Why is the Vatican Assailing Contemplative Life? by Mary Cuff

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By Mary Cuff, Crisis Magazine, Nov. 15, 2021

Mary Cuff is an independent scholar, wife, and homeschooling mother. She holds a PhD in American literature from the Catholic University of America and has published in the Southern Literary Journal, Five Points, Mississippi Quarterly, and Modern Age. She teaches online high school classical rhetoric courses at Homeschool Connections.


The future of contemplative orders in the Catholic Church is under siege, not by the oft-bemoaned vocations crisis, but by Archbishop Josè Rodrìguez Carballo, the secretary for the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. In 2018, Carballo released Cor Oransa series of regulations on women’s monastic orders. Cor Orans is the practical implementation of Pope Francis’ 2016 Vultum Dei Quaerere. While women’s orders globally were required to conform within one calendar year, Cor Orans has proved so toxic to authentic monastic life that many monasteries have applied for exemptions, only to be met with silence, delays, and retaliation.

While much can be said about Cor Orans, it is essentially a planned obsolescence program for contemplative monasticism, designed by a bishop who has, time and again, announced that such a vocation has overstayed its use. …

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