December 17th, 1982, Serial No. 00413

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Monastic Orientation Set 1 of 2




Now, Scheme 3 is followed by a Capitular Decree on the same page, this is on page 8 of the present text of the Constitution. And that Capitular Decree was not made a separate scheme, but it was just the temporary measures needed to achieve Scheme 3, in a sense, which is the integration of the lay brothers. So, this is something that looks obvious, but wasn't obvious, because you had a two-class society, you see, in the monastic life, in the Benedictine monastic life, and also in the Communist for a long time. So this is doing away with that, in the path of Vatican II. So, we'll see how that works. Now, here it's very enlightening, actually, to look at the earlier Constitutions, because you find that the two-class thing is very clearly there. I should say declarations. If you refer to the earlier Declaration No. 3, you'll see the background.


No. 1 here, in Scheme 3, is, All the professed of our communities are, without distinction, brothers among themselves. Which would seem obvious, you know, according to the Gospel. But it was not what it meant at the time. Old Declaration No. 3 read as follows. Besides the choir monks in our congregation, there are lay brothers who are conversi. You'll find that conversus is, or a person who is converted, means convert, literally, is the expression used for these in the literature. Who are principally occupied in manual labor. They have no active or passive voice in the government of the order. B. Oblates, who have the same obligations as the lay brothers and enjoy the same privileges, but they make only a promise in place of the religious vows. C. Interim secular oblates, live with the community with a schedule of their own, observing the order and enjoying the spiritual privileges. Serving the order and enjoying spiritual purposes. There's a whole history to this, you see, which comes out of the Middle Ages, actually.


If you look in this R.B. 1980, you'll find a very brief sketch of the origin of the lay brother institution. It's on page 128 on the following page. During the Middle Ages, the Benedictine community became a quite different reality from that outlined in the Rule of Benedict. For a long time, the monks had been more and more assimilated to clerics. That means deacons, priests. People in holy orders. Insofar as their life demanded a level of education that separated them from the laity. Remember St. Benedict's dress on Lectio. Lectio meant, of course, the Bible in Latin. The Psalms in Latin. As vernacular development made Latin the language of an educated minority, the people became less active in the liturgy, which was more and more identified as the work of clerics and monks. See what's happening. So culturally, first of all, you get the split.


And you get the split according also to holy orders, of course. And the monks become sort of lumped in with the clerics. The monks who know the laity. Which is both an educated minority, and it's also a religious distinction is caught in here. Distinction in the church. Holy orders. In the course of the Middle Ages, there was a gradual increase in the number of monks admitted to sacred orders. Which we call a clericalization, monasticism in the Middle Ages. The ritual development in the monasteries meant that the monks were occupied chiefly with sacred duties and did less of the common work. So now you see the Benedictine life is being turned out of the form that St. Benedict had given it. Where the work is important. The new orders developed the institution of the conversi, or lay brothers, to take care of the work. They seem to have appeared first at Valambrosa. Valambrosa, which is a bad contemporary with Kamaldolene in the 11th century.


Later we find them at Hirsa, and especially at Sito, where they were very numerous. And also they were present at Kamaldolene, one reason being because the St. Romualdin wanted his hermits to be priests for him. And then if they're going to be in the cell, you see, if the life of the cell is a norm, everybody can't live the life of the cell. You can't operate a community on that basis. You've got individual hermits around, and each one will take care of what he needs, whether he has to go out of the cell or whether he's in it. But as soon as you form a group and then say that the norm is the life spent within the cell, you can no longer get the work done unless somebody else is living another style of life. So you simply have to have a kind of symbiosis with another group of people. Picture the Carthusians trying to live their life without the help of the lay brothers that would be inconceivable. The Conversi were not lay brothers in the modern sense, but laymen who were admitted to a religious life different from that of the monks.


Their vocation was not to a life of liturgical and private prayer and Lectio, but to a life of service for the monastery. They were often illiterate and were generally occupied with work. I don't think they were always illiterate. I think sometimes you had quite educated people who would take up that kind of work. In the Cistercian abbeys they spent most of the week at distant granges, out doing farm work, and came to the monastery only for Sunday. It was only much later that they were considered a kind of second-class monks. Many of them became extremely holy men, but this new development harbored an ambiguity whose effects remain to the present day. Obviously the tenor of Vatican II is towards unification. I didn't bring the Vatican II documents, but they must be referred to here. At Perfecte Caritatis, number 15, 15 that's referred to there,


very probably urges the unification of religions. It doesn't say that you have to abolish something like the lay brother category, but that the lay brothers fully participate in the life. And there are various ways in which they didn't. There was a kind of unfair distribution. And also, see for a long time, the lay brothers were not monks in the same way that the Quorum monks were monks. They didn't make solid profession. That's the real criterion. They restricted the meaning of monk. So these are some very invidious distinctions that came in. And in some places they still carry on, virtually unchanged. In other places they've been completely changed. In some monasteries they've even got an anti-clerical feeling. You see, a lot of the monks simply don't want to have a minimum number of priests.


