Coming from the Latin word congregatio, is called congregation to Assembly wave meeting which is organized with the objective of treating certain matters. Beyond this meaning, which is the first mentioned in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE ), the concept usually refers to a community of religious or one brotherhood of the faithful .
Within the framework of the religion Catholic, a congregation is usually a priests body that exercise ecclesiastical ministries. Specifically, it is called catholic religious congregation to the group formed by the members of an institute of consecrated life, who cast votes of poverty, obedience and chastity and lead a fraternal life in common according to certain constitutions.
The lay congregations They are composed of individuals who are not priests and who pronounce simple vows. The Marist Family (created by Marcelino Champagnat ) and the Brothers of the Sacred Heart (grouping founded by André Coindre ) are examples of lay congregations.
The clerical congregations , on the other hand, have members who also pronounce simple votes, although they are in a path To the priesthood. The Salesian Family (which is inspired by San Francisco de Sales ) and the Congregation of the Augustinians of the Assumption (What a background Emmanuel d'Alzon ) are among these congregations.
It should be noted that the Holy See It has boards known as congregations, whose mission is to deal with different matters. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , in this framework, it is an organ that is responsible for preserving the doctrine of the Catholic Church . It was founded in 1542 and renowned in different opportunities.
For Protestant churches, this concept refers to the group of faithful that arises by an agreement or an agreement that they establish between them, and not precisely by a creed. The churches belonging to politics congregationalist they understand the congregation as an autonomous church, which freely chooses to join similar ones to create a congregations association or Christian denomination so that they can help each other.
It is worth mentioning that the Congregationalism It is a movement dating back to the end of the 16th century in England that aimed to emphasize the right and duty that each congregation had to practice its own government , without relying on any other authority . It can be defined as an extension of Puritanism, a radical faction that began with the English reform and was contemporary to the mandate of Isabel I, based on the absolute supremacy of God over the organization of human civilizations, as an authority that should reform us to lead us to a life mired in obedience and humility.
In general, followers of congregationalism turned away from creeds and placed special emphasis on preaching instead of the sacraments, with the exception of the Eucharist and baptism. It is possible to distinguish clearly the English congregationalists, which we could identify with the precursors of this movement of the Americans, most of which are associated with the United Church of Christ , one of whose members is former President Barack Obama himself.
Some of the most common and well-known examples of congregational policy can be found in the universalist unitarianism , the disciples of Christ (a denomination founded in the 19th century by Thomas and Alexander Campbell)) and the Baptist churches .
With respect to Jehovah's Witnesses , the meaning they give to the term congregation is the unity fundamental and primary of the faithful, who are grouped in a well-defined territory and can have a number of participants ranging from thirty to one hundred and seventy. On the other hand, you can also refer to all believers in the world using this word.