Monastic History

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Monastic History Class, Spain

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We're going to finish off the pre-reformation continental monastic developments, and we may begin on chapter 25, so you don't have to copy this down, I'll do it again on the 20th of April when we meet next, but we might move into this a little bit, and that's why I put the general scheme up there. I only have 26 chapters, the 27th chapter, Contemporary 20th Century Monasticism, I didn't do because, and I don't have time to do it this year, because of the job I'm doing, so I was going to add two sessions on Contemporary Monasticism, but since we're living it anyway, it's not all that important. I mean, most of you know certain things that are going on in the monastic world in this century. And last time I taught the course, the students


themselves gave presentations, half-hour presentations, on topics on Contemporary Monasticism in the Africa, da-da-da-da. So that's why I didn't get done that time. So maybe next time. Unless you all want to do projects and give presentations and whatnot during the month of May, I would highly dissuade you from doing that. Okay, we left off in Spain, or we were going to begin Spain. In Spain, the monastic houses are in, just like everywhere else, general decline during the 14th century. A couple had continued to flourish. Generally they were going down, the couple had flourished. And in the year 1390, the king of Castille decided to reform his monasteries. And so he


set up a monastery he called Valladolid. And his monks vowed perpetual enclosure. This was a strange development. But that was a vow they took, that perpetually they'd be enclosed inside their monastery. The rest of the houses in Spain showed no inclination at all to want to take this vow or be part of that business. So for the next 60 years, Valladolid stayed alone. It didn't have other houses at all connected with it. But in 1450, Valladolid got permission to break their vow, to let go of the enclosure. So it was the first time they'd come out in 60 years. And they came out and they went


around reforming houses, monastic houses in Spain. That's what I can call political leaders. And in the year 1492, so Columbus' failing year, Montserrat joined their reform. Now Montserrat has always been a controversial house, a very important house, but a controversial house because it's caught up with the Basque, which goes back centuries. The whole Basque conflict, the national conflict. In fact, it's probably the center for the Basque movement. Not necessarily the Basques were blowing up buildings and people, but the general nationalistic movement, Montserrat was at the center of that. And all the houses then, along with


all the houses that had joined together at this time, including Montserrat, joined into a congregation under the abbot of Valladolid. They took a lot of their schedule of monastic reform from what they saw happening at San Justino in Padua, and their constitutions show a clear connection. And their constitutions were confirmed in 1439. So they got their constitutions confirmed while they were still in the enclosure. But other than that enclosure thing, people had no problem being aligned with them. They just didn't want to vow perpetual enclosure. Once they got rid of that, they could keep the same constitutions, people


were fine with joining that reform. So that was that odd 60-year thing they had going. What is some of the set-up then? Well, priors in the congregation all have equal rights. Although priors themselves in this congregation don't have a lot of power, but the power they do, they all have. It's a very democratic congregation. If you're a prior, you're only a prior for three years. And if you get re-elected a second time, then it's a six-year stint. Double your pleasure. And if you get re-elected one last time, it's a compromise, it's a four-year term. So you can have it for what, 13 years? That's it. They moved into the general chapter


framework that's going on in other movements at this time. Also for elections. So if you remember there's San Justino and Padua. The abbots of the houses were elected by the chapter, not in each house, but by the general chapter that was held. This is how they do it in Spain also at this time. And so the abbot general is the abbot of Valladolid. Just like in San Justino, it was Luis Barbo and then his successors. By the way, just to flip back momentarily, bracket this, back to Padua. San Justino and Padua is going to become more and more and more powerful within church politics, also in the Cubanism, until the Reformation. Into


the Reformation, they're extremely powerful. They were sort of like half reformer. I mean the Benedictines were sort of trying to find a middle ground between the reformers and Trent. And Trent wins. And from that time on, Justino goes sort of downhill because Trent went after a number of the monks and basically lied about what they were trying to do, but fabricated that these are terrible people. With the reformers and all this stuff, Rome would listen. But the Benedictines were at the center of that in Padua. Back to Spain. This congregation is more or less purely contemplative. That's their emphasis, the Valladolid congregation. In the years 1558


