December 21st, 1982, Serial No. 00414

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Monastic Orientation Set 1 of 2




When we began this, I had expected just to shoot to the constitutions and just give you the shape of them. This is a very fluid course we're doing because we want to do what is necessary rather than having a kind of fixed scheme for it. And now it seems opportune to spend a little bit of time on the constitution rather than just shooting through it. You'll notice that we've been trying to explain a little bit, trying to treat them in some detail rather than just giving you the structure and leaving it to you because we should do it sooner or later, so we may as well do it at least as far as the structural principles of the conjugation. And then I was thinking about the second five schemes, the schemes at least six through nine on prayer, asceticism, work properly, prospering in thought, and also on affirmation. Maybe we should use these as a basis for sort of a first sight at the basic monastic values as we get through. Things that you've already touched on from another point of view when you've read Thomas


Merton's articles in the Monastic Journal, and of course when you've read a bunch of other things that you've read even before coming here, but this will give us a look at these things from a kind of common point of view, which is a point of view of any constitution, a theological point of view of our own conjugation as expressed in these constitutions. So we won't talk about everything in those schemes, but we'll try to get the basic point of view and then a good focus, a good fix we might say, on each of those points. I ran across an interesting article, I ran across it again today, by Claude Leifer. He gave our community retrieval back in 1970. He's the one who wrote the big book that we use very frequently. It's called Forming Men Today for Leifer Glemming LeRoux. This came out about 1971. It's one of those historical symposia. Rule of Life.


If you like numbers, if you like these things, you have to look at structures. He talks about three stages of entering into the monastic life. This is about formation. He's talking about three stages of formation, which more or less correlate in the category of formation. The first one is instruction, and instruction is what we're doing now. It's a matter of information. It's a matter of facts, and the things that you can simply learn as you were learning in school. The second is formation, and formation for him, we've been talking about formation and transformation. Formation for him here is this. In this restricted sense of the term, formation means the process of acquiring a new set of values, of reorienting one's life. Well, that sounds like conversion, doesn't it? And it's not exactly formation in our habitual sense. So he's giving me his own definition of what it is. It's obviously something that a man can only do for himself by the exercise of his own free will, but can be helped by being brought face to face with a challenge, by


having pointed out to him where the real problems lie and what must be done about them. So that's a rather different notion of formation than we would usually have. The image of formation suggests something else. It suggests molding, doesn't it? Or at the very least, it suggests some kind of physical or mechanical operation by which you are made to go in a certain direction or something like that, a certain form being driven. This doesn't sound like that, does it? Formation would take place on a single prostitute, you know. It's going. Yeah. Just stay there and gently stroke it. So... On your left and just... It's going. Collaboration.


Notice the difference in point of view if you would look at earlier legislation. The earlier legislation was talking about obedience. This is talking about collaboration. And that's through a lot of this, you know. Whatever name you want to give it. Collegiality or the horizontal emerging, not just the vertical. Whatever you want to talk about, you know. Democratic process or whatever. The prior is to discern the action of the Holy Spirit and therefore take into consideration the counsel of all. This is simply broadening, in a sense, or re-expressing what St. Hedwig says in Chapter 3 of the Rule. The conventional chapter. The common responsibility and fraternal collaboration find their ordinary and fullest expression in the conventional chapter. There used to be somebody here who would quote that to me in the old days. He insisted everything was brought into practice. This is page 14, number 20.


In the conventional chapter. Yeah, that's a dangerous expression. If you feel that everything has to be brought into the chapter and the whole community has to talk it over, hopelessly. There's a... One thing is the sort of structure and the principles. Another thing is the actual working out of these things. It depends very much on the people of one community. And things can run smoothly and beautifully, you know, with harmony and things can just be. It can be tense and violent and all kinds of problems. Some people. Well, yes, but people are people, you know. And some people are unable to express their fears without a whole load of gunpowder coming off their hands. I don't know how to say it.


