The Society of Christ the King

The Brethren of the Common Life

 

Seal of the Society

 

A Personal Prelature Of

The Catholic Apostolic National Church

 

"Almighty and everlasting God, Whose only begotten Son, Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd, has said, 'Other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear My voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd'; let Thy rich and abundant blessing rest upon the Old Roman Catholic Church, to the end that it may serve Thy purpose by gathering in the lost and straying sheep. Enlighten, sanctify, and quicken it by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost, that suspicions and prejudices may be disarmed, and the other sheep being brought to hear and to know the voice of their true Shepherd thereby, all may be brought into full and perfect unity in the one fold of Thy Holy Catholic Church, under the wise and loving keeping of Thy Vicar, through the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who with Thee and the Holy Ghost, liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen."


-
Archbishop Mathew’s Prayer for Catholic Unity

 


 

 

His Excellency,

The Most Reverend Andre’ J.W. Queen, SCR

Superior General, Society of Christ the King

 


 

Society News Christ the King Theological Seminary Seminary Bookstore

 

 

Overview of the Society

 

 

The Society of Christ the King (SCR) ...

 

... Is a “Personal Prelature” organized within The Catholic Apostolic National Church. The society is devoted to the spread of the Word of God and the establishment of the church worldwide. The society adheres to the teachings of the ancient church, and seeks to spread the faith of the church to all parts of the world. Our professed adhere to the traditional teachings of the church, preferring them over the innovations found in denominations around the world today. Our charge is the establishment of parish church organizations and missions to serve the community.

 

Membership is accomplished through application to the national headquarters of the order. Membership is open to ordained clergy of The Catholic Apostolic National Church, as well as clergy of denominations in communication with The Catholic Apostolic National Church. Upon acceptance as a Candidate, a period of prayer and discernment is required of the candidate, accompanied by service to the parish or mission, biblical study, instruction in requirements and duties of the order, and examination of one's willingness to submit to this lifestyle. After a suitable period as a Novice, the individual proclaims a willingness to conform to this lifestyle in perpetuity, forever clinging to the ideals of the order, dedicating their life to the service of God. Upon being found to have successfully completed all of the necessary requirements, the Novice takes the oath of the order, becoming a Professed Member.

 

Purpose

 

The purpose of the society is to promulgate the teachings of the historical church, to promote all Christian activity that will safeguard the historical Deposit of Faith of the undivided church. The society, formed within The Catholic Apostolic National Church, is dedicated to the preservation of historical and true catholic doctrine, the rejection of innovations in the Faith, and the proper education of both clergy and laity within The Catholic Apostolic National Church.

 

Name

The name of the society shall be, "The Society of Christ the King" (Societas Christus Rex), and its initials shall be, "SCR", which shall determine an individual to be a full and professed member.

 

Membership

 

Membership shall be constituted of professed members, novices, and candidates. "Professed Members" shall be full members of the society. "Novices" shall be members of the society within their first year of membership. "Candidates" shall be those individuals who have applied for membership in the order and have been accepted and received for instruction. All, Professed Members, Novices and Candidates must, at each step in their reception into the order, state and affirm the oath of the Order. Novices becoming Professed Members take the oath in perpetuity.

 

Oath

 

The Oath of Fidelity of The Society of Christ the King Taken By Applicants To The Order Before Appointment

 

I, __________________________, believe and profess with firm faith each and every truth which is contained in the symbol of the Faith of which the Catholic Church makes use, namely:

 

                     I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. Begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father: by whom all things were made. Who for us men and our salvation came down from heaven. And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary: and was made man. He was crucified also for us: suffered under Pontius Pilate, died, and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the scriptures. And He ascended into heaven; He sitteth at the right hand of the Father. He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead: of whose kingdom there shall be no end. And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life: who proceedeth from the Father. Who together with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified: who spoke by the prophets. And in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the remission of sins. And I look for the resurrection of the dead. And the life of the world to come. Amen.

 

                     I resolutely accept and embrace the traditions of the Apostles and all other traditions of the whole Church, its observances and regulations. Likewise I accept the Sacred Scriptures in that very strict sense in which the Catholic Church, whose right it is to declare their true sense and meaning, has held them and holds them now; nor will I ever accept, modify, innovate or interpret them in a way contrary to the unanimous agreement of the Fathers of the Church.

 

                     Further I profess that there are seven true and proper Sacraments of the Church, each instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord for the salvation of the human race (although not all of them are necessary for everyone), namely, Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony; that these outward signs confer inner Grace, and that of these, Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders cannot be received a second time without sacrilege. I shall not administer any sacrament to any individual acting in defiance of the Church, or rejecting the authority or the sensus fidelum of the Church. Also, I accept and adhere to the rites of the solemn administration of the aforementioned Sacraments according as they have been accepted and approved by the Catholic Church.

