of the religious life in all its forms.
“History witnesses to the
outstanding service rendered by religious families in the propaga
tion of the faith and in the formation of new Churches: from the
ancient monastic institutions to the medieval orders, all the way to
the more recent congregations.”
“A secular institute is an institute of consecrated life in which
theChristianfaithful living intheworldstrive for theperfectionof charity
andwork for the sanctification of theworld especially fromwithin.”
By a “life perfectly and entirely consecrated to [such] sanc-
tification,” the members of these institutes share in the Church’s
task of evangelization, “in the world and from within the world,”
where their presence acts as “leaven in the world.”
ness of a Christian life” aims “to order temporal things according
to God and inform the world with the power of the gospel.” They
commit themselves to the evangelical counsels by sacred bonds
and observe among themselves the communion and fellowship
appropriate to their “particular secular way of life.”
Societies of apostolic life
Alongside the different forms of consecrated life are “so-
cieties of apostolic life whose members without religious vows
pursue the particular apostolic purpose of their society, and lead a
life as brothers or sisters in common according to a particular
manner of life, strive for the perfection of charity through the
observance of the constitutions. Among these there are societies in
which the members embrace the evangelical counsels” according
to their constitutions.
Consecration and mission: proclaiming the King who is coming
Already dedicated to him through Baptism, the person
who surrenders himself to the God he loves above all else thereby
consecrates himself more intimately to God’s service and to the
good of the Church. By this state of life consecrated to God, the
Church manifests Christ and shows us how the Holy Spirit acts so
471 John Paul II,
472 CIC, can. 710.
473 Pius XII,
474 Cf. CIC, can. 713 § 2.
475 Cf. CIC, can. 731 §§ 1 and 2.