A NEW Vatican rule requires religious orders to submit detailed written reports on their status to the Holy See at least every six years, instead of forwarding the minutes of their general chapter meetings as has been the case.
The aim is to keep the Vatican Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes updated on the activities of religious orders and "to promote fruitful dialogue", according to a letter sent to the orders by the head of the congregation, Cardinal Jean Jerome Hamer. The letter spelling out the new procedure was sent in January. A similar letter was sent to the heads of secular institutes.
The messages were published in the January 21 edition of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. The letter said information in the report should include: the economic condition of the organisation, listing any special difficulties; relations with local bishops and with national and international confederations of religious orders; activities to promote vocations and future growth of the organisation; how apostolic activities relate to the "special charism" of the organisation; statistics on members, religious houses operated and members who have left the organisation; how well communal life is proceeding.