Well, that's... By the time you're quiet, everybody else may be lying there on the floor. There are different interpretations of quiet. The dynamic of a chapter can really be something a lot, but it's much better to be a visitor and not be... Because remember that the highest ideal, the noblest values are at stake in these things, you know, and so... Legitimate voice. Now, legitimate voice means they're both, right? And then, when you come from another order or congregation, you don't have to picture until three years after the finish of incorporation. Now, this is easy enough to understand, but people come from radically different non-monastic orders, like, say, a Jesuit or, say, a Diocesan priest or, say, somebody from... But I was just thinking that it puzzled me when I reflected on somebody like Falarello,


that if you have a benedictine who's already in the confederation, that means he's got to wait six years before he's got votes, before he can vote or be voted for. So I'll have to check on the number, see if there's something else, see if there's an oversight. You see, that's a long time to wait. Three years here, but it's three years before the finish of incorporation for somebody from another benedictine community, see, that's the problem. So three plus three, and that's a long time. It may be that it will stand, but it may be that there's an oversight. I don't know how to correct the oversight. You can't just postpone it for three years. It would be very unfair to you. Okay, people who have transferred, I'm not going to discuss these in detail because they're not important things. If you have a question on any of these, let me know. Otherwise, I'll skip them rather quickly. Also, before the following classes, it would be good to read through the part that we're


going to discuss next, the questions we're talking about. Otherwise, if it's all fresh to you during the class, it's not so likely that the problems will come up. Some of these things are pretty obvious. Secret ballot, in number 21, the second paragraph at the top of page 15. Now, you don't always have a ballot. Actually, in the running of the chapter, you don't have to vote on every single issue. It can be a very rigid and unpleasant thing if you do. Yet things are as formal as that, that everything has to be voted on, voted on by secret ballot. So sometimes you go around this and they'll just say, well, is anybody against this? Let's raise our hands if in favor of this, that kind of thing, which you do often in other kinds of assemblies as well. The secret ballot is to protect, obviously, the freedom of each person. Even if, in other words, they don't have to be afraid of what they're doing. I think it's the worst of them all. But it can be so formal that we don't always get it. Sometimes we know, pretty well, that there's a consensus. Sometimes you've got that everybody in the chapter knows everything, so it's not easy.


Also, not all the ballots are deliberative, as you'll see. A deliberative vote means that the chapter votes decide. A consultative vote means, and deliberative votes, you don't have them, they're all the same kind of thing. You have them here because they're kind of like that. A consultative vote means that everybody speaks, and then a priority is set, as the advocate votes on the bill. We'll see later on which votes are deliberative and which are consultative. I have a question. Okay, that comes up a little later. We'll get to the domestic counsel. But also, I can say something about it here. The numbers 22 and 20... Number 22 gives you the cases in which a domestic chapter is supposed to be called. Okay? So you don't have to call one in other cases. You have to have it for those cases.


And then the cases for which the choir will use the smaller assembly of the elders, as it's called, for the domestic counsel are certain cases in canonology, very rare, if a religious is to be dismissed as some very heavy thing like that, you see. Or sometimes the regular business, not the day-to-day business. Those two things. Now, it's a question of the day-to-day business where you don't want to call it a national chapter. Otherwise, you're always bound up by the chapter. It's likely to become unbearable. There's this principle that simply the reason of deciding that it should be between the choir, between the choir of the counsel, between the choir of the chapter, which is pretty complex. And actually, I think each community works it out. In some communities, for instance, some abbeys will have a chapter only once or twice a year. And then they'll call all of the ones in how close to time of the chapters


and check that it evens out. Some of them have a lot more. We have a lot more chapters than they do. And when you have a lot of chapters, often the life is not up there. The community is up there. A lot of it depends on the amount of confidence the community has in security. And if they don't have enough confidence so that they have to have chapters all the time about every issue, because this is a free area in between where you don't juridically absolutely have to have one, but the community has an interest in the issue, if they don't have enough confidence to let him operate without a lot of chapters, then they shouldn't collect the sections. You can have, I suppose, very different ideas of how a community should operate. The Benedictine idea is one way. An active congregation would be another way.


