Rorate Caeli

Conservative Trappist Abbey becomes exclusively "Old Rite"


A translation by Chris Gillibrand, at Catholic Church Conservation.

Cathcon translation of Zurück zum Glauben der Väter-Back to the Faith of the Father


In the Trappist Monastery of Mariawald in the Eifel an unexpected event has taken place which is unique in the world. On the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple - 21st November - the German Trappist abbey of Mariawald gained from Rome the permission to return to the Old Rite and their original religious discipline.

According to observers, this is a unique event in church history.

The Trappist were founded as a reform order of the Cistercians. Their day was marked by lengthy prayers, hard work and strict fasting and silence. In the wake of the Second Vatican, the religious discipline almost totally broke down.

The Abbey of Mariawald is located near the town of Heimbach in the Eifel in the district of Cologne. It is located in the Diocese of Aachen.

The monastery was founded in April 1795 for the first time and refounded in 1861 by the Alsatian Trappist Abbey of Ölenberg.

The monastery was also closed during the Kulturkampf and in the time of National Socialism.

Between the years 1962 and 1964, the monks adapted the monastery church to the then current liturgical fashions.

Today fourteen monks live in the Abbey under the direction of Abbot Joseph Vollberg. The hours of prayer for the monks begin at 4:00 am.

The Abbey of Mariawald is today funded by operating a restaurant, a bookshop, a liqueur factory and a monastery shop. The monastery has a guesthouse attached.

Abbot Joseph Vollberg (45) was raised in Wetzlar. He is the ninth abbot of Mariawald.

After military service and management studies in Giessen, he joined Mariawald on 1 December 1986. He studied theology in the Cistercian Abbey of the Holy Cross in Vienna.

On 26 January 1992, he was solemnly professed. In August 2003, the monk was appointed superior ad ad nutum and obtained thereby the rights of an abbot.

Then on 17 December 2005, Dom Josef received diaconal orders and on 29 June 2006 was ordained a priest by the Bishop of Aachen, Heinrich Mussinghoff.

In November 2006 the Convent Chapter chose Vollberg as the Abbot for life of the Abbey of Mariawald.

His solemn Abbatial consecration was on 26 January 2007 in the abbey church of the monastery.

19 comments:

Malcolm said...

Why would they need permission from Rome? Couldn't they have gotten it through the dicoese, or just made themselves exclusively EF? I suppose you need permission of the superior general who is in Rome?

Anonymous said...

Superb news! Let's hope that many others follow in their footsteps, not least the Carthusians.

Jordanes said...

More good news. Thanks for sharing this, New Catholic.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean more good Trappist beer?

LeonG said...

Congratulations to the monastic house of Mariawald.

It will not be the last to do this. There are already some other monastic houses who are reevaluating their positions in the light of the post-conciliar devastation of their communities. Declining numbers; a surfeit of openness to the world; liberal monastic norms and values coupled with novel liturgical adaptations now demonstrate that the pastoral disorientation of The Church in the postmodernist world has to be corrected. Some monasteries include The Latin Mass in their Mass schedules today. One abbot of a well-known Benedictine monastic house in UK stated that The Latin Mass now at their monastic house attracts the youngest congregations and the fullest. His own community is an aged, much reduced semblance of 12 monks once 40 strong and youthful in the early 1960s. Congregations at NO services are aging & often emptying out.

Indeed, all this belongs to a rebellious liberal era inebriated with novelties and with an addiction to change for its own sake. Once the Roman Catholic counter-reaction is established it will have no future. The fact that its liturgical form is being tinkered with yet again signifies that it is a vehicle fast approaching obsolescence.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm, Permission is probably needed if they are reviving a traditional "use" of the Roman Rite particular to their religious order rather than the straight Roman Missal treated in Summorum Pontificum.

Anonymous said...

The Diocese of Aachen is now one of the only sees left in Germany which does not have an every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass (whether Roman or any other use). So my question is a simple one: will faithful in the area be able to attend Mass there on Sunday? I know that some monasteries allow attendance of only those who are cloistered or admitted to the guesthouse.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Question on 'permission',

In my home city we have the FSSP mass and the parishioners have requested to have our own church. (We currently share it with the NO). Our Bishop has said 'no' and to keep praying.

My question is this, given the MP are we not permitted to have our own church and thus do not have to share with the adulterated NO mass?

If we have this right, how can we go about obtaining our own church? (Our bishop is known to fight back if pressured).

My sincerest congratulations to the Trappist Abbey.

Dan Hunter said...

Hopefully the Trappists of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, will soon offer the Gregorian Mass.
Deo Gratias!

Anonymous said...

I would nt be surprised if La Grand Chartreuse (Motherhouse of the Carthusians) in France, also adopts the Tridentine Latin Mass and their original disiplines, repudiating the monastic and liturgical laxity and unbridled creativity of the Novus Ordo and its accompaniments.

Anonymous said...

"Hopefully the Trappists of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky, will soon offer the Gregorian Mass.
Deo Gratias!

From Dan Hunter.

Hi Dan,

Sorry to disillusion you, but the Trappist at Gethsemani are about the last monastic house in the USA that would do this!!! THey were 40 years ago, and their very aged community of 47 monks still is today in the vanguard of liturgical experimentation, deviations, dissent, radical ecumenism and radical inter-religious dialog.
Only recently, they hosted Tibetan Buddhist monks and novices, and representatives of the Dali Lama, including one Tibetan monk given the honorific title of "Rinpoche", which means a "re-incarnated high Lama".
This monk was permitted to sit in the abbot's chair at Gethsemani in Chapter, and to teach/preach to the assembled very aged community of Trappists (average age, 73).

The day Gethsemani Abbey adopts the traditional monastic disiplines and Tridentine Latin Mass as Mariawald has done, is the day Benedict XVI (or another Pope...but hopefully not another for many years), will come down St. Peter's nave in the sedia gestatoria wearing the Papal falda, fallon and manta and the Papal tiara.

LOL !!!

Anonymous said...

Will they use the 1962 Missal or a hybrid?

B. said...

They will use the 1964 Version of the Cistercian rite.

Quasi-Seminarian said...

Monks are independent of a diocese, once an abbey is established the bishop has no authority (with extreme exceptions) over what happens within its walls (think of it as another diocese).

Monasteries are also generally independent of one another and Roman permission is advisable to silence protesters.

Anonymous said...

Once again I put the question:

Will faithful be allowed to attend these Masses on Sundays. Can anyone on this blog answer this question?

P.K.T.P.

B. said...

P.K.T.P.:
That would be speculation. As of now, the faithful can attend the sunday masses of the monastery.
But as the monastery wants to change its observance to preconciliar customs, and I'm not aware of the Trappist rules in that regard, I can not say for sure, that it will stay that way.
I would assume that the faithful will still be able to attend, though. The monastery also operates a guest house, were (male) guests can stay and participate in the daily life of the monks.

Dave Deavel said...

RE: Gethsemani Abbey

My wife and I have been sent cheese from Gethsemani and it's excellent, leading us to send it to others. In view of Christmas's approach are there vibrant traditional and orthodox monasteries whose products (particularly cheese) we could buy. I know of the Mystic Monk Coffee from the Wyoming Carmelites. Any others?

Poperinghe said...

Don't hold your breath about American Trappists rediscovering their roots. The Trappists are about the only order that still think the Church is in the year 1972. The Trappists future is not very bright in this country.

Rabbi Jacob David Hallenstein said...

Go to the Sub Tuum blog of Br Stephen@ Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank, Sparta, WI. You will find these Cistercians ,not trappist,O. Cist. not OCSO returning to the old traditions of monastic life. Jacob