General Plan of Formation (GPF 2020)

GPF can quite fittingly be considered as the Magna Carta on Formation that the Congregation, as mother and teacher, offers to its members, and above all to its new missionaries. It gathers up the core essentials of our missionary life and high lights its dimensions: charismatic, Christocentric, ecclesial, cordimarian, and human.



1. Nature and aim of ongoing formation

463. Ongoing formation is intrinsic to our vocation.[1] It is an all-embracing process of renewal which covers all aspects of the Claretian person and of the Congregation as a whole[2] and reveals the profound nature of our vocation as fidelity to the mission and as a process of continual conversion.[3] It is a path that is:

  1. Open. It lasts all lifelong.[4] Ongoing formation has no closing date.[5] As missionaries dedicated to God and consecrated by Him,[6] our life is an ongoing process of formation. As disciples, we are in an attitude of constant listening, and open to the surprises of the Word and the Spirit.[7]
  2. All embracing. It embraces the whole person and all dimensions of his personality in an integral process of growth: human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and charismatic.[8]
  3. Multiplying. It also affects the renewal of communities, of the mission, and of community and apostolic structures.[9]

464. Ongoing formation aims at the renewal of the Claretian’s personal and community life in the light of the Gospel and of our charism, in each new personal stage.[10]

2. The need for ongoing formation

2.1. In Order to be Faithful to our Personal Project of Life

465. Ongoing formation is a must for every Claretian. As persons, we achieve our personal fulfillment by developing our potential in relationship with other human beings and within our shared setting in the history and reality of peoples.[11]

466. Likewise, because he has received the gift of vocation, each Claretian must be in an attitude of constant growth and fidelity to it.[12] Vocation is a dynamic gift. God is constantly calling us. And we ought to answer this call with fidelity.[13] Our vocational charism and the gifts of nature and grace that we have received are dynamic forces that make us grow as persons in order to develop our own project of life.

467. As a person called by the Lord to the Congregation to live in a missionary community, a Claretian grows and fully develops in fellowship with his brothers and in carrying out the community’s mission.[14] The Congregation, as a community in constant growth and renewal, is the natural milieu in which each Claretian should achieve the greatest personal growth.

2.2. In order to be faithful to the renewing action of the Spirit

468. The same Spirit who raised up the charism of the Congregation is the one who spurs it on and develops it in the Church and in history. Hence, the action of the Spirit demands of us a continual conversion that we may give new vigor to the prophetic dimension of our vocation.[15] It is imperative, therefore, that we respond, personally and communally, to our need for ongoing formation, especially at critical moments in our lives, in order to prepare ourselves adequately to become fitting ministers of the Word.

469. Ongoing formation requires that we pay particular attention to the signs of the Spirit in our time, in order to offer an appropriate response. It also spurs us on to integrate creativity in fidelity.[16] Following Christ means setting ourselves on the march, freeing ourselves from sclerosis and atrophy in order to be able to offer a living and true witness of the Kingdom of God in this world.[17]

470. Our Founder unceasingly sought wisdom and knowledge in order to keep his apostolic orientation toward missionary evangelization alive. One proof of this eager quest was his practice of a daily, vocational reading of the Bible[18] because, for him, being a servant of the Word required that he be immersed in that Word.[19] In the Word, Claret encountered the dynamic and renewing action of the Spirit so that he was able to say, as a disciple of Jesus: The Spirit of the Lord is upon me.[20]

471. The Congregation has also reminded us of the need to allow ourselves to be transformed by the Spirit in order to fulfill the mission to which we have been called[21] and thus to achieve maturity in our vocation.[22] In order, then, to live and be true witnesses of the Reign of God, we acknowledge the need for the renewing action of the Spirit in our life, both as persons and as a community, in such a way that the Spirit of the Risen Lord may, through ongoing formation, continue to restore the joy of our youth.[23]

2.3. In order to be faithful to the process of Congregational renewal

472. The charism of our Father Founder, as an experience of the Spirit transmitted to all Claretians, must be lived, guarded, deepened and developed constantly in harmony with the Church, which is in continual growth.[24] Fidelity to our charism, as a dynamic gift, keeps pressing the Congregation to maintain an attitude of constant renewal. Ongoing formation, as an expression of this attitude, has an impact on members, and through them, on our communities and apostolic mission. The renewal of the individual Claretian will pave the way for a renewed style of community life and for a constant revision of our apostolic positions.[25]

473. This renewing action restores our personal and community energies and readies us to respond as servants of the Word to situations in our world. We must be an evangelized as well as an evangelizing community.[26] A community is evangelized in the measure that it maintains itself in a state of ongoing conversion. It always takes the Word of God as its point of reference, from which it cultivates a dialogue that awakens an attitude of service to our brothers and sisters, giving them confidence and helping them remain faithful to the commitments they have undertaken. In the light of this same Word, the community discerns whatever happens and allows itself to be evangelized by the events that affect human beings, especially the most poor and needy, to whom it has been sent.[27]

2.4. In order to be faithful to the challenges of the mission

474. Ongoing formation is not just for ourselves. The reason why we need to attend to the signs of our time and to adapt to new situations as they arise, is to help us, as missionaries, to tackle the ever-new urgencies of evangelization.[28] We must keep in step with history.[29]

475. As Claretians, we are all called to live a solidly-rooted spirituality capable of assimilating changes and developments in the world and in the Church in continual docility to the Spirit.[30]We need to acquire a deep and living knowledge of the human and religious situation of the people we intend to evangelize.[31]The new reality of the world, the Church and the Congregation becomes a challenge of the Spirit spurring us on to support the Church’s call to a missionary evangelization, from our charism as servants of the Word and in keeping with the options of our mission.[32]

3. Charismatic reference of ongoing formation

476. An outstanding characteristic in our Founder’s life was his interest in renewing and updating himself. In him, there was no break between his initial formation and his dedication to reading and study after ordination. He dedicated himself to it intensely and systematically, in order to deepen his knowledge of the Scriptures, to renew his theological and pastoral learning, to become acquainted with the philosophical thought and ideologies of his time and to learn how to situate himself in the different realities in which he had to exercise his apostolic ministry. His motivation was always clear: on the one hand, to grow in the knowledge of God in order to grow ever closer to Him and to live in communion with Him; on the other hand, to be faithful to his apostolic mission in a creative and ever new way, thus steadily becoming a more apt instrument for the salvation of all people. Among the means that he utilized, a personal plan and library were highly effective.

477. In the Congregation, the times set aside for study, spiritual renewal and preparation for the apostolate have always been a deep-seated tradition. In the retreat the Founder led for the missionaries in 1865, he told them: You will direct your study to missioning.[33]In addition to the times assigned for spiritual renewal in the monthly retreats and in the yearly spiritual exercises, the same Founder prescribed a yearly period of about four months[34] in which the missionarieswould devote themselves to ongoing formation based on studies. From the beginning, the Constitutions set forth the times and subject matters that had to be studied and reviewed, both by the priests and by the brothers, and they insisted on the need to have a well-stocked and updated library.

478. Ongoing formation continues to be a must in the life of the Claretian, since he must grow in conformity with Christ the Missionary and be up to the challenge of the times in order to respond to his apostolic mission.[35] Even more, ongoing formation is today an urgent need for the whole Claretian community. Only a community that welcomes the gift of God, listens to the signs of the times and allows itself to be constantly rejuvenated, can realize the proclamation of the Gospel in a credible and attractive way.[36] In its various General Chapters, the Congregation has examined its fidelity to ongoing formation and made decisive strides forward, even to the point of calling for a charismatic re-initiation for its members.[37]

4. Congregational criteria for ongoing formation

479. The Congregation’s richest resource is its members, for each Claretian is an image of God, an unsuspected newness of the Spirit, and a missionary vocation that is a grace for the world.[38]Hence, ongoing formation must be set in the perspective of the person.[39] Indeed, ongoing formation would not be possible without the collaboration and active participation of the person, beginning with the conviction that it is something indispensable for missionary life.[40]

480. Ongoing formation is a prolongation of the process of initial formation. For that reason, the Claretian must avoid any break between initial and ongoing formation, given that these are two aspects of the same reality. He must view himself from the outset as being involved in a never-ending process. A good initial formation should underscore this need.

