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Consecrated

posted by awelborn

A very nice piece in the Detroit paper about a consecrated virgin and her life.

Consecrated Virgins.org



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Maureen

posted August 24, 2005 at 8:43 am


I really liked the homemade home tabernacle. Did you notice it was constructed like a flagbox, but with all those nice carvings on the front? Good, simple workmanship.
And I also really liked how the basement was done into a chapel. Nicer than a lot of churches, really, though very monastically plain.



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Paul Smith

posted August 24, 2005 at 9:04 am


I’ve been away, so I don’t know if this has been discussed here or not, but this week’s People magazine has an article on people who are still virgins and around the age of 40. (Also tying in with the movie.) Most are simply waiting until marriage, but they do interview a consecrated virgin. (My dad’s cousin!)
If this was discussed, sorry for wasting time/bandwidth.



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Eric Giunta

posted August 24, 2005 at 9:06 am


Why isn’t there a similar lifestyle available for men to embrace? Why is the Church soanti-male! ;-)
Seriously, though, why shouldn’t men have the opportunity to be consecrated virgins? If anything, it’s harder for us to restrain ourselves sexually.



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William in Texas

posted August 24, 2005 at 10:20 am


Eric, I was just asking myself the same question. I went to the Consecrated Virgins website expecting to find it to be for both men and women. I am disappointed.
It does seem strange that the only opportunities for men to be consecrated virgins in the Church are in the priesthood or being a part of a religious order.



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Tim Ferguson

posted August 24, 2005 at 10:36 am


Part of the reason this is a vocation only for females is the fact that biologically and historically, virginity can only be “proven” of women. Secondly, the consecration of virgins symbolizes a certain mystical marriage to Christ, which is simply not possible for males to effect. While men can certainly be virgins, and offer their virginity to Christ, and witness to Him through lives of holiness and continence, they can’t bear the same symbol that a consecrated virgin can bear. Celibate priests, monks, hermits and lay brothers are not consecrated virgins, even if they are, in fact, virgins. As Fr. Timothy Radcliffe said in answering the question “Why is it just that women can’t be priests,” – when we deal with priesthood (and consecrated virginity) we look through the optic of symbol, not the optic of justice.
As a matter of trivia/interest, St. John the Apostle has been referred to historically as St. John the Virgin. But, as far as I know, he’s the only male saint called a virgin.



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patrick in ny

posted August 24, 2005 at 11:04 am


the reason only women receive the consecration of virginity has more to do with the theology of the body and sacramental expression.
the male body can be consecrated as a sacramental expression of Christ the Priest and the bridegroom.
the female body can be consecrated as a sacramental expression of the bridal/church and her virginal love for the Christ. one really needs to read and pray the consecration prayer and then it becomes clear the intimate connection of the virgin and the church and how the consecrated female is an icon of this.
remember the rite is a real consecration, it is not the same as a religious profession of vows or a vow of celibacy, and these ways are open to both men and women. also single men must vow themselves to celibacy when ordained a deacon….so the restored diaconate does offer single men a way to consecrate themselves to Christ and his church (at present the diaconate is mostly married men, but one day this other dimension will catch on!)
finally, in the early fathers there are some beautiful writings on Christ as the Virgin. His whole inner life was to be a pure reflection of the Father so that all who saw him, saw the FATHER and he was totally consecrated to only do the will of the Father.
so all ‘virginity’ is a sacramental expression of this love of the Christ and total surrender to his will. when one starts to ponder all this, we can get some glimspe of the beauty and reagard of the early church for virginity…and how the female virgin became a sacramental expression of the deep life of the church in Christ that we are share in through the life in the holy spirit! she was among the holy people of God as a sacrament of what it really means to say “We are the church”…how times have changed!



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Father Steve Mattson

posted August 24, 2005 at 11:10 am


Tim, your explanation is right on. It’s about the symbol, the “type” or “image” that women and men can reflect precisely because they are women or men. Virgins are virgins for the Bridegroom.
The growth of this vocation (and a resurgence of women’s religious as well) is a gift to the Church and the world. The Consecrated Virgin (like a woman religious) images the Bride of Christ for the Church. In a complementary way, priests image Christ the Bridegroom for the Church. Typologically, a man (even a virgin like John the Apostle) could never image the Bride of Christ, the Church, in the same way a woman can. Similarly, a woman is unable (as a woman) to image Christ in the way a man can, even if she might in fact be much more like Christ.
Father Steve



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Eric Giunta

posted August 24, 2005 at 11:50 am


I’m not bying it, guys (and Father).
When I was a religious postulant, I remember reading literature (can’t recall the exact titles) which made it clear that all souls are, in a sense, feminine with regard to Christ, the vows of a male religious are just as equivalent to a spiritual espusal to Christ as that of a nun. It was further made clear that this had no homosexual implications to it.
Men should be allowed to vow virginity to God in a form approved by the Church. Call them whatever you’d like, but this should be allowed. There’s no theological reason for not doing so.



