Talk:Christian monasticism

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Picture of St. Francis and New Section[edit]

The page shows a picture of St. Francis, a friar and the founder of the Franciscan Orders. Strictly speaking, he was not a monk. He is a friar. Friars tend to have more freedom than monks, and are not always limited to the cloister. Perhaps a section should be added detailing this sort of difference? --Silverwolf85 08:46, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

That's very true, Franciscans aren't monastics. A new picture is needed. Dgf32 (talk) 21:28, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Well, that right, but I question just how picky one should be on this point. There are differences between friars and monks, but one can argue that they have more in common than what separates them. All are separated from the world, as what the Roman Catholic Church calls "the Religious," living the "Religious Life;" and there are many similarities. Like Monks, Friars undergo their formation in monasteries; they take the vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience; most wear a standard monastic habit with a scapular and cowled hood virtually indistinguishable from that of monks except for size and color; and may wear rope cinctures instead of a belt. Their orders are organized internally much as are those of monks, they must periodically return to their monasteries for retreats, chapter meetings, and other purposes; and some may in fact be cloistered permanently in a monastery or convent. Most are tonsured at some point during their formation. If one is going to make a distinction between monks and friars, then why not draw a difference between Monks, Friars, and Hermits (like the Carthusians, which are migets, living mostly separate from each other in their "Charterhouses" or on separate cells on the grounds of their charterhouses, and seldom see each other.) Strictly speaking, they are a different type of Religious: Hermits, not Monks or Friars. All of these and many other forms of Consecrated Religious Life are (at least under Roman Catholic Canon Law) dealt with in the Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church (1989) under Part III: Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; Part III, Section I, "Institutes of Consecrated Life." The norms for all are in Part III, section I, Title I, and all are dealt with in detail in Section I, Title II: Religious Institutes. Gladfelteri (talk) 19:46, 28 August 2011 (UTC)

I think the caption is meant to say a PROFESSION ceremony, the one in which a monastic makes her or his profession, that is, makes vows. Not procession.67.189.224.199 (talk) 15:15, 23 July 2014 (UTC)

New Section[edit]

I think a new section addressing the impact or legacy of Christian Monasticism is needed, specifically to mention the role Benedictine and Celtic monasteries played in preserving the literature of the Western world during the Middle Ages. This would also be a good place to bring up a couple of details about these orders, since the article does not mention them in any depth. --Gesundheit 22:37, 19 December 2006 (UTC)

Contributions to science[edit]

I think contributions to the sciences should be mentioned. Perhaps a list of all the ideas and innovations that arose from christian monastaries. PyroGamer 21:18, 17 March 2007 (UTC)

Precursor Models section[edit]

This section presents a number of scriptural texts which show parallels to later monastic development, but does not provide any evidence that these texts actually inspired the early monks. It is plausible that palestinian monks may have been influenced by the Nazarite tradition, but does any historian document this connection? --SteveMcCluskey 22:30, 20 December 2006 (UTC)

Clean-up Needed[edit]

This article is in major need of clean up. The body of the article needs to be reorganized. I'd suggest chronological order on the development of eastern and western monasticism. The lead section needs to be entirely rewritten. The article needs copy editing and needs to be correctly formatted according to the WP:Manual of Style. Dgf32 (talk) 21:19, 19 May 2008 (UTC)

Oh Good GRIEF![edit]

Please forgive the headline, but this is the first time I have read this article, and I am appalled at the level of inaccuracy and the serious omissions. I speak as a lifelong Benedictine nun who has studied monasticism all her life--in addition to trying to live it out--as well as the author of a number of popular books. (Check What We Owe the Monks'Italic text, by Thomas Wood) Here are some issues I noticed (the term "monastery" refers equally to house of men, houses of women, and houses of both men and women): 1. A huge number of adverbs (mostly, generally, always, never, etc). These flavor sentences unnecessarily; in some cases, they subtly slant the text that follows. 2. Near total omission of Anglican monasticism in England, the USA, Africa, etc. 3. I believe that there is also a Lutheran monastic group, as well as Old Catholic and independent monasteries. 4. Incorrect definitions of many monastic terms 5. Seriously inaccurate and/or incomplete discussion of why a person becomes a monastic, why monasticism exists and WHAT MONASTICISM IS. 6. A style of writing too informal to meet the needs of the subject 7. The DDT (Doctoral Dissertation & Thesis) problem: i.e., the tendency of a grad student to choose a subject that is far too broad to be constrained in an article. (As I look up from my keyboard, I see one of my bookcases, which contains 21 linear feet of books ALL devoted to monasticism in the Roman Catholic tradition. I have several feet more devoted to Anglican/Episcopalian and Orthodox monasticism.) Perhaps something needs to be done to make this article more reasonable. 8. Major inaccuracies, including a failure to define what is meant by a "Rule" and how it differs from Church laws that come from Rome and are directed to monasteries. 9. Virtually nothing about female monastics 10. No historical timeline of the growth and spread of monasticism, the constant conflict between monastic and hierarchical authorities, especially for women.