And a lot of the monks are not inclined to think of the priesthood as part of their monastic vocation at all. Because they're reacting against those exaggerations of the priesthood. There's some of that, I think, in Christ in the Desert, for instance. Because it was so exaggerated in the earlier direction. So that's the background for what you see here. The relations between the brethren are to be characterized by evangelical simplicity and fraternal charity. Simplicity is the opposite of that. It's the opposite of a kind of formalism, of decorum, of a hierarchical, hieratic type of behavior. However, in the community life, the order of proceedings is determined by the seniority of first profession. Now, you have to remember that before this, also, even in the choir, there was a distinction.


The priests would be at one end of the choir, and then the laity would be at the other end of the choir. Maybe sometimes they didn't even have a separate choir. They were saying separate prayers, because the choir monks, the priests, would be praying in Latin, and he'd be praying in Hebrew, in Italian, or in English, as the case may be. First profession comes from the proceedings. And you need an order of proceedings, actually. Just, as they say, you have to know who's going to go through a door first. You can't both go through that at the same time. Just for simplicity, you have to have a kind of order. But it's, in a sense, an arbitrary order. St. Benedict kind of wisely points out, well, there is an order. That gives you a way of doing things without discord, without disagreement. When there's an order, it's a reasonable order. Just a very order of proceedings. It makes you know where to stand. So, that's uncertain. To avoid embarrassment.


And this is the order, actually, of St. Benedict. Because remember that the first profession was the profession of St. Benedict. So this goes right back to the beginning. The priesthood is required for the office as a prior, general assistant, procurator general, visitor, master of novices, masters of the students. The reason is, in general, first, because the canon law requires it. See, the church law requires that certain officers in a community be priests. And secondly, because without the priesthood, they stand at a certain disadvantage. One example would be the superior of a monastic community who can never celebrate the liturgy. Okay. That puts him in a rather awkward position. He can never... I suppose he could give homilies to the community, certainly, even during the liturgy, but it's kind of a paradox if he could not officiate the liturgy, say, on chief priests and things like that.


It splits the thing in an unfortunate manner. Also, there are kinds of jurisdiction which require the priesthood. Now, for instance, in the old days, in the beginnings of monasticism, it may be that you would have confession which was kind of non-sacramental to a monk who was not a priest. And this was done in monasticism. Especially in the East, it was done for a much longer time. But you don't have that now, do you? Now we have only, practically speaking, sacramental confession, and that requires the priesthood. And it's as if jurisdiction, as they say, in the internal forum, I suppose, restricts... Real jurisdiction, according to the church, is restricted to the priesthood. We can criticize that, but that's the way it stands, and that's the reason for the specifications of the law. Some of those are going to be changed. It's gradually eroding as a matter of fact. For instance, the Trappists have, at least once a year,


if you're a novice pastor who's not a priest, you can get permission from the Holy See now to make someone a novice pastor who's not a priest. And if you think about it, pardon me, there's no absolute reason for a novice pastor to be a priest. For the superior, it's very convenient, actually, that he be a priest for various reasons. All kinds of reasons. Liturgical reasons, especially. If he's a novice pastor, he doesn't have to have a liturgical will. And also, these reasons of jurisdiction that are built into him. It's just because the whole thing has been built up that way. There's no absolute reason right in the bottom of it. Because remember that, as far as we know, Saint Benedict was not a priest. Now, if he was not a priest, you can understand the kind of caution that he has with regards to priests in the rural kingdom. And if most of the monastic superiors were not priests, you can imagine how they felt about a priest coming into the community if they were not sure. It's just a natural solution, a natural situation


for somebody to come in and take up a leadership role of his own, which is separate from the leadership role of the abbot himself. And if the abbot is not a priest, then he's at a real disadvantage at that point, you see. The other fellow can be giving confessions and celebrating the liturgy and giving namas and all kinds of things. And here's a poor abbot sitting on one side trying to contend with this. Now, it depends on the quality of the individual at the end of the day. If he's sincere and humble, then it's OK. But it's not always the case. Now, we don't believe that St. Henry was a priest. And monasticism, as you can see, is basically a non-clerical thing. Basically, non-priesthood doesn't mean it's anti-clerical. It just is a different thing. Also, there's at least one case of a non-priest superior, OK? But that was given by the Holy See in Africa


