Rorate Caeli

Pope suppresses abbey of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme

The Cistercian abbey linked to the Basilica of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem (Santa Croce in Gerusalemme), the Sessorian Basilica, one of the seven most relevant basilicas in Rome, has been suppressed by a decree of the Congregation for Religious (Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life), approved by the Holy Father, following the results of an Apostolic Visitation - which itself was a result of years of serious problems, including significant liturgical abuses. (Source: multiple reports - see G.Galeazzi; A.Tornielli.) The former abbot and other monks had already been removed two years ago (see M. Tosatti); the remaining Cistercians will be relocated to different abbeys.

We hope this is only the beginning of the resolution of the extremely relevant problems in religious houses around the world.

The Cistercians had been at Santa Croce for nearly five centuries. 

42 comments:

  1. Saint Helena and Saint Bernard, pray for us.

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  2. Hurrah for this move. I hope the apostolic visitation to Ireland results in similar suppressions.

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  3. Anonymous9:02 AM

    The real question now must be: who will move in next?

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  4. The monastery have been transformed by the last monks in a luxuous hotel...

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  5. Parson's Nose10:09 AM

    No face saving: Symbolical, historical Papal action. A suppression that will thunder throughout the Church.
    Viva the 'Gentle Ruler'!

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  6. Anonymous10:38 AM

    One has the impression that Benedict is beginning to flex his muscles.

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  7. As with many religious orders, the reformed Cistercians, known as the Trappists, whose leading modern lights in the U.S. were Thomas Merton and the founders of Centering Prayer, after Vatican II, instituted aggiornamento in order to appeal to modern(ist) man. Tragically, vocations dried up and the order has been in free fall for the past forty years.

    This "renewal" should have been suppressed decades ago.

    With the vast majority of monks well into their seventies and eighties and moving into nursing homes, the order is facing the closure of monasteries.

    Meanwhile, Our Lady of the Annunciation Monastery of Clear Creek, which follows the traditional Benedictine life, including Gregorian Chant, is experiencing robust growth.

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  8. I loved visiting this basilica in Rome, which houses some remarkable relics -- including a fragment of the Holy Cross, the Crown of Thorns, nails used in the Crucifixion, etc. I'm glad to see the order in charge of the place is being brought to heel.

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  9. J. G. ratkaj12:44 PM

    while one may appreciate that rather extreme malpractice at the venerable Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme is finally beeing surpressed it saddens that the presence a congregation since 1571 affiliated to this gracious cult site ends so tragically. Let's hope the monastery is souled again in soon future and not abandoned with just the remaining hotel.

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  10. Yes, Dr. Blosser, the Sessorian Basilica is quite a site: it is not spectacular (especially when one visits it coming from the Lateran Basilica), but it is an appropriate reliquary for those august reminders of our Faith.

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  11. Johnny Domer2:41 PM

    I'm hoping the Holy See is making some calls to the monks of Heiligenkreuz to see if they want to start a new foundation. It would be wonderful to see Santa Croce given to a faithful, traditional order of Cistercians like them.

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  12. That is exactly my thought. Perhaps this is another time for us to petition Rome, asking for this, one of the seven basilicas, to be granted to an order or monastery dedicated to the Forma Extraordinaria - quoting the multiple and endless praises of both Summorum Pontificum and Universae Ecclesiae to the Forma Extraordinaria.

    NC

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  13. Anonymous2:49 PM

    Franciscans of the Immaculate? Institute of Christ the King? Benedictines of Fontgombault/Le Barroux? To name but a few.

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  14. Anonymous4:11 PM

    Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer ;-)

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  15. The Holy Father just needed to finish his book. Now that such things are out of the way, heretics need be on guard because you now have his full attention!

    Praise God for the blessing of such a Pope!

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  16. Anonymous5:06 PM

    @ Anonymous 21 May, 2011 10:38

    Haha, and that at his age! God give him strength! (You know what Samson did in his days.. ;-) )

    @ Johny Domer: My thought as well ^^

    Ahh, happy news, after the horrible news I read here from my own country (about the Salesians...)

    IM

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  17. Anonymous7:50 PM

    But Brian: weren't the Cistercians at Santa Croce Cistercians of the Common Observance (S.O. Cist.) rather than of the Strict Observance (Trappists O.C.S.O.)?

    Looks like you'll have to do a "culpa" for blaming poor Fr. M. Louis and Fr. M. Basil!

