May 10th, 1983, Serial No. 00375

Audio loading...

Welcome! You can log in or create an account to save favorites, edit keywords, transcripts, and more.


Suggested Keywords:


Monastic Spirituality Set 11 of 12




and especially of monasticism, but we find that we can't treat that without looking at the other religious orders, too. And we can't look at the history of the religious orders without looking somewhat at that of the Church and somewhat at that of society. But we see it throughout. Remember how the relation between the Empire and the Church affects monasticism a lot, and it affects the religious orders a lot. Not only the Empire, but then whatever the state is, whatever kind of government we have, the national governance that we have right now. As we get into these recent centuries, we see the secularization process taking over, and even the suppression of religious orders. That's a result largely of political influences, political expressions, and it happens to governments. Okay, last time we looked at the 11th century reform. Among the innovations of which would


have come out of this, there's really a bunch of other tremendous. And remember that the year dates the present movement of kind of long-term wave of renewal, religious life, until the 11th century. Everything that's happened since is this kind of continuation of that. We'll return to his estimate of the situation later. And after the 11th century, there's a decline, as always happens after these peak periods, or reform periods, with many influences responsible for it. Now Pfeiffer says something about this. Before I forget it, there's also a history of the religious orders in this enormous volume, this Encyclopedia of Theology. It's quite a detailed history, and it's not from a monastic point of view. In fact, even though he talks a lot about the history of monasteries, it's such a detailed form, the names of places and so on, it's hard to see it twice through the trees, ultimately. But it's also very interesting.


Pfeiffer reviews this decline, page 56 in the volume. Excuse me for reading to you a bit. It says, For the purpose of describing monastic spirituality, the period from the origins to the 12th century is of the greatest importance, for it was during this time that the broad movements which is the ideology were laid down. The subsequent history of monasticism, in spite of the complex developments and the interplay of various influences which can be discerned in, has contributed nothing essentially new to the ideology. You may remember that other letter that I quoted, which said that nothing essentially new had appeared in the monastic life since the 4th or 5th century. So, that would really cut out the developments in the West, whereas Pfeiffer is including the Western developments. Things like the Cistercians and the Canobos. After the energetic outburst of renewal in this period, there followed a long period


of decline among both black and white monks. That means regular Benedictines and Cistercians are white monks. The Carthusians are white monks too, and the Canobos are white monks. And leadership passed to the newly founded Mendicant Orders, which we looked at last time, the Franciscans, the Dominicans, and so on. The monasteries were too much involved in worldly concerns to get rich. In fact, the English period of the war, and were often reduced to a political condition by the wars of the Eastern Institute of Technology, and the evils of the Commendant system. Did we talk about that? That was when a monastery could be given in custody of somebody who was not a monk, and he would be the abbot. He would be the teacher or abbot. So, he would have authority over the monastery, and also could dispose of the revenues, so you can imagine what happened. It did happen. Well, the purpose was sometimes a purpose of reform, you know, and then it didn't work


too well. But sometimes it was an economic purpose. According to this historian here, that was a way of getting revenue also. See, not only for the local baron, whoever was interested in the monastery, but also the well-received, was made out of some kind of tax. So, that's not a very handsome chunk of history. And it had disastrous effects, because you had people that were not monks running monasteries, and running them for quite selfish motives sometimes. So, they'd squeeze the life out of the community, and meanwhile it affected spiritual benefit. The will of Saint Benedict? Well, it would be observed, you know, as far as it could be under that kind of system. But if you've got a monastery, a Benedictine monastery, without an abbot, then you're in trouble. Because the abbot is kind of a central pillar of the monastery. So, you take him out, effectively, by giving that role to somebody who's not a monk, and you really, critically damage the monastic role. So, that means that the


monks are probably going to be doing their own thing. They're going to split apart, and they're not going to have that authority, and that, just that relationship, that central gravitational force to draw them apart. That was an amazing thing, I think, that could be done. This is actually a kind of thing. Yes, yes. See, already you've violated that principle of the autonomous monastery, of the local community. Violate that by having one head abbot up there, it becomes almost a mythical figure, almost so much that they've never seen it. So, the next step is to hand it over to somebody who's not a monk, and on a local level.


I'm looking for that in here, but it's almost not clear. That had a lot to do with the history of the Commendables as well, because that Commendum system, since the Commendables were in Italy, was flourishing there. So, that's one reason why we don't have any abbots. Really, two basic reasons why we have friars instead of abbots. One of them is so that we wouldn't have too much solemnity, contemplating, which they hadn't in the Gattas. There was a lot of solemn vestments and pomp and circumstance, because they wanted to remain simple. And the other is to avoid this Commendum system. If you don't have an abbot, then you can't have a commendatory level, so you maintain your local rule. People have their hands up, politicians and so on. Nevertheless, I think it did make inroads in our congregation at times.


