Revisioning the Vows

This was a most fascinating day where Diarmuid presented a new and enlightening view of the vows.  He stressed that instead of saying a vow of (poverty, chastity etc) …. it should be vow for.  In other words, the vows are not something to be observed for themselves, but are to be lived in the service of humanity.

To this end he has renamed the vows to reflect a new way of living as a religious.  The vows, according to Diarmuid, serve to radiate core values at the liminal space in society.  Hence, he sees the vow of poverty as a vow for mutual sustainability;  the vow of celibacy as a vow for relatedness, and the vow of obedience as a vow for mutual empowerment.

Diarmuid explained how our understanding of the vows has gone through some stages of development – from the traditional view, through some liminal wrestling (i.e. struggling for a new meaning at the edges of the tradition) to value radiation where the religious proclaims and lives core values. On behalf of the society religious seek to live what the majority of society may wish to espouse but may not be able to do so.  In this, religious have a key responsibility to live a radical way of life at the liminal spaces.


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