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adoro.te.devote

are only CVs brides of Christ?

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adoro.te.devote

Catholic encyclopedia seems to speak about some things differently than what i wrote above, maybe this topic requires more knowledge to figure out than what I have.

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Anastasia
13 hours ago, gloriana35 said:

Speaking in a weathered vane... This entire question seemed extremely odd to me. The Church is the Bride of Christ; religious often used bridal symbolism - but, until I saw this thread, I'd never in my (long) live even heard anyone ask if only CVs are the 'brides of Christ.' 

I remember coming across one or two arguments like that somewhere online, years ago when I was trying to understand the CV vocation. I recall that I was very much put off by the intonation of a few CVs which betrayed a sense of exclusivity and even entitlement. I would even call it "narcissistic". I think a person was also trying to say that the CVs are equal to priests and even have to sit separately in the church - I do not remember, it is not really important but I wonder why such a preoccupation with how one looks and is perceived? Isn't this vocation simply about giving oneself to Christ? - And didn't He say "do not sit on the honorable sit" etc. I means the spirit was very wrong.

I think the vocation of a CV demands the psychological maturity more than monastic because she lives by herself and does not have to be obedient to a superior i.e. someone who observes her all the time. 

I wrote that not discuss some evidently immature CVs (such people are present in every vocation) but simply to state the following: nothing that has a flavour of pride/superiority should be considered seriously.

Edited by Anastasia

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Sponsa-Christi
8 hours ago, adoro.te.devote said:

Catholic encyclopedia seems to speak about some things differently than what i wrote above, maybe this topic requires more knowledge to figure out than what I have.

I believe the Catholic Encyclopedia was written many years before Vatican II, and thus before the revival of the Ordo virginum as its own state in life. (The same goes for the papal document "Sponsa Christi.") So, these obviously wouldn't be addressing questions about how consecrated virgins relate to other forms of consecrated life. 

Also, not everything that's written in books--and certainly not everything that's posted on the internet!--reflects an authoritative teaching of the Church. Sometimes writings on a given topic are just one person's opinion on an open theological question. And sometimes something posted on the internet is just plain wrong! So please don't drive yourself crazy by trying to reconcile contradictory writings, or trying to understand long rambling internet rants. 

I'm a consecrated virgin myself, and also a canon lawyer, so I appreciate wanting to understand this stuff. But even I think you're overthinking things a bit! Discerning your vocation is a dialogue with God, which does have an intellectual component, but is not primarily an intellectual exercise. 

And I apologize if this sounds patronizing, but as I mentioned before, some of the questions you're wrestling with are questions that the Church herself currently doesn't have firm answers for. Trying to come up with definitive answers to the questions you're asking is the kind of work that would be appropriate for a doctoral dissertation in theology or canon law, or as an academic project for an established theologian. It's not the sort of thing you cross off your list as a young adult before embracing your vocation to a particular state in life.(To do so would be like trying to have "find a cure for cancer" as your high school science fair project!) 

Basically, I think what you need to know for purposes of discernment is just that of all vocations, consecrated virginity certainly has the heaviest emphasis on spousal spirituality, and there may be a sense in which a consecrated virgin is somehow "more" a bride of Christ than women in other vocations. 

But at the same time, the Church does indeed a tradition of using spousal language to describe the vocation of women religious. You don't need to go crazy trying to reconcile exactly how this works technically to be able to conclude that women religious are therefore not non-brides of Christ. 

So as far as your own discernment is concerned, if you feel called to religious life, then discern religious life! Let the Sisters you're discerning with tell you about what a spousal relationship with Christ means to them, and listen with an open heart. 

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adoro.te.devote

Thank you Sponsa-Christi, that helps! :) I do find myself kind of going crazy with this because I don't have the training necessary to understand some of the theology. I don't think it's necessary for me to get several PhDs just to discern my vocation haha. I think I was confused that something I was feeling in my heart, and my discernment, was somehow at odds with the Church teaching... but like you said, there is a tradition of using spousal imagery for women religious, and I guess I can leave it up to God what exactly this means, and just let God lead me to my vocation whatever it is...

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Anastasia

I was reading an interview with an Australian CV and I very much like what she said in the end: 

“The vocation you discern should reflect who you are and make you the best person you can possible be.”

https://www.catholicoutlook.org/first-consecrated-celibate-in-the-diocese-of-parramatta/

 

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GraceUk

I was wondering if a consecrated virgin then decided the life was not for her would she have to go through dispensation of vows like a religious sister would have to. I don't suppose this would occur very often. I don't really fully understand this vocation because surely the person would just enter a religious order. Unless they had elderly parents or suchlike they were responsible for.  