Also, we did have, it was a centripetal congregation, where they had abbots, but they didn't have an abbot general, and so it did cut in line. I don't know if we get it today, but I don't think it did these days. Clericalization of the monastic order became universal, and monks undertook the work of the external ministry. That means almost all the monks became priests. If you wanted to make solemn vows in a monastery and be fully a monk, you had to be a priest. There are all kinds of things that go along with this. It becomes a class system, a caste system, because it involves also the language, after all. So the priests would be the ones who knew Latin, and therefore they could do the psalms in Latin, and the ones who were not priests would be doing it maybe in their vernacular tongue. And they probably wouldn't be doing the psalms, they might be doing alphabets and alphabets, something like the rosary bells, something like this. And then since they're priests, what are they going to do? They're


not going to do manual work like that. They're going to be looking either for intellectual work, or some kind of clerical work, and that usually means preaching, or some kind of secular administration, something like that. And that wasn't too good for the monasteries either, and yet, for the monastic part, in the long run. And yet it filled a need at the same time. That's true much later on in the United States, when a lot of the Benedictines when they came here first got right into preaching and into pastoral work, because there weren't any parish priests around, and so they just naturally spread out all around them. They became the missionaries, not the pastors, or the kind of the monasteries. That was true of a lot of the now historic Benedictine monasteries in this country. Some sections of the Midwest were Christianized, Catholicized, and they're still there as pastors. They tended to keep moving. They tended to go abroad. That was part of their asceticism,


they say, was to leave their home. And then it's one thing, of course, to be a missionary while you're still living in your monastery, to go and live a monastic life and be a missionary there. It's another thing to be made a pastor, and so to be out in the parish church somewhere, maybe hundreds of miles away from the monastery and only to go back there once a year. That's another situation. But you've got to realize that throughout history, there have been all kinds of groups. You'd always have these little groups of two or three monks somewhere, running a farm, or doing some kind of pastoral work or something like that. So the books can't really pass on the complexity. And it's still true. Devotional occurrence which stressed affective and anthropocentric piety. My goodness, was he a member of that? Now, he's talking here about things like Franciscan piety and the so-called Devotio moderna, which is expressed in the imitation of Christ. Affective piety


means it's more emotional and stresses more the humanity of Christ and the Blessed Virgin and to devour her part. Anthropocentric is in the same direction. It's more concerned with, I think, the humanity of Christ and with one's experience of God, one's spiritual experience, than it is sort of with the mainline theological foundation and liturgical core that monasticism, as usual, overloaded a lot. Now, it's hard to get that across in a few words. You sort of have to look at the different stages and the kinds of literature and so on that function. But there's a difference between Franciscan piety and the earlier monastic piety. There's a simplicity about it, there's a humanness about it, there's an affective quality about it, an emotional quality about it, and a kind of separation from a lot of


the book stuff and a lot of the traditional, what do you call it, the traditional richness of monasticism. The thing about St. Francis, I think, is his simplicity. It's like he can take it all off with him. All that he needs is right there inside himself. He doesn't need any books, he doesn't need really a tradition. He makes him his stuff. And that seems to indicate, it's interesting to think about this because it's quite important, it seems to indicate a big advantage, in other words a big conquest, and at the same time a big loss, in this way. It's a loss in so far as you detach yourself from that theological core and that foundation which you can build up in Christianity. Take the Greek fathers and the way they read the scriptures, take all that understanding and that depth which is in the tradition. Now if you cut this from that, if you're St. Francis you can do it, okay, because you've got the Holy Spirit. In other words, he was so full of the love of God that he didn't need it, he didn't need it. It was all there inside his heart. But then you start a congregation, and what do the other guys want to feed on? Because


what they start feeding on is the life of St. Francis, and that's not enough. It's not close enough, it's not total about St. Francis, to give them the fullness of Christ if they're just depending on their founder. Now that's what goes on right down to the present moment in many congregations, and I think it's especially true of the Franciscans because they have such a wonderful history. There's nobody like St. Francis, and so he casts kind of a lone light and a lone shadow at the same time. That's the trouble with the great men, even the saints, they cast a lone shadow, because what happens is that people get in their shadow and they don't see Christ in them, they don't see the fullness of Christ in them. So, I don't want to overdo that, but you can go ahead. Christ and his disciples, and why would you do that? Because Christ is different, of course. Christ is more divine than spiritual. So, it's in leaving that he makes it possible for the experience to dwell in them. Now,


