232.  Before a candidate is incorporated into the Congregation, his vocational call must be discerned both by the candidate himself and by the Institute. This discernment is aimed at grasping the veracity the signs of vocation that manifest the authenticity of the candidate’s vocation to the Congregation.268 There are principles and criteria, based on reality and on the demands of vocation, that are defined and established by the Church and by the Congregation.269

1.   Principles of Vocational Discernment

1.1. Vocation: a dynamic project

233.  Vocation is understood as a dynamic reality, both in the call and in the response, which must be discerned gradually and progressively, without interruption. This dynamic character exists because:

1º. God manifests his will progressively, and besides the initial call, he keeps calling the person constantly, throughout his life, and invites him to respond constantly and without respite.270

2º. The person called should be driven by vocational motivations, which are dynamic forces that move his personality.

3º. Vocation unfolds in keeping with the force and rhythm of one’s personality (gifts, qualities..) and of the person called (vocational demands).

4º. The person is stimulated by the outside world, by reality and by the signs of the times. The richer external environment is, the more the person is stimulated.

1.2.   The signs of a vocation must be positive

234.  The vocational signs that manifest a call as events or as gifts of God must be positive.271 The fitness of candidates must be based on positive arguments that can guarantee their fidelity. These positive signs, though they need not be extraordinary, should show a certain relevance in keeping with vocation. Candidates should show in their life that they effectively possess the established requisites for living their vocation adequately. Bearing in mind the age of candidates and the stage they have reached in their vocational journey, positive fitness should prevail over simple supposition, mediocrity, uncertainty or doubt. If repeated discernment has given rise to a serious doubt, their incorporation is inadvisable.

1.3.   The signs of a vocation are manifested in the form of vocational seeds

235.  The fitness of candidates must be adequately discerned, because sometimes the signs of a vocation are only germinally present in a person. Depending on the age and education of candidates, the germinal indices of a vocation appear in a more or less evolved form. For along with confidence in the person, we need to have the sensibility to grasp these signs, because when these indices are positive, they can later develop and grow with human collaboration, effort of will and help from the Spirit of the Lord.272 In a climate of patience and hope, the person accompanying the candidate can educate him to know how to respond to the Lord from the standpoint of these seeds, in order that they may reach their fullness.

1.4.   Quality is to be preferred to quantity in       candidates

236.  It is a common criterion in the Church always to prefer quality to quantity when it comes to selecting candidates. The candidates chose must be called by God and be endowed with such conditions as will allow them to respond adequately to the radical demands of their calling.273

237.  In the Congregation the preference for quality over quantity has always been held, even when there was a great need for many vocations. Our Superiors General have stressed this criterion.274 It is a basic criterion for formation and for the missionary life.275

238   Given the urgent need for abundant vocations, we must act hopefully and lucidly, without allowing ourselves to be carried away by emotional impulses or by merely numerical calculations.276 The lack of candidates should not become a pretext for admitting to the Congregation persons who lack the pertinent signs, gifts, motivations or aptitudes. It would be a great evil for the Congregation.277 Hence, at the same time we strive for the quantitative growth of the Congregation, we must strive with all care and diligence for its qualitative growth.278 Because of our anxiety over the lack of vocations, we must not allow ourselves to slacken our discernment in receiving vocations, to settle for mediocrity in the process of formation or to lower the demands of the Claretian vocation. On the contrary, in this situation we must pay all the greater attention to the criteria for selecting vocations.279

1.5.   We must carry out a careful selection

239.  From the very outset of the Congregation, Claret took the greatest care regarding the admission of new candidates to the community, so that inadequate persons might not join it. He asked that candidates be subjected to a very attentive process of selection, diligently following good criteria in examining their physical and moral qualities.280 As far as the Congregation was concerned, those who wanted to enter the Claretian life had to have a vocation. They truly needed one if they were to find personal and religious fulfillment, and not turn out to be frustrated persons. It would be a grave risk, on the one hand, for a man to enter without being called by God and, on the other, to refuse to enter if God were really calling him.281 Hence, in the process of discerning a vocation, one must not proceed lightly. Rather one must make “a painstaking and rather rigorous selection” and inquire “with all diligence” whether a candidate is truly such as will be of use to the Congregation for the work of God’s glory and the salvation of human beings.282