And then a diocese would be something else and a business fund would be something else. Always different ways. The degree of participation, the degree of determination in the community itself. So, in general, we tend to slide into the path of thinking of the Benedictine path. But the Superior makes most of the decisions only referring to the chapter when he has to. He can consult people, as he often does, to sort of have the feel of the community, but he's not always holding them up to that. It can be that way. A lot of it depends on how the community functions. See, in a community, among the soundly professed, you can have one or two people who talk very loud and who push very hard, and so that every time you have a chapter, you have a very unpleasant experience for everybody. That can easily happen. There are people who are very strong, strongly opinionated, and very articulate,


and very loud, also, who don't really have that much understanding about what they're all talking about. And it's not easy to control a chapter. Maybe in a big community, in a small community, you can have quite a disorderly situation. So the community itself, after a while, if that's true, will get a kind of displacement of its own kind. Not that I've never met him, just to avoid that kind of thing. Often, with the maturing of the community, those things will even out. But still, there will be some elements, facts there, that make it undesirable. Because the whole spirit, the whole field, and common experience of the community goes along with this. Depending on the kind of meetings that you have in the community, you have a tactic, what you're going to do. Okay,


number, the last part of number 21, on the top of 15, is a counsel to how to speak, in referring to the root. Now, the things that the chapter is to consider, in number 22, notice, in number 23, you have the distinction between deliberate, 23 is at the bottom of page 16, you have the distinction between deliberate votes and consultative votes, and you're told which ones are deliberative and which ones are consultative. There's one mistake there. H should be cancelled and G should be put in place. Maybe that's how they've been done. The ones that are listed there from A to U are all deliberative except for the ones listed in 23 which are consultative. The reason would appear as you go through it. Now, how this started, see, in the beginning, you only had consultative votes. Then, church law begins to develop


and the protection, as it were, of the rights of the individual or the rights, actually, of the community itself begin to assert themselves. With the passing of history. So, you begin to have a different kind of structure, a different kind of juridical structure underlying all of this. And so, the rule itself is not followed once these deliberative votes are being produced. That comes from Tenenlohe, and Tenenlohe prescribes that the chapter must, or council, must decide certain matters. It disappears when it's out of mindset. And that can be done by a vote of the chapter that's in Tenenlohe. And that's how it gets into the constitution. Yeah, that becomes a, that's not consultative. That becomes a two-thirds deliberative vote. That's a rather important change that was made. And put in G


as a consultative vote, which was previously deliberative. G and H are both changed. There's a reversal that takes place there. You see, G, which is temporary vows, becomes consultative, and H, for solemn vows, becomes deliberative, and by no less than two-thirds. There's a change in the balance there between the acts of profession. The idea is that there's one ultimate profession, and that's the one that the community should have as strongest, et cetera. The community has a deliberative vote on a candidate of two stages, entering the novitiate and the making of solemn vows. And they should be consulted at other times. They're consulted, obviously, at the end of the novitiate for admission to the temporary vows. And they're going to be consulted very seriously at that point, because they're superior and necessary to the state commission. So the superiors really have to listen to them.


And, by the way, about these consultative votes, it's rare that a superior will sort of ride over or ignore a strong consultative vote in one direction. That's not a healthy thing to do, because in that way he gets a strong tension and leads to a lot of opposition to the decision of the committee. Occasionally it will happen either on a minor issue or on an issue that everybody can't be informed about. Suppose the whole community is in favor of an individual for some... And the superior knows something he can't tell them about that individual. It makes it impossible to know. Okay, he might have to override the consultative vote. That's a very unique situation. Because usually those things come out in the chapter. Okay, here we go now. The ones that are deliberative.