to 1568, in those ten years, all the houses in Portugal that existed at the time, monastic houses, were given to this congregation so that they could be reformed. And so it became known as the Congregation of Valladolid and Portugal. And this congregation lasted until it was suppressed in the 19th century. So in the 1800s, when a lot of things went into suppression in the 19th century, this whole congregation disappeared. What's going on in Germany? Well, a highlight in Germany, the highlight at this time, this century, would be an avenue named Kassel. It's in Bavaria. And this is, for the 15th century, the cradle of reform in Germany. One of them. But this is probably the highlight


for southern Germany, at least. It's led by an abbot named Otto, O-T-T-O. And you want to give a general date? 1400. That's when it's happening. And basically what Otto does is he goes back to the old Cluny constitution, and he updates it. He updates it and picks and chooses what he wants in his reform, what he wants to take from it. So it's Cluniac in style. And basically, it's Cluniac, but it's from Hirsau. Remember Hirsau? Hirsau, was it William Hirsau? He took the Cluniac constitution and made it into the Hirsau constitution, which is sort of like a German mirror image of the Cluny constitution. And that's what


Kassel was working with. Especially regarding how you do the liturgy and how we do our rituals It's really a Cluniac or Hirsau movement. And gradually, Kassel starts reforming houses. Usually when this happens, people ask for it. They don't go out looking for this type of job. Something that's real, that's happening, and others are saying, we want to be part of it. That's usually what's happening with these things. Sometimes, they're called in to a house that doesn't necessarily want to be reformed. And when that happens, it's usually a bishop calling them in, or higher, enthusiastically, or a lay ruler saying, we clean up the act in my monasteries and my territory. They're out of hand. And Kassel had to do a bit of that troubleshooting. And most of the difficulties came from that situation that they were put


in. And many of these houses that were difficult, their reform was only short-lived. What Kassel could do, Kassel could do, and they got out of there and went back to their own place. But after some 60 years of reform, they had 20 houses that wanted to be part of the reform, and it was an authentic reform movement. Probably due, the reason for its authenticity was due to, it always had support from a number of powerful leaders, that is, secular leaders, and bishops, as well as the two councils that are coming up, that are going to, among other things, be real important for monastic reform in this century, in the 15th century. This particular reform was a little ruthless, in that they had to go into houses and depose


abbots, drag abbots out, defrock them. It was messy. And they had to put their own people in. And people who refused to cooperate during the reform were physically dragged out of their houses and put in houses that were already reformed, and so basically they were in monastic prisons. But the situation called for it. It was a rough situation at this time, if you remember my general remarks from yesterday. And this reform lasted an entire century, and it was a powerful reform for a century. But by the year, say 1500, early 1500s, the political things peered out again, and the houses are in decay again in those areas. This is a regular cycle that you see in the monastic historical line.


Basically, this particular reform fell apart because it really didn't have a lot of theoretical stuff to back it up. It didn't have a lot of regulations they all had to follow. What regulations they had were more liturgical, and not so much dealing with the nitty-gritties of how are we going to keep this thing going, how are we going to ensure that people follow the principles of this reform three decades down the line. And because of that lack, this particular reform, different reforms fall apart for different reasons. And this is the reason why castles of Bavarian reform eventually fell apart. The Council of Constance. By the way, we've just got an excellent book from Holland, in English, on the Council of Constance. It's the first thing coming out in English, and


it had high reviews for giving a complete, comprehensive view of the documentation and the inner workings of the council and what it achieved. It's quite a feat of scholarship. We've got it for our library. It will come out in the next batch of new books, whenever that will be. So the Council of Constance, and this is another one, if you want to pick a half-dozen councils to keep in mind for monastic purposes, Constance is one of them. Fourth Lateran is another. The Council of Basel is important, too, for commonalities. We had two of our men who were intricately involved in the Council of Basel. One of them, kind of a strange character, we had a dissertation on him in the library, John Jerome of Prague. Constance, then. Part of the Council of Constance called for a return


