Skip to comments.Some Benedictine Monks [still!] recruiting Gay men
Posted on 09/17/2003 3:16:42 PM PDT by Polycarp
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 7:38 PM
Subject: [Dignity Discussions] The Call to serve Christ
Dear Brothers in Christ:
Have you ever had the desire to serve Christ and His Church in a religious Community? Have you ever felt that because of your sexual orientation that perhaps this desire was not possible within the Roman Church? I am asking you to reconsider this thought. Our Community of Benedictine Monks are searching for religious vocations throughout many sources and , "DIGNITY" certainly has it place in our hearts to search first for those who would like to discover their call to serve Christ and The Church.
If you are between the ages of 21 and 60 and have always felt the desire to be a religious, to live a life deciated to the Gospel with those who are of like minds and hearts and to truly live out the inner call to serve Jesus, then we ask you to visit our main web page at: www.benedictinecommunity.org
Look at our site, come within the song and pictures it presents to you, listen with your hearts, soul and spirtual desire to be a part of a loving community of monks who have one goal and desire, thats is to live the Gospel Message. We then would like to hear from you. Search your hearts and deepest message of the call of Christ over the years. We then invite you to, COME, FOLLOW JESUS WITH US !
Bro Gerald, OSB
Director of Religious
The Community of St Benedict
From: Community of St. Benedict [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2003 1:50 PM
Subject: [Dignity Discussions] A Heart Felt Message
Dear Members of Dignity:
I have been reading the responses to our Community's invitation to visit our website and to also send a very clear message of welcome ,especially to those who might feel the call of Christ to serve.
Let me first say this is not a message of pretense. Those who have visited our website have found that yes we are perhaps under the banner of Rome, but that does not mean we have to follow the directives handed down to religious communities in their accepting of candidates into religious life. We have a very open door policy to Gay men who have shown an interst in religious life. There are also other communities who also have a very liberal outlook on members who come into community and their sexual orientation.Gay men in particular have many gifts that they bring with them into our religious houses. You all know as well as myself that when God chooses someone to follow in His footsteps He does not ask sexual orientation. What is asked by the Gospel is that we have a firm and true commitment to leave all and pick up our cross and come follow Him.
Twenty five years ago I was a member myself of A Dignity Chapter that was closed by the local bishop who thaught he had a real sense that Dignity was not going to exist. Thanks be to God that the group was strong enough to overcome the challenge of this terrible injustice. I must say for me that was a turnning point in my faith and decided that one day if it became possible , That if I were in a religious community the doors of that community would be opened to be inclusive of a Gay man and his orientation. Heaven has not shut its doors on anyone who has decided to follow Christ. Christ is the simple answer to any doubt in your hearts. Yes, a simple response made even more simple. COME FOLLOW JESUS WITH US!
Thank you all for your time.
Visit us at: ww.benedictinecommunity.org
Brother Gerald, OSB
Director of Vocations
The Community of Saint Benedict
So their monasteries are dens of sodomites? yuck. Wasn't Weakland, or one of his ilk a Benedictine?
If you love me, you will keep my commandments... He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him... If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him... He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father's who sent me. [John 15:15,21-24 RSV]Somebody needs to remind this... person... that one cannot serve our Lord unless one is willing to obey Him first.
Wow, a non-traditional 'schismatic'. Think this'll get much play? Nah..........
Our Consecrated life is guided and inspired by the life and rule of Saint Benedict. Saint Benedict is known as the father and founder of Western Monasticism as we know it today. Our house is known as a Monastery, a foundation of the Independent Congregation of Benedictines. As an Independent Congregation of Benedictines our obligation is to Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. We submit ourselves to Pope John Paul II. As a part of the historical monastic tradition of the Rule and Councils of Saint Benedict, we are not subject to the authority of any particular local bishop or ordinary. We are the remnant faithful. We are all comprised of the ones who tenaciously perservere in the traditions of the faith handed down through John Paul II.
This stands in contrast to what Dignity has to say about them.
I have no direct knowledge about how orthodox this particular house is, since I have never even visited there, but they are correct in saying that they are not subject to the authority of the local ordinary. The abbot is essentially the bishop of any Benedictine community, and his "diocese" consists of the monks of the house. He is elected by the community according to the procedures set out in St. Benedict's Rule (see, for example RB 1980 for a critcal edition in Latin and English).