Election of the prior, election of the vice prior, which is a consultative vote. You see the reason. Because the vice prior has to work with the prior. So the prior has to be able to choose it. Otherwise he shouldn't do it, without the agreement of the prior. Chapter of obediences, that's consultative. But in C you have the designation of two members of the domestic council, which is deliberative. The community, in that chapter of obediences, elects two people to be on the council. Delegate to the general chapter. That's given a very heavy importance in the Constitution. Boy, did I already discuss that. He has been cancelled. In other words, that's not a vote. That's... The community should be informed about the candidates. There's no vote on the rendering of the past ten seats. And you can see the reason why. Because they don't know it. They don't know the individual at that point in his life. Admission of constituents


to the novitiate. Now that's a deliberative vote. Novitiate is a serious step. Temporary vows, consultative. And we refer to Scheme 10, number 14. We should have a new edition of the Constitution with these revisions in it. When we get them back from overseas, quite a number of minor changes are made as to... Simple profess to solemn vows. Two-thirds deliberative vote. That's very steep. Tonsure in minor and major orders. That means the acronym increases as people speak. Now that's consultative. And you also have to get the general's permission. It's also for solemn vows. It comes up in the following number. There are certain things that the prior general or the general counsel have to give their consent to before they can do that. And they're crucial issues in the life of the community. The admission of a monk


to solemn vows, admission of somebody to the priesthood, as I remember, and also the election of a prior. So the prior general sees a danger there. He can stop it. You have to re-vote. That's one in which he's going to be very careful. And it will depend a lot on the vote itself, how big the majority is. The community is unanimous. The prior general's going to think seven times before he does the next step. If it was a 51% vote, and he can clearly see that there was a faction that there was a situation in the community which made it come out in a very dangerous way, then he can stop that and ask for a vote again. And in a little community, surprising things can happen. If you've got six or seven monks in a community, it's some pretty strange things


can happen. Okay, acceptance of regular oblates. We found in Keith's book. Introduction and modification of local customs. Now, as a formal thing, this has never happened. In other words, the local customs are voted on in chapters sometimes, but we have no clear distinction as to what is a local custom and what is not. If you're going to make a change in a life, then you'll talk it over in a chapter. But we don't have sort of a category or a list of local customs of such customs or what to do. It depends on how serious they are as to whether they have to be discussed in the chapters. For instance, things like having retreatants in the refectory or things like having a common meal for the simple professed or the little customs in the monastery. Should those things be decided by the chapter or should they be decided by the cleric? Let's leave that in-between ground and think differently. There's a kind of discussion


in the chapter. If it was a question of changing the hour of the daily Eucharist event or saying more or less what the divine office implied, obviously that could never be done without consulting with the chapter or having a decision to be made. Foundation of new houses. Opening and closing of residences. Transfer of a month. Now usually, see the community only votes on transferring a month in. They don't vote on transferring a month out because that's what they do. They're the consultants of the house. They don't have a right to hold a month in a particular house. Obligation of writings regarding the community. That's another one in which it's obvious that you can't have a vote of the community on something that hasn't been written yet or on every little thing. Every newspaper article and so on is written about the community. So it has to be more or less an official writing before the community elects to decide. You can see


where that one is going. That one could be interpreted. Initiatives which obligate the community with respect to the outside world. Say we agreed to have the Knights of Columbus come here today. I don't know. Council. I agree. Or any all kinds. Lots of businesses. Legacies of donations. Either to accept them or to refuse them. But they're good. Alienation means that letting go of things. Mobile earth and mobile earth. That's more than earth. Precious articles. These things there used to be a lot in the Constitution about this kind of thing. But we're dealing with monasteries over in Europe where they've got heirlooms and old vestments and chalices and manuscripts and even the walls themselves are precious. It's a little different from nothing. The construction


of new buildings are notable restorations. Now see the new building the building thing is much more serious over there too because you're dealing with historical monuments and lots of times the government office is touching them. Annual financial balance expenses loans of money and debts of money et cetera. Number 24. Now these are things that have to go to the general superiors for approval. Introduction and modification of local customs. Now that's somewhat of a dead letter because we never send if we want to make a change in our schedule or change in the way that we did we never send it in to the general superiors for approval. It just doesn't work that way. If they come and make a visitation and they see how things are going and they're coming at that time if they want to change something they can change it or at least they can really call a halt