with Christ it's different, okay, it's not a definite economy between, say, St. Francis and Christ, because the difference is that St. Francis can't give the Holy Spirit, he can only point the way, legally. With Christ, he goes away and then he comes, and he actually himself dwells in them, in the Holy Spirit. So, that's a theological necessity for him to get out of sight as it were, so that he can come back from within and be inside them and live their life. Now, with St. Francis or the saints, it's different, and yet there's a parallel there, because they have to get out of their way too. So, if they get between you and God, then being in that shadow, you can't live properly, you can't live the way Yeah, we put them between, they don't put themselves there. Okay, so that's the trouble. It's like when Jesus says, call no man your father. We have the capacity for it. Yeah, we do. That's right. The trouble is that you see how people like each other, so they get


to know each other, but what happens is that it seems like one really great saint comes along, and then for a couple, three or four hundred years, people are talking to each other. It's so hard to get ahold of that curious part of yourself, and so rare, that the person really learns to see God himself in a kind of way. It's such a rarity. So, on top of that, I don't get the connection. Yeah. And that's


That's right. That's what happens to monasticism, and that's what happens in these religious orders that get focused on the task right on. We'll see that as we follow through the rest of this. Then it talks about the reform movements between the 13th and the 18th century. There are a couple of them that we're going to look at. Well, within monasticism, we'll just look at that congregation movement involving St. Justina of Padua, which was an attempt to reform the monasteries by getting them together. Pfeiffer doesn't say much about it. Our writer here, Engels, says more about it, and Knowles devotes a couple of pages to it, and as usual, he's clear enough, so I'd like to use that. Once again, this is the attempt to solve abuses, solve problems by organization, and organization is what he's interested in. He talks about the commandant first, and the congregation of St. Justina was chiefly aimed


at that commandant. In other words, if you take away the official office in an individual monastery, then you can't have this commutatory level, so it was partly a kind of organizational flaw that it worked. But also, then you have a central authority, and if that central authority is good, you can give a lot of help in cleaning up the monastery. Besides, it's often disastrous economic effects, the commandant, because they've been squeezing money, ripping it out of the monastery, and just making kind of service for themselves. The commandant had the deeper spiritual consequence of eliminating the keystone of the monastic community, the abbot. The one person set apart from the rest by the rule is governor and teacher with a terrible, things-tactful and spiritual. So in another form of religious life, it might not be so damaging, but in Benedictine life, it's crippling. An original and effective remedy was found in Italy at the beginning of the 15th century. The one who started this was a Venetian, Ludovico Barbo, as abbot of the decayed monastery of


Santa Justina in Padua. And for some 20 years, 1408-1431, fostered and ruled a reformed community and made it the nucleus of the congregation. That's how it tended to work. You get one fervent community and then tie other communities to it for direction, for reform. The commandant was to be bypassed by a system of dependent priors, and later by the institution of a general chapter of abbots and priors, under the abbot of Santa Justina as the sovereign authority, appointing all subordinate superiors. So it really begins to look like that Punic pyramid once again. They made a completely new arrangement. Lifetime abbots were to disappear, even at Santa Justina. All monks were to belong to the congregation, not to the house, to seek a strong centralization, but it's denaturing the Benedictine monastery at the same time. In order to survive, it's really tampering with the fundamental structures. Abbots were appointed for a short term, and if successful, were moved around the houses


as sort of troubleshooters. The sovereign power was an annual general chapter. Boy, they grew really intensively. The generals, after every year, seemed to keep growing, like a military, to keep on top of things. But in practice, it lay with its committee of definitives of nine. Definitives are people who are elected in a congregation in order to make the decisions, like a senate, or like a cabinet, etc. But they're not appointed, they're usually elected. Then they had a lot of problems. We don't have definitives, we have a general as councilor. But at one time, if you look at our history, we've gone through all these different kinds of constitutions. All these changes are parallel, reflected somewhere in our congregation. For instance, at one time, we had priors that were elected for a year or two, and then they'd be re-elected. They were so concerned, see they had a long string of lifetime abbots, lifetime superiors, and some of the monasteries had gone quite decadent under them.


