A Retired Bishop Becomes a Monk


#1

Hello to all. :slight_smile:

If a bishop emeritus becomes a monk, does he still have the right to ordain fellow monks as priests, or would he have to get the permission of the local bishop to do this?

Thank you for answering my question. :slight_smile:

God Bless. :highprayer:


#2

I am fairly certain that any retired bishop would need permission from the local bishop to ordain men.


#3

Well, if he became a monk (say, a Benedictine) he would then be under the command of his Abbot. It would be up to the Abbot’s discretion whether or not he is allowed to ordain anyone, or even exercise any of his priestly faculties.


#4

Thank you. :slight_smile:

I’m assuming that still means he needs the permission of the Holy Father to consecrate another bishop?


#5

[quote="Zekariya, post:2, topic:327678"]
I am fairly certain that any retired bishop would need permission from the local bishop to ordain men.

[/quote]

Strictly speaking the local Ordinary rather than the Bishop. The Ordinary may or may not be a Bishop.


#6

The local bishop has nothing to do with the inner workings of any of the exempt religious Orders. IOW, an abbey is only dependent upon the local bishop for the purpose of ordinations. So, assuming that “monk” means a person in an exempt monastic Order (e.g. OSB, O’Cist, O.Cart, etc), a retired bishop-turned-monk would indeed require the permission of the Ordinary to ordain, but in the hypothetical case at hand, that Ordinary would be his abbot. And he must have the permission of the abbot, else any Holy Orders he conferred would be illicit.


#7

Out of interest we had a monk who became a Cardinal

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil_Hume


#8

So can exempt orders actually skip the local “secular” ordinary simply as a result of having a retired bishop among their ranks, whom a non-bishop abbot could task with ordinations?

Also, don’t retired bishops joining orders still have some kind of “autonomy” the same way religious who become bishops do?


#9

Sacramentally, a bishop has the power to ordain any baptised man as a priest, however, that does not mean he has the right or prerogative to do so.

Within a monastery, it is not the bishop who determines who is to be ordained as a priest. It is the superior of that monastery who chooses which monks are suitable to be priests and should be ordained. These candidates for priesthood then undergo priestly formation and eventually ordination.

Furthermore, faculties within a monastery are given by the superior. If a bishop becomes a monk and is subject to the superior, then whether he may ordain or even celebrate mass is dependent on whether his superior has granted him the faculties to do so. Of course, if the bishop is the superior himself, then that is an entirely different matter.

Additionally, out of custom and respect to the local ordinary, these candidates are usually ordained by the reigning bishop of the diocese in which the monastery is based. The superior could conceivably call in any bishop in good standing with the Church, but this could be seen as a slight to the authority of the local bishop, and is generally avoided where possible. In any case, the decision rests with the monastery superior as to who is invited to ordain his monks. Additionally, if the local bishop is invited to ordain the monks, he could in turn delegate this duty to another bishop, including retired or auxiliary bishops under his charge.

As such, I would conceive that under most circumstances, a bishop emeritus (whether a monk or not) would need the monastery superior and local bishop’s permission before he may ordain monks to a priesthood.

I must ask what are the circumstances you are thinking of. If there is an example, please name it. I find it highly irregular and bizarre to speaking of a retired bishop becoming a monk. The two are entirely different callings, and while there have been religious that have become bishops, the converse is very rare. Additionally, it must be noted that religious who are ordained bishops are released from obedience to the superiors of their orders (though not to their vows), but I am not sure how it may work out when a retired bishop becomes a religious. Does he become subject to the superior?

If you are thinking of our retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, I must point out to you while he is resident in a former monastery, it does not make him a monk. He is living out a life of prayer, which some people associate with monasticism, but he has not sworn any monastic vows. :slight_smile:


#10

[quote="Filii_Dei, post:9, topic:327678"]
I must ask what are the circumstances you are thinking of. If there is an example, please name it. I find it highly irregular and bizarre to speaking of a retired bishop becoming a monk. The two are entirely different callings, and while there have been religious that have become bishops, the converse is very rare.

[/quote]

It was more common in the past. Some bishops would turn in their dignities and finish their lives as monks.


#11

The retired bishop has the ability to ordain based on his office as bishop, which doesn’t go away when he retires.

But yes, the retired bishop could, at the request of his Ordinary (which for Benedictines, for example, is the Abbot) he could ordain men.

Usually there aren’t bishops amongst the monks in a monastery, so they have ordinations through the local bishop. However, they monastery is not bound to the bishop or the diocese in any way.

What do you mean by autonomy of religious who become bishops? Religious who become bishops are still religious, but need permission of their superior to be consecrated as a bishop.


#12

Yes, if he were accepted into the Order, he would be subject to the abbot. It’s similar to what would happen if an abbot retires. A retired abbot remains a monk of the Order, and is still entitled to abbatial trappings, but unless he is released, is subject to the current abbot.

