Mutuae Relationes 57: Three Considerations for Pastoral Cooperation

SenanquecloisterRemember to check the full document Mutuae Relationes here at the Vatican site. In today’s post, we discuss three aspects of cooperation for pastoral ministry.

57. In order to foster a certain stability in pastoral cooperation,

a) the difference existing between the distinctive works of an institute and works entrusted to an institute should be kept in mind by the local ordinary. In fact, the former depend on the religious superiors according to their constitutions, even though in pastoral practice they are subject to the jurisdiction of the local ordinary according to law (cf. Ecclesiae Sanctae 1, 29).

In the Worthy Women series, we read often of bishops seeking to make adjustments to discerned charisms of religious communities. This is likely one sticking point for many torn relationships: bishops who do not respect or even perceive apostolates of religious life, but seek to reshape people to fit what they perceive as holes in their own ministry.

The Church says to get everything in writing:

b) “Whenever a work of the apostolate is entrusted to any religious institute by a local ordinary in accordance with the prescriptions of law, a written agreement shall be made between the local ordinary and the competent superior of the institute which will, among other things, set down precisely all that concerns the work to be done, the members of the institute assigned to it and the finances” (ES I, 30 §2).

For important ministries, an individual and her or his bishop are not enough; the superior is to be involved:

c) “For works of this nature members of the religious institute who are really suitable should be selected by the religious superior after discussion with the local ordinary and, where an ecclesiastical office is to be conferred on a member of the institute, the religious should be nominated by the local ordinary himself for a definite time decided upon by mutual agreement, his own superior presenting the candidate or at least assenting to the nomination” (ES I, 30 §2).

Thoughts or comments?

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in bishops, Mutuae Relationes, women religious. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Mutuae Relationes 57: Three Considerations for Pastoral Cooperation

  1. FrMichael says:

    Point b is excellent. I can think of some situations in my diocese where “mission creep” or even what seems to have been surreptitious empire-building occurred because nothing was written down, no limits were set.

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