 

                     I affirm that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, worthy, and expiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; and that the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, together with His Soul and Divinity, are really and substantially present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, and that there occurs a change in the total substance of the bread into His Body and of the total substance of the wine into His Blood, which change the Catholic Church calls Transubstantiation. I confess also that Christ, whole and entire, and the true Sacrament are received under either species.

 

As a Catholic Christian and as a members of the Mystical Body of Christ, I acknowledge adhere to, and affirm the following Catholic statements;

 

1.                    Although we acknowledge the primacy of the Petrine Office and the respect due to the Bishop of Rome, we do not believe the Successor of Peter to be infallible. We find no scriptural support for this doctrine, nor do we consider the doctrine of Papal Infallibility to be essential to the Christian understanding of the Indefectibility of the Church or to be integral to Our Lord's promise of the Holy Spirit's unfailing guidance of the Church. On the contrary, we see that this discipline has opened the door to the abuse of rightful authority and is the root cause of the dissent, anger, and suffering of many; in addition, it constitutes a barrier to ecumenical relationships with other ecclesiastical bodies and to the unity which is Our Lord's perpetual wish.

 

2.                  The Society of Christ the King is committed to a leadership of service rather than to one characterized by domination and control. To this end, we are dedicated to the establishment and maintenance of a collegial ecclesiastical structure which, while preserving the traditional orders of Church governance, will allow for greater equality, for a more democratic process, for diversity in unity and unity in diversity, and which will allow the sensus fidelium to be heard. We are committed to an ecclesiastical policy which will genuinely allow the laity to take their rightful place in the Church and which will give due respect to their gifts, to their intelligence, and to their ecclesiastical rights.

 

3.                  While acknowledging that celibacy is a great and noble gift, we also affirm that this discipline need not be imposed upon those who desire to engage in sacerdotal ministry. We observe that the discipline of mandatory clerical celibacy is an obstacle to the service of Christ and that this discipline prevents many from following the calling of Our Lord. Therefore, in keeping with the practice of the early Church, we affirm the priestly vocations of married persons and freely admit married individuals into all ranks of the clergy. The Society of Christ the King maintains its position, along with that of the historical universal church, and against all sexual activity outside of the sacramental bonds of Holy Matrimony. Holy Scriptures are clear in teaching that all sexual promiscuity is sin. We are convinced that this includes homosexual practices between men or women, as well as heterosexual relationships outside marriage. We are deeply concerned that the setting aside of biblical teaching in such actions as the ordination of practicing homosexuals and the blessing of same-sex unions calls into question the authority of Holy Scriptures.

 

4.                 Also in keeping with our respect for the full human dignity of all persons, we are committed to a policy which is more inclusive and which erects no artificial or illegitimate barriers to the reception of the Sacraments on the basis not only of gender but also of age, race, or ethnic background. We seek to embrace and to reconcile rather than to condemn and to alienate further those whose circumstances have caused them to experience rejection by the Church and by society at large Thus, in accordance with our general policy of ecumenical openness and compassion for our sisters and brothers in Christ, we do not withhold the reception of sacraments from any qualified person who desires to receive them. In particular, we place no artificial barriers in the way of the reception of the Sacrament of Baptism when a parent sincerely desires that through this Sacrament a child be received into the Mystical Body of Christ.

 

5.                  While we recognize the sacramentality and sanctity of marriage, are dedicated to the fostering of family life, and desire in every way to encourage life-long marital commitments, we recognize that in our present society it is a sad circumstance that marital relationships do not always last until death and that there are, in fact, occasions whereupon it is more detrimental to the parties involved to continue living together than to allow for a parting of the ways, and a continent life.

 

6.                  While we strongly affirm the sanctity of human life, we also affirm universal human rights as well as a person's individual responsibility before God concerning the quality of that life. We absolutely deplore and forbid abortion and abortiofacient drugs.

 

In no respect do we intend in these or in any future statements to separate ourselves from the Mystical Body of Christ. Nevertheless, with regard to these issues, we believe that the Papacy has overstepped the bounds of its legitimate authority and, in straying from the principles of loving compassion in the interests of preserving and enhancing its own power, has driven many to dissent, to disobedience, to reaction against what appears to us to be a clear abuse of power and of rightful authority.

