Religious and laity united in the common mission. In the light of “starting afresh from Christ”

By Gianluigi Valtorta in Vita Nostra, Year LIII, no.4, October-December 2002, pp.482-499.

Starting from the Instruction of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life “Starting afresh from Christ, a renewed commitment to consecrated life in the third millennium”, Fr. Gianluigi Valtorta offers some valuable points for reflection on the relationship and collaboration between religious and lay people, putting the accent on the conditions necessary to translate into practice the abundant material offered on this subject by the Church and our Order. The article reported is the text of a conference held by the author in Mottinello on October 19, 2002, as part of the training program organized by the Secretary for the Pastoral Care.

A premise…

The premises, usually, are always a bit defensive. This premise too is such. It is a putting hands on, an attempt to “frame” the discourse, damming it within certain limits. In short, it expresses what will not be addressed, deepened. As far as we are concerned, we will not make an analysis of the Religious-Laity relationship, nor will we stop on the specific mission to which both are called. In fact, it is a very delicate and complex issue to be explored starting from a magisterial document that is not specific to the topic. Therefore, I will express some ideas, some simple convictions which, in my opinion, favor and determine this relationship of “unity”. Some simple indications which, I believe, can provide the background, from an adequate horizon, on which to place this commitment and shared responsibility. And, at the same time, they determine a profile of quality, significance and substance.


We introduce our reflection with a simple and trivial question: “Why a new document on Consecrated Life (VC)?”. In recent months, participating in some religious meetings, in conferences on some issues of Religious Life, I gathered the feeling, very much shared and widespread among many religious, that we did not really feel the need for a new document. There is, therefore, a certain amazement, done more by surprise than by fascination, in front of a new solicitation that the Church makes to the VC. In fact, the Instruction “Starting afresh from Christ”, of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, has come by surprise.