If MR 45 touted mutual respect as an important virtue, this section suggests bishops have a responsibility to “safeguard” how a religious lives in his diocese. This assumes every bishop is well-acquainted with the charisms and apostolate of each community with which he is in contact.
46. As to religious who engage in apostolic activities beyond the works of their own institute, their participation in the life of the community and their fidelity to their rule and constitutions must be safeguarded — “bishops should not fail for their part to insist on this obligation” (Christus Dominus 35, 2). No apostolic commitment should be an occasion to deviate from one’s vocation.
Unfortunately, ministry is a very lonely existence for many people committed to the Church. Many diocesan priests feel it. Vowed religious, too. How does one maintain one’s community’s qualities when the community house is hundreds of miles away, and especially when one serves without companions, but in a parish?
Sometimes a bishop can get embroiled in a conflict within a community involving someone in his jurisdiction. What then?
Regarding the situation of certain religious who would like to withdraw from the authority of their superior and have recourse to that of the bishop, each case should be studied objectively. It is necessary, however, that after suitable exchange of views and a sincere search for solutions, the bishop support the provision made by the competent superior, unless it is evident to him that some injustice is involved.
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