If one is not a virgin, yet becomes a consecrated religious, is that person still considered to be a spouse of Christ or is that reserved only for consecrated virgins?
How does being a “spouse of Christ” differ from being the “Bride of Christ,” which, according to Catholic teaching, is the whole Church?
You gonna share?
I will say that it depends on circumstances. Sometimes bad things happen to good people by accident, design of others, intent or just plain ignorance. I think that the sacrament of baptism and or conversion can at least alter the precept of who and what is a virgin. As I don’t know the churches stance your best bet would be to ask a priest.
Of course you are still a Bride of Christ. If you are a religious, you are espoused to Christ through your vows. Obviously, any previous sexual activity has been forgiven through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
A consecrated virgin is a different vocation than a consecrated religious. Both consecrations espouse you to Christ. You do have to be a virgin to be a consecrated virgin (obviously) but you do not have to be a virgin to be a consecrated religious. You should just think of these as two separate paths to being espoused to Christ. There are many branches of consecrated life-most all Catholics are familiar with religious life. But that is only one path to being consecrated-there are other ways to be consecrated-as a hermit, virgin or through a secular institute. The only that requires virginity is the consecrated virgin.
According to Saint Alphonsus Liguouri, the only Spouse of Christ is the consecrated virgin. Christ is a master, father and pastor to those who are consecrated but not virgins. So in reading more I answered my own question.
And now that I have my answer, I no longer have anything to strive for.
Don’t give up!
You would still be a spouse of Christ! Married persons can call God their spouse and you find this in Christian writings and those of the saints.
Physical virginity lost through sin and once confessed is completely forgiven. You aren’t somehow unclean now or shameful, you are a beautiful forgiven soul. Look at Mary Magdalene and how Christ viewed her! She was the first one He wished to appear to in the fullness of all His resurrected glory! How much He did Love her soul and obviously everything was long gone and completely washed away. How’s that for being made completely new and holy before God! :D. You very much can still become a Bride of Christ.
Thank you but No. And there is nothing that anyone can say that will convince me otherwise.
So why ask the question? Plus, the words of St. Alphonsus, while worth considering, are not infallible.
I also think you need to ask yourself why the metaphor of “bride of Christ” is so important to you. It is not an essential part of religious dedication. It seems to me, quite honestly, that you are trying to frame religious dedication according to what YOU want, rather than what God wants and asks for.
First, as others have said, there is a difference between, “consecrated virgin” and “bride of Christ.” Second, not all women religious–in fact probably most today–do not find that metaphor particularly central or even relevant to what they are all about. If it is to you AND if you think you are somehow ineligible, you need to ask yourself why, and whether you are trying to construct something in your own image. Certainly, there is nothing about this in any canonical ecclesial text…
The term “consecrated virgin” during the time he wrote that book was used to refer to the cloistered religious when only virgins could enter the cloister. This can be a heated topic.
Actually, no. What St. Aphonsus wrote was the only spouse of the consecrated religious is Jesus Christ. In his writing The True Bride of Christ, he uses religious and virgin interchangeably. That is most likely because in the era in which he wrote, a young woman became either a wife (in which case she stopped being a virgin) or a religious (in which case she never stopped being a virgin). He says nothing of a widow who becomes a religious, nor of a woman who had previous non-marital sex partners becoming a religious because it generally did not happen at the time he was writing.
You need to review the Rite of Religious Profession. The rite specifically mentions that you are espoused to Christ. Since this is the rite in use and approved by the Church, it trumps any personal opinion that St. Alphonsus had, even though he is a very revered saint and doctor of the Church.
God does not hold our past against us if we in good faith repent of our sins. I mean come on, Peter denied Christ, Paul helped kill Stephen and they founded our Church. The Church is full of many grave sinners who have held very high offices in the Church.
There were no “consecrated virgins” as we have them today during the time of St. Alphonse Liguori.
When someone loses their virginity (which doesn’t even require one to have intercourse according to St. Thomas Aquinas), they are no longer able to receive the special crown reserved for virgins in heaven. While the OP wouldn’t be eligible for the consecration of a virgin, one can still be a nun and use the term spouse of Christ.
Also, Jesus founded the Catholic Church. Our Church was founded by God and is not a manmade Church.
They’re not exactly different, per se. A consecrated virgin can be either a regular or secular, while a consecrated religious is obviously a religious.
That is true but my comments are primarily focused on a consecrated virgin living out in the world, not one in religious life. The vast majority of consecrated virgins are living out in the world and not in a religious community.
As the consecrated virgin that works at our seminary always reminds us.
The million dollar question of course is why do female religious in certain institutes also receive the consecration of virgins after or in the same ceremony as their final profession if it does the same thing, namely, espousing them to Christ? Clearly the Church doesn’t agree that both achieve the same end so what is the difference?
But they don’t.
Religious life is a death to the secular life, in that one professes Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience. In short, it is the person that is consecrated.
Consecrated virginity is just that, the virginity of a person is what is being consecrated.