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  #1  
Old Mar 30, '09, 5:10 pm
Daniel Boucher Daniel Boucher is offline
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Default The Monk and the Friar-Brother

The title of monk or friar-brother is unclear to me.

I have heard the basic distinction is that friar-brothers are mendicants who leave their monasteries for their communal ministries, and monks are those who live in solitude and rarely leave their monasteries.

Is a Capuchin a friar-brother or a monk? I understand they are mendicants, but I have known them in sources as monks.

Am I wrong by calling a brother a monk?
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  #2  
Old Mar 30, '09, 6:25 pm
Friar David, O.Carm Friar David, O.Carm is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

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Originally Posted by Daniel Boucher View Post
The title of monk or friar-brother is unclear to me.

I have heard the basic distinction is that friar-brothers are mendicants who leave their monasteries for their communal ministries, and monks are those who live in solitude and rarely leave their monasteries.

Is a Capuchin a friar-brother or a monk? I understand they are mendicants, but I have known them in sources as monks.

Am I wrong by calling a brother a monk?
Monks are addressed as brother. There is no such thing as a friar-brother, they are just friars but those who are not priests can be addressed as brother.

Mendicants do not have monasteries. Each order of mendicants call their houses something other than a monastery.

We Carmelites live in Priories.

Most monks are cloistered, that is they do not leave their monastery for an apostolic ministry.

Now, with the shortages of priests this has changed somewhat. Some monasteries do send out priests to help out parishes. Also there are some parishes that are attached to monasteries.
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  #3  
Old Mar 31, '09, 10:48 am
Daniel Boucher Daniel Boucher is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Ok, so a mendicant is a friar and either a priest or a lay brother, and they live in a house which is not a monastery and live life at their houses as well as in apostolic ministry outside of the houses.

Then, monks live in monasteries and are cloistered. They do not leave their monasteries.

Is this right?

So a lay brother friar is not a monk? Or does it make a difference what Order the individual is in? Or did this title change over the course of time?
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  #4  
Old Mar 31, '09, 12:59 pm
Friar David, O.Carm Friar David, O.Carm is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

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Originally Posted by Daniel Boucher View Post
Ok, so a mendicant is a friar and either a priest or a lay brother, and they live in a house which is not a monastery and live life at their houses as well as in apostolic ministry outside of the houses.

Then, monks live in monasteries and are cloistered. They do not leave their monasteries.

Is this right?
That is pretty much it but there are some variations. As we Carmelites are friars but we do have some hermits and some monks do leave their monasteries for work outside but both of those are not the norm.

Quote:
So a lay brother friar is not a monk? Or does it make a difference what Order the individual is in? Or did this title change over the course of time?
Correct, a friar is not a monk. Back in the middle ages, Charelemagne wanted monasticism to be the same over the whole of the Holy Roman Empire so it was made that only those who follow the Benedictine Rule were to be called monks.

Friars are friars, even if they are lay, a deacon, or a priest.

Monks are monks, even if they are lay, a deacon, or a priest.

For a religious, the religious life is first and foremost (for most of us). Orders, or not, are additional.
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  #5  
Old Mar 31, '09, 11:27 pm
Thepeug Thepeug is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

In the Eastern Christian tradition all monks, lay or ordained, are called "Father".
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  #6  
Old Apr 1, '09, 7:16 am
Daniel Boucher Daniel Boucher is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

So, is this where my confusion is: both friars and monks can be called "brothers" if they are lay religious (consecrated, niether ordained priests, nor installed as deacons)?

I see the word "brother" and I think of a monk, but now I understand this can mean a friar as well, if I am now correct. Well, friars and monks are both just as saintly as the other, just taken to different duties.
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  #7  
Old Apr 2, '09, 11:33 pm
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JReducation JReducation is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

The word friar comes from the Latin word frater, which means brother. When the first mendicants went into the streets to minister they were asked who they were, they identified themselves as Brother Francis or some such name.

Many friars are ordained. However, ordination is not a requirement to be a friar or a monk. The reason that friars continue to call themselves such, is that they do not fit into a neat category of religious life. They are not monastic. They are not secular either. They are truly consecrated religious men, but live and work outside of a cloister.

Some Benedictine monks also work outside the cloister, but they are attached to a monastery for life. A friar is not attached to any house for life. This is why he is called a mendicant. He is an evangelical nomad, my term. He goes anywhere in the world where his community sends him.

