UK Cardinal praises monastic life

In today's Europe where the family is fragile, monasteries teach the "art of belonging to each other", the Archbishop of Westminster told monks gathered at Downside Abbey church yesterday.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor was speaking at the community's patronal feast day of St Gregory's, as part of the Benedictine Abbey's 400th anniversary celebrations, Independent Catholic News reports.

In a society where people seek the "fruits" without the "roots", monastic communities show by their lives that "it is the roots of our existence which need to be tended if our lives are to be joyful", the Cardinal said in his sermon.

He said a monastery "is not a flight from the fragility of human nature, but a way of meeting it and transforming it".

It is a place of "mutual caring and covenant relationships" where "people learn to relate, to love others, to meet the person behind the label, to live tenderness, to communicate, to forgive, to grow in freedom and to worship together," he said.

The Cardinal praised the Rule of St Benedict, which he described as "a rock, but not a hard place". He said he wished everyone could see the Church's own rules and doctrines in the way that St Benedict intended his: "as gentle prods to change, not weights and burdens; and as lessons in the school of love."

The Cardinal said it was "a very good time to be a monk", to be part of "a great tradition which is a vehicle of abundant Grace".

Congratulating Downside on its anniversary, he told the monks: "Continue to make your monastery a place of joyful freedom, a sign of peace and a testament to the beauty of holiness - and we shall all be grateful."

Cardinal praises Downside for teaching the 'art of belonging' (Independent Catholic News 14/3/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Cardinal congratulates Downside for teaching the 'art of belonging' (Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster 13/3/06)
Catholic Church in England and Wales

British cardinal prays for Iraq peacemaker hostages (CathNews 13/12/05)

Monks Hailed for the "Art of Belonging" (Zenit 13/3/06)

15 Mar 2006