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MONASTICISM


459


MONASTICISM


dence of religious persons. It supposes, therefore, continuous habitation of a community strictly so called, governed by a superior and following the rule prescribed by the respective order. Such a religious house is to be distinguished from a grange or farm, from a villa or place of recreation, and from a hospice or place for the reception of travelling religious. The conditions for the legitimate erection of a monastery are: (1) the permission of the Holy See. This is cer- tain for countries subject to th Decree "Romanes Pontifices" (i. e. the United States, England, etc.) ; it is also required for Italy. Outside of Italy and mission- ary countries generally, the question is much disputed by canonists; (2) the assent of the ordinary. This condition was approved by the Council of Chalcedon in -lol, and was in force as late as the twelfth centurj'. In the thirteenth, the privileges of the mendicant orders caused frequent derogations from the law, but the ancient discipline was re-stored by the Council of Trent (Sess. XX\', de Reg., cap. iii). This permis- sion cannot be given by the vicar-general nor by the vicar-capitular. Before the bishop g^ves his assent, he should make himself acquainted with the opinions of those to whom such a monastery might prove a det- riment, as the superiors of other religious orders al- ready' established there, or the people of the place. The parish priest cannot object, unless it is intended to confer parochial rights on the new rehgious house; (3) there must be a proper pro\asion for the sustenance of twelve religious, otherwise they must live under the jurisdiction of the ordinarj'. This last condition does not, however, apply to countries where the "Romanos Pontifices" is in force. For the transfer of a monas- tery from one site to another in the same locality, no permission of the Holy See is required, as this is trans- lation, not erection. There was an ancient law that a new monastery could not be erected within a certain distance from an older one, but it has gone into desue- tude. As regards convents of rehgious women, the as- sent of the ordinary is required, but not that of the Holy See. The same holds for the erection of houses of pious congregations and institutes.

Bachofen. Compendium Juris Regularium (New York. 1903); Tacnton, The Law of the Church (St. Louis. 1906). s. v. Monas- tery; Vermeebsch, De Religiosis Inslilutis, I (Bruges, 1902).

William H. W. Fanning.

Monasticism. — Monasticism or monachism, liter- ally the act of "dwelling alone" (Greek, iiSvos, fiopd^eiv, Mo^axl5s), has come to denote the mode of life pertain- ing to persons living in seclusion from the world, under religious vows and subject to a fixed rule, as monks, friars, nuns, or in general as religious. The basic idea of monasticism in all its varieties is seclu- sion or withdrawal from the world or society. The ob- ject of this is to achieve a life whose ideal is different from and largely at variance with that pursued by the majority of mankind; and the method adopted, no matter what its precise details may be, is always self- abnegation or organized asceticism. Taken in this broad sense monachism may be found in every religious svstem which has attained to a high degree of ethical development, such as the Brahmin, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian, and Moslem religions, and even in the sys- tem of those modern communistic societies, oft^n anti- theological in theory, which are a special feature of recent social development especially in America. Hence it is claimed that a form of life which flourishes in en\'ironments so diverse must be the expression of a principle inherent in human nature and rooted therein no less deeplv than the principle of domestic- ity, though obviouslv limited to a far smaller portion of mankind. This article and its two ensumg sec- tions. Eastern Monasticism and Western Monas- ticism, deal with the monastic order strictly so called as di.stinct from the "religious orders" such as the friars, canons regular, clerks regular, and the more recent congregations. For information as to these


see Religious Orders, and the article on the partic- ular order or congregation required.

I. Its Growth and Method. — Origin. — Any dis- cussion of pre-Cliristian asceticism is outside the scope of this article, but readers who wish to study this por- tion of the subject may be referred to Part I, of Dr. Zockler's "Askese und Monrhtum" (Frankfort, 1897), which deals with the prevalence of the ascetic idea among races of the most diverse character. So too, any question of Jewish asceticism r.s exemplified in the Essenes or Thcrapeutte of Philo's "De Vita Con- templativa" is excluded, but for this reference may be given to Mr. F. C. Conybeare's volume "Philo about the Contemplative Life" (Oxford, 1S95), by which the authenticity of the work has been reinstated after the attacks of Dr. Lucius and other scholars. It has already been pointed out that the monastic ideal is an ascetic one, but it would be WTong to say that the earliest Christian asceticism was monastic. Any such thing was rendered impossible by the circumstances in which the early Christians were placed, for in the first centurj' or so of the Church's existence the idea of hy- ing apart from the congregation of the faithful, or of forming within it associations to practise special re- nunciations in common was out of question. Wliile admitting this however it is equally certain that mo- nasticism, when it came, was little more than a precipi- tation of ideas pre\-iously in solution among Chris- tians. For asceticism is the struggle against worldly principles, even with such as are merely worldly with- out being sinful. The world desires and honours wealth, so the ascetic loves and honours poverty. If he must have something in the nature of property then he and his fellows shall hold it in common, just because the world respects and safeguards private ownership. In like manner he practises fasting and virginity that thereby he may repudiate the licence of the world.

Hereafter the various items of this renunciation will be dealt with in detail, they are mentioned at this stage merely to show how the monastic ideal was fore- shadowed in the asceticism of the Gospel and its first followers. Such passages as I John, ii, 15-17: "Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father ia not in him. For all that is in the world is the concu- piscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Feather but is of the world. And the world passeth away and the concupiscence thereof. But he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever" — passages which might be multiplied, and can bear but one meaning if taken liter- ally. And this is precisely what the early ascetics did. We read of some who, driven by the spirit of God, dedicated their energies to the spread of the Gospel and, giWng up all their possessions passed from city to city in voluntary poverty as apostles and evangelists. Of others we hear that they renounced property and marriage so as to devote their lives to the poor and needy of their particular church. If these were not strictly speaking monks and nuns, at least the monks and nuns were such as these; and, when the monastic life took definite shape in the fourth century, these forerunners were naturally looked up to as the first exponents of monachism. For the truth is that the Christian ideal is frankly an ascetic one and mona- chism is simply the endeavour to effect a material reali- zation of that ideal, or organization in accordance with it, when taken literally as regards its "Counsels" as well as its "Precepts" (see Asceticism ; Codnsels, Evangelical).

Besides a desire of observing the evangelical coun- sels, and a horror of the \ice and disorder that pre- vailed in a pagan age, two contributory causes in par- ticular are often indicated as leading to a renunciation of the world among the^arly Christians. The first of these was the expectation of an immediate Second