to something or speak pretty loud at the time but it's kind of unrealistic to send in customs 6,000 miles away when they're not here to see us. Transfer to a foundation in their houses. A lot of these things are pretty obvious. Extraordinary expenses. Big amounts. Any questions about all that? Number 25 says that the month should be quiet about these things. Especially a lot of things can cause tension or irritation or hurt charity if they're spoken about outside of the traffic. See, in a chapter when you talk about people, for instance you bring out a lot of things. You're making decisions about people and decisions about profession and decisions about the police force and decisions about giving people a particular job. You have to talk about them in a way which is pretty open, pretty frank. You have to talk about the other side of things which is satisfying. That being so,


often a person is invited to step outside so that people can say anything they like. We'll run into that later on. There are a number of people who say no, I don't want to step outside. I want to be there. I dare them to say it because I feel that they can talk down to anybody else. Other people just assume not to be around when they're being talked to. Imagine a vote, you know, imagine a vote about somebody and then at lunchtime well, you know, they accepted it, didn't they? It was only old father so-and-so that voted against you. Dear old man. And you could never forget that, you know. Now, number 27


is something new which broadens the idea of acceptance. Note also in Vatican II it's urged that not only the people who have full right to the conventional acceptance, the active acceptance of the voice should be in a much longer hearing or should be brought into discussion. And so here it's encouraged that in other meetings where the rest of the month is over, everybody is there. Now, this is in the line of the bringing of the simply professed into the conventional chapters who do receive it. In fact, they even participate in the cycle of acceptance. This is going a little beyond the law, but it's completely in the spirit of the rest of the congregation of the matter. And you can see in a community like this the rate of this development is very important that the younger must be heard, at least the ones who have been here for two or three or four or five years. It might


be different in the community this way, more or less proceeding along the same line. I've been doing that for a hundred years. I don't know if there's anything that can help with the matter of rest of the congregation of the matter of the congregation of the church. I think that's the can do is to have add any other members he wants to the Domestic Council. So two are elected, and he can choose the others. Because the idea is that the Domestic Council is his, what you call it, a board of advisors. So he has to have a say. In the old days, I don't think the community voted on it at all. You were choosing. But it's right that the community should have a say, too. So you see how it's a kind of compromise


between those two principles. Father Bernard is the other member of our current Domestic Council. One of the reasons being because the seller is concerning most of the issues that we talk about in the Domestic Council. So he'd always be there anyway. In the old days, it used to be that the novice master and the seller were always there. There would be the two stable members of the Domestic Council, and then there might be one or two others. In a small community, the Domestic Council can vary very much in that respect. And consequently, the amount that it functions will vary a lot. Dependence. We always like dependence on the rapport between individuals. It's just very concrete. Concrete. Happening. How often do you meet each other? Once a year. In Chaco, we meet each other once a year. We had our last one, what, about three months ago. What do you mean? Which one?


That's right. That's right. The community votes anew, fresh slate each time. They may have three or four sometimes. What can you do? You have to try to keep his own seal, his archive, his documents, his register. And conserve all of those. And that's a vote on God. If he does number 29, then he's up to it. He doesn't have to do anything else. Some of those have been somewhat neglected. There are different levels of importance. But most of that has been simply carried over. In fact, it is just carried over from declaration to declaration. There, a magnificent seal. It says, command these henchmen and help them. It's probably for business purposes. There are a lot of leaders out there. It's not often used in a place like this.


Here. The symbol is the coat of arms, which is the two doves looking from the charts. We've seen it. Can you see it? Scheme five. Let's see. Did we reach the end of this? I guess we did. Any questions on that last scheme? So that's the one about the organization, the structure, and the running of the community itself, the local community. Now we get to the structure, the organization, and the running of the congregation as a whole. Do you have a chronicle you need? A chronicle you need? Yeah. No, we don't really have one. My father, Bede, is the chronicle. He's been in charge of that. But you can ask him to see the chronicle, but I think he hasn't always been in touch with this one. Somebody should take the job of writing that up sometime.