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Tim Ferguson

posted August 24, 2005 at 12:07 pm


Good to know you’re wiser than the Church, Eric. What else are we doing wrong, just so we can learn from you…



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cw

posted August 24, 2005 at 12:29 pm


We have a consecrated virgin who attends Mass at an Abbey nearby. I have one concern only and that is with the fact that she dresses in what looks like a homemade habit. White shirt, black jumper, white petticoat (?) or slip that sticks out from the bottom of the jumper, a long white veil ( not a lace mantilla, more like a traditional nuns veil without the wimple) and sandals. My children asked when they first saw her if she was a sister. I said yes, because from a distance I thought she was. Her “habit” has also changed slightly it seems from week to week.
Why do I think this might be a problem? It might be silly, I admit, but if she wears this everyday, not just Sundays, someone might get the idea that she is some rogue sister or someone who is trying to be nun but has been denied or even someone who wants to be a nun without being a nun. Like I said, maybe a silly concern, but those were my first thoughts when I saw that she was not wearing an official habit from a particular order.
I really liked the article and am very supportive of the consecrated virgins. I would be thrilled if one of my daughters chose this. Maybe some can help me understand the significance or necessity of the outfit.



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Rick

posted August 24, 2005 at 1:22 pm


Even though a man cannot be a consecrated virgin, he can be a consecrated hermit. I think there are also consecrated widows and widowers.



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Father Steve Mattson

posted August 24, 2005 at 1:55 pm


Eric,
Men religious take vows of chastity and priests (and non-married deacons) make promises of celibacy. Though similar, this is not the same as women consecrating their virginity to the Bridegroom. The sign-value of a man’s virginity is not the same as the sign-value of a woman’s. That’s as true in the world as it is in the Church.
Even if both men and women can rightly view Christ as the mystical Bridegroom of their souls, the Church never calls a man a “Bride of Christ,” for obvious reasons. Similarly, the Church has reserved the title Virgin for women, because of the rich sign-value that these women offer to the Church and the world.



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patrick in ny

posted August 24, 2005 at 2:26 pm


cw,
i am not sure of the woman u are referring to …she may have her own agenda. usually before one is consecrated, all the practical details are gone over with the bishop. in the rite, after the consecration, the woman is presented with a ring and/or veil. it is more customary for a nun to receive the veil and ring and the secular woman receives just the ring. the rite of consecraion of virgins was reserved only for nuns in solems vows before Vatican 2, after the council it was opened for ‘secular’ women also. so women who receive it and plan to live it in the world, do not copy aspects more common to religious life (habits, veils etc) but live their consecration in a life style similar to a secular institute. now it could get more complicated if the woman you are talking about is also a consecrated hermit? then she may want to wear some sort of habit. well i may have confused you even more!



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patrick in ny

posted August 24, 2005 at 2:39 pm


just one last note….. in the roman church there is no consecration of widows or widowers. in the current rites of the church, there are three rites of ordinations (for a bishop, priest, deacon) and two rites of consecration (for virgintiy and one for an abbot). these are all solemn rites of the church reserved to the bishop to preside and have solemn prayers of consecration.
the only other rites of consecration are for the church building and altar etc.
in recent years there is also the consecration of hermits, but as of now there is no rite in the church for this and does not need to be done by the bishop. at present it is similar to a profession of vows and a special prayer for the one making the vows, but it differs from person to person.
at least i think i have this right….!



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Ken

posted August 24, 2005 at 3:46 pm


For the record, I’m pushing 50 under the curse of perpetual virginity. The first thing I learned (reinforced ever since) about virginity is Never Admit to It. (If you’ve ever seen a virgin get outed, you’d never call AIDS “today’s equivalent of leprosy” again.) The new movie (heavily plugged on the media where I am) has not helped.
Thanks to The Sexual Revolution (TM), I cannot conceive of any human woman being virtuous. It’s like 2+2=5.



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Caroline

posted August 24, 2005 at 7:45 pm


Does God or the Church care about unconsecrated virgins of all ages and both sexes who have chosen to keep their baptisimal vows all their lives despite every pressure to do otherwise?



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Caroline

posted August 24, 2005 at 7:46 pm


Does God or the Church care about unconsecrated virgins of all ages and both sexes who have chosen to keep their baptisimal vows all their lives despite every pressure to do otherwise?



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Boniface McInnes

posted August 24, 2005 at 9:23 pm


More importantly, does He, or she, care about people who don’t like licorice?
Sorry to be flip, but I don’t understand your question in the least.



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Tim Ferguson

posted August 24, 2005 at 10:12 pm


dittos to Boniface on this one – what do you mean Caroline? Are you insinuating that the only way the Church of God can “care” about someone is by instituting a special rite just for them?
Yeah, the Church and God care for those who faithfully live out their baptismal promises according to the particular state in life to which they have been called and rewards them richly for it. It’s called Salvation (or Redemption, if you will). If you want more – like Salvation with whipped cream and a cherry – you might want to look at your motives.