481. As a guiding principle, we would say that an ongoing formation that encompasses the whole person and all his dimensions (human, spiritual, intellectual, pastoral and charismatic) must be carried out:

  1. In line with our missionary charism, in order to better prepare ourselves to be fitting ministers of the Word, with our options and preferred recipients, and with a sensitivity to the problems of justice and peace.[41]
  2. In contact with the world and open to reality. Hence, it will promote all those initiatives, both within and outside the Congregation, that favor the openness of each Claretian to local and universal realities, and the critical study of these realities in order to respond to their challenges from the grace of our missionary charism.[42]
  3. In a universal perspective, making us aware of the Church’s global situation and enabling us through the study of languages to offer missionary services in any part of the world.
  4. With quality criteria, enabling the missionary to be more and better prepared for a vanguard evangelization through attaining the needed specializations.[43]
  5. With active and participative methods realized through personal and apostolic experiences in the areas of poverty, marginalization and unbelief.[44] Each Claretian must be aware that all pastoral experience is an inexhaustible source of ongoing formation.

5. Agents and those responsible for ongoing formation

482. First and foremost, the Claretian person himself. It is indispensable for each of us to come to a personal conviction that we need an ongoing formation in order to fulfill our missionary vocation.[45] Hence, each Claretian must feel the need and urgency of formation. This is the key to the effectiveness of ongoing formation. Without personal conviction, all the means and helps one has at one’s disposal will not produce the desired effect.

483. Secondly, there is the community. Since it is the normal milieu in which the life of the Claretian unfolds, it constitutes the privileged place for ongoing formation.

  1. It is in community, as a place for freedom and growth, that the individual achieves personal fulfillment.[46] In it he lives, prays, relates with others, studies and works.
  2. The style of life and mission of the community is the first parameter of ongoing formation for a Claretian. Its fidelity to the Claretian project and to the ordinary dynamisms of sanctification, life and mission are constant stimuli spurring the Claretian to grow. When the community feels renewed and acts in keeping with the criteria and guidelines of Congregational renewal, each of its members is renewed, grows and matures in his fundamental option.
  3. The role of community animator, which is proper of the local superior, is very important in this matter.[47] Under his direction, the community should promote the pastoral renewal of its members so that they can constantly improve in the performance of their ministries.

484. Lastly, superiors and their respective governments:[48]

  1. The General Government and governments of the Major Organisms must promote initiatives of ongoing formation, so that all Claretians may be duly prepared for the ministry of the Word and may offer a response to the challenges of the times in which we live.[49]
  2. It belongs to the General Government to animate and organize the ongoing formation of the Missionaries of the Institute.
  3. The same responsibility belongs to the governments of each respective Major Organism. In order to animate ongoing formation, a special commission may be established with members who are well-prepared and with clearly-defined responsibilities,[50] charged with developing a plan for each term of government.
  4. Both the General Government and the Governments of Major Organisms will normally carry out this task through the prefectures, councils and commissions appointed for this purpose.[51]

6. Ways of realizing this

485. As a first criterion, on the different levels of the Congregation, plans for ongoing formation must be drafted in which the moments, dynamics, means and instruments of formation are to be programmed in a well-ordered and systematic manner.[52]

6.1. Ordinary ways

6.1.1. Personal level

486. Special attention to the Word of God.[53] We should listen to the Word of God in personal prayer, in the events of history, in cultures and in the life of the people, in their silences and in their outcries.[54] This demands that we devote a fundamental amount of time to reading, studying, meditating on and contemplating the Word.[55]

487. Prayer and the celebration of the liturgy have a fundamental place in our life. We wholeheartedly celebrate with the Church the presence of God and the love for His people especially in the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Liturgy of the Hours.[56]

488. The personal project of formation (or personal growth). Developed in dialogue with the community and superiors, its aim is to address the holistic development of the Claretian in the spiritual, physical, psychological, intellectual and apostolic-ministerial dimensions of his life.[57] It can take into account such diverse matters as: physical exercise and sports, diet, the harmonious distribution of the day’s activity, the type and frequency of reading and study, and the means and dynamisms of the spiritual and apostolic life.

489. We must advance in the practice of personal and community discernment, and of personal accompaniment to favor progress in our missionary life[58] and decision making.

6.1.2. Community level

490. In drawing up its community project, the Claretian community should program its style of life and mission in a participative way, seeing to it that its members have necessary and adequate means for growing in the faith of their calling (times for prayer, study and rest, and professional help).

491. In addition, the community project will program the members’ specific ongoing formation, with a view to their needs and the demands of the mission. This plan must include, among other things, the study and assimilation of the documents of the Church and of the Congregation, particularly of the Constitutions and of the Word of God.

492. The community should likewise encourage and help its members to draw up their personal formation plan, suggesting ways in which it can be done. Among ordinary initiatives, one should mention the weekly community day,[59] which consists of setting aside a time, each week if possible, to pray in common, plan, evaluate, share experiences and recreate.

493. To encourage the ongoing formation of its members, it is essential that the community maintain a library, specialized and updated in its proper apostolic ministries.[60]

494. All communities should likewise take advantage of inter-community, diocesan, inter-provincial, congregational and inter-congregational initiatives as means for their formation. Above all, for what they can contribute by way of openness and of contrast.

495. When a member of the community is sent to participate in a program of ongoing formation, the communities involved are advised to organize themselves in such a way that the member can fully participate in the program, thus fulfilling its objectives.

6.1.3. Major Organisms

496. Within the framework of the plan for ongoing formation, all Major Organisms should draw up a yearly program of formation initiatives. These initiatives can also be carried out with other Organisms or according to Congregational areas when this is deemed suitable. Among the more widely practiced initiatives of this sort, one might single out the following:[61]

  1. Yearly spiritual exercises.
  2. Systematic and periodic encounters of the sectors of the Major Organisms: formators, educators, pastors/parish priests, itinerant missionaries of the Word, economes and others.
  3. Encounters of communities as a whole or by zones, over a period of days, to study and reflect on relevant Claretian themes and other topics of interest.
  4. A yearly day of the Major Organism.[62]
  5. The periodic publication of the bulletin.

497. Superiors and those in charge of formation will provide the Missionary Brothers lifelong training in the formative elements they need in order to perfect their missionary commitment, their distinctive culture, their doctrinal and spiritual preparation, and their pastoral and technical proficiency, in keeping with the ongoing formation programs of each Organism.[63]

6.1.4. General Level

498. The General Government must also draw up a program for the whole Congregation, in keeping with the GPF and the guidelines of the General Chapters. This program includes:

  1. Canonical general visitations, as a means for evaluating and promoting the ongoing formation programs of the Major Organisms.[64]
  2. The organization of special encounters of Claretian renewal and study.[65]
  3. Encounters, organized through the General Prefectures, for the different sectors and diverse areas of the Congregation or of the interprovincial conferences.
  4. The offering of structures (communities and centers) in service to the Congregation for renewal courses, sabbatical years and specializations.
  5. The drafting of study helps on specific topics that are deemed opportune.