Re: Contributions of Monasticism to Society

Among other things in my life, I built up a huge collection of postage stamps and postal history devoted simply to Benedictines. It includes hundreds of stamps that commemorate major contributions of monasticism to the world. They include, to mention just a few:

-beer (Trappist ales in Belgium and the region, such as Orval), -wine (Dom Perignon and the process of double fermentation that produces champagne), -medicinal cordials (Benedictine, Chartreuse, etc.) -treatises on medicine as a science, and development of herbal medicines from plants like foxglove (digitalis), monkshood (plasters), lavender (sleep issues), poppies (opium), cannabis (THC) that successfully treated arthritis, heart conditions, pain, etc. -techniques for writing an encyclopedia (Hildegarde of Bingen, more than 400 years ago; the 18th monastics for the alphabetical system for indexing) -hydraulics and water power, especially for accurate clocks and for grinding wheat -building techniques, -animal husbandry, including breeding and development of new types of cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, cats (The Chartreux was bred to be the best mouser there is) and dogs (sheep protection, St. Bernard, the Rottweiler, the Bloodhound, the Bouvier des Flandres, etc/ -written languages: The Benedictine monks, working from scriptoria on the east coast of England, developed the basic structure of the Germanic group of languages such as: English, German, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish etc. Benedictine monks working from the Pannonhalma Scriptorium in Hungary created Hungarian, which was taken north to create Estonian, Finnish and Lappish. With linguistic help from the Pannonhalma monks, the Eastern Orthodox monks, working from the scriptoria attached to the monasteries in Kiev and Novgorod, created the Slavic group of languages such as Russian, Ukrainian, Serbian etc. Polish was likely developed in the Benedictine scriptorium at Tyniec. In the US, early Benedictines in the west created written forms for several groups of the First Peoples.

Enough for now. I'm exhausted just thinking about the need for improvements on this. Sister Elias (talk) 19:48, 12 July 2013 (UTC)

What to call this article[edit]

Currently, this article is supposed to be about Christian Monasticism. The difficulty is that not all those in Religious Life are monastics. There are a number of categories for people who have taken vows that set them apart from those who have not:


Monks (men and women) Monasticism in the Roman Catholic Church includes all men and women who live in community and follow the Rule of St. Benedict, who take solemn vows for life. (The differences between solemn and simple, perpetual versus temporary is a subject unto itself.) It does not matter if they live the monastic life in a cloister and have relatively little contact with non-monastics or whether they run a prep school for 1200 students. Members of a number of other orders qualify as monastics as well. The Norbertines are a good eample. Monastics include monasteries of men and women who live an eremitical life, such as the Camaldolese and Carthusians. By the way, Benedictines have never taken vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Our vows have always been: stability, conversion of life, and obedience--as St. Benedict stipulated 1500 years ago. There are also monastic hermits, who live by themselves, usually after a long probation as a community member, and who usually work in some way to support themselves, but whose life is spent alone most of the time in meditation and intercessory prayer. I am one of these hermits, an urban hermit, so to say.

Next to the monastics are those who are technically called Canons, although that term is in desuetude. However, for most of the history of the RCC, there were canons and even some canonesses, but mostly male clergy attached, for example, to a cathedral church. They were not monks, although there were some vows connected with their life. They gathered together for the Office; they usually followed a version of the "Rule" of St. Augustine. There were a number of contemplative Canons, but there was no such thing as a monastery of enclosed canons.

Third are the Mendicants. Mendicant comes from a Lain word that means "to beg." Orders that were founded with poverty being a central means of sanctification are Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, and a host of others, most of which have both active and contemplative monasteries (monastery is used for almost any permanent house of religious, even though it is most appropriate for monks and nuns.)

There have always been Oblates and Third Orders, some of which have developed religious houses of their own. And in today's world, there are orders of men and women who do not live in common at all.


All of the makes me think that either we rename this article CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS LIFE and include all of these branches I have mentioned (and there are others, too), OR we limit this article to MONASTICISM and refer readers to other articles like Canons, Mendicants, etc. I prefer the latter. Otherwise, the dreaded DDT will overcome us all. Sister Elias (talk) 20:13, 12 July 2013 (UTC)