SPIRITUAL AND PASTORAL NATURE OF THE AUTHORITY OF THE SUPERIORS IN RELIGIOUS INSTITUTES (CCEO C. 421: CIC CC. 618, 619)
Religious life is usually being understood as a life of total submission of oneself to God and superiors. Jesus came to the world as a servant leader. Thus, religious superiors are called to follow the footstep of Jesus, the master. This article outlines a different parameter for judging religious authority which goes after a servant leadership model of Jesus Christ. This reverse perspective of religious authority where the superiors reach out to the community members as a servant of God which strengthens the fraternal communion characterises the spirit of the codes of canon law. Spiritual nature and pastoral character of religious authority is clearly mentioned in the canons of both codes of canon law (canon 421 of CCEO and canons 618 and 619 of CIC) which are more theological and pastoral than juridical. The article examines the obligation of the religious superiors according to the canon 421 of CCEO and canons 618 and 619 of CIC and attempts to present an ideal kind of religious authority where an ambience of peace, fraternity and mutual self-giving is fostered and promoted.
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