Monks / Nuns in Anglicanism

Discussion in 'Theology and Doctrine' started by BibleHoarder, May 24, 2018.

  1. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Am I right that there are some monastic orders like this in Anglicanism? I know Lutherans have monks and nuns, and they are similar to Anglicanism.
     
  2. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Yes there are. In Australia we have Franciscsns, Benedictines and Holy Name Sisters, for starters.
     
  3. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    There are monastics in US Anglicanism as well. More monks than nuns, but I am aware of both.
     
  4. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    There are a few antecedents but mostly were the result of the Oxford movement. Wycliff founded an order of itinerant preachers and Nicholas Ferrar, a disciple of Archbishop Laud, founded a monastic-type community at Little Gidding. Nothing really came of these until the 1800s.
     
  5. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    I believe the ACNA maintains a monastic community on the east coast of VA, near where I go to school. I can't remember what it's called or where precisely it is, though. The Oxford Movement, for all of its (what I think of as) flaws, did bring back monasticism.
     
  6. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    I know the head of that community. He has secured a new location and is in the early phase of building in Newport News. His spot is called Livingstone Priory. He runs the largest religiously affiliated food pantry in that city: Five Loaves Food Pantry. He's got a radio show on a Christian station out of Norfolk too. He does a lot of good service in the community but he is no theologian.

    Another monk affiliated with the same order is in my jurisdiction and has a new mission up in Mathews County: St. Thomas Anglican Mission. Their order is not strictly Anglican though, it bills itself as an ecumenical Franciscan order.
     
  7. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

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    YES, that's the one! I'm never really in Newport News but I've heard of the priory.
     
  8. Shane R

    Shane R Active Member

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    Livingstone Priory is an unfortunate story. His original monastery was leased and the landlord sold it out from under him rather abruptly. He's gone about four years without a physical location for the monastery, though an area (non-Anglican) church loaned him space to run the food pantry. But someone gifted him a ten acre plot to rebuild and then ACNA gave him a grant to begin construction. And he's had a number of other donors come forward so he's well on his way to having a new monastery. Unfortunately, about 3/4 of his tract of land is marsh that is not currently suitable for building on. I have not been over there in a while to see where the progress stands.
     
  9. Patrick C.

    Patrick C. New Member

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    Why were the monasteries dissolved if the Church of England is supposedly in continuity with the old Celtic rite, a rite of which was strong in monastic tradition?
     
  10. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    The dissolution of the monasteries was far more a political/economic decision than a faith decision. It was not without opposition as the Pilgrimage of Grace attests to. The monasteries, which were not as monastic house of our era, provided a lever of social welfare and an avenue for the diversion of resources from the Landholders to the underprivileged and needy. Importantly also they provided a place of refuge and shelter for travelers, and indeed made travel possible for many. They also represented a channel of significant wealth to leave the realm in support of the Church in Rome, and the collective wealth was a significant economic problem for the realm. No doubt Cranmer saw it as an opportunity to promote reform, and so saw the opportunity to align his agenda with the need of England to fund some significant expenses, especially in fight both the French and the Spanish, quote probably both being encouraged by Rome.

    In reality I am not sure how much strength of the old celtic rite was left in the Monasteries, nearly 500 years after the invasion of England in 1066 by William of Normandy, flying the Popes banners, and the subsequent deprivation of livings or life from the English Bishops and Abbots, and their replacement with Normans and Italians.
     
  11. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    As @Botolph attests it was mainly a political decision effected by Henry VIII, who was more of a bad Roman Catholic than anything else. The monasteries were rich, and very poor witnesses to the gospel in that era, having entered an era of decadence. In the Roman countries the monasteries shortly after this had many re-foundations and restructurings, which confirms this larger phenomenon. But monasticism in Anglicanism, although out of favor for a time, found smaller expressions in communities of common living with a common rule of live and prayer, and of course today has more of a prominence.
     
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  12. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    Found some interesting Protestant statements on monasticism:

    "If certain men of outstanding character, capable of living life under a rule, feel a desire to pass their lives in the cloister, we do not wish to forbid them, so long as their doctrine and worship remain pure, and, notably, so long as they consider the practices of monastic life as things indifferent. We are persuaded that numerous authentic Christians of irreproachable spirituality have passed their lives in convents. It is even certainly to be wished that such convents will exist, occupied by wise and fervent religious, in which the study of Christian doctrine can be pursued for the greater good of the Church. These might be then a place where, by the practice of pious exercises of religious life, young people would receive not only an intellectual training but a spiritual one as well." -- Martin Luther, 1536 Wittenberg Articles.