 

I, __________________________, promise that, with God's help, I shall most constantly hold and profess the true Catholic Faith which I now freely profess and truly hold. With the help of God, I shall possess it whole and unblemished until my dying breath; And to the best of my ability, I shall see to it that my church and those entrusted to me by virtue of my office learn it, hold it, teach it, live it and preach it. I shall not swerve, nor deviate from it, so help me God, and His Holy Gospels.

 

Life Within The Society

 

All members of the Order are dedicated to working in community-based missions or parishes. Members are assigned a community-based ministry to work within for the purpose of ministering directly to the needs of the people, promoting education in the Faith, providing training in vocational needs, assisting in securing health needs, developing services for local youth, and establishing parishes within their respective provinces. Members of the Order must participate fully in the establishment of The Catholic Apostolic National Church and dedicate their efforts, energies, time, personal wealth, and resources to the greater glory of God, for the establishment and spread of the Word of God throughout the World.

 

History

 

The Society of Christ the King was established in 1999, on the Feast of Christ the King, by Fr. Andre’ Queen, as a Religious Order whose purpose was to more thoroughly teach the Catholic faith to both clergy and laity alike, through a rigorous application of theology and education, in an atmosphere of ascetic spiritual contemplative prayer and service to one’s fellow man. The order’s first Superior General was Robert Mathew Gubala, Bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, who was later to become the Archbishop-Metropolitan of the Catholic Apostolic National Church.

 

In the year 2000, Fr. Andre’ Queen, SCR, having been elevated to the episcopacy the prior year, was appointed to be the second Superior General of the Order. In 2001, the Order was to expand to the United Kingdom with the acceptance of the perpetual vows of Fr. Robin Westwood, SCR, who would later become the Provincial Superior of the Order for the United Kingdom. The Order, although vibrant and active within the Church, carrying out its mission, was yet to have a complete rule and guide to its three orders within the Society, until now.

 

In the year 2006, Bishop Andre’ Queen, SCR petitioned the Archbishop-Metropolitan, and in May 2006, His Eminence authorized the re-constitution of the order as a “personal prelature” under Bishop Andre’ Queen, SCR as prelate of the order. This done to further focus the members to their calling through service to Christ and the Church.

 

In order to look forward, it is sometimes necessary to look to our past. Indeed, as Old Catholics we do not seek to create a new creation, but seek merely to maintain that faith and worship that is believed everywhere, by everyone for all time. In that line of thought, we have sought to aid ourselves with a rule and guide that most closely resembles our theology and goals. In our search we realize ever more clearly, that it is we, who are the echo and those before us who are the original.

 

We find that, in a strong sense, we are echoes of the Brethren of the Common Life, born at Deventer, in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the 1300’s, founded by Geert De Groote. Geert believed in a combination of religion and learning, and preferred love, faith and humility. The members of the Brethren of the Common Life went on to establish teachers and headmasters of existing institutions, eventually establishing institutions of learning of their own.

 

He espoused meditation and spirituality, contemplating the Divine Word, and being storied in Scripture. He taught that meditation and knowledge, however, are not sufficient, but that it was necessary to confess Christ in work, to strive for perfect conformity with His life and death, if we desire to rise with Him and ascend into heaven. The Brethren of the Common Life espoused what we seek to espouse, and so we find that we have not created something new, but rather returned to something that once was.

 

The brethren of Deventer and Zwolle wrote: "Our house was founded with the intention that priests and clerics might live there, supported by their own manual labor, namely the copying of books, and the return from certain estates, attend church with devotion, obey the prelates, wear simple clothing, preserve the canons and decrees of the saints, practice religious exercises and lead not only irreproachable, but exemplary lives, in order that they may serve God and perchance induce others to seek salvation. Since the final end of religion consists in purity of heart, without which we shall seek perfection in vain, let it be our daily aim to purge our poisoned hearts from sin, so that in the first place we may learn to know ourselves, and endeavor with all our strength to eradicate the vices of our minds; despise temporal gain, crush selfish desires, aid others in overcoming sin, and concentrate our energy on the acquisition of true virtues, such as humility, love, chastity, patience, and obedience. Toward this end we must direct all our spiritual exercises: prayer, meditation, reading, manual labor, watching, fasting - in short the harmonious development of our internal and external powers."

 

We then return to this piety and carry on the work, which they have begun. In memorial of their impact, we add the subtitle to the name of our Society, “The Brethren of the Common Life”.

