Dominican Friars


#1

The Franciscans have many “independent” ‘Communities. In other words, they don’t just have the Order of the Friars Minor (The original one started by Saint Fancis). They have the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Franciscan Brothers Minor, Franciscan Brothers of Peace, etc. However, I have never seen male Dominican Communities that do. They have the western province, eastern province, southern province, all of them being-Presumably-the same line. Is it not allowed for people to make “independent”’ Dominican Communities? I am interested in the Dominicans, but my self-esteem issues make me worry that I will not get my GED, therefore making me ineligible to enter them, unlike Franciscans. If I can’t get it, am I not allowed to make an independent Community that calls itself Dominican because of some Dominican rule?


#2

If they are in communion with the Church, I wouldn't see why not though I can't say I'm an expert.


#3

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:1, topic:276029"]
The Franciscans have many "independent" 'Communities. In other words, they don't just have the Order of the Friars Minor (The original one started by Saint Fancis). They have the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Franciscan Brothers Minor, Franciscan Brothers of Peace, etc. However, I have never seen male Dominican Communities that do. They have the western province, eastern province, southern province, all of them being-Presumably-the same line. Is it not allowed for people to make "independent"' Dominican Communities? I am interested in the Dominicans, but my self-esteem issues make me worry that I will not get my GED, therefore making me ineligible to enter them, unlike Franciscans. If I can't get it, am I not allowed to make an independent Community that calls itself Dominican because of some Dominican rule?

[/quote]

With a motto like "Truth", to my knowledge they have not needed reform, which is what has happened to the Franciscans. You've got the OFMs, the Capuchins, etc. Mitigation of the rule for whatever reason is what leads to movements such as these. Someone is inspired to live the primitive rule of Francis, and they're going to live it. Hence the new community.

The Dominicans consider themselves a Family, but I still break things down into the First, Second, and Third Orders so folks can understand easier.

The First Order are the friars--brothers and priests.

The Second Order are the papally enclosed nuns.

The Third Order has the Regular sisters and Secular laity.

In the Third Order are the Dominican Sisters of the Perpetual Rosary. I am wanting to say that they have always been cloistered Third Order, not Second Order.

And Second Order is something of a misnomer because St. Dominic founded the nuns first.

The Third Order Regular sisters who used to be so plentiful follow the Third Order Secular rule but have additions where the vows are concerned, therefore making them "Regular" (meaning Rule). The Nashville Dominicans are a prime example of Third Order Regular. Each Regular community is its own Congregation with its own statutes based on the Rule of St. Augustine and the Dominican Constitutions.

Some Third Order Regular communities emerged from Second Order convents. Amityville being one prime example. They have a lovely old convent with cloister, and used to run an orphanage for girls.

Third Order Secular has chapters and proto-chapters and are usually attached to priories and convents.

There are also Dominican secular institutes, but the ones we've found have been for women.

You have the option of diocesan hermit. Hermits are their own charism, and yours can be Dominican-based. Actually, Augustinian-based because St. Dominic was an Austin friar, and gave this spirituality to his order. I'm co-founding a Third Order Regular community, and my OP SD told us to study the Rule of St. Augustine.

I don't think there are any Third Order Regular men's communities, though I wouldn't mind seeing such a thing if canon law permits it. The difference would be in the vows. Since the Dominicans are an actual Order, they take solemn vows. The Third Order Regular takes simple vows. I wonder what the Master General would say about Third Order Regular for men.

If this already exists, please let us know.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#4

In a word, no - you can't.

Cloisters is nearly right. The friars have been reformed, but from within the Order. There was a short time in the High Middle Ages/Early Renaissance when to parallel communities existed - one of stricter observance than the others (Girolamo Savonarola was one of these), but they were later incorporated back into the one Order and, since then, to my knowledge, there have been no further schisms.

There are communities which take inspiration from the Dominican charism, but are not Dominican. Maybe you could consider the Community of St John (I love them!).

The only Dominican men who are neither friars nor Lay Dominicans (excluding the wider use of the term 'Family' to include Dominican youth etc.) are a small number of secular priests who take similar vows to Lay Dominicans. This is only an option for men who are already secular priests and discern a vocation to the Order, not to men who are not yet ordained.


#5

[quote="Batfink, post:4, topic:276029"]
In a word, no - you can't.

[/quote]

This is not entirely true. No religious group owns a copyright on the name. Anyone can form a group and call it what they want.

If you wish for a bishop to recognize your community you might have to pick a name that they except.