to provincial chapters. Part of it was dealing with monasticism, and that's what we want to look at. So it called upon monastic houses to have provincial chapters again. What is that? That's what we're talking geographically. Houses in a geographical area, not houses in a certain other historical line or ethnic line, or it just happens to be that various foundations in a certain area, wherever they're from, have their chapters. This doesn't always work. And the first one met in the year 1417, so while the Council was still going on. And what did they affect at the Council of Constance? No more private property for monks. Remember my remarks yesterday. No more private property. You can, however, the monks can have meat. That was a concession. That there's a real community of life, that is,


it's a common pot. You share things. You know, it had gotten off into this, all this bracket of power, and one-third here, and two-thirds there, and four-fifths here, and one-fifth to you, that type of thing. All the old regulations on, let's get your people education, the young education, send them to studies, how you manage your proper property, how you manage your monastic regulations, your monastic customers, all of that's brought back into effect. They just bring up old stuff that already has been worked through, and keeps having to be put back on the shelf, or put back in the arena each time. And the visitators stemming from this new resurgence of provincial chapters had a hell of a time with these, with visitating


these houses that didn't want to be reformed, didn't want to follow all this, and it really was a mess. Remember, we're slowly eking our way towards the Reformation. And much, many of the majority of the monasteries don't want to be reformed. They don't even want to be monks, you know. I mean, they're there because for most of them they have to be. They were never put there. That was their only way in life, that they could get three squares and have some money, because the money went to another son, or whatever reason. So they were the sons who went to the church. The chapters from this, these provincial chapters kept going then for over a century, until the year 1524, these chapters were held. All those tug and pull all the way, and a lot of opposition. In Bavaria next door, excuse me, in Austria next door, the Duke of Austria, who was Albert


V at that time, wanted to reform his abbeys. And so the Pope in the year 1418, that is the last year of the Council of Constance, issued a bull appointing visitators and agreeing to this Austrian reform, and it started beginning officially. And the first house they went to was Melk. Melk is still thriving, Benedictine abbey in Bavaria. That was the first house reformed. The abbot was deposed, and he was replaced with one of the monks from the Subiaco house. Most of the Austrian houses then, in subsequent years, were reformed. And this


reform then was completely, and what had happened in Austria and set up during those years of reformation, was approved by the Council of Basel down the line in the 1430s. And so they did the reform and during those 20 years came out with their legislation and their set up and everything, and then the next big council, which was Basel, approved what went on in Austria. What were some of the things that they approved? Well, that fasting and abstinence are back on the scene. Everyone wears the same clothes. Everyone follows the same customs in the house. The customs apply to everybody. That there's choir again. They had done away with monastic choir in the Austrian houses, just like elsewhere. However, the liturgy itself is to be more simplified, because some of the complaint and opposition to choir involved


and had just gotten so complicated in so many books and so many page turnings and whatnot that they just weren't interested anymore. And so many feasts and double feasts and triple feasts and all that stuff. Back to Lectio Divina and manual labor. And as far as money goes, no more pre-venomous. No more, this is due me. This is my fair share type stuff and I can do anything I want with it. No. And during this time in Austria, this worked. And for those houses there, it went fairly smoothly for a while. And they tended to prosper. Their schools restarted. They got back into the education business. They had a number of young monks who were trained and educated during this time, because that was effective


again. And so once you get that going, it sort of carries through the years. It self-perpetuates. As long as there's some goodwill and some grace in the process. This particular reform, though, with all the approvals and everything, it wasn't heavily enforceable. It was a voluntary reform. They didn't come in, other than beginning it, by deposing an abbot, they didn't come in with heavy hands at all. Nor did they go in with the troubleshooter guns during the subsequent years. It was all voluntary. Well supported by both ecclesiastical and secular powers, but it was voluntary in Austria. Outside at the very beginning in Melk. And there's another collection of reform, quasi-reform, that we want to look at in Germany.