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Chiquitunga

Hi GraceUK! So the Consecration of Virgins does not involve taking vows, but being consecrated like a church. So if there was anything like a dispensation, it would be like a deconsecration of a church - but I have heard it is not actually possible, and that this is the opinion of Cardinal Burke who I think oversaw them (correct wording?) as well. This is one aspect that makes their vocation and commitment for life really an extra special and rare gift to the Church. About just entering a religious order instead - these vocations are really very different though. The CV is a witness to belonging to Christ alone as His bride. Religious life has this and other aspects to it as well, like living in community and owning nothing on one’s own in the vow of poverty. Each one of a gift to the Church in a different way. Many saints were espoused to Christ alone and did not live in religious communities. Not living in a religious community also allows a consecrated person to be a witness in a different way that a religious sister can’t. Anyway, just some thoughts; all great callings.

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JHFamily
1 hour ago, Chiquitunga said:

Hi GraceUK! So the Consecration of Virgins does not involve taking vows, but being consecrated like a church. So if there was anything like a dispensation, it would be like a deconsecration of a church - but I have heard it is not actually possible, and that this is the opinion of Cardinal Burke who I think oversaw them (correct wording?) as well. This is one aspect that makes their vocation and commitment for life really an extra special and rare gift to the Church. About just entering a religious order instead - these vocations are really very different though. The CV is a witness to belonging to Christ alone as His bride. Religious life has this and other aspects to it as well, like living in community and owning nothing on one’s own in the vow of poverty. Each one of a gift to the Church in a different way. Many saints were espoused to Christ alone and did not live in religious communities. Not living in a religious community also allows a consecrated person to be a witness in a different way that a religious sister can’t. Anyway, just some thoughts; all great callings.

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Sponsa-Christi
3 hours ago, GraceUk said:

I was wondering if a consecrated virgin then decided the life was not for her would she have to go through dispensation of vows like a religious sister would have to. I don't suppose this would occur very often. 

The 2018 Vatican document Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago (ESI) no. 70 talks about a woman leaving the Order of Virgins: 

Quote

70. If a consecrated woman, for very serious reasons evaluated before the Lord in careful discernment, wishes to be dispensed from the obligations arising from consecration, she will approach her diocesan Bishop with a written request. The Bishop must not neglect to offer her appropriate assistance and adequate time for her discernment. He will grant the dispensation only after an in-depth scrutiny of the reasons for her request.

I'm personally inclined to see this mention of being dispensed from "obligations arising from consecration" as indicating that the consecration itself cannot be dispensed. And so I think a CV leaving the Ordo virginum would be more akin to a priest returning to the lay state than a religious being dispensed from her vows. As in, one is still a consecrated virgin, but is no longer obligated to say the Divine Office, to present herself publicly as a CV, to engage in whatever apostolic service she was involved in, etc. 

I have also heard of a case where a brand-new CV decided to leave after less than a year, and the diocese just declared that her consecration had been invalid instead of dispensing her from the obligations of consecration. Which, from the very little I know about this case, seems like it was probably the most appropriate option. 

4 hours ago, GraceUk said:

I don't really fully understand this vocation because surely the person would just enter a religious order. Unless they had elderly parents or suchlike they were responsible for. 

Like Chinquitunga said, consecrated virginity is a different vocation from religious life, with its own spirituality. I was twenty-three when I was consecrated, and religious life was a viable possibility for me, but I still chose to become a consecrated virgin because I felt very strongly that God was calling me to this specifically. 

Among other things, even whole-heartedly granting that religious women can still consider themselves "brides of Christ," spousal spirituality is emphasized much more heavily in consecrated virginity than in any religious Order. Consecrated virgins also have a direct connection with the diocesan local Church, which isn't the case for even religious communities of diocesan right. And being "in the world"--even when living a very outwardly "consecrated" way of life--is a different kind of Christian witness. 

I saw this all the time on VS, but a vocation to consecrated virginity really has to be based on a "first choice," positive attraction to the charism of the Ordo virginum. If a woman was prompted to discern consecrated virginity specifically because it allowed her to care for elderly parents (as opposed to feeling called to consecrated virginity first, with the resulting freedom to care for elderly parents being a happy side effect) I would actually see this as a pretty big red flag. 

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GraceUk

Thanks very much for explaining Chiquitunga and Sponsa-Christi. I didn't realise that consecrated virgins didn't take vows as such.  And I see why they are free to be more involved in the work of the local church. I had assumed before that it must just be mostly for women who felt called but couldn't enter convents because of family commitments but I see this is not the case. Thanks!

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