Perfectae Caritatis 8

You all realize that when the council bishops speak of “lay” communities, they mean sisters and brothers, right? That aside, section 8 begins with a basic description of religious communities devoted to particular and/or various apostolates:

There are in the Church very many communities, both clerical and lay, which devote themselves to various apostolic tasks. The gifts which these communities possess differ according to the grace which is allotted to them. Administrators have the gift of administration, teachers that of teaching, the gift of stirring speech is given to preachers, liberality to those who exercise charity and cheerfulness to those who help others in distress (cf. Rom. 12:5-8). “The gifts are varied, but the Spirit is the same” (1 Cor. 12:4).

Christ must remain the source of this apostolic activity. Christ, after all, remains the preeminent example of care and concern for others through his teaching, healing, and other human interactions.

In these communities apostolic and charitable activity belongs to the very nature of the religious life, seeing that it is a holy service and a work characteristic of love, entrusted to them by the Church to be carried out in its name. Therefore, the whole religious life of their members should be inspired by an apostolic spirit and all their apostolic activity formed by the spirit of religion. Therefore in order that their members may first correspond to their vocation to follow Christ and serve Him in His members, their apostolic activity must spring from intimate union with Him. Thus love itself towards God and the neighbor is fostered.

Some sensible guidance follows. Make the external expression of the community fit the apostolate.

These communities, then, should adjust their rules and customs to fit the demands of the apostolate to which they are dedicated. The fact however that apostolic religious life takes on many forms requires that its adaptation and renewal take account of this diversity and provide that the lives of religious dedicated to the service of Christ in these various communities be sustained by special provisions appropriate to each.

Thoughts? Not even from any religious in the reading audience?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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One Response to Perfectae Caritatis 8

  1. Fred says:

    The rediscovery of the origins of consecrated life uncovers its lay character, despite the proliferation of priest orders. The evangelical counsels are a particular way of living out the universal call to holiness of baptism.

    This bit is interesting in that it focuses on what could be called “charisms of service” (preacher, administrator) rather than “charisms of person” (Benedictine, Jesuit, etc).

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