What strategies are to be adopted to make religious communities arise from the trough of aging and the scarcity of vocations? G. ARBUCKLE in the volume entitled ‘Out of chaos’ invites superiors to ‘refound individuals’ on the basis of pointers from anthropology, management techniques and the concept of Old Testament prophecy (while merely skimming over the New Testament and the history of religious life). From this latter source on the other hand R. HOSTIE, in a volume entitled ‘Life and death of religious orders’, shows that their survival derives from their renewal. In other words, Arbuckle focuses on the pastoral needs of the present day and leaves aside fidelity to the original charism of Institutes. On the other hand Hostie studies precisely this fidelity and sees in it the only possibility of survival. The thesis of the A. regarding ‘the foundation and development of the salesian congregation in England’ (of which a concise account is given) demonstrates the solid and consistent nature of the general approach of Hostie, which is lacking in Arbuckle.
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