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Vatican publishes book on persevering in and abandoning religious life


“Today, fidelity is fluid, and the crisis consecrated life faces is the same one experienced within families.” With this affirmation, José Rodríguez Carballo describes the context of one reality of the Church: that of religious men and women abandoning consecrated life.

According to the secretary of the Vatican department for religious institutes, in 2019, 1,600 people left the consecrated life. He says this is due to three main causes: faith crises, community life crises and affective crises.

JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ CARBALLO
Secretary, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life

“This is what's commonly presented as the main cause. A religious man falls in love with a woman. A religious woman falls in love with a man. Well, it's a fact. However, we have to see why and how it's come to this. It's come to this, in many cases, because of a lack of a concrete, real faith, because of a lack of profound fraternity.”

He says these causes are just the tip of the iceberg, and he underscores the need for more profound formation and discernment.

JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ CARBALLO
Secretary, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life

“Consecrated life isn't for everyone, nor is everyone made for consecrated life. The vow of chastity is made freely, but once it's made, one must try to be coherent and not turn to subterfuge.”

In front of this reality, the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life presented the book, “El don de la fidelidad. La alegría de la perseverancia,” which translates to “The gift of fidelity. The joy of perseverance.” It focuses on three main points.

JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ CARBALLO
Secretary, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life

“The first chapter is the perception of reality. The second is a strong invitation for each person to take seriously the responsibility of this fidelity and perseverance to which the Church constantly calls us. The third is purely canonical.”

This last chapter includes notes and norms for men and women looking to leave a religious community.

Msgr. Rodríguez Carballo is helping promote this text. He insists upon the need for deeper vocational discernment.

JOSÉ RODRÍGUEZ CARBALLO
Secretary, Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life

“May consecrated life not be a refuge nor an escape from the world. It's a life option that must be chosen responsibly and seriously.”

It's a lifestyle in need of strong witnesses of joy, coherence and hope.


Daniel Díaz Vizzi
Translation: CT