Rorate Caeli

Spain: Religious Orders prepare for the end

(Note: Some minor corrections have been made to the entry for the Franciscans (OFM) as of 1750H GMT of Jan. 11, 2013.)

A reader has brought to our attention an article in Spanish, published on October 2012, summarizing the "restructuring" of some of the major religious orders in Spain (due to the drastic decline in their numbers and vocations) as follows:


Society of Jesus : Its five Spanish provinces (Aragon, Andalusia or Betica, Castile, Loyola and Tarragona, see picture to the left) will be consolidated into a single province, the "Province of Spain", in 2014. (Photo source.)





Order of Friars Minor Capuchin (OFM Cap) : In 2011 the four provinces of Andalusia, Castile, Navarra-Cantabria-Aragon and Valencia were unified into a single province.

To the right: Spanish Capuchins during the assembly that unified their provinces in 2010. (Source)
Discalced Carmelites : In 2014 the seven provinces of Navarre, Burgos, Castile, Andalusia, Aragon, Valencia, Catalonia and Portugal will be unified into one.


In 2010, there were 433 Discalced Carmelites in Spain; 230 were above 60 years of age (92 were more than 80 years old), and 203 were below 60 years of age (only 25 were below 40 years old).


Above: Discalced Carmelite Capitulars of the Province of Aragon praying together in 2010. (Photo and statistics source)


Order of Friars Preachers (Dominicans): In 2016, the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Friars Preachers, the Dominicans will unify the Provinces of Spain, Aragon, Andalusia, Portugal and the Vicariate of the Holy Rosary into one. 

Meeting in 2012 of  Spanish Dominican superiors. Photo source



Order of Friars Minor (OFM) : In 2015 the Provinces of 1) Castile, 2) Andalusia, 3) Granada, 4) Valencia-Aragon, 5) Catalonia, 6) Cartagena-Murcia and 7) the Custody of San Francisco Solano will be consolidated into a single entity. The Provinces of Aránzazu and Santiago will remain as they are. 

Meeting of Spanish Franciscan Provincial Definitors in Sept. 2012. Photo source

Franciscans of the Province of Valencia, and some Franciscan sisters, attending a conference in 2009. Photo source

73 comments:

B. said...

In December there was a meeting of all the novices of the orders in Catalonia. Here is how the Mass was celebrated.

Giovanni A. Cattaneo said...

This is of course the perfect example of the Biological solution that Father Z always talks about in his blog. In the end its either get with the program or die. As the years go by it all becomes more and more obvious.

The Rad Trad said...

I would laugh at those images if they did not illustrate a lugubrious tragedy: Spain gave us the Jesuits and Ignatius himself, along with Ss Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, and a legal system which kept Protestantism at bay. One could say the Counter-Reformation era was born in Spain, and now it is quite dead it seems.

BJC said...

The stand out feature to me is all the priests dressed in normal clothes. It says it all. The world has invaded the Church. There is no sense of the supernatural at all.

Introitus said...

Are we sure this is due entirely to a lack of vocations, or have advances in technology and communications changed the way provinces are run?

Jerry said...

Did anyone else notice the sparsity of religious attire in these photos?

McCormack said...

Nice to see them all in their habits.

Jason said...

Funny how most of them aren't even wearing religious garb

william said...

Depressing that they're all dressed in the secular clothes of the layman. The Tyburn nuns in London who keep tradition to the fore (full habits and no nonsense) have heaps of vocations.

umblepie said...

This is really sad. But what struck me when looking at these photographs, is how few - if any, are wearing their normal religious habit. Symbolic perhaps, of their current situation? O holy Spanish saints and martyrs, pray for Spain.

A. M. D. G. said...

A picture is worth a thousand words! This news is no surprise.

Andrew said...

There is no question that there is a crisis in the Church. HOWEVER, there are also glimpses of hope. Please check out this video of a cloistered religious community in Spain that was almost extinct and thanks to the holy leadership of their 43 year old prioress is now overflowing with vocations. They are are orthodox and celebrate the Novus Ordo. Please watch this video so that you don't become totally depressed and demoralised regarding the crisis in the Church. The Church will survive this crisis because our Lord said she would!

Watch here.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4aRWpWKo0cs

Bill Phelan said...

