May 24th, 1983, Serial No. 00376

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NC-00376
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Monastic Spirituality Set 11 of 12

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#item-set-076

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The Benedictine congregations, remember, which were formed around the time of the Protestant Reformation, before the time of the Council of Trump, during the 1400s, the Quattrocentro, as they call it in Italian, during the 15th century, the 1400s, and then in the first part of the 16th century, a very tumultuous time for the Church, time of division, time of reform, and so on. And among them, there's a famous congregation of Santo Giustino, Quattro. And actually, they say that the reform of the Canobbis congregation, I just noticed it in these notes once again, was patterned after the reform of Santo Giustino. We'll see what the reform of the Canobbis consisted of at that time, besides the formation of the Congregation of Monte Carlo. So, first of all, those Benedictine congregations started at that time, and secondly, the Society of Jesus, which was Jesuits, which was kind of

[01:06]

specifically adapted to the needs of that time. And we read part of Morales' treatment about whether or not it's objective, and his friend does it, because he's comparing somewhat unfavorably with the Benedictine, with the monastic tradition, when he talks about the Jesuits. Now, we'd like to cover the remaining time up to the present, up to the time of Vatican II, and the first thing on our agenda is the Council of Trent. Now, there was a kind of a general decay as regards the religious orders, and in fact, in the Church, it seems, at that time, for many reasons. You remember, even the division of the Church and the Antipopes during the Avignon coup of the Antipopes in the 14th and 15th century. Let's look at a little of the history of the Council of Trent. Now, here, we're taking enormously complicated periods of history, now I'm compressing them into a few minutes, so it's bound to

[02:08]

be very crude. For my history, I don't go to Catholic Digest anymore, it's a little bit under-counseled. The Council of Trent was called, that was the 19th Ecumenical Council, according to the Western list, and it was called, of course, because of the challenge of reform at that time, and especially because of the confrontation of the Protestant Reformation. Now, there were very troubled times. If you read the history of the Council, it's amazing for you to see. The Council itself had even trouble finding a place for the repose of things like that. I'll read you just a little bit of it, which is quite brief. With certain modifications, the 19th Ecumenical Council of Trent, see the Easterners wouldn't

[03:09]

say that's Ecumenical, because they wouldn't include all of that. Maintained the structure of the papal general councils of the Middle Ages and fixed the pattern of succeeding councils. Called for by the German Protestants, who were still thinking in terms of the type of council so recently rejected. That means, they would have wanted to have the kind of council that would have set aside papal authorities, who then take on the role of taking on the so-called councils, which had just been repealed. The Council of Trent, by its very success, led to a strengthening of papal authority. The idea of a representation of the whole church was rejected, with its relatively small number of participants and its permanent majority of Italian bishops. The ecumenicity of the council depended once again on the papal convocation, the support of the participants in the papal confirmation of its decisions. So it's a very centralized council. With the idea of tightening up, tightening up which is kind of pulling back into order, which was seen as so desperately necessary at the time

[04:10]

that it had been attacked and violated. Could you clarify a little bit what you mean when you say that you were seeking representation of the whole church? What he said was, the idea of a representation of the whole church was rejected. In other words, rather than this more collegial notion, which begins with Vatican II, where you look for real representations of the local church from other parts. But seriously, the church had been attacked and it was threatened. And so what happened was that the defensive moves come from the central authority, which is very cautious then about the representation from out there. Because before there had been this conciliar movement, which had wanted to make representation from, not the periphery of the body of the church, really the law enforcement in the church, as against papal authority. So here you have a reassertion of papal authority, hence not the idea of having a lot of representation

[05:12]

from the body of the church. And that's the pattern that was set after Trent for the next 400 years, because it was kind of a defensive phase in history of the church. And the central authority was invoked in order to keep the church together, in order to keep it tight. Invitations were sent only to bishops, generals of orders, and representatives of monastic congregations, all of whom voted as individuals. And to the secular powers, whose delegates however had no voting right. The direction of the council was entrusted from now on to papal authority. The course of the Council of Trent falls into two main periods. The so-called imperial epoch, 1545 to 1552, that's the first half of the Council of Trent. 1545 to 1552, dealt with the Lutheran Reformation. It was incorporated in the emperor's mother's name. I guess he