where there was nobody, there was no African monk who was a priest who could have been made superior in that community. And it was absolutely essential, it seemed, that the superior being had to be a non-priest. OK. And be a local man in that community. So they gave permission to say, observe carefully that this is not a precedent. Of course, it is a precedent because when you do it once then somebody else can ask for it. And it gradually gets stretched. So gradually that may, gradually that may erode away too. It's like saying, be very careful not to notice what we're doing. All the professors wear the same form of monastic habit. You see, before, the lay brothers had something else. They had a leather belt instead of a white cincture. So there was a distinction built into the habit. So that's abolished. Is that here?


Also here. It was universal. Five. Regular oblates may also be received into our communities. They live according to the rule established for them to be united to the family by virtue of a simple promise. So, that's something that really should be revived. We've talked about under one name or another. The fact that the name oblate is given in the constitutions is the best. It means it gives that the most solid footing. as you notice, there's a disagreement about that, I think, because of our experience with it earlier. But we need it. The prescriptions of the social laws of a region are to be consulted with regard to their activity. The reason for putting that in was that over-knowing they've got some pretty strict laws about things like benefits, okay? And if somebody


is working and he's not fully a monk, he's not fully a member of the community, he's working for the community and he's not paid, so the community can really get him in trouble. Because he can take this to the local syndicato, as they say, who's the head of the workers' union and who, Lorraine Connolly is likely to be a communist. And they'll really come after that monster and they'll take him into court and they're likely to get to put the screws in him. This has happened in several cases. Partly not just out of justice but to protect the monster. There's famous cases where somebody lives quietly in the monastery for twenty years a month and works for a government board or something and he goes away and he's not concerned but if somebody persuades him that he should sue the monastery and get him to his office and of course the monasteries can be unjust too, they can exploit people, they can abuse them, so now they're


very scrupulous. Okay, now the capitular decree there on the same page is just giving the tactical steps that are to be taken. I should have brought the council documents today to read that perfected caritas number fifteen but that's what this is built on. Same habit, they have precedence according to the seniority of first profession so that means that no longer do the priests occupy the head of the choir and then the lay brothers stand in a separate place in the choir until next time. Things like that seem small but at the moment when they happen of course they're kind of worthless especially in an old community where people are going to go to prayer. Number three, now in past times you had two separate choirs at least part of the time. The lay brothers would be saying as they say to their fathers and abbots


which basically is like saying rosary our fathers and John Mary's they're given simple prayers in the vernacular because they didn't know the Latin and now they're all together in the same choir because the liturgy has come into the vernacular the liturgy has come into Italian into English so there's no reason for them to be separate. You could say there is a reason because it's going to be harder for them to get in touch with the Psalms. It's hard for everybody to get in touch with the Psalms in certain ways. But the second paragraph number three gives you an escape clause though. Suppose you have a lay brother who's the cook and he's in the kitchen all day something like that. Well he can be excused from the office obviously. This becomes a regular thing in some cases. And then he may simply have difficulty with the choir. This was true with a lot of the Trappist lay brothers. They were furious when they started wanting them all to be


in the choir all the time. They didn't want to be in the choir. They said this is not our vocation. Our vocation is to work and to play and earn what we're good at in our work. It might surprise them. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. They were a lot more comfortable with it. It was true that they were more they were practice. It was in the church. It was. It in the church. It was a monistic church. It was pious It's a strange thing, but many years, many years, life can do that to you.


Okay, then there's something about formation, because if the brothers have not had a good, they haven't had an ideological formation, and so on, and so on, you're dealing with a social situation, which has been there for centuries, and so it's not that simple to change it. It's different from us, because we start almost from scratch. When we come into the life, we're not coming out of that situation, you see. It's a lot easier for us to change. The lay brothers have active voice in the conventional chapters, and within the limits of the law, passive voice also. Active voice means you can vote, passive voice means you can be elected. So, this is, now this is a good change, especially in a community. Consider a community where you've got ten priests, ten psalmic-repressed priests, and ten psalmic-repressed lay brothers. Now, all of a sudden, you've all got the same vote in chapter. All these years, just the priests, the choir monks have been voting, and all of a sudden


you've got ten lay brothers in there who've also got the vote. That community can change pretty fast, can be turned upside down. So, there's a certain amount of trepidation in making these decrees. Actually, they're pretty courageous. You can see how a community would really be afraid that things were going to change and get out of control. Any questions about that one before we go on to the next one? Okay, scheme four, the monastic community and the prior. This builds on scheme two, remember, the basic structure. The first part is on the theological part, on the monastic community and the prior. And then we get down to the juridical stuff in part two and part three. So, this is the theological basis, and it's built right on the theology, right on the ecclesiology of Vatican II. The monastic community, number one, is a continuation and reflection of the mystery