So they decided that they were going to put the power in a centralized position, and then keep a very short leash on the individual superiors. Also, we had that centralization by which the monks belonged to the congregation, make their profession to the congregation, not to the individual house. And that only changed about ten years ago, when they entered the Benedictine Confederation. So now you make your profession to the individual house, which is the historic thing. It's an interesting reflection in the monastic world of the government by council and by committee, that it found so many advocates and the conservative advocates. There was a time, I remember, division of the church. I didn't know this one. And the councils were sort of struggling, competing with the authority of the folks. The radical, and frankly anti-traditional, succeeded in its first purpose of reform,


and Santo Justino was the focus of monastic life in the early century. And so you've got a lot of other congregations popping up. The contemporary Benedictine congregation, most of them come from that time, not the 15th century. And they started out as imitations of that reform movement, to help the individual monasteries, the government, that centralized the authority at least somehow. But now, they've almost all, I think, reverted to the autonomy of the individual house. So the congregations are much weaker now than they were. So in the most Benedictine monasteries now, you've got three levels of organization. The first level is the local monastery, which is the strongest. Then comes the congregation, for instance, the Cassanese congregation, which you've already seen now, the Swiss-American congregation. There must be about 80 or 10 congregations. Some of them are just American, and some of them are French. And then finally, you've got the Benedictine confederation, which has no power at all over the individual houses. It's just an advisory kind of facility for the other party.


You can counsel, aid, suggest. And then you can transfer money to the consent office. Benedictines all over the world, let's see. In all these cases, it gave temporary or lasting benefits, but it was inevitable that sooner or later, when the commendation, the commendations, went forever at the French Revolution, a return should be made to the traditional autonomous monastery, ruled by an independent abbot. And during the past century, Benedictines all over the world have moved in this direction. Okay. Now, the Jesuits, the Society of Jesus. Piper doesn't say anything about them. I don't think that they're very important in this line of trying to understand the evolution of the former religious community. Knowles makes them kind of the end point of the development.


First of all, let me read a little bit of his introduction to this chapter, which entitles a transition in the modern world. So now we're getting out of the Middle Ages. We've got the patristic period behind us in which monasticism was born. We've got the Middle Ages behind us, in which monasticism survived, found its Western forms, some of them quite massive. And then the other religious orders arose, the Mendicant orders, characteristic of our Middle Ages, the late Middle Ages. Now we're moving into the modern period when something else comes forward. Our survey might well have ended with the friars, as Francis was saying. With them, the medieval development of monastic organization reached its turn, even though we don't call them monks anymore. Yet the Society of Jesus, that tremendous force in the Counter-Reformation, deserves notice as being in many ways a still further stage in the demonicization of the religious life. It was moving away from monasticism. So we're going to ask ourselves what that means. While in other ways it was in advance, even upon the Dominican Constitution,


in centralization and efficiency. As with so many of the intellectual and practical innovations of the first age of what is called the modern world, there's a mixture of acceptance from the previous age of its machinery, that is the organizational forms, structures, and of neglect of the germinal ideas of the past. So oftentimes you have the shell being modified, and then a new, actually a new idea being put in the middle. So it's really going somewhere else, it's really doing something else, even though it conserves a lot of the forms of the early Institute. In both cases, and as Santa Justina and also the Jesuits, the organization of the friars is clearly admired, and in some respects imitated, a centralized and mobile organization, the interversion ministry. While the mainspring of the monastic institute, the paternal and spiritual quality of the evasual office of the abbot is modified with them.


So it moves outward, and the vertical is somewhat sacrificed to function to the horizontal. Now the Jesuits. The Jesuits stand with a foot in each of two eras, the medieval and the modern. Partly because while they were, in a true sense, heirs and products of the medieval tradition, they were also the great revolutionaries. They are the last word, an A plus ultra, in the organization of the religious order, while they go further in the friars, in shedding the traditional monastic character of claustral life, that is the life of the enclosure, stability within the cloister, and liturgical prayer, that means the choir office. So they go all the way to abandoning the special features of monastic life, and they move all the way out into the world. And they also go much further, I think,


than the, what, they go further than the mendicant orders, in moving out from community. You remember, we had that diagram a long while ago. Thank you. We're going to start out with the disclosures. Thank you. Thank you all. Well, the beginning of monasticism, you'll find these are just sort of competing. When you start out, evidently the solitary life, the solitary life, you turn to the solitary life, then, moving over the years,


very quickly in monasticism, you have a good life. And then only very gradually, some movement in the world. And this is characteristic of the rest, because it's different than the rest of monasticism. It only happens in the East, when people get thrown out of their monasteries. It's like in Russia, he's an exile, he's a monk in the world, but by force, not by government, not spontaneously. So the Jesuits, you see, are moving us all the way up. Although you can find other movements that go even further, like San Francisco, which don't have this organization. Many of our persons remain pretty much in a lay state. So actually, it's like the beast is left alone. And then one time,