[06:13]

insisted. At the request of the French king, the second epoch, 1562 to 1563, was devoted rather to Calvinism. So the first part was Lutheranism, and the second part was Calvinism. But that's a very crude oversimplified breakdown, I think, because they also dealt with different subjects in the two. There was a kind of methodical division of subjects. There was some in 1536, but it couldn't meet until 1545. There were too many wars going on, and they had a plague, so they had to postpone it again. In 1547 it was withdrawn because of tightness, and it was transferred from Trent to Bologna. And suspended until 1562, because the rebellion of the Council of Trent was like trying to move over, actually move over. He says its significance rivals the significance of the first Council of Messiaen. It had an

[07:21]

enormous effect on the Church for the next 400 years, up until, not only up until Vatican I, but Vatican II, because Vatican I was still very much in the wake of the Constitution. Hoping for a union with the forces of reform, which had already broken away in the Protestant tradition, the Council from the outset tackled simultaneously the two main tasks of affirming traditional doctrine and of bringing about a comprehensive reform of the Church. So you've got the idea of defending the doctrine and straightening up the discipline, as they say, for moralists. In retrospect, the Council of Trent proved to be the starting point for a renewed Church within a changed environment. Men came to terms both institutionally and spiritually with a division of Christianity. So it was that the changed environment means a split

[08:23]

Christianity. There is another Christianity over there, and the provisions of the Council are made for only for this part. And that's, of course, the kind of theological sacrifice that we need for the Christianity of Judeo-Christianity. It seems that the split of the East wasn't as thorough going in that sense. It didn't put the Church in a defensive position in some way. It's different to a split off from Orthodoxy, where you have two empires and where there are two Churches which are culturally separate already, from having this kind of great reputation in part for the Catholic Catholicism, the German kingdoms, and all of that. It was an almost mortal blow, a mortal crisis for the Church. And to kind of come to terms with that situation, in a way, was much more costly. Even though it's possible that these split of the East had already prepared a kind of resistance to privateness in certain

[09:25]

dimensions. It's hard to know what's cause and what's effect. Respect for the Council's decisions, thus based through a unique status, shaped the so-called Tridentine system down into the 17th century. This system, in turn, determined the new characteristics of Church administration. Here, it wasn't so much a matter of... Vatican II and the Council of Trent are very different, because the Council of Trent made decrees which sort of reinterpreted the tradition of the Church and stated it very firmly. Whereas Vatican II was rather trying to rediscover the tradition of the Church. There's a difference between asserting something, or proclaiming something, and then kind of finding proofs in the relative tradition of the Church, and trying, in a more dispassionate way, to find

[10:27]

the original tradition of the Church and the relative tradition of the Church. You see, Protestantism was an attack on the Church in the sense of claiming that what was in Catholicism was not what was in the original Church. And the Council could only kind of respond with an authoritative decree with a certain amount of learning and a certain amount of study of the Church. But the study and so on couldn't go deep enough, really, and it couldn't be detached and serene enough to explore the early tradition and kind of subject to guilt because of that atmosphere of tension. Whereas it's different after 400 years of Vatican II. All of the kind of study that went on on both sides, in Catholicism and in Protestantism, about the early tradition of the Church, trying to rediscover what it really was. There's a big story there. But remember that Protestantism claimed that the Catholic Church had moved away from and abandoned the early, the original tradition of Christianity

[11:35]

by introducing all of those things that it did. For instance, bringing philosophy into theology, bringing in Aristotle, possibly even Plato into theology, by introducing the mediation of the priesthood and the whole hierarchical structure of the Church, by elaborating on the sacramental system of Protestantism. Those are things you brought in. Christ didn't institute all this. So we want to go back all the way to the beginning. And the Church had to react quickly and very firmly against that. But it didn't have time to react by really going back and again. You don't have time to go to college. You don't have time to do a lot of studying on the situation and the fact that it could only happen in a few centuries. The Church was able to get a much more serene look at the tradition, a much more confident look at the tradition. Certain things just reemerged at that time.

