are allowing this to happen.

 

The solution to the problem is that the Church could formulate another ceremony for such new vocations or ex -religious. I don't think the Order of virgins which is a beautiful vocation by itself should be strangulated.

 

 

THIS IS EXACLY THE PROBLEM!!!!

I even met a former sister, consecrated as a CV just a couple months after leaving. i said to her, 'was it important to you, the 'being in the world' part of the CV vocation'?

 

she said 'i never really thought about it. alot of us just always thought of ourselves as sisters after we left. becoming an CV was a marriage of convenience really'

 

so where the nuptial/spousal aspect of religious life is indeed optional (you could feel called to their charism without feeling called to the spousal aspect), they are trying to superimpose that paradigm onto the CV charism. but if you remove the bridal/spousal aspect of the CV charism, what is left???

Edited by oremus1
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Sr Mary Catharine OP

There are often a lot of grey areas even in regard to religious life--interpreting canon law, particular law, etc.  It changes. As we were reminded once, canon law is not civil law and it is especially not American civil law. There is really no such thing as "precedent". Canon law is not meant to be taken on it's own but is to be seen in the light of theology, tradition, history, etc. And an interpretation is just that! Sometimes it seems that it is "take your pick"!

 

It is very good for CV's that the Church is moving very slowly in these matters and laws don't tend to be put into place unless there is a problem. The more you can grow in your knowledge of your vocation the better it will be for the Church as it slowly provides legislation for various things that come up. Yours is an ancient vocation but the contemporary living is quite new!

 

You may find it helpful (or may not! :-) to do some background reading on the development of religious life and profession and vows. The emphasis on "vows" is quite modern in the history of religious life whereas profession and propositum are of a much more ancient tradition. We Dominicans actually don't make vows, we make a profession to a way of life that includes the vows. The early monastic tradition didn't have vows but the propositum...a resolution to live the way of life of the Gospel.

 

This might be helpful because it seems to be that while the emphasis is on your being consecrated there is also the "other" side that is your desire and willingness to live this way of life and in your rite it says, "Father, receive my resolution to follow Christ in a life of perfect chastity which, with God’s help, I here profess before you and God’s holy people." There is a propositum (resolution) and profession.

 

 

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This might be helpful because it seems to be that while the emphasis is on your being consecrated there is also the "other" side that is your desire and willingness to live this way of life and in your rite it says, "Father, receive my resolution to follow Christ in a life of perfect chastity which, with God’s help, I here profess before you and God’s holy people." There is a propositum (resolution) and profession.

 

 

well obviously it is the propositum that is being consecrated, so i dont know what point you are trying to make

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I think there's still some discussion on whether it's the propositum that's being consecrated, or the person herself who's being consecrated in connection with her propositum, etc. Though that's getting into some very fine distinctions there.

 

I think what Sr. Mary Catharine is trying to say (and correct me if I'm wrong, Sr. MC) is that while there is an emphasis in this vocation on simply being a sacred person through consecration, there is also a complementary and equally important dimension of incarnating your consecration into your concrete lived experience. I.e., we receive consecration because we strive to do something--namely, we want to live a life totally given over to Christ as His spouse in a life of perfect chastity.

 

And I would agree that as important as questions about CVs' theological identity and canonical status truly are, they should not distract us from the importance of actually living a consecrated life. However, this lived reality of consecration is not something that necessarily lends itself to being quickly and easy codified into the Church's law.

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THIS IS EXACLY THE PROBLEM!!!!

I even met a former sister, consecrated as a CV just a couple months after leaving. i said to her, 'was it important to you, the 'being in the world' part of the CV vocation'?

 

she said 'i never really thought about it. alot of us just always thought of ourselves as sisters after we left. becoming an CV was a marriage of convenience really'

 

so where the nuptial/spousal aspect of religious life is indeed optional (you could feel called to their charism without feeling called to the spousal aspect), they are trying to superimpose that paradigm onto the CV charism. but if you remove the bridal/spousal aspect of the CV charism, what is left???

 

Without trying to judge the people involved, this is also a pet peeve of mine. Consecrated virginity actually does have it's own very distinct spirituality, which I think gets whitewashed over when people view consecrated virginity as sort of just a generic vocation or else simply a matter of being consecrated outside of a convent.

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Without trying to judge the people involved, this is also a pet peeve of mine. Consecrated virginity actually does have it's own very distinct spirituality, which I think gets whitewashed over when people view consecrated virginity as sort of just a generic vocation or else simply a matter of being consecrated outside of a convent.


LOL exactly!!

 

So many CVs, when asked why they became CV they say "well i used to belong to a convent, but it wasnt right for me". "i reached 50 and realised i wasnt called to marriage, then i heard of the CV vocation..." "i reached 55 and realised i had spent my life serving others" still others say "i wanted to work for the church but i wasnt taken seriously as a woman, and it was much easier to become a CV to gain respect and a status" and "i would have been a nun, but i didnt want to the obedience."

when i asked my national vocation office for info on the CV vocation, they said basically, sorry we dont have any, but for younger women we suggest they join the Opus Dei.