For example, the Carmelites also have a history of internal reforms. The difference is that one of those internal reforms ended up splitting off due to external interference and became the Discalced Carmelties.

Neither the OCD nor the O.Carm. have control over the name Carmelite as you can see with the Carmelite Monks in Wyoming. They, the Carmelite Monks, say they follow the Rule of St Albert (also called the Carmelite Rule) but are not affiliated with either the OCD or the O.Carm., they actually came to be (I believe) when a group affiliated with the O.Carm. and some of that group did not want to so formed this group. They are of diocesean right and under the Bishop of Cheyenne.


#6

"Aggregation"--that's the word and process to which the posters refer.

Those who wish to found a community based on a spirituality they're attracted to have only to spend time reading and developing the prayer life/horarium. This begins as a personal prayer rule, or the group develops it together.

Third Order Regulars are usually founded by Third Order Seculars. This has happened with both Franciscans and Dominicans here in the States. Hawthorne and the former Sick Poor are two examples.

If a bunch of (Blessed) Pier Frassati-ish Third Order Secular Dominicans wanted to form a male counterpart to the womens', they would be able to. It's just never been done before to my knowledge.

Again, "Aggregation" is the process that's being referred to here. With the Discalced Carmelites, the new community has to look like an established Carmel, complete with novitiate, before they can be grafted onto the main Carmelite tree.

The process is more long than difficult.

I'm mentoring a group of older women discerning the foundation of Betty Carmels, but they seem to be going in the direction of externs and diocesan hermits. And that's OK.

I'm also co-founding a Third Order Regular Dominican congregation which will be pro-life.

It can be done. The founder and adherents have to believe in their community, and find that they grow spiritually with the rule. If they aren't, they need to move on.

Blessings,
Cloisters


#7

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:1, topic:276029"]
The Franciscans have many "independent" 'Communities. In other words, they don't just have the Order of the Friars Minor (The original one started by Saint Fancis). They have the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Franciscan Brothers Minor, Franciscan Brothers of Peace, etc. However, I have never seen male Dominican Communities that do. They have the western province, eastern province, southern province, all of them being-Presumably-the same line. Is it not allowed for people to make "independent"' Dominican Communities? I am interested in the Dominicans, but my self-esteem issues make me worry that I will not get my GED, therefore making me ineligible to enter them, unlike Franciscans. If I can't get it, am I not allowed to make an independent Community that calls itself Dominican because of some Dominican rule?

[/quote]

Part of the Dominican charism is study- a commitment to lifelong learning (particularly scholarly learning). A person shouldn't join an order unless they are attracted to the entire charism. Also, they should be reasonably confident that they will be able to live that charism.


#8

[quote="Cloisters, post:3, topic:276029"]
Actually, Augustinian-based because St. Dominic was an Austin friar, and gave this spirituality to his order.

[/quote]

Just an unimportant side-note: St. Dominic was not a friar, but a canon of the Cathedral of Osma in Spain. I assume you meant to type Augustinian friar, not Austin?

Anyway, St. Dominic was a canon (I think they would have followed the Rule of Augustine, but I don't remember where I got that idea from) and the reason for adopting the Augustinian Rule was that it was short and general, easily adaptable to the way of life he wished the Order of Preacers to follow. At the time, the Pope was not allowing any new religious Rules to be written (St. Francis got away with it, however :-) ) and so St. Dominic picked an existing one suitable to his mission. I remember this off the top of my head, but here's a link if you're interested:

newadvent.org/cathen/05106a.htm

I can see both sides of this conversation. On the one hand, if one really feels a closeness to the Dominican charism, some kind of Dominican-based community is a possibility, if it is God's will for this to prosper. But, to the OP, I would speak to a spiritual director and really pray and discern your reasons for this. As was said above, the Dominican charism is preaching, and having a pretty serious love of learning and preaching is really something essential to that charism. If you really don't feel you are academically able to finish the GED and pursue a more advanced education, could it be that God is calling you in another direction, toward a different order?

Again, all I can do is offer you my prayers, and that you take a good, discerning look at your reasons here (with a good spiritual director). Peace and God bless you.

In Christ through Mary,
Frank


#9

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:1, topic:276029"]
The Franciscans have many "independent" 'Communities. In other words, they don't just have the Order of the Friars Minor (The original one started by Saint Fancis). They have the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, Franciscan Brothers Minor, Franciscan Brothers of Peace, etc. However, I have never seen male Dominican Communities that do. They have the western province, eastern province, southern province, all of them being-Presumably-the same line. Is it not allowed for people to make "independent"' Dominican Communities? I am interested in the Dominicans, but my self-esteem issues make me worry that I will not get my GED, therefore making me ineligible to enter them, unlike Franciscans. If I can't get it, am I not allowed to make an independent Community that calls itself Dominican because of some Dominican rule?