On Wednesday evening I spoke with Fr. Buckley who teaches at the F.S.S.P. seminary in Denton, Nebraska. He stated there were seventy-four (74) seminarians studying at the seminary. The F.S.S.P. is in full accord with Rome and the priests say the 1962 Traditional Latin Mass.

Vlad Pepes said...

Here in Spain, the great orders (OFM, OP, SI, OCD) are completely plagued with progressivism, liturgical abuse and doctrinal error. It's a true disgrace, since they were extremely important in Church life and structure...

Domine, exaudi nos!

Augustinus said...

"Are we sure this is due entirely to a lack of vocations, or have advances in technology and communications changed the way provinces are run?"

Introitus,

First, it is no secret that the Church in Spain has suffered a steep decline in vocations, affecting the diocesan clergy and especially the major religious Orders.

Second, in religious life, the personal, face-to-face interaction of superiors with their subjects is necessary and of utmost importance. Your question assumes that religious can be "remote controlled" through modern means of communication. That is simply not the case.

Augustinus said...

"Please check out this video of a cloistered religious community in Spain that was almost extinct and thanks to the holy leadership of their 43 year old prioress is now overflowing with vocations. They are are orthodox and celebrate the Novus Ordo."

Andrew,

Your news is very late. Since then, that group of nuns has left the Poor Clares and spun into a charismatic, non-contemplative religious congregation named "Jesu Communio".

We're aware here in Rorate that nearly everything that has a smile on it is taken to be a "sign of hope" nowadays. My question is whether the loss of hundreds of women from the contemplative life to the active life is really a sign of hope. The history of religious Orders (where passage from active to contemplative life has always been more favored while the opposite has always been discouraged) and the crashing and burning of so many "new communities" of this type makes me rather hesitant to immediately praise this new congregation.

Augustinus said...

"On Wednesday evening I spoke with Fr. Buckley who teaches at the F.S.S.P. seminary in Denton, Nebraska. He stated there were seventy-four (74) seminarians studying at the seminary. The F.S.S.P. is in full accord with Rome and the priests say the 1962 Traditional Latin Mass."

The flowering of new religious congregations that embrace the Tradition of the Church is a topic frequently discussed in this blog.

However, this cannot make up for the decline and fall of the ancient religious Orders.

The old religious Orders and monasteries, with their distinct gifts and traditions and their schools of spirituality, are simply irreplaceable. Their internal devastation by modernism and their collapse through the alienation of vocations is costing the Church the heritage that had been passed down to these Orders by their saints, mystics and legions of heroic but unknown members.

It is also a fact that, while new religious congregations that embrace the traditional rites are growing, they are not growing fast enough (nor is it possible, given present constraints) to make up for the aging and death of the last batch of religious and priests who had been ordained in the years before, during, and just after the Council.

Sorry, but this is the truth. This does not mean that I "lack hope", it's just that hope has never meant the denial of reality.

Lynda said...

None of those in the photos are dressed like members of religious orders or priests. The outer reflects, reinforces and sometimes leads the inner adherence to the Faith. I cannot imagine any faithful priest or religious not wearing his habit when meeting with his community. It is very sad. I know older Dominicans who go about undercover in public - preventing people from recognising them, and being able to ask for their help, etc. Thankfully, most of the younger Dominicans don't stop being Dominicans when they step outside the friary.

Lynda said...

That is depressing ..... frightening. That is not the Catholic Faith.

Jonvilas said...

Well, as ancient Romans used to say, "Sic transit gloria mundi". These guys, judging from their appearance, all embraced this world, instead of our Lord Jesus Christ. The consequences then are inevitable. The prince of this world doesn't need them. Or as Jesus used to say, "No servant can serve two masters" (Lk 16, 13). They have betrayed their True Master, now must bear the consequences. Sad and instructive, nevertheless.

Lynda said...

The pictures look like those of trade union meetings.

Andrew said...

Augustinus,

The fact that they are no longer cloistered is not in and of itself a tragedy. They still have many vocations and vow themselves to poverty, chastity and obedience. They also have a profound love for the Lord and the Church. God is using them.

The point is that the crisis is quickly reversed when communities embrace a religious life that is based on the teachings of the Church, involves sacrifice and service and a profound love for God.

