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Thus far, with us, scant progress has been made towards the restoration of a strict monasticism, all our new orders having been formed along the lines of communities of canons-regular or friars. Caldey tried it, and poor Fr. Ignatius even earlier, but Ecclesia Anglicana had no place for that sort of thing and Caldey was forced, against its will, to make its submission to Rome. Even there too much time was given to preaching far afield, and to other extraneous objects, just as under the Roman obedience, the Benedictine houses have largely forsaken their ordained work, in the interests of schools and missions, and even the cure of souls. The spirit of strict monasticism seems wholly to have died away, and because of this the present peril of the world is increased. Unless it can be restored, now, without loss of time, the immediate future can give little hope. Unfortunately to few is given the monastic vocation, and when it is vouchsafed, only too often the doubtful listener closes his ears, thinking, under the black inheritance of strenuousness, that action alone will "get results", and that he has, no right to remain outside the ranks of those who are everlastingly "up and doing." For the restoration of a clearer sense of spiritual values, we must insistently pray, and if the world is to be saved from an era of the Dark Ages, sooner or later our prayer will be answered.
Strictly speaking, the orders of Preaching Friars have not been restored with us as yet. Rome has done better there than with the monks, the Dominicans having not only preserved their fine tradition, but of late acquired a new fire and fervour that have made them a great vitalizing power. In England the Society of the Divine Compassion is a genuinely Franciscan foundation, and we once had here, in Fr. Paul, a possible centre for a similar work. He has now accepted Roman jurisdiction and is finding there the support of men and the charity denied him in his earlier days, so all this is to do over again, perhaps now, under the conditions of the present debacle, with better chance of success.
The importance to us of an immediate restoration of the two chief orders, Franciscan and Dominican, cannot be overestimated. Our fat and futile social organism, where wealth is the
chief stimulus to action, and the first consideration in political, industrial, and social affairs,-the great substitution of Modernism for Honour, Courage, and Duty-must be met by the consecrated poverty of the Franciscan, fearlessly denouncing a condition of things that, when civilization returns again, will be branded in later histories with the epochs in the Dark Ages and during the Renaissance when simony had rotted the Church and society to a point wherefrom recovery was possible only by the direct intervention of God. In our economic-industrial state we are confronted by a steady progress away from the free association of the Middle Ages, back to the Servile State of antiquity, with the certainty that before this is accomplished there will be war that is overt, bloody, and relentless. If we are to escape this I believe it can only be through the intervention of the poor brothers of St. Francis, glorifying poverty, love, and labour over and above the principles that are now the guiding stars of our decline.
And what of the Dominicans? Surely, if ever, we need now their fearless and insistent defense of Catholic truth. It is a custom to call ourselves a Christian nation, just as before the war we spoke of the "Christian civilization" of Europe. It is also customary for some of us to speak of the Episcopal Church as a Catholic Church. If we speak from a lively faith our convictions do us honour, as must all faith that relies on an inner conviction, not on apparent facts. In any case we are compelled to admit that less than half the people of America even call themselves Christians of one sort or another, and that there is enough unblushing hesesy high in honour within the Church to bring it to shipwreck unless it meets with vigorous counteraction. Neither St. Athanasius nor St. Dominic nor St. Ignatius Loyola ever confronted bolder and more insidious unfaith and disloyalty. Just because more and more Presbyterians build Gothic churches, with stained glass windows and $20,000 organs, and an increasing number of our own clergy wear Eucharistic vestments and put two candles (frequently unlighted) on their altars, we think that all is well.
Strong defence of the Catholic Faith and nothing but the Catholic Faith, asserted openly, everywhere, and insistently, is
a crying need of our time, and without this every effort at a redemption of Society will fail, unless we are willing to count alone on the "uncovenanted mercies of God." There will be no new and better day for the world unless underneath and interpenetrating present life and the social fabric, is the definite, dogmatic, and sacramental religion that has made and preserved the Catholic Church and Christian society from the day of Pentecost. Give us once more the Order of Preachers of St. Dominic, bound under the three-fold rule, with no parochial obligations, but going far and wide, in poverty and in the willingness for martyrdom if necessary, and we shall not have to ask so much of some of our splendid bishops and equally splendid parish clergy who already are crushed under the weight of their especial duties.
