Mutuae Relationes 39: Religious Vocations

SenanquecloisterPicking up on a theme from the previous section, here the Church discusses vocations. Remember, you can check the full document online here.

One team, everybody works together:

39. Pastoral commitment for vocational recruitment is to be considered a privileged area for cooperation between bishops and religious (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis 11; Perfectae Caritatis 24; Optatam Totius 2). Such pastoral commitment consists in a united effort on the part of the Christian community for all vocations, in such a way that the Church is built up according to the fullness of Christ and according to the variety of charisms of His Spirit.

Place no obstacles:

Regarding vocations, this above all else must be kept in mind, namely that the Holy Spirit, who “breathes where He wills” (Jn 3:8) calls the faithful to various offices and states for the greater good of the Church. It is evident that no obstacles should be placed in the way of such divine action; on the contrary, each one should be enabled to respond to his calling with the greatest freedom. For that matter, history itself can testify to the fact that the diversity of vocations, and particularly the coexistence and collaboration of secular and religious clergy are not detrimental to dioceses but rather enrich them with new spiritual treasures and increase notably their apostolic vitality.

Bishops take the lead:

Wherefore, it is fitting that the various initiatives be wisely coordinated under the bishops –according, that is, to the duties proper to parents and educators, to men and women religious, to diocesan priests and to all others who work in the pastoral field. This commitment will have to be carried out harmoniously and with the full dedication of each one. And the bishop himself should direct the efforts of all, causing them to converge toward the self-same purpose, always mindful that such efforts are basically inspired by the Holy Spirit. In consideration of this fact, therefore, the promotion of frequent prayer initiatives is also urgently necessary.

This makes a good degree of sense, to entrust the effort of vocations to bishops. Does it mean that when women religious are criticized for “poor” recruiting, that some of the fault lies with men who sit in cathedra? Bishops do oversee places where young people hear the first urgings of a deeper call than baptism: in families, schools, campus ministries, youth ministries, and other locations that fall under the purview of a parish or diocesan ministry.

Thoughts or comments?

About catholicsensibility

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