This Morning I was reading this article about Pope Francis talking to the members of the Franciscan family. The article says, “Between 2008 and 2012, he said, the congregation for religious issued 11,805 dispensations, releasing men and women from their religious vows. Other religious received dispensations from the congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Bishops and for Clergy, which brings to about 3,000 the average number of perpetually professed religious leaving every year.”
The article went on to quote an archbishop, “We shouldn’t be alarmed, but we must not fall asleep, either.” Than he went on to quote Paul VI, “Fidelity is not the virtue of our age.”
Some of reasons given why so many religious seek to leave are, “absence of a spiritual life, loss of a sense of community and affective problems.”
What struck me was the loss of as sense of community. We all need community. Where there is real community we help each other grow in virtue and love.
We are the Body of Christ and we do not stand alone.
In an age when it is so hard for men and women to make a commitment to religious life. How sad that so many are leaving after they have made final vows.
While this article is about religious life. I believe it has implications for secular priests as well. Every year around ordination we hear of this or that priest leaving.
Three reasons are given why so many religious leave, “absence of a spiritual life, loss of a sense of community and affective problems.” In many ways these 3 reasons are interrelated. If there is no community than the spiritual life will suffer. We come to God as the Body of Christ. And if a person lives alone, are we surprised that affective problems develop?
Where there is True Authentic Community there is a Vital Presence of the Holy Spirit and many are healed in the presence of brotherly love.
God’s Love is found in community.