You should note that I started my message by acknowledging the very real crisis in the Church. Unfortunately, among some of our more traditional bretheren there is tendency to focus on only the negative and wallow in the crisis. For my part, I have shaken the dust off my feet regarding liberal communities who are dying because of the very liberal approaches they have taken (that includes parishes as well). I decided a long time ago to focus on the fact that Our Lord promised that the gates of hell would not prevail and He has and continues to keep his promise. The Church of the future will be smaller but it will be more faithful. Orthodox religious life will always flourish. Orders that are dying can change their fate if they return to orthodoxy. If a charismatic community can do it then I am sure others can as well.

You chide me for being over positive. Yes, there is a crisis. It is a true tragedy what has happened to the Church. It happened. There is nothing I can do about it. I suppose one could mope about it forever. For me, I would prefer to move on and get rebuilding (St. Francis gives is a great example of this in both a literal and figurative way).

Time marches on, God marches on. The 50's are over. I prefer to focus on the good things that God is doing.

Here are some flourishing orders...support them and stop looking back.

www.nashvilledominican.org/
www.franciscansoftheimmaculate.com/
http://franciscansisterscfr.com/
http://english.bethleem.org/

Don M said...

How long before these modern orders see the error of becoming secular?
Good news
Here in New England a chapter of the BSP is starting, centered around the TLM of 1962

momof6 said...

I couldn't help notice the large number of members that were not wearing the traditional habit of their respective orders. Maybe their invisibility in society is working against them.

Mrs. O'Riordan said...

It will not stop at the shrinking of the Religious Orders. A vacuum is now opening up in Spain. The islamists in Egypt are lobbying to get Andalusia back!! Only the Church can hold such a disaster from occurring. But - "..if the salt has lost it's saltiness.." what is there to keep Spain from returning to the masters who had to be run out of it by a Catholic King and Queen? This is for me a big worry. - Rene

Culex Contra Vanitates said...

Like Andrew, I would rather the Church in Spain possess a large and growing joyful community of orthodox habit-wearing charismatics than lack it. If God does not want ~200 women to be Poor Clares but instead something else, I am in no position to complain - and I am also in posiiton to judge whether this is or is not in fact His Will.

Gratias said...

A solution is to return to the Traditional liturgy. After losing thousands of priests and sisters in 1936 it is hard to understand why aggiornamento has taken such a strong hold in Spain.

Richard malcolm said...

It is particularly saddening for me to see what has become of the Spanish Dominicans. What a tremendous heritage they put to the service of the True Faith! What a history!

But they seem to have embraced modernism and faddism with the best of them, and all the heritage in the world won't save you from the consequences. I hope that new leadership can turn around the Dominicans in Spain, as it has in the Western and Eastern Provinces of the U.S..

Richard malcolm said...

Hello Augustinus,

"However, this cannot make up for the decline and fall of the ancient religious Orders."

I can't read Bill's mind, but it's plausible to read his comment as merely suggesting the right path to recovery going forward for these religious orders - not that the FSSP could somehow replace them.

At least, that would be my prescription.

MtheL said...

Anyone have the numbers on vocations/seminarians for these specific groups (by groups, I mean Jesuits in Spain, not Jesuits in general)? Or numbers comparing them to what was present 15 years ago, 30 years ago, 45 years ago? I'm not very optimistic with the info (and especially the pictures provided), but one has to wonder with the ease of travel and the connections provided by the internet, smart phones, etc., if merging some of the provinces isn't merely a matter of simplification. Why have two, three, four, etc. of everything when in today's age, these things can be centralized into one location and one person? Additionally, the numbers of priests under age 40 can be misleading. I don't know much about the Carmelites, but the Jesuits, for instance, require so many years of training, that if one entered the order after college at say age 22, the man would be in his 30's before becoming a priest. Thus, you have a very small age range for priests under 40 (about 8 years) as opposed to ages 40 to 60 (20 years) or 60 and above (20+ years for the average life span). Again, I'm not saying the numbers are promising, but they can be misleading without more info.

Thomas Putnam said...

Put the absence of habits aside for a moment. Anyone who has ever shied from the cloistered life because of a distaste for manual labor, regular fasts, and other forms of mortification might take heart from these photos. These might easily be guys at any of several start-up meetings for new recruits to the Weight Watchers program.

wretchedwithhope said...

