Monks New and Old.
Sincere, orthodox Catholics are all too frequently afflicted by the many signs of decadence and corruption that have contaminated – as so often in Her history: the Latin saying ecclesia semper reformanda is neither new nor without ground – a large part of the Church. I have reported on this blog some of the most striking recent episodes and will, no doubt, have to sadden you with many others.
Still, we are not left without blue skies. One of the most striking phenomena observable in the post “spirit of V II”-era is that the emphatically progressive religious orders are generally dying, whilst the clearly conservative ones – often heavily inspired by pre-V II spirituality, following traditional pre-V II rules and using pre-V II liturgy – thrive.
Today I’d like to introduce you – courtesy of the excellent Forest Murmurs blog – to one of these examples. A new community of Carmelite Monks has been recently constituted in Wyoming. They follow the traditional rule of their order and their liturgy is pre-V II. What is remarkable in this new monastic community is that if you visit their internet site and browse a bit around to discover what their plans are you have the distinct impression that the “aggiornamento” has been wilfully ignored and that those who think that way do not fare badly at all.
First, let us look at the community. Seven monks at the moment. Expansion planned up to forty. Huge interest with 500 (five hundred) enquiries of potential novices last year alone, people leaving in the middle of Obama-America and considering to spend the rest of their lives devoting themselves to work and prayer in an isolated place in the Rocky Mountains.
Secondly, observe that money seems not to be a huge concern, as you can clearly see from the scale of the proposed works. This is a huge task of course and one to be realised during many years of prayers for the necessary financial resources, but you won’t find any such confidence in the future in, say, those dying communities of new-age, diversity-appraising, soi-disant religious sisters so concerned with being “inclusive”, that they forget to be Christian.
Thirdly and lastly, please observe the appearance (at the same time ideological stance) of the proposed works. Nothing “modern” here, no trace of “spirit of Vatican II” whatsoever. If the entire place had been planned several centuries ago, the differences would have been rather secondary.
I will leave you to visit the internet sites for yourself. They exude a solid faith, a very clear idea about how to do things (that is: keeping “aggiornamento” out of the main entrance), a strong confidence in the future and an obvious resonance among sincere seekers.
This seems to me a clear sign that even in the middle of the orgy of feel-good, everything-goes, non-judgmental, fuzzy attitude of too many representatives of today’s Church, the Holy Ghost quietly attends to the repair works to the Barque of Peter made necessary by half a century of “aggiornamento” follies. This is a slow and often hidden process but not a timid nor, I believe, a reversible one. We see the same tendencies towards the “old religion” slowly emerging a bit everywhere, among religious orders as well as among the laity, in the pews as on the internet. At the same time, the Vatican hierarchy very slowly but, I think, irresistibly steer the course towards more orthodox, authentically and unapologetically Catholic waters. It is as if the geyser of Catholic Truth would start bubbling again below the layer of mud deposited since the Sixties, biding its time and gathering energy for the eruption of renewed spirituality that in the life of the Church always followed periods of corruption and decay.
We certainly have grounds for rightful indignation but we have no reasons for pessimism or, worse, despair.