Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for July 7, 2009

March 7, July 7, November 6

Chapter 30: How Boys Are to Be Corrected

Every age and degree of understanding
should have its proper measure of discipline.
With regard to boys and adolescents, therefore,
or those who cannot understand the seriousness
of the penalty of excommunication,
whenever such as these are delinquent
let them be subjected to severe fasts
or brought to terms by harsh beatings,
that they may be cured.

Some thoughts:

Here we are again with my least favorite part of the entire RB. Sometimes when I come to it, I have to skip it, if i am feeling much too vulnerable and other times I grit my teeth and read it. Today is one of the latter.

First of all, allowing for extremists out there somewhere, I am 100% confident corporal punishment is not a part of monastic life. Secondly, Benedict was as much a product of his times as we are of ours and as much as we would like to think he was above his times, who among us ever is? Thirdly, there was no concept of abuse such as we have today. Please let me stress the "today". I am sure the early Middle Ages had some concept of abuse, but it was not as fine-tuned as ours. After all, women and children were still chattel back then.

Compared to life in the West, life in Benedict's day was harsher than ours. But there are many places in the world today where conditions are very similar to his. Where women and children are subject to despicable treatment. Perhaps we can redirect our horror at Benedict's words to helping those in our world who experience this sort of trauma every day.

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