    And find someone else to blame.

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  18. Brian said, "Tragically, vocations dried up and the order has been in free fall for the past forty years."

    That seems to be a fairly consistent pattern, modernism in the name of relevance leads to relativism leads to irrelevance. One sees it nearly daily in all corners of the Church. I thank God for our current Holy Father and pray God grants him many years yet.

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  19. Brian9:58 PM

    Anonymous 19:50,
    Of course the Trappists and Common Observance separated centuries ago. I was respondeing to New Catholics prayer to St. Bernard. Sadly, both his daughters have gone astray.

    The contemplative orders are at the heart of the Church. Sadly the Church, which can never die, is suffering from heart disease.

    Thomas Merton, Basil Pennington, and Thomas Keating are not the cause, they are symptoms.

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  20. Anonymous10:25 PM

    Brian,

    Quite right. That's what happens when you put your trust in psychiatry instead of Our Lord. Why psychiatrists were brought into Gethsemane in the fifties is anyone's guess. These men were primed for Vatican II at least twenty years before hand as it started to unravel in the forties. Having a superstar writer in their midst didn't help matters either - there's a lot to be said when religious didn't append their names to their literary works and wrote instead "By a Religious" or "By a Trappist Monk".

    Delphina

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  21. Anonymous11:11 PM

    "The real question now must be: who will move in next?"
    In Rome, why not do likewise to the Jesuits in their 3 remaining parishes in Rome, the Salesians,
    and the Camaldolese "lunatic liberal" monks at the Basilica of San Gregorio Maggiore in Rome....a very ancient church with roots to the time of Pope St. Gregory the Great in the 6th century.

    Here in the USA, I hope the same is done to 95% of the supremely aged radical liberal dissenting femminist habitless nuns that have been subject their own Apostolic visitation which is coming to a close. Shut 95% of them down....disband them, suppress them en masse.

    What a surprise that would be to the likes of "Sisters" Joan Chittister and Teresa Kane et al.

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  22. Anonymous11:28 PM

    Just a question: how many monks would it take to properly staff a Roman basilica?

    Tom

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  23. Anonymous11:34 PM

    Anon 23:11: "Here in the USA, I hope the same is done to 95% of the supremely aged radical liberal dissenting femminist habitless nuns that have been subject their own Apostolic visitation which is coming to a close. Shut 95% of them down....disband them, suppress them en masse."

    Right. Keep dreaming.

    Delphina

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  24. God Bless Benedict the fearless!

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  25. "The Holy Father just needed to finish his book. Now that such things are out of the way, heretics need be on guard because you now have his full attention!"

    That's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

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  26. "Thomas Merton, Basil Pennington, and Thomas Keating are not the cause, they are symptoms."

    Absolutely, Brian. Spot on!

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  27. "Just a question: how many monks would it take to properly staff a Roman basilica?"

    Is this related to light bulbs? I lack the humor to come up with a fitting punch line. Maybe someone can help me out here?

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  28. Anonymous3:31 AM

    David:

    The question was serious. Some posters want the Holy Father to select one of the new but still small "traditional" orders to run SCG. So how many would it take to provide an appropriate schedule of Masses, confessions and other services for a church of that size? I saw the four major basilicas in '03 but missed Santa Croce.

    Tom

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  29. Anonymous9:04 AM

    Santa Croce is the smallest and most remote of the seven Roman baslicas. In forty years of vising Rome I have never associated it with a dynamic religious life, like the others. In addition to getting the indulgencies, most pilgrims visit it for the relics of the Passion which are beautifully displayed and lit. The basilica itself has always seemed dead to me, in comparison with the others. I attributed that to its geographical remoteness rather than the decay of its custodians. But I can also say that I have never seen any evidence of crazy liturgical aberrations.

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  30. Anonymous5:15 PM

    I hope the Cistercians from Austria whom the Pope met, or the Benedictines of La Barroux or of Norcia get this abbey to restore, or the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

    Preferably a monastic, traditional community....and not monks from any of the "New Orders" associated with the "New Movements" and the "Springtime of Vatican II"....namely the Jerusalem Community, Community of the Beatitudes, Fraternity of Saint John, etc.

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  31. "Just a question: how many monks would it take to properly staff a Roman basilica?"

    Reminds me what Bl. John XXIII said when asked how many people work in the Vatican: "Oh, about half."

