"Religious Have Special Responsibility"

Bishop Diarmuid Martin Warns Consecrated About Comfortable Lifestyle

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ROME, JAN. 28, 2001 (Zenit.org).-
What differentiates a religious from any other humanitarian agent committed to the struggle for justice?

Bishop Diarmuid Martin, a social-doctrine expert, tackled that question during a study session last week on the Social Doctrine of the Church and the role of religious. The meeting, organized by the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, of the Union of General Superiors and the International Union of Mother Generals, was held in the motherhouse of the Christian Brothers.

For 15 years, Bishop Martin was secretary of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Last month, the Pope appointed the Irish prelate a Vatican permanent observer at the United Nations in Geneva.

During his address, Bishop Martin said that “religious have the special responsibility to ensure that the consistency between faith and social commitment becomes a reality in all Christians.”

As regards the specific role of religious, “through their commitment to follow the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, they are called to be special witnesses in the world of values that transcend the present, and of the values of the Kingdom, which transcend every desire for power and material possessions.”

Nevertheless, he said, “the temptation to fall into a comfortable lifestyle is very great,” and to avoid that risk “religious must be grounded in the values of the Kingdom.”

He added: “The witness of religious for the Kingdom, if radically lived, will bring them interior peace and that freedom, which allows for selfless service full of love.”

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