The Benedictine Network: A Point of Departure

herein called The Network for The Contemporary Catholic

Peace be with you.

Index: Contemporary Catholic


The White Robed Monks of St. Benedict (WRB) is a federally recognized publicly supported religious order. The WRBs include two distinct, interdependent associations. These associations are: The Order and The Network. The Abbot-Bishop of the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict presides over The Order in his monastic capacity as Abbot. The same Abbot-Bishop presides, for the time being, over The Network in his jurisdictional capacity as Bishop. Participation in The Order automatically makes one part of The Network. Being part of The Network, though, does not automatically make one part of The Order.
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)


The Network is a direct expression of the Mission Statement of the WRBs. The mission of the WRBs is to engender an atmosphere for healing the human experience wherein each person may realize his or her wholeness, holiness. The WRBs accomplish this end through administration of the Word and Sacraments to all, without question, who wish to participate in them and by offering educational programs through which each may recover the wealth of one's divinity in humanity and humanity in divinity. (The WRBs are an independent Catholic jurisdiction in the Old Catholic tradition.)
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)

Intention and Purpose

The purpose of this document is to elaborate on the purpose, function, and structure of The Network. Following Christ's example as High Priest (Hebrews 7) and as The Chief Shepherd or Bishop (Hebrews 13:20) of The Church, the purpose of The Network is to provide The People of God an episcopal jurisdiction — a context, field of spiritual comfort. As such, the intention of The Network is to fulfill Christ's catholic or universal request: Be compassionate as your Father is compassionate.(Luke 6:36) The purpose of the Network, then, is to acknowledge and accept one's self and others with absolute and unconditional positive regard. The specific purpose of The Network is to live out Christ's command: Love one another, as I have loved you. (John 15:12), providing the Word and Sacraments to all, specifically, the Contemporary Catholic who is alienated and disenfranchised by one's institutional church of origin.
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)

Attitudinal Predispositions

The Network, a composition of people, specifically acknowledges and accepts our human propensity to engage in delusion — falsely believing that we and our reality are the way we think it is or should be. The Network provides a context wherein people can consciously acknowledge and accept the way others and things are in se. Only when a human being accepts the absolute unconditional nature of a person or an event, then and only then can that individual surmise and take the most appropriate respectful, compassionate action or non-action in the moment. The Network's context predisposes individuals to live Christ's admonition: Do not judge, and you will not be judged. (Matthew 7:1)

Second, The Network acknowledges and accepts our human propensity to engage in illusion-falsely perceiving that phenomenal events happen to us. These events may be either external in the world or internal in our psychobiology (e.g., thought-sensation, feeling-sensation). The Network provides a clearing for human beings to acknowledge and accept unconditionally that we each are absolutely responsible in the two fundamental domains of the human experience. We each are responsible for not only what we believe and hence perceive ("beauty is in the eye of the beholder") and therefore interpret (our psychology), but also that we believe and perceive and therefore give meaning to phenomenal events. Only when a human being acknowledges and accepts one's conditioning, accepting responsibility for the fact that we each allowed ourselves to be so conditioned in the first place, can we participate in absolute reality of just the way things are. Then and only then can we surmise and take the most appropriate respectful, compassionate action or non-action in the moment. Thus, we recall Christ's admonition: Do not keep judging according to appearances; let your judgment be according to what is right. (John 7:24)

And what is right? Perhaps appreciating the unconditional absolute reality that we each are a child of God and that unless we become again like little children with non-dualistic, whole perceptual ability, we will not — we can not enter the Kingdom of God (Luke 18:17), which is now (Luke 17:21)—not in the past, present, or future.

Third, The Network acknowledges and accepts our human propensity to engage in allusion-falsely holding our personal life-story or our interpretation of life as being The Truth. The Network engenders a clearing wherein people can acknowledge and accept the function of stories or allegories as simply being tools of learning about the phenomenal realm. We can recognize that the stories are, in themselves, neither true nor false, but are simply allegories or stories—that we have written ourselves.

At best these allusions are parables that we tend to make absolute fact. We forget the hidden meaning. I will speak to you in parables and expound things hidden since the foundation of the world. (Matthew 13:35) Often times, the hidden meaning of our own false allusions is our failed responsibility to be who we are. When we are thus present (being who we are) in our lives, we are better positioning ourselves to be present to others as Christ is present to others, giving to and receiving from each and everyone as the situation may be. We live out Christ's command: Love one another; just as I have loved you. (John 15:12) By this love you have for one another, everyone will know that you are my disciples. (John 13:34-35)
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)


Consequently, The Network acknowledges and accepts that as part of the human condition, the Christian Church,through institutionalization, has splintered into many diverse expressions of Christ's message. Likewise, The Network acknowledges and accepts that Christ's message of love and compassion may have been lost or hidden in the guise of institutional ideology, rectitude, and certitude. Thus, have the internecine religious wars, killings, tortures, conflicts as well as arrogance and a lack of tolerance and acceptance ensued through the so called Christian centuries — often in the name of Christ. Consequently, The Network's response is to encourage human beings to remember the words of The Psalmist in Psalm 45 (46) v10: Be still, and know that I am God.