[12:41]

What does Verjus say about the Council of Trenton? This is on page 27. The Council of Trenton in the twenty-fifth session, I believe that was about 1562 to 1565, somewhere, dealt only with those who were legally considered religious, regularibus monialis. That means months and months and so on and so forth. The Council prepared a complete armory of regulations, prescriptions, and sanctions aimed at reforming the religious world. But Verjus is pessimistic about institutional reform. This one just is about the reform of Benedict of Manila in the time of Shadman. It doesn't appear to have achieved very good results, but what those things do is at least they give a push in the opposite direction of something that's fairly important. They shore things up, they provide sometimes structures

[13:45]

to help things from going too far. If an effective reform of religious life did take place, it was due rather to the breadth of renewal which has already stirred the religious world as prior to the Council, and which continued to gather momentum of its own accord. He speaks of the reform of the Commonwealth, and then of the poor tolerance of poor people. The decrees of the Councils. There's a whole book with an account of the decrees of the Council of Trent all by itself, and there's a catechism in the Council of Trent too, which boils it down for catechesis. For all of the Councils, the standard reference book is this Denzinger, which is called the Incuridium Symbolorum in the original edition, and in English it's the Sources of Catholic Targum. It's the standard reference book for the decrees of the Councils, and also for certain documents of the popes, and for their ministering. And

[14:52]

if you look through the book, you'll find the documents listed under the respective popes in chronological order. Right from the beginning, the first decrees. And for the Council of Trent, we have three great sections. The first under Paul III. His dates here do not correspond quite to the ones we've done in the other sources. 1535-1563 are the dates here. And I think these are all of the official decrees of the Council. These are the ones on the religious, but I think they're not going to last. I'm looking to

[15:56]

see whether they've got the ones for the religious right here, or whether they've just selected them. It's selected, they don't have all of the decrees, and I don't think they've got the ones for the religious right. Most of these deal with the sacraments. The defense of the sacraments. And then justification in the first section, which was the great question of Luther, you know, justification by grace, and faith alone versus justification by works. No, I don't see the ones on the religious right. Maybe because they weren't universally accepted. Okay. Then Verhulst talks about a kind of multiplication of certain

[17:10]

kinds of congregations, and these are the active congregations, the active communities, which had not been encouraged at all by the Church. If you wanted to be a religious, then you should be a monk. That was the idea. You should have a course, a paper course, to cope with it. In fact, down at the bottom of 27, he talks about the reform of Pius V, that's the reform of the Council of Trent. The effect was an increased centralization of religious life, more and more dependent upon a classical authority, particularly upon the congregational picture in Regulus, which would be in Rome, probably in Italy. Ever greater uniformity upon religious orders and congregations. So you had these communities which had sprung up like mushrooms in the world earlier, just before this, and this threatened them. Certain abuses had led the Pope to take a radical step. By a constitution of 1566, he first prescribed a strict insistence upon enclosure to every monastery. Then an

[18:13]

invitation to the Third Orders and other similar communities to pronounce the solemn vows which they had acted consequently to assume the paper. So the continual kind of movement towards separation from the world, in fact, in a radical invitation, which was a strict question. It was similar at the time of Pope Francis, in which he had drawn from the non-secular world, the secular world, to the non-secular world. Yeah, that's always happening. Now that's different from what he's talking about here. That's always happening. I think so. Ever since it is the beginning of monasticism in the fourth century. Before that, you had people withdrawing from the life of the world, but apparently not withdrawing

[19:14]

from the world itself. But then with the coming of monasticism, you had a community moving out. Now that had already happened before in Israel. But what's the difference between that and what he's talking about here? It's wanting to separate yourself out and form a community of like-minded people to pray, to do good works, study the Word, whatever. This, however, is authority stepping in to say, you should be separated from the world in a legal way and with certain rules which prevent your premature contact with the world. It's coming from above. The grassroots thing is always happening. But with the grassroots thing, there also often tends to be a cycle. There'll be a cycle of withdrawing and returning. For the individual and sometimes for the community as well. For instance, a lot of hermitages have sprung up during the history of the Church, and then after a while they revert to monastery.