Friars are part of large religious orders with centralized governments. Monks are part of a monastery and are governed by the abbot of the monastery.

Most friars live in houses called priories, friaries, or convents. Some friars, such as Capuchins, do live in monasteries. But that's because the Rule of St. Francis allows for some friars to be hermits.

Holy Orders is not part of religious life. It is a sacrament. A friar or a monk is first a Benedictine, Franciscan, Carmelite, Dominican, Augustinian, Trinitarian and so forth. The priesthood is a vocation within a vocation.

In some communities of friars there is no external distinction between the friar who is a priest and the friar who is a lawyer, teacher, cook, or youth minister. For example, you mentioned the Capuchins. The Capuchins call themselves Friars or Brothers. The laity usually makes the distinction by calling the ordained friars, Father. This is not done within the community. In fact, you can have a house of ordained friars with a superior who is a lay friar.

The word lay means someone who is not ordained. A lay person can obviously be in vows. Nuns, sisters and brothers in congregations are lay, but they are religious. They are lay because they are not deacons, priests or bishops.

In my own Franciscan community, we have one religious who is ordained. The rest are lay, but we are not secular. We are in vows. Our superior is a lay brother and the ordained brother is our vicar (second in command). We are considered friars and we use the title Brother for everyone. Our constitutions say that we only ordain as many brothers as we need for the spiritual life of the fraternity. We're not a clerical institute.

Some monastic communities follow the same system. They only ordain as many men as they need for their community.

It is important to remember that friars and monks can only be ordained when the community approves. There is a vote taken. The results are given to the superior and his council. They vote again. Finally, it is up to the major superior to grant permission for ordination. The major superior has the authority to deny the ordination. In that case, the monk or the friar is still bound by the vows he made and is bound to the community for the rest of his life. The voice of the community is one of the indicators of whether a man has the vocation to the priesthood or not. The superior acts as a bishop of a diocese would. He authorizes the ordination. Without his permission, the ordination is illicit.

The difference is that if your bishop denies you ordination, you can always apply to another diocese. If your religious superior denies you ordiantion, you have no where else to go, because you are bound to the community by perpetual vows.

The power of religious vows should never be underestimated, whether one is a monk or a friar.

Fraternally,

JR
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  #8  
Old Apr 4, '09, 10:47 am
Daniel Boucher Daniel Boucher is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Wow, thanks for the lengthy description of the religious life.

Yeah, this is just a slight confusion that I have. When I chose my patron saint for Confirmation, I chose him because he was a religious brother (Capuchin). What I thought, mistakenly, that this meant he was a monk. But now I know that it only means that he was a consecrated religious of his Order, a friar, because he was a mendicant who left his monastery to collect food for the poor and for the other members of house and himself. Basically, a matter of semantics.

Apparently, the destinction that I now know is that monks are cloistered and that friars are mendicants. However, there is the unclear distinction of what a hermit member of a mendicant Order is. Essentially, they live the same life as a cloistered monk, but because they are members of a mendicant Order, they are called friars still. This is just like you mentioned as in the Capuchin Order. Now, why aren't they called monks?
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  #9  
Old Apr 4, '09, 5:47 pm
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JReducation JReducation is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Boucher View Post
Wow, thanks for the lengthy description of the religious life.

Yeah, this is just a slight confusion that I have. When I chose my patron saint for Confirmation, I chose him because he was a religious brother (Capuchin). What I thought, mistakenly, that this meant he was a monk. But now I know that it only means that he was a consecrated religious of his Order, a friar, because he was a mendicant who left his monastery to collect food for the poor and for the other members of house and himself. Basically, a matter of semantics.

Apparently, the destinction that I now know is that monks are cloistered and that friars are mendicants. However, there is the unclear distinction of what a hermit member of a mendicant Order is. Essentially, they live the same life as a cloistered monk, but because they are members of a mendicant Order, they are called friars still. This is just like you mentioned as in the Capuchin Order. Now, why aren't they called monks?
They are not called monks, because St. Francis did not want his brothers to have stability. Monasticism has stability as part of its structure. If a friar lives a hermit's life and is a monk, he is bound to the hermitage for the rest of his life. This is contrary to what Christ revealed to St. Francis. Each friar whom Christ calls to be a hermit is only to be one for a specific period of time.