he gets up, and he turns over. It's very hard to keep all three together. So people will tend to favor one, and then to include another. It's seldom an individual activity, especially in one place. If you try to do all three in one place, you're going to develop too much tension. Maybe you can do two in one place. But often, it's good for a congregation to have different communities, so that they can do all three. For instance, trying to think of a different pattern. One pattern is, our brothers in Colorado, they've got the Hermitage of Kamaldoli. They've supplied this dimension here. Then they've got a monastery in Kamaldoli, and another monastery, which is quite a path, even though this is somehow going to go all the way up. And then they've got places where there is community. That's what it is. St. George of Australia, for instance, has a student house in Kamaldoli,


and also, of course, keeping people into the nest house around it. But I think St. George is the best example, where you really can build up the monastery very decisively. And therefore, all of those things are accessible. It's not true of Kamaldoli, but it's very often the case. Excellent work. Yes. I agree very much with you. In fact, if you were to try to transport this over to the States, this community would really have to religion in this regard. And if we fall short, if we suffer here, the limitations, how do you think the opportunities are if it's there? So, if it's not the place that's at fault, I don't think we have a problem in the life of the community. Because once you've made a contribution,


you've developed in the community, you have to be completely so much tensioned that you can't do it all, because you have to go as far as functioning as you can. How much tension do you have to have against the community that's right out on the floor? And people turn to other people to help. Right? So, really, in the end, if we try to make it viable in the community, preferably, that could be this whole world. It's even more so if it's handled very well. Because Berkeley is a much more rural country. It's a much more pluralistic world than Berkeley and at least probably. But basically, we've got to find the traditional society. Even probably we've got to foster this community. I mean, rich country. I just have to ask a lot. Because you've got the University of California right next door.


And then the GTA itself hasn't had good medical assistance. They have only the faculty, English and practicing in the hospitality area. And then the different Catholics, Franciscan failures and so forth. But what would that mean, understand what it is, and what we need to do to make it work. These two goals are quite similar, I think, right now. If the interventions are going to be allowed, then it takes both of them. Because I mean, we live in a world where more than one of those things is doing it. But the more the focus is on academics, the more the focus is outside the community or on some special work, the less it is going to drive that. Another example is the Zen Center. Because they have, well, I shouldn't stretch that too much. Because they don't really have much of a hermit life. But they have a passive hermit life, and it's a retreat place. And then they have the Green Belt,


which is more of a kind of easy community. And then you've got the city centers, which is where people are coming and going. And it's very imaginative. I've always kind of admired it, because of the diversity that they have in those places. So they can do a person having needs, but simply moving them to another place. This is one advantage, you see, of centralization and having different kinds of houses. And then people can sort of find what they need at different levels. Whereas if all your houses are pretty much alike, then the difference is the adjustment you can make is only kind of adjusting your personality or your climate or whatever. It's not drastically different. Whether you like it or it's bad. It's only a relative proximity.


I think two things. They have to be close enough so that you can move somebody there. Secondly, they have to be close enough so that there can be a certain exchange, a certain communication between the houses. For instance, if one of the places was in Australia, it wouldn't function, it wouldn't work. Because you'd have infrequent mail, something like that would all you have. You want to ship somebody there, you could. But even that, you'd think twice before spending all that money. If one was in New York, it would still be difficult. And in the Midwest. If all three were in California, it could work. But obviously the way it functions is going to depend a lot on how accessible they are to one another. Those are so far apart that I don't think it can function. Even though they have an influence on one another.


See, Lee Griffith's monastery gradually influences the congregation in a way of openness, in a way of trying to understand and relate to another form of community, another spirituality, much more than an ordinary house would. Because it's so different that it makes a stronger impact. Had it been founded from Italy or the States, it wouldn't have nearly as much influence, spiritual influence. But this thing here can't really function. The other reason is because we can't really send people there, except temporarily. Nor is there much direct communication. There, really, it's a cross-cultural thing that predominates, rather than the three types of community. The three places. It's another factor that comes in. The East-West thing. Okay, now he's got, he's listed the five points


in the early constitutions of the Jesuits. My other author here says that the Jesuits actually wanted to do one thing. When Ignatius and six companions formed an association in Paris in 1534, and this was just the time, remember, the time of the Parisian Reformation, which really prevented them from all these antibodies that they were... Because it had been, things had been really in bad shape before. A lot of decadence. A lot of abuses. And that was the Reformation outside and what they call a counter-Reformation inside. Let me say that. Their object was strictly limited to the preaching of the Gospel to the pagans in the Holy Land. Now, pagans, I presume, would mean... Just make it up. What are the pagans? I don't know. The Jews, they were pagans. They must be. They must be. They don't usually use that word, do they? They say infidel sometimes, but they never, they say pagan.


