I wish to present you with a new edition of the 2000 Ratio Institutionis (RIVC). I say “new edition” in that following a request made to provincials and formators in 2009, many responded indicating that few changes needed to be made. Having considered the positive recommendations and suggestions made by the members of the Order, a number of experts were asked to contribute material for inclusion in a revised final text. The International Carmelite Formation Commission then worked on all the material received and made some additions to the text of 2000. New or revised additions relate to the vows, human development, silence, liturgy, work, inculturation and child protection. These texts were presented to the Order’s formators in Camocim, Brazil, in 2010 and some changes were made. Finally, this new material was presented to the General Congregation in Niagara Falls, Canada, in 2011. To all who have contributed to this work I extend our sincere thanks. The text was approved by the General Council during session 306 held on 12th June 2013 according to our Constitutions (129).
The Ratio Institutionis continues to be one of our most significant documents of this post-conciliar period. It has indeed led many, throughout a life-long formation process, into a more profound journey of transformation. Work must now continue regarding formation within the Order, which is already finding new expressions throughout a rich cultural expansion across the globe. It must also be the task of the Commission in the future, to continue to work on a revised Ratio Studiorum Carmelitarum.
I am convinced, as I have said on many occasions, that formation is not only something that is academic and intellectual, but rather it is a question of an attitude that is both spiritual and life-oriented. To have an “attitude of formation” means to remain always attentive to the will of God and to our identity, which is fundamentally a response to that will, and to the signs of the times, through which, despite all their ambiguity, God is communicating something to us. Not to take account of formation, or not to take formation seriously, really demonstrates a serious lack of responsibility in relation to both the spiritual and the pastoral.