[20:18]

They become synodic. And after a while they probably open up more and more contact with the world. There's a kind of cycle which comes to that, which we can look at as kind of perverse. We can look at it as a decay. However, maybe it's just the cycle of nature. Question from the audience. You've got Sai Baba over there. Okay, you can see that Vayu has a point in all of this. He has his own theory, and I

[21:37]

believe that the multiplication of forms of life, the spontaneity of the individual's life, should not be limited or constricted by authority from the proper communities. It's faith that moves that, and it makes a final affirmation of itself when it concludes. Then he talks about the kind of multiplication of communities in the spontaneous growth, not being arrested because it was, at that time, kind of irresistible. The tarrant had been released, and both France and Germany soon possessed numerous populations of the same type. So, remember what happened with St. Francis de Sales and the community of the Visitation, and Jane Doe Sheffield. They were to have been active religious, but it wasn't possible. She wouldn't go that far, so they left her with her relatives. Of course, they became a great community. But other orders had to take over the active order, and it was really difficult. What surprises me is that the Church would be hesitant about

[22:41]

allowing it. There must have been a lot of abuses too. I created enough of a scandal, enough to be scared. But that religious state was held so high, that was a real sacrifice. You know, there are a lot of women still, that they could be doing the same thing inside the habit, inside the religious life, and outside it, but as long as they were outside it, they'd never feel right, because they have that feeling, unless you're religious, unless you're really a sister. And now it's not so much a nun, a contemplative nun necessarily, it's something like, unless you're a sister with the habit, and a religious, the word religious means so much, you're not really doing anything, you're real. Because there's something too, that the value of the religious state, that can become exaggerated to such an extent, that the ground outside the official religious life becomes sterilized. Nothing can happen, because everybody's intimidated. You're not doing anything official there, and you're not doing anything right. And that's apart from the Gospel, because the

[23:46]

Gospel has got that kind of democracy, in a way, which allows the life to continue. Okay, now we get to the period of secularization and the French Revolution. The French Revolution, for further information, in case you've forgotten, was from 1789 to 1799. Bayeux is kind of emphatic about it. He may love liberty, but he didn't exactly sing the praises of the French Revolution. With the French Revolution, however, Europe was again to be plunged into the darkness of night. And at least in France, almost all organized religious life disappeared. It's a strange thing, and I don't understand it in depth, because I don't know the history of the war. But notice how a revolution in modern times tends to be a revolution not only against political order,

[24:52]

against political privilege, and against the old regime, against the royalty and nobility. It tends to be a revolution against religion as well. Against, you can say, the established church and religious privilege. But it turns out, in the end, to be a war against religion itself. And hence we speak of secularization. But secularization is broader than that, because you'll find even the kings, during the secularizing times, they'll start absorbing or suppressing the religious communities, for one reason or another, as being useless, or as being a kind of drain and burden on the country, something like that. And this begins to happen, it seems, around the same time. It begins to happen in the 18th century, it seems. I'll read you a little bit of this story. This story was very important for the economists, because they suffered three suppressions, and they were just completely wiped out. By the middle of the 19th century, they were completely flat.

[25:54]

Only a few remained. We'll get into that in more detail later. Yeah, because Napoleon's work was pretty thorough. See, some of the earlier suppressions, you can only have this house and that house. It would be kind of selective. The emperor would look around and say, those fellows over there are not putting this off, so wipe them out. I'll be happy to accept the donation of their land into my treasury. But then Napoleon, the ideological thing seems to come up, and he wiped out the whole world, it seems. Nothing could escape. So they had to go into these, take these ruses of handing their property over to lay people, and putting it in their name, getting out of the country, hoping to come back. And then the new orders came up, which were able somehow to be elusive enough to escape those weapons suppressions. Is that a general thing you mean?

[27:12]

No, it's not a general thing. You're talking about Hindu regimes, of course. It's the practical things. Yes. Also, remember that in the Middle Ages, there was a kind of tendency of property to accumulate and accumulate and accumulate around the monasteries. See, people would leave them bequests. They would say, well, set up a thousand monasteries for my family, the noble people and so on. That was their way into heaven sometimes, was to leave their property for the monks. So you can imagine what happens. And so sooner or later, somebody's going to come along and bulldoze it, and just take it all away. And so they did. And the monks sometimes were better off for it.

