In his address to the International Union of Superiors General (UISG) Pope Francis has directly challenged the dissent and disobedience found among some of their members, such as the US Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Holy Father’s words on the importance of obedience to the Magisterium, thinking with the mind of the Church, and unity with the successor of St Peter are clear and categorical, allowing no room for misunderstanding or misrepresentation, though certainly some will willfully misunderstand, misrepresent, even ignore, his words.
‘Obedience as listening to the will of God, in the interior movement of the Holy Spirit authenticated by the Church, accepting that obedience passes also through human mediation. Remember that the relationship of authority-obedience is contextualized in the much larger context of the ministry of the Church and it constitutes a special fulfillment of its mediating function (cf Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life… The service of authority and obedience, 12).’
‘Finally, the ecclesial aspect (ecclesialità) as one of the constitutive dimensions of the consecrated life, a dimension which must be constantly recovered and deepened in life. Your vocation is a fundamental charism through the journey of the Church, and it is not possible that a consecrated woman or man do not “think” with the Church, which gave birth to us in Baptism; a “thinking” with the Church which finds its filial expression in fidelity to the Magisterium, in communion with the Shepherds and the Successor of Peter, Bishop of Rome, visible sign of unity. The announcement of and the witness to the Gospel, for every Christian, is never an isolated act. This is important, the announcing of and the witnessing to the Gospel for every Christian is never an isolated act or that of a group, and no evangelizer whosoever acts, as Paul VI recalled so well, “under the force of his own inspiration, but in union with the mission of the Church and in her name” (Ap. Ex. Evangelii nuntiandi, 80). Paul VI continued: “It is an absurd dichotomy to think to live outside the Church, to love Jesus without living the Church (cf ibid., 16). Feel strongly the responsibility that you have to care for the formation of your Institutes in the sound doctrine of the Church, in the love of the Church and in the ecclesial spirit.
In sum, the centrality of Christ and of the Gospel, authority as a service of love, to “think” in and with Mother Church: these are the three main points I desire to leave with you, to which I join once again my gratitude for your work, which is not always easy.
1) Christ and the Gospel are central
2) authority as a service of love (which is charity)
3) aligning one’s heart, mind and will with the Church
Protect the Pope comment: One of the major themes emerging from Pope Francis’ homilies and addresses is the incompatibility of egotistical individualism with the vocation of a Christian. The dissent and disobedience of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the Association of Catholic Priests is the antithesis of Pope Francis’ understanding of Catholic discipleship. All genuine Catholics live in the relationship of authority-obedience expressed by Pope Francis, ‘thinking” with the Church which finds its filial expression in fidelity to the Magisterium, in communion with the Shepherds and the Successor of Peter, Bishop of Rome, visible sign of unity.’
H/T Fr Z