The other important part of the Franciscan spirit is brotherhood. Most religious communities consider themselves brothers because they are called to the same life and mission. But Christ revealed to Francis that his brothers were to be closer than that. They were to give up everything, including ministry in the Church, to serve each other as the apostles did. Monks do not have that kind of commitment to each other. They share their resources to allow them the opportunity to pray and work in silence and solitude.

The friars share their resources because they may not own resources. This is true of every community of friars.

Hope this helps.

Br. JR
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  #10  
Old Apr 4, '09, 6:23 pm
SuscipeMeDomine SuscipeMeDomine is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by JReducation View Post
The other important part of the Franciscan spirit is brotherhood. Most religious communities consider themselves brothers because they are called to the same life and mission. But Christ revealed to Francis that his brothers were to be closer than that. They were to give up everything, including ministry in the Church, to serve each other as the apostles did. Monks do not have that kind of commitment to each other. They share their resources to allow them the opportunity to pray and work in silence and solitude.
Ah, do be careful here. Monks need to have a commitment to each other because they take a vow of stability. If Brother Aelred has a disagreement with Brother Bede, neither can hope that it will be resolved by one of them being assigned elsewhere. They are together like a married couple, until death.

From the Rule of Benedict, chapter 72:

Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the brothers should practice
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
whether of body or of character;
vie in paying obedience one to another --
no one following what he considers useful for himself,
but rather what benefits another -- ;
tender the charity of brotherhood chastely;
fear God in love;
love their Abbot with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!
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  #11  
Old Apr 4, '09, 6:44 pm
Friar David, O.Carm Friar David, O.Carm is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by JReducation View Post
They are not called monks, because St. Francis did not want his brothers to have stability. Monasticism has stability as part of its structure. If a friar lives a hermit's life and is a monk, he is bound to the hermitage for the rest of his life. This is contrary to what Christ revealed to St. Francis. Each friar whom Christ calls to be a hermit is only to be one for a specific period of time.
What JR is speak about here only applies to Franciscans. Carmelites started out as a community of hermits at the spring of Elijah on Mount Carmel. We became mendicants (an thereby friars) later when we left (were expelled) the Holy Land for Europe. We have always had a pull internally in the order between the two modes of life.

Our hermits are hermits, not just for a specific period of time.

I do not know if any of the other mendicant orders have hermits or not.
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  #12  
Old Apr 4, '09, 6:52 pm
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JReducation JReducation is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuscipeMeDomine View Post
Ah, do be careful here. Monks need to have a commitment to each other because they take a vow of stability. If Brother Aelred has a disagreement with Brother Bede, neither can hope that it will be resolved by one of them being assigned elsewhere. They are together like a married couple, until death.

From the Rule of Benedict, chapter 72:

Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the brothers should practice
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another's infirmities,
whether of body or of character;
vie in paying obedience one to another --
no one following what he considers useful for himself,
but rather what benefits another -- ;
tender the charity of brotherhood chastely;
fear God in love;
love their Abbot with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!
As ByzCath says, when I speak about the commitment between brothers, I'm not speaking about charity that is due to every brother or sister with whom one shares their life. This was well established in the early Church. That's what the first monks built on.

When I say that the monks don't have the same kind of commitment as the friars, I was referring to the friars in the Franciscan tradition, where ministry and other forms of service take a second place to the common life.

In most communities the common life supports the ministry. In Francis' model, the ministry is secondary to the common life and the common life is the primary ministry.

A good example of this are the Carmelite, Augustinian and Dominican friars. They are brothers and their brorherhood supports their call to serve God and the Church.

This does not make one form of life better than the other. The idea here is to show the differences between charisms and emphasis.

Franciscans have hermits, but they are not hermits for life, as the Carmelites have or the Camaldolese and other orders. The Franciscan hermits may be away from the community for three years and they must return to the fraternity. I'm not sure how the Carmelites handle this aspect of their life. Br. David has the answer to that question. I'll let him answer that one.

Fraternally,

Br. JR
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  #13  
Old Apr 6, '09, 2:22 pm
Daniel Boucher Daniel Boucher is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Ok, so... if one encountered the word "monk" he would automatically consider that person cloistered. Likewise, if one encountered the word "friar" he would automatically consider that person a mendicant. Reversely, if one encountered the word "brother" he would have to learn more about the life of the person, his Order, life, etc., in order to determine whether the individual is a monk or a friar. Just stating "brother" or "lay-brother" leaves the reader to do more research, or at least to have prior knowledge of the difference between monks and friars, and then to look at the context of the individual's life to determine which he is.

