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New Vatican document explains role of consecrated virgins

July 04, 2018

The Vatican has released a new document on the life of consecrated virgins.

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Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago is the first Vatican document to deal with the life of conscrated virgins who are not associated with religious orders. The document explains the tradition of consecrated life within the Church, and offers a detailed presentation of the norms and principles governing the life of consecrated virgins.

In a July 4 press conference presenting the new document, Cardinal Joao Braz de Aziz, the prefect of the Congregation for Religious, recalled that in 1970 a new ritual for the consecration of virgins allowed for the inclusion of “women who remain in their own ordinary life context” as well as members of religious orders. Since that time, the number of such consecrated virgins has steadily grown, so that today there are more than 5,000.

“Consecrated virgins are present in all the continents, in very numerous dioceses, and offer their own witness of life in every area of society and of the Church,” the Vatican document says.

Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago, Cardinal Braz de Aviz told reporters, was prepared in response to queries from many bishops around the world, who sought guidance from the Holy See in providing pastoral care for consecrated virgins. The document, the Brazilian cardinal continued, “Is intended intended to help discover the beauty of this vocation, and to help show the beauty of the Lord Who transfigures the life of so many women who experience it every day.”


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  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Jul. 04, 2018 5:27 PM ET USA

    The lacuna that is in greater need of pastoral, philosophical & theological address is regarding women who, like St Mary Magdalene, are not virgins, married or mothers. There are few women in this class in the history of the Church regarded as holy, yet there are many such in our parishes. When chaste celibate women in the parish are judged as vocationally valuable according to whether they are virgins it does make sense to ask about the role of repentant women single-hearted for merciful Jesus.