of the Church. Now, this is sort of what we call the Magna Carta, or the foundation stone of Lumen Gentium, of the constitution of Vatican II and the Church. The mystery of the Church, which is in Christ as a sacrament or sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of the entire human race. So, you see, they've planted the meaning of the monastic community directly upon the meaning of the Church itself. The meaning of the Church itself being defined in terms of Vatican II as sacrament. Now, there's a whole, very rich theology underneath that, which obviously we can't go into now, but it's worth getting into gradually. What does sacrament mean? A sacrament is a sign which also does something. It says something and it does something. Now, the idea is that Christ himself is a sacrament. He's the primordial sacrament. Spilovitz wrote a book called Christ, the Sacrament of Encounter with God. Because in the Incarnation, God comes into visible form.


The Word of God is in visible form and becomes a sacrament. The Word becomes flesh, the flesh itself is sacrament, because a sacrament is a visible sign of something that's invisible. It's not only a sign that says something, it's a sign that does something. The saying and doing are in continuity here, because Bronner talks about what God is doing as his self-communication. Now, saying is the beginning of communication, isn't it? But the full communication goes beyond saying into transforming, or into giving the Spirit, or into rebirth, or into whatever you want to call it, deification, okay? Now, that's what sacrament means. So, to say that the monastic community, as well as the Church, is that, is saying something pretty solid, something pretty important. Now, not everybody would say that. Some people would say, well, a monastic community is a group of people who are trying to seek their own spiritual liberation, their own spiritual perfection. It doesn't have this theological character of being a small church,


a micro-equation, okay? People might dispute that. But because of our Western monastic theology, and especially in Benedictinism, it does have that character. You can ask if the same thing is true in Hermitage. Well, I think it's true in Hermitage to the extent that Hermitage is a community, and not only in columns, you see, not only in clusters. It's very important. The sacrament of union of God and man, and the vertical, and union of all men. So, the vertical and the horizontal dimensions. That notion of sacrament, we can go into it another time, because it's very rich. And of course, it expresses itself directly in the liturgy. It's not overtalking. Sacramentum. And sacramentum is the Latin for that which is mysterion in Greek. So you see the connection between the mystery of the Church and the sacrament. And usually the mysteria is, or the liturgy,


the baptism in the Eucharist principle. Animated by the Spirit of... Now this is a very thick theological composition, where every word has been weighed, and most of it is taken straight from the Council documents, and then applied to the monastic community. So this is where the monastic theology becomes Vaticanized to the utmost. That is, it becomes put, as it were, into the mould of Vatican II. And then it has to assert itself again, at another point, in order to assert it from its own monastic character. Animated by the Spirit of the Risen Christ, attention to the word, continual conversion is the meaning of it, to discover the will of the Father, the cross, and the hope of being glorified. So you see how that's an attempt to condense the whole of the...


sort of the core of theology, and inject it into the identity of the monastic community. Nourished by the word, and the same word, and the same bread, they can effect their communion of life with God in mutual unity. The vertical and the horizontal once again. Mutual unity of love. Okay, that's supposed to be the theology of the community. Now for the prior. The prior, and then, right away, they call it not Vatican II this time, but the Holy Will. Who in the monastery is believed to hold the place of Christ. So that makes him a sacrament, too, in some way, even though they don't... they don't use that word for him. Now, remember that the rule says that about the abbot, but we don't have any abbots. In the Kemaldolese, the prior takes the role, takes the place of the abbot. He's called, according to the teaching of the Holy Father Benedict, to assure and promote his father, and ask to him guide the sincere despondibility of the entire community of the village members


with the voice of the Spirit. Notice how open-ended that is. That it's carefully been arranged not to close in this structure with the prior and the abbots who are sitting on top of it, but to keep it open, and in fact, subservient to the direction, to the voice of the Spirit. So that's a very good way of putting it. It doesn't close it, it doesn't stop it, but the whole point of this thing is this discernment of the will of God, the voice of the Spirit. There's a kind of inspiration, I think, in the writing of the relics, even though other things remain to be put on afterwards. Father, Master, and Guide. You get three different nuances there, three different aspects. Father is the typically benedictine thing, and where you see the sacramental dimension of the prior, because sacrament, once again, is this kind of image, is a kind of communication. So he's supposed to be able to communicate to the Father