[28:12]

That's what happened. They had these laws that they had, they were called mortman laws. That means a dead hand. The property would never be a dead hand for the property. They'd all keep accumulating in the monasteries. And they didn't go anywhere from there, because they didn't die. So they made these laws, I told you, that they couldn't absorb property, they couldn't read it to you. And then they just came along and took it away. Some strange, strange things have happened. They turned monastic life inside out. And it still goes on. The religious orders, which have these little horns on the center of it, here's how you make your will, you know. And our legal name is such and such, and I put it in my pail and I'm buying it. But it's for a good cause, you know, because they're doing missionary work, isn't it? But if monks do that kind of thing, just, you know, for their own keep, maybe so they won't have to work, it's not about religion. It's something about religion.

[29:16]

It earns, it kind of merits the scourge that comes along. It castigates it, sort of. It strings love. The process of secularization. Now secularization here means the taking away of sacred properties, OK? It means, I don't have a definition for it exactly, but I think you know what it means. Secularization here means depriving the religious communities and the church in general of any privileged status, OK? And sometimes putting it in an underprivileged status, and sometimes depriving it of any right to existence, legally. And it's the separation of church and state in a radical way, with a vengeance where you're often in such a way, sometimes the state tries to deprive the church of the right to existence. See, in the Middle Ages it often got mixed up, remember? That is, sometimes the church would be on the upper hand, sometimes the state would be on the upper hand.

[30:19]

So there's very much inter-race, interwoven. Now here comes a distinct separation, sometimes a kind of aggressive or vindictive separation, which almost throttles the church, or cuts it off. The process of secularization, which involved no simultaneous uniform measures, but took place at various levels in the course of more than a century, was already signaled in 1759 when the Jesuits were expelled from Portugal and its colonies. So that seemed to be the earliest moment. It was a complex combination of political, anti-Catholic, and inter-scholastic theological interests which first led to the expulsion of the Jesuits from all the countries under the Bourbon dynasty. And that's in 1765. And finally, to the suppression of the order by Clement XIV. The Jesuits were suppressed. And I don't have a date for that, but I think it occurred around before 1800. Then, further suppression.

[31:24]

In each of the European countries, you have this war beginning between the government and the church. The government struggling not only for independence, but struggling for control, for economic control, and for control also of the people there. Under the Enlightenment, lack of understanding of the Catholic ideal of the religious life led to Enlightenment, as in the 18th century, with the intellectual movement. It led to a partial secularization of monasteries in France in 1766. So secularization means there the government just takes them over. Either throws the monks out, or puts them to work for salary or something like that. Which bore on all types of religions. Partial secularizations in Lombardy under Maria Theresa and finally in 1782 in Austria and Hungary. Now these are still imperial or royal governments.

[32:27]

Were directed against useless and superfluous monasteries, which led a merely contemplative life. So you see, there's not exactly an enthusiasm for the pure monastic ideal. There's not any understanding of it at all. That's what happens with the scientific positive mentality when it comes in broad, when it comes into the atmosphere. And then the government, the government interests, I think, just take advantage of the situation, of the popular change, I think. The measures taken in Bavaria after 1769 were principally intended to weaken the monarchy. The general secularization in France in 1790, okay, that's the French Revolution, was inspired by the financial needs of the state and also by the principle that there should be no positions of privilege. Position of privilege, I suppose, would mean exemption from taxes. Or ability to live from the offerings of the public.

[33:31]

The secularization in Germany in 1803 was meant to provide funds for the building monarchs. The fundamental motives, therefore, varied widely, ranging from a sense of responsibility on the part of the state for the religious welfare of the people to an anti-clericalism of principle. The faithful themselves came under the influence of the Enlightenment. From 1700 on, there was a sudden drop in recruitment, even for the clergy to be appointed to regular benefices. And the trend to secularization made ground among Catholics. Only a few orders disappeared entirely as the process of secularization went on, but the general picture was fundamentally changed. Remember the story of the Trappists in France? I think that's what it could mean. They were in the waters, or something like that. First of all, they were on saviour's arms. He was in the face of this kind of thing. And when the Trappists grew,

[34:34]

they were able to keep the contemplative life alive, or as any kind of capsule, and take it elsewhere. There was no other choice. It was pretty strange. The Society of Jesus was restored in 1814, in Christ's time. The various orders were able to survive as long as meager remnants. The orders in congregations, which were in the nature of personal unions with centralized structures, succeeded gradually in re-establishing themselves and setting up new foundations. But the orders based on autonomous monasteries found things much more difficult. See, here the benefit of centralization appeared, because if you had houses in a whole bunch of countries, or if you had religious who were responsible personally to a central authority, you were much more flexible. But if you had... It's a question of independent monasteries, like Benedictine monasteries. It's harder for them to come back to life.

