The Profession of Faith
to live in the respective states of virginity or perpetual chastity “for
the sake of the Kingdom of heaven.”
“Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following
Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop
according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically
to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the
By this solemn rite (
), the virgin is
“constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church’s
love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride
of Christ and of the life to come.”
“As with other forms of consecrated life,” the order of
virgins establishes the woman living in the world (or the nun) in
prayer, penance, service of her brethren, and apostolic activity,
according to the state of life and spiritual gifts given to her.
Consecrated virgins can form themselves into associations to ob-
serve their commitment more faithfully.
Religious life was born in the East during the first centuries
of Christianity. Lived within institutes canonically erected by the
Church, it is distinguished from other forms of consecrated life by
its liturgical character, public profession of the evangelical coun-
sels, fraternal life led in common, and witness given to the union
of Christ with the Church.
Religious life derives from the mystery of the Church. It is
a gift she has received from her Lord, a gift she offers as a stable
way of life to the faithful called by God to profess the counsels.
Thus, the Church can both show forth Christ and acknowledge
herself to be the Savior’s bride. Religious life in its various forms is
called to signify the very charity of God in the language of our time.
All religious, whether exempt or not, take their place
among the collaborators of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral
From the outset of the work of evangelization, the mission
ary “planting” and expansion of the Church require the presence
464 CIC, can. 604 § 1.
Ordo Consecrationis Virginum, Praenotanda
466 Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 1;
467 Cf. CIC, can. 604 § 2.
468 Cf. CIC, cann. 607; 573;
33-35; CIC, can. 591.