Religious warned not to abandon Vatican II renewal

A cardinal has warned religious against trying to abandon the changes in the Church brought about by the Second Vatican Council.

Brazilian Cardinal João Braz de Aviz said this to a conference of religious formation directors in Rome last week, according to an article in the National Catholic Reporter.

“Do not distance yourself from the great lines of the Second Vatican Council,” said the cardinal, who is prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

“In fact, those that are distancing themselves from the council to make another path are killing themselves – sooner or later, they will die,” he said.

“They will not have sense. They will be outside the Church.

“We need to build, using the Gospel and the council as a departure point.”

Cardinal Braz de Aviz told the formation directors that they must know that the needs of people considering religious life in today’s age “are not the same” as when the founders of their orders first received their charisms.

“These contexts have changed,” the cardinal said.

“And the council reminds us that consecrated life must be Christian discipleship . . . must be discipleship of the founders that we remember, but also must be open to the culture of the present moment.

“When we look only to the past and are not perceiving this moment that we are passing through, we run the risk of not being understood,” he continued.

“Also, [we risk] having [kept] inside ourselves a unique treasure like the consecrated life.”

Developing his thoughts later on the role of discernment in community life, Braz de Aviz told the formation directors: “We must not be closed to new things.”

“God is not static,” the cardinal said.

“God is always new movement – of light, of heat, of demonstration. He speaks in every time to men and women with the true language of that time.”

The Rome conference was one of several events the Vatican congregations will hold to mark the Year of Consecrated Life.


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