 

 

The Society of Christ the King (SCR) – The First Order

 

Ordained Clergy

 

Membership

 

Membership is composed only of those men having been ordained to either the diaconate, priesthood or the episcopacy. When an applicant applies for admission, the brethren are required to examine his physical condition, and his mental faculties; he should be asked from which country he has come. He should be asked, also, whether he could write, and loved to read books. In case he was found to be in good health and of sound mind and habits, he would be received as a novice for a year, whereupon he might be promoted to a further trial of ten or twelve months. After this lapse of time he might become a Brother of the Common Life, having first sworn before a notary public and in the presence of some witnesses that he renounced all claim to any property of his own. Members can be expelled in case of ill-behavior. The brethren are exhorted to preserve mutual love, peace, and harmony.

 

Daily Routine

 

The brethren of the first order who are going to live in the Monastic House take the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. The vows of obedience are not to the Diocesan Ordinary, but the Superior General of the Order, and their respective Provincial Superiors and Masters of the Monastic House in which they reside. The brethren of the first order, who are in the married estate, shall take vows of poverty and obedience, except that poverty shall not prevent the support of spouse and minor children, so as to provide a good and loving home.

 

The brethren of the first order shall make themselves available to minister the sacraments to the brethren and sisters of the Society in accordance with the Rule, and as needed and deemed necessary. The brethren who are not monastic, shall set aside no less than one week a year, in seclusion, for the purpose of living in one of the Monastic Houses, devoted to prayer, fasting and the study of Scripture.

 

Note that the Superior General has approved, for the House in the United Kingdom and all persons thereto, under the Provincial Superior for the United Kingdom and Europe, the use of the Benedictine Rule as the guide there.

 

Attire

 

The brethren of the first order shall, while carrying out all clerical duties, be appropriately garbed in attire proper to the dignity of their ordination, preferably in cassock or soutane. Brethren of the first order, however, should they be monastic, shall wear the attire suitable for brethren of the second order, with the full clerical collar.

 

 

The Servant Society of Christ the King (SSCR) - The Second Order

 

Monastic House

 

Membership

 

Each house should, if possible, have four priests and some other members of the clergy. When an applicant applies for admission, the brethren are required to examine his physical condition, and his mental equipment; he should be asked from which country he had come. He should be asked, also, whether he could write, and loved to read books. In case he was found to be in good health and of sound mind and habits, he would be allowed to remain in the house for twelve months as a novice, whereupon he might be promoted to a further trial of ten or twelve months. After this lapse of time he might become a Brother of the Common Life, having first sworn before a notary public and in the presence of some witnesses that he renounced all claim to any property of his own. Members can be expelled in case of ill-behavior. The brethren are exhorted to preserve mutual love, peace, and harmony. Note that the Superior General has approved, for the House in the United Kingdom and all persons thereto, under the Provincial Superior for the United Kingdom and Europe, the use of the Benedictine Rule as the guide there.

 

The brethren who are going to live in the Monastic House take the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. The vows of obedience are not to the Diocesan Ordinary, but the Superior General of the Order, and their respective Provincial Superiors and Masters of the Monastic House in which they reside.

 

The Brethren of the Common Life appoint rectors, procurators, librarians, and several other office-holders, as needed, within each Chapter House, both in the Monastic House and in the Community House.

 

Daily Routine

 

The brethren are to rise shortly before five o’ clock, preparing themselves at once for prayer and the reading of certain prescribed selections. All the members of the house are expected to attend the daily mass, and are exhorted to free their mind from all distractions, "thus preparing themselves, as it were, for a spiritual communion."

 

The brethren are expected to spend several hours a day in reading religious books, or else in performing other tasks. The breviary shall be the order of the day. But lest the spirit suffer from neglect, they should occasionally utter short prayers. The brethren are to consume their meals in silence, in order that they may pay proper attention to the reading of a selection from the Bible. After supper they can do as they pleased in their own rooms till eight o'clock. At eight all guests are to leave the house. The doors are to be shut fast, and silence observed till half past eight, when it is time to go to bed.

 

Attire

 

The brethren shall attire themselves in the appropriate monastic garb, including black clerical shirt, “brother’s collar” and black monastic attire, unless engaged in strenuous labor or unduly inclement weather. The brethren may, with permission from the Master of the Monastic House, wear attire suitable to the laity while engaged in certain types of employment, but only for that specific time.

 

Convent

 

Membership

 

When an applicant applies for admission, the sisters are required to examine her physical condition, and her mental stability; she should be asked from which country she had come. She should be asked, also, whether she could write, and loved to read books. In case she was found to be in good health and of sound mind and habits, she would be allowed to remain in the house for a year as a novice, whereupon she might be promoted to a further trial of ten or twelve months. After this lapse of time she might become a Sister of the Common Life, having first sworn before a notary public and in the presence of some witnesses that she renounced all claim to any property of her own. Members can be expelled in case of ill-behavior. The sisters are exhorted to preserve mutual love, peace, and harmony.

