A Call to Religious Life Worldwide

If you’re interested in the future of monasticism and other forms of consecrated religious life, read this article by Jose Maria Vigil, CMF: A Call To Religious Life Worldwide

Father Vigil argues that the collapse of religious life in Europe (and, by extension, in North and South America) is due not only to the secularization of society, but also to problems related to institutionalization: to excessive control by the church heirarchy and to the tendency that religious bureaucracy has to stultify prophetic and charismatic movements.

Even for those of us who are not “in” monastic or consecrated religious life, but who look to the traditions of monasticism and religious orders for our own spiritual guidance, there’s plenty to chew on here.

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  • Sue Balcom

    due not only to the secularization of society, but also to problems related to institutionalization: (SSB here–SOMEBODY STOP ME!!!! Can we say institutional MAN MADE LAWS and RITUALS developed over the ages by the church fathers to help the wretched, lost and spiritually stupid laity (TONGUE IN CHEEK HERE) to find their way to God. The ideas may have had merit in that particular bubble in history, but these man made laws became our religion, our spirituality and have squeezed the Holy Spirit in a very little corner of the Catholic Church)
    Excessive control by the church heirarchy and to the tendency that religious bureaucracy has to stultify prophetic and charismatic movements.

  • rodney neill

    A very sobering article.

  • Anne Doop

    For a long time now I’ve watched the organization of religion used for worldly gain by people not worthy of calling themselves holy, religious, righteous, etc. My spiritual life is something that I’ve recently lost sight of. The white noise of everyday religion, the billboards, the street signs, the storefront churches promising everything from soup to salvation, and for what? What do they possibly hope to gain? The gain is and should be the personal spiritual growth – the closeness to God, whomever that may be.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/carlmccolman/ Carl McColman

    Anne, I didn’t know you had such an existentialist streak! :-)
    I think it is so essential to come to grips with the shadow side of religion. For many people, this means leaving religion behind. For other gluttons for punishment (like yours truly), it means trying to relate to religion realistically and honestly. Religion is made up of people, and people are pretty screwed up. So, do the math… religion will always be flawed and broken. The question is: can at least some good come out of it? I believe it’s possible, and that’s what keeps me going back for more. But of course, each of us must find our own way. Some of my dearest and most profoundly spiritual friends are those who rely on informal communities, rather than organized church bodies, for their spiritual sustenance. As this article by Father Vigil points out, religious life is evolving/mutating into something totally new. It will interesting to watch this unfold in the years to come.

  • http://www.anchormast.com Tess

    Very interesting article indeed. I think the current Vatican investigations into American nuns are part of the same pattern of the institutional church dampening the flames of the Holy Spirit when they spring up.

    I agree with your comment that religion is made up of people and will therefore always be flawed. We the people give the institutional church more authority than it merits through our own fear – I still remember the fears as well as the joy of a Catholic childhood.

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