The Network appreciates that "Be still" echoes the natural order of creation, human beings being human — rather than being caught up, reacting, in the role of doctor, lawyer, or cleric. Out of stillness does all that is and is not come to be or not be. Stillness, silence,  emptiness that contains all else when everything is exhausted. It is the sound of one hand clapping, the look of one's original face before one is born.It is the pause between each exhale and inhale of one's breath that lets each be. It is life itself. It is that which was  before the universe exploded into being what it is not. Another name for this stillness is Yahweh, I Am who I Am. (Exodus 3:14)

In this regard, The Network provides a clearing wherein in people are not invited to fall into the delusion of believing the illusion of God some have generated in anthropormorphic allusions of God. We sit — however that may be — quietly in What Is, Is. We remain Wisdom's child,

for within her is a spirit intelligent, holy
unique, manifold, subtle,
active, incisive, unsullied,
lucid, invulnerable, benevolent, sharp,
irresistible, beneficent, loving to (others and self),
steadfast, dependable, unperturbed,
almighty, all-surveying,
penetrating all
intelligent, pure and most subtle spirits;
for Wisdom is quicker to move than any motion;
she is so pure, she pervades and permeates all things.
(Wisdom 7: 22-24)>

The Network provides a context to listen. By listening, one is in a better position to obey Christ's two commandments expressed in Matthew 22:35-40:

You shall love the Lord, your God,
with your whole heart, with your whole soul,
and with your whole mind.
This is the greatest and first commandment.
The second is like it:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

The Network takes obey to mean standing on one's own feet, giving one's own free response to the call of each moment, rather than reacting to it. Obedience derives from the Latin words ob (through) + audiens (listening), listening through the moment. Knowledge tries to grasp. Wisdom listens. Listening wisdom is obedience. The end of obedience in its full sense is a loving listening to the meaning that comes to us through everything, every person, every situation. To listen, we have to be silent, still. Silence, then, is another means towards listening obedience. (A Listening Heart, D. Steindl-Rast, New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1983.)

Consequently, The Network provides a context, an episcopal jurisdiction — a field of spiritual comfort — wherein one may be the answer to Christ's prayer (John 17,21):

May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you...

Oneness. Unity. Wholeness. The Network provides a clearing for individuals to experience consciousness as a synthesis of various activities. As such, they may experience consciousness at any given moment as an organized system. They may come to sense "Self" as the name given to the unity of this whole. Thus, they may experience their conscience as the conscious activity that harmonizes and unifies their activities. In time, they may experience that the unifying power of consciousness never exists apart from the content of consciousness. In fact,they may sense that the power of consciousness establishes the content of consciousness. Thus, they may come to personally experience this unifying power of consciousness as the personality of each individual. As Christ prayed, the good resides in the maintaining and developing of personality as this unifying power:(so) that we all may be one.

The Network creates a context — a field of spiritual comfort — for people to appreciate that true personality comes forth when a person dissolves one's delusions, allusions, and illusions. Thus,the person forgets, no longer attaches to one's own self. The person experiences true unity of personality as a pure and simple activity that comes forth of itself, unhindered by oneself. Thus, an individual out of love for one's self and others, lets one's self go so that that person may return to one's Self. The person becomes again as a child — ready, willing, and able to enjoy the Kingdom of God.

The Network creates a clearing in which people again become as little children and enter the kingdom of Heaven. Thus, the person expresses Self,true personality, from within the original state of independent, self-sufficient consciousness. The person makes no distinction among knowledge, feeling, and volition, and no separation of subject and object. In this moment, the person's true personality expresses itself in its entirety. The person gets it that personality is not found in mere reason or desire, much less in unconscious impulses. Like the inspiration of a genius, the individual appreciates one's Self. The Self is an infinite unifying power that functions directly and spontaneously from within each individual, whether the person is aware of this or not.(Adapted from An Inquiry into the Good, Kitaro Nishida. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1990.) This Self may be called God's Grace.

Hence, The Network acknowledges and accepts that all Christ asks us to do is to love and be loved by one another without ever defining love per se. St. Paul gives an operational definition in 1 Corinthians 12:31—13:8:

Set your hearts on the greater gifts.
I will show you the way which surpasses all the others.
If I speak with human tongues and angelic we well,
but do not have love,
I am a noisy gong, a clanging symbol.
If I have the gift of prophecy and,
with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries,
if I have faith great enough to move mountains,
but have not love,
I am nothing.
If I give everything I have to feed the poor
and hand over my body to be burned,
but have not love,
I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind.
Love is not jealous, it does not put on airs,
it is not snobbish.
Love is never rude, it is not self-seeking,