 

The sisters who are going to live in the Convent take the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. The vows of obedience are not to the Diocesan Ordinary, but the Superior General of the Order, the Mother Superior, and their respective Provincial Superiors and Reverend Mother of the Convent in which they reside.

 

The Sisters of the Common Life appoint rectors, procurators, librarians, and several other office-holders, as needed, within each Chapter House, both in the Convent and in the Community House.

 

Daily Routine

 

The daily routine of the Sisters of the Common Life is identical to that of the Brethren in the Monastic House. Note that the Superior General has approved, for the House in the United Kingdom and all persons thereto, under the Provincial Superior for the United Kingdom and Europe, the use of the Benedictine Rule as the guide there.

 

The sisters are to rise shortly before five o’ clock, preparing themselves at once for prayer and the reading of certain prescribed selections. All the members of the convent are expected to attend the daily mass, and are exhorted to free their mind from all distractions, "thus preparing themselves, as it were, for a spiritual communion."

 

The sisters are expected to spend several hours a day in reading religious books, or else in performing other tasks. The breviary shall be the order of the day. But lest the spirit suffer from neglect, they should occasionally utter short prayers. The sisters are to consume their meals in silence, in order that they may pay proper attention to the reading of a selection from the Bible. After supper they can do as they pleased in their own rooms till eight o'clock. At eight all guests are to leave the convent. The doors are to be shut fast, and silence observed till half past eight, when it is time to go to bed.

 

Attire

 

The sisters shall attire themselves in the appropriate black habit, as determined by the Mother Superior of the Sisters of the Common Life, unless engaged in strenuous labor or unduly inclement weather. The sisters may, with permission from the Reverend Mother of the Monastic House, wear modest attire, suitable to the laity, while engaged in certain types of employment, but only for that specific time.

 

 

The Tertiary Society of Christ the King (TSCR) - Third Order [Regular and Secular]

 

Community House [Regulars]

 

Only those who were not bound by monastic vows can secure admittance; nor are they expected to take such vows on entering the house. They are free to leave if they chose. All the members of the house remain members of the local parish church, just as all other laymen. Their clothes shall in no respect be different from those of the other men or women in the city, for they were neither brothers nor nuns. One may even be a member of the society without living in the Community House. A community house is organized and constituted one for men, and one for women, in any location authorized by the Provincial Superior where there is such a call for them.

 

No one is expected to cede their property, on entering the house; the members all work in common and share the expenses together, while the income would be equally divided. Every member of the house who is able to work would is expected to contribute their share of manual labor.

 

Note that the Superior General has approved, for the House in the United Kingdom and all persons thereto, under the Provincial Superior for the United Kingdom and Europe, the use of the Benedictine Rule as the guide there.

 

 

Family Life [Seculars]

 

Likewise those members of the third order who are married, shall continue to live their lives in the married estate, with their spouses and children. They shall set aside times daily to be devoted to prayer and the reading of Scripture, and shall devote time in service to God each week to their local parish, in concert with the local Community House, if one has been established. Members in family life are to also live soberly, wear simple clothes, and work towards fostering in themselves the virtues of humility, love, chastity, patience, and obedience. Those member of the third order of the Society in the married life shall devote no less than one weekend a year, in seclusion at the Community House of proper gender, dedicated to prayer, fasting and the study of Scripture.

 

Attire

 

The members of the third order of the Society living either in the Community House, or in Family Life, are to live soberly, and wear modest clothes.

 

 


The Rule

 

The Rule of the Order for those in Monastic Houses or Convents shall be as stated herein, based upon the Rule of St. Augustine. This shall be the Rule for those of the Second Order, except as approved by the Superior General. Note that the Superior General has approved, for the House in the United Kingdom and all persons thereto, under the Provincial Superior for the United Kingdom and Europe, the use of the Benedictine Rule as the guide there.

 

 

Chapter I

Purpose and Basis of Common Life

 

Before all else, dear brothers and sisters, love God and then your neighbor, because these are the chief commandments given to us.

 

1. The following are the precepts we order you living in the monastery to observe.

 

2. The main purpose for you having come together is to live harmoniously in your house, intent upon God in oneness of mind and heart.

 

3. Call nothing your own, but let everything be yours in common. Food and clothing shall be distributed to each of you by your superior, not equally to all, for all do not enjoy equal health, but rather according to each one's need. For so you read in the Acts of the Apostles that they had all things in common and distribution was made to each one according to each one's need (4:32,35).