2.   Criteria of Vocational Discernment

240.  The general criteria of discernment allow both the candidate and the Congregation to verify if there are positive signs of a true vocation.283 The criteria of discernment fall into two categories:

1)    Requirements. On the positive side, requirements are the personal conditions of the candidate that allow us to deduce his fitness for the Claretian vocation. In this connection, the criteria singled out by the Church and the Congregation are as follows:284

1º. An upright intention, together with authentic and valid vocational motivations and interests.

2º. Full freedom at the time of making an option for the religious life and, in particular, for the Congregation.

3º. A proper disposition, that is, a suitable temperament, character and personality, especially for living in community and for serving others.

4º. Qualities that are in conscience required of the candidate285 for living one of the forms (priestly, diaconal or lay) of the Claretian life286 and for carrying out the mission of the Congregation. Among these qualities are good physical and mental health, a sufficient level of intellectual achievement, maturity and emotional balance in keeping with the age of the person, and adequate moral and spiritual qualities.

2)    Contraindications. On the negative side, contra-indications are the personal conditions of the candidate that allow us to deduce his unfitness for the Claretian life. These would be of three kinds:

1º. Contraindications in the strict sense. These are conditions in the candidate that would render him absolutely unfit for the Claretian vocation. They are the so-called psychological diseases involving a fundamental mental derangement. Among them are paranoia, schizophrenia, cyclothymia, neurosis, hysteria, and hypochondria, as well as other psychopathic or sociopathic conditions.287

2º. Contraindication in the broad sense or negative signs. For the effects of vocational discernment, we must also consider as contraindications those less grave conditions in the personality which, taken together, present a negative outlook for living the Claretian life. They are traits and behaviors that in isolation do not strictly or absolutely constitute an impediment for Claretian life, but if present as a constellation or ensemble, constitute a true vocational contraindication. Among them are overall and persistent personal immaturity, emotional immaturity and reactions proper of lower developmental stages (childhood or adolescence).288

3º. Canonical impediments established by the Law of the Church.289

241.  For the Congregation –besides the canonical requisites or impediments—a clear criterion for vocational discernment is the absence of vocational contraindications in the strict sense, as well as of other personality traits that would impede one from realizing the demands of a Claretian vocation.290

2.1.   Age

242.  The minimal age for entering the novitiate is 17 years completed.291 Before this age candidates may be accepted for a period of pre-novitiate, according to the criteria proper of each Major Organism. There is nothing established in the Church’s Universal Law regarding a maximum age.

243.  In its tradition, the Congregation used to have special norms regarding the age for the admission of candidates.292 At present it has none, except for those contained in Church Law. Each Major Organism admits candidates to the phase of discernment and welcoming in accord with its own vocational and formative structures.

244.  In principle, as a pedagogical principle, very young candidates should not be admitted, given their stage in the process of personality development. The can only be accepted when it seems advisable for social, cultural and educational reasons. And as a criterion based on experience, adults of an advanced age should not be admitted. If some extraordinary circumstances exist for a possible exception, these vocations must be very well discerned, both as regards motivation and as regards the person’s ability to adapt to and assimilate the new values and lifestyle required. In any case, we must avoid falling into the temptation293 of admitting inadequate persons, moved by the lack of vocations.

2.2.   Physical Health

245.  Physical health is a necessary requirement for the religious life in general and for the Claretian life in particular. The degree of health required of a candidate is not categorically established by the Church or by the Congregation. It is a criterion of assessment. The candidate must enjoy the health he needs in order to maintain an adequate psychological balance, and in order to live and carry out the demands of our life and mission. Ours is a life and mission that requires sacrifice, renunciation, adaptation and bodily resistance.