'yes the Church in Spain has suffered a steep decline...' it might help if you didn't have know how to sit in the lotus pose (see link to B said). but Spain has been suffering - EU pleb, Muslim infidel (seriously, there are places where female traffic wardens are not allowed to go because they be XXs in XY only go zones), and then there's the problem with PC mecenaries; who seem to care about everything on the sexy list other than bullfighting. what to do when a people no longer have any inkling of the worth there parents lived, prayed and died for. Sounds quite familiar to me, how about you?

MtheL said...

Anyone have the numbers on vocations/seminarians for these specific groups (by groups, I mean Jesuits in Spain, not Jesuits in general)? Or numbers comparing them to what was present 15 years ago, 30 years ago, 45 years ago? I'm not very optimistic with the info (and especially the pictures provided), but one has to wonder with the ease of travel and the connections provided by the internet, smart phones, etc., if merging some of the provinces isn't merely a matter of simplification. Why have two, three, four, etc. of everything when in today's age, these things can be centralized into one location and one person? Additionally, the numbers of priests under age 40 can be misleading. I don't know much about the Carmelites, but the Jesuits, for instance, require so many years of training, that if one entered the order after college at say age 22, the man would be in his 30's before becoming a priest. Thus, you have a very small age range for priests under 40 (about 8 years) as opposed to ages 40 to 60 (20 years) or 60 and above (20+ years for the average life span). Again, I'm not saying the numbers are promising, but they can be misleading without more info.

Matt said...

Let them go! All the way. I know this may be a shallow observation but anyone notice anything about them looking anything like clergy or religious? NO! In itself that is indicative of what their idea of Church is, and for obvious reasons doesn't draw anyone into their communities regarless of whether the individual has a vocation to that order. It can't be lived to the full in that kind of environment.

These communities don't seem to be in any urgent hurry to keep the place going with or without God's Help, so now let them deal with it.

Observio said...

Several commenters rightly note their lack of any religious garb. But there's more to it. Look at them. They're enervated. Slovenly. Thoroughly demoralized. They look like anything but soldiers of the Church Militant. This is infinitely sad.

Appearances can be deceiving, true. In fact, the true philosopher is always skeptical of appearances. But this doesn't mean appearances can't be revealing of the inner life. Here, I think they very much are.

Matt said...

Mrs. O'Riordan said, It will not stop at the shrinking of the Religious Orders. A vacuum is now opening up in Spain. The islamists in Egypt are lobbying to get Andalusia back!! Only the Church can hold such a disaster from occurring, but--"...if the salt has lost it's saltiness..." what is there to keep Spain from returning to the masters who had to be run out of it by a Catholic King and Queen? This is for me a big worry.

It is a big worry for all of us in the West. It began with the Church. Since the Second Vatican Council (and evidently even before), all of the heresies the Church and the Saints spent their lives eliminating have come back. Now all of the demographic issues the Church fought hard to gain are being lost again. Will we be able to fight back the way we have in the past, more than likely NOT. First of all, Catholics no longer have the zeal to be Catholic, save that of various individuals and the likes of the SSPX and other Tradition-minded entities. No longer is any government or secular institution willing to do what was done in the past to achieve Catholic goals. This is certainly not a shock. Secondly, don't to look to Rome for any guidance on this matter. Presently She is too obsessed with all of this Vatican II stuff and unable to see the tress through the forest. Our local Ordinaries are just as useless.

Thirdly, one thing these Islamisists have which Catholics don't anymore is zeal for what they do believe in and their single-minded focus on it. The Islamics have made a point of which is absolutely true, our political correctness will be our undoing and they intend to exploit that to the max. The Church and the Western world is obsessed with political correctness and no one, NO ONE will challenge them or any other idea outside of the pc box. We've trapped ourselves in such a box and the enemies of the Faith, whomever or whatever they are, are more than happily able to close the lid on us, of course with Catholics themselves willing to help them do it.

Papabile said...

Did anyone notice that the discalced are calced?

Allan said...

Does one really think that any of these so-called "religious" believes that their habits confer supernatural graces upon them? Or that they are a consecrated people set apart by and for God?

Their manner of dress belies their own self-image: nothing special here. Just another seniors club....

Hilltop said...

Clothes make the man, and posture indicates the man - what a bunch of slouchers!

Observio said...

Allan, their slovenly secular appearance doesn't belie their self-image. It reveals it quite accurately. These are thoroughly processed and thus defeated men.