[35:38]

It's harder to pump new blood into them, you see, for them to receive a transfusion, because they're so autonomous, that's how I see it. Nevertheless, on the other hand, it's probably easier to wipe out a centralized order than it is autonomous monasteries, whether you take it or not. Okay. The Commodities Suppressions were three. The first one was 1770 to 1790. That's on page... page 7 in those notes that you have. Right in the middle of the page. 1771 to 1791. Suppression of some Commodities houses

[36:39]

by Joseph II, Austria. That must have been the Piedmont congregation, it was up there. Leopold I, Tuscany. Now, Tuscany is where Tramalva was. Ferdinand IV, Naples, and the Venetian Ferdinand. And the second one under Napoleon, 1797 to 1810. Now, evidently, all these hermits were not wiped out completely, but the centralized order. And then 1860 to 1873, you have this anti-clerical, anti-Catholic, Italian government. So they were practically wiped out. I think they threw them out and left maybe just to custodian or something like that. They took away... Let's see. I'm not sure, so I'll have to check on that afterwards. I think it's here in this digest. I didn't realize this.

[37:41]

Let's see. It's on the next page there. 1868, the hermitage was completely confiscated, but eight priests and five conversio, that is, lay brothers, were tolerated to come out as custodians. In 1873, they got the hermitage back on a regular basis. And they still, see, they still don't know Camaldoli, neither the hermitage nor the monastery wants to get it. There's a certain benefit in that because they were clear. In the 1810 suppression, which was the second suppression under Napoleon, the monastery of Ponte Pono was left. Now that's the synovium of Camaldoli, you see. And they left 12 people there because evidently it was useful either as a hospitium or maybe as a hospital. So yeah, they had to fight

[38:52]

in order to get it back. I think they throw them out because sometimes on principle and sometimes because they want to make use of their land. And then sometimes there can be a popular movement which gradually forces the government to let them back in. But sometimes they find that they can't get anybody else to do it better than the monks themselves. Or it's a little like Russia now. You know, they'll throw the monks out and then they'll let a few back in as kind of museums or as custodians to show the people around and make them think that there's a living monastery. And sometimes the government policy will get sort of perforated by the subterfuge of local people.

[39:56]

They'll find ways around the people who lived in the history. It's not entirely consistent. It's almost like they don't mind having the present in the past because they don't want to make more trouble for that. Exactly, sure. They want to kill the vitality of it. First of all, they want the property. And then they want to kill any power of it, OK? But they like to have it around as a kind of token to keep the people content. They want to give because people will accuse them of being... See, governments sometimes are very sensitive about accusing accusations from outsiders and so on. So they have to have a token in order to be able to deny the accusation. Maybe a 99.1% lie, you know. But that's OK with them. Because then they can say, well, no, we're encouraged. The church is thriving. Look at it.

[40:56]

OK. That's the Tibetan, it's typical. There's a kind of... What is it? That's an old-fashioned thing. It's not for everybody. In fact, it's hard for us to keep those two amongst us. OK. In the 19th and 20th century you have these monastic reforms. There's a mystery under all this. You see, this history that we're talking about, obviously there's a mystery. There are enormous forces that are engaged there. There's a kind of atheistic force which, nevertheless, purifies the church, you see. Because there's so much fact they have to say. There's so much dead wood that accumulates that these things have to come along.

