Pope warns religious orders to be mindful of their spending.

The Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has held a three-day symposium devoted to the topic of “rethinking the use and management of our goods in light of our charism.”

In a November 26 message to participants in the symposium, Pope Francis reflected upon three themes: charisms, fidelity, and material goods.

Religious communities’ charisms, he emphasized, are not “museum pieces,” but a “living reality” called to bear fruit in “creative fidelity.” Communities are called to live by the logic of gratuity—listening to God’s word and responding to the needs of the poor—and not to the logic of material gain.

Religious communities are called to evaluate their works, the Pope added, not by their profitability, but by whether they are in accord with the institute’s charism and mission. The Pope also urged communities not to follow the spirit of individualism, but to work with local dioceses.

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