[/quote]

There are a number of canonical issues and regulations from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life that most laymen don't know.

!. The Dominicans never had to split in order to reform, because St. Dominic never wrote rule for them. The Dominicans follow the Augustinians. At one time, they were thought of as canons.

  1. Dominic gave them a constitution that comments on everything that is not in Augustine's rule. However, he said that if the constitution gets in the way, ignore it. In essence, the Dominican constitution is not as rigid as that of Carmelites or Franciscans.

  2. When you have that flexibility, you can have diversity without subdividing into different obediences. That's what the Church calls the branches of the Franciscan family and the Carmelite family. The friars often us the term 'Order", but it's not canonically correct. There is only one Carmelite Order and one Franciscan Order. Within those orders there are obediences, meaning autonomous communities whose lives are ordered by the Rule of Carmel or the Rule of Francis.

  3. When you have a rule, which the Dominicans do not, you have to write legislation to address what's not covered in the rule. That's how the differences come out. Those differences can be from the interpretation of poverty to the ministry that you're going to do. When these differences cannot be resolved, the community is divided into two or more autonomous communities that follow the same rule, but have different constitutions. The rule does not change. There difference between them is in the details that are not in the rule, which are in the constitutions. No religious order has the power to change its rule. Only a pope can do that and it was done only twice in the history of the Church. Pope Innocent added to the Rule of Carmel and Pope Paul VI rewrote Francis' Rule for the Brothers and Sisters of Penance. It's known as the Pauline Rule.

  4. Although no religious community has a copyright on its name, thee are regulations about using the name. You can't just start a community and call it Carmelite, Augustinian, Franciscan or Redemptorist. Look at the Transalpine Redemptorists. When they came back into the Church, one of the conditions placed on them, besides accepting Vatican II was that they no longer call themselves Redemptorists and that they no longer wear the Redemptorist habit. They had to modify their habit and change their name to Fraternity of the Most Holy Redeemer. They're FsSr instead of CsSr.

  5. When you first present your petition to the local bishop for a Decree of Praise, which is how things begin, if you use the name Franciscan, the bishop will give your statutes to a Franciscan Canon Lawyer to review them. The lawyer looks for several things. The statutes must comply with canon law. The community must have a truly Franciscan charism that is reflected in its life of prayer, fraternity, obedience, poverty and fidelity to the Church. There can be nothing in its statutes that contradicts Francis. There can be nothing of which Francis would disapprove. He send his conclusions to the bishop.

This happens, because the bishop does not have the canonical authority or the sacramental authority to overrule Francis of Assisi. He cannot erect a community that calls itself Franciscan, but is in conflict with Francis. The new community can have a ministry of its own and a mission that is different from that of other Franciscan communities, but it cannot have anything that contradicts the Rule of St. Francis. This is true for Augustinians, Carmelites, Benedictines and any religious community that follows a stable rule.

That's why St. Dominic makes his constitutions so flexible. They follow the Rule of Augustine, which is not flexible and which Dominic could not change. So they change their statutes or simply suspend the observance of their constitution when necessary. This allows them to remain united and be different from each other at the same time.

Among other orders, the constitutions are not to be suspended. If you have problem, you must start a new community with its own constitution.


#10

Finally, the study thing. It is a gross misrepresentation that education is not part of Franciscan life. The mendicants, (Franciscans, Dominicans and Carmelites) jointly founded or staffed the largest and most prestigious universities of Europe, including Oxford. Oxford has three colleges named after the mendicants. White Friars (Carmelites), Grey Friars (Franciscans) and Black Friars (Dominicans.) We have had scholars since the first generation of Franciscans, including a number of Doctors of the Church.

After Vatican I, the OFM, OFM Cap and OFM Conv, divided their communities in two. They had the Fathers and the Brothers. The brothers lost their right to vote, hold office, study, or work in the apostolate. Their role was to serve the Fathers. They did laundry, cooked, shined shoes, scrubbed floors, begged for the community. They were not allowed to eat, pray, recreate or join in any activities with the Fathers or those friars studying to be priests. They were considered equally Franciscan and equally friars, because they made the same vows, but also a lower class. They had a cast system. This happened among the Carmelites and other communities. This model is not part of the mendicant tradition where everyone is a brother. This model came from the Benedictine tradition where they had choir monks and lay brothers. The mendicants even changed how they called their houses. They started calling them monasteries. Mendicants have never lived in monasteries. We're not monks. We remain in the world.