Infidels and pagans. Both of those are Jewish. They usually use that. They do not believe in Christianity. Well, sometimes they would say infidel. They had that in one of the prayers of them. They had it in one of their prayers. In the... And the Muslims are called the Christians after that. There's a kind of codex to that. The preaching of the Gospel to pagans in the Holy Land. The political situation made this impossible when the society placed itself at the disposition of the Pope. But Scope retained that right universally, with particular stress on the formation of clergy, pastoral work, and farm work. Here are the five points in the Constitutions of Recruitment 1540, a little later than that. One, the aim of the Society of Jesus is to preach the faith, engage in works of charity, and participate in religious activities. In particular, to instruct children in the simple, under complete submission to the decision of the superior of the Society. Now, this is already spread a bit,


but afterwards, the instruction of the children and of the simple seemed to kind of take second place, because they got into universities and high schools and so on, which were catering to another clientele. Secondly, the members of the Society, both its superior and all others, are to be absolutely at the disposal of the Pope. Now this is something new. They become a kind of army, a kind of militia at the service of the Pope. So the centralization is connected very much with the central authority of the Catholic Church now. And so it begins to function in a different way. And kind of the other pole from the Autonomous Monastery, which has a much more, what do you call it, a much more tenuous relation with the central authority of the Church. Also, the people who make final vows of the Jesuits would make a special vow to the Pope, that is, they are not to be denied. Thirdly, they are to recognize and honor the superior as Christ


and he is to treat them in Christlike love. The authority of the superior is a pretty absolute thing. Fourth, absolute poverty, personal and corporate, is to be observed by the professed, instead of in the case of classes of study. That's a familiar thing. It sounds like it came from the Dominican. In other words, you're going to be poor church mice, well, except for the words. Corporate poverty, too. I don't know what absolute poverty could mean to the society. The Jesuits started out with an enormous burden of first-generation poverty in the Second World War. No, it's another thing now, because they got so big, and they got incorporated in those institutions, universities. Five, the choral office is relinquished and the wish is expressed to abandon also


chants and music of all kinds and to adopt no particular pattern. So there you see the goodbyes of monasticism, as we know it in the Middle Ages. Could monasticism exist without those things? Choral office, chant and music, no doubt it should. So that in itself doesn't wipe them out completely, monasticism, for all I mean is to make a complete separation from monasticism. It separates them completely from a certain kind of monasticism and very nearly from the monastic tradition up to now for which those things are pretty basic. But really, as far as the core of monasticism is concerned, it doesn't. Because remember, it doesn't wipe out the individual office. In other words, I think a person could live a hermit life with none of those things. Huh? Yeah, sure. So what this does is, is cut out all of the accretions which had happened in the history of monasticism and the growth of monastic institutions. Partly.


Partly, no. No, the reason why they cut them off is for mobility, is for flexibility. Like the having no habit is not a matter of attachment, I believe. It's a matter so that they can really infiltrate into the world, so that they look like anybody else. And they can operate in a secularized society. They can operate in a pagan society, in a Christian society. And the other things are to give them mobility. They're like the Marines, or something like that. They're that much like an army. They do have the individual divine office, of course, just like all the other clergy. To abandon chant and music of all kinds. You see something else happening there. You can see a kind of... In the desire to go right out there on the front lines, notice what can be let go. The element of beauty. The whole aesthetic...


Not only that, the aesthetic and cultural dimension of the Christian thing. Which can be very impoverishing after a while. But that's only a sign. It's a sign that the function is taking over. I don't want to... It's easy for people who belong to the monastic life to be too critical about this kind of thing. I'm just trying to make a distinction. Because obviously it's intended by God at that point. It's supposed to be. Well, it is in a way. These are people who are equipped to deal with secular humanism. Because the idea of Saint Ignatius was, I want these men to be completely servants of Christ, and completely in love with Christ. But they've got to deal with a society which is a secular humanist society. So I'm going to equip them so that they can do that completely. So that they'll be perfectly able to relate to that kind of society. There's a principle here which is important. We've got to get a balanced view of this. There's a principle which is important,


