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Pope summons religious leaders to Rome to discuss financial assets of religious orders

Catholic World News - March 03, 2014

Pope Francis has summoned leaders of the world’s religious orders to Rome for a weekend meeting on the proper use of their financial assets, the National Catholic Reporter has learned.

Although the Vatican has not announced the meeting, the Reporter obtained a copy of a letter from Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, the secretary of the Congregation for Religious, conveying the Pope’s wish that religious leaders would attend the sessions. The congregation has reportedly been forced to limit attendance because of the number of religious orders sending representatives.

In arranging the unprecedented meeting, Pope Francis is pressing the religious orders to ensure that their assets are used “for the service of humanity and for the mission of the Church.” The Holy Father has remarked that pastors and religious leaders have an obligation to act as stewards for material resources, using them to advance the faith. He has pointedly applied that principle to assets such as empty convents.

The National Catholic Reporter has a list of the talks scheduled for the weekend meeting. In its letter of invitation, the Congregation for Religious acknowledges that religious orders are often forced to be involved in economic dealings, but underlines that in making financial decisions “they can run the risk of losing their true identity.”

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