By the1950s, the Franciscan superiors realized that there were several problems.

  1. Too many priests in the order. They had to bring down those numbers, even if it meant shutting down parishes.

  2. The rights and duties of all friars had to be restored to what they were in the 13th century.

  3. The laity must be trained to adapt to the Franciscan presence, not the Franciscans to the laity. The laity had to learn to deal differently with the friars.

  4. The friars had to be given the opportunity to use their gifts, be it science or cooking. You were no longer a cook, because you were a lay brother. You were a cook, because it's your gift. We have priests who serve as cooks and brothers who serve as parish administrators.

Today, the average education for a mendicant friar is typically a college degree, though it may not be required if the person has a gift that he brings to the table. We have a brother who has an AA Degree. He's the best office manager that I have ever known. Everything runs like clockwork. He was a businessman. He still had to take theology and philosophy courses. He did not have to qualify for the M.Div or MA. But he did the coursework required and the 8 years of formation. If a candidate does not have a gift such as a trade or skill, then he is sent to school to get a degree.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#11

If I could just correct you on the Oxford thing, Br JR (I wouldn't dream of commenting on what you say about the Franciscans :D):

There hasn't been a Carmelite presence at the University since before the Reformation (since the 60s there have been Carmelites near the City of Oxford but not in any way associated with the University.

Greyfriars is still there as a friary and Franciscan study centre (and parish church), but is no longer a PPH, i.e. it does not admit students for University degrees.

Blackfriars is still a PPH, a Permanent Private Hall. None of the extant religious foundations are colleges, they are all PPHs.

That was only a side note; your point that Carmelites and Franciscans also have a charism incorporating study is, of course, valid.

Sorry!


#12

I didn’t mean to say that the friars are still there. I was using the fact that there was a “hall” named after each of the mendicant orders, because they had a prominent role in the university. They haven’t held a prominent role at Oxford for centuries, but that has nothing to do with the orders. The mitigated presence has to do with the Reformation.

There is a tendency to think of the Dominicans as the educators and theologians among the mendicants. Their popularity in the field of education and theology stems from several interesting characteristics of the Dominican Order.

  1. They are an order of priests. The Franciscans and Carmelites were not founded as orders of priests. The Dominicans were founded as a brotherhood of priests. Therefore, the Dominicans have had a greater presence in the pulpit than the other two orders.

In the Franciscan and Carmelite traditions, the priests were not necessary for the mission and vision of the order. Both have priests and today, the Carmelites are clerical institutes. The Franciscans are mixed, some are clerical institutes and others are not. The majority are not. In those that are clerical institutes, the difference between them and those that are not is that the major superior must always be a cleric.

  1. The Dominicans taught in seminaries as well. The Carmelites and Franciscans rarely taught in seminaries.

  2. The Dominicans have always done parish work. There again, they get a lot of exposure. It’s like free marketing. :smiley:

The Carmelites and Franciscans did not get into parish work until long after the Dominicans. Today, many Franciscans are pulling out of parishes to return to living among the people.

  1. The Dominicans assign more men to academic endeavors than the other mendicants.

Here is where it gets funny in the USA.

Dominican colleges and universities: 18

Franciscan colleges and universities: 22

Carmelite colleges and universities: 0

As we can see, the Dominicans still have a stronger presence in colleges and universities in the USA. Observe that the Dominicans have 18 schools, but there are only about 15,000 Dominican friars around the world, give or take a few hundred.

The Franciscans have 22 schools in the USA, but combined, there are approximately 100,000 Franciscan friars around the world. Imagine if the Dominicans had 100,000.

It’s also important to note that many of the Dominican and Franciscan schools are not run by the friars, but by sisters. If we throw the sisters into the mix, the Franciscan total 1.2 million. Twenty-two colleges is nothing.

The Dominican presence in higher education wins hands down in terms of proportions. That should not be interpreted that the other mendicants are not scholarly or shun scholarship.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#13

[quote="JReducation, post:10, topic:276029"]
Finally, the study thing. It is a gross misrepresentation that education is not part of Franciscan life. The mendicants, (Franciscans, Dominicans and Carmelites) jointly founded or staffed the largest and most prestigious universities of Europe, including Oxford. Oxford has three colleges named after the mendicants. White Friars (Carmelites), Grey Friars (Franciscans) and Black Friars (Dominicans.) We have had scholars since the first generation of Franciscans, including a number of Doctors of the Church.

