Statement of the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of Saint Louis

St. Louis' Archbishop Robert Carlson

"Religious priests, sisters and brothers respond to Christ's invitation to leave the everyday world behind. They give up many good things--especially the opportunity to marry, raise a family and work 'in the world' as ordinary Christian people--in order to embrace a very different kind of community life and to be profound witnesses to how much Christ loves us.

"Religious life is all about learning to love Christ. It offers a special kind of intimacy with Christ to men and women whom He calls to follow Him in unique and unusual ways. Relgious life is all about communion, the special unity with Christ and His Church that can only come through a lifelong commitment to prayer, to community life and to an observance of the Gospel counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.

"No sister, brother or priest lives religious life perfectly. Even the saints who founded religious orders were keenly aware of their failings and their inability to completely abandon themselves to the will of God. Perfection in the religious life, as in every Christian vocation, is a goal to be pursued. It is not something that should be expected. The point is that religious women and men seek God one day at a time. They strive to imitate Christ and to love God and neighbor as He did. As a result of the daily struggles and successes of religious sisters, brothers, and priests, our Church is enriched. We are strengthened by their daily prayer, by the witness of their vowed lives, and by the ministries they carry out on behalf of their religious communities and the Church."