Yesterday, the Cistercians commemorated the Feast of their Founders: St. Robert of Molesme, St. Alberic, and St. Stephen Harding; the latter being an Englishman who is reputed to have been born in Dorset.
In light of the indefatigable (and at times exhausting efforts) of this blog a scandal festering at the heart of the Cistercians — the duplicitous life of Dom Richard Purcell is no longer occult.
And, having being exposed, Dom Purcell, finally did the decent thing by presenting his resignation as the Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey, which providentially was accepted by the Abbot General, Dom Eamon Fitzgerald, OCSO with the consent of his council.
The history of monasticism shows periods of great fervour and followed by periods of decline.
This is nothing new. But, there have always been men and women who have generously responded to the call of the Lord to follow the monastic life. And, this will continue well in the future when we are all dead and buried, however, it is not unreasonable to presume that in the future monastic communities will be smaller; but hopefully there will be more authentic.
And, for the avoidance of any and all doubt the synchronistic expression of monasticism to be found at Silverstream Priory is not an example of what I am referring to in this blog
Another perennial theme within monasticism has been sexual misconduct within monasteries.
But, this is not exclusive to the Roman Catholic expression of monasticism; it is also an issue within Orthodox monasticism. The monastic tradition within Buddhism has also seen its share of sexual misconduct and financial scandals.
However, these scandals tend to be covered-up and do not attract media coverage. This is not surprising due to the nature of sin, and the reality of the human condition. Monasticism only makes sense when it is informed by an eschatological reality. Otherwise, it is an exercise in futility.
Today, the Cistercians invite everyone to be spiritually united with them in prayer.
The Cistercians are rightly praying for an increase in vocations and the renewal of their way of life.
They have composed a beautiful prayer that expresses this profound sentiment. I invite all the readers of my blog to prayerfully offer it for the renewal of the Cistercians across the globe; for the successful consolidation of the Irish Cistercian houses at Mount Melleray Abbey, and for the renewal of monasticism more generally in the Church. Mount Melleray Abbey is a place very close to my heart. It was a place I visited when I was a seminarian in Waterford; it remains a place that is very close to my heart.
I also spent a lot of time as a seminarian and young priest in Mellifont Abbey at Collon in Louth.
Authentic Cistercians everywhere have my esteem and respect.