Thursday, January 9, 2014

As 800th Anniversary of the Founding of the Dominicans Nears, Birthplace of Thomism is Closed

Empty Halls of the Dominicans
(Rome) The Dominican Order is one of the most glorious orders of the Catholic Church.  Officially recognized as a religious order in 1215, its members devoted themselves to living in poverty as preachers of the Community of Saint Dominic to combat the Cathar heresy and for the conversion of the Cathars. Just before the Order could celebrate its 800th anniversary, one monastery after another must be closed due to shortage of young workers.  Including traditional-worthy  houses in Graz, Florence, and in Friesach the oldest monastery in the German-speaking areas and in Naples even the monastery of Saint Thomas Aquinas.
The monastery in Graz, Austria has been abandoned after 547 years. The history of the monastery was as changeable as the times. Founded in 1466, a move took place in the 16th Century. The oldest Dominican Church is an urban parish church today. The new monastery was lost in the "Cloister Storm" of the Enlightenment and was expropriated in 1807 by the Emperor. The former Dominican monastery now houses a convention center whose premises can be rented. The Dominicans then were referred to a third location in the city and took over the also abolished Augustinian Hermitage at Münzgraben. In 1832 they had to hand it over to the Jesuits, but were able to return in 1857. In 2012  the decision of the South German-Austrian Province of the Order of St. Albert, was made to dissolve the monastery and in the summer of 2013 it was abandoned.

Oldest Dominican Convent in the German Area Only "Pastoral Station"

The oldest Dominican monastery in the German-speaking world, the monastery in Carinthia Friesach,  was founded in 1216 just one year after the order was recognized, has been dissolved in 2010 by the Province of the Order. Friesach still exists as a Dominican pastoral station. In Austria there is thus nothing more than one Dominican monastery, the one in Vienna. In the Province of Southern Germany-Austria also gives you some monastery convents in Freiburg im Breisgau, Munich and Augsburg.
The prestigious convent of Naples was closed. San Domenico Maggior has been  a spiritual center of scholasticism since 1302. St. Thomas Aquinas took the Dominican habit at the age of 19 there in Naples. In this monastery he wrote a large part of his Summa contra Gentiles in 1259, founded a general study in 1272  which is  what we now know as the Faculty of Theology, and in 1274 wrote the third part of the Summa Theologiae.  The  great saint lived till 1274 in the convent of Naples, when he set out for the Council of Lyons. He could not come back because he died on the voyage.
His theology remained in the monastery  and developed from there a positive effect on the church. The Second Vatican Council strongly recommends the Saints as  teachers ( Optatam Totius, No. 16 ) and to follow the footsteps of the Holy ( Gravissimum educationis, No. 10 ). Church law especially recommends following "the doctrine of St. Thomas" to follow (for the formation of clergy Can. 251.3 ).

Monastery of Saint Thomas Aquinas Will be Closed Down - Not an Isolated Case

But now to the monastery where St. Thomas entered, had been formed,  lived and worked, will be abandoned. A similar decision was taken by the provincial chapter of the Order. The monastery church of San Domenico Maggiore, in the historic center is one of the main churches of Naples. The graves of leaders over 800 years are in it. Many artists such as Titian and Caravaggio have designed their interiors. The Monastery was for centuries the seat of the Province of the Order Regni utriusque Siciliae that covered all of Southern Italy and Sicily, equipped with a Faculty of Theology and a rich library. In this monastery renowned theological and philosophical journals were published. It was only 23 years ago that was Philosophical Institute St. Thomas Aquinas was established. "The fact that after 800 years, this center with such a heritage is put to quite an unspectacular  end, is something incredible in itself," says Mauro Faverzani of Corrispondenza Romana .
"A tragic incident, but not an isolated case," said Faverzani. Almost at the same time, the closure of the monastery of San Marco in Florence, it was decided by another Dominican Province, where the Order had been since 1436. Another center of asceticism, of art, of intellectual debate, which housed the co-patron of the St. Antoninus of Florence, as well as Maxim the Greek, whom the Orthodox venerate as a saints, but also Savonarola, Cosimo de 'Medici, Pico della Mirandola and the St. Philip Neri. Part of the monastery, the first renowned library of modern times, which was opened to the public in general, as an apothecary of European importance. Now this monastery is also dissolved, although only recently extensive and costly renovations were performed. The Provincial Government is of the opinion that two convents in Florence (the other is located at the Church of Santa Maria Novella), is a "luxury". However, an abandoned site is to be managed by the future surviving pastoral location. Reference is made to the lack of friars.
In Rome there are also two convents in two monasteries, which are close together, both are only a few brothers. Nevertheless, it holds by the Rule on both, addressed by Fratres ibique habitualiter degentes   (Constitutions No. 260.1).

