Mutuae Relationes 22: Exemption

SenanquecloisterExemption: we know the word.  What does it mean in the context of Mutuae Relationes and the Church?

(Remember you can check the full document online here.)

The pastoral meaning of exemption

22. The Supreme Pontiff, in view of the good of the Church itself (cf. Lumen Gentium 45; Christus Dominus 35, 3), grants exemption to a number of religious families, so that institutes can express their identity more adequately and devote themselves to the common good with special generosity and on a wider scale (cf. n. 8).

Exemption from some associations and duties, it would seem–but all for the greater good. And definitely not for a sense of isolation:

Actually, exemption does not of itself create any obstacle either to pastoral coordination or to reciprocal good relations among the People of God. In fact, it relates to the internal organization of their institutes. Its purpose is to ensure that everything is suitably and harmoniously arranged within them, and the perfection of the religious life promoted. The privilege ensures also that the Supreme Pontiff may employ these religious for the good of the universal Church or that some other competent authority may do so for the good of the churches under its jurisdiction” (CD 35, 3; cf. CD 35, 4; Ecclesiae Sanctae I, 25-40; Evangelii Nuntiandi 69).

Consequently exempt religious institutes, faithful to “their own proper characters and functions” (Perfectae Cartatis 2b), should cultivate above all special attachment to the Roman Pontiff and to the bishops, placing their liberty and apostolic availability at their disposal effectively and generously in conformity with religious obedience. Similarly, they should devote themselves with full awareness and zeal to the task of incarnating and manifesting in the diocese the specific witness and the genuine mission of their institute. Finally they should always reanimate that apostolic sensitivity and initiative, which are characteristic of their consecration.

Bishops certainly recognize and appreciate greatly the specific contribution with which these religious come to the assistance of the particular Churches and find in their exemption a certain expression of that pastoral concern which unites them intimately with the Roman Pontiff for the universal care of all people (cf. n. 8).

This renewed awareness of exemption, if it is really shared by the various collaborators in pastoral endeavor, will promote greatly increased apostolic initiative and missionary zeal in every particular Church.

Thoughts or comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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