Religious Must Be Teachers of Holiness, Pope Says

Message to Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2001 ( The key question during the recent plenary assembly of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life was: How can religious be teachers of holiness?

In response to this question, John Paul II offered guidelines in a letter sent to the participants of the Sept. 25-28 assembly.

In the letter, he stresses the need for the religious and consecrated of the world to share their «spiritual goods» and foster «a mutual and more intense support» so that each one «will be responsible for, and at the same time in need of, the other, progressing in the life of faith according to the charism and ministry proper to each one.»

«Each religious community is called to be a place where one learns to pray, where one is taught to recognize and contemplate the face of Christ, growing day by day in the radical following of the Lord, addressing sincerely the truth about oneself, and directed with determination to the service of the Kingdom of God and of his justice,» the Pope added.

Thus, stemming from «an intense and generous fraternity,» the proclamation of the Gospel will be «more alive and effective,» the Bishop of Rome said.

In this spirit of communion, he added, all that is proper to the consecrated life, such as vows and the particular spirituality, «becomes a gift received, which is not to be jealously kept for oneself, but humbly and generously shared with the people of God, through word and witness, so that all, including those who are distant and appear to be hostile, might recognize and understand the profound news of Christianity.»

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