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Ioannes Paulus PP. II
Ecclesia in Africa

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    • I. Agents of evangelization
      • 94
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Consecrated men and women

94. "In the Church understood as the Family of God, consecrated life has the particular function not only of indicating to all the call to holiness but also of witnessing to fraternal life in community. Therefore, all who live the consecrated life are called to respond to their vocation in a spirit of communion and cooperation with the respective Bishops, clergy and laity".183

In the present-day circumstances of the mission in Africa, it is necessary to foster religious vocations to the contemplative and active life, above all choosing them with great discernment, and then seeing that they receive an integral human formation, as well as one which is solid in its spiritual and doctrinal, apostolic and missionary, biblical and theological dimensions. This formation is to be faithfully and regularly updated down through the years. With regard to the foundation of new Religious Institutes, great prudence and enlightened discernment are needed, and the criteria laid down by the Second Vatican Council and the canonical norms now in force are to be followed.184 Once established, these Institutes are to be helped in acquiring juridical status and becoming autonomous in the management both of their own works and of their respective sources of income.

The Synodal Assembly, having stated that "Religious Institutes that do not have houses in Africa" are not authorized "to come seeking new vocations without prior dialogue with the local Ordinary",185 then urged the leaders of the local Churches and of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life to foster dialogue among themselves, in order to create, in the spirit of the Church as Family, mixed groups for consultation which would serve as a witness to fraternity and as a sign of unity in the service of a common mission.186 In this light, I have also accepted the request of the Synod Fathers to revise, if necessary, some points in the document Mutuae Relationes,187 in order to define better the role of religious life in the local Church.188

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