The Holy Father made the announcement during the 82nd General Assembly of the Union of Superior Generals in Rome. Although a brief meeting with the Union was planned, the Holy Father spent an estimated three hours answering questions from the 120 participants.
According to the Holy See Press Office, the first questions to the Pope dealt with the mission and identity of consecrated life. “A radical approach is required of all Christians, but religious persons are called upon to follow the Lord in a special way: They are men and woman who can awaken the world,” the Pope said.
“Consecrated life is prophecy. God asks us to fly the nest and to be sent to the frontiers of the world, avoiding the temptation to ‘domesticate’ them. This is the most concrete way of imitating the Lord.”
The Holy Father said that the formation of religious must be founded on four fundamental pillars: spiritual, intellectual, communitarian and apostolic. The aim, he said, “is to form religious persons with a tender heart, not acid, not like vinegar. We are all sinners, but not corrupt. Sinners are to be accepted, but not the corrupt”.
The Holy Father concluded the meeting by thanked participants for their years of service to the Church and announced 2015 as a Year dedicated to consecrated life. “Thank you for what you do and for your spirit of faith and your service. Thank you for your witness and also for the humiliations through which you have had to pass.”