6.2. Extraordinary Ways

6.2.1. Specializations

499. The government of each Major Organism will draw up a plan for specializations to qualify members suited for advanced studies, in order to respond to the needs of the mission and the formation of its members.

500. During the last years of initial formation, the formandus will be gradually oriented toward an area of specialization,[66] according to the plan of the Organism.

501. Specializations have as their objective the completion of initial formation through more specific or expanded studies leading to a suitable degree or title. They should be promoted in keeping with the aptitudes and inclinations of the person and with the missionary needs and options of the Province and of the Congregation.[67]

502. It is necessary that Major Organisms procure the formation of true specialists in ecclesiastical sciences, in order to achieve a more profound missionary action and to contribute to the formation of the members of the Congregation.[68]

503. We should also pay heed to those civil specializations that may be useful for a missionary dialogue with culture or for exercising more competently other mission commitments that demand a deep knowledge of the human sciences.

504. According to our practice, ecclesiastical studies cannot be pursued simultaneously with courses of studies for other careers.[69]But certain pastoral specializations can be pursued during the last years of initial formation,[70] in keeping with different circumstances:

  1. In some cases, this might involve studying some particular subject matter or pursuing courses of various topics, both during the school year and during vacations, without having to enroll in specialized institutes. In these cases, it is necessary to maintain the obligatory proportion with the principal disciplines.
  2. In others, it might involve studying some pastoral specialty, once the candidate has completed the basic institutional studies required by the norms of the Conferences of Bishops.

505. After a period of pastoral experience, a set time may be devoted to specialization in faculties or institutes of higher studies, obtaining the corresponding diplomas and academic degrees.

6.2.2. The Sabbatical Year

506. The sabbatical periods are specific times in which each missionary, freed of apostolic and community commitments, can draw up a personal plan, suitably accepted by the Superiors, corresponding to his needs for rest, spiritual renewal, missionary qualification and contact with new realities of evangelization.

507. Every Claretian, and particularly those who have not had other opportunities for renewal, should be offered the possibility of making a sabbatical year. For this, the personnel situation of the Organism must be taken into account within a plan that makes provision for the needed coordination and adequate financing.

6.2.3.Missionary Experiences

508. Apostolic experiences will open our spirit to new horizons and values. In this sense, it is fitting to promote diverse initiatives (above all, in mission places). These experiences, which can vary in length, must be programmed in a coordinated way by the responsible parties.[71]

7. Special periods during ongoing formation

509. Although ongoing formation is a lifelong task, it takes on a special intensity in certain given moments,[72] during the onward journey of a missionary. Such moments call for special attention and accompaniment on the part of all those implied in the formation process. There are four moments in ongoing formation that require special consideration: the quinquennium, middle age,thethird age and the fourth age. We should also give attention to the missionaries who are in particular situations. However, the Major Organisms will do well to organize programs of ongoing formation suited to different age groups to assure adequate and timely accompaniment.

7.1. The Quinquennium

510. The first special moment of ongoing formation, called the quinquennium, is the stage of the first years of full involvement in the apostolate that immediately follows initial formation. It marks the passage from a supervised life to a situation of full responsibility for one’s work.[73] Hence, we should see to it that the young missionary be personally encouraged and accompanied to live fully the youthfulness of his love and enthusiasm for Christ.[74]

511. In this stage, the Claretian must discover with the help of the community a new way of remaining faithful to God,[75] so that he can givean adequate response to the challenges that arise for him in his new situation.[76] In a comprehensive process of renewal that embraces all aspects of the person of the religious during this stage,[77] we should give special importance to:

  1. Spiritual life that is lived in harmony with action.[78]
  2. Pastoral accompaniment, so that the Claretian may keep on integrating his ministerial preparation with his experience of life.
  3. Updating and applying in practice what one has learned during initial formation.[79]
  4. Learning to maintain the necessary equilibrium between community life and ministerial service.
  5. Development of a set of healthy habits suited to the new situation to sustain harmonious growth at all levels.

512. Suitable programs of accompaniment should be offered to our missionary priests during the first five years of their ministry and to our missionary brothers during the first five years following their perpetual profession to help them consolidate the integration of their life and ministry.[80]Some programs could be organized at inter-provincial or conference levels. Concretely, this help can be offered:

  1. By assuring that the missionaries in quinquennium are assigned to communities where they receive proper accompaniment with the intention of meeting the goals of this stage.
  2. By entrusting them with responsibilities that do not exceed their capacity and are adjusted as much as possible to their personal situation.
  3. By assuring that they are personally accompanied by the Major Superior himself or the person holding the office for ongoing formation.
  4. By offering them yearly encounters on formation and life-review.

513. In addition to the initiatives offered by the Congregation, young Claretians are urged to actively participate in courses and encounters organized on the diocesan, interprovincial and inter-congregational level for young priests and religious.[81] These means must be integrated into the plan of the Organism.

514. This period should be closed with a renewal encounter, with at least a partial suspension of other activities. Its purpose is the updating of knowledge and, especially, the intensification of spiritual formation, adapted to the real life of the missionary.[82]

7.2. The Middle Age

515. The middle age is the period of human adulthood that immediately precedes the onset of old age[83]. Although it may vary according to persons, the age between 40 and 60 years is considered “middle age”. It is the period of active ministry that bears mature fruits of the spiritual fatherhood of a missionary seasoned by his learning and experience. This stage of life introduces one to the “second half” of life which is characterized by the search for what is essential in life. For many, it is a time of discovering the true treasure within when the external sources of identity fail to give meaning to life. Maturity of this stage helps the recuperation of the ardor of the “first love” that inspired our missionary vocation, and the renewal of the gift of self to God more genuinely and with greater generosity and extends it to others with greater serenity and wisdom.[84] The missionary who finds the just equilibrium between prayer, community life and ministry will be able to sustain his ministry with the creative freshness of a mystic and man of action like our Founder who was never tired of proclaiming the gospel several times a day.

516. The mature fruits of middle age are not harvested without its costs. In the second half of life, onestarts experiencing the gradual decline of his physical abilities and the early signs of illnesses. He will be obliged to become aware of his mortality as he realizes that less time remains to be lived than has been lived already. His mind easily ruminates on past achievements rather than on prospects for the future. A missionary at this stage may experience the so called “middle age crisis” as he moves to the second half of his life. The tension of ‘breaking and building’ at this stage is lived out in different ways by different persons. Some live the period of middle age with exaggerated activism, exhaustion, a certain routine approach to ministry and the consequent loss of enthusiasm.[85] Some get used to an individualistic style of life and doing ministry alone. However, an unexamined personal style of handling difficulties and failures in life may result in a resigned disillusionment. There is also the risk of dealing with the tension by escaping to alcohol, sexual affairs and various kinds of addictions.

517. The missionaries in this stage must be helped, in the light of the Gospel and the charism of the Congregation, to renew their original decision, and not to confuse the integrity of their self-offering with the level of good results.[86] They should have recourse to various means available in the Congregation and the Church for their personal renewal.

518. The sensitive closeness of the Superior is most essential during a transitional crisis of a missionary. The comfort and caring presence of community members and other Claretians can lead to a rediscovery of the meaning of the covenant which God originally established, and which he has no intention of breaking.[87] Trials are also privileged moments to discover the necessity[88] of suffering and purification in following Christ crucified.

519. The stage of middle age can be enriched by:

  1. Choosing suitable self-care practices to keep one’s body, mind and spirit alive and active, and integrate these practices into the rhythm of everyday life.
  2. Having recourse to a mentor/spiritual director or an expert according to the need in times of difficulty and refrain from a DIY (do it yourself) approach to fix oneself.
  3. Channeling energy into creative purposes like writing, composing etc., and engage in generous service in the community and society so as to render this period a very productive period of life.
  4. Attending programs on middle age and growth related issues and create an appreciative environment in the community where aging is celebrated as normal part of human life.

