Perfectæ Caritatis, the Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life (referring to Roman Catholic religious orders), is one of the shorter documents issued by the Second Vatican Council. Approved by vote of 2,321 to 4 of the bishops assembled at the Council, the decree was promulgated by Pope Paul VI on October 28, 1965. As is customary for Church documents, the title is taken from the first words (incipit) of the decree: "Perfect Charity" in Latin.
The period that followed the promulgation Perfectae Caritatis was marked by a severe drop in the number of religious vocations in the Western World. Church leaders had argued that age-old secularization was to blame and that it was not directly related to the documents of the Council. Historians have also pointed to the damage caused by the sexual revolution in 1968 and the strong backlash over Humanae Vitae. Yet other authors have asserted that the drop in vocations was at least partly deliberate and was part of an attempt to de-clericalize the Church and allow for a more pluralistic clergy.
- ↑ COZZENS, Donald B., The Changing Face of the Priesthood, 2000
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