246.  Health has always been a priority in selecting vocations and in formation, and it has been a matter of concern for General Chapters and Superiors, bearing in mind the difficulties of the missionary life. In the Congregation’s tradition it has always been stressed that the candidates should be in good physical health, without any notable illness or deformity.294 Candidates were required to present a certificate of good health both on entering the Congregation and in successive stages.295

247.  In order to detect possible contraindications, recourse should be had to specialists. The medical certificates that are required must be as complete and exhaustive as possible.

2.3.   Appropriate Disposition

248.  Disposition, as used here, is an overall concept of the person, his natural bent, including his temperament, character and personality. The criterion for vocational discernment is that one’s disposition or natural bent should be appropriate for the Claretian life, especially for community life and service to others. It does not refer to presumed personal abnormalities, but rather to the adequacy or inadequacy of a person’s traits in relation to the demands of Claretian life.

249.  The disposition or natural bent that candidates must have, at least as a basic requisite, is spelt out in those attitudes and aptitudes that allow them to live both evangelical and Claretian values. Fundamentally, candidates have to be persons who possess the basic range of human values needed in order to be Claretian Missionaries,296 such as:

–     a disinterested love for others (God, his community brothers, men and women throughout the world;

–     an unconditional and generous commitment to a utopian project (evangelizing the whole world);

–     a rich sensibility and affective life (community life, chastity, universal mission);

–     sociability and a capacity for establishing human and friendly relationships (community life, chastity, apostolic mission);

–     unlimited flexibility and adaptability (community life, itinerancy, universal mission);

–     radical renunciation of self for the values of the Kingdom (chastity, poverty, obedience, family, personal project of life, itinerancy);

–     a positive and optimistic outlook on life, sincerity and transparency (in order to cope with the difficulties of community life and the frustrations of apostolic life);

–     seriousness and responsibility in making decisions (fundamental option);

–     constancy and stability is carrying out commitments (perseverance).

250.  In the Congregation, character has always been one of the dimensions that have merited a very special attention.297 It has always been regarded as highly important to discern well the character of candidates and to observe closely their temperament and inclinations. On the one hand, they were expected to show signs of having a good spirit298 and an open, flexible and joyful character. On the other hand, harsh, intractable, unsociable, withdrawn, violent, sad and distrustful characters were excluded.299

2.4.   Psychological health and balance

251.  Psychological health means that the candidate should be a normal person. A normal personality is one who, having acquired the degree of psychological maturity corresponding to his age, acts in accord with behaviors defined as normal.

252.  Psychological balance is a dimension that is related with normal personality and manifests a person’s maturity. In a dynamic and overall perspective, a normal person’s balance is expressed in normal behavior that reflects the ability to adequately judge reality, to love authentically and be open to others, to make free and stable options, to work and be efficient, and to adapt oneself to his surroundings.300

253.  The psychological maturity of a person is not absolute, but relative. It is subject to a process of development throughout the stages of a person’s evolution. Each age in the process of personal growth has its own distinctive maturity.

254.  The existence of vocational contraindications301 gives evidence of a lack of vocation, inasmuch as they hinder the person from carrying out the Claretian project. Hence, those candidates in whom such contradictions are detected should not be admitted to the Congregation, or they should be excluded from it, in case they have already begun the process of formation.

255.  In the Congregation we have constantly insisted on the fact that candidates should shown no signs of mental alienation, alcoholism, neurasthenia or other mental illnesses.302

256.  In the vocational discernment of psychological health and balance, it is very important to take the following factors into account:

1º. The psychological maturity of the candidate in relation to the demands of the stage of development he is going through (adolescence, youth or adulthood). The Church and the Congregation both ask that the candidate should have acquired, in each moment of his formative itinerary, the psychological balance and maturity proper of his age and of the formative stage in which he is at the time (beginning of the novitiate or at the stage of perpetual profession).