Long-Skirts said...

Habits and clothing are, of course, only a symbol, but it is to what this symbol represents that people are attracted, not, of course, the symbol itself.

Please pray for the great sacrifices our children are making by wearing their religious habits. My daughter is in a full Franciscan habit and one son in Cassock with another to receive his next year, God willing. When I am in public with my daughter/son in their habit & cassock the stares are unbelievable the whispers are loud and our Catholic novus ordo neighbors just tsk, tsk, "you don't really believe the Catholic Faith is still the True Faith anymore, do you?"

Oh, how tragic is the Faith of most American Catholics today - but being of Irish descent "I have an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustains me through temporary periods of joy" such as these moments as W. B. Yeats might say.

THE
BLACK
SAILS

The power of the cassock
Is to lure
Like fishermen
To nets secure.

The power of the cassock
Ebony shine
A hull of hues
On deck Divine.

The power of the cassock
Anchors the man
Dead to the world
In his sea-span.

The power of the cassock
Weighted strength
Before the mast
It's linen length.

The power of the cassock
Sails your soul
To greater depths
From shallow shoal.

The power of the cassock
Captains' pure.
The fishermen
Our land-locked cure.

Anonymous said...

Well, I think the vocations are there but the superiors are not letting them come in. I've been refused because I have a strong devotion. I love to pray yet the superiors seem offended and I have noticed in the photo's none of the Brothers are wearing habits! Like they are undercover wearing civilian clothes. Part of being a monk is wearing the habit. I'm presently in the early stages of starting a Community of young monks and nuns who will have to wear a habit. Their will be a perpetual adoration where all the monks and nuns will have participate sometimes acouple of hours a day. This will bring action of grace to the Community. The vocations are there but the superiors have to let them in!
And Wear Your Habits All You Religious ! don't be afraid!

Freddie said...

It is interesting to note that none of the clergy shown in the various pictures was wearing a religious habit, maybe this has something to do with the decline in numbers whereas those orders that wear habits have seen an increase

Steve Calovich said...

If you want to know how on earth the Church got to this point, Google "Bernadino Nogara".

Joseph said...

The spirit and work of St. Dominic is not dead among his children in the United States where orthodoxy is returning and vocations in the Order of Preachers are rapidly increasing.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how the NEW communities are doing in terms of numbers. Since new communities tend to be more traditional in terms of their theology, liturgy and observance, I can only guess they are, per capita, in much better shape.

Fr. Martin Farrell, op
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Marko Ivančičević said...

Is there anything anywhere in rules, constitutions and statutes of these Orders pretaining to religious garb?

I know that canon law demands it's wearing but is it the only law?

PrayingNC said...

"Know this: it is by very little breaches of regularity that the devil succeeds in introducing the greatest abuses. May you never end up saying: 'This is nothing, this is an exaggeration.'" (Saint Teresa of Avila, Foundations, Chapter Twenty-nine)

Damask Rose said...

How dreadful. Where are their habits?

Lynda and Hilltop very true.

Mrs O'Riordan and Matt - it's frightening.

Terry Nelson said...

If a 'new' civil war breaks out, no danger of these people being shot like the religious of the 1930's.

NBW said...

It so sad to see the dwindling numbers in the orders, but it worse to see that none were wearing their habits.

Fr. Benedict Croell OP said...

Here is some hope for the US Dominican Friars! http://orderofpreachersvocations.blogspot.ca/2012/10/official-studentate-photo-for-dominican.html?m=1

J.G. Ratkaj said...

No young man or woman with reason will enter the paltry remnants of communities which have departed that much from their genuine charisms. This orders had a significant role in the past but liberal modernist mindset has robbed the said communites/orders any future.

Marcos Luis Blanco y Centurión said...

How is the secular clergy in our days?
Very secular...

And the regular clergy?
Very regular...

Just seeing them look and see the result.

Archimandrite Gregory said...

Sad commentary on the state of religious life. No matter how venerable their past history, they still remain in the realm of the bene esse of the Church and not part of the esse. When they cease to be within the bene esse then they will perish.

FrereRabit said...

