Pope Francis warns of the dangers to the consecrated life and encourages a remembrance of its roots
Pope Francis warned on December 11 of the dangers and challenges of a consecrated life, reminding us of the importance of remembering our “roots,” because “it makes us grow.”
Meeting with the participants in the plenary session of the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the Holy Father stressed that for consecrated life it is “necessary” to focus on the gift of God, on His honor. Invitation, by the power of transforming his word and spirit.”
The Pope stressed the importance of “memory” so that consecrated people look to “the future with confidence”.
“Why do I say deuteronomic memory? Because it is so important to remember. This message is from Deuteronomy: ‘Remember Israel, remember. That memory is from history, and history itself, and the memory of the institute itself. That memory is from the roots. And that makes us grow,'” he said.
The Holy Father warned that “when we lose our memory, the memory of the miracles that God has done in the Church, in our institution, in my life – everyone can say – we lose our strength and we will not be able to give life. That is why I say deuteronomic memory.”
“I know the multiplicity of situations they have to deal with every day. Situations that are often complex and require an in-depth study in their history and in dialogue with the heads of the institutes and with the pastors,” Pope Francis told the participants in the plenary session of the Congregation of Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
It is a serious and patient work of discernment that can only be achieved within the horizon of faith and prayer. Acumen and companion. Especially accompanying newly founded communities, which are more at risk of self-referral,” he said.
In this accompaniment, he said, “There is a basic criterion of distinction: the capacity of a community, or the capacity of an institution, to ‘integrate into the life of God’s holy people for the good of all.'”
“Is this institute capable of integrating into the life of God’s holy and faithful people or not? He emphasized that this criterion is crucial to the distinction.
The Pope stressed that “the consecrated life is born in the Church, grows and bears its evangelical fruits only in the Church and in the living communion of the faithful people of God.”
The Holy Father also called for attention to “the founders, who sometimes tend to refer to themselves, to feel that they are the only guardians or interpreters of the gift, as if they were above the Church.”
He also encouraged attention to the “Ministry of Profession and Training for Candidates” and “How the Service of Power is Exercised, with Particular Attention to the Separation of Internal and External Jurisdictions—a matter of great concern to me—for the duration of mandates and the accumulation of powers.”
The Pope also called for attention to “violations of power and authority.”
On “distinctions for the adoption of new institutions, new forms of consecrated life or new communities”, the Holy Father encouraged members of the Vatican to “develop cooperation with the bishops of the diocese”.
I urge priests not to be intimidated and to be fully welcome to accompany him. It is the priest’s responsibility to accompany and at the same time accept this service, he said.
He added that “this cooperation and this synergy between the dystopianism and the bishops also makes it possible – as requested by the council – to avoid the creation of institutions without sufficient motivation or activity.”
Then Pope Francis said, “With regard to the mention of roots, what comes to mind Malachi says: What is God’s punishment? When God wants to exterminate a human being, or a people, or, say, an institution, he makes it, as Malachi says, “without roots and without Buds”.
“If we didn’t have this memory of defrosting and didn’t have the courage to squeeze the juice out of it to grow, we wouldn’t even have buds. Damn severe: uprooted and budless.”
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