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  32. Anonymous7:44 PM

    Pope Benedict XVI was not "waiting" to finish his book. What a ridiculous thought. Most appropriately he, as the Vicar of Christ, was waiting for the proofs to be established in all justice. He is a brilliant theologian who is gentle, patient, merciful and just, exuding every virtue. As a prominent Cardinal in Rome recently said of him "everyone who meets him knows him to be thoroughly GOOD." Since only God is GOOD, it is obvious that this Pope is definitely GOD's chosen vessel.
    I believe that while Blessed PJP11 became a saint through his papacy; Pope Benedict XVI, aka Joseph Ratzinger, came to the papacy AS a saint. He came to Rome at the request of PJP11, after reading a book of Joseph Ratzinger's, and would not let him leave his side, even when requested by Ratzinger for retirement. PBXVI, aka Joseph Ratzinger, is the brilliant flame which worked humbly behind PJP11 for 20 years. I believe many knew this which is the reason that he was elected unanimously as the Vicar of Christ in a historic brief deliberation. He is and has been recognized worldwide by all manner of persons, religious, secular, even atheistic, as a brilliant, if not the most brilliant, theologian of modern time. God has blessed us in this humble. piously brilliant and gentle disciple of Christ.

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  33. Anonymous11:01 PM

    I believe many knew this which is the reason that he was elected unanimously as the Vicar of Christ in a historic brief deliberation. He is and has been recognized worldwide by all manner of persons, religious, secular, even atheistic, as a brilliant, if not the most brilliant, theologian of modern time. God has blessed us in this humble. piously brilliant and gentle disciple of Christ.


    This! When he was elected, someone asked me what I thought and I said that he was the most important theologian elected to the see of Peter in several hundred years.

    But you've pointed to some things more important--his sanctity and his assistance to Bl. JPII.

    Nicely put.

    Viva il papa! Ad multos annos!

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  34. Anonymous3:27 AM

    It's a sad day when Cistercians have to be disciplined by the Pope. What's the world coming to!

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  35. Anonymous5:08 AM

    Thank you Holy Father, for saving our church. Do not stop there.I agree, The next must be the Jesuits, then the habitless nuns.

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  36. Anonymous5:41 PM

    How many monks would it take to staff a basilica? Easy--VI.

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  37. Anonymous12:05 AM

    My utmost respect and admiration for Thomas Merton OCSO, Basil Pennington OCSO and Thomas Keating OCSO. Their combined efforts in the service of Jesus Christ and His church is to be commended.

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  38. Anonymous7:04 PM

    I have prayed some of the most desperate prayers of my life in that very church, now many years ago, and am therefore rather attached to the place.
    That a repulisti is now undertaken can only be seen positively.

    Mundabor

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  39. My overwhelming feeling is sorrow at this news. Some of the comments on the original post make me sad, too. The suppression of any monastic community is both a personal and an institutional tragedy. Whatever went wrong at Santa Croce (and as outsiders, we cannot have full knowledge), it will not be redeemed by bitterness and gloating, only by prayer and sacrifice.

    Unless one is sure that every single member of the community was deliberately acting in bad faith, I would suggest thinking about what dispersal means: leaving the community of profession for another is deeply painful. If you have not experienced it, count yourself fortunate. I am praying for the monks of Santa Croce and hope everyone who has read this post will do the same. Those of us who live a cloistered life know that we are always falling short of our vocation, but failure is not the same as repudiation or infidelity. Maybe even here there is some redeeming grace to be found.

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  40. Crestafolian9:09 PM

    If thy right eye scandalise thee cut it out and cast it from thee... etc. This materialistic monastery could be easily suppressed but those who abuse children cannot be dealt with. Were they not the ones that Jesus Christ himself warned us about? These predatory missioners and priests are far more dangerous to faith and morals than any decadent monks and nuns. The pope is quick to act in the cases of sins that involve women, but those who abuse children walk free and are protected. Can we be accepted as followers of Christ if we ignore his most dire warnings? The hierarchy does so, the pope himself does so, do they know something that we do not? Or have they forgotten their first duty, that of care of His Little Ones? By their deeds shall we know them Crestafolian.

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  41. Anonymous11:03 PM

    The American House of O. Cist. (not OCSO/Trappist) has fallen into ruin... Its doors are closed forever... Their business made millions of $$$$$ and some-way they lost it all... It is a sad day in the USA, however troubled this monastic community may have been... I pray for them and all the monastic houses in the Church today... dhallenstein

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