The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
TO: Ordained Catholic Clergy
FROM: The Bishop-Abbot, White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Peace be with you.
Please forgive the somewhat formal tone of this letter. My intention is to clarify our possible working ministerial relationship and to maintain sacramental integrity within the sprit of compassion.
The purpose of our Incardination/Licensure Program is two fold. First, our Incardination/Licensure Program offers the People of God a specific spiritual context to realize their sacramental needs. Second, our program offers ordained Catholic clergy (deacon, priest, bishop) a Spiritual (rather than institutional) Context within each may participate in its charism through incardination and to insure sacramental integrity flowing from the bishop-priest relationship.
Incardination may be offered to those clerics currently without a bishop. Licensure may be offered to those clerics currently with a bishop and wish to serve The People within the context of the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict as well as within the context of their incardinated ecclesia.
The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict (WRMOSB) serve those who generally no longer find Roman Church Law, specifically, and to a lesser extent institutional religion, in general, a relevant issue in their personal lives. (Some of these people may be known as Contemporary Catholics.) Yet, these people appreciate the sacraments and spiritual life. A goal of the WRMOSB is to be present to the laity and offer them what they seek, without question, in the spirit of compassion and non-judgment. The WRMOSB's appreciation of Christ is that he never turned anyone away who sincerely came to him seeking his assistance.
Some Catholic clergy (bishops, priests, deacons) in transition wish to continue their priestly ministry. They do not have an ecclesial context within which to function, some being without a bishop wishing to serve in a spiritual rather than an institutional context. The WRMOSB offer three types of incardination: Regular (explained below), In Pectore and Sub Rosa Incardination for those serving in another public venue (such as Rent-a-Priest) wherein regular public incardination status with the WRMOSB might bring political or other type of difficulty to the petitioner.
The WRMOSB extend an invitation to such clerics to serve within the context of the WRMOSB. (The WRMOSB are recognized by the IRS as a publicly supported religious order. Bishops/Priests/Deacons incardinated are authorized by local governments in the USA to solemnize marriages as allowed by civil law.) The WRMOSB serve independently within the tradition of the Dutch (Old) Catholic Church. (The Abbot-Bishop traces his Apostolic Succession through several lines: Armenian, Dutch (Old), Orthodox, and Roman, among others.) Bishops, Priests, Deacons wishing incardination do not have to become monks of the WRMOSB, although they are welcome to do so as a separate vocation/issue.
To experience of sense of ministerial service expressed by currently incardinated and licensed clerics, please review Oral History/Clerics. To experience of sense of ministerial service requested by The People, please review Oral History/The People.
Synopsis: Incardination Process
- Upon incardination (or licensure), the Bishop-Abbot would grant you faculties to serve sacramentally within the context of the WRMOSB and, by implied episcopal consent, in emergencies as needed. Besides satisfying questions of sacramental integrity, such documentation also satisfies pastors of churches asking for clergy certification when a cleric ministers in their church. Many Protestant and all Unitarian Churches are open for our use. Some ask for clergy certification (not wanting "mail-order" ministers officiating in their places of worship). In that the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict serve all without question, clerics receive implied faculties to celebrate liturgies in all Eastern and Western Rites. Please refer to Synopsis: Incardination Process for specific incardination procedures.
- The people whose marriages you solemnize receive a Marriage Certificate from the WRMOSB. WRMOSB keep an official record of marriages. The WRMOSB have an intake form that serves as permanent documentation. (Same for Baptisms and Confirmations.)
- The WRMOSB provide each cleric the opportunity to offer, if you should elect to do so, the WRMOSB 5% (outside San Francisco Deanery) or 10% (inside SF Deanery) of a donation you may receive. Your donation helps the WRMOSB defray advertising and operating costs as well as supporting its educational programs. The WRMOSB advertise in local and national papers. If the WRMOSB provide (at your request) Marriage Packets, then the WRMOSB request an additional $6.00 each; for WRMOSB Information Packets (giving Laity an ecclesial context as well), an additional $6.00 each. Postage and a handling service fee as appropriate.
- Our relationship would be that of equals, our roles differing as to function. We are ministers of The Word. We serve the People of God. As a bishop, I am your servant as well. My wish is that we are present to one another for support and guidance for the benefit of those whom we serve, ourselves and our families. I ask for no promise or vow of obedience to me as bishop. As a monk, I ask us to listen to the Lord, speaking to us as He may. We are being obedient when we are listening through (ob + audiens) our perceptions (illusions), beliefs (delusions), and stories (allusions).
- The WRMOSB ask that you complete the Network Application Form and a Incardination Application Form, which will be followed by a request to (perhaps edit and) sign a Ministerial Services Agreement (MSA) that further delineates our working/serving relationship for our mutual responsibility, appreciation, understanding, integrity, and service. Attached to the MSA is a Letter of Testimony regarding possible encounters with the legal system and a W-9, if a USA citizen, which we may use in background checks, as may be the case. Please be clear: you do not have to become a monk, follow a rule, or maintain a monastic practice. (You will automatically become an affiliate of the Benedictine Network.) All that we ask is that you be responsible for your personal integrity as a human being being human serving The People in light of your ordination.
- Re dogma, etc. As you may have gleaned from the other documents in this web site, the WRMOSB are not dogmatic as such. Christ was not. He only had two commandments: love God, love neighbor. Our approach is that of being fluid rather than flexible or inflexible. Being fluid like water, the WRMOSB take the shape of any container (the wants and needs of the people we serve) while maintaining our own personal integrity. Water in a cup, a cruet, a straw, a cistern is still water. We are offering the people we serve an opportunity to be (perhaps again) at peace with themselves and God (whomever or however one may or may not conceive God). Our goal is that of all religion: to close that gap between the individual and God, that sense of alienation or separation.
- If you wish to meet and/or discuss further, please contact me directly either by phone (USA: 415-292-3228) or by e-mail to Father Abbot.
Incardination Application Form
Cleric-Abbot-Bishop Relationship: Presence and Service
Oral History/The People
Peace and Joy to you and yours.
The Bishop-Abbot, White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Point of Departure: Contemporary Catholics
The Network's Brochure
The Order's Brochure
White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Post Office Box 27536
San Francisco CA 94127-0536 USA
Page URL: http://www.whiterobedmonks.org/cleric2.html
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