520. It would be necessary to take a break from routine life to attend programs of renewal at least once during this period of life. This may also be an appropriate period to interrupt regular pastoral ministry with a sabbatical year, including pastoral updating or specialized studies with a view to improving one’s ministerial competency or in preparation for a new future assignment. A new pastoral experience might also be helpful.

521. In response to the specific need of renewal for those in middle age– and for those who wish to deepen their knowledge of the Founder and of our Claretian charism– the Congregation offers the Forge Project, Encounter with Claret and other programsto help the missionary live this particular stage of his life as a moment of spiritual transformation.[89]

7.3. The Third Age

522. The third age refers to the period of life from the age of retirement[90] until one’s withdrawal from activity due to advanced age and the deterioration of physical and mental faculties. As there is no retirement age for Claretian life and mission, a missionary continues to enrich the life and mission of the Congregation through whatever he can do for his brothers and for the people as much as his health permits.

523. The aim of this stage is to confirm the Claretian in the mission he is still able to carry out[91], to help him discover what the Lord asks of him in the new stage of life and maintain, from the standpoint of faith and the Word of God, a serene and hope-filled attitude in his new life situation. He needs to learn to accept and integrate the reality of the approaching end of one’s own earthly life with Christian joy and hope.

524. In a consumerist culture, old age is avoided and feared as an unwelcome part of life. But, the word of God esteems long life as a sign of divine favor.[92] God has also chosen elderly persons for new initiatives and to convey his messages (For example, Abraham and Sarah, Moses, Elizabeth and Zachariah, Simeon and Anna). “Life is a gift, and when it is long it is a privilege, for oneself and for others”[93]. In Claretian history, there are many examples of “retired” Claretians whom God has chosen for new missionary initiatives.[94] The elderly missionaries give witness to the good news that life in all its stages and conditions is a precious gift of God and an opportunity to know, love and serve God and share God’s love with others.

525. Advanced medical care and better living conditions have prolonged longevity resulting in large number of relatively healthy members in the third age. It is a blessing to have veteran missionaries with wisdom and experience in our communities.  They can live in communities dedicated to the apostolate and can perform different activities in them, in keeping with their state and their preparation. These Claretians contribute toward giving the community a sense of stability, richness and resourcefulness. They can also share the wisdom of their experience with other members of the Organism, especially with candidates, novices and students. Presence of the young and the elderly in the Congregation enriches our life and mission with the memory and wisdom of the elderly from their experience and the renewed and expansive hope and new directions which the young people represent for humanity.[95]

526. Missionaries of the third age should assume their role in the communities to impart the memory and wisdom of our history in each place and mirror the beauty of a persevering missionary life. They carry out their missionary life by prayer, sacrifice, and life witness, sharing their wisdom with others and supporting the mission of the community through appropriate ministerial activity. Just as they drew inspiration for their apostolates from the life of Claret as an apostolic missionary, they should also learn the art of living the evening of their lives from his example of living his missionary vocation at the time of diminished apostolic activities, suffering, illness and exile.

527. On the part of the individual, this implies:

  1. Accepting his own situation (age, illness and other limitations) and preparing himself to live it in a serene way learning how to grow old with missionary meaning and passion. It also involves letting go of positions of power while encouraging and empowering the younger Claretians to assume and carry out the responsibilities previously held by him.
  2. Living this stage with a spirit of gratitude, forgiveness, surrender and joy, sharing one’s wisdom and missionary zeal with others and praying for the Church and Congregation.
  3. Living with awareness the process of transfiguration with Christ, converting the sufferings of this stage into an opportunity to be transformed by the paschal experience.[96]
  4. Readiness to respond to new opportunities for missionary involvement, and generously share one’s gifts, talents and experience.

528. On the part of the community, this implies that it should:

  1. Show a delicate sensitivity to the needs of the elderly Claretians and a great love and respect for their persons and their lived life irrespective of their capacity to do any service to the community.
  2. Discern what each one can still contribute to the Congregation’s overall mission and involve him in the everyday life of the community as far as he can.
  3. Offer him the help he needs in order to be able to adjust to his new situation.

529. Accompaniment, at this stage, should aim at integrating the Claretian as much as possible into the life of the community and of the Major Organism. In order to achieve this integration, he should be provided with:

  1. Attention to his medical and psychological needs.
  2. Assistance toward accepting himself as he is.
  3. A true spirituality of the third age, which supposes a special living of contemplation, a more intense dedication to apostolic prayer and an offering of his own life on behalf of mission.
  4. Pastoral updating for the types of ministries that he is still able to undertake: the sacrament of reconciliation, pastoral care of the sick, spiritual direction and other ministries.
  5. Opportunities for pursuing personal hobbies and any sort of collaboration in which he can feel useful.
  6. When cognitive functioning of the person is impaired or limited, the superior has the responsibility to discern and decide for the person to avoid harm for him or for others or from being taken advantage of by others.

530. For those who are still able to work but live in countries where retirement is obligatory at a certain age, there remains the possibility, if they so desire, to carry on their missionary work by transferring to another country that does not present these limitations.[97]

531. Each Organism may also organize excursions, recreational activities, retreats and other initiatives that can serve as formative experiences for missionaries of this age and keep them connected as closely as possible with the life of the wider community.

7.4. The Fourth Age

532. The fourth age[98] refers to the last years of adulthood characterized by age-related biological and cognitive decline leading to the final “fiat” of life. It is the stage in which productive efforts cease, strength declines and the signs of illness, vulnerability, and the need for assistance and care become essential. The configuration to Christ’s agony and death takes a very personal and unique imprint in the suffering of the missionary. It is the time to imitate Jesus who knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father, and having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.[99] Thus, “when the moment finally comes for uniting himself to the supreme hour of the Lord’s Passion, the consecrated person knows that the Father is now bringing to completion the mysterious process of formation which began many years before.[100] A missionary awaits and prepares for his death as the “supreme act of love and self-offering”.[101]

533. The objective of this stage is to offer appropriate care and accompaniment to the Claretian in the final years and days of his earthly life and to help him to live the Paschal mystery in his concrete life and to await the coming of the Lord.

534. It may be necessary to create special communities, particularly for those who need regular assistance and intensive care that they cannot receive in other communities. These communities should have a realistic community project. Moreover, care must be taken to appoint superiors and personnel who are suitable for such communities.[102]

535. On the part of the Claretian in the fourth age, this implies:

  1. Humbly accepting his own fragility, illness and maintaining a grateful heart for the great things God has accomplished in his life.
  2. Letting oneself into the process of transfiguration with Christ, so that the sufferings, losses and frailties of this stage may become opportunities to be transformed by the grace of the paschal mystery.
  3. Serenely allowing himself to be accompanied and cared for by his brothers. Like Peter, he must apply to himself the Lord’s words: When you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.
  4. Prepare his last will in accordance with our norms so as not to leave any unsettled issues after his death.
  5. Preparing oneself to say like Jesus with a childlike trust in God, “it is accomplished” and “into your hands I entrust my spirit”.

536. On the part of the community, this means that it should:

  1. Cherish with reverence, love and fraternal care the elderly Claretians who are in the final years or days of their life.
  2. Offer all the necessary assistance, loving accompaniment, validation and support so that they do not suffer despair, pain and loneliness.
  3. Value the gifts and charisms of the elderly Claretians in the apostolate and liturgy.
  4. Help the elderly Claretians transcend loss and disabilities to find hope and meaning in God and in living his missionary vocation.
  5. Assess the spiritual needs of frail old Claretians and help to effectively address them.
  6. Make sure that a legally valid last will is in place to avoid unwarranted issues left to the posterity to deal with.

