|Prior Mark Kirby of Silversteam, Ireland: not EBC, but a Benedictine taking the path of Tradition|
The Tablet called the meeting 'crisis talks'. 'Crisis' of course is an over-used word; properly, it suggests something dramatic which could end in more than one way: the crisis of a battle, or a crisis of health. What has been going on with the Benedictines for the last thirty or forty years is something not very dramatic, which is on the other hand pointing very firmly in the direction of one outcome. That outcome is the disappearance of the Benedictine vocation from this country.
|A Traditional Requiem in a house belonging to Ampleforth Abbey. The celebrant is|
Fr Edward van der Burgh of the London Oratory; a young American monk (right) assists.
|Mass celebrated by an English Benedictine, though not|
EBC, in Prinknash Abbey
On the matter of community, we noted how significant, though largely un-remarked, was fear in our communities: fear of future prospects, of change, of community failure to survive, fear of newer brethren and their different mindset. ...
Vocations made for a lively and rich discussion, and really an excellent one. The question was starkly posed: do our communities truly want vocations? Is it something they pay lip-service to without undertaking the necessary self-reflection, and even change, that growth in authentic vocations (ie, those who “truly seek God”) might require? ...
It is one thing to say things like this, or hear them said, and another to implement them effectively. It should be obvious to everyone not completely cocooned from reality that to get vocations today you need to be open to a rediscovery of Tradition, and the Benedictines have a lot of wonderful tradition to rediscover. That's not to say they've lost it all, but even in happier times an ancient way of religious life will have things in its tradition to rediscover and restore, which will fit it better for the challenges of the present day. The question for the Benedictines is whether they want to allow this natural process, which was actually called for by the Second Vatican Council, to take place, or whether they want to preserve the 1970s in aspic, close the doors, and die maintaining the perfect insights of that perfect decade, to the exclusion of all others.
|A recently ordained secular priest, Fr Wisenant, celebrates High Mass in Belmont Abbey for the|
LMS Priest Training Conference 2014
If they choose the latter course, the light at the end of the tunnel will turn out to be the proverbial oncoming train.
I hope they listen to Vatican II's decree on the Religious Life, Perfectae caritatis 2: ‘let their founders’ spirit and special aims they set before them as well as their sound traditions—all of which make up the patrimony of each institute—be faithfully held in honour.'
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