Tag Archives: Benedictine

Hungary changes constitution, status of some religious orders changes in the law





At the new year the Hungarians passed a new constitution with some real changes that will affect the Church and other ecclesial communities, including non-Christian groups. The New York Times ran the article that outlines the changes giving the impression that even the Hungarians are unable to name all the changes. What caught my eye thanks to Brother Richard of OSB.org, when he first posted a note on his FB page that some venerable religious orders like the Benedictines and the Carmelites and a group like the Opus Dei are now downgraded in terms of the law. But why? What does the Hungarian government gain by doing such and what are the long-term implications for the Benedictines and Carmelites? Why weren’t the states of the Dominicans and Jesuits changed? Some of what happened is noted here:

“With the
new year, as the new constitution goes into effect, all petitions to the
[Constitutional] Court lapse and it becomes much harder for anyone to challenge
this law — or any other.

“But it is worth lingering on the newly
re-enacted law on the status of churches because it is one of the places where
we can clearly see the effects of the new constitutional order on the
protection of constitutional rights. What does the law on churches do? It
creates 14 state-recognized religions
, and decertifies the rest. On January 1,
over 300 denominations lose their official status in Hungary — including their
tax exemptions and their abilities to run state-funded schools. While most of
the denominations are tiny, many are not. Among the religions that will no longer
be able to operate with state approval
are all versions of Islam, Buddhism,
Hinduism and Baha’i, as well as many smaller Catholic orders including the
Benedictines, Marists, Carmelites, and Opus Dei
, and a number of major
Protestant denominations including Episcopalians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh
Day Adventists, Mormons, Methodists, and all but one of the evangelical
churches. One each of the orthodox, conservative, and liberal Jewish synagogues
are recognized; but all other Jewish congregations are not” (The
Unconstitutional Constitution
).

A Benedictine from Hungary writes
that “religious orders are still part of the Catholic Church in my country
and being as such they will maintain their legal status — all other
problematic constitutional points nothwithstanding.” (see OSB.org)


Create a space for silence, Bishop Hugh Gilbert tells us

Silence is misunderstood by so many people today. Some friends and family think that being silent is horrible, or that it is a punishment for something. Silence may have been used as a weapon, but in reality, it is not and silence ought not be used as such, ever. The new bishop of Aberdeen (Scotland), Hugh Gilbert, delivered his first pastoral letter on the subject of silence. As a Benedictine he is attune to the contours of silence as Saint Benedict exhorts followers of his Rule for Beginners to live in an atmosphere of silence. Could what Bishop Hugh offers be of assistance to us?

We live in a noisy world. Our towns and cities are full of noise. There is noise in the skies and on the roads. There is noise in our homes, and even in our churches. And most of all there is noise in our minds and hearts.

The Danish philosopher Kierkegaard once wrote: ‘The present state of the world and the whole of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and I were asked for my advice, I should reply: “Create silence! Bring people to silence!” The Word of God cannot be heard in the noisy world of today. And even if it were trumpeted forth with all the panoply of noise so that it could be heard in the midst of all the other noise, then it would no longer be the Word of God. Therefore, create silence!’

‘Create silence!’  There’s a challenge here. Surely speaking is a good and healthy thing? Yes indeed. Surely there are bad kinds of silence? Yes again. But still Kierkegaard is on to something.

There is a simple truth at stake. There can be no real relationship with God, there can be no real meeting with God, without silence. Silence prepares for that meeting and silence follows it. An early Christian wrote, ‘To someone who has experienced Christ himself, silence is more precious than anything else.’ For us God has the first word, and our silence opens our hearts to hear him. Only then will our own words really be words, echoes of God’s, and not just more litter on the rubbish dump of noise.

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Male religious life revives

A recent article in the National Catholic Register by Trent Beattie, “Surprising Revival for Men in Religious Life” notes that tide may be turning for some religious orders of men, especially those who remain faithful to prayer, orthodox theological reflection as proposed by the Church, a common life and work and the wearing of a religious habit. Beattie highlights the Texas Carmelites, Connecticut’s Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist and the Oklahoma Benedictines of the Creak Creek abbey. All of the groups are beautiful expressions of the work of the Holy Spirit today.

Our Lady of the Way, pray for us.

Belmont Abbey College files suit against government

A great example of religious freedoms being trampled is what’s happening with Belmont Abbey College. This is exactly what Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Lori are working on with the new Ad Hoc Committee of the USCCB on Religious Freedom (see previous posts linked on the right).

Belmont Abbey College is being forced by Federal government to provide contraceptives to employees of the College going against the clear, consistent and well-known Catholic teaching. This is not merely the teaching of a small and localized group of “conservative monks” or an over zealous bishop, but the teaching of a global Church founded by Jesus Christ.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is handling the lawsuit.
The story in The Washington Post can be read here.
Let’s beg the Holy Spirit’s guidance for Abbot Placid Solari, the College President and the lawyers. May Saint Benedict guide the hearts and minds of the monks.

Adalbert de Vogüé, RIP

Vogüé.jpgAnyone who knows even a little of the scholarship on the Rule of St Benedict knows the name of this famous monk who has done a tremendous amount of work in this area. Father Adalbert was indeed a force to be reckoned with, even if you disagreed with him. One could not escape Father’s orbit. Sadly, I mention his death.


“The Abbey of Pierre qui Vire announces the painful and enigmatic death of P. Adalbert de Vogüé OSB, 86. His body was found 2 km from the monastery after a search of eight days. He probably died Friday, 14 October 2011.

The publication of Community and Abbot in the Rule of Saint Benedict (1960) began a distinguished career of research and publication concerning the Rule of Saint Benedict and early monastic literature. He served frequently on the faculty of thePontifical Athanæum of Saint Anselm in Rome before taking up the hermit’s life in 1974 near his monastery. The monks will celebrate the Mass of Christian Burial, Wednesday, 26 October, 11 a.m. Donne-lui, Seigneur, le repos éternel.”

H/T Brother Richard Oliver, OSB @osb.org

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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