2º. Although the Church and the Congregation do not demand that the candidate be absolutely mature from the outset, nevertheless the person who is helping him to discern his vocation must bear in mind the following points of reference:

–     the overall picture of the traits of a balanced and mature personality that are demanded of every normal person;303

–     the type of capacity and behaviors that derive from the concrete demands of Claretian life (emotional maturity, capacity for renunciation, capacity for relationships, detachment, availability, adaptability and others).304

3º. It is not always easy to draw the boundaries between the normal and the abnormal. Nevertheless, there are some quite obvious signs of abnormality that can be detected at first sight. Others require lengthier observation, while still others require a more specialized and in-depth psychological analysis.

4º. Contraindications, and above all, negative personality traits, do not appear externally and clearly in the first stages of personal development. Sometimes they are found in the personality in the form of internal dispositions that are not manifested clearly in the beginning, but only through certain symptoms and indications of lesser importance. In the process of discernment they have to be taken into account and adequately evaluated.

5º. A single negative sign is not enough to exclude one from the Claretian life. Nevertheless, in order to form an adequate assessment of the candidate’s potential, we must take into account:

–     the centrality of the negative sign in the overall personality of the candidate;

–     the developmental stage of the person;

–     the human and supernatural resources he has at his disposal in order to overcome it.

257.  The complexity of the psychological dimension of the person demands that, for the purposes of discernment, we have recourse to and seek the opinion of experts in the field of psychology. Also, in this area of personality, we must have recourse to specialists in order to detect possible contraindications. The psychological reports that we require must be as complete and exhaustive as possible, always respecting the person’s right to his privacy and good reputation.305

2.5.   Vocational motivations.

         Freedom and upright intention.

2.5.1.  Authentic and valid vocational motivations

258.  Nature of motivations. Motivations, which consist of an aim and of an impulse, constitute the reason and power that move a person to achieve the goals set before him. Vocational motivations move a person to act with an upright intention and freedom to embrace a vocation that is dynamic. Vocational motivations, along with the awareness of being called, move the person to embrace the Claretian life in a responsible and dynamic manner, constantly striving to improve.

259.  Types of motivations. We must distinguish the following aspects in vocational motivations:

1º. Motivations can present themselves in a conscious or an unconscious way. Conscious motivations are known and can be readily detected, controlled and educated. Unconscious motivations are unknown by the person who has them, yet they are active and dynamic, and effectively influence his behavior.

2º. Vocational motivations sometimes appear to be either inadequate or insufficient. Inadequate motivations are those which, although positive, do not measure up to the values and style of Claretian life. Insufficient motivations, which can also be positive, do not offer a complete reason or justification for embracing the missionary life. These motivations, while good, are not valid vocationally.

3º. Finally, vocational motivations can be both authentic and valid. Authentic motivations are those that spring from a person who is free and not condition by or subject to internal or external pressures (fear or fraud). Valid motivations are those whose aim and contents are in line with the world of values of the Claretian life (living according to the demands of the Kingdom, the following of Jesus, evangelization, etc.). Hence, these motivations are likewise both adequate and sufficient vocationally.

260.  Authentic and valid motivations. The candidate must have and manifest full freedom and uprightness of intention at the time he opts for the Congregation. This means that he must be actuated by authentic and valid vocational motivations, that is, he must be free of all interior and exterior pressure that might condition his decision and he must be motivated by values proper of the Claretian life. The discernment of vocational motivations is decisive in order to form an adequate judgment on the fitness of the candidate.