Benedictine houses all maintain a certain independence from one another as well, though in practice they are loosely organized into congregations. In addition to a few independent houses, of which Glastonbury seems to be one, these congregations are: Cassinese, English, Hungarian, Swiss, Bavarian, Brasilian, Solesmes, American Cassinese, Subiaco, Beuronese, Swiss American, Austrian, Ottilien, Annunciation, Slavonic, Olivetian, Vallumbrosian, Camaldolese, Dutch, Sylvestrine, and South American "Cono-Sur". The Cistericians, of both the Strict Observance ("Trappists") and the Common Observance, may also be considered Benedictine, since they are a reform of the original order and follow the Rule. There are as well Anglican Benedictine monks and nuns. The congregations, taken together, form the Benedictine Confederation, which is represented in Rome by an elected Abbot Primate. Benedictine abbots and priors also participate in the Conference of Major Superiors of Men Religious, and similarly for Benedictine nuns.
Here is a brief history of the order, taken from my copy of the 1986 Benedictine Yearbook:
In the sixth century St. Benedict was one of many Abbots who wrote a Rule for his monks. He had established monasteries at Subiaco and Monte Cassino [yes, that Monte Cassino which was the site of the well-known battle of WWII] in Italy. These were destroyed by the Barbarian invasions but a few manuscripts of his Rule survived and were carried by refugees to other monasteries in Rome, North Italy and Gaul. In the course of two centuries the use of the Rule spread and it was due to the influence of Charlemange that it acquired a monopoly in the West. In this way, St. Benedict came to be considered the founder of the Black Monks of the Middle Ages, called from that time the "Order of St. Benedict".
Each independent house of the order is a separate family ruled by an Abbot (in the case of an independent Priory, by a Prior) and has its own novitiate. The work of each house is centered on the Divine Office or public prayer, recited or sung in Choir at intervals throughout the day. This work is common to and characteristic of all Benedictine houses, whether of monks or of nuns.
Normally a Choir Monk after his profession is ordained priest, once he has completed his novitiate, two years of Philosophy and four years of Theology, but this need not always be the case, as seen in St. Benedict himself.
Through the centuries since, the Order has spread to all the Continents and although all the Monasteries base their life on St. Benedict's Holy Rule, local conditions and the varying types of climate made it inevitable that certain modifications and applications would be found necessary. St. Benedict in fact makes provision for this in the Rule, the Abbot has the right to adapt the Office (ch. 18), the food and drink (ch. 40) and so on, according to local conditions. These modifications and applications of the Rule due to their local nature became national in character, and in time were drawn up as "Constitutions" on the Rule, which were approved by the Holy See.
In an attempt to centralise the order in the thirteenth century, along the lines of the then expanding Franciscans and Dominicans, the Lateran Council advocated the setting up of Provincial Chapters from which emerged the national Congregations. The English Congregation is the only survivor of the Congregations then formed, and as such ranks as the oldest Congregation in the Order, only giving primacy of honour to the Congregation of Monte Cassino.
In another attempt at centralisation Pope Leo XIII directed the setting up of the Abbots' Congress, under the Abbot Primate, which meets in Rome every four years, similar to the General Congress of other Orders. The Abbot Primate is elected to a primacy of honour by his fellow Abbots and Conventual Priors from throughout the world, and resides at the Monastery of Sant' Anselmo in Rome.
Throughout the centuries, Benedictine monasteries have been seats of learning and culture, preserving the texts of Western Civilization in their libraries, and conserving liturgical practice in their chapels. Today, the Abbey of Solesmes in France is noted for its research on and promotion of Gregorian Chant.
I realize it is popular to theorize about a "Lavender Mafia" in seminaries and in religious houses, but it is important not to tar an entire order of religious with derogatory epithets unless there is indisputable evidence that it is justified. It is, after all, very difficult for a celibate male (or female), living in a single-sex community, to refute the insinuation of homosexuality. That was the charge lobbed at Catholic priests by Nazis when they wished to pack them off to Dachau. Similarly for the ravings of certain Protestant bigots. Latin-rite Catholics, of all people, should cherish the spiritual gift of being "eunuchs for Christ", and be wary of the motivations of agenda-driven groups like Dignity.
Finally, I would mention my concern about the one-sidedness of so many Catholic posts on FR. It is not a mentality that I comprehend, but some people are never so happy as when they've found something to be miserable about. And, since misery loves company, they seek to spread it about, like Tokyo Rose. But negativity is not objectivity, any more than is a naive Panglosian optimism. This age is simply not that different from any other in the long history of the Church: there are simultaneously causes for hope and for despair. But hope is one of the cardinal virtues, and despair is a sin, so it is always better to err on the side of hope. Excessive negativity is corrosive and paralyzing. I daresay if a significant fraction of the FR Catholics who seemingly delight in sitting on tacks were to get off their behinds and make a positive effort in improving the life of their own parish - realizing that it will be a protracted and incremental battle - the Church in America would be in better shape, and their own spiritual health would improve.
Just be sure to seal the pot with an inverted funel followed by about eight feet of copper tubing. ?;^)
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