and it's a wonderful conquest in a sense, to be able to simplify the religious life to that point. And then there's another risk of losing something in a terrible way. It's like reaching way out on a limb. So if you get so far from the content, from the root, then you're really in danger. But it was very successful. In that, for centuries in the Church, it was the most powerful order in the Church. Successful in achieving its aims, I think. In making Christianity reach where it couldn't go otherwise, you see. But also with all kinds of ambiguity. You know, mixing into political matters. I think there's that danger of doing that. And I think often it falls into the trap of doing that. But you get some Jesuits who are wonderfully well-rounded. They had all those dimensions. You get some of them who are just complete Christians. There's no problem. But the thing itself tends to give you a certain vitamin deficiency,


a certain undernourishment. In other words, it doesn't... What doesn't it do? It doesn't give you a Christian community in which all the elements of Christianity are. See, you haven't got the liturgy. You haven't got, I don't know, what it takes to make the fullness of Christianity. The fullness of Christianity... Think about dwelling in a local community. In a local church. Let's say it's in a monastery, too. But mostly in a local church where you get everything. Kids and everything. Now, the Jesuit thing goes a long way from that. In removing certain elements that are necessary. Not only the special elements of the monastery, like I have, but the whole liturgy. The beauty and the reverence... I've got the word for... Yeah, that's right. And then there's a compensation later on in the devotion to the Sacred Heart which becomes a particularly entrusted to the Jesuits. So, in fact, one of the popes told them, I'm putting this in your charge,


you're a proper Jesuit. Maybe because they'd gotten so much in their head probably. The devotion to the Sacred Heart became a peculiar property in the Jesuits. They were founded about 1540, these constitutions. And that came along, I think, in the 17th century, so that would be about a hundred years later. So, St. Margaret now, but then the 99th is on the door. 1530, something like that, or around that. Although there doesn't seem to be a direct influence of one on the other. This is the way things work in the church and in the world. You don't see the cause of A and B but A happens at the same time as B. And they're related, even though you can't say that one made the other one happen. Things happen that way all the time.


They talk about synchronicity of everything. I'll try to give just some characteristic points of the society of the Jesuits. Because they illustrate so well this evolution. The company, in fact, was regarded by Ignatius as a chosen body of active talents rather than as a home or haven for those seeking primarily the individual service of God apart from the world. Hence, all were put through a searching examination before admission and then, at every later stage of decision, intelligence, good judgment, good health and a strong constitution were taken seriously into account. So it's more like the army. It's more like some kind of professional corps. In addition to the moral and spiritual qualities of the aspirant, at least to some extent,


the fully professed are chosen from the others by an assessment of qualities similar to that which would govern the choice of a fellow of a college from among a group of candidates for a school master's. That's not for many of us. In other words, they're determined to be an elite body. And largely on an intellectual level. They don't know to what extent that came right from St. Ignatius and to what extent it evolved later on. That kind of intellectual elitism. It seems that St. Ignatius, at first, he wasn't a learned man. And then he went out after his conversion. He went out and he deliberately studied theologians. He deliberately concentrated in studying and he put that down for his order. So that's the focus now. And some of the Jesuits have been the best scholars of monasticism. The people who have known the earlier tradition best in our time often have been Jesuits. That's a pleasant thing. Fr. Hausser has a good example of that.


A bunch of those. Some of the best theologians, too, I think. Okay. On the structure of the society. The constitution of the society, as seen in the Constitutions, is strictly authoritarian and monarchical. Once again, like an army. It bears indeed a very close resemblance to that of the Church under the fully developed papacy of the 13th century. At the head is a general, elected for life, unaccountable to any person or body for any act of his administration, removable only for heresy or for gravely sinful and scandalous conduct. That's kind of unique, I think, in the Church. Except maybe for cardinals, who don't have any... Also archbishops, who don't have any... Cardinals don't have any particular... big jurisdiction over the way... the way the general of the Jesuits takes it. It used to be called sometimes the Black Pope, because of the extent of the papacy, sinister, sinful type.


I guess Fr. Arruca is retired now. He's the last general of the Jesuits. He's been old and poor. That's a good thing for them, the choice of his life, because he's elected for life. And the size of that order... That's the way it used to be in the monastic community, but that's something else. He is elected in a general congregation, which consists of the provincials and so on. Apart from the meeting at the demise of a generalship, the general alone can summon a general congregation. And he's discouraged from doing so by the Constitution, because it'll waste people's time. So he's really got the congregation in his hands. And then, of course, the pope sometimes would be very close to the general of the Jesuits. So you see how he's enormously concentrated, meant to be put at the fingertips of the Holy See. Does that mean he takes a vote? I'm sure he does.