 

4. Those who owned something in the world should be careful in wanting to share it in common once they have entered the monastery.

 

5. But they who owned nothing should not look for those things in the monastery that they were unable to have in the world. Nevertheless, they are to be given all that their health requires even if, during their time in the world, poverty made it impossible for them to find the very necessities of life. And those should not consider themselves fortunate because they have found the kind of food and clothing which they were unable to find in the world.

 

6. And let them not hold their heads high, because they associate with people whom they did not dare to approach in the world, but let them rather lift up their hearts and not seek after what is vain and earthly. Otherwise, monasteries will come to serve a useful purpose for the rich and not the poor, if the rich are made humble there and the poor are puffed up with pride.

 

7. The rich, for their part, who seemed important in the world, must not look down upon their brothers who have come into this holy brotherhood from a condition of poverty. They should seek to glory in the fellowship of poor brothers rather than in the reputation of rich relatives. They should neither be elated if they have contributed a part of their wealth to the common life, nor take more pride in sharing their riches with the monastery than if they were to enjoy them in the world. Indeed, every other kind of sin has to do with the commission of evil deeds, whereas pride lurks even in good works in order to destroy them. And what good is it to scatter one's wealth abroad by giving to the poor, even to become poor oneself, when the unhappy soul is thereby more given to pride in despising riches than it had been in possessing them?

 

8. Let all of you then live together in oneness of mind and heart, mutually honoring God in yourselves, whose temples you have become.

 

 

Chapter II

Prayer

 

1. Be assiduous in prayer (Col 4:2), at the hours and times appointed.

 

2. In the Oratory no one should do anything other than that for which was intended and from which it also takes its name. Consequently, if there are some who might wish to pray there during their free time, even outside the hours appointed, they should not be hindered by those who think something else must be done there.

 

3. When you pray to God in Psalms and hymns, think over in your hearts the words that come from your lips.

 

4. Chant only what is prescribed for chant; moreover, let nothing be chanted unless it is so prescribed.

 

 

Chapter III

Moderation and Self-Denial

 

1. Subdue the flesh, so far as your health permits, by fasting and abstinence from food and drink. However, when someone is unable to fast, he should still take no food outside mealtimes unless he is ill.

 

2. When you come to table, listen until you leave to what is the custom to read, without disturbance or strife. Let not your mouths alone take nourishment but let your hearts too hunger for the words of God.

 

3. If those in more delicate health from their former way of life are treated differently in the matter of food, this should not be a source of annoyance to the others or appear unjust in the eyes of those who owe their stronger health to different habits of life. Nor should the healthier brothers deem them more fortunate for having food, which they do not have, but rather consider themselves fortunate for having the good health, which the others do not enjoy.

 

4. And if something in the way of food, clothing, and bedding is given to those coming to the monastery from a more genteel way of life, which is not given to those who are stronger, and therefore happier, then these latter ought to consider how far these others have come in passing from their life in the world down to this life of ours, though they have been unable to reach the level of frugality common to the stronger brothers. Nor should all want to receive what they see given in larger measure to the few, not as a token of honor, but as a help to support them in their weakness. This would give rise to a deplorable disorder - that in the monastery, where the rich are coming to bear as much hardship as they can, the poor are turning to a more genteel way of life.

 

5. And just as the sick must take less food to avoid discomfort, so too, after their illness, they are to receive the kind of treatment that will quickly restore their strength, even though they come from a life of extreme poverty. Their more recent illness has, as it were, afforded them what accrued to the rich as part of their former way of life. But when they have recovered their former strength, they should go back to their happier way of life which, because their needs are fewer, is all the more in keeping with God's servants. Once in good health, they must not become slaves to the enjoyment of food, which was necessary to sustain them in their illness. For it is better to suffer a little want than to have too much.

 

 

Chapter IV

Safeguarding Chastity, and Fraternal Correction

 

1. There should be nothing about your clothing to attract attention. Besides, you should not seek to please by your apparel, but by a good life.

 

2. Whenever you go out, walk together, and when you reach your destination, stay together.

 

3. In your walk, deportment, and in all actions, let nothing occur to give offense to anyone who sees you, but only what becomes your holy state of life.

 

4. Although your eyes may chance to rest upon some member of the opposite sex, you must not fix your gaze upon any member of the opposite sex. Seeing a member of the opposite sex when you go out is not forbidden, but it is sinful to desire them or to wish them to desire you, for it is not by tough or passionate feeling alone but by one's gaze also that lustful desires mutually arise. And do not say that your hearts are pure if there is immodesty of the eye, because the unchaste eye carries the message of an impure heart. And when such hearts disclose their unchaste desires in a mutual gaze, even without saying a word, then it is that chastity suddenly goes out of their life, even though their bodies remain unsullied by unchaste acts.