It's called the Bursfeld Union. There's a man named John of Minden, also known as John of Nordheim. And he had been at the Council of Constance, at the provincial chapter that happened after the Council of Constance. So in 1417 they had that first provincial chapter and he went to that. And he got all fired up and zealous about reform. And he was asked to reform an abbey named Kloos, Kloos Abbey. He went in there, he abolished all private property, demanded strict observance of the RV, which was a real switch of course at this time. And before you knew it, Kloos became one of these centers of reform, an exemplary


house. Then, John of Minden, who was the superior there at that time, the reformer, was called to an abbey named Bursfeld, which at that time had only one monk and one cow left. So he abbot John of Tres, I don't know where Tres is, does anyone know where Tres is? T-R-E-V-E-S? I'm thinking it's in the northern part of Germany somewhere. He sent him four his monks to get Bursfeld started. It's just a little west of Frankfurt. Where's Frankfurt? I don't know. Is it central or? I don't know. Great, great. I had a feeling it was in the north. I just didn't know where.


Okay, so he gets a couple monks from Tres, four of them, and they start a common life together at Bursfeld. And his successor, who was named John von Hagen, continued the reform zealously. So they had two good leaders in a row, two reformers. And John von Hagen, the successor, was also a juridically minded man, and so he set up the statutes and the constitutions for this union, or the Bursfeld customary. And so it's set up in all visitations and all the rest that we've seen over and over again. And the council of Basel decreed that the Bursfeld union of monasteries would hold its own chapters


and become an example of where other abbeys in this area should be going. And then the next year, no, no, in the year 1458, they had 18 houses in their union that were reformed, and six other houses in the process of being reformed. And the next year, in 1859, Pope Pius II gave all kinds of powers to Bursfeld. And some of the bishops in northern Germany were not too happy about this, because Bursfeld in some way became more powerful than the bishops. And of course the bishops, as is often the case throughout history, are concerned about the abbeys because they have money and property. And the bishops don't like how their power curved when it comes to monasteries,


which they keep creeping back into the power of the monasteries from time to time. A number of monasteries, a number of bishops wouldn't let their monasteries join the reforming union, and the pope got involved in that. And there was some heavy fisting between the pope and bishops of northern Germany in this regard. Remember, this is before the And this is going to be remembered by certain of those bishops and their successors. They had regular chapters, visitations, the same kind of setup these other unions and reforms are starting. At the same time, they didn't impose a sort of a cluniac or a


cistercian model in the sense that everybody has to do the same thing and everybody has to bow at this time. These songs have to be, it didn't get all that precise. It let each house continue its customs as long as they fit into a general reform pattern, and do it in certain ways and have its own local color, but not as harsh or as regimented as some of the other actually more successful reforms in the past. Of the ensuing group then in this reform, in this Bursvold Union, the abbot of Bursvold was the president, and he had two vice presidents. And the vice presidents and the visitators for this union were elected at the general chapter each time it was held, that is every other year. They encouraged study, but the real focus for this union was interiorization


and interior life. And they were influenced by Devozio Moderna. Does anyone know who Devozio Moderna is? Who else? Let's get some names. Who was the person whose name was behind it? Mystic? Weisbrook. Weisbrook. But there was another guy. Jens Gergen? Yes. Yes, he was the author of the Diversion Dialogue. And Grutten? Grutten. Is that the one you mean? Yeah. Also, a number of houses, various mystics in the lowlands, also a number of houses of women who don't join the traditional orders and are from the Beguines, the Beguinage, a number of these groups of poor people who start their own religious communities because they can't get into the noble ones. Poor people and lower middle class who start various


pious unions and orders. And some of the big orders set up and contributed houses, started houses for these people, as Beguines. Anyway. And the male counterparts of the Degas. What is the emphasis of Devozio Moderna? Well, if you think of Thomas Kempis and what he wrote, has everyone read The Imitation of Christ, or parts of it at least? So you know, that kind of spirituality that's very personally devotional, a lot of imagining emotional moments or emotional being of Jesus at certain times


and the saints and that type of thing. A very cataphatic approach and devotional. So this Bristol Union got caught up in that somewhat, so it's highly influenced by that as well. They had absolutely no pastoral activity. Monastic. No parishes. And thankfully we know a lot about this union because the Birsfield House itself kept incredibly good chronicles. Every archivist in every monastery should keep a chronicle. It's been proven over and over again how important it becomes to history. To have just a chronicle, just on this day certain events happened. This person visited. That's basically what our Comaldolese chronicles are.


