Confraternity

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A confraternity (Spanish: cofradía) is generally a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. They are most common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and the Western Orthodox. When a confraternity has received the authority to aggregate to itself groups erected in other localities, it is called an archconfraternity. [1] An example is the Confraternity of the Rosary.

Christians people who adhere to Christianity

Christians are people who follow or adhere to Christianity, a monotheistic Abrahamic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. The words Christ and Christian derive from the Koine Greek title Christós (Χριστός), a translation of the Biblical Hebrew term mashiach (מָשִׁיחַ).

In religious organizations, the laity consists of all members who are not part of the clergy, usually including any non-ordained members of religious institutes, e.g. a nun or lay brother.

An archconfraternity is a Roman Catholic confraternity, empowered to aggregate or affiliate other confraternities of the same nature, and to impart to them its indulgences and privileges.

Contents

History

Pious associations of laymen existed in very ancient times at Constantinople and Alexandria. In France, in the eighth and ninth centuries, the laws of the Carlovingians mention confraternities and guilds. But the first confraternity in the modern and proper sense of the word is said to have been founded at Paris by Bishop Odo (d.1208). It was under the invocation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [1]

Confraternities had their beginnings in the early Middle Ages, and developed rapidly from the end of the twelfth century. The main object and duty of these societies were, above all, the practice of piety and works of charity. [2]

Some confraternities were very widely spread, especially in the cities of the Middle Ages. Confraternities could be important and wealthy institutions for the elite, as in for example, the Scuole Grandi of Venice. The Purgatorial societies and orders of flagellants were other specialized medieval types. The medieval French term puy designated a confraternity dedicated to artistic performance in music, song and poetry; the German meistersingers were similar, though typically imitating trade guilds in form.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and transitioned into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

The Scuole Grandi were confraternity or sodality institutions in Venice, Italy. They were founded as early as the 13th century as charitable and religious organizations for the laity. These institutions had a capital role in the history and development of music. Inside these Scuole were born at the beginning of 16th century the first groups of bowed instrument players named "Violoni".

Purgatorial societies are Roman Catholic Church associations or confraternities which aim to assist souls in purgatory reach heaven. The Catholic doctrine concerning purgatory, the condition of the poor souls after death, the communion of saints, and the satisfactory value of our good works form the basis of these associations. In the modern Church this role is fulfilled by the Purgatorian Archconfraternity which is run under the auspices of the Transalpine Redemptorists.

Various other congregations such as of the Holy Trinity, of the Scapular, etc., were founded between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. From the latter century onwards, these pious associations have multiplied greatly. [1] The Archconfraternity of the Gonfalone was headquartered in the Church of Santa Lucia del Gonfalone. Because of their white hooded robes, they were identified as the "White Penitents". They were established in 1264 at Rome. St. Bonaventure, at that time Inquisitor-general of the Holy Office, prescribed the rules, and the white habit, with the name Recommendati B. V. [3]

Santa Lucia del Gonfalone church building in Rome, Italy

Santa Lucia del Gonfalone is a church in the diocese of Rome, Italy. It is located on Via dei Banchi Vecchi just one block south of Corso Vittorio Emanuele.

Membership

Each Confraternity organization has a set of rules or by-laws to follow which every member promises to live by. Even though the Catholic Church works in harmony with the confraternity, these rules are not religious vows, instead merely rules set up to govern the confraternal organization. [4] Some confraternities allow only men, while others allow only women or only youth.

Religious vows promises made by members of religious communities

Religious vows are the public vows made by the members of religious communities pertaining to their conduct, practices, and views.