    "Those to whom God has given the gift of celibacy, in such a way that they can continue wholly pure in heart and mind without grievously burning, must serve the Lord in this vocation as long as they feel endowed and protected with this heavenly gift, and so long as they do not therefore raise themselves up above other people but assiduously serve the Lord in all simplicity and humility. Moreover such individuals are better disposed to busy themselves with things divine than those who suffer the distraction of their families." -- Confessio helvitica posterior, 1568
     
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  13. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Maybe my idea of monasteries and monks/nuns is misguided, but my view of living in a monastery is basically to relax and have fun. Monks play card games and enjoy good food and drink while reading stories to each other, nuns play in blankets and pillows and patty-cake games with catholic rhymes ("Dear Mary, friend and fairy, pray for us sinners so we can be winners"). People enjoy playing music with each other like in a pub. That might be very misguided. Forgive me, but I tend to view a lot of Catholic things of that sort as just cute little novelties. Basically, Catholic life and practices are just a fun thing to dabble in, but I probably, in the eyes of most serious Catholics here, have no place in these things simply because I don't have true piety or a realistic view of what monasticism is really about.
     
  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I do think you sell monasticism short in your summary. If you have a look at the Taize community (ecumenical protestant community) you may see a fresh approach to the subject. Another place you might find some helpful information is in Letters from the Desert by Carlos Caretto .

    And absolutely you do have a place here.
     
  15. JoeLaughon

    JoeLaughon Active Member Anglican

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    I think this is a tad misguided, since monasticism predates what we would label as "Roman Catholicism," and, while there were abuses/reforms, played a huge role in the intellectual and spiritual development of the Church.

    I wouldn't say being wrong on this mean's one does not have piety or does not have a place here just means one is mistaken. I am, no doubt, mistaken about a good many things.
     
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  16. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Well said
    I am not an anglo-catholic and yet I'd clearly monasticism as compatible with the apostolic faith of the earliest days.... I then go on think of John the Baptist, and the ancient prophets with ashes and sackcloth, and camel's hair; you can find monasticism in the old testament, so we need to have a nuanced conversation of what we are discussing

    I don't think that the Roman or Orthodox definitions of monasticism should be our primary guides here
     
  17. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I have to admit I am prejudiced against traditional monasticism. I just don't see the Lord calling men and women to live a cloistered life away from the world. I do recognize the contributions that the monasteries made, especially in the Dark Ages. What I am much more supportive of are religious societies that engage the world in areas such as healthcare, education, etc. Hiding behind a wall, and spending most of one's time praying isn't what I feel Christians are called to do. I also feel that the undivided Church was largely taken over by the monastics (remembering that monasticism didn't exist until the late 3rd century) who imposed their asceticism on the laity. It was after the rise of the monastics in the Church that we see excessive fasting periods and celibate clergy introduced, as well as the rise of saint's days, all-to-often dedicated to monks and largely generic "virgin martyrs."
     
  18. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    I agree with this. The best argument you can make for it would be someone who has a condition that makes social situations in the real world difficult. I have Asperger's and some other issues. Asperger's can seem stubborn, selfish, close-minded, and entitled. I do think I suffer from many of those symptoms. I do think Paul and the others suggested that some in the body need to be cared for and protected in a different way than others. The best someone in my position can do most of the time for the kingdom is prayer. The other is personal and private in-depth research that would not be shared by the researcher with this condition in public, but to others who are more equipped for public discourse, who have been informed by the researcher affected. Monasticism would be like surrounding yourself with faith-based caretakers for spiritual support. I have felt guilty for wanting to shut myself away from the world most of the time, but this is the best I can do in my condition so far. I can easily see why others in my shoes would benefit from it, too.
     
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  19. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I am sorry you have this condition, BibleHoarder. I have ME/CFS, so I understand how difficult a chronic condition can be.
     
  20. BibleHoarder

    BibleHoarder Active Member

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    Thank you, I hope the best for you as well. I don't think you need to actually live in a monastery for that kind of spiritual support and benefit, though. My family has been good enough, and our local church we attend is also very caring and generous in praying for us, or offering their counsel. I plan to start going to church regularly with my mother, who has only been going occasionally these days with my sister and nephew.
     
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