Senior UK monk says Religious have become too worldly

March 11, 2015 by  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Religious OrdersUK, March 6, 2015: Religious orders in England have stagnated due to a drift into consumerism and preoccupation with money and finance, according to a leading historian of monastic life, reports The Tablet.

Writing in this week’s Tablet, Dom Aidan Bellenger, former Abbot of Downside, suggested that communities had made “too much accommodation with consumerist ideals of the modern world, too many credit cards, too many expensive holidays.”

He pointed out that many religious congregations have seen a steep decline in numbers and a rising age-profile among members. Among the English Benedictines, he added, the words “fragility” and “precariousness” have been commonly used and that “sustainability” remains the most critical question for all religious.

“A decline in the number of vocations has combined with the ageing of the communities, and a tendency to middle class stagnation, strangulation by comfort and gerontocracy,” Dom Aidan writes.

He said many of the problems were to do with money and finance arguing that the running of schools and parishes have taken Religious away from their foundational ideas.

Traditionally communities have run schools, parishes and other institutions, and seeking to balance the call to be contemplatives with work in the world.

– cns

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