After Vatican I, the OFM, OFM Cap and OFM Conv, divided their communities in two. They had the Fathers and the Brothers. The brothers lost their right to vote, hold office, study, or work in the apostolate. Their role was to serve the Fathers. They did laundry, cooked, shined shoes, scrubbed floors, begged for the community. They were not allowed to eat, pray, recreate or join in any activities with the Fathers or those friars studying to be priests. They were considered equally Franciscan and equally friars, because they made the same vows, but also a lower class. They had a cast system. This happened among the Carmelites and other communities. This model is not part of the mendicant tradition where everyone is a brother. This model came from the Benedictine tradition where they had choir monks and lay brothers. The mendicants even changed how they called their houses. They started calling them monasteries. Mendicants have never lived in monasteries. We're not monks. We remain in the world.

By the1950s, the Franciscan superiors realized that there were several problems.

  1. Too many priests in the order. They had to bring down those numbers, even if it meant shutting down parishes.

  2. The rights and duties of all friars had to be restored to what they were in the 13th century.

  3. The laity must be trained to adapt to the Franciscan presence, not the Franciscans to the laity. The laity had to learn to deal differently with the friars.

  4. The friars had to be given the opportunity to use their gifts, be it science or cooking. You were no longer a cook, because you were a lay brother. You were a cook, because it's your gift. We have priests who serve as cooks and brothers who serve as parish administrators.

Today, the average education for a mendicant friar is typically a college degree, though it may not be required if the person has a gift that he brings to the table. We have a brother who has an AA Degree. He's the best office manager that I have ever known. Everything runs like clockwork. He was a businessman. He still had to take theology and philosophy courses. He did not have to qualify for the M.Div or MA. But he did the coursework required and the 8 years of formation. If a candidate does not have a gift such as a trade or skill, then he is sent to school to get a degree.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

I know that there are many Franciscans that are scholastic. However, as you know, Saint Francis himself did not like books. He saw that studying brought people to pride. People would learn and go to the university just for the sake of going and being smart, and he saw how that was very bad in terms of holiness. I am mainly discerning with the Franciscan Brothers Minor, and while they have formation classes with books and such, they have absolutely no education requirements, as they feel Franciscans with education requirements are not being true to Saint Francis, whom humbly accepted men of all classes, no matter if they went to university or if they didn't know a thing about school. I have always felt that this was right, even when I was being chastised for it, and when I found the Franciscan Brothers Minor I was speechless to know that there was such a Community that agreed with me.

However, thank you very much. You have helped me to understand the Dominicans more. I would really like to preach, but I'm not too big on studying for the rest of my life. Studying is a stressful enough experience for one section of your life. I can't imagine being stressed for the rest of my life. :p

But I have a link by Father David Mary of the Franciscan Brothers Minor I think you will enjoy. It speaks of how even though the Franciscans are thought to be the illiterate Order, they are in fact the intellectuals, and have more Doctors of the Church than any other Order. Here is the link: franciscanbrothersminor.com/FBM/Franciscans__The_Intellectuals_of_the_Church.html


#14

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:13, topic:276029"]
I know that there are many Franciscans that are scholastic. However, as you know, Saint Francis himself did not like books. He saw that studying brought people to pride. People would learn and go to the university just for the sake of going and being smart, and he saw how that was very bad in terms of holiness. I am mainly discerning with the Franciscan Brothers Minor, and while they have formation classes with books and such, they have absolutely no education requirements, as they feel Franciscans with education requirements are not being true to Saint Francis, whom humbly accepted men of all classes, no matter if they went to university or if they didn't know a thing about school. I have always felt that this was right, even when I was being chastised for it, and when I found the Franciscan Brothers Minor I was speechless to know that there was such a Community that agreed with me.

However, thank you very much. You have helped me to understand the Dominicans more. I would really like to preach, but I'm not too big on studying for the rest of my life. Studying is a stressful enough experience for one section of your life. I can't imagine being stressed for the rest of my life. :p

But I have a link by Father David Mary of the Franciscan Brothers Minor I think you will enjoy. It speaks of how even though the Franciscans are thought to be the illiterate Order, they are in fact the intellectuals, and have more Doctors of the Church than any other Order. Here is the link: franciscanbrothersminor.com/FBM/Franciscans__The_Intellectuals_of_the_Church.html

[/quote]

I just want to provide a word of caution.

The fear or anxiety of getting a basic education which would be of the high school level is something to be concerned about. Even a vocational school where you learn a trade would require such a basic education. There is not much a person can do without a high school level of education.

