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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
tested Orders we have, such as the S. S. J. E. and Holy Cross, largely to abandon their other work in order that they may receive into their novitiates, the men who may be drawn towards the Religious Life, to test and train them even for other houses and other possible Rules than their own. Could they do this, could they make this sacrifice, they might become the nurseries of a complete and saving system of Monasticism. Another possibility would be the organization of the Diocesan Monasteries of Canons-Regular of which I have spoken, the Prior in each case being at first novice-master as well, and a trained Religious loaned for a few years for this particular work. One warning cannot be too often reiterated, and that is, the certain road to failure lies through a group of earnest and zealous men banding together to form a religious community, without disciplinary experience, and intent only on creating a centre of monastic life out of their own inner consciousness. We have had rather too much of this of late, and the experiment must not be repeated.
So then, we must begin by strengthening the S. S. J. E. and Holy Cross, and at the same time restoring true monasticism through a revived Benedictism, and the orders of Franciscan and Dominican preaching friars. I am increasingly convinced that the work will not and must not stop here. The old Rules must be amended and developed for new orders, but the time has come for a further extension of the monastic idea. In the beginning, in the time of Pachomius and the hermits of the desert, the unit was the individual, wholly withdrawn from the world and isolated in his mountain cave, or on the top of his column if his taste led in that direction. St. Benedict increased this unit through exalting the idea of human fellowship, and thereafter it consisted of groups, either of men or women, forming a centralized community. Now the time has come for a further extension of the great idea, not to the exclusion of the monastic unit, or of the individual unit, but to supplement them. This new unit will be the family, men, women, and children, in that most holy unit of all which is the Christian family, gathering together in places withdrawn from the world (as the world
is now, and has been for nearly five centuries), where they can build up what I like to call "walled towns," no more of the world than is the monastery, but like that constituted on lines of order, simplicity, and righteousness. The headlong development of modernism has at last resulted in a social organism which is identical in all parts of the world and apparently invincible and irreformable at all events of its own motion or from within. In the current effort of one section of this organism to establish by force and the denial of the last traces of an earlier Christian society, its hegemony of the globe, the whole thing may be destroyed, as completely as Antiquity was destroyed, and before the end of the century we may be eking out a precarious and savage existence amidst the crumbling ruins of a proud civilization that has passed away. The chances are that this is the fate in store for the world, which is very given to "vain repetitions," but if for the moment this catastrophe is delayed, as Rome sporadically revived in a measure, and with failing vigour, between the successive barbarian invasions, then the immediate question will be what course are they to pursue who have read the writing on the wall and have seen the present phantasm of culture only as a silly mockery, incapable of selfregeneration. If after this war there is an interlude of complacent recovery in preparation for the next and more devastating visitation; if some imbecile return is made towards the status quo ante, with secularism rampant in education and Dr. Flexner perhaps "Dictator of Studies," with the present smug substitute for Democracy rampant and unashamed; with raw heresy masquerading under the name of "fraternal cooperation" and "glorious comprehensiveness"; with industrialism working again towards the final establishment of the Servile State; with a pseudo-evolutionary, pseudo-philosophy salving the surface wounds of a vanishing conscience and feeding vanity with the pabulum of fatuous flattery; with public opinion and newspapers and automobiles and victrolas and airplanes and movies and "great white ways," and billionaires and war babies and pacifism and social-service crusades and world conferences on unfaith and disorder,-together with all the myriad other en
gaging manifestations of the era of enlightenment that succeeded the Christian Commonwealth of the Middle Ages-what are we to do?
Frankly, I think there is nothing but a raising of the cry "To your tents, O Israel!" and a retreat to the walled towns that will be the new sanctuaries of those who are too proud to bend the knee to Baal: to voluntary "concentration camps" each of which would be a little "imperium in imperio," an oasis of self-restraint in a desert of self-indulgence, where once more religion becomes something besides a social amenity and interpenetrates all life until again the bad division between Church and State is altogether lost. It is only in such communities that the human scale can be regained, and until this replaces the imperialism that now dominates all action and all thought, it is useless to talk about civilization as a thing which has any contemporary existence. Of course, each walled town would contain its twin kernel of life in the shape of a parish church and a monastery, the latter term covering houses for both men and women; therefore even with this extension of the monastic idea we shall need our cloisters of the olden type, and even more than otherwise. Of course, few of us have or will have the vocation to the religious life, and we shall need to preserve and restore the old and holy institution of the family. Therefore if we are to be driven out, not into, but from the wilderness man has made with his clever hands and cleverer brain, we must have our walled towns; but these can assemble better around the walls of some religious house than they can be created by fiat, while itself must be always the centre of spiritual energy and the final refuge of those who have become weary of living even in the paradisaical peace of a walled town.
From every point of view the restoration and expansion of the consecrated Religious Life is the demand most clamorous today. Not that it may supersede the secular priesthood, but supplement and strengthen it, not that it may hold up an ideal of asceticism in place of that forever consecrated by the Holy Family of Nazareth, but by its own voluntary self-sacrifice, make the human family more secure in its place; not that it may destroy but fulfil.