Keep in mind monks and friars can also be priests, as is the case in "choir-monks" and mendicant-priests.

Things are much clearer now with this discussion about my primary concern of the terms brother, monk, and friar. Thanks for the help.

Although, I find it contradictory that a hermit (such as an O.C.D. hermit) is considered a mendicant (friar). The heremetical life is listed in the Catholic Encyclopedia as one of Saint Benedict's four classifications of monks (one of the two which he approved of). http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10487b.htm. Therefore, the "friar" lay brother (mendicant) who is a hermit (monk) is a misnomer because he is actually a monk lay brother and not a mendicant. In this case, the Order of Carmelites Discaled in my example has both brothers who are friars and brothers who are monks, but they choose to call the brothers who are monks hermits (probably out of respect to Elijah) and call their communities "deserts" instead of cloisters. In that case, I think it is up to the Order what to call the brothers, but when comparing two different Orders, based on Saint Benedict's criteria, the O.C.D. "desert" hermits who are called friars are inconsistent with what monks and friars in essence are. A minor detail, but relevant.
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Old Apr 6, '09, 3:48 pm
Friar David, O.Carm Friar David, O.Carm is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Boucher View Post
Ok, so... if one encountered the word "monk" he would automatically consider that person cloistered. Likewise, if one encountered the word "friar" he would automatically consider that person a mendicant. Reversely, if one encountered the word "brother" he would have to learn more about the life of the person, his Order, life, etc., in order to determine whether the individual is a monk or a friar. Just stating "brother" or "lay-brother" leaves the reader to do more research, or at least to have prior knowledge of the difference between monks and friars, and then to look at the context of the individual's life to determine which he is.

Keep in mind monks and friars can also be priests, as is the case in "choir-monks" and mendicant-priests.

Things are much clearer now with this discussion about my primary concern of the terms brother, monk, and friar. Thanks for the help.

Although, I find it contradictory that a hermit (such as an O.C.D. hermit) is considered a mendicant (friar). The heremetical life is listed in the Catholic Encyclopedia as one of Saint Benedict's four classifications of monks (one of the two which he approved of). http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10487b.htm. Therefore, the "friar" lay brother (mendicant) who is a hermit (monk) is a misnomer because he is actually a monk lay brother and not a mendicant. In this case, the Order of Carmelites Discaled in my example has both brothers who are friars and brothers who are monks, but they choose to call the brothers who are monks hermits (probably out of respect to Elijah) and call their communities "deserts" instead of cloisters. In that case, I think it is up to the Order what to call the brothers, but when comparing two different Orders, based on Saint Benedict's criteria, the O.C.D. "desert" hermits who are called friars are inconsistent with what monks and friars in essence are. A minor detail, but relevant.
I am not aware of any OCD hermits. We O.Carm. do have hermits, both male and female.

The term monk since the days of Charlemagne has been restricted to those who follow the rule of St Benedict as Charlemagne wanted to standardize monasticism within the Holy Roman Empire.

Mendicants can be considered monastics but not monks. To say one is a friar is to say that they are a member of a mendicant order to say one is a hermit is to describe how one lives. A hermit friar is not a misnomer just as saying one is a hermit monk (many benedictine monasteries have hermitages on their grounds),

Also while monks may have a cloister that does not mean that the monks do not leave the enclosure to work outside of it. Just look at the Benedictine schools.

There is no simple answer to the question you have asked. The only good one is a monk lives in a monastery and follows the Benedictine rule and a friar is a member of a mendicant order but.......(place all exceptions here).
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Old May 8, '09, 12:58 pm
Daniel Boucher Daniel Boucher is offline
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Default Re: The Monk and the Friar-Brother

Well here is a synopsis of what I have learned:

There are two types of male religious: Friars and monks.
A male religious is called a "brother."
Thus, both male religious friars and monks are called "brothers."

Also, priests can also be friars or monks if they are a part of a community of either friars or monks.

However, there are exceptions within some orders of friars that contain hermitages.
They call themselves either hermits, friars, or monks.
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