DISCUSS REF RMS
Big changes forecast 14-day conference
FAR-REACHING reforms of the numerous religious orders and congregations throughout the world will, it is believed, be proposed at the 14-day International Congress of Religious which opens in Rome on Sunday.
The reforms, it is said, would affect the government, discipline, privileges and property of the orders and congregations of both men and women.
Main aims of the proposals are to enable members of contemplative communities—particularly those of women—to share in the Church's active apostolate, and to establish federations of orders and congregations engaged in similar work. IHRIIIIIIIIIRIIIIIIIIIIIIIM811101111111111111filtillilelleRIIIHRIMM01111111111M111111111111111111111111leellelleee Thus, mendicant orders — including the Dominicans. Franciscans and Carmelites would he grouped under the patronage of two of them, and the Clerks Regular — including the Jesuits would be under the patronage of one.
Similarly. the Religious Congregations—among them the Redemptorists, Salesians, Vincentians and Holy Ghost Fathers -would be placed under the patronage of one.
Though venerable traditions would remain untouched, the rules of many communities would undergo considerable revision.
Orders and congregations would retains their autonomy, while being federated—as 15 Benedictine congregations are already federated.
A report from an ecclesiastical source in Rome suggests that if the proposals are carried through they will effect the greatest reform of the religious life the Church has ever seen.
More than 800 delegates from many parts of the world will take part in the discussions.
The organising committee is cornposed of celebrated religious of about a dozen orders and congregations, and the meetings will be held under the authority of the Sacred Congregation of Religious.
Recent statistics place the number of priests and other professed members of orders and congregations of men at some 220,000, and nuns and sisters at approaching 600,000.
Their organisations are officially listed by the Vatican in this order : Canons Regular, Monks, Mendicant Orders. Clerks Regular, Ecclesiastical Congregations and Religious Institutes.
Canons Regular of Si Augustine, whose rule of life recalls the common life of the Apostles, have four congregations.
First is the Congregation of the Lateran of the Most Holy Redeemer, who were attached to the Pope's cathedral. Their Abbot General is an Englishman, Abbot Louis Smith, who went to Rome from a North London parish.
Abbot Smith is placed first in the Vatican's official list of religious. Second is the Lateran Congregation of Austria, who also have an Abbot General.
Third are the so-called " monks" of St. Bernard. They are in fact Canons : their official title is the Hospitaller Congregation of the Great St. Bernard. They have two foundations in the Alps and one in the mountains on the fringe of Tibet.
Fourth is the Swiss Congregation (Continued on page 8)