[quote="Lief_Erikson, post:18, topic:201719"]
I think your post was very good and I enjoyed it a lot. I just want to offer a little historical correction here . . . Joan of Arc lived in the early 15th century, almost a century before the Reformation began.
You're right. I placed Joan in the wrong century. I had the right circumstance, which was the paranoia of the word "heretic". That came long before the Protestant Rebellion.
On another note, what is most interesting about the Secular Franciscans, form my perspective as a Regular Franciscan, is their strong desire for an identiy. I have to say that this deserves support. For too long they have not had an identity. I blame the friars, the Franciscan sisters (not the nuns), the laity and the bishops for this.
Thomas More was privileged to live in an era when there was a broader view of the Church and about vocations than we have had since about 1800. During Thomas' time there was a clear understanding that that God called men and women to live a life of perfect charity in a secular or a religious order. They also understood the difference between the consecrated life and the secular life. Finally they understood the difference between priest and religious.
From the 1800s forward, there was the great emergence of religious sisters. Prior to that, there were very few sisters. Most women religious were nuns. They had little contact with the faithful.
The birth of conregations of sisters gave the Church the much needed manpower for the corporal works of mercy, especially healthcare and education. But the sisters in education did a great deal of harm to the different vocations. I believe that they were unaware of the harm that they did. These women did not have much of an education and no theological education. To this day, there are very few sisters with a theological education, even though many have "theology degrees". They're the two year professional theology degrees that are very focussed on one area.
What happened was that these women religious were so dependent on the priests for everything, that the priest became their superior, spiritual guide and master all wrapped into one. They passed on this same distorted vision of God's calling to their students. For almost 200 years we have believed that God calls men and women to be either priests or sisters. Words such as: nun, brother, religious, regular priest, secular priest, regular order, secular order, congregation, secular institute, society of apostolic life, priestly society, and societies of consecrated life are foreign to today's Catholic. They were not foreign to Thomas More, except for Secular Institute. That's new.
What has happened is that after Vatican II, since most Catholics are no ignorant concerning vocations, the tendency among Secular Franciscans was to turn the secular order into a secular isntitute. WRONG!
That's not what Vatican II had in mind and it certainly was not what Francis had in mind. Francis did not know what a Secular Institute was, because they did not exist as a form of consecrated life until 1950.
But Secular Francisans failed to do their homework and began to make changes in their practice of daily life that make them look like a secular institute. A secular institute is certainly a school of Christian perfection. However, the means by which those individuals achieve perfection are very different from those of secular order. But the majority of Secular Franciscans did not properly read the documents of Vatican II and did not read the documents of erection of secular institutes. They simply adopted the practices of these institutes.
If Thomas More were alive today, he would be executed again and again it would be by Catholics. As a good lawyer he would have debated these points of law and would have insisted that people observe the law. Someone would have accused him of novelty and chopped his head off. In fact, there is no novelty here. The only novelty is the lack of education on the part of the laity and religious concerning secular orders. and all the other ways to which Christ calls a person to holiness.
People like Joan and Thomas were a threat to the people of their time. They knew the rules. They knew what God wanted. And they knew that they had a mission that was not chosen by them, but was given to them by the Rule of St. Francis.
That's all that Thomas More and Joan did. The followed the rule. The Rule is pretty straightfoward, "Follow the Gospel in obedience." Duh, what a concept! Anything that is contrary to the Gospel must be ignored, at the very least and changed, if possible.
Br. JR, OSF :)