 

when i approached a bishop about the vocation, he sent me to the other side of the country to a bishops auxilliary thinking it was the same. at the end of one of my first meetings with him, he congratulated me on my desire "to live life as a single person'
 

when there are so many people out there who are promoting the CV vocation as either a) a last resort b) a generic single person vocation and c) a nun-but-not-quite, it is difficult to raise awareness of the unique spirituality of the vocation!

i'd be interested in any views on dioceses where the age limit for the vocation is 40+ or where the prescribed formation for the CV vocation is 8 years or more. 

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Without trying to judge the people involved, this is also a pet peeve of mine. Consecrated virginity actually does have it's own very distinct spirituality, which I think gets whitewashed over when people view consecrated virginity as sort of just a generic vocation or else simply a matter of being consecrated outside of a convent.

of course it doesnt help if they self identify as "Sister X" "i'm like a solo nun"

 

how do any of you explain it to random people?

 

"So, are you married?" "Do you have kids?" "What does your husband do?" "An CV? Whats that? What do you do? "

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I think there's still some discussion on whether it's the propositum that's being consecrated, or the person herself who's being consecrated in connection with her propositum, etc. Though that's getting into some very fine distinctions there.

 

 

How did you come to this conclusion?  There is no discussion about this with any reputable theologian, canonist, or liturgist.  God does not consecrate a propositum. 

 

I think what Sr. Mary Catharine is trying to say (and correct me if I'm wrong, Sr. MC) is that while there is an emphasis in this vocation on simply being a sacred person through consecration, there is also a complementary and equally important dimension of incarnating your consecration into your concrete lived experience. I.e., we receive consecration because we strive to do something--namely, we want to live a life totally given over to Christ as His spouse in a life of perfect chastity.

 

I read her differently.  I read her as saying that studying up on the nature of vows and propositums would be beneficial.  I second that.  It would have prevented you from asserting that people would hold that God would consecrate a propositum.  Theologians teach that a religious vows herself to God and God in return consecrates her and not her vows.  Basic theology.  It is the consecration that makes a person sacred.

 

And I would agree that as important as questions about CVs' theological identity and canonical status truly are, they should not distract us from the importance of actually living a consecrated life. However, this lived reality of consecration is not something that necessarily lends itself to being quickly and easy codified into the Church's law.

 

 

Are you unaware of the fact that the law has codified the norms of life for consecrated virgins?  The nature of the consecration is explained in Part I of the Praenotandae.  The Main Duties of Virgins is laid out in Part II.  Part III lays out the law regarding eligibility.  Then of course, the whole Rite explains things in greater depth.  The Homily, the Consecration Prayer are both rich sources of information regarding who we are and what we do.  They clarify what may not already be clear in the Praenotandae. 

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How did you come to this conclusion?  There is no discussion about this with any reputable theologian, canonist, or liturgist.  God does not consecrate a propositum. 

 

I read her differently.  I read her as saying that studying up on the nature of vows and propositums would be beneficial.  I second that.  It would have prevented you from asserting that people would hold that God would consecrate a propositum.  Theologians teach that a religious vows herself to God and God in return consecrates her and not her vows.  Basic theology.  It is the consecration that makes a person sacred.

 

 

Are you unaware of the fact that the law has codified the norms of life for consecrated virgins?  The nature of the consecration is explained in Part I of the Praenotandae.  The Main Duties of Virgins is laid out in Part II.  Part III lays out the law regarding eligibility.  Then of course, the whole Rite explains things in greater depth.  The Homily, the Consecration Prayer are both rich sources of information regarding who we are and what we do.  They clarify what may not already be clear in the Praenotandae. 

 

 

this is what the usacv said, they said no vows are made, a propositum is consecrated.

 

obviously that propositum would be in connection with a person, how could you have a propositum wihtout a person?

 

and if that person did not have propositum, how could they be consecrated under canon 604?

 

basic common sense

 

perhaps i had better hit the books, you know, after becoming fluent in 5 or more main languages as part of my formation and all....

Edited by oremus1
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this is what the usacv said, they said no vows are made, a propositum is consecrated.

 

obviously that propositum would be in connection with a person, how could you have a propositum wihtout a person?

 

and if that person did not have propositum, how could they be consecrated under canon 604?

 

basic common sense

 

perhaps i had better hit the books, you know, after becoming fluent in 5 or more main languages as part of my formation and all....

 

The USACV is run by an accountant, a psychologist, and other women who do not have a pontifical degree in anything to my knowledge.  Read Vita Consecrata and see what it has to say about the word consecration and what it means.  It certainly does not mean a consecration of a propositum or a vow.  Also, because a propositum is simply a resolution, a bishop could illicitly but validly consecrate a virgin entirely omitting the propositum.  It is the virgin who is consecrated by the prayer, not any resolution.

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The USACV is run by an accountant, a psychologist, and other women who do not have a pontifical degree in anything to my knowledge.  Read Vita Consecrata and see what it has to say about the word consecration and what it means.  It certainly does not mean a consecration of a propositum or a vow.  Also, because a propositum is simply a resolution, a bishop could illicitly but validly consecrate a virgin entirely omitting the propositum.  It is the virgin who is consecrated by the prayer, not any resolution.

 

wait, so you are saying that there is no need for the CV to have a propositum at all?

 

then why does the Rite even have that in there?

 

Sponsa has a pontifical degree or something...

 

And if you have all these studies and such, how comes do you not contribute some writing and stuff to the USACV? they provide for CVs all around the world. they are the main go-to for english speaking CVs. an Iraqi one even came to the convocation. they are great!

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