Our nine volumes are that sort of thing, as well as copies of documents written by the various monks throughout the centuries. But the most important part of the chronicles are really the lists of who came on what day of what month and what they did, what was going on. History's fun here. Unfortunately in this house we don't have any. If we had had a chronicle that hadn't been burnt in the early years, all that stuff was destroyed by the early founders to hide what was going on. If we had had a chronicle that wasn't destroyed, we would have had our early history. A lot of early history we just don't have, we can't prove. We have some things on the other side of the Atlantic, but a lot of it's just gone. What happens here at Birstow? Well, in the year, no not the year, but the abbot who died in the year 1601,


Abbot Melchior, became a Protestant. The abbot of the monastery turned Protestant, turned Lutheran. And so from the year 1629 to 1680, there were both Catholic and Lutheran abbots of Birstow. And for some time it was actually a Lutheran abbey, with Lutheran monks. That was a short lie, because Lutheranism was not all that concerned about monks or having monasteries. Although we have resurgence again now in this century of the Lutheran Benedictines. We have them in Sweden. I'm thinking Norway, but I can't be positive there. And there's one little foundation in Michigan or something like that, a little group. Since the 19th century, so we're talking about from the 19th century down to the present,


the head of the Lutheran theological faculty of G├Âttingen is the titular abbot of Birstow in the Lutheran church. Talk about a strange development. He's the titular abbot of Birstow Abbey. And here's the important part, why it's kept up. He gets the revenues, the money. That's why it's kept up. It's still the cabins. Roman again? No. Oh. So it's still the Lutheran. No, it's stopped now. I mean, there's no Birstow house anymore. But there's still the titular title, and he gets money for it. The church is used. It's a Lutheran church, but it's no longer a French monastery. Strange moment in monastic history. What's going on in France? Well, the 14th century was real hard on the French monasteries.


If you want to talk about the monasteries where the Black Death killed the majority of the monks, France is the country you would have to point to. Other countries, it wasn't so much the monks who died, it was the peasants. It just hit different groups, different places. But not only did the Black Death sweep through the monasteries of France with a vengeance, but the Hundred Years' War also happens during the 14th, the last half of the 14th and the first half of the 15th centuries, and that took its toll as well. Nearly all the monastic houses in France were destroyed, literally, physically destroyed, one way or another. What houses still existed had no money and only a handful of monks left.


And the ones that had anything at all, property or money, had commandant abbots who sucked it all into their own pockets. So it was a real bleak situation in this country as well. This is pre, again, pre-Reformation. There was one exception. And that is Chazal Benoit Abbot. Where is it? Here it is. Benoit is French for benedict, Benoit. An abbot there named Peter, I imagine he was Pierre, decided to reform in the late 1400s. So he did away with private property, same thing, private property, no private property, no free bins, none of this money stuff, and private accounts. And in the year 1488, announced a number, issued a number of reform statutes.


That is, an abbot has a term of only three years. Why? Why did he personally know his reason for instituting that? Why would he do that? Or not have people who want power even bother with that, because it's not long enough. Exactly. To make it unappealing. It wasn't something you could keep. And if you didn't act like a real abbot, they could outstrip you down, three years down the road. You had to live the life. The reform was confirmed by the Pope. And Peter's successor got a lot of power from our good worship Pope Alexander VI, from Dante. Does Dante ever live in hell? Too late. No? He is in hell.


When is Dante? 1300s. No, can't be then, can't be, because we're talking late 1400s. What does Alexander VI do? He gives the abbot of Chezal-Benoit the right to reform all monasteries in France. Well, that doesn't mean a lot there, in the sense that most are destroyed, or so decrepit, you can't do a lot. But by the year 1505, there were four houses into this grouping, which became a congregation of sorts, we're calling it a congregation. And it modeled itself on the St. Justina Padua, where it becomes the Casanese congregation. What do they do at the home? The general chapter thing. They have a number of officials in the congregation


they call definitives, like a Franciscan group would have, provincial definitives. Abbots being elected at the general chapter, so at least every few years. During the 16th century, so during the 1500s, this reform spread. And it branched into a new area, as far as a congregation taking on a certain area, and that is literature. Literature, literary interests, humanism, okay, humanism. So in France, this particular group of Benedictine houses becomes a humanistic movement, within France. Okay, we've still got almost 20 minutes.