I was going to comment on the absenceof habits, but then I saw that dozens of commenters had picked up on this. Here in Spain there is something worse than this tragedy, brought about by modernism in the Church itself, and that is the dereliction of duty to catechise the young pèople of Spain. In the schools where I have taught in the last three years, no Spanish child even knows the name of the patron saint of Spain! Santiago de Compostela is just to them a tourist destination... Spanish Catholicism will be dead within the decade.

poetcomic1 said...

This is a quote from Kenelm Digby.

When the sound of the bell that precedes the Blessed Sacrament was overheard in the theaters of 17th century Madrid, audience and actors alike would fall to their knees. A traveler from the Protestant north comments, “It was difficult for me not to laugh”.

-MORES CATHOLICI Vol. 2, Pg. 577

JudeThom said...

Why are all these monks and friars dressed in secular clothing? They look like businessmen on a corporate trip. It is no wonder that the Orders they belong to are dying. They did it to themselves. You can thank Vatican II. In the Orthodox Church, one would never see Orthodox monks dressed like this. A monk is a monk. Let their Orders dry up--they are ineffective anyway, but such a tragedy!

fizzypilgrim said...

An Italian proverb says, "The habit does not make the monk" . and although the grief that so many express is true, sincere, and deeply felt - it is probable that we must search for hearts not garments. We must repent for our own church. "La legenda nera" was not the reforming action of two Catholic monarchs following seven hundred years of Muslim rule: but demonic action in the very centre of Catholicism. It was totally unChristlike. We know of the goodness but many people do not.

Jim Dorchak said...

Hey who are the guys in the pictures in the article?

Are they at a secular motivational convention?

Looks like it.

Maybe if they looked religeous they would be.

Stephen said...

The Lord never promised that the gates of hell would not prevail over this or that order. That promise only applies to His Bride, the Church.

Chalk these nut jobs up to the waning of human institutions that had their day in the sun, and should now depart.

LeonG said...

Studying very closely such pictures we find mainly elderly white-haired men dressed preponderantly in secular garb. Therefore, we have to state that few young men, if any at all, would aspire to the modernist presbyterate upon seeing this. Openness to the world has had a destructive toll on post-conciliar vocations: little wonder.

Barbara said...

Modernism destroys everything it touches - all that is beautiful, true and good....

Common Sense said...

It is sad indeed to see those old guys just sitting there awaiting the inevitable. They rather remind me of the worthless servant in the Gospel who buried his talent. Debate is debate but at the end of the day some kind of solution or advice has to be found. Just recently a friend of mine related to me a story of two Jewish medical professionals who ended up in his Latin classes. He got to know them a bit better and was amazed at how very ordinary lives they led. The wife, when at home, behaved like a real housewife - she cooked, she cleaned and looked after the children and what impressed him most was how consistent they were at the indoctrination of the children. Not only did they emphasise the need of professional excellence, the attitude of doing things right the first time, but also the sense of being special and chosen. The youth support group guided by the rabbi was instrumental in their formation. It helped to create a bond, a sense of commitment and solidarity. No wonder the Talmudic Judaists are so successful and influential while we Catholics keep squabbling over petty issues.

It is my conviction that in life we should learn everything useful, even if it comes from our ideological opponents. At least we should take into serious consideration how determined and fierce our opponents on the other side of the ideological spectrum are. Too often I witness disorganised, poorly-functioning Catholic families, their unruly broods and their liberal or wilful mindset. In any case, the facts of history prove that small, well-organised and determined groups of people prevail in their agenda. History also proves that the same tradition which the Church established in the past manifests itself among the traditional believers. Our future is in our past.

Augustinus said...

(NOTE: An earlier version of this comment referred to Miles Jesu as "Miles Christi". This was a unintended but terrible mistake on my part. My apologies. Augustinus.)

Andrew,

There is nothing like false optimism to spoil and destroy the very real signs of hope that are sprouting from the ground. Here in Rorate we have tried to maintain a balance: reporting on many facets of the crisis in the Church that few wish to learn about, while also celebrating the many real triumphs for orthodoxy and tradition in the Church -- all the while trying to put everything into the proper perspective, veering neither into despair nor into blind optimism. To "focus on the good things that God is doing" is not an excuse to refuse to discuss the continuing crisis. (You do acknowledge the crisis, but seem to take umbrage at the fact that we even dare to discuss it.)

