On the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel our new decree (COLW Decree) came into effect, establishing the community as a public association of the faithful destined to become an Ecclesial Family of Consecrated Life.
The Community with Sr Marta Balog CB, a canon lawyer (expert in the New Communities of Consecrated Life) who helped us revamp our statutes during the month of May, in preparation for the issuing of the new decree.
The universal call to holiness is the motor that propels all the states of life in the Church. Cf. can. 210, CIC 1983. The structure of an ‘Ecclesial Family’ wants to express that in this common call of all the baptised, there is equality, dignity, and the primary mission of all the faithful, depending on their particular state of life.
Ecclesial Families of Consecrated Life such as Verbum Dei, Iddentes, the Community of the Beatitudes, The Spiritual Family ‘The Work’, The Franciscan Fraternity of Bethany are all new forms of consecration.
The juridical form of the Ecclesial Family is very complex. It deals with only one juridical entity with diverse types of members: consecrated clergy; consecrated men and women; celibate and married laity; associate members with full rights. The structure entails a central government and a government proper to each branch. This richness derives from the spirituality and ecclesiology of communion and demands a complex form of governance cf. can. 767, CIC 1983.
Many such communities are emerging around the world and the Vatican Dicastery (in particular Fr Leonello Leidi cp) cannot be thanked enough for accompanying these new forms with immense kindness and for preparing the necessary canons for their insertion into the structures of consecrated life.