We're gonna move into chapter 25, and that is we're gonna move into the Reformation. In the first half of the 16th century, so the first half of the 1500s, the monasteries were hit hard by the beginning movements of Reformation. Not just in the sense that they were suppressed or despoiled, a lot of them were, of course, if they happened to be in Reformer territory, but a lot of the houses were decimated in the sense that the monks went and met a Reformer. The monks ascribed to what the Reformers were saying, and they became Protestant. In northern Germany, in Austria and Switzerland, most of the houses were suppressed and stripped.


Not all, but most of them. Some of them are pretty powerful and can hold their own. In areas which became totally Protestant, all the houses virtually ceased to exist. Well, the Reformers weren't interested at all in keeping a monastic institution going. It's not one of their principles. It just happened gradually. It just didn't happen one day in decrees. But if you look from hindsight, it happened rather quickly. You're talking about a few years, and they're all gone in these areas. They became totally Protestant. As I said, some monks became Protestant. Bursfeld was unique, and it's the only where you have the Lutheran Abbot. You didn't have that going on elsewhere. In southern Germany, like Bavaria, which is basically remaining Catholic, that becomes a Catholic area, it holds on,


the problems were less there in the sense that the houses could hold on and then grow and keep going. In England and in all of Scandinavia, all the monastic houses go over a period of time, faster in Scandinavia than in England, but they all go. Later on, some of the houses in England are going to resurrect again with an Anglo-Catholic movement and a high church type thing. They disappeared as people monasteries. They just kicked them all out. Into the streets. A number of them were executed, but not the majority. England. Like France, England had lost a lot of people


in the Black Death, in the plague. During the years after that time, so in the late 1300s, they had a lot of problems in English houses with discipline, because a lot of the powerful figures died. In the plague. And there was this ensuing, even just in the culture in general, there was this whole period of time during which everyone was depressed. There was this whole death thing and futility. It was sort of like the late 14th century version of, what's that prophet? All is vanity. Sort of like Kohelet a la England. Because everybody lost somebody. And some people lost everybody. And people lived through that,


but during the following years, you know, like a holocaust type thing. You don't ever escape what that does to you inside. A major decimation like that. And a lot of the English houses were decimated psychologically as well, among the survivors. During these years, late 1300s all through the 1400s, gradually, step by step, the king is asking for more money. More taxes. They just always keep going on. And the houses are becoming poorer. So mid-15th century, you had the War of Roses, sort of civil war going on in England.


A number of the houses were affected by that as well. It wasn't as an overall concern as the Hundred Years War in France was, regarding buildings and whatnot. But some of them were affected by that as well. It didn't help in either sense. This is a bad time in England, monastically. Even before the Reformation actually happened, Cardinal Wolsey had suppressed a number of the smaller houses. A number of them. Why? Money. To swallow their money. For the king. Money's what he wanted. This is before the Reformation. So what do you know? When you do, like wolves, you pick out the weak one. Like in the caribou, you ever see the National Geographic specials of caribou herds and whatnot? The wolves always follow and pick up the stragglers.


Pick up the ones who nature has ready to die. And that's the one they go after. That's exactly what Wolsey and his kids went for. Whichever smaller houses tottered first, they ended. And sometimes through legislation. Just for them. A perfect bill to the whatever. And the money went to the crown. And the pope gave permission for this to happen. This is political. The pope is trying to stave off something in England. So the pope lets the king and the cardinals do that. Once England broke with Rome, however, once that final cut was made, the monasteries were doomed. It was only a matter of time. And measure after measure, cut off, amputated,


and then suppressed. All the monasteries. It started out with the visitations and various laws. All like a law, like everyone under 24 has to leave the monasteries. Anyone who joined monasteries at the age of 20 or younger, no matter how old you are, you all have to leave. Okay, so there's a sixth of the monks. Then you start taxing them. Then you send in the king's visitators. This is all, you know, this is beforehand. And then continuing on through the revolution. And the visitators will find something or other. You will find reasons to suppress the houses. The houses are suppressed. A number of the monks turned in their superiors