The third class, that of the Canons-Regular, really comprises the greater part of our Religions Orders today, at the head standing the S. S. J. E. Mission Priests they truly are and this function is equal in importance with the others I have named. I say less of them now, for we know them better, and no word is necessary to justify them or to add to the demand that their numbers should be increased. I think, however, there is a very real demand that out of them should grow, and immediately, something more closely resembling the Canons of St. Augustine or those of St. Norbert. There should be, under every bishop, a kind of diocesan monastery, self-governing and self-contained, but subject to the call of the bishop for such service as he might demand, such as evangelical work in heathen districts, temporary charge of missions, emergency service in parishes, and the maintenance of church services and parish work where a certain minimum stipend could not be raised. Such houses of canons should receive young priests immediately after ordination, giving them work "under service conditions," on three year and renewable vows, and also superannuated clergy who would form a nucleus of permanency. If possible young men should be trained here for the priesthood, and small schools of orphan boys might be maintained. Within its precincts the house would be selfgoverning, with the bishop as visitor, but when a man was called
out for active service, he would become the bishop's man, owing for the time obedience to him alone. Of course, there would be some arrangement whereby a certain number of men would always be left in the house for the conduct of its services and internal affairs, while no man should be compelled to absent himself except for a definite number of days at a time, during which period the bishop would be responsible for his maintenance. Every bishop would welcome such an engine of service as these diocesan monasteries would prove, and they seem the easiest of accomplishment, since normally their vows would be for short periods, and a clear vocation to the Religious life-the hardest thing to find or to be sure of-would be less necessary than in the case of monks and friars. In a way each house of this kind would be a place for the discovering and testing of vocations, and while many would return to the secular priesthood, others would proceed to the contemplative or the active life of the Benedictine or Dominican or Franciscan rules.
Of these three definite systems, one must then immediately be widely strengthened and extended, the other two recreated. In the beginning the Benedictine, Franciscan, and Dominican Rules should be accepted practically in their integrity. Experience will indicate necessary changes of adaptation, but there is none now who seems to possess that clear vision that would make possible either a new Rule or the series of modifications of an old one that would perfectly meet the anomolous conditions of our time. Moreover there is in Monasticism something akin to the Apostolical Succession which alone guarantees a valid priesthood, and this identity of motive and continuity of tradition must be preserved. Every Religious since the VIth century has traced his lineage and his "mission" back to our Holy Father St. Benedict, and so it must always be. Gathered together under his patronage, and that of his successors, clear direction will be given as to the lines along which the necessary modification must proceed.
One may admit, and frankly, that the obstacles that stand in the way of this restoration and revival seem almost insuperable. They are not this; but only stimulating to a degree.
Hitherto when the need came, some one man came forward, out of oblivion, to stir the world and gather together the necessary soldiers in God's new army. St. Benedict, St. Berno, St. Robert of Solesmes, St. Stephen Harding, Chrodegang of Metz, St. Bernard, St. Bruno, St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Ignatius Loyola, all were sudden and shining lights, vivid and dominant per sonalities filled with the Spirit of God, who had the vision, the power to interpret it, and the faculty of inspiring and leading men, and the same is true down even to our own day, in the persons of Fr. Benson, and Dom Aelred Carlyle, and Fr. Hunt ington. Under them the task was easy of accomplishment, but now we confront a new situation where there are no precedents to guide us. The War is a great wonder and prolific of many revelations, but none is more staggering than this: that now, at a moment when the world cries aloud for leadership as never before, there is none to answer. In no land, amongst no people, in no category of life, is there to be found today one leader of the first class; not a statesman, not a philosopher, not even a soldier, and with the possible exception perhaps of the Cardinal of Malines, not a Churchman, of the first or even of the second class, to see, to interpret, to arouse or to lead. In these latter days Modernism,-largely through its basic principles of Protestantism, secularism, and democracy, has reduced all men to a dead level of inferiority, from which no heroic leader lifts his head.
In some way, then, we must find a substitute for the great creators of Christian monasticism, since modern civilization has reached a point where leaders are no longer produced. The dangers that follow from this lack of leadership are deep-seated and sinister. Fr. Benson used to say that he had known few men with a vocation to be monks, but many with a vocation to be Fathers Superior. The danger of mistaken leadership, or of joint action without leadership, are very great. It takes several years to test a vocation, and many years to make a monk, Obedience is even a harder rule to follow than either poverty or chastity, and training is as necessary for a monk or friar as for an engineer or a physician. I see no alternative but for the