Thursday, February 04, 2016

New Video from the Benedictine Monks of St. Bernard Abbey

Here at NLM we do all we can to let people know about good things happening throughout the Church, in the ambits of Eastern and Western rites, in parishes, religious communities, and lay institutions. It is true that contributors have a variety of points of view about what is the best way forward, but it is no less true that we welcome any and every positive development in the realm of liturgy, especially as the example and teaching of Pope Benedict XVI spread their influence more and more among thoughtful members of the Church.

Today I would like to showcase a new video produced by Saint Bernard’s Abbey in Cullman, Alabama. A chant maestro and a friend of NLM suggested that we share this video with our readers, as it offers a hopeful glimpse into the lives of Benedictine monks who, while not completely traditional in orientation, are striving to live their monastic life within a hermeneutic of continuity.[1] The video shows them, among other things, using real chant books (they do most of their office in English plainchant, following the psalter of the Rule of St. Benedict), using incense and better vestments than one might find elsewhere, giving communion on the tongue, and other ROTR-type things. (One might say: “This should all be non-negotiable!”, but anyone who has visited Benedictine monasteries knows that it’s far from being the norm.)

The community is growing and attracting new vocations. Judging from what they are showing about themselves, it would seem to me that they will keep moving more and more in the direction of the monastic tradition. One may hope to see in the future a place for the usus antiquior, so beautifully attuned to the contemplative religious life.

For high-definition:

[1] Please don’t write in the combox that “Pope Benedict didn’t say ‘hermeneutic of continuity,’ he said ‘hermeneutic of reform in continuity...’ ”, blah blah blah. This Rhonheimer canard -- a partial truth, at best -- has been thoroughly deconstructed (see here) and yet it never seems to die the death.

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