 

5. And whoever fixes his gaze upon a member of the opposite sex and likes to have theirs fixed upon them must not suppose that others do not see what they are doing. They are very much seen, even by those they think do not see them. But suppose all this escapes the notice of man - what will they do about God who sees from on high and from whom nothing is hidden? Or are we to imagine that he does not see because he sees with a patience as great as his wisdom? Let the religious man and woman then have such fear of God that they will not want to be an occasion of sinful pleasure to another. Ever mindful that God sees all things, let them not desire to look at another lustfully. For it is on this point that fear of the Lord is recommended, where it is written: An abomination to the Lord is he who fixes his gaze (Prv. 27:20)

 

6. So when you are together in church and anywhere else where members of the opposite sex are present, exercise a mutual care over purity of life. Thus, by mutual vigilance over one another will God, who dwells in you, grant you his protection.

 

7. If you notice in someone of your brothers or sisters this wantonness of the eye, of which I am speaking, admonish him or her at once so that the beginning of evil will not grow more serious but will be promptly corrected.

 

8. But if you see him or her doing the same thing again on some other day, even after your admonition, then whoever had occasion to discover this must report him or her as they would a wounded individual in need of treatment. But let the offense first be pointed out to two or three so that they can be proven guilty on the testimony of these two or three and be punished with due severity. And do not charge yourselves with ill-will when you bring this offense to light. Indeed, yours in the greater blame if you allow your brothers or sisters to be lost through your silence when you are able to bring about their correction by your disclosure. If you brother or sister, for example, were suffering a bodily wound that he or she wanted to hide for fear of undergoing treatment, would it not be cruel of you to remain silent and a mercy on your part to make this known? How much greater then is your obligation to make his condition known lest he or she continue to suffer a more deadly wound of the soul.

 

9. But if he or she fails to correct the fault despite this admonition, the person should first be brought to the attention of the superior before the offense is made known to the others who will have to prove his or her guilt, in the event he denies the charge. Thus, corrected in private, the individual’s fault can perhaps be kept from the others. But should the person feign ignorance, the others are to be summoned so that in the presence of all that person can be proven guilty, rather than stand accused on the word of one alone. Once proven guilty, the individual must undergo salutary punishment according to the judgment of the superior or priest having the proper authority. If they refuse to submit to punishment, they shall be expelled from even if he or she does not withdraw of his or her own accord. For this too is not done out of cruelty, but from a sense of compassion so that many others may not be lost through his bad example.

 

10. And let everything I have said about not fixing one's gaze be also observed carefully and faithfully with regard to other offenses: to find them out, to ward them off, to make them known, to prove and punish them - all out of love for man and a hatred of sin.

 

11. But if anyone should go so far in wrongdoing as to receive letters in secret from any member of the opposite sex, or small gifts of any kind, you ought to show mercy and pray for him or her if the person confesses this of his or her own accord. But if the offense is detected and the person is found guilty, he or she must be more severely chastised according to the judgment of the priest or superior.

 

 

Chapter V

The Care of Community Goods and Treatment of the Sick

 

1. Keep your clothing in one place in charge of one or two, or of as many as are needed to care for them and to prevent damage from moths. And just as you have your food from the one pantry, so, too, you are to receive your clothing from a single wardrobe. If possible, do not be concerned about what you are given to wear at the change of seasons, whether each of you gets back what he had put away or something different, providing no one is denied what he needs. If, however, disputes and murmuring arise on this account because someone complains that he received poorer clothing than he had before, and thinks it is beneath him to wear the kind of clothing worn by another, you may judge from this how lacking you are in that holy and inner garment of the heart when you quarrel over garments for the body. But if allowance is made for your weakness and you do receive the same clothing you had put away, you must still keep it in one place under the common charge.

 

2. In this way, no one shall perform any task for his or her own benefit but all your work shall be done for the common good, with greater zeal and more dispatch than if each one of you were to work for yourself alone. For charity, as it is written, is not self-seeking (1 Cor. 13:5) meaning that it places the common good before its own, not its own before the common good. So whenever you show greater concern for the common good than for your own, you may know that you are growing in charity. Thus, let the abiding virtue of charity prevail in all things that minister to the fleeting necessities of life.

 

3. It follows, therefore, that if anyone brings something for their sons or daughters or other relatives living in the monastery or convent, whether a garment or anything else they think is needed, this must not be accepted secretly as one's own but must be placed at the disposal of the superior so that, as common property, it can be given to whoever needs it. But if someone secretly keeps something given to him, that person shall be judged guilty of theft.

