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2015 will be devoted to consecrated life, Pope says

Catholic World News - December 02, 2013

Pope Francis announced that the year 2015 will be specially dedicated to consecrated life, as he met on November 29 with leaders of the Union of Superiors General.

The Pope surprised the religious leaders by meeting with them for a 3-hour discussion, rather than settling for the usual papal audience. He did not speak from a prepared text, but answered questions in a lengthy session that the Vatican described as “colloquial and fraternal.”

In his remarks the Pope underlined the importance of a radical commitment to religious life. “Consecrated life is prophecy,” he said. While recognizing that many religious orders face decline, the Holy Father pointed to the impressive increase in membership among some religious communities, particularly in societies that were recently regarded as mission territory.

The key to preserving an active religious community, the Pope suggested, is being faithful to the charism of the religious order, and forming young members to pursue that charism. He acknowledged that religious communities must sometimes overcome misunderstandings by diocesan leaders. “We bishops must understand that consecrated persons are not helpers, but rather charisms which enrich dioceses,” the Pope said.

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