Difference between Carmelite spirituality and the Catholic Faith


#1

What would you say is the difference between Carmelite spirituality and the Catholic Faith?


Are the Patron Saints Important to Carmelite/s?
#2

This may be accidental, but you make it sound like as if they’re at odds with each other. Carmelite spirituality is not at odds with the Faith. Perhaps you are asking about what is different about Carmelite spirituality compared to other spiritualities, like the Dominicans?


#3

There isn’t any difference. Carmelites are Catholics, and fully believe in and practice the Catholic faith.

The spiritualities of Catholic religious orders are simply the habits and manner in which they practice their Catholic faith in order to carry out the special charism and mission of the order.
Spirituality is NOT something separate from “The Catholic Faith”.

Many laypeople also practice “Carmelite spirituality” as part of their daily life as a Catholic. For example, Catholics who wear the Brown Scapular devoutly as a devotion to the Virgin Mary - and there are many such Catholics as the Brown Scapular is very popular - are expected to practice some form of Carmelite spirituality regularly in connection with wearing the Scapular, which represents the Carmelite habit.


#4

Why do you think Carmelite spirituality isn’t Catholic? (asking as a Secular Discalced Carmelite)


#5

Carmelite spirituality is a part of the Catholic tradition. There’s no opposition between the two.

That being said, Carmelite spirituality is not the Catholic spirituality. There are other forms of spirituality within the Church that are every bit as legitimate. For example, being Maronite Catholic myself, I don’t follow Carmelite spirituality, but seek my guidance and inspiration from the mystics of the Syriac Christian tradition along with the Desert Fathers. If I find something in Carmelite spirituality that clarifies aspects of my spiritual tradition, then I make use of it. That’s about it.

As with any other form of Catholic spirituality, Carmelite spirituality legitimately emphasizes certain aspects of the Faith (without ignoring the fullness), just as Franciscan, Dominican, or (dare I say) Jesuit spirituality emphasize other aspects of the Faith (again without ignoring the fullness). But it must be remembered that it is simply one Catholic spirituality among many legitimate Catholic spiritualities.


#6

Sorry, I should have worded the question better. I wasn’t sure if there was even the tiniest difference.


#7

There is no difference. Carmelites are Catholics. Thus, Carmelite spirituality is part of the Catholic Faith.


#8

Carmelites are Catholic. They’re a religious order like the Franciscans or Benedictines. What sets them apart, maybe, from other orders, is their devotion to Elijah the prophet (I can’t think of any other orders off the top of my head who particularly revere Old Covenant prophets).


#9

I think what sets them apart more than that is their focus on contemplation and their association with three Doctors of the Church: Sts. Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, and Therese of Lisieux.
All of whom were contemplatives and mystics.


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