Monday, April 23, 2012

Perfectae Caritatis - Vatican II on consecrated religious life

(The material below comes from a post originally written three years ago.  I'm posting this again now, in April 2012, because of the news surrounding the LCWR in the United States.)

Perfectae Caritatis (the decree on the renewal of religious life), among others from Vatican II, could really have benefited from headings. It's not much to ask for. I mean, I finally caught on that the first couple words of a "paragraph" (really, a group of paragraphs with a single number) indicated the content matter for that numbered paragraph, but the organization of the document didn't jump out at me at first. For those of you reading along at home (and you are reading the documents of Vatican II, aren't you?), here's the breakdown of Perfectae Caritatis:
  1. Introduction (1)
  2. Principles of Renewal (2-6)
    1. Five General Principles of Renewal
    2. Call to Renewal
    3. Authority in Carrying Out the Renewal
    4. Dedication to Evangelical Counsels and Contemplation
    5. Sources of Renewal
  3. Types of Religious Life (7-11)
    1. Contemplative
    2. Apostolates (Active Communities)
    3. Monastic
    4. Lay Religious
    5. Secular
  4. Evangelical Counsels (12-14)
    1. Chastity
    2. Poverty
    3. Obedience
  5. Religious Lifestyle (15-18)
    1. Communal Living
    2. Papal Cloister
    3. Habits
    4. Education and Formation
  6. Lifecycle, Work, and Governance (19-24)
    1. Founding New Communities
    2. Community Identity (Ministry and Mission)
    3. Discontinuing a Community
    4. Combining Similar Communities
    5. Conferences or Councils of Major Superiors
    6. Fostering Vocations
  7. Conclusion (25)
I hope that's helpful for you, for when you read the documents of Vatican II.

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