If one is not capable (or willing) to completing such a basic level of education I do not see how they can finish any sort of formational education.

If fear/anxiety is holding you back from this you should talk to someone about it.

I believe that there could be some level of spiritual pride along with this as well.

Anything taken to an extreme can be a cause for such.

I know I am going to sound like a broken record but . . .
This is something that needs to be discussed with a spiritual director. Maybe even a counselor/therapist.


#15

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:13, topic:276029"]
I know that there are many Franciscans that are scholastic. However, as you know, Saint Francis himself did not like books. He saw that studying brought people to pride. People would learn and go to the university just for the sake of going and being smart, and he saw how that was very bad in terms of holiness. I am mainly discerning with the Franciscan Brothers Minor, and while they have formation classes with books and such, they have absolutely no education requirements, as they feel Franciscans with education requirements are not being true to Saint Francis, whom humbly accepted men of all classes, no matter if they went to university or if they didn't know a thing about school. I have always felt that this was right, even when I was being chastised for it, and when I found the Franciscan Brothers Minor I was speechless to know that there was such a Community that agreed with me.

However, thank you very much. You have helped me to understand the Dominicans more. I would really like to preach, but I'm not too big on studying for the rest of my life. Studying is a stressful enough experience for one section of your life. I can't imagine being stressed for the rest of my life. :p

But I have a link by Father David Mary of the Franciscan Brothers Minor I think you will enjoy. It speaks of how even though the Franciscans are thought to be the illiterate Order, they are in fact the intellectuals, and have more Doctors of the Church than any other Order. Here is the link: franciscanbrothersminor.com/FBM/Franciscans__The_Intellectuals_of_the_Church.html

[/quote]

You must always be careful to listen carefully to what is being said. No community in the Franciscan family begins to think that "We're more faithful than those guys over there," it defeats Francis' mission of one brotherhood with many gifts. We're all sons and daughters of St. Francis and none of us is more faithful to him than the other. Fidelity is not duplicating what he did. It's living what he taught us. He taught us a way to follow Christ to the Father, guided by the Holy Spirit. The externals are spiritual supports along the journey. Francis' greatest concern was obedience and poverty. In a world and time when the Church was under attack from outside and from within, the friars were to preach obedience by their own obedience and trust in Divine Providence by their detachment from material things, persons, places, and even their own ideas and opinion. Fr. David makes this very clear in his statutes.

Is not quite accurate to portray Francis as anti scholastic. First, he was a well educated man who spoke three languages very fluently: French, Italian and Latin. He read and wrote in all of them. Most people in Assisi were illiterate, including the nobility. He knew theology as evidenced by his rules and his writings. He was familiar with Church law, as is evidenced by his refusal to appear before the magistrate and his agreement to appear before the bishop, also by the precision of his rules. He was a musician and a poet. He actually composed the first Italian poem/hymn, Canticle of the Sun. The canticle is a three part theological summary of Christology.

Francis was afraid that his brothers would follow scholarship to the point of neglecting their spiritual lives as had many heretic. However, he admitted scholars to the order. The most famous was Fernando Martins de Bulhões, who became Brother Anthony of Padua. Anthony was a brother, not a priest, but he was a Doctor of Sacred Scripture and Francis assigned him to the University of Bologna. He later wrote Francis to ask permission to teach theology to the other friars and Francis granted the permission provided that study did not extinguish the spirit of prayer.

Francis commanded Anthony to think about becoming a priest. Anthony prayed about it and accepted Holy Orders, three years before he died. He died at age 33. But before he died he sent Franciscan doctors to the University of Paris, Oxford and to Rome to open a theology faculty, which over the years evolved into what is today the Seraphicum or the Pontifical Seraphic University of St. Bonaventure.

There is a famous story about Francis tearing the tiles off the roof of a house when he returned from the Holy Land. The roof happened to be over the library. The problem was not scholarship. The problem was poverty. Once Francis learned that the building and its content belonged to the diocese and the bishop had asked the friars to use it, but retained the ownership, Francis calmed down. True to their word, when the friars no longer needed to be there, the building was returned to the Diocese of Assisi, content and all. The issue was ownership, not study.

Francis himself was a man who was constantly studying the scriptures and other writings. He was one of the Council Fathers at the IV Lateran Council in 1215. The only Council Father who was not a priest. To be asked to be a voting member of a council you have to have some knowledge and be able to participate in the deliberations and discussion. This council issued 69 legal canons. Francis participated in discussions and formulation. There is no doubt that this was an intelligent man. All this being said, he was a lousy administrator, most geniuses are.