As a matter of fact, it just hasn't been time. Scheme five, the regime of the congregation. All of the religious are subject to, sort of, there's this ecclesial insertion, first of all. Just as before, we found that the monastic community somehow reproduces in itself the church, which is the sacrament, the sacrament, as it were, of the sacrament of Christ, the extension of Christ. Now here we find this on the external, institutional level, that the religious are subject as to their supreme superior to the pope. This is translated in an interesting way, in the Old Translation of the Constitution. All the religious are subject to their supreme superior as they are to the Roman consul. No, they've got a consul. So they should be subject to the prior general


just as much as they are to the pope. But that's not... They are subject to the... And that's in the canon law, okay? The fact that the vow of obedience terminates when you're in the Holy Prophet, when you rise to power of the church, that's not canon. For all of the religious. And monks are religious, even though they have a tradition of their own and certain legislation for that. They are subject to the ordinary of the place. Ordinarius loci, means the local bishop. According to the sacred canons. Now, the canon law defines in what way monks are subject to the local bishop and in what way they are exempt from the local bishop. For instance, this is an exempt community because it's a monastic community of a monastic order. So the bishop cannot, for instance,


assign the members of the community to the work that the members are assigned to. And there are a number of other things. In most things, of the domestic life of the community, the monks are under monastic authority rather than being under the diocesan authority. There are certain matters in which they're under the diocesan authority and one of them especially is the liturgy insofar as it is open to the people outside. Perhaps that's an example. Especially insofar as it affects the people of the diocese. It does to the people. Already to the extent that it's visited. The Commandanty Association is a member of the Benedictine Confederation. We talked about that before. By maintaining its own autonomy, according to Articles 4 and 24 of the Lexicopoeia. The Lexicopoeia here. Those articles say very carefully that the making of a confederation,


which only happened less than a hundred years ago, does not interfere with the structure of the identity or the autonomy either of the individual community, individual monasteries, or of the individual congregation which pre-exists the existence of the confederation. It leaves all of their constitutions and laws of everything intact. Constitutions because they're all the best laws in the world. The Ordinary Regime. Now, we have to remember that the Extraordinary Regime. I guess there is many Extraordinary Regimes. Hmm. The Superior General.


Did you find it? Oh, good. Yeah. I've lost my confidence in Order. So, the Ordinary... I want you to see the difference between the two is that the Ordinary Regime is the regime that exists all the time. You might call it the Continuous Regime. The Extraordinary Regime is the Intermittent Regime. Okay? That is, you don't have a general chapter all the time. You have one every six years. But you do have the general superiors all the time and general consuls. See the difference? The Prior General is the Superior General. And his function is given in number three. He is elected by the general chapter. That's every six years. Now, it's the same way for the Prior General that it is for the local prior that the Constitution says that he is elected for an indefinite term, but he has to be confirmed every six years.


He has two assistants. He has two assistants. One at the right and one at the left. And they make up the general consul. And it's different from time to time whether they were assistants or bodyguards or whether they were meant to put a brake or a limitation on the general to control him, to balance him. They have all these different possibilities depending on the political situation and depending on the climate. Ordinarily, the consul... Now it's a very timeless thing. Now the general consul has those voice records. For instance, in our congregation, if we could elect a centibite and two hermits, a hermit and two centibites, that kind of thing. We don't use that language. We mustn't say. If you say that somebody is not a hermit, he's a centibite. I don't know. Let's say you have Bernardino, the bar general,


and Bernardino on one of those. And Bernardino represents the AmeriCorps as far as I know. He's the... I'd say he represents the AmeriCorps. Bernadetto Calati is the bar general. Most of the time he's resided at the monastery. For a long while he was a priest of Dracula in Rome. I think he was Dracula in Rome for about 12 years. And Emanuele has spent most of his time at the monastery. Which I want to know. Two are not that extremely different. The general, or if I'm Bernadetto, may come in this next year. But that's very uncertain. We expect him in this year. We're sure to see the two visitors in two years.


