Sunday, February 19, 2006

Spiritual Reform Must Begin with Religious Orders

The whole Catholic News Service article is here.

Some highlights:

Archbishop Franc Rode, head of the Vatican office that oversees religious orders states:

"...religious congregations must take stock, recover their "apostolic dynamism" and shed the excessive secularism of the post-Second Vatican Council period."


"Throughout the history of the church, religious orders and congregations were always the ones pushing forward, bringing dynamism and a call for holiness. They were always on the front lines".

What happened since Vatican II

Since the Second Vatican Council, he said, some orders have abandoned their traditional fields of apostolate, only to lose themselves in uselessness or unproductive activities. The result is stagnation.

Ya think?

What young people want:

"Far from the kind of dispersion that was widespread after the council, they are taking great care to promote cohesion of the religious community," he said. "The pendulum is swinging from, shall we say, a secularist euphoria back toward a certain severity. But note that this is not an imposed severity -- these young people want it and demand it."

Now this should be controversial. What young people want is "severity"? They sure do and if they aren't given the opportunity to sacrifice and suffer they misdirect their energies to tattooing, body piercing. It's my theory that young people who are spoiled and indulged in the name of "kindness" are seeking ways to show that they can suffer. These seem to be their only avenues to demonstate that. Youth is made for valor, and not for MTV, McDonalds and video games.

The global picture:

In Canada, for example, he said it is "mathematically certain" that, if things do not change, by the year 2040 the majority of existing religious congregations will disappear. He said that would be a shame, considering the important role of religious orders in Canada's history.

The vocations are coming from Asia and Africa:

He said the real increases in religious vocations are coming in the Third World, as "Catholicism moves toward the South and toward the East." Asia has enjoyed a boom in vocations, up about 40 percent in recent years, he said.

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