the face, as it were, of God. Master means teacher. Guide is more than a teacher, in a sense. It's somebody who's supposed to be able to act and lead in that way. I didn't read an analysis of Ezekiel or Nephi, it's why they use three words. I guess that that's approximately right. The next paragraph, number three, emphasizes that it's service, according to the Gospel. Next, he has to recognize, in the light of the Spirit, once again, a question of discernment in the individual. The needs and aspirations of the souls, in order to assist them and direct them toward an always more free and responsible growth in union with God and in charity towards the good. If you compare this with the earlier declarations, I'm sure that there's a very strong contrast. Let's see if we can find a typical passage. And in this, I have to apologize for making the earlier legislation


always come out bad, like the Dark Ages. But we have to make the contrast. Now, the declarations on chapter two are pretty simple and straight. They don't talk much about the book, because there's so much about it in the book. Okay, he needs a theological formation and spiritual experience to break the Word and to guide. So you see the difference between master and guide there. To guide them in the ways of God, which is more spiritual,


more active offices. A double teaching office means with words and with life. These are the things that always make superiors blush. And that's from the rule, chapter two, which is a great chapter on the devil. A deferment of divine justice. The devil. So he has to be ready to renew his personal commitment towards perfect charity, which is sort of asceticism and contemplative prayer. You see how all the bases are touched continually. It's kind of an inventory of theological elements. For that reason, it doesn't look the most politically... Number four is the priority of his tasks, of his jobs, what he's supposed to be doing. Is that, excuse me, is that referencing number three there at the end? Which one? Decoration number 354. Let's take a look and see.


That is what's referring to the decoration. Yeah, numbers, it means it's not the same article, okay? But it connects with the earlier article. In other words, it's a revision or a substitution, a replacement of the earlier article. Now, if you look at 354, you'll find it's an enormous change, that it's really a replacement. It's a new article to fulfill the same scope as 354. This is 354. In the same way, the priors and everyone else should be true to the name Herman. And if they are not forced by necessity, they should keep continual residence in their respective houses. So, 354 says, stay put. And this one here says... It's a lot more theological. With two different tones.


And it doesn't just say Herman, okay? See, the emphasis in the earlier declarations tended to be kind of heavily on external observance. To be a Herman is to stay in your place, right? Well, that may be true, but there's a lot more to it than that. So, the new Constitution, more fortunately, put the emphasis on the spiritual realities. The internal qualities of it. Or it needs to be inoculated, it needs to be inoculated. What particular declaration are you told to see? These here? Since 1957. But some of them go back a lot longer. Because this is the great, [...] great grandchild, you see, of a draft which was probably made in the 16th century, when the Coronis influence began to wash back over into our congregation. And a lot of these declarations just passed down for hundreds of years, you see, virtually unchanged, until this earthquake here. That's right. It's a major, it's a major shake-up,


the time of Vatican II. And this is true in general in the Church, right? In women, in many of the monasteries. Okay. Now, the hierarchy of responsibilities of the prior. Number four. A. To promote the sanctification of the brethren. That's his most, that's his principal task. His most important duty. Now, that's pretty good, we can't complain about that. And to promote their ascent towards monastic profession. But secondly, he is to provide at the same time for the adequate human and cultural formation because without that they probably won't do the first one very well either. Now, that's something that you don't find stressed to the same extent in the earlier Constitutions. I won't dig out the articles, because often times we're talking about lacks, we're talking about something that's not in the earlier Constitutions, rather than a contrast with something that is there. But this emphasis on human and cultural formation


as distinguished from merely spiritual formation, in the earlier Constitution it would tend to be held a little bit at arm's length that fear of humanism, and of something that's going to dilute, water down, and deviate the paramedical life from its true goal. And continually in our history we've got these two poles which are operating. The pole of pure prayer, and the humanistic pole, the pole of culture. And one, of course, tends to find itself in the hermitage, the pure prayer, the purely contemplative one. The other one tends to locate itself in the synagogue. This is not always true. You get a few humanists that are in the hermitage too, by and large, et cetera. And actually it's a beautiful thing to have those two poles, but man, it can really pull against one another. It can really be a disruptive tension, but it can also be a beautifully enriching one, living with that tension. You find the same thing in somebody like Thomas Newton, for instance,


who has got a notion of pure contemplation, which is razor-sharp, in a sense, and very exclusive. And at the same time we've got him writing poetry. In fact, he's very much into different cultural developments. He's an important man. There's a kind of war between the two of them. Okay. Part of it they pushed him to write, but there was a lot more than one thing that Thomas wrote in the two. Fortunately, he was inconsistent. Very fortunately. Thank God that he was so inconsistent, because so much truth comes out that way.


