|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
image: Corrispondenza Romana
Trans: Tancred email@example.com