On "Spirit of the Council" Follows "Bureaucratic Spirit" - Serious   Research Isn't Undertaken

"In order to justify what is unjustifiable,   bureaucratic thinking has also entered into the spiritual realm," said Corrispondenza Romana . In the interviews given by Dominicans in Florence, therefore, is much talk of "reorganization", "rationalization", "redeployment of resources" as they give to themselves  a business mentality. Believers have now directed an appeal to the General Master of the Order, to take back "the legitimate, but spiritually and culturally deadly decision." The General Master will soon visit all three Italian Dominican Provinces.
The Dominican Order was not only the first order, which powerfully inhaled the "spirit of the Council", but also to the first order, but is among the first that spread this "spirit" abroad with enthusiasm. Leading representatives of the Nouvelle Theology came from the Order of Preachers. Declining vocations, empty seminaries and now the shutting down of the monasteries shows how lethal the "Spirit of the Council" is.

Way Out of Crisis is about Return to the Charism of the Founder

The progressive stream carried by the "Spirit of the Council"  in the Church responded to the crisis "both structurally" with the dissolution of cloisters and the closure of the monasteries. A root cause analysis, as to how it could come to such a disastrous development  within 50 years, has not been accomplished . Thus, a serious search is bypassed for a remedy. There are Dominican forces, which show that there is another way and a return to the charism of the Founder is not only possible, but also represents the way out of the crisis. They are isolated in Europe, but stronger in parts of North America.
Text: CR / Giuseppe Nardi
image: Corrispondenza Romana
Trans: Tancred


Anonymous said...

Will the Vatican be pleased that they do not have to appoint a commissioner to bring down the Order then? Saves the trouble that way. We know that a true and flourishing Order is not wanted. The FI, in many if not most cases, took over abandoned monasteries but we know what is happening to them and already there is the forced closing of a number of friaries including seminary and shrines and NOT for lack of friars but because their faithful--and post conciliar!--traditionalism is a crime against the 'spirit of the Council' which obviously is not the Holy Spirit.

Clinton R. said...

Obviously the 'spirit' of the Council was a most evil spirit that has attempted to destroy the holy Faith.

Lynda said...

Ah, yes, the many "fruits of Vatican II".

Anonymous said...

Just you wait, they will demolish the Sistine Chapel and melt Bernini's Baldacchino to sell and give to the poor, just like Judas Iscariot's indignation against that pious woman's application of ointment unto the Lord.

Maybe the Vatican would be handed over to the Italian government and St. Peter's Basilica will become what Hagia Sophia is now- a godless corpse of a once living place of worship.

Orchestras and choirs will still perform, of course. Just not for the glory of God, but the glory of man. And how we'll congratulate ourselves for a job well done as tourists with their unruly children gawk at the remains of our Popes and the bones of St. Peter. It's all history at that point.

We cannot dialogue with things that seek our destruction, it is a cancer that must be fought as hard as possible with as much force and zeal and purpose so that it will be destroyed, never to spread its poison again.

Tom Ryan said...

The New Springtime

Unknown said...

From a Dominican friar (due to technical problems he was unable to post personally and asked me to do so on his behalf)...

The Dominican Order was approved in 1216 (precisely December 22), not 1215.
I think it is infantile to make a meaningful discourse on the state of the Order in Europe without taking into account the socio-cultural and economic factors. How can you mention the suppression of he Orders and just pass it by?
I understand that everything bad came with the Council. But if it did, you only need to examine the 60 years before the Council and what was happening before making a conclusion. This is very important.
In most parts of Europe, birthrate has fallen to a level not seen before in recent times. Where would vocations come from if there are not children? You go to Churches in most places and you find only the aged - many of whom have no children at all. How can you talk about a fall in vocations without taking that into account? Should angels come and join the Order?
Closure of Convents in consequence, is inevitable (and not just thinking like economic administrators). The case of Graz took the Dominicans of Austria/Southern Germany a long time and a long "battle". But you pay tax on buildings, you maintain them and make repairs. When all of the income you have cannot even maintain one brother, not to mention buildings, what do you do? This is similar to the situation elsewhere, but let us be realistic!
To those who think the Order is therefore doomed, buildings are not what makes the Order. (Neither is Thomism a building; it is a thought!) Tom Ryan has posted (in whatever sense) "the New Springtime" of friars in Poland - there are over 100 students. Ireland has been reporting new vocations yearly. The overall status of the Dominicans shows an immense increase in numbers in the last 15 or so years. Of course, brothers from Poland or Vietnam or Nigeria can man those convents while still keeping theirs filled to the brim. But other local European factors are at hand! It is more than Vatican II, my friend.

Tancred said...

First of all, you're not my friend. Second of all, the Doninican Order was recognized by the Bishop of Toulouse in 1215. Finally, put the high hat on here again and I'll just delete your carefully crafted comments before anyone has the pleasure to read it.