261.  The tradition of the Congregation. From the outset, the Congregation asked that Superiors and Examiners should diligently scrutinize the spirit, intention and will of candidates. As a fundamental criterion for admitting any candidate, it required that all candidates –priests, students or brothers—must have an apostolic spirit. This criterion would also have to be a determinant factor in discerning vocations during the postu-lancy. Hence, for the good functioning of our formation centers, we were to dismiss those postulants who, for various reasons, would not be of service for the apos-tolic ministry. Applicants were also asked whether they had an inclination toward the religious state and a decided will to remain in the Congregation until death.306

2.5.2.            Guidelines for discernment

262.  For a better discernment from a pedagogical point of view, the following guidelines should be borne in mind:

1º.  We must begin to detect and clarify the candidate’s motivations from the first vocational selection, and we must continue to do so in the stages that follow. Conscious motivations are usually expressed explicitly in conversations, dialogues, interviews and questionnaires. Unconscious motivations are harder to discover, since they are unknown even to the candidate, yet they act on their own and quite effectively.

2º. Conscious and unconscious can coexist simultaneously is a person. A candidate can express a conscious motivation in keeping with the values of Clare-tian life, yet he can in fact be moved by unconscious motivations which have nothing to do with the project of the Congregation. This situation needs to be clarified.

3º.Although at the beginning of vocational discernment a person’s motivations may not be clear and their validity may not appear transparently, but they can be clarified, reoriented and educated. This demands that they be reviewed and clarified in order to purify them with honestly and transparency. It is a difficult task, because of our tendency to rationalize and justify our own attitudes and behaviors, and to project our own personal problems and deficiencies on others. Discernment in the light of faith, a vocational reading of the Word of God, a revision of personal and community life, an awareness of our own attitudes and behaviors, fraternal correction, pastoral counseling and personal accompaniment are, among others, the most efficient means to help us to discover and purify the “whys” of our own conduct.

2.6.   Intellectual capacity

263.  The intellectual capacity of a candidate should be proportionate to and adequate for the life and mission of the Congregation. Although there is nothing established regarding intellectual quotients or coefficients, nevertheless, in order to live the Claretian life and exercise our apostolic mission, a notable degree of intellectual capacity is required:

–     It must be sufficient to allow the candidate to understand and grasp the meaning and nature of the missionary life.

–     It must be enough to allow him to acquire the intellectual preparation that every Claretian must have in order to carry out our universal mission.307

–     It must include, besides the ability to learn, the ability to reflect and form a well-pondered judgment concerning life and events.

–     It must be present, at least as a basic aptitude that can be developed, enriched and educated during the years of formation.

264.  The Congregation has always demanded that its candidates should have an intellectual level that is good enough to allow them to fulfill their mission. They need to have an intellectual aptitude and be rather intelligent.308 This aptitude must be manifested in sufficient talent and memory to pursue their studies.309 Those who were entering the novitiate directly, without first attending our postulancies, were asked to have some particular requirements. If they were entering as students, they had to present a certificate of the studies they had completed previously (in colleges or seminaries), with the grades they had received for talent or application, or whether they had passed the required courses in Latin or Rhetoric.

2.7.   Moral and religious fitness

265.  Moral and religious fitness is related to the candidate’s world of moral values and the experience of Christian life that he is living. The candidate must be morally sound, with right criteria, and he must give evidence of good human and Christian behavior. Moreover, he must have had sufficient religious practice, concretely embodied in a life of piety and the practice of prayer, in the reading of the Word of God and in the reception of the sacraments. All of this fitness constitutes a foundation and guarantee that the candidate can in fact opt for the following of Christ according to the Claretian project.

266.  This fitness cannot be taken for granted in the first contact with the candidate. In the beginning the candidate may not have all the conditions for complete fitness. It depends to a large extent on his age, his family and social background, where he was born and educated, as well as his past experiences. The evaluation of these things, which is of its very nature bound to be relative, should focus on his basic capacities as a person, which may allow him to overcome the shortcomings of his past experiences (particularly in the area of sexuality) and to achieve a fundamental fitness after a process of accompaniment.

