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 Post subject: Benedictine monks
PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:15 pm 
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I have been to the Weston Priory in Vermont a few times. Are Benedictine monks independent Catholics?

Here is what they say;

"Benedictine monks are members of local monasteries or communities, called either abbeys or priories. Monastic profession, or commitment, is made to the local community, not to the larger congregation or religious order. Benedictine monks are not, strictly speaking, members of a world-wide "order." There is, really, no such thing as a "Benedictine Order." There is, however, a confederation of autonomous monasteries which follow the Rule of Saint Benedict, which is known as the "Benedictine Confederation."


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 8:32 pm 
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No. Although the Weston monkns can be more than a little flaky, this is basically correct. A Jesuit, for example, is joining an order headed by a General in Rome, who can send him anywhere in the world. A Benedictine, however, does not have any higher superior in his religious life other than the abbot of his own house (assuming it is an abbey -- priories are dependencies of abbeys). That abbot does not have any higher-ranking Benedictne superior to whom he reports -- he is the head of his own house, and that's that.

Custos


Last edited by Custos on Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:39 pm 
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And abbots and abbesses are elected by their members to serve a specific term.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 9:40 pm 
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And abbots and abbesses are elected by their members to serve a specific term.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:36 am 
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I believe all the abbots in a given area get together every once in awile but their is no goverment that takes care of things. Custos is correct in what he says AFAIK.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 1:52 am 
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Aren't there archabbeys as well?

I'm not certain that abbots are elected by their subjects to serve specific terms. This is generally true of priors, but abbots are elected for life. Some abbeys are exempt and are subject immediately to the Pope but others are not and are subject to the local Ordinary.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 4:29 am 
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Quote:
Some abbeys are exempt and are subject immediately to the Pope but others are not and are subject to the local Ordinary.


So are they Catholic?


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 5:48 am 
CommonMan wrote:
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Some abbeys are exempt and are subject immediately to the Pope but others are not and are subject to the local Ordinary.


So are they Catholic?

AFAIK CommonMan, there are also Anglican Benedictine monks and nuns and known also as Benedictines. I am aware of their abbeys and priories in England, Australia and Africa.

Also, Benedictines (Catholic) can be categorized under Religious Orders. Orders are religious institutions some of whose members take solemn vows of poverty, chastity, obedience. Those institutions whose members take only simple vows are properly called religious congregations. To make this determination (solemn vs. simple vows) one must inquire directly from the specific institution.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 6:47 am 
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CommonMan wrote:
Quote:
Some abbeys are exempt and are subject immediately to the Pope but others are not and are subject to the local Ordinary.


So are they Catholic?


Err, yes. Was there something in my reply that gave you the impression that they weren't?

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 8:55 am 
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While there are some Anglican Benedictines, almost all Benedictines are Catholic - I don't know of any Abbey or Priory that calls itself Catholic and is not.

The original question is one of Church governance. True Benedictine abbeys are independent of each other, and in internal affairs, of the local bishop. Some of the larger abbeys have been honored with the title "archabbey" but that is basically an honorific. Each abbey has its own style and traditions. Abbeys are usually founded by an already existing abbey, and groups of abbeys form associations in order to share common news, experiences, and assistance (but they do not share governance). Benedictine's who work in pastoral ministry - for example a parish or chaplaincy - are always under the authority of the local bishop in the pastoral ministry, but the abbey itself is not.

The internal governance of an abbey is controlled by the abbey itself, subject to Canon Law and ultimately the pope (although it would be rare for a pope to interfere in the governance of an abbey. Most abbeys elect their abbots for a term of years now, although some may retain the older custom of electing them for life.

The Cistercian reform of the 12th century introduced a type of "order" governance into Benedictine life. Cistercian and Trappist monasteries are visited formally by the Abbot of the founding monastery, who has some degree of authority over the "daughter houses." This was a major step in the history of religious life toward the true "orders" that have a worldwide structure of governance, such as the various groups of Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians, Jesuits, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:01 pm 
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Quote:
Err, yes. Was there something in my reply that gave you the impression that they weren't?


Yes,
'Some abbeys are exempt and are subject immediately to the Pope but others are not and are subject to the local Ordinary. "


As in; 'Some are subject to the Pope but others are not.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:13 pm 
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You seem to be missing that word "immediately". You might also not recognize that word "Ordinary" - it means bishop.

Thus, the statement dcs gave you meant that some abbeys are not subject to their local bishop, but are subject immediately to the Pope with no levels inbetween.

Others are not subject immediately to the Pope, but like most other things in a diocese are instead subject to the local bishop.

And of course, both the Pope and the local bishop are Catholic...


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 23, 2005 10:16 pm 
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CommonMan wrote:
Quote:
Err, yes. Was there something in my reply that gave you the impression that they weren't?


Yes,
'Some abbeys are exempt and are subject immediately to the Pope but others are not and are subject to the local Ordinary. "


As in; 'Some are subject to the Pope but others are not.
I think that what dcs meant was that some abbeys only answer directly to the Pope but that some are answerable to the bishop of the diocese in which they are located.

Justin


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2005 1:05 pm 
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Over the last decade or so there has been a movement to eliminate the "Territorial Abbeys" (Abbeys where the Abbot is the Ordinary (Bishop) of a very small area.) At this point only 11 continue to exist. All others are subject to the local bishop of the diocese where the abbey is.

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