Vita consecrata (John Paul II.)

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The post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation Vita Consecrata was published by Pope John Paul II on March 25, 1996.

In addition to the decree of the Second Vatican Council on the contemporary renewal of the religious life Perfectae caritatis of 1965 and the normative provisions for the consecrated life in the Codex of Canon Law of 1983, it is regarded as a basic document for consecrated life and is found especially in the religious communities Attention.

The Synod of Bishops

Vita consecrata is the result of the IX. Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops from October 2 to 29, 1994 on consecrated life and its mission in the Church and in the world . The themes of this synod were the tasks of lay people and priests . On the basis of the Instrumentum laboris (Latin: working instrument), the basic text drawn up before the beginning of the Synod on the basis of suggestions from the Bishops' Conferences , the various forms of consecrated life were discussed intensively. Pope John Paul II took up the considerations of the synod and summarized them in the post-synodal apostolic letter Vita Consecrata .

One of the future tasks of the church is therefore to find new outward forms, signs and ways of communication in order to bring the gospel closer to the people of our time. In Vita Consecrata , Pope John Paul II emphatically emphasizes that the consecrated life is not a marginal phenomenon in the Church , but “its heart and center” and an essential part of its life. Consecrated life has not only played a role of help and support for the Church in the past, but is "also a precious and indispensable gift for the present and future of the people of God" because it is deeply related to their life, holiness and mission belong.


  • General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops (ed.): Consecrated life and its mission in the Church and in the world. Instrumentum laboris . Libreria Editrice Vaticana, Vatican City 1994.

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