A person doesn't force one mold on himself. Okay, human cultural formation. Let him open his heart and his intelligence to a sincere and paternal understanding of the Brethren, so as to express the charity with which God loves them. That's a marvelous expression, which comes from one of the Fathers, and is found in Perfecta Caritatis. See, there you get the sacramental thing, where the prior is supposed to somehow show and pass on that love with which God loves them, and the Father loves them. And see how, in the core of Christianity, that really is. The whole business is spiritual, part of it. Now we get down to brass tacks here. Number five. Wise and efficient government. It's not all spiritual. Dispose all things with solicitude. That means the material things as well.


Avail himself of the active collaboration of the Brethren. See, often it had been a tendency in the past for the role of the Brethren to be rather passive. In other words, you have certain people in the community who have got certain offices, like the cellar. And the cellar sees to everything. And then the monks do what they're told, and that's it. The idea of an active and intelligent collaboration is something else. And this too is sort of in synchrony with Vatican II. And the notion of collegiality, as well as the notion of responsibility, a kind of adult religious life. Together, studying a practicable program of action according to the concrete requirements of time and place. In other words, things are not going to remain the same. You've got to have a program, as it were, which flows with the situation. Then these two dimensions. To provide for the conservation of the sound traditions of the community, as well as for its adequate material and spiritual development.


Conservation and development. But the monks recognizing the power of the spirit of faith. Now, the attitude of the monks. His mission as Father and Minister. Obedience. Full, conscious, and responsible as befits those who enjoy the liberty of the Son of God. So a whole commentary could be made on those words, of course. Full. Just as total as in the past. Just as total as in the rule of Saint Benedict. But not the kind of obedience, blind obedience, or the obedience of the dead, in a sense. Or that kind of robot-like, or regimented obedience. That sometimes is found, but conscious obedience. It's much harder. And responsible obedience, which means that the person somehow thinks. That the whole of him is obeying, and not just his muscles, and not just his willpower. That's harder. Because it doesn't pass the buck of all of the attention onto the superior.


And then you just put your head down and put your teeth into it, and it tells you. You have to be totally yourself at the same time, and then give yourself to God through obedience, as a total person, as a whole person. You can't always do that. And obedience is a very varied thing. Sometimes we just have to put our teeth into it. Other times we shouldn't put our... Sometimes we shouldn't think about it. Sometimes we certainly shouldn't argue about it. But there are critical times in life where we really have to. Whether we enjoy the liberty of the sons of God, if we forget that, then we've somehow lost the whole secret of the monastic way. And that's a very critical point for monasticism. That notion of the liberty of the sons of God. Whether monasticism really sets you free, or whether it enslaves you. An imitation of the Lord. Let them offer themselves to God through their obedience as a living holy sacrifice.


Now, that's scripturally based in Romans, but also in other places, if you look at that spiritual rational sacrifice, as it's called. A true spiritual worship. Be careful to conserve the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace. Strive to attain the perfect stature of Christ. And Ephesians. And that's kind of a summary that punctuates the whole section. Okay, now we get down to the juridical nitty-gritties. So, ready yourself for legal language. We move into part two. Superiors of sui ieris houses are designated priors. Regular prelates are major superiors according to... So this is to hook it into the canon law of the church, okay? Sui ieris house is correlated with prior. So you don't have any abbots. In fact, we don't call our monasteries abbots. The monastery of Kamali is often called an archi-synobia.


Archi-synobia. An arch-synobia. Arch-monastery. But not precisely an abbot. The center of our congregation used to have abbots and also an abbot general. Regular major superiors. So that means that they're the same as abbots, practically speaking. There are things in canon law which are limited to major superiors. And priors, therefore, can do those things. An example is certain permissions that can be given. Say, for the leave of absence, certain things like that. We have to refer to a major superior. Some of the... I don't know how the superiors in the bigger orders work. The provincials are major superiors, but not all of the local superiors are major superiors. Because often those local houses are controlled from the provincial center. So the people have moved around and so on. I don't know where the levels change. Ordinary jurisdiction.