Activities

The religiosity of the members and their desire for a personal reward in the afterlife were reflected in confraternity activities, such as assisting with burials by donating burial robes or monetary payment, attending the burial mass, volunteering in the local hospitals, organization of and participation in religious fiesta days, giving dowries for local orphans, selling and preparing bread used for local religious holidays, escorting the condemned during the inquisition, burying the dead during epidemics and other charitable acts as deemed appropriate by the confraternity members or parish priest. [5] Society could not function strictly through government programs because there was also a need to take care of matters such as burials, and provide for the poor and indigent. While government can and did maintain programs to handle these needs, they were better managed by lay organizations or the "neighbor helping neighbor" theory. [6]

Examples

The term may have other meanings: The Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception is a renowned lay Marian apostolate in the Philippines known for administering the Grand Marian Procession parade on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

The Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament is an example of an Anglo-Catholic confraternity established in the Church of England which has spread to many places within the Anglican Communion of churches. [7]

Members of The Augustana Confraternity, which is in the Lutheran tradition, "devote themselves to the teachings of Holy Scripture and to the elucidation of those teachings in the Confessional writings of the Lutheran Church, particularly the Small Catechism." [8]

Confraternities in Nigeria began as a term for fraternities in the American college sense, university-based social organisations.

See also

Related Research Articles

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Penance is repentance of sins as well as an alternate name for the Catholic, Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox, and Oriental Orthodox sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession. It also plays a part in confession among Anglicans and Methodists, in which it is a rite, as well as among other Protestants. The word penance derives from Old French and Latin paenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven. Penance and repentance, similar in their derivation and original sense, have come to symbolize conflicting views of the essence of repentance, arising from the controversy as to the respective merits of "faith" and "good works". Word derivations occur in many languages.

Genuflection human positions

Genuflection or genuflexion is the act of bending at least one knee to the ground. From early times, it has been a gesture of deep respect for a superior. Today, the gesture is common in the Christian religious practices of the Anglican Church, Lutheran Church, Roman Catholic Church, and Western Rite Orthodox Church. The Latin word genuflectio, from which the English word is derived, originally meant kneeling rather than the rapid dropping to one knee and immediately rising that became customary in Western Europe in the Middle Ages. It is often referred to as "going down on one knee" or "bowing the knee".

Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) is an association established in Rome in 1562 for the purpose of giving religious education. Its modern usage is a religious education program of the Roman Catholic Church, normally designed for children. In some parishes, CCD is called PSR, meaning Parish School of Religion.

Eucharistic adoration Religious practice

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The Sodality of Our Lady (also known as the Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a Roman Catholic Marian Society founded in 1563 by young Belgian Jesuit, Jean Leunis, at the Collegio Romano of the Society of Jesus. The Ignatian lay group, Christian Life Community, traces its origins to the first Sodality.

In Christian theology, a sodality, also known as a syndiakonia, is a form of the "Universal Church" expressed in specialized, task-oriented form as opposed to the Christian church in its local, diocesan form. In English, the term sodality is most commonly used by groups in the Anglican Communion, Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Lutheran Church and Reformed Church, where they are also referred to as confraternities. Sodalities are expressed among Protestant Churches through the multitude of mission organizations, societies, and specialized ministries that have proliferated, particularly since the advent of the modern missions movement, usually attributed to Englishman William Carey in 1792.

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The Priests' Eucharistic League was a Roman Catholic confraternity set up in the nineteenth century, with primary object the frequent and prolonged worship of the Blessed Sacrament by priests.

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Worldwide The Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of the oldest lay apostolates still operating in the Roman Catholic Church, having been part of the Congregation of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception founded by Saint Stanislaw Papczynski. <"The Blessed Marian Founder fervently encouraged his spiritual sons to establish confraternities of the Immaculate Conception at Marian churches. The first laws of the Order of 1694-1698 speak of this already."

Holy Week in Valladolid

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Fanning, William. "Confraternity (Sodality)." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 3 Jan. 2015
  2. Hilgers, Joseph. "Sodality." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 17 Aug. 2014
  3. M.McGahan, Florence. "Confraternities of Penitents." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 3 Jan. 2015
  4. Christopher Black and Pamela Grovestock, Early Modern Confraternities in Europe and the Americas, (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2006), 1.
  5. Black and Grovestock, Early Modern Cofradias, 19.
  6. George M. Foster, “Cofradia and Compadrazgo in Spain and Spanish America,” Southwestern Journal of Anthropology, Vol 9 No. 1 (Spring 1953), 11-12.
  7. Confraternity of the Blessed Sacrament
  8. Rydecki, Paul A. (4 August 2015). "The Augustana Confraternity". The Augustana Ministerium. Retrieved 1 September 2015.