267.  Contraindications in this area can have diverse manifestations:

–     Criteria and ways of thinking that are not really appropriate regarding human rights and the values of the evangelical life.

–     A lack of sensibility towards persons and the world around them.

–     Attitudes and behaviors that reflect selfishness, an incapacity for renunciation and, in a particular way, those that relate negatively with sexuality.

–     A lack of faith, which prevents them from carrying out or acquiring a fundamental Christian life.

268.  The Congregation has always demanded that candidates should have good inclinations and good conduct, docility and submission, a painstaking Christian education, devotion and piety, and a capacity for perseverance.310

3.   The family and vocational discernment

269.  The family is a key element in discerning vocations, one that should be pondered from the first manifestations of a candidate’s vocation. Particular attention should be paid to the family’s influence on his motivation and behavior, in order to help us discern his rectitude of intention and his fitness for the missionary life.311 In order to orient the candidate in discernment and to accompany him more effectively in his vocational process, the following family dimension must be taken into account: the state of their physical and mental health, their social and economic situation, relationships between family members, the way they live their religion, the type of values they transmit and their emotional bonding with the candidate.312

270.  According to our tradition, candidates should be the children of upright and healthy parents.313 At present, bearing in mind the family situation and background of the candidates, we should not admit those whose families have problems and conflicts that prevent them from developing their vocation. In particular, we should examine the physiological heredity of the candidates and their family antecedents.314

271.  When the time comes to discern vocations, we must be alert concerning the positive or negative influence of the family on the candidate, both for the consequences it might have on his process of maturation and on his process of duly breaking away from the family.315

4.   Special Cases

4.1.   Vocations of converts to the Catholic Faith

272.  Before entering the novitiate, candidates who are newly converted to the Catholic Faith who seek to enter the Congregation should live as Catholics for at least two years in a Catholic community, in a welcoming center for vocations or in a Claretian Postulancy. In this way they are afforded adequate time to further personalize their faith, to better assimilate its religious content, to solidify their Christian attitudes and behaviors and to definitely confirm their intention to lead the Claretian life.

4.2.   Vocations coming from Seminaries or

         From other Religious Congregations

273.  As a general rule, in dealing with candidates who come from a Seminary or from another Congregation, either by their own personal choice or by expulsion, it is not only prudent of fitting but even necessary to ask those in charge of the institution from which they are coming for exhaustive reports on them.316

4.3.   Situations of extreme poverty and

         of unemployment

274.  There are cases of candidates who come from a background of extreme poverty. Their motivations need to be discerned very carefully, in order to purify them from anything that might be amiss. For out part, we must be careful of the image we project (of power, stability and security), which might induce such young men to opt for the Congregation. The poverty of our style of life should always be transparent. In some places the family element may be a factor for concern, since the religious may be regarded as the person who can best help his family.317

275.  Sometimes these candidates may be seeking security not only for themselves but also for other family members. These are persons whose parents, brothers and sisters depend on them. In these cases it is better not to accept them, but rather to make them see that it is their mission and God’s will that they live and work for their loved ones. As early as the first Constitutions we were asked to discern whether the candidate’s parents, if deprived of his help and assistance, would be left in dire need. This reflects the Instruction that Fr. Xifré wrote in 1864, in which he stated that both Superiors and Examiners should diligently examine not only the intentions and motives of candidates, but also the situation of their parents.318

276.  In many societies under today’s circumstances, unemployment for lack of work might induce some persons to opt for the religious life. They may be looking, with good intentions, for an alternative way to help others by contributing what they have learned in their professional formation, even if this is not sufficient grounds on which to base a lifelong vocational option. Persons such as this should be orientated to the Claretian Volunteer, the Lay Claretian Movement or some other institution in which a lifelong commitment is not binding.