See this language, language subjects. That's juridical language. Unpleasant language. Ordinary jurisdiction. And the internal form as well as the external form. I looked that up, too. I get it as clearly in my head as I could before talking to you this morning. Jurisdiction means the power to bind and to loose, in Ecclesial terms. Jurisdiction in the external form is a form of obedience. Now, obedience deals with external things. Obedience deals with work, deals with where you are, the way you live, in the external way. The internal form is the form of conscience. Now, the best known internal form is the form of confession, where it's confidential, it's secret between you and the confessor, and it really goes into your interior life. Now, the jurisdiction that is in the sacrament of penance, of confession,


is the power to remit sins through sacramental absolution. So in a way, that's the strongest jurisdiction in the internal form. The jurisdiction in the external form means the power to tell somebody to do something, or obedience, like that. Then, in the internal form, you have both a sacramental and a non-sacramental form, as they say. The sacramental form is the sacrament of penance. The non-sacramental form, hmm, exactly what does that mean? I'm not sure exactly. I'd have to look that up. We've probably got it in our theology book. But it's the form of conscience you see outside of the sacrament. It can be spiritual direction or something like that. But the thing is, I don't know how jurisdiction comes into it. I don't know how an actual power comes into it. Because spiritual direction is a purely voluntary thing. There's a contradictory thing that comes into your canon, though,


which is the canon that says that superiors should not be the ordinary confessors of the religious, of the subjects. The reason for that being that then they've kind of got a grip on, in the internal form, as well as in the external form, which is unfair, and in which they can sort of require a manifestation of conscience. There's a principle in the church that you can't demand, you can't force anybody to have a manifestation of conscience. The reason for that, therefore, is to give liberty of conscience to the individual. But in effect, the trouble is that it tends to split the office of the role of spiritual fatherhood, so that the external is split from the internal, and somebody else has to be the confessor and maybe the spiritual director and so on. So it tends to complicate things in the monastic school, although it does guarantee better than liberty of the individual. Any questions about that whole thing, which is rather complex? Here, we don't scrupulously abide by that thing about confession,


but the whole principle, I think, is to leave the person entirely free. In other words, he can go to whomever he wants to go for confession, including the superior, or including, say, the novice monks. We don't rule that out. The individual is left free. And that saves the principle. Otherwise, you see, you get this kind of thing in a monastery, where the superior makes himself the confessor of the monks, and then constrains him to go to confession every week or something like that. It has a very tight grip on the whole thing. It can become a kind of spiritual tyranny in that way, as well as in the external form. Well, remember that the abbot of St. Benedict doesn't have that priestly grip at the same time.


He doesn't have his authority reinforced by the sacrament of confession in that way. And then it's up to the monk who commits himself to that thing, but it can lead to bad results. That concentration, in that regard, of bad cases, of that kind of tyranny, and so it's become very cautious in trying to protect the clergymen who are there. This is an example where we think of the canon law and church law as being some kind of a box that ties people in. But actually, law often is very much on the side of the individual. A lot of the church laws are designed to guarantee the freedom of the individual, to protect the individual against the abuses of authority. Take the law of the seal of the confession, which is a very extraordinary law to protect the individual Christian and give him kind of an unlimited freedom in a sacrament of confession. Unlimited confidence that he's dealing with God and he can say whatever he wants to say.


That's marvelous. There are a lot of other laws like that. Sometimes we tend to focus on the ones which are more constricting. OK. The candidate for the office of prior has to be solemnly professed for at least five years in our congregation. The reason for that is obvious, that he had that experience. You get somebody from outside and it's strange how the spirits of a community, one community, the spirit of one congregation, differ from another. You get some amazing tensions and dislocations and people come with a different background. If he's called upon to govern a hermitage, he should know something about the hermitage, theoretically and practically. That article was put in there by a group of fours. At the end of number eight. And the reason why is that that's uncanon.


It might not have been put in here had it not been required by the church law. There was a fear here that a Cenobite might be put in charge of a hermitage. And the same thing turns up again in the qualifications for the prior general. They wanted to insist that he come out of a hermit experience. If he's going to govern on a hermitical level. I'm sure of Blissard Rudolph. The spirit is there in Blissard Rudolph, even if the words are not there, OK? Only Blissard Rudolph would light several candles and cast a few anathemas. It's a shorter constitution. There's a very long precedence calling on all of the saints.


You'd think they were going to turn him into a pool ball. Ha, ha, ha. Evidently some of the monasteries were pretty... There are two sides to that. Some of the monasteries were quite corrupt in those days. St. Peter Damian didn't even want his hermits to come out of the monasteries. He wanted to take them straight from the work, because the monasteries, he thought, were so... in such bad shape in those days. But secondly, there is something there. There is a kind of purity about the hermitic life, when it's really on the level of contemplation that is behind them. Like the Carthusian experience. The people have really experienced that contemplation in its purity, in its power to do anything they can to protect it. But the trouble is that the institutional protection of them, just somehow, it doesn't work. It's like you can't put it in a model.


