THE HEAD of the world's Discalced Carmelites, in a letter to Pope John Paul II, has expressed "disgust" at the "very hard tone and the polemical content" of a Vatican letter announcing a decision to write a new constitution based on a 16th-century rule.
Spanish Fr Felipe Sainz de Baranda wrote to the Pope after he had received an October IS letter signed by the Vatican secretary of state announcing the decision. The Pope had ordered the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes to draw up constitutions for the more than 800 cloistered Carmelite convents throughout the world.
"Permit me, Your Holiness, to express to you my disgust for the very hard tone and the polemical content of the letter of the secretariat of state," Fr Sainz de Baranda wrote. he said that the Vatican document had taken sides with a small number within the order who opposed post-Vatican II efforts.
Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, the Vatican secretary of state, wrote the letter as a response to a dispute within the order. About 80 per cent of the nuns wanted constitutions based on experimental declarations approved by Pope John Paul VI. Some 20 per cent,-primarily located in Spain, wanted a rule based on the 1581 rule of St Teresa of Avila, who founded the Discalced Carmelite nuns.