But I don't think that they really can govern him. I don't think they can really control him the way they can. In other words, I don't think he'd have a councilor take a vote. But, you know, deliberative, deciding vote, the way... For instance, our congregation works that way. There are some things... The general has two assistants or councillors. And on some issues, they take a vote. And if the general is outvoted, he's outvoted, really. I don't think it would be that way with the Jesuits. The general appoints the provincials, rectors of colleges, superiors of the houses of professed and novice ministers, and has constitutionally complete and immediate control of the status and movements of all the civil. He's absolutely centralized. He's provided with a small group of assistants, originally poor in number, elected by the general congregation for life. That, too, is... In fact, that elitist kind of monarchical quality of him. Each of whom makes himself expert on the affairs of a group of provinces and advisers,


but cannot control the general. The general, by constitutional direction, lives in Rome and does not habitually move around the society. The society of Jesus is thus in advance upon the Dominican order in the direction of centralization and firm rule. There is no democratic or elective element whatever in it, save for the very occasional choice of a general. And they have a body of electors that are chosen. The society, indeed, is in intention and by constitution a corps d'élite, an elite corps, in the hands of a single commander. It is at once the end of a process of logical development from the monastic rules and the end of a flight from the monastic conception of the religious faith. It is, indeed, both in character and purpose a new creation. And then he goes on to show how the role of the superior has changed, starting with the monastic community, then the Dominicans and finally the Bishops.


The monastic rule and its mediator, the abbot, existed solely for the spiritual advancement of the community. There was no outside focus, no function. Nor was there any direct obedience to the Holy Spirit, or something like that. Kind of self-contained. The monk is, indeed, the soldier of Christ, but his warfare is internal and unseen. The friars were, in this as in other ways, that's the Franciscans and Dominicans, a mixed body. On the level of the community, the end was the sanctification of the individual. And on the level of the order, they were directed towards learning, teaching, preaching and writing. With the Jesuits, the end of the order as an order is sought and achieved inforo-external, by external action directed by a single head. Whereas a monastic abbot is, so to say, a correlative term to his monks, existing for their sake and for their service, rather than for their exploitation. And while the general and provincials of the friars are officers of their order, existing to develop and apply the resources of the community,


the officers of the Society of Jesus are the lieutenants, one could almost say the sergeants of the general. Actually, maybe nose is a little hard on the Jesuits, I don't know. In stressing the contrast, somewhat at a disadvantage, on the side of the Jesuits. The Jesuit of the constitutions is like a soldier, expendable. He exists to carry out the designs of his general. But the analogy must not be pressed too far. The general cannot risk the souls of his subjects. Nevertheless, the military metaphor was chosen by St. Ignatius and enshrined both in the title of Company, Company of Jesus, and in the founding goal of the proletariat. We know from the life and writings of Ignatius that he always treated his men as individuals, never as counters or cannon fodder, and that his intuitive sympathy and love


were always at their service. But we are now considering his order in its formal constitutional aspect, and as such, it must be regarded as the most carefully centralized and disciplined non-military body that has ever existed. Oh yes, sure, he was a soldier. That's how he experienced his conversion. He was in the Battle of Pamplona, wasn't it? I don't know whether he was a professional soldier. He got a broken leg. He was hit by a cannon ball. He was in the hospital and began to read the lives of the saints and so on. He experienced this enormous conversion very badly. He went and gave him a cake at a monastery. He had all these visions and experiences of the world. He was told very directly by God what he was to do. That's how he was to suffer. And a little while later, he was in Paris with a few companions, beginning to accompany Jesus.


So, like so many things, every institution, we see such... Every institution that we look at, we see the hand of God in it, and we see in so many ways that it can move away from the fullness of Christianity. It wouldn't be so serious a matter were it not that these are the orders which have created the situation that we're living in in the Church. In other words, the Mendicant orders, the Franciscans and the Mendicants, the founder and the creator, have really determined the way that Catholics think of themselves in their lives, and the self-understanding of the Church. So, when there's a kind of alienation from the original self-understanding of the Church, the original theology of the Church, it's on its spirituality, we have to go back and recover what it was, which is what's happening now.


See, the Gnosticism gets pulled along in the wake of these great modern orders. And only later does it wake up and incorporates on its own. Monks would be using the meditation methods of the exercises of St. Ignatius and so on, having forgotten their own way, forgotten their own wisdom, forgotten their Lectio Divina, their way of getting into the Word of God. OK, that's enough for today. Next time, we'll look very briefly at the things in between the Society of Jesus in the present time, and then wind up using the use and the pattern or the view of the whole thing at the end of this paper, which using that as a basis to try to find the shape of the whole operation. OK.