Would we call it information ecclesiology, this insistence on bishops and their chanceries knowing the “exact” things about religious communities in their dioceses? What else does the Church say about this? You can check the full document online here. And there is today’s brief post, so let’s read:
47. Bishops and their immediate collaborators should see to it not only that they have an exact idea of the distinctive nature of each institute but that they keep abreast of their actual situation and of their criteria for renewal. Religious superiors, in turn, in addition to acquiring a more updated doctrinal vision of the particular Church, should also strive to keep themselves factually informed with respect to the current situation of pastoral activity and the apostolic program adopted in the diocese in which they are to offer their services.
Leaders in religious life should also keep updated in theology. Alas, it would seem this is what has gotten some religious into trouble here and there. And not just women.
In case an institute finds itself in the situation of being unable to carry on a given undertaking, its superiors should in good time and with confidence make known the factors hindering its continuance, at least in its actual form, especially if this is due to a lack of personnel. For his part, the local Ordinary should consider sympathetically the request to withdraw from the undertaking (cf. Eccl. Sanctae I, 34, 3) and in common accord with the superiors seek a suitable solution.
Knowing when to say no. Knowing when to bring an undertaking to a dignified sunset. These are very difficult things to do in a church that prides itself on a can-do attitude with things, especially when helping others is part of the equation. But sometimes it is necessary. What do you think?
For much of Northern California, sizable numbers of religious are a thing of the past and their presence in parishes is slight. The big wave of “pulling out” of parishes is pretty much complete.
In the schools it’s a different matter. The religious are trying to keep some sort of presence in the high schools and colleges, even if it is a minuscule percentage and not even necessarily in leadership.