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The Message
Evansville, Indiana
April 5, 1996     The Message
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April 5, 1996

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: ': The ;llesge '" 6r Caih(li(s of  '" " ........ ": ' ' outhwestern Inana 3 they all:work in the fieldsi' She said the boys seemed to have money on hand, but the girls promised to donate glr dra. Ready said they were fascinated to learn Aaron Doades, that she lives with her five brothers and sisters Jennifer Ellerman, and her parents ina "multi,use" one-room home. The roof is thatched, the floor is dirt, and the ,ion stu- "facilities" are the nearby field. "not available." "The kids were fascinated by this," Ready fascinated to learn that Sandra's father makes $40 a month as a laborer. commit them- The class keeps Sandra's photo in their ponsor a classroom, along with a bank for their donations. farms. This and some stu- dents use part of their allowances. " Aaron West, front row, Aaron Doades, Kayla Ethridge, back row, Brock Lanej Jennifer Ellerman and Jana Nowaskie have adopted a four-year-old Bolivian girl. They are students Vincent de Paul Church, Vincennes. calls for greater decision-making roles for women religious WOODEN Service CITy (CNS) _ In life, II called for of reli- in decision:mak_ for reli- and a careful new religious 0.8"page apos- response to of Bish- life was re- at the Vati- to made by the medi- ce of e Within the e POwer of the and modem s and mate- Church's es- COnsecrated )st two-thirds Underlying new docu- Women and Capacity for express of the pope aul said the cannot deny rights of recog- have not nec- concrete providing Participate lev- in matters n them- selves," he said. The pope encouraged greater esteem for another group often described by synod members as having second-class status: re- ligious brothers. But he said the synod's sug- gestion that they be allowed to hold leadership positions in or- ders that include priests would require further study. Responding to a suggestion made by some of the bishops at the synod, the pope "strongly" recommended that men and women religious "wear their proper habit, suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place." Those orders that tradition- ally have had no habit or whose constitutions now do not re- quire habits "should ensure that the dress of their members corresponds in dignity and sim- plicity to the nature of their vo- cation," Pope John Paul wrote. New forms of consecrated life -- especially communities with a mixed membership of men and women, single and married people -- won some praise, but much caution at the synod and in the pope's new document. The pope said the Holy Spirit has inspired different forms of consecrated life at different times in the church's history to respond to new needs within the church and in the world. "If, on the one hand, there is reason to rejoice at the Holy Spirit's action, there is, on the other, a need for discernment regarding these charisms," the pope wrote. As has always been the case with new religious communi- ties, "bishops should examine the witness of life and the or- thodoxy of the founders of such communities, their spirituality, the ecclesial awareness shown in carrying out their mission, the methods of formation and the manner of incorporation into the community," he said. Pope John Paul said he would establish a Vatican com- mission to study questions re- lated to new forms of conse- crated life"to determine criteria of authenticity which will help discernment and deci- sion-making." Another concern of bishops at the synod was the tensions that sometimes exist between the pastoral activity and priori- ties of a diocese and the activi- ties that religious intend to carry out in the same territory. The pope urged bishops and religious to be in constant con- tact and to share their re- sources. Each order or institute, he said, "is recognized as having a rightful autonomy, enabling it to follow its own discipline and to kee p intact its spiritual and apostolic patrimony." But, because the local bishop is the pope's representative and head of the local church, reli- gious cannot invoke their au- tonomy "in order to justify choices which actually conflict with the demands of organic communion called for by a healthy ecclesial life," he said. The apostolic exhortation, like the 1994 synod, called for an unquestioning acceptance of the vows, but left most ques- tions regarding lifestyles, min- istries and governance up to the constitutions or rules gov- erning the huge variety of Catholic religious orders, secu- lar institutes and other forms of consecrated life. "Live to the full your dedica- tion to God so that this world may never be without a ray of divine beauty to lighte n the path of human existence," Pope John Paul told the church's consecrated members. By embracing poverty, chastity and obedience, conse- crated men and women are ex- amples of the Christian call of total dedication to God and to serving humanity, the pope said. The pope described the voca- tion to consecrated life as an experience of God's love "so deep and so powerful that the person called senses the need to respond by unconditionally dedicating his or her life to God, consecrating to him all things present and future, and placing them in his hands." Recognizing the "difficult and trying period" many reli- gious orders have gone through in the last 30 years and the se- rious decline in their member- ship in Europe and North America, the pope called reli- gious to a new creativity, fi- delity and spirit of cooperation with lay people. The key to consecrated life is a radical following of Christ through vows, he said. Living out the vows is a countercultural sign in a world that often puts the individual and his or her desires and pos- sessions above all other values, the pope said. "The evangelical counsels should not be considered as a denial of the values inherent in sexuality, in the legitimate de- sire to possess material goods or to make decisions for one- self," he said. But because of the influence of sin, they can be used im- morally or can become idols, the pope said. Chastity, he said, challenges the "hedonistic culture which cparates sexuality from all ob- jective moral norms, often treating it as a mere diversion and a consumer good." The vow of poverty is a re- proach to those who crave pos- sessions, ignore the needs and sufferings of the poor and do not acknowledge a need to re- spect the environment, the pope said. The way obedience is lived in religious communities and in the church, Pope John Paul said, challenges ideas about freedom and the individual that ignore objective truths and moral norms. Several synod participants expressed concern about the weakened role of religious su- periors after the Second Vati- can Council, saying an exagger- ated spirit of democracy had left many congregations with- out a true superior. The pope said that while there were legitimate reasons to re- examine the role of supe- riors, "those whoexercise au- thority cannot renounce their obligation as those first respon- sible for the community." "In an atmosphere strongly affected by individualism, it is not an easy thing to foster recognition and acceptance of the role which authority plays for the benefit of all," he said. The authority of the supe- rior, who must have "the final word," is essential for forming true communities and "in order not to render vain the obedi- ence professed." People we care about... Following is a feature in the Message, designed to help dra, together the People of God in southwestern Indiana. Readers are invited to submit information about people who may benefit by some extra prayers and attention. Prayers are requested for five-year-old Adam Duvall who recently was diagnosed with liver cancer. Adam is the son of Jeff and Linda (Schenk) Duvall. His parents graduated from Memorial High School, Evansville, in 1977. The family attends Holy Rosary Church, Evansville. Adam has two older sisters and a younger brother. Prayers are requested for Mary Reine who is hospitalized in Cincinnati. Cards may be sent to her at 1312 Diefenbach Rd., Evansville IN 47720. She is a member at Corpus Christi Church, Evansville. Please send information for PEOPLE WE CARE ABOUT to Mar..' Ann Hughes, The Message, P.O. Box 4169, Evansville, IN 47724.