Consecrated Life

Consecrated life, in the canonical sense defined by the Catholic Church, is a stable form of Christian living by those faithful who feel called to follow Jesus Christ in a more exacting way recognized by the Church. It "is characterized by the public profession of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, in a stable state of life recognized by the Church". The Code of Canon Law defines it as "a stable form of living by which the faithful, following Christ more closely under the action of the Holy Spirit, are totally dedicated to God who is loved most of all, so that, having been dedicated by a new and special title to his honour, to the building up of the Church, and to the salvation of the world, they strive for the perfection of charity in the service of the kingdom of God and, having been made an outstanding sign in the Church, foretell the heavenly glory."

What makes the consecrated life a more exacting way of Christian living is the public vows or other sacred bonds whereby the consecrated persons commit themselves, for the love of God, to observe as binding the counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience from the Christian Gospel, or at least, in the case of consecrated virgins and widows/widowers, a vow of total chastity. The Benedictine vow as laid down in the Rule of St Benedict, ch. 58:17, is analogous to the more usual vow of religious institutes. Consecrated persons are not part of the Catholic Church hierarchy, unless they are also ordained bishops, priests or deacons.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church comments: "From the very beginning of the Church there were men and women who set out to follow Christ with greater liberty, and to imitate him more closely, by practising the evangelical counsels. They led lives dedicated to God, each in his own way. Many of them, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, became hermits or founded religious families. These the Church, by virtue of her authority, gladly accepted and approved."

Consecrated life may be lived in institutes, in which the members may be either clergy or laity, or it may be lived individually.

Read more about Consecrated LifeInstitutes of Consecrated Life, Consecrated Life Outside of Institutes, Societies of Apostolic Life, History

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Catholic Church - Organisation and Demographics - Dioceses, Parishes and Religious Orders
... as well as members of the laity, may enter into consecrated life either on an individual basis, as a hermit or consecrated virgin, or by joining an institute of ... Examples of institutes of consecrated life are the Benedictines, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Missionaries of Charity and the Sisters of Mercy ... Women constitute the majority of members of the consecrated life within the church ...
Consecrated Life - History - Secular Institutes
... order or face dismissal from the Church, and had forbidden any form of religious life ... While living a life of perfection, they did not take vows, remaining a secular institute to avoid being considered a religious society by the government ... Law recognizes secular institutes as a form of consecrated life ...
Secular Institute
... a secular institute is an organization of individuals who are consecrated persons – professing the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience – while living in the world, unlike members of a ... It is one of the forms of consecrated life recognized in Church law (cf ... Canon 710 A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which the Christian faithful living in the world strive for the perfection of charity and work for the sanctification of the world especially ...
Miles Jesu
... Miles Jesu is a Catholic institute of consecrated life founded on January 12, 1964 in Phoenix, Arizona, whose membership comprises lay people and clerics who ... Miles Jesu is thus a new form of consecrated life in the Church which has been approved by the Holy See in accordance with canon 605 of the Code of Canon Law, which reserves to the Holy See approval of forms of ...
Consecrated Virgin - As A Form of Consecrated Life in The Church Today
... are still referred to as nuns and not as consecrated virgins, and so consecrated virgin almost always describes a consecrated woman living in the world ... The 1970 Prænotanda to the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity states the following requirements for women living in the world to receive the ... not only to celibacy, but to leading a life of prayer and service, and is obligated to observe the Liturgy of the Hours ...

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