Pope Francis has asked the treasurers of the thousands of Catholic religious orders around the world to meet in Rome this weekend to discuss how they can use their orders' financial assets 'for the service of humanity,' reports NCR Online.
The first-of-its-kind summit puts an unusual focus on the wealth of the orders. Last fall, Francis pointedly asked leaders of religious orders to reevaluate management of their assets, especially empty monasteries and convents which in recent years have frequently been turned over to non-religious pursuits, such as hotels and restaurants.
The event, to be held near the Vatican March 8-9, has not been announced publicly but is expected to draw hundreds of representatives of the estimated 900,000 men and women religious globally. It is to have 15 talks on issues ranging from the use of Church property, to financial debts, to economic solidarity.
'The economy often plays a defining role in human history and in religious history, and particularly in the culture of this present day,' states a letter sent from the Vatican's Congregation for Religious to superiors of orders around the world announcing the meeting.
'On the one hand, within this culture, religious men and women are almost induced or forced to be involved in the mechanisms of the laws of modern economics,' the letter continues. 'On the other hand, they are aware that they can run the risk of losing their true identity.'
FULL COVERAGE Francis convenes religious institute treasurers for summit on use of money (NCR Online)