Consecrated Life Going Strong, Says Archbishop

Notes Growth in Positive Direction

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 30, 2007 ( Consecrated life is in a moment of enormous vitality, says a Vatican official.

The secretary for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Archbishop Agostino Gardin, told the Spanish magazine Vida Religiosa that: “Those who speak insistently of decadence do not know consecrated life.”

The archbishop, who before his appointment as secretary of the Vatican congregation was minister general of the Conventual Franciscans and president of the Union of Superiors General, highlighted the “enormous vitality” of religious life.

Consecrated life “is on the right path; better still, it has always been so,” the archbishop said.

He described as “very positive” the attention that consecrated persons have given in recent years “to charisms and a return to the origins,” which has them “to revise their way of being and living” their vocation.

On addressing the question of a decline in vocations, Archbishop Gardin said: “Today we are more aware that specific charisms exists, but that they are comparable, and the fact that they attract more people or less people is secondary.”

He added that “religious life is called to be a qualitative life. The quantitative issue does not depend on us and must not be at the center of our concerns.”

Archbishop Gardin pointed out the importance that must be given to discernment and vocational support within religious communities, since “to invite a person to share our life and then not be up to the measure of supporting the person, of helping the person to grow spiritually and to discern is, deep down, a lack of honesty."

The Church celebrates World Day of Consecrated Life Friday.

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