It seems to me that the circumstances in the OP are hypothetical, since it is exceedingly rare for a person “of a certain age” to be accepted as a monk in the first place. It could, of course, happen that one such would be accepted, and if so he would likely be given a rather abbreviated novitiate, but indeed it would all be highly unusual. If it were to happen, though, the matter of Holy Orders would be between the Ordinary (i.e. the abbot) and the retired bishop. Albeit that the retired bishop would be subject to the abbot, that is disciplinary not sacramental, so he could not be forced to confer Holy Orders against his will.

What is less unusual is for a bishop (or a priest, for that matter) to retire to a monastery. In such case, he lives there but does not join the Order and is, therefore, not a part of the community in the canonical sense, irrespective of whether he participates in choir, etc. Now, if this is the case in the OP, the retired bishop would, at the request of the abbot, still be able to ordain a member of the community but, as you rightly pointed out, it might be considered a slight to the local Ordinary if the retired bishop were asked directly. As a matter of protocol in such a case, I would think the abbot would inform the local Ordinary that he would like Bishop X, resident in the abbey, to confer Orders.

Just another unsolicited :twocents: from yours truly. :slight_smile:


#13

It’s a fascinating scenario, thank you for sharing.
Does anyone know any examples of this happening?


#14

So many experts in canon Law. Simply amazing.:thumbsup:


#15

Since he is past working age, I would wonder if the bishop were joining the community, too, or if they had simply agreed to let him live among them in retirement. IOW, he might not take vows and might not be bound not by the rules of the order, but instead lives by the terms of whatever agreement he made with the community (and perhaps the diocesan bishop, too, who knows) when he came there to retire.


#16

Our Archbishop Emeritus, Daniel Buechlein, was a benedictine prior to becoming a bishop. Upon retirement, he returned to his abbey. I’m not sure, but fairly certain, that he is not exercising his ministry of bishop any further. All recent ordinations have been done by his successor (and the abbey he returned to is in the archdiocese). I’m not sure if this has anything to do with declining health or simply the proper thing to do.


#17

[quote="Filii_Dei, post:9, topic:327678"]
Sacramentally, a bishop has the power to ordain any baptised man as a priest, however, that does not mean he has the right or prerogative to do so.

Within a monastery, it is not the bishop who determines who is to be ordained as a priest. It is the superior of that monastery who chooses which monks are suitable to be priests and should be ordained. These candidates for priesthood then undergo priestly formation and eventually ordination.

Furthermore, faculties within a monastery are given by the superior. If a bishop becomes a monk and is subject to the superior, then whether he may ordain or even celebrate mass is dependent on whether his superior has granted him the faculties to do so. Of course, if the bishop is the superior himself, then that is an entirely different matter.

Additionally, out of custom and respect to the local ordinary, these candidates are usually ordained by the reigning bishop of the diocese in which the monastery is based. The superior could conceivably call in any bishop in good standing with the Church, but this could be seen as a slight to the authority of the local bishop, and is generally avoided where possible. In any case, the decision rests with the monastery superior as to who is invited to ordain his monks. Additionally, if the local bishop is invited to ordain the monks, he could in turn delegate this duty to another bishop, including retired or auxiliary bishops under his charge.

As such, I would conceive that under most circumstances, a bishop emeritus (whether a monk or not) would need the monastery superior and local bishop's permission before he may ordain monks to a priesthood.

I must ask what are the circumstances you are thinking of. If there is an example, please name it. I find it highly irregular and bizarre to speaking of a retired bishop becoming a monk. The two are entirely different callings, and while there have been religious that have become bishops, the converse is very rare. Additionally, it must be noted that religious who are ordained bishops are released from obedience to the superiors of their orders (though not to their vows), but I am not sure how it may work out when a retired bishop becomes a religious. Does he become subject to the superior?

If you are thinking of our retired Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, I must point out to you while he is resident in a former monastery, it does not make him a monk. He is living out a life of prayer, which some people associate with monasticism, but he has not sworn any monastic vows. :)

[/quote]

Actually, a monk who becomes a bishop is no longer subject to his vows he took. Monks take vows of poverty, obedience, and celibacy. The bishop, of course, has to retain his celibacy. But, priests take vows of celibacy at their ordination. The new bishop is no longer required to obey his former abbot (though he still has to obey his superiors. i.e. the Holy Father) and since the bishop technically owns all the churches in his diocese, he is released from his vow of poverty. However, a bishop may choose to retake his vows after he retires.

God Bless. :highprayer:


#18

No, actually that makes perfect sense. Archbishop Emeritus Buechlein was a monk before he was a bishop, and it is entirely reasonable - and in fact expected - that he would return to his previous state of consecrated life after retirement. :slight_smile:


#19

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