We saw them a year ago. They are regular visitors. We should see them again in another two years. In the fall of 1948. Okay. The bar general always and every time is the first place. There are questions of proceedings. The powers of the bar general and the duties supervised adherence to the decrees of the general that correct punish the causes of the element absolved from censures and irregularities. This is much less frequent. You rarely hear of this kind of thing now because the whole armament of censures and irregularities in the court of Canada is a kind of experimentation. Suspension of faculties and duties. Announce the general staff in a consultative report to decide on the time for it.


Has the faculty to visit the houses of the congregation. And then it should send a report to the Holy See of the congregation. And then, we can do those things alone. For some things, you need the consent of the assistants. For some, now, it's at this point you see the two assistants. These we call visitors. We call visitors in most congregations. This general counsel structure is required by Canada for all the reasons. You can see now where the assistants become a kind of control or a balance to the tribunal when their consent or their information as we call it, their counsel, is required. That's to broaden and stabilize the business. See if they're in with particular importance. Those would be the ones that would become a permanent counsel. But the counsel are the same.


Impose taxes on individual houses. I don't remember that's ever been done. We've done very well. Secret vote. Secret vote can be really difficult when you have three people. Technical consultant for the economic affairs. That's a new element in the Constitution. You're supposed to be an expert to avoid things going to go this way or that way in the individual reports. And to detect any subterfuge in the reports of the houses. The seal, the archives. Number 12 is kind of important. Let the prior general refrain from disposing anything with respect to the ordinary affairs of the houses. That's that principle of subsidarity.


Anyway, you know what I mean. It's the unpronounceable principle. That the prior general and the assistants are supposed to let the... Remember that principle that came up before that the general authority is not the primary. Let's see, the general... The congregation is not so much the primary thing. It's the local community that becomes primary. Remember that principle that came up before. That the congregation plays a subsidiary role. The congregation plays a secondary role in order to help the life that actually takes place in the local community. Rather than playing a predominant or primary role and sort of overriding the autonomy and the sort of functioning of the life in the individual community. See, that's the principle of the monastic community. Typically, it's one of the three principles. And we disavow it for monasticism as a whole. Whereas many other religious orders, you have a general who can actually order people around.


Almost as a measure. As the executive of the last corporation. For functional reasons, you can abolish one entity over here and start another over here. Remove somebody from here to here. But that's contract monasticism. Were they ruled by Kurni? They were ruled by Kurni. In fact, that's the heaviest example I can think of. Of the other poets. Of the extreme centralization. So actually, as I read in knowledge, because I know very little about this history. Actually, the monks in the dependent houses made their profession through Kurni. To the abbot of Kurni. So it was a vast pyramid and it was all run from the top. At least in theory. Now, I think that there were different circles or different spheres of influence.


So way out at the margin, you'd have some ideas that were pretty autonomous. Maybe a long ways away. In England or something like that. But that would not be so true. But closer around, it really was true. It was an imperial kind of monastic culture. Now this moved drastically against that kind of thing. Now remember that the heaviness of Kurni, and it did in certain ways, especially through Salafi. In other ways, it didn't move away from it so much. Now, St. Honor didn't start as a centralized thing. That process started to happen after the war. And it was when you get the same kind of centralization based on the hermitage of Kurni that rules from the hermitage of Kurni. So after a while, you have a lot of dependent monasteries and hermitages. But the real security was the security of the hermitages. Now, I'm not sure exactly what extent that was true, but it was a way of thinking. So, this goes in the other direction.


If you think a lot about monasticism, you may begin to see a real difference of two principles out there. A principle of organization, and what would you call the other principle? It's like the principle of life, but it's like a grassroots principle. A principle of reality, which is different from the principle of organization. We get the principle of efficiency, of functionality over here, which goes towards centralization. Over here, you've got a principle of experience, a principle of life, a principle of interaction, a personal principle. So... It was related to it, more or less. It's related to it. Theodore Rosak, you know, who wrote a book called Person and Planet, he's talking about the same thing right now. Now there's big structures building up, things reforming on a local level. He's about creative disintegration. But anyway, that's the kind of thing we're talking about.