277.  In other cases, unemployment, as an inability to work, can also be a motive for seeking to enter the Congregation. But someone who is of no use to the world is of not use to the Congregation. In still other cases, unemployment, as an experience of failure, might drive some persons to seek a place where they will be accepted. And sometimes these persons have attempted to enter different religious institutes but have been rejected for lack of positive signs of a vocation.319

4.4.   Physical and psychological Illnesses and             Imbalances

4.4.1.             Drug addiction

278.  We should distinguish between the casual or sporadic use of drugs and addiction to them. Today many young people have tried some sort of drug for various reasons, but this does not mean that they are addicted to them. Candidates who are addicts should not be accepted. In some cases, alcoholism (whether acquired or hereditary) can be more easily disguised than drug addiction properly so-called. Such candidates must be subjected to a serious review and selection.320

4.4.2.             AIDS

279.  The Congregation does not deem it opportune to admit candidates with AIDS, for personal as well as community and pastoral reasons. Before admission, prior medical reports should be sought regarding the presence of this disease, always safeguarding the ethical aspect (secrecy, discrimination) and the legal implications that exist in some countries.321

4.4.3.  Homosexuality

280.  Cases of homosexuality also deserve special consideration and should be looked at attentively from the standpoint of vocation ministry. Homosexuality is sometimes hard to detect because it is present in a covert way, although sooner or later it may give rise to problems. Hence, when a candidate shows some signs of homosexuality, it is necessary to subject him to a medical-sociological examination, to maintain an in-depth dialogue on his sexuality and to evaluate the scope of its indications or symptoms. Candidates who are involved in homosexual behaviors should not be admitted to the Congregation, and if they have already made their profession, they should not be admitted to its renewal or to perpetual profession.322

4.5.   Family Situations

4.5.1.  The only child

281.  Being an only child is not, in principle, an impediment to being a Claretian. Nevertheless it is a particular case which should be discerned with special care. We need to examine well the personality of the candidate, the education he has received and, in dialogue with his parents, the life situation in which they will have to remain in the future.

4.5.2.  Children of unmarried or separated parents

282.  Although the fact that one’s parents are separated or not married does not in itself constitute an impediment, it can in many cases, however, give rise to personal and relational problems with an impact on his vocation. Moreover, the existence of serious family conflicts can act as a determinant on emotional problems and on problems of relating to authority figures that can later be reflected in personal and community conflicts, especially in the area of obedience.

4.5.3. Children of parents who are non-believers or belong to other religions

283.  When a candidate comes from a non-believing family or from one that belongs to other religious persuasions, it will be necessary to verify the authenticity of the way he lives his Catholic faith and to help him take up the values of his human and religious experience in order to integrate them into his process of faith and of following Jesus within the Claretian community.323

5.   Some practical guidelines

284.  We have to properly situate the role of experts, doctors and psychologists in the process of discernment. They are technicians who can help in the process of discernment with their reports. But they are not the ones who proclaim the existence or non-existence of a vocation. The definitive judgment in discernment belongs to the candidate and the one who accompanies him, who must consider the ensemble of the candidate’s vocational signs, taking into account the human and faith dimension of his vocation.

285.  In discernment, we must make use of the time and means that are necessary for it. When the time is up, if a candidate does not show signs of a vocation, or if he does not meet the necessary requirements, the most prudent thing is to let him know without delay or ambiguity that he is not suited to the Claretian life324 and to direct him to some other path in life.325 When a doubt persists, it is better not to accept the candidate. To enter the Congregation there must be clear signs of being called to it and, for that very reason, of having the qualities necessary for our missionary life.

286.  There are authentic vocations which, by reason of their human and spiritual bent, are not for the Congregation. There are candidates who possess genuine signs of a vocation, but cannot adapt to the demands of our mission, whether it be because of the type and development of their aptitudes, or because of their spiritual orientation, which is perhaps rooted in some other kind of spirituality. We have to be open and docile to the Spirit in order to counsel and help them to find their way in some other, non-Claretian form of the Religious Life.