Apostolic Religious Life in America Today

Apostolic Religious Life in America Today: A Response to the Crisis

Edited by Richard Gribble
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 184
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  • Book Info
    Apostolic Religious Life in America Today
    Book Description:

    Divided into two parts, this volume first presents an analysis of the problem and secondly a solution to place apostolic religious life on a positive trajectory in the 21st century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1905-9
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)

    Religious life provides a means of saying yes to Christ and to the Church. It is only in the context of the Church that religious charisms can be discerned, cultivated, and authentically lived.

    The Second Vatican Council calls for all Catholics to read the signs of the times. We religious must read the signs of the times today and respond to a new generation of Catholics, who are different from the young people of twenty, thirty, or forty years ago. I frequently hear the presidents of Catholic colleges and universities share that they have never experienced such openness to the...

  4. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  5. Introduction: The Challenge of Religious Life in the United States Today
    (pp. 3-16)

    Since Antony in the third century and the Cenobites a few generations later went to the desert to seek solitude with God, men and women have practiced religious life. Over the two millennia of Christianity new religious communities have arisen to meet the needs of the contemporary Church and society. The evolution of religious life allowed for greater diversity in practice. The monastic orders of the late patristic and medieval periods continued to serve a special function even as the mendicant orders of the thirteenth century met a new need. Similarly, the rise of apostolic orders during the Counter-Reformation met...

  6. Part I. Present Situation and the Challenge of Renewal
    • One Reforming Religious Life with the Right Hermeneutic
      (pp. 19-40)

      Apostolic religious life is indeed an important topic in today’s Church. As a member of the Vincentian order the consecrated life has been integral to my vocation from the outset. As the Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life the care, maintenance, and promotion of religious life is the direct focus of my present ministry in the Church. As one who experienced the adventure and the turmoil of renewal in consecrated life prompted by the Second Vatican Council, the opinions in this essay express past and present challenges, but always with immense hope...

    • Two Apostolic Religious Life A Public, Ecclesial Vocation
      (pp. 41-66)

      Religious life belongs unquestionably to the life and holiness of the Church; one could even say it is an essential expression of that holiness,¹ although it is a “charismatic” rather than a “structural” element of the Church. It is a gift by which God the Father through the Holy Spirit animates and refreshes the Church with an outpouring of grace that calls forth communities distinguished by their courageous faith, steadfast hope, and passionate love for Jesus Christ and the world he came to save. Consecrated religious have a place in the heart of the Church because, by leaving all to...

    • Three “De Accommodata Renovatione: Between the Idea and the Reality . . .” Occasion and Intent and Consequences of Vatican Council II
      (pp. 67-90)

      These reflections arise from my being one among thousands of “BC” sisters. “BC” refers to those who entered religious life before or during Vatican Council II and obviously had not a clue about what was on the not-too-distant horizon.¹ In January 1959, when John XXIII announced the Second Vatican Council (along with revision of the 1917 Code of Canon Law), my religious community had more than seven hundred sisters, operated two colleges and three high school academies, staffed more than three dozen grade schools and high schools in six states, and owned and operated a small hospital. Having twenty or...

    • Four Signs of the Times Signs, Symbols, and Meaning in Religious Life
      (pp. 91-100)

      In the film Into Great Silence, recorded at the Grande Chartreuse in the French Alps, a fascinating sequence takes place. In the segment entitled “Dinner,” the monks are filing into the refectory. But before they enter, they hold their hands under a little running water and then dry them on a roll-towel. Since the day is a feast day, recreation outdoors follows dinner. At the recreation, a conversation takes place. These are the words spoken:

      “In Sélignac they have not been washing their hands before the refectory for twenty years now.”

      “Do you think we should stop washing our hands?”...

    • Five Relearning the Language of God Obedience, Forgiveness, and Love
      (pp. 101-108)

      Listening, watching, and reading media reports these days, in terms of the recent economic crisis in the United States, we find that one particular power group suggests that the plan proposed is a “bailout”; a bailout for the wealthy and the greedy—that doesn’t sound very good. Another group says that it’s a “rescue plan” for the tax payer—that sounds very good. Which is it? Is it a bailout or is it a rescue? Is it negative or is it positive? This is known as “spin.” What the representatives of these different power groups are trying to do, by...

  7. Part II. Religious Life and the Renewal of Love
    • Six Love Alone Is Credible
      (pp. 111-126)

      Caritas Christi urget nos. This cri de coeur from St Paul is a helpful reminder to focus our living and activity as religious men and women. Love alone makes us credible as religious—not our love, manufactured by our own efforts and will, but the love of Christ, deeply rooted in his relationship with the Father and empowered by the work of the Spirit.¹ It is this Trinitarian love that is the root and ground and heart of religious life. It is the beauty of this love that calls forth our vocations, that inspires all our activity, and that communicates...

    • Seven Apostolic Religious Life in the Post–Vatican II Church Ongoing Challenges of Renewal—Perfect and Imperfect Love
      (pp. 127-143)

      Perfect charity or complete love, the divine reality signified by the opening words of the Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life of the Second Vatican Council (Perfectae Caritatis), provides the theme of this essay.¹ This theme is pursued insofar as love, as it ranges in human life from earthly mortal love to charity, constitutes the practical basis and effective engine for meeting ongoing challenges of renewal of apostolic religious life. The Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) had earlier forcefully made the point that charity, “the first and most necessary gift,”² is the ultimate guide...

    • Eight The Consecrated Life Witness to Destiny
      (pp. 144-154)

      The consecrated life is a living treasure, a treasure of the heart, a treasure of God’s reign. As such, it always maintains its essential character throughout the ages, yet it adapts and renews in tumultuous periods of Church history so as to remain a vibrant sign of God’s Kingdom. In Vita Consecrata Pope John Paul II expressed clearly the essential character of the consecrated life in its primary role in service to the Church:

      It is the duty of the consecrated life to show that the incarnate Son of God is the eschatological goal toward which all things tend, the...

  8. Bibliography
    (pp. 155-160)
  9. Contributors
    (pp. 161-164)
  10. Index
    (pp. 165-170)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 171-171)