537. As longevity is extended due to advancement in medicine and treatment, the period of life lived in illness is also often prolonged. In this context, we should remember that God calls each person to the “fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God”, and “it is precisely this supernatural calling which highlights the relative character of each individual’s earthly life. After all, life on earth is not an ‘ultimate’ but a ‘penultimate’ reality”.[103] Based on this principle, we should discern the appropriateness of the treatments chosen in critical moments and avoid therapeutic excesses meant to prolong life at all costs without taking into account the mystery of life after. Our focus should be to offer adequate medical assistance, Claretian presence, fraternal warmth and responsible closeness in accompanying a missionary in the last days of his life. When a missionary is called to the Father, we should offer a meaningful and prayerful liturgy of burial befitting to a missionary who has been faithful to his vocation until his last breath.[104]

8. Particular Situations

8.1. Crisis During On-going Formation

538. Missionaries may go through a time of crisis at any moment of their lives.[105] All human development (including spiritual) involves crises and it is necessary to educate the capacity to face the crises of life with resilience. Sometimes crises do not occur and they need to be provoked with a formative intent to awaken the person from his spiritual slumber and to promote his growth. Moments of crises can occur as a result of external factors (such as change of workplace, transfers, failure, criticism, etc.) or personal factors (spiritual aridity, temptations of pastoral agents,[106] physical or mental illness, loneliness, crises of love, of faith and of hope as well as of presbyteral/religious identity, etc.). A crisis in vocational life can temporarily destabilize the equilibrium of the life of a missionary and lead to severe consequences if not handled positively as a moment of grace and growth. A situation of crisis need not necessarily lead to the weakening of one’s vocation, but rather, it can serve as a classroom of maturation of one’s Claretian life and mission in the school of the Holy Spirit. A crisis can be a place of encounter with the Risen Lord, such as in the case of the disciples on their way to Emmaus,[107]and can result in a renewal of missionary enthusiasm. During ongoing formation, our missionaries should be adequately prepared to identify and manage crises in life as they arise in the course of their journey. Healthy community life, timely fraternal correction, daily examen of conscience, spiritual direction, responsible use of media and mutual accompaniment play an important role in dealing with crisis situations positively.

539. A crisis experienced in the early years of an ongoing formation may be related to a lack of internalization of the values of Consecrated Life. After initial formation, a young missionary, whose vocation is not grounded in a personal encounter with the Risen Lord and lacks the support of regular spiritual practices, the nourishment of the sacraments, and a disciplined life, may find it difficult to keep himself centered in Christ and focused on the mission of the community in the context of the new-found freedom in ministry. Choices made based on one’s likes and dislikes without being examined in the light of the Spirit can lead to situations of crisis that may present themselves in difficulties in the living of vows, alcoholism, persisting issues in community life, and loss of enthusiasm for the mission. During a crisis, it is a common tendency to act defensively by denying the problem, hiding or downplaying it, and hoping that it will go away on its own.[108] Often communication is cut-off, and the missionary may be tempted to retreat into a silent self-pitying, find refuge in self-destructive addictions, express the distress through angry outbursts and constant complaints, or question one’s own missionary identity. Crises that call for vocational anchoring require that one identifies and revisit the roots of the crisis and recommits oneself again to Christ consciously and freely because a missionary vocation cannot be built on sand.[109]

540. Though crises can happen at any stage of life, certain moments of life call for attention. A missionary may find himself losing his passion for mission and zeal for the Lord when the initial enthusiasm for ministry gives way to the monotony of routine and to a sense of loneliness, which often has to do with the conflict of intimacy-isolation[110] of adult life. Another moment is the well-known «midlife crisis,» during which a missionary may struggle with the desire for generativity and the fear of stagnation.[111] Often, the temptation in such developmental crises is to avoid the conflict by resorting to quick-fix solutions such as taking refuge in affective entanglements or looking for a diocesan form of life. The crises during these periods need to be approached through authentic discernment of the spirits behind the desire for change. Superiors should accompany the on-going formation of the missionaries not only “by offering help in resolving possible problems or in managing possible crises but also in paying attention to the normal growth of each one in every phase and season of life, in order to guarantee that youthfulness of spirit which lasts through time.”[112]

541. How to deal with a Crisis:

  1. The missionary in crisis, his confreres, and Superiors must be aware that a moment of crisis if adequately understood and addressed, with a willingness to learn from life, can and must become an occasion of conversion and renewal.[113] The most important thing is to face it together in the Spirit of Christ.
  2. Take steps to return to the “Deuteronomic memory of our vocation”, to those luminous moments when we experienced the Lord’s call to devote our lives to his service.[114]
  3. Superiors and communities need to offer a supportive presence and affectionate understanding of the missionary in crisis. He does this by patiently accompanying him and encouraging him to be calm in the face of a crisis and return to that “love that one had at first,” which impelled him to make his religious profession in the Congregation.
  4. Never make any life-changing decision when one is emotionally disturbed. 
  5. Use the crisis to discern what the Lord might be asking and how this time might be transformed into a moment of grace and growth. Authentic discernment necessarily should involve the Superiors and, when appropriate, the expert advice of professionals.
  6. Practice the prayer of gratitude by recognizing gratefully all those ways one has experienced God’s love, generosity, solidarity, and trust, as well as his forgiveness, patience, forbearance, and compassion.[115]
  7. When a crisis is associated with any misconduct related to the evangelical counsels, it should be seriously addressed according to the norms of our law, the law of the Church, and the civil society.

8.2. Inappropriate conduct related to Evangelical Counsels

542. Any behavior inconsistent with our form of life harms the person himself, others, our Congregation, and the Church. We should do everything to prevent such instances from happening in Claretian environments by introducing a proper code of conduct and putting preventive measures in place following the protocol of the Congregation.[116] There should be programs of conscientization of the significant issues related to various forms of abuse and the cultivation of the needed competencies to prevent our missionaries from falling prey to vices and addictions, especially relating to alcohol, sexuality, pornography, and the misuse of the Internet. We should collectively create a climate of credibility by cultivating the core values of responsibility, accountability, and transparency at all levels.[117]

8.2.1. Inappropriate Conduct Related to the Vow of Celibacy

543. The joyful living of celibacy is quite challenging in our contemporary society. Vocational inconsistencies and inadequate integration of sexual impulses in a missionary begin to express themselves outwardly in a ministerial context through violation of relationship boundaries, phone-calls at inappropriate times, lewd conversations, and addiction to pornography, compulsive masturbation, and sexual misconduct. Inordinate affective attachments become aggravated by lack of interest in the community, loss of interest in prayer (common and personal), and lack of personal responsibility.

544. The on-going formation should focus on deepening the awareness of the challenges of living celibacy and prepare the members to face them maturely. Secrecy and obscurity are the breeding grounds of inordinate affections that cross healthy personal boundaries and lead to abusive behavior. A culture of transparency and accountability in community, fraternal correction, and feedback, as well as spiritual and psychological mentoring, help the process of integrating the affective and sexual dimensions to our chosen form of life. Growth and integration take place when a missionary becomes aware of his strengths and weaknesses and assumes responsibility to address his problems. This can be done by making use of spiritual and psychological means, especially those prescribed by our Constitutions: (daily prayer,[118] monthly recollection and annual retreat,[119] frequent recourse to the sacrament of reconciliation,[120] spiritual direction and community discernment,[121] fraternal correction,[122] hard work and adequate care of mental and physical health.[123])

a. Sexual Abuse of Minors and Vulnerable Adults

545. Sexual abuse of minors[124] and vulnerable adults[125] is a criminal offense which causes severe damage to the life of the victims. Often sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults is related to the pathological psychic structure of the person who himself has been a victim of abuse and has become part of the chain of a pernicious evil worldwide in the society[126]. Hence, both the victim and the victimizer need accompaniment and support to recover from the damage to their very selves without prejudice to the canonical and legal implications on the abuser.

546. Sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults is abuse on four levels: it is sexual abuse, abuse of power, abuse of trust and spiritual abuse.

  1. It is sexual abuse because it involves sexual contact between an adult and minor, which includes all inappropriate sexual touching and indecent exposure. The threat of abuse by certain gestures or words causes a re-victimization, especially when a minor has already been abused.
  2. It is also an abuse of power because the abuser wields power over the minor/vulnerable adult as an ecclesiastic and as an adult which renders the abused defenseless. The abuse of minors and vulnerable adults involves the exploitation of the inferiority and vulnerability of the abused[127].
  3. It is an abuse of trust when committed by Church personnel who are known and trusted by the victims because of their confidence in the sanctity and credibility of the Church.
  4. It is a spiritual abuse because an abuse of a minor or a vulnerable person by an ordained minister or a religious amounts to a sort of spiritual incest causing violence to the soul of the person. When the abuse is done by a person who mediates the ultimate source, God, the very spiritual structure of the person oriented to God is ransacked.

547. Given the solemn responsibility of the Church in the formation of Religious and Priests in this regard[128], on-going formation programs must include adequate and updated information in the areas corresponding to violence and possible exploitation, such as, for example, addictions, trafficking in minors, child labor, sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults. The members of the Congregation who may be involved in cases of inappropriate behavior concerning the vow of chastity must be adequately accompanied, acting with honesty and speed, following the norms of the Church, the Civil Laws, the protocol of the Congregation, and the respective Major Organism.

548. To assure prevention of abuses and safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults, our missionaries shall pay attention to:

  1. Follow the code of conduct outlined in the Major Organism’s protocol for the safeguarding of minors. It is to be studied personally and in groups, and a copy signed by each member be kept in the provincial archive.
  2. Vigilance and mutual correction are needed among members of the community and the Major Organism to prevent the occurrence of any abuse. If anyone is aware of someone being very troubled by temptation, or of having been guilty of a serious fault, he should promptly report to the respective superiors and help address the issue immediately with concern for truth and the good of the persons affected. One should act with honesty, discretion, and charity in such cases, respecting the privacy and right to good name of the parties involved.
  3. To avoid misunderstandings and possible unfortunate occurrences of abuse, we should use a team approach for activities involving children and vulnerable adults.
  4. Consciously refrain from any sort of physical and verbal abuse of children, sexually oriented conversations and jokes in their presence, showing pornographic or morally inappropriate material, sexually suggestive electronic communications, and giving alcohol, tobacco or drugs to children.
  5. Avoid inappropriate expressions of affection between the members and minors following the traditions and culture of the place.
  6. Observe best practices outlined in the code of conduct concerning travel with children and young people, their accommodation and supervision.

b. Sexual Abuse in the Context of Ministry Involving Adult Faithful

549. Missionaries should be cognizant of the sources and expressions of sexual abuse in the exercise of their ministry. They should keep in mind that they are entrusted with the care and accompaniment of the people in their respective ministries. These are positions of power meant for service to the people in the name of the Lord. In the case of sexual behavior involving a missionary and an adult faithful, there is always a power differential (for example, parish priest and a faithful, formator and a formand, spiritual director and directee, counselor and counselee, director and staff, etc.). Thus, this is sexual abuse, abuse of trust, and a violation of relational boundaries. Such behaviors harm the victims and the institution irrespective of the question of mutual consent in such acts. These behaviors call for appropriate and prompt remedial action. In the pastoral care of people, our missionaries should take care to:

  1. Cultivate a new culture of pastoral care based on conversion, transparency, sincerity, and solidarity with victims, and attentive to every form of human suffering so that the culture of abuse will have no room to develop, much less continue[129].
  2. Live the spirituality of discipleship so that, conformed to Christ, they learn to look at people through the eyes of Jesus and love them with the heart of the Lord. Jesus-like attitudes and sentiments will enable them to recognize the image of God in the other and use power and authority to serve them in humility.
  3. Look for a trusted, wise person for spiritual direction to have guidance, accompaniment, and counsel, sharing one’s journey with complete trust and openness.[130]
  4. Prudently avoid exclusive attachment with particular persons, excessive or inappropriate visits to people causing suspicion in others, sending lewd messages, etc., which are unbecoming of the office they hold.
  5. Keep appropriate boundaries proper to their ministerial relationship when they offer support, encouragement, listening, and advice to people who seek solace in their troubles. This guards the missionary against any potential manipulation of the emotional and material dependence and the consequent vulnerability of the people receiving help. On the other hand, it is vital to cultivate a healthy, respectful, and empowering relationship with people to serve them effectively.
  6. Consider the cultural norms of the place of ministry regarding appropriate touch and physical contact with persons of both sexes.
  7. In the case of heterosexual friendships, become aware that the erotic dimension of any relationship is intensified by secrecy and exclusiveness. It is essential to have another person, either a spiritual director or a mentor, to help discern and keep the relationship congruent with one’s chosen form of life.
  8. In the event of an accusation of sexual misconduct with an adult, the protocol of the Congregation should be followed without prejudice to the civil laws of the place.

c. Abuse of Consecrated Women

550. Our missionaries closely collaborate with consecrated women as partners and participants in mission. It is a witness of the Gospel love when there is a healthy and mutually respectful relationship between consecrated men and women who help each other to grow in fidelity to the call of God and fulfill their mission in the Church. However, there is room for inappropriate sexual conduct and abuse because of power disparity and the psycho-sexual dynamics at play among celibate persons in close contact. Developmental factors, too, play a role in transitory infatuations between young religious who are together in the same environment, and they may grow into greater maturity by addressing their affections with suitable accompaniment from their mentors. Sexual abuse of consecrated women in any form (sexual advances, consensual sex, violence, or rape) denigrate the dignity of women, betrays the trust, and desecrate their consecration. To cultivate a respectful and mutual relationship with consecrated women and to promote co-responsibility for the mission of the Lord, we should:

  1. Address openly and prudently all issues related to abuse of power, sexual abuse, and emotional entanglement involving consecrated women and pastoral workers.
  2. Create awareness about the spiritual and psychological characteristics as well as the complementary nature of gender differences that play a role in the personal relationships of celibates and their collaboration in ministry.
  3. Learn to honor the dignity of women and consider the consecrated women as equal partners at the service of the kingdom in a shared mission and appreciate the contributions from the complementary talents, roles, and charisms of both sexes.
  4. Report accusations of misconduct and attend to them with due seriousness by taking appropriate actions in accordance with the protocol of the Congregation.

d. Homosexual Behaviors

551. Respect for the human person and the recognition of the inviolable divine image in each person[131] irrespective of one’s sexual orientation is fundamental to the approach of the Church to human problems. However, it is not the same thing to accept behaviors incompatible with one’s vocation. While the Church holds that a distinction should be made between a tendency that can be innate and acts of homosexuality that “are intrinsically disordered and contrary to Natural Law,”[132] she considers people with “deeply rooted homosexual tendencies” unfit for the priesthood and religious life.”[133]

552. Homosexual behaviors become even more unacceptable when they take place in the context of pastoral ministry or formative training of missionaries or laypersons. Membership in gay clubs, participation in gay movements, and visiting gay websites are incompatible with our form of life. We should not allow a gay culture[134] to grow in the Claretian environment, which causes factions and covert coalitions and results in the erosion of our missionary vitality in the Church. Following the instructions of the Holy See[135] and the Congregation, we should have programs to help our missionaries in the on-going integration of their sexuality and affectivity as they walk forth in life.