I wouldn't go as far as Fr. David and say that the Franciscans are the most intelligent order in the Church. It is true that we have the most doctors, but it is also true that we are the largest religious family in the Church. Together, the friars alone number over 100,000 when the crop is small. We've had up to 150,000. You're going to have a few more doctors than the Dominicans who have never had more than 25,000 friars. Fair is fair.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#16

[quote="ByzCath, post:14, topic:276029"]
I just want to provide a word of caution.

The fear or anxiety of getting a basic education which would be of the high school level is something to be concerned about. Even a vocational school where you learn a trade would require such a basic education. There is not much a person can do without a high school level of education.

If one is not capable (or willing) to completing such a basic level of education I do not see how they can finish any sort of formational education.

If fear/anxiety is holding you back from this you should talk to someone about it.

I believe that there could be some level of spiritual pride along with this as well.

Anything taken to an extreme can be a cause for such.

I know I am going to sound like a broken record but . . .
This is something that needs to be discussed with a spiritual director. Maybe even a counselor/therapist.

[/quote]

Thank you for your concern. It's not as if I'm too stupid to get my GED, or am too full of pride to get it, but I have a lot of self-doubt and self-esteem issues, and I realized it is because of my stammer. I am reading a book on how to help me speak properly, and hopefully this will give me a lot of confidence.


#17

[quote="JReducation, post:15, topic:276029"]
You must always be careful to listen carefully to what is being said. No community in the Franciscan family begins to think that "We're more faithful than those guys over there," it defeats Francis' mission of one brotherhood with many gifts. We're all sons and daughters of St. Francis and none of us is more faithful to him than the other. Fidelity is not duplicating what he did. It's living what he taught us. He taught us a way to follow Christ to the Father, guided by the Holy Spirit. The externals are spiritual supports along the journey. Francis' greatest concern was obedience and poverty. In a world and time when the Church was under attack from outside and from within, the friars were to preach obedience by their own obedience and trust in Divine Providence by their detachment from material things, persons, places, and even their own ideas and opinion. Fr. David makes this very clear in his statutes.

Is not quite accurate to portray Francis as anti scholastic. First, he was a well educated man who spoke three languages very fluently: French, Italian and Latin. He read and wrote in all of them. Most people in Assisi were illiterate, including the nobility. He knew theology as evidenced by his rules and his writings. He was familiar with Church law, as is evidenced by his refusal to appear before the magistrate and his agreement to appear before the bishop, also by the precision of his rules. He was a musician and a poet. He actually composed the first Italian poem/hymn, Canticle of the Sun. The canticle is a three part theological summary of Christology.

Francis was afraid that his brothers would follow scholarship to the point of neglecting their spiritual lives as had many heretic. However, he admitted scholars to the order. The most famous was Fernando Martins de Bulhões, who became Brother Anthony of Padua. Anthony was a brother, not a priest, but he was a Doctor of Sacred Scripture and Francis assigned him to the University of Bologna. He later wrote Francis to ask permission to teach theology to the other friars and Francis granted the permission provided that study did not extinguish the spirit of prayer.

Francis commanded Anthony to think about becoming a priest. Anthony prayed about it and accepted Holy Orders, three years before he died. He died at age 33. But before he died he sent Franciscan doctors to the University of Paris, Oxford and to Rome to open a theology faculty, which over the years evolved into what is today the Seraphicum or the Pontifical Seraphic University of St. Bonaventure.

There is a famous story about Francis tearing the tiles off the roof of a house when he returned from the Holy Land. The roof happened to be over the library. The problem was not scholarship. The problem was poverty. Once Francis learned that the building and its content belonged to the diocese and the bishop had asked the friars to use it, but retained the ownership, Francis calmed down. True to their word, when the friars no longer needed to be there, the building was returned to the Diocese of Assisi, content and all. The issue was ownership, not study.

Francis himself was a man who was constantly studying the scriptures and other writings. He was one of the Council Fathers at the IV Lateran Council in 1215. The only Council Father who was not a priest. To be asked to be a voting member of a council you have to have some knowledge and be able to participate in the deliberations and discussion. This council issued 69 legal canons. Francis participated in discussions and formulation. There is no doubt that this was an intelligent man. All this being said, he was a lousy administrator, most geniuses are.