But it's not entirely a new thing, because in the beginning, if you think of the desert part of it, before this organization and centralization came up, that's the kind of thing we have. Even in St. Benedict, you've got quite a lot of it, small monasteries, but with the colonists, you have a strong principle of centralization. And later on, which is not to say it's all bad. Lots of times that was done in order to reform the monasteries because they were falling apart. But it doesn't seem to be the thing that ultimately gives life, because it's external. Anyway, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have an ax to grind. The assistants also are to be very discreet in the way that they... In other words, they shouldn't come and right away tell you, I don't like, we don't like the way things are serving. In effect, we don't like your daily schedule, so we're going to straighten it out. Do other things before you go. They shouldn't do that at all.


The only changes that they would make would be those that are really necessary. Okay, what happens if the prior general's office becomes vacant? I'm sorry. The two assistants are elected by a general chapter. Now, they help and advise the prior general in all of his work, and it's good for them to be near him. See, it's hard to have one of the assistants... Actually, Father Adam is one of the general assistants, and he was way over here in America. He was a new commander. And the general and the other assistant were over in Italy. Now, they did that as a kind of gesture of encouragement to this community, which was a wonderful thing too. You can see how difficult it could make the operation of the general council. And they have a lot of questions. It's hard. He had to go running over there. He had to go on the telephone. Okay, besides that general consultative in deciding


the function that they have, they have the function of a regular visit, and that happens every two years. The purpose of it is described in Number 18. And there's an ordinary visit, which is the one that happens every two years, and there's an extraordinary visit, which can happen any time. And in the extraordinary visit, the visitors might come, or the prior general might come himself. Number 21 was changed in the 1981 chapter because it begins to sound like one of the principal purposes of the visitors is to unseat the prior. So, they put in something more mild. That's right.


Well, you mean when they don't speak English? Were you thinking of the language part? Well, they meet individually. Okay, they're in two cells, and they'll be around for a week or two during the visitation. And everybody knows where they are, and they're just invited to go and see them. And if they need a translator, they can take somebody along. Now, usually one of the visitors will be pretty good at English. If that's not the case, then they'll come and choose and then certain people will complete the problem. And it seems to proceed okay. The idea is that everybody should go to see them. If they really get an idea of the community, then everybody has an opportunity to really express themselves. The only speaks Italian. Emanuele understands English pretty well, and he speaks a little of it now. Bernardino speaks English, too. See, he was of an Indian descent.


He had a chance to attend college before. So it's a good situation now. One of the reasons for choosing Bernardino as an assistant was that he related well to this community, both sort of spiritually, because everybody likes him, and he's got a spirit like ours, but also linguistically. Let's see. Chapter 3, the Procurator General. I think we'll conclude today with that. The Procurator General is a person who transacts the business between the congregation and the Holy See. It may be the congregation of religious, it may be the congregation of worship, or it may be any of the others, and they all generally relate. Often it's the congregation of religious. Currently... Yeah, he was there for 12 years,


and he stays at San Gregorio d'Alteria, and that's where the monastery is now, and is often also the superior of that house. The present Procurator is Father Anselmo Giovanni, who was the general during some of the most crucial years of our history. He was there for 12 years, and we have a period of just before and into Vatican III, period of great changes. And he was a leader and a ground-breaker in the religious development. And he's a... He's a Procurator. He's also the superior of that house, I believe. And that's a student, San Gregorio d'Alteria. That's where Mother Teresa's sisters are, too. They go to Tokyo, too. Because there's a big guest house there.


The Procurator is elected by the General Secretary, and then his duties are fairly obvious. For instance, if we have to get something from the Sacred Congregation of the Religious, we have to get a dispensation for one of our monks, something like that. We send it to the General. The General sends it to the Procurator. The Procurator takes it to the Congregation and explains, and they give it to him. And it's transmitted back to us. Or, if the Holy See wants to say something to the Congregation, they will often transmit it through the Procurator. He gets to know the people there. Next time, let's continue with the Extraordinary Rejoining and maybe get into the following speeches. Any questions? Thank you.