8.2.2. Inappropriate Conduct Related to the Vow of Poverty

553. The temporal goods of the Congregation, the fruit of our work, and the charity of the faithful are necessary means for our life, mission, and service to the poor.[136] We should administer them as responsible custodians with responsibility and transparency according to the norms of the Church and the Congregation.[137]

554. When missionaries fall for the lure of money and wealth and use them without following our norms, they go contrary to the vow of poverty and hurt the Congregation and the poor. What initially appear as small concessions and compromises with the vow of poverty become grave disorders in religious life even to the extent of big financial scandals. A missionary who is a victim of the craving for monetary gain will not work single-mindedly for the glory of God. Greed, which is the meanest of the vices, would cost him his credibility before the people.[138] Often abuse of money is an accomplice to other sinful liaisons.

555. Economes and those who administer the goods of the Congregation should be mindful of their inclinations against the spirit of poverty and carry out their responsibility under the direction of their respective superior.[139] Misconduct related to poverty takes place in different ways:

  1. Keeping unaccounted money, refusing to remit stipends, remuneration/salary, and donations, etc., to the community and spending them on one’s own without the approval of the Superiors.
  2. Excessive personal expenses, travel without the authorization of Superiors, and living a style of life as if the poor did not exist.[140]
  3. Favoring preferential and exclusive company of wealthy people for our feasts, free time, visits, trips, etc.
  4. Management of funds or goods of which one is in charge, without making necessary consultations, without getting permission from respective Superiors and not providing timely information to them.
  5. Misuse of funds received for specific projects or spending on other projects.
  6. Borrowing money or taking loans without the authorization of Superiors.
  7. Having bank accounts and ownership of property other than patrimonial goods[141] or acquiring possessions (buildings, vehicles, etc.) in one’s name without the authorization of the Superiors.
  8. Diversion of congregational funds to give financial support because of emotional attachments to others including one’s own family and relatives without proper discernment and the approval of superiors.
  9. Econome acting on his own without being accountable to his Superiors.
  10. Unethical investment for the sake of profit.
  11. Superiors and economes (at all levels) making financial transactions and use of the resources of the Congregation without proper consultation and discernment.

556. Communities and Major Organisms go against the spirit of poverty in different ways, such as:

  1. Keeping the poor and needy out of consideration in the planning and administration of our goods.
  2. Overlooking the social teaching of the Church in dealing with employees.
  3. Communities capitalizing their income without submitting true accounts to the Major Superiors or spending off surplus money without permission.
  4. Unethical investment for making more profit.
  5. Major organisms failing to consider the needs of the other parts of the Congregation irrespective of their financial condition.

557. Communities and provinces should encourage members to bear witness to a life of poverty based on congregational charism, vigilance, transparency, and accountability.[142] There are also psychological disorders related to the use of money, such as compulsive spending, pathological gambling, financial infidelity, and irresponsible generosity. When such disorders are chronically present in a missionary, professional help would be required. When there are aberrations in the use of funds and irresponsible administration of the goods of the Congregation, canonical sanctions should be applied promptly.

8.2.3. Inappropriate conduct related to obedience

558. Through his religious profession, a Claretian has offered God the free ability to arrange the course of his life and has bound himself by vow to obey his lawful superiors in matters pertaining to the life of our Institute.[143] However, lack of religious maturity, unresolved psychological issues with authority figures, false pride, and the frustrated ego needs of a missionary can provoke in him arrogant and aggressive behaviors towards Superiors. Lack of dialogue, incapacity to receive feedback, revengefulness, as well as an autocratic mindset on the part of superiors, can lead them to the abuse of power and authority which can cause damage to others.

559. There are many situations in which a missionary “learns obedience” through suffering after the manner of Christ who embraced the “foolishness” of the cross[144] when a decision of a superior does not make sense to him.[145] The sense of obedience to God and for the sake of God “gives courage to cast the nets on the ‘strength of his word’[146] and not only from solely human motivations.”[147] Obedience becomes a liberating experience when it is enhanced by the skills of listening, dialogue, compassionate communication, and the virtues that Claret has commended to his missionaries, especially humility, meekness, and mortification.[148]

560. Inappropriate conduct related to the vow of obedience occurs when a missionary:

  1. Fails to place himself, his time and resources freely and joyfully at the service of the Congregation and the Church and lives for himself;
  2. Refuses to accept transfers and is not open to being sent in mission by lawful superiors;
  3. Takes on responsibilities and positions in civil society without consulting or getting the approval of Superiors;
  4. Undertakes specialized studies or apostolates on one’s own without due permission;
  5. Disobeys the superior because of a disagreement or dislike for his style of functioning;
  6. Absents himself from the community without legitimate reasons and the approval of legitimate superiors;
  7. Lives a very independent life without any regard for teamwork or fraternal life in the community. Accepting ministries without considering the community project in consultation with the superior;
  8. Refuses to exercise the responsibility as superior to confront an erring confrere whose behavior hurts or damages others;
  9. Acts autocratically in the role of a Superior on important matters without any process of community discernment (in council and plenary meetings).

561. In the instances of repeated and grave misconduct of a missionary concerning the vow of obedience, confreres and superiors should be alert to signals of his spiritual and psychological deterioration and seek adequate measures to prevent harm to others and to the person himself. Silence and the complicity of confreres would only worsen the situation. In case of any criminal behavior or misconduct with legal implications, the civil and ecclesiastical norms should be strictly followed.

[1] Cf. VC 69; CC 56.

[2] Cf. PI 68: 2F 27.

[3] Cf. PDV 70-71; NWNW 16, 35a.

[4] VC 69.

[5] Cf. CIC 661; CF p, 10-13.

[6] CC 5.

[7] SW 22.

[8] Cf. PI 66, 68: CPR 67.

[9] Cf. CPR 77-78, 83; MS 60.

[10] Cf. Dir 148; 1 F 143-144; 2F 27-29.

[11] Cf. CPR 49.

[12] Cf. VC 69-70.

[13] Cf. 2F 27; PI 67.

[14] Cf. CPR 49.

[15] Cf. SAC 1.

[16] Cf. PI 67.

[17] PI 67.

[18] Cf. CPR 54; SW 14.

[19] Cf. Aut 113-120.

[20] Aut 687: cf. Lk 4:18.

[21] Cf. CPR 30, 70; SW 22.

[22] Cf. CC 51; CPR 49-50, 67.

[23] Cf. Collect for the Third Sunday of Easter.

[24] Cf. MR 11; PI 67.

[25] Cf. MCT 134, 137; CPR 46, 72; IPM 51-52.

[26] Cf. MCT 147-151.

[27] Cf. MCT 148.

[28] Cf. CC 56.

[29] PDV 70.

[30] Cf. MCT 137; CPR 28.

[31] MCT 201; cf. MFL 1-2.

[32] Cf. SW 4; IPM 57.

[33] XXTT, p. 582.

[34] CLOTET, J. Notes for the Annales of the Congregation AG, CMF: GC 11:4.

[35] Cf. CC 56; Dir 144.

[36] IPM 34.

[37] Cf. 2F 26-30; CPR 27-31; SW 22; MFL 44-46.

[38] Cf. CPR 49.

[39] Cf. 2F 27; CPR 65.

[40] Cf. CPR 67.

[41] Cf. CPR 68; SW 13:1, 14:1, 16:1, 22:1; MS 20.

[42] Cf. CPR 29, 70.

