The Spiritual Loss of Closing Religious Orders: A Bishop’s Reflection

The fact that the announced closure of the Engelszell Trappist monastery and other religious institutions is also perceived as a spiritual loss for many is a little surprising for the Linz diocesan bishop Manfred Scheuer. “Because the understanding of broad sections of the population and also within the church for this form of monastic life is about to end,” as he said in the “Kurier” interview on Sunday, June 4, 2023. He has the impression “that there is a kind of phantom pain, like the Notre Dame fire in Paris. A society like the French has pretty much put the church on the sidelines. But when Notre Dame burned down, one had the impression that the People’s hearts bleed over something that they actually no longer have. I felt that way about Engelszell.”

Engelszell is known for its herbal liqueur and Trappist beer, and it is also a cultural center. But: “The inner understanding of what the monks are doing was largely lacking.” That is basically the fate of the religious communities as a whole. For example, there is an appreciation for the achievements of women’s religious orders in the area of ​​health care and nursing, but there is no understanding for the renunciation, i.e. the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, which they make with their religious life. The renunciation, according to Bishop Scheuer, “can make life succeed, the religious are committed to their concerns and burn for them”.

Large religious orders have set important decisions in history. Scheuer: “If I think of the Benedictines, for example. After the collapse of Roman civilization, they built up a new order. The idea of ​​order in the Middle Ages comes from the rules of the Benedictines. The English constitution ultimately came into being on the basis of the rules of the order, where there is co-decision through the monastic rules. The orders of preachers stood as a contrasting symbol against bourgeoisisation. These mendicant orders deliberately renounced wealth and thus sent a signal. At the beginning of the modern era, the Jesuits had an uncanny dynamic and achieved a great deal in science. They were ahead of their time.”

Read more:  Prime Minister Støre's New Year's speech sent a message of power to Norwegians

In the 19th century, the women’s religious orders, which have the word mercy in their names, did a lot in the field of care. “They were often pioneers.” Today the religious orders are heavily involved in development cooperation, the bishop emphasized: “These were and are almost exclusively religious orders that achieve a great deal in the relationship between North and South. Against the colonizers and against the capitalists. They have created important prerequisites for the South gains self-confidence.”

Orders are something like “Church in focus”, or in a good sense “salt of the earth”. Scheuer: “Everything is always mixed, nobody is perfect, on the contrary, of course there are also incorrect forms, deficiency symptoms, standing by and failure.”

Especially in the present, “where there are so many problems such as loneliness and the support of people who are not able to lead a self-determined life, orders or order-like approaches are important,” the bishop was also convinced ..

Regarding the question of what could make religious orders attractive again, Scheuer said: “It is not a product that is bought, but a life plan in the following of Jesus. It needs this bond with Jesus, otherwise it is not liveable. It becomes attractive because by committing to it.” That presupposes the joy of faith, the attraction of the gospel, “and also the awareness that you are conveying something very precious and important to people”.

And with regard to the vows of the order, the bishop said: “The renunciation is not the first thing one looks at when one is passionate about something, for example the renunciation of scientists is often very large. The ascetic character of top athletes is enormous have their fasts and diets.” The renunciation is not to be seen in itself, but with regard to another, higher good. “If someone thinks they’re missing out here, then they’re out of place,” said Scheuer.

Read more:  New York equities: clear gains - economic data spur


2023-06-06 02:30:25
#Bishop #Scheuer #wishes #understanding #religious #orders

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent News

Editor's Pick