Consecrated virgins question (?)


#1

Not strictly sacramentally related, but I figure this belongs more here than anywhere else and will garner the best responses here. As I understand it, consecrated virgins must be, indeed, physically virgin.

Real question, what happens if a consecrated virgin is raped or lapses in her vows and has consensual intercourse with a man? Is her vocation as a consecrated virgin immediately dissolved since she is no longer a virgin, or is physical virginity only (technically) required to initiate or take up the vocation?


#2

I believe that exceptions could be made for rape and incest. Source is from the president of the U.S. Association of Consecrated Virgins:

mlive.com/living/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2010/10/speaker_at_womens_conference_i.html

I’ve also seen Canon Lawyers echo the same possible exceptions. Sex in these cases is not voluntary. It should also be noted that rape/incest could cause psychological issues, and they will likely be brought up when the woman discerns this vocation.

Real question, what happens if a consecrated virgin is raped or lapses in her vows and has consensual intercourse with a man? Is her vocation as a consecrated virgin immediately dissolved since she is no longer a virgin, or is physical virginity only (technically) required to initiate or take up the vocation?

Given my prior comments, rape doesn’t seem to be an issue, since the act is involuntary; the woman remains a consecrated virgin.

I honestly have no idea what happens in the case of a consecrated virgin having consensual (i.e., voluntary) sex. I leave that answer up to the experts.


#3

What happens if someone who has taken a vow of chastity "lapses"?


#4

Religious life seems to be a bit different from consecrated virgin, this doesn’t seem to help. Religious life is not predicated upon being a virgin.


#5

So a person actually has to be physically a virgin, not just chaste?


#6

[quote="triumphguy, post:5, topic:308719"]
So a person actually has to be physically a virgin, not just chaste?

[/quote]

Yes. Hence the title consecrated "virgin". Religious make vows "this time forward" for chastity and virgins are consecrated spouse of Christ, virgin-bride-mother resolving to remain in perpetual virginity not to pledge chastity from that time forward. My website deals with a lot of CV questions - I am one myself - and so does the US Association of CVs.


#7

Yes, I know what virgin means ;)- and it's not just my phone provider:p

But as a CV you are not physically the mother or bride of Christ, so I was undertanding the "virgin" part as symbolic of a life of chastity.

But it's heartening to find out that this is an actual, physical virginity and that real women live this life.:thumbsup:


#8

As to OP's original question... the answer is that we don't know. The thing is that in olden times the women who had intentional intercourse and were NOT raped after being consecrated were known as "fallen virgins" and there were stiff penalties. The death sentence was one at one point in history for the woman and the seducer. They got more "lenient" and allowed the fallen to receive Holy Communion at deathbed and then even more lenient and eventually allowed her to receive the Sacraments earlier after years and years of penance... But the truth is we don't know. The sacramental of consecration is bestowed on a virgin and when the matter is no longer present... well, the question is how she would be known in heaven. My guess is that since virginity is gone, she is no longer in group of virgins who follow the Lamb wherever He goes, but maybe she'd belong with the religious who aren't virgins (if it was a one off thing). What's sticky is whether you can separate the title "Bride of Christ" from virgin. I honestly don't know. From my readings, it appears that the title only belongs to the Church and to true virgins. If you can separate them, then she'd still be a Bride - perhaps - but not given the special crown due to virginity because she's lost it forever.


#9

As someone who is currently actively discerning this vocation, I can tell you it’s not the same. Consecrated virgins are consecrated. It’s different than vows.

I was reading about this in something one of the Church Fathers wrote about. Non-voluntary sexual relations such as rape and incest don’t change, because there is no sin and the person is still a virgin, as it wasn’t voluntary. St. Augustine wrote about this in The City of God.

As for the other, she would no longer be a virgin, but she would still be a consecrated person. In the past, if a consecrated virgin lapsed and lost her virginity, she could still receive the sacrament of Confession, but she was barred from receiving the Blessed Sacrament, with the exception of as viaticum.

It’s for reasons such as this that it is expected that someone has lived a number of years under a vow of perpetual virginity before requesting the consecration. Vows undone. Consecrations can’t, so if there is any question as to whether or not one can live a life of perpetual virginity, the person is not to be consecrated.


#10

Not specifically to do with Consecrated Virgins, but most of the women in the Roman Canon were raped before being martyred, a common practice in early Church persecution (exception is Perpetua because she was already married, and possible Felicity although there is some dispute as to whether the Felicity named in the Canon is the same one as Felicity Perpetua's companion, who was also married). They are still considered virgins by the Church: for example they get the Common of Virgins in the LOTH.


#11

If you read the documentation pertaining to consecrated virgins, you will notice that the word "voluntary" is used pertaining to sex and one's status as a virgin. Rape is not voluntary.


#12

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