 

4. Your clothing should be cleaned either by yourselves or by those who perform this service, as the superior shall determine, so that too great a desire for clean clothing may not be the source of interior stains on the soul.

 

5. As for bodily cleanliness too, a brother or sister must never deny themselves the use of the bath when health requires it.

 

6. Finally, if the cause of a brother's or sister’s bodily pain is not apparent, you make take the word of God's servant when he or she indicates what is causing pain. But if it remains uncertain whether the remedy he or she likes is good, a doctor should be consulted.

 

7. The care of the sick, whether those in convalescence or others suffering from some indisposition, even though free of fever, shall be assigned to a brother or sister who can personally obtain from the pantry whatever he sees is necessary for each one.

 

8. Those in charge of the pantry, or of clothing and books, should render cheerful service to their brothers or sisters.

 

10. Books are to be requested at a fixed hour each day, and anyone coming outside that hour is not to receive them.

 

11. But as for clothing and shoes, those in charge shall not delay the giving of them whenever they are required by those in need of them.

 

 

Chapter VI

Asking Pardon and Forgiving Offenses

 

1.Your should either avoid quarrels altogether or else put an end to them as quickly as possible; otherwise, anger may grow into hatred, making a plank out of a splinter, and turn the soul into a murderer. For so you read: Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer (1 Jn 3:15).

 

2. Whoever has injured another by open insult, or by abusive or even incriminating language, must remember to repair the injury as quickly as possible by an apology, and he who suffered the injury must also forgive, without further wrangling. But if they have offended one another, they must forgive one another's trespasses for the sake of your prayers which should be recited with greater sincerity each time you repeat them. Although a brother or sister is often tempted to anger, yet prompt to ask pardon from one he or she admits to having offended, such a one is better than another who, though less given to anger, finds it too hard to ask forgiveness. But a brother or sister who is never willing to ask pardon, or does not do so from his heart, has no reason to be in the monastery or convent, even if not expelled. You must then avoid being too harsh in your words, and should they escape your lips, let those same lips not be ashamed to heal the wounds they have caused.

 

3. But whenever the good of discipline requires you to speak harshly in correcting your subjects, then, even if you think you have been unduly harsh in your language, you are not required to ask forgiveness lest, by practicing too great humility toward those who should be your subjects, the authority to rule is undermined. But you should still ask forgiveness from the Lord of all who knows with what deep affection you love even those whom you might happen to correct with undue severity. Besides, you are to love another with a spiritual rather than an earthly love.

 

 

Chapter VII

Governance and Obedience

 

1. The superior should be obeyed with the respect due, so as not to offend God in his person, and, even more so, the priest who bears responsibility for you all.

 

2. But it shall pertain chiefly to the superior to see that these precepts are all observed and, if any point has been neglected, to take care that the transgression is not carelessly overlooked but is punished and corrected. In doing so, he or she must refer whatever exceeds the limit and power of the office, to the priest who enjoys greater authority among you.

 

3. The superior, for his or her own part, must not think himself fortunate in the exercise of authority but in the role as one serving you in love. In your eyes he or she shall hold the first place among you by the dignity of the office, but in fear before God he or she shall be as the least among you. He or she must show oneself as an example of good works toward all. Let him admonish the unruly, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, and be patient toward all (1 Thess. 5:14). Let him or her uphold discipline while instilling fear. And though both are necessary, he or she should strive to be loved by you rather than feared, ever mindful that he or she must give an account of you to God.

 

4. It is by being more obedient, therefore, that you show mercy not only toward yourselves but also toward the superior whose higher rank among you exposes him or her all the more to greater peril.

 

 

Chapter VIII

Observance of the Rule

 

1. The Lord grant that you may observe all these precepts in a spirit of charity as lovers of spiritual beauty, giving forth the good odor of Christ in the holiness of your lives: not as slaves living under the law but as men and women living in freedom under grace.

 

2. And that you may see yourselves in this little book, as in a mirror, have it read to you once a week so as to neglect no point through forgetfulness. When you find that you are doing all that has been written, give thanks to the Lord, the Giver of every good. But when one of you finds that he has failed on any point, let him or her be sorry for the past, be on guard for the future, praying that he or she will be forgiven his fault and not be led into temptation.

 

3. Note that the Superior General has approved, for the House in the United Kingdom and all persons thereto, under the Provincial Superior for the United Kingdom and Europe, the use of the Benedictine Rule as the guide there.

 


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