João Card. Braz de Aviz: “in these 50 years, consecrated life has followed a fruitful path of renewal”

Over at the best weekly in the UK, The Catholic Herald, I saw an article about religious life and the upcoming year for religious.

There is a comment about João Card. Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Religious:

“We are also convinced that in these 50 years, consecrated life has followed a fruitful path of renewal — certainly not without difficulties and struggles,” the cardinal said. “In this year, we want to recognize and confess our weaknesses, but we also want to show the world with strength and joy the holiness and vitality that are present in consecrated life.

Later in the article, there is information from Archbishop Jose Rodriguez Carballo, the Secretary of the Congregation.

In October, the archbishop wrote that between 2008 and 2012, the congregation for religious issued 11,805 dispensations, releasing men and women from their religious vows. Other religious received dispensations from the congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith, for Bishops and for Clergy, bringing to about 3,000 the average number of perpetually professed religious who left each year.

11K in 4-5 years?

3K each year?

?!?

UPDATE:

A friend sent an SMS:

Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on Braz
La-la how the life goes on
Ob-la-di ob-la-da life goes on Braz
La-la how the life goes on

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21 Responses to João Card. Braz de Aviz: “in these 50 years, consecrated life has followed a fruitful path of renewal”

  1. Shane says:

    Seems like all that sunshine from the New Springtime is causing quite a drought.

  2. disco says:

    In the immortal words of George Costanza, “it’s not a lie if YOU believe it.”

  3. Joseph-Mary says:

    You have to wonder what planet some folks live on! Some might have the opposite though that consecrated life has been devastated!

  4. rappingdaddy says:

    Quite staggering. Hopefully when he says “fruitful path of renewal” that he means there are many more vocations going in than dispensations being granted.

  5. anilwang says:

    Joseph-Mary says: “You have to wonder what planet some folks live on! Some might have the opposite though that consecrated life has been devastated!”

    It’s a common delusion. It works like this. A change is introduced that causes a decline. People are told to be patient…change takes time. The declines continue. People are told that more change is required. The decline accelerates and some people panic want to undo the change. People are told this would be a disaster, since if things did not change the declines would have been much worse. So in essence, this dramatic loss is a dramatic improvement over what would have happened if we didn’t change and it is a sure sign that we’re in the right direction. We just need a bit more change.

    Above works whether you’re talking about modernist reforms, sex (mis)education, contraception/abortion, or even gambling losses.

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  6. Mike says:

    Despite the rose-colored ridiculousness emanating from the Congregation for Religious, I can’t help but sense that there’s been an uptick in respect (some of it, granted, grudging or even hateful) over the last decade or two for consecrated life in general and for habited priests and nuns in particular.

    No, the drought is not over, not by a long shot. We must continue to pray for vocations and to support faithful orders and apostolates that are under attack from within and without.

    Nor can we depend on the “biological solution,” for the Devil is not a biological creature. We can, however, depend on the “angelical solution,” as we confidently invoke St. Michael to defeat Satan and error, and our Guardian Angels to intercede for us that we continue to be open to the truth.

  7. Incaelo says:

    I am sure there are places in the world where religious life is blooming, but I have never experienced it. In my diocese there is a single religious, a hermit, who happens to be a friend and is very solid in his faith and prayer. But that’s it. One religious in an entire diocese.

    Religious life in western Europe is, with some exceptions, increasing only in the average age of the members…

  8. Elizabeth D says:

    Then there are others of us who have sought for years some way to enter some form of consecrated life, fruitlessly. If I am not the only one (my situation may not be typical), then why is the Church not asking… we have people who want to be serving God and neighbor with their whole life, yet there is not now a place where they fit or may be formed in holiness to fit. Can there be?

  9. Is this not remeniscent of the propaganda of the Soviet Union, wherein the people were inundated with stories from The State about how well taken care of they were, while at the same time their actual living conditions were sparse and crude at best?

    It makes me wonder if the Cardinal is aware of the decimation of religious life “in these 50 years” and trying to prop up all our spirits with Happy Talk, or if he really is truly blind to that decimation. It has to be one or the other! Unless, of course, he finds more “strength and holiness” to be a handful of aging hippies than in a legion of hardworking religious. In truth, all three options are terrifying. All the more so since this man apparently has the ear of the holy father.

  10. Please recall what Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said about the Church: smaller, more faithful. Consecrated Life is a microcosm of the Church as a whole. While the loss of people living the life is lamentable it is not hopeless. I’d say that The Lord is pruning us so that we can bear more abundant fruit. I think His Eminence may be, in fact, expressing the same thing.