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Maureen

posted August 25, 2005 at 10:21 am


Ken said:
“Thanks to The Sexual Revolution (TM), I cannot conceive of any human woman being virtuous. It’s like 2+2=5.”
Um, Ken, I’m hoping this is some kind of joking statement. Otherwise, I think Someone’s rather unhappy with your comments about His mom.
And I am of course too modest to defend my own honor, but I really think you should apologize to The Virtuous Amy and all the other virtuous and valiant ladies who grace this blog.
(Though, of course, having our good names insulted is part and parcel of the joys of being Christian, as Someone did warn us.)
Maureen
“We are not amused.”



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Sara

posted August 25, 2005 at 10:41 am


Didn’t go through every comment so I hope it hasn’t been said- but there are indeed communities of consecrated celibate men and women. The community of St. John, for instance. One of our [male] former professors at the JPII Institute is a member of that community:
http://www.stjean.com/EN/Jeu_accueil.php3



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Sara

posted August 25, 2005 at 10:52 am


oops- don’t follow that link it’s not right… the one he’s in was basically started by Balthasar and VonSpeyr, maybe they don’t have a website… but it’s called a “secular institute” where they are consecrated to Christ and live in the world and in a particular profession.



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Whitcomb

posted August 26, 2005 at 10:35 pm


To become a consecrated virgin, do you have to present a letter from a doctor testifying that you have an intact maidenhead?



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Amee

posted December 4, 2005 at 2:47 am


Does being a conserated virgin restrict what vocations you are open to? For instance, would it be wrong to be a consecrated virigin and an opera singer/musical actor? Or is that not passive enough? Would that not be considered embracing the natural talents given to you by God, as long as that same talent was also expressed and exersized at church?
Oh, yes, one more Q, Consecrated virgins are supposed to lead a life in the world, but a simpler material life, right?
Amee



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Amee

posted December 4, 2005 at 2:51 am


Terribly sorry for another post, a second in a row, but, may a consecrated virgin adopt children?
Thanks, and happy holidays!
=~D Amee



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Katie

posted December 21, 2007 at 3:59 pm


Ken said:
“Thanks to The Sexual Revolution (TM), I cannot conceive of any human woman being virtuous. It’s like 2+2=5.”
Ultimately insulting, thanks, even if it were a joke. Believe it or not there are MANY virtuous men and women. The difference is we tend to be more ‘hidden’ away, for obvious reasons.
Whitcomb: No, you don’t need to see a doctor. That is a very shallow and almost Middle Ages understanding of virginity, not least because many sports destroy it. Also, victims of rape/incest won’t have one but they can still be consecrated.
Virginity is much more than a bit of something, it goes right down into the heart, mind and soul and it’s a gift preserved by someone working with God in a virteous and moral life.
Amee: There is a difference between vocation and ministry (Ministry being something you do, like helping at church or running a prayer line, vocation is what you ARE which is different from what you DO). What you’re talking about by asking, ‘Can a CV be a opera singer?’ etc is a career which is different to a ministry because that is done to pay bills. A CV may still do those things. Some CV’s run coffee shops, work in real estate, one is a firefighter, another a dancer, doctor, etc. She is not required to use every single talent in Church, many of us wouldn’t have the time or the energy! What is required is our being generous and listening to God.
I’m not sure if I understand you saying, ‘Is that not passive enough?’ Women aren’t meant to passive, they play an active role in the work of God and of mankind. That’s not passive, that’s ‘co-helping’ just like the Blessed Virgin did.
Re: Adoption. Not sure. Though I read that one CV fostered a child who had autism and then adopted him. So maybe you can?
Patrick: We have consecrated widows over here, though I’ve been told it’s not really a Rite on the scale of the Consecrated Virgins. It’s not ‘official’ in that sense. It’s adapted and still celebrated by the Bishop though.
CW: Really, CV’s are not supposed to wear habits. However, some are allowed to (incorrectly) by their bishops. It usually comes from a lack of understanding of the secular nature of the vocation, in that the only reason we’re meant to stand out is because of our virtue, not clothes.
In regards to various comments about the lack of the same consecration for men; you’re missing the point. I wonder if you want the ability for women to be priests too? The fact is both sexes have a UNIQUE way of being committed to God. For a man, it’s the priesthood/diaconate, for a woman it’s consecrated virginity. Now, ‘in between’ these two vocations which leave a permanent mark on the soul, you have the rest of consecrated life. Anyone who has taken private or public vows for the love of God in either a religious community, a secular institute or with the guidance and help of a priest/spiritual director is a consecrated person. However, the special, unique aspect of a consecrated virgin is the fact she is Christ’s Beloved, Christ’s Spouse. As a woman, as a feminine being not just in soul but in body and mind and spirit, she has a unique relationship with God. The same with a man, especially a priest. One of my friend’s even said, ‘In the face of a priest we see God’s Fatherhood, his faternal love. In the face of the Bride of Christ we see His motherhood. His maternal love.’
One day the world will understand these two very *lovely* differences between men and woman. Not all is everyone to everything. We have different gifts as decreed by God. We cannot argue with that.
And as a parting shot, being a spouse of Christ or a priest etc doesn’t mean God loves them more. He already loves us infinitely even with all our ugly sins, you can’t love someone anymore than that. It’s just the relationship changes, as it does between a couple courting who finally marries.
God bless you all.



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