- A new Vatican document sparked ire among consecrated virgins with a ruling that virginity is no longer a prerequisite to become a “Bride of Christ.”
- The document, Ecclesiae Sponsae Imago, published by the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life July 4, serves as a new instructional concerning consecrated virginity.
- The instructional clarifies that while physical virginity and chastity are important aspects of the life of a “bride of Christ,” they are not prerequisites that, if unmet, would absolutely disqualify a woman from being consecrated as one.
- “The call to give witness to the Church’s virginal, spousal and fruitful love for Christ is not reducible to the symbol of physical integrity. Thus to have kept her body in perfect continence or to have practiced the virtue of chastity in an exemplary way, while of great importance with regard to the discernment, are not essential prerequisites in the absence of which admittance to consecration is not possible,” the document reads.
- Brides of Christ are consecrated virgins who, like nuns, are unmarried and offer their physical virginity as a sign of the total surrender of their selves to Christ. Unlike nuns, however, they do not live in convents and typically work and provide for themselves. There are approximately 5,000 consecrated virgins in 42 countries, with most residing in Argentina, France, and Italy, according to The Guardian. Brides of Christ who led lives of physical virginity lambasted the new instructional from the Vatican, calling it “disappointing” and “shocking.”