[43] Cf. Dir 147:2c; CPR 30, 71; SW 13:1; MFL 55:8.

[44] Cf. CPR 68-69.

[45] CPR 67; cf. MS 75:8.

[46] Cf. CPR 49, 60; MFL 56.

[47] Cf. CIC 661; CC 104:4; PI 66.

[48] Cf. MR 26; PI 66, 71; CPR 67.

[49] Cf. SW 22: 1.

[50] Cf. PI 71; 2F 30.

[51] Cf. GPF, Chapter 6. 

[52] Cf. PI 66; CPR 69.

[53] Cf. SW 13:1, 14: 1, 15: 1.

[54] SW 16:1; cf. PQTV 12-13.

[55] Cf. CC 34, 37; SW 14:1, 15:1-2, 16:1-2; Address of Pope at XXI General Chapter: Annales 60 (1991) 142-143; MFL 59; MS 42-45.

[56] Cf. VC 95; CC 35; Dir 84-85.

[57] CPR 67; cf. SW 13:3; MFL 55.

[58] Cf. CC 54; Dir 142; CPR 56; SW 13:3; PI 63, 71.

[59] Cf. CPR 61.

[60] Cf. CC 56; Dir 145.

[61] Cf. Dir 147-149.

[62] The yearly day of the Major Organism refers to the day chosen by the Organism (day of patron saint or of special Claretian significance) to celebrate the fraternal communion of its members in different ways such as gatherings, anniversaries, liturgical celebrations, etc..

[63] Cf. Dir 255; Her 33.

[64] Cf. Dir 149.

[65] Cf. Dir 149; CPR 69; SW 22:1; MS 74:1-7.

[66] Cf. Dir 245.

[67] Cf. CIC 819.

[68] Cf. Dir 247.

[69] Cf. Dir 236.

[70] Cf. RFIS 79-82.

[71] Cf. CPR 68.

[72] Cf. PI 70; RFIS 80-87.

[73] VC 70; CIC 279; PI 70; SW 22:2; IPM 35.

[74] Cf. VC 70.

[75] Cf. PDV 76.

[76] Cf. SW 22:1; MFL 55:7.

[77] Cf. PI 68.

[78] Cf. CPR 56.

[79] Cf. OSG 252ff.

[80] Cf. SW 22.2; IPM 35.

[81] Cf. CIC 279.

[82] Cf. 1F 143, 144.

[83] Cf. Encyclopaedia Britannica, “Middle age”.

[84] Cf. VC 70.

[85] Cf. PI 70; PDV 77.

[86] VC 70.

[87] VC 70.

[88] Cf. Lk 9:22, 24:26.

[89] CF. mfl 55:5.

[90] There are variations in the age of retirement according to country and profession. Secular professions in many countries generally have retirement age at 65. In the ecclesiastical context, retirement age for teaching is 70 and for parish priests 75 (Can 538 §3). The term third age is applied here to the age group ranging from 65 to 85 years where persons are still active and able to contribute positively to the mission of the congregation.

[91] Cf. PDV 77; SP 12.2.

[92] Cf. Gen 11:10-32.

[93] Francis, Address to the Participants in the International Congress ‘The Richness of Many Years of Life’, Friday, 31 January 2020.

[94] Here are a few examples. Consult Claretian Year on the dates given in brackets: Alcides Fernandez (18 January); Joan Sidera (16 February); Ramon Genover (20 February); Joachim Bestue (17 March); Franz Dirnberger (12 April); Luis Ignacio Andrade (30 December).

[95] Cf. EG 108; CV 193, 201.

[96] Cf. VC 70; CC45.

[97] Cf. Dir 51.

[98] The fourth age is better defined by functional decline which necessitates external assistance to take care of normal functioning of the person, although chronologically the fourth age is generally considered 85+. However, cultural, social and economic factors have great impact on longevity.

[99] Jn 13:1.

[100] VC 70.

[101] Ibid.

[102] Cf. Dir 52.

[103] EV 2.

[104] CC 19.

[105] CC 53.

[106] Pope Francis points to temptations of “heightened individualism, a crisis of identity and a cooling of fervor” in pastoral workers. He also alludes to practical relativism, selfishness and spiritual sloth, sterile pessimism, spiritual worldliness, clericalism, and a crisis of community which saps the vitality of pastoral workers (Cf. EG 78-109).

[107] Cf. Lk 24:13-35.

[108] Cf. AL 232-240. This reflection on the crisis in the family is relevant for Consecrated life

[109] Cf. Mt 7:26.

[110] It is the 6th stage of Erikson’s Psychosocial Development model. In religious life, this is a period of consolidation of a healthy spirituality of consecrated life in the person of Christ.

[111] This period marks the 7th stage of Psychosocial Development, which covers between the age of 40 to the mid 60s.

[112] SAO 13g.

[113] Cf. RFIS 96.

[114] Cf. Francis, Letter to the priests on the 160th anniversary of the death of the holy Curé of Ars, St John Mary Vianney (August 4, 2019).

[115] Ibid.

[116] The General Government approved the document “Vademecum of the Claretian Missionaries: Manual for the Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults and the Protocol for the Prevention and Intervention in a Crime of Sexual Abuse” on November 25, 2019, to come into force on January 1, 2020.

[117] Cf. M. VATTAMATTAM, Letter Going forth on the path of the Founder (March 2019).

[118] CC 37.

[119] CC 52.

[120] CC 38.

[121] CC 54.

[122] CC 55.

[123] Cf. CC 22, 57.

[124] A minor is any person under the age of 18. Cf. Can. 97§1; VELM §2. a.

[125]vulnerable person” is any person in a state of infirmity, physical or mental deficiency, or deprivation of personal liberty which, in fact, even occasionally, limits their ability to understand or to want or otherwise resist the offence” VELM §2 b.

[126] Citing statistics of abuse of minors across the globe, Pope Francis said in his concluding address of the summit on the protection of Minors in the Church, “We are facing a universal problem, tragically present almost everywhere and affecting everyone,” February 24, 2019.

[127] Cf. Francis, Concluding address of the Meeting on “The Protection of Minors in the Church” (21-24 February, 2019).

[128] Cf. RFIS 202. Programs of on-going formation….. Programs of on-going formation are to include specific lessons, seminars or courses on the dignity of the human person, specially about exploitation and violence, human trafficking, the protection of vulnerable adults and minors, and appropriate boundaries (Ratio 202).

[129] Cf. Francis, Letter to the priests on the 160 th anniversary of the death of the holy Curé of Ars, St John Mary Vianney (August 4, 2019).

[130] Cf. Ibid.

[131] Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n° 1700.

[132] Cf. THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE FAMILY, The truth and meaning of human sexuality.Guidelines for education within the family, n°104 (8 December 8, 1995).

[133] Cf. CONGREGATION FOR CATHOLIC EDUCATION, Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders (November 4, 2005).

[134] Gay culture indicates the values and interests shared by a group of persons based on their homosexual identity.

[135] “Seminary and religious formation programs must be updated to take the issue seriously, help seminarians and aspirants understand themselves and the obligations of celibacy, promote maturity and enable discernment about whether a candidate is ready and able to live a celibate life,” ibid.

[136] Dir 518.

[137] Dir 520.

[138] Cf. MI 21.

[139] Cf. Dir 542.

[140] Cf. MS 49; EG 80.

[141] Dir 519.

[142] Cf. CIVCSVA, Circular Letter, Guidelines on the management of temporal goods of Institutes of consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life, 1.2 (2004).

[143] CC 28.

[144] Cf. 1 Cor 3:18-19.

[145] Cf. SAO 10.

[146] Ibid.

[147] SAO 11.

[148] Aut 340, 372, 390.