in order to, they got a payoff. They got a kickback. So they lied on testimony, perjured to turn in superiors who were imprisoned. It was all to get the money. We're talking money here. But a number of the houses were destitute, were somewhat irregular, were corrupt in some cases. No doubt about it, it wasn't all in this black and white. Then Parliament decided to suppress through law all the houses that made less than 200 pounds a year. Well, this is after you're taxed. Well, they're taxing everything. So very few made it through that. Then, and those who, by the way,


through this law that was enacted in Parliament, those who put up any fight at all had their heads cut off. It was that simple. They were executed as traitors. Well, after that, there's only one thing left to do. You come up with the suppression law that all houses are suppressed. And that ended monasticism in England. So, for the most part, you can write off monasticism in England now until... You will have English monasticism, but in exile. Okay. And we'll go to a development of the English congregation next time. Now, not a good time for monasteries. The monasteries in Ireland were all gone by the year 1560. All of them. Gone.


This is nothing compared to what we find with Napoleon. We got time for Trent. We'll look at the Council of Trent just a little bit in reference to monasteries, monasticism. Trent, the years 1545 to 1563. This is a big council. Not all that big regarding monastic history, but it's a big council in general. This was the church's conciliar effort to deal with the Reformation. We have, basically, regarding legislation on Benedictines, we have four points. Coming out of Trent. Trent says, why? Vows can only be taken after the age of 16. No more people taking vows at 11 or whatever.


Well, these were things the reformers were pointing out. Trent tried, in some ways, to clean up the air. And you can only take vows after a year's novitiate. So here's where you get your year's novitiate. Legislated by an entire church council. So the oblate vocation, that whole system, that is, little kids coming in and all of that, parents oblate their children to the monastery, that's verbal, that's gone. And no one could enter a monastery or be given away to a monastery without his own will involved. No one can go in against his own will. That's number one.


Number two. All monasteries are obliged to observe a rule, and that rule is the rule of Benedict. There's no private property. You have community of life. So you have a shared, well, the common rule approach. Number three. Any house that is not subject to a general chapter, better join one real quick, or you're going out of existence. You've got to join up with a union of monasteries and get yourself into a setup where you're going to meet every three years and you're going to go through a regular process of accountability. And in dealing with that, Trent made all kinds of legislation


regarding chapters, visitators, provincial arrangements, various reform measures. And this is now church law. Universal Roman church law. It applied to all the houses, even the houses that stood by their exemption in my mind. No, it applies to all the houses. However, the exception of Trent was, there are monastery houses that are still connected to various bishops that never got any exemption, that were always set up that way. They're sort of like a diocese and monastery. And it doesn't apply to those, because Trent is assuming the bishops will watch over these and take care of them.


So this law is enacted in order to take effect for all the houses everywhere that aren't being monitored somehow. So mainly the exemptions. And fourthly, commend on habits. Either have to take professionalism amongst themselves, or they have to resign. They're given six months to decide. So you get all these people who are just habits in me. And Trent says, no more of this. So basically that's what Trent did regarding monasticism. Does that do away with commend on habits? I don't know if it does away with it.


It certainly legislated it out. I don't know if they still continued for a while the process of naming commend on habits, but that they had to become monks again. There's still that loophole as I see it, but I don't remember right off if we're going to see commend on habits anywhere. I don't think so. They're not going to be the problem they were anyway from now on. So what we're going to look at next time then is the various congregations after the Council of Trent that developed on ethnic lines basically some of which... These are the... Okay, let me put it this way. For the most part, these are the precursors to the congregations we have this day and age. This day and age, our congregations are basically formed in the 19th century


after the whole Napoleon devastation and things come back to life. These are the precursors to that. We have Napoleon coming between these two lines of congregations and that's all we're going to deal with in the rest of this course is this group, Napoleon, and then the next group of which still exists in our day and age. 20th of April then we'll meet. Okay, we might be able to finish on the 27th. There's two more classes.