Sunday, July 3, 2016

The "Benedict Option"

Some pro-monarchy Catholic bloggers have been sharing this idea lately called the "Benedict Option," i.e. a movement of sorts in the USA of Catholic "communities" which ultimately aims at a future Catholic nation.

In Thomistic moral philosophy, all actions are teleological, that is they follow a hierarchy of means and ends.  One means reaches towards an immediate end, which in turn serves as a means to a proximate end, which in turn aims at remote ends, which ultimately culminate in the ultimate end.

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Something like this would have to happen:

So, if the ultimate end were to somehow one day be a new American Catholic monarchical kingdom, then the remote end--imo--would likely first have to be mass conversion of the American public to the Catholic Faith.  The proximate end/means might be practical collapse of our current American-secularist system; and the immediate end/means may very well be, in the foreseeable future, a global economic collapse and/or war.  Well respected economists and politicians have already made this prediction.

Catholic "Communities" ??

Two "Catholic communities" come to mind here in the Heartland, one in my own home state of Oklahoma, both of which I have visited multiple times in my youth.

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1.  The Friends of Clear Creek Abbey near Tahlequah, OK.  Dozens of families have formed a kind of hamlet around the monastery, sharing a love for the Traditional Latin Mass, Benedictine monasticism, and Catholic counter-cultural living.  One can trace this Experiment to the writings of Dr. John Senior (RIP), once a famed professor of humanities at Kansas University.  He was the intellectual and spiritual mentor to many student converts, some of whom would go on to become French monks returning to Oklahoma, to found a monastic community based in part on Senior's vision.   His vision was for Catholics to organically come together as actual communities around monasteries, or to re-found Catholic ghettos in the city.

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A MUST READ:  Get it Here

2. St. Mary's, Kansas.  3000+ traditional Catholics, devoted to the Latin Mass and all things traditionally Catholic, live in this small northeastern Kansas town.  The Society of St. Pius X runs a parish, elementary school, and college there, serving as a spiritual and cultural center for the citizens of St. Mary's.  It is no separatist commune, but rather simply a large school/parish founded by Archbishop Lefebvre that gradually attracted so many Catholics to make the move that they effectively took over the town.  Most of the town's teachers, attorney's, nurses, doctors, police officers, councilmen, and even the mayor himself are traditional Catholics.  It is de facto a local Catholic society/government.


Other similar American Catholic Community Experiments exist:  Star of the Sea in Arkansas, John Michael Talbot's community also in AR, Post Falls, ID, Ave Maria, FL, and another in western Wisconsin to name just a few.

The "Benedict Option"

St. Benedict's monasteries--often with their attached lay communities--once served as localized cells of Catholic culture during the Dark Ages.  If today is a sort of Dark Age, the "Benedict Option" is an "immediate means" as it were to the "remote and ultimate ends" of a Catholic nation.  To create analogous social cells today centered around the Faith, traditional liturgy/piety, if not also monasteries.

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Mont Saint-Michel in France, at high tide.  LINK



  1. Just purchased John Senior's book. Looking forward to it.

    In the meantime, one particular method of the Benedict Option that I recommend: flooding a low-cost neighborhood in the same aggressive uncompromising manner as many immigrant communities presently do. This will require endurance on the part of families. But consider that this endurance is already being implemented by the immigrants that flood our cities, creating "white flight." I see no reason why Catholics cannot do this as well.

    1. The main issue here is that we forget we are all exiles, and that our citizenship is in heaven (that is to say, in uno with the Holy Trinity). It is true that Our Lord is King, but "His Kingdom is not of this world". St. Augustine's "City of God", written at a time in which the greatest Empire was about to collapse and plunge the known world into chaos, enlightens this mysterious historical process, fruit of God's Providence, by which the Catholic Church is a beacon of light but not intended to be an "earthly city".

      Also, as an aside, when commenting negatively about the immigrants, let us remember a historical and a spiritual truth: the former is that America was founded by immigrants; the latter is that the Passover was instituted by God "in remembrance of the deliverance of His people from Egypt" where they were foreigners, and that God commands to be kind to the stranger "because you too were once foreigners". When you mistreat the immigrant because they make your lives less comfortable, remember that we are not called to comfort, and that the supreme law of the Church (and indeed the summa of the Gospel) is love. "I was a stranger, and you did not welcome me."