[41:56]

Just like the Assyrians and the Babylonians in the Old Testament. Boy, they're cut deep. And then things come back. And things come back in a strange way. Like in these 19th century reforms there were a lot of them, like Romanticism. And when they tried to get into touch with the earlier monasticism, they would only go back to a certain point. They would go back to the monasticism of 1300 or something like that, or 1200, and consider that to be the absolute truth. Not going back to the old age. Nevertheless, gradually, gradually, it gets clearer. But as it gets clearer, it doesn't get much stronger. And monasticism is not a great force when it comes to that. Pfeiffer doesn't have much on these latest reform periods. The 19th and 20th centuries have been a period of restoration, consolidation, we could have said, convalescence. And we know it for both the White and the Black Monks. That means both the Carthusians, or he means Cistercians

[42:58]

in the regular, in the regular Benedictines. Guéranger, re-established monasticism in France with the reopening of Ceylon. Refused to be a continuation of pre-revolution, it sought its inspiration in earlier and better age. But that earlier and better age is not too far back behind the Middle Ages. The 19th century, an encouraging number of monastic realization. At the end of this century and throughout the 20th, the return to monastic sources has proceeded apace with the same movement in other areas of the Church as well. Biblical, liturgical, and theological renewal. So the Vatican II expression is very important. It's a kind of culmination of that. Vatican II is, as it were, the product of those renewals. And it's not an end, it's a beginning. So it seems a start to try after this kind of quantum leap

[43:59]

to get into genuine touch with the first tradition of monasticism. In all of this, we don't want to get obsessed with the idea of renewal of an original tradition in the sense that in a scholarly way we have to go back and find out exactly what they were doing. Because we know in our bones that that's not exactly what's necessary. How many people can do that? That's it. That's kind of like chasing the bird. It's much simpler really to get into touch with the original inspiration of monasticism because it's right in our heart and we've got the location. At the same time, we have to get rid of the false images of what they were doing. Many of us have crept in here and now. Profound study of the Holy Rule has made it possible to understand its teaching against the background of the earlier Eastern and Western monasticism and now even

[44:59]

of non-Christian monasticism. And to see St. Benedict once more in his real environment feeds on the excrescences which have obscured his thought over the centuries. People will probably read that in another hundred years, in fact, but you have to be grateful for those satisfactions. Thus, the original inspiration of primitive monasticism stands revealed in all its strengthens and increases. The only trouble is that sometimes the better you understand it the less you do it. There's a principle I'm doing, of arriving at a complete picture of early monasticism. You know, sort of washing your hands of it, putting it on, using it, having a completed idea of it, etc. You get it just right if you write your thesis and publish it and do something else. The principle of intellectual understanding and the principle of monastic life is not the same. And really, it's very hard to get the two together. Thinking about something is not the same as thinking about

[46:00]

something else. You know all about it from the outside world. I know I fall into that trap all the time. It's very hard to avoid just enjoying getting a nice intellectual gift or something. And you can get more and more reluctant to do it as you do that. Reluctant really to do it. You know, if you go around and admire it, you get another kind of relationship with it, which very nearly replaces that genuine relationship. Yeah, because you're content with the intellectual grasp of it. Because there's a great deal of satisfaction in feeling that you're really in touch with something, because you are in touch with it. But you're not in touch with it in the ultimate way, that's the problem. And so you may

[47:00]

be able to help others to understand it, but it's a far cry from doing it yourself. Because simplicity is not the same as that understanding of it, as a typical relationship. I think the idea of discovery is to try to get the two together. It's not to sacrifice the intellectual understanding, because we see the blind alleys that people get to and it shows into them when they do that. And that it's really narrow. When they get to get what says to one thing, they do that one thing their whole life, they never look around and put blinders on themselves. But it's very difficult on the other hand, not if you follow the other track, with your eyes open. It's very difficult to keep that concentration, to keep that intensity, that focus where I'm being transformed. And I'm going through the tunnels that the dark places you have to go through in your life, because the person who is in that tunnel is not a person in that tunnel. I think in our life we probably go through different

[48:00]

phases, and there's a phase for intellectual expansion. There's a phase of initial, say, concentration and sort of going through the tunnel that one has to go through. Then there's a phase of intellectual expansion, I suspect. And then there may be another call to let go of all that and enter into the darkness and enter into the depths of going out there through the tunnel. A lot of people never accept that call. It seems to me

[49:36]

that he did better than almost anybody else in holding the two together together, because most people that go at one is at one. We're talking about a baby coming down, but even the Eastern thing in Christianity, I think he held the two together pretty well. I've seen so many that let go of the Christian thing and they get fascinated by the Eastern thing.

[49:53]