If there is anything that the last 60 years has proven, it is that many "orthodox" new ecclesial movements and religious congregations are just as much a part of the crisis as the liberals, especially when their "orthodoxy" is not rooted in the age-old Tradition of the Church. The Legion of Christ, the Lion of Judah / Community of the Beatitudes, the Intercessors of the Lamb, the Monastic Family Fraternity of Jesus, Miles Jesu, the Neocatechumenal Way, the Toca de Assis, and many others, form a long and sorry line of "new movements" / new congregations that were hailed to the skies by the hierarchy, only to be suppressed, or otherwise subjected to painful investigations because of their or their leaders' very real theological or moral deficiencies.

Forgive us, then, if we are skeptical of yet more of these "new movements" and new religious congregations that more or less share the same ethos. We do not necessarily condemn them, but we do well to be very cautious of them.

peterman said...

People want Iphones and RealMadrid futbol. Who needs seminaries?

Common Sense said...

Augustinus, you said it very well. Anyone who looks at those pictures of the mostly shrivelled old men can only draw one conclusion, which is that they are a useless spent force, neither monks nor civilians, breathing air and occupying space. Is this the way how to live and fight for Christ? As for any new 'movements', they cannot be taken more seriously than another type of movement I have in mind. In any case, in order to restore all things in Christ, these things are necessary: knowledge of Christ from Scripture, faithfulness to duty of state, political astuteness, and excellence in the professional field. We must be at least as good as our ideological opponents. That's the one and only way to victory.

53ea8c3e-5761-11e2-973a-000bcdcb8a73 said...

It would be good to take a close look at the population growth in Spain before we wonder at the drop in the numbers of those who become Religious.

Vatican II is not responsible for the drop - it only opened up the rot.

On the dress ...Communism led to the absence of clerical garb which immediately identified the targets for killing.Many of the people you see lived through that ... and it has more or less become a culture. The present generation seems to be more open to wearing habits - people look at me in my habit on the streets till they forget themselves! But at prayers, they are all in their habits! So, don't just condemn them. It was not Vatican II that stopped them wearing habits in Spain - it was Communism.

The Rad Trad said...

"Vatican II is not responsible for the drop - it only opened up the rot."

I understand the sentiment, as post-War society was undergoing transitions that eventuated the cultural and sexual revolution of the 1960s. However we are speaking of vocations, a supernatural topic, and purely natural explanations will not suffice to explain why every member of the Church's great religious orders depicted in these images is a Ralph Lauren-dressed septuagenarian. Holy Church has known vocational crises before, but none like this. While shrinkage would be understandable in cultural terms given the population growth rate in Spain, it cannot explain why religious orders there can barely attract any new blood at all.

The Church had previously been counter-cultural, although institutional. This put Her in excellent position to combat, or at least slow, deleterious social trends. The message that come out of the Council (and you can debate as to whether or not it is in the documents or if it is the "spirit" of the Council, it does not really matter though) was that the Church was one with the world. So, why would anyone want to give up their entire lives to live in a building with a coterie of people who are also one with the modern world and with man? You could have the same experience at a night club or an office cubicle.

Like it or not, the changes in the 1960s are very much part of the problem. No use crying over spilled milk. Moaning about the Council will not fix the liturgical, theological, or vocational issues in the Church, but we do need to be honest and admit that this current program has not worked so well.

CH DUPUY said...

53ea8c3e-5761-11e2-973a-000bcdcb8a73 said...
" It was not Vatican II that stopped them wearing habits in Spain - it was Communism."
Was not communism crushed at the Spain Civil War?

Doug said...

There only one person in all of these pictures who would be readily recognized as a religious. The rest, by appearance, could be members attending a the Rotary or Lions club function. Look at the new orders and renewals of the old orders. They look like people set apart for The Lord.

Fidus et Audax said...

"" It was not Vatican II that stopped them wearing habits in Spain - it was Communism."
Was not communism crushed at the Spain Civil War?"

Not to poke fun but that's the best chuckle I've had all day. Though to be fair communism alone is not responsible, there is also unrestrained capitalism.

OutsideObserver said...

"It was not Vatican II that stopped them wearing habits in Spain - it was Communism."

Spanish religious openly wore habits -- just like nearly all Catholic religious -- from the defeat of Communism in 1939 till the 1970's, when Franco's death opened up Spain to the "modern world". In short, your explanation is balderdash.