  11. robtbrown says:

    Card. Braz de Aviz appears to be the Ecclesiastical version of Baghdad Bob.

  12. Robbie says:

    It’s nice to know Cardinal Braz was able to take time away from the dismantling of the FFI so he could make these ridiculous statements.

    Can someone explain to me why Benedict chose to put Cardinal Braz in such a position of importance?

  13. Maynardus says:

    One wonders which sort of libations one must consume, and in what quantities, in order to “fruitfully renew” one’s brain cells in order to achieve a sufficient level of “vitality” to think like this…

  14. ChrisRawlings says:

    Br. Gabriel beat me to the punch…

    Crude quantitative measuurements aren’t really the best way of analyzing what the cardinal said. The pruning that we see in religious life is precisely renewal in action. You know enough vibrantly orthodox young religious and priests to know that that is the future of religious life, and not the LCWR sort on whom you spend far too much time bemoaning. How does that not convince you of the genuine renewal happening? Women religious here in Denver just took a ball peen hammer to the intrusive contraceptive mandate. That is what I think of when I think of consecrated life.

  15. tcreek says:

    How many people have entered religious life from your Catholic parish school in the last 50 years? Mine – Zero. After 12 years of Catholic elementary and secondary education at least 80% of the graduates seldom (or never) go to Mass.

    And we have just celebrated Catholic Schools Week.

    Our Catholic hierarchy has become a good ole boys club with their heads in the sand while offering congratulations to each other.

  16. Jim R says:

    Seems to me to be a fruitful time with a fair bit of lost fruit, at least in the USA. From CARA
    http://cara.georgetown.edu/caraservices/requestedchurchstats.html

    Religious priests: 1965 – 22,707 2013 – 12,350 46% reduction

    Religious brothers: 1965 – 12,271 2013 – 4,407 64% reduction

    Religious sisters: 1965 – 179,954 2013 – 51,247 72% reduction

    [The fruits of renewal?]

  17. MarkJ says:

    @carolina publican. You said: “It makes me wonder if the Cardinal is aware of the decimation of religious life “in these 50 years” and trying to prop up all our spirits with Happy Talk, or if he really is truly blind to that decimation. It has to be one or the other! Unless, of course, he finds more “strength and holiness” to be a handful of aging hippies than in a legion of hardworking religious. In truth, all three options are terrifying.”

    There is a fourth option, more terrifying than the others: that some bishops may be purposely decimating religious life to help “sing a new church into being”. Modernism has no place for religious, except perhaps the “nuns on the bus” variety. It’s the liberal way – destroy what exists, rid the Church of its Tradition, and create something alien in its place. Their fruits are not our fruits…

  18. Sword40 says:

    And its not just the Consecrated life that is failing; attendance at the many small parishes in SW Washington state is plummeting too. Collections are rock bottom. Churches are beginning to close. The last Nun (in habit) that I saw was last spring. she and another were visiting from Spokane. Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church. There is still hope, but lets be real about this; we are in trouble.

  19. RJHighland says:

    RobTbrown,
    ROTFL, Cardinal Braz is Rome’s version of Bagdad Bob!!!! Oh how true. It would be interesting to see the break down as to why these religious are leaving the Church has there been a study done. I imagine that info is filed along with the 2nd half of the 3rd vision of Fatima. Are they progressive or are they tradtional religious that are leaving? If they are false teachers and molesters it is good they are leaving the Church. If they are good men disgusted with the power of the Lavander Mafia in the Church that is another story. If they are good men you would think they would leave there present religious vocation and find a more traditional group to worship and proclaim the gospel. I know of several good men that left their calling to the religious life because of the open homosexuality in the seminary they were sent to was too much for them to handle.

    I would say that in the last 5-10 yrs. there has been an improvement in the character of many of the young religous coming into the Church but when you take it back beyond that it is a disaster. But Rome is doing a great job of crushing one of the groups that has been a shining star the Friars of the Immaculate. Go figure.

    Anilwang, you are very wise. I would just refer to your statement as or Progessive Principle or Life on deNile.

  20. PA mom says:

    Ok, so there are signs of renewal (Sisters of Life, Nashville Dominicans, Summit Dominicans).

    Shouldn’t the Congregation for Religious be an instrument helping the renewal spread? Are they doing anything actively to place some of the wayward back on track, or just approving their departures?

  21. robtbrown says:

    For those who don’t know, Baghdad Bob was the name given by retired Col Dave Hunt to the Iraqi Minister of Information, whose regular briefings detailed various fictitious victories by the Iraqi military. In fact, once he said to John Burns that he was too far from reality, even as the area around the palace was burning in back of him.