But the fact is that the hermitages survived that for nearly a thousand years. Maybe that kind of extreme force has played a large part in that. It's difficult to judge history. Sure. That's what they saw. If they hadn't... Sure. It seems extreme at this time. Well, the difficulty comes if we try to apply it to our time. As if we say that that's holding for us. And some people would say that. They'd say that, OK, these are the first to come out of these constitutions, so they're binding on us as well, and we should have the same attitude. That's when we get into a real problem. And you see where it splits the monastic life right down the center. And you say, well, those cenobites, they're not even in the same race. They're not even... they're not people, are they? I think there's a constant tendency to run the over-partence of religious life, too.


Instead of that, I suppose that should be... We have to keep on resisting the erosion of these... That's right. But whatever move you make to resist it somehow is always somewhat inappropriate. It has to be made. And the thing about entropy is, too, there's a kind of erosion. And then with peaks jutting up now and then, there are reforms and new assertions. Excuse me, I think I interrupted you. The principle of entropy. Yes. That was the strangest thing. How could that work? How could that work? The other would come down once a week,


and he'd get just close enough so he wouldn't get hurt by that chaos that's going on down there. You give him a sermon from a distance, you know, and then run back to the... I don't know how that could work. Because he couldn't really be the abbot, you know. That makes him a visitor, a kind of a visiting abbot, a visiting monk. Who's this guy? No, but St. Ronald said that. Oh, yeah, who's that? I mean, you know, he's a bit... They put their habits on, you know, and they clean things up on Saturday. St. Ronald is somewhat like St. Francis, I think. He's a charismatic man. He's not really organized. To get those two friends together. And they also be elected as prior a professed monk of another community.


So, for instance, if you wanted to elect a prior here, you could call somebody from Kamaldiwe. And it doesn't say just another Kamaldiwe. St. Ronald does that simplistically for us. He has to be professed in our congregation. So he can only be from a community of our congregation, without some special exception. Okay, let's see if we can zip through. Maybe not all of it. A little more of his juridical thing. The prior is elected. This is a beautiful piece of diplomatic Italian. What shall we call it? The number nine. He's elected for an undetermined time. However, he cannot continue in his office if he isn't confirmed every six years. In other words, there's this big red carpet with a trapdoor under it. So that happens every six years.


And then they have a chapter of confirmation first. And he just has to get a simple majority. So he's given a kind of advantage. He has to get a simple majority for confirmation. And if he's not confirmed, then they hold another chapter and they elect someone. And then they go down, starting with $2,000. What would happen is probably that he would not accept. If he was wise, he would probably refuse to accept. And this happens. An abbot will be re-elected with a narrow majority. I'm sorry, there's not enough support. And then there'll be advisors. Maybe there's an abbot always in charge, and that's how he's in charge of the election.


And they'll say, look, maybe you shouldn't tell him. Because they want to give the incumbent an advantage, they go back up to two-thirds as soon as you have to... So if there's a lot of doubt, they could flunk him, and then they can re-elect him afterwards, after they consider some other possibility. So it's a simple majority, and then up to two-thirds as soon as they feel they can find him. And then they come down again, if they get stalled, you see. If they can't get that two-thirds majority, they work down there. After two votes, it's a simple majority, or something like that. And if they're stalled in the end, it just gets lost. In fact, it may be very small. It could be a dozen people, or something like that. And also, in our community, they all know one another pretty well.


It's not like some monasteries. You get people out for 20 years in a parish, and then you come back to vote. They don't know. Okay, now, the other things here are about the chapter, and we don't really, and about proceedings, things like that, who goes before who. We don't need... Superiors of the dependent houses are called vice-priors. Now, you've got two kinds of vice-priors. The first is the kind... We talked about a number 16, who is the actual superior of a house which is not autonomous, okay? He's called a vice-prior, which means he's something less than a prior, something less than the full power of a prior. But there's another kind of vice-prior, who is the second-in-command in an autonomous house, okay? Now, in the Benedictine language they have, or in canon law, they have an expression for these two. The first is called a conventional prior, I believe, and I forget what the second is called. But the second is a vicar, you see,


who functions when the prior is outside the monastery, outside the monastery. He's got to hold a sub-prior. A sub-prior would be... That's the same thing, okay? Whereas a sub-prior in a big monastery where you have an abbot is a third-in-command. We wouldn't have a third-in-command in one of our communities because they're small. See, number 18 is the second kind of vice-prior, which is not obligatory. Now, we don't have a vice-prior. I think we did it one time, just for a little while. That's right. In other words, he'll take on a lot of the domestic duties, a lot of the administrative duties of the prior, leaving the prior free to do other things. And then it gets on to the conventional chapter. Let's stop there after number 18, okay?


And go on next time.