I wouldn't go as far as Fr. David and say that the Franciscans are the most intelligent order in the Church. It is true that we have the most doctors, but it is also true that we are the largest religious family in the Church. Together, the friars alone number over 100,000 when the crop is small. We've had up to 150,000. You're going to have a few more doctors than the Dominicans who have never had more than 25,000 friars. Fair is fair.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

Oh, I would never say that I was more faithful than other Franciscans. I have yet to find any Franciscans that question the Church's authority or its teachings. I'm sure there's some out there, but even then, I would never say anything about them. I simply want to live as close to Francis as possible is all.

And I do know that there are and have been great theologians in the Franciscan family that studied very much. As the link itself notes, Saint Anthony of Padua himself was very well learned and was a great intellectual that taught at the school. I don't have a hate for learning, rather, I do not appreciate too much emphasis on learning. Knowing how to split the atom is great, but how is that going to help you in life? How is that going to help you become a better person and become the person God wants you to be? I simply prefer more emphasis on prayer and formation rather than learning. Learning plays a part in this, but I don't see how making learning the main focus of your life helps. I'm simply not the Scott Hahn type. I do love to learn about theology, philosophy, history, Church teachings, and all the like, but I would probably get bored if this was all I did.


#18

There is much more to being close to Francis than being as poor as a church mouse. The poorest person in the world can also be the most ugly person in the world.

The life of poverty must come with obedience, prayer, fraternity, work and service. You want to be careful not to romanticize poverty. No everyone is cut out to live as did Francis or Mother Teresa. But many of us can follow in their footsteps and reach Christ. When I think of the poverty of the Missionaries of Charity, it feels beautiful. When I visit their house, it suddenly does not feel so beautiful. My romantic dream shatters like a bubble. I return to reality. I’m not the brothers and sisters of the Missionaries of Charity.

You ask what does splitting an atom have to do with your life? Directly, nothing unless you’re going to become a physicist. Indirectly, it helps. To engage in 6 to 10 years of religious formation one has to be disciplined. One must have a discipline mind. All of these courses that we take in high school or college help us to learn to think systematically and to focus our attention on the present moment.

The most difficult part for a religious in formation is balancing the academic and the spiritual. Unless he is a disciplined person, he will not make it. He must see God’s work and hear God’s voice speaking to him through his books. On the flip side, in his life of prayer, he must ask for the grace to do what needs to be done to serve God, even if it means learning to split the atom.

Scott Hahn is a whole other kind of creature. Not every religious goes beyond a Master’s in Divinity. In other words, Dr. Hahn is a professional theologian. Most religious and diocesan priests are not theologians. They have enough knowledge to grow in their faith and to serve the people of God. Those of us who went on to school beyond a Master’s degree, did so either at our request or at the request of our superiors, because the plan was for us to teach or do something academic, which is a legitimate form of service.

What I’m saying is that once you have made solemn vows, your formal years of study are over. There will always be on-going formation that the community requires. It’s not as intense.

On the other hand, if you want to be truly poor, you must be willing to disown your resistance to education. You may have an experience similar to mine. I asked to be ordained and was told, “No, you’re going to get a doctorate in theology instead.” The greatest form of poverty is not owning our wishes and our goals. As long as you resist, you’re not poor. You’re hold onto something. You’re holding on to what you want or what you fear.

The truly poor religious holds on to nothing. If your superior says, “I changed my mind. You’re going to go to school to become a rocket scientist.” You may feel the pain of having to do something that you don’t want to do, but you do it, because Christ also did something that he did not want to do. Real poverty hurts. Because real poverty is real love. Just look at a crucifix.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :slight_smile:


#19

Thank you. This is very informational.

When I say I want to be as close to Francis as possible, I am not counting poverty. Obviously, it is impossible to be as poor as he was, because he didn’t have electricity and all of those nice things. I do want to live a life of poverty, but not absolute poverty. This is why the Missionaries of Charity do not appeal to me whatsoever. I do like to have some things, and I’m going to have to visit a few Communities to see if living a life of poverty is what I am called to. If not, I may be called to a more wealthy Community, or to the Diocesan Priesthood, and maybe even the FSSP, who are allowed to have cell phones and things like that. What I do know is a life of complete or extreme poverty does not appeal to me, and I’m going to have to think about that.


#20

[quote="ATeutonicKnight, post:16, topic:276029"]
Thank you for your concern. It's not as if I'm too stupid to get my GED, or am too full of pride to get it, but I have a lot of self-doubt and self-esteem issues, and I realized it is because of my stammer. I am reading a book on how to help me speak properly, and hopefully this will give me a lot of confidence.

[/quote]

I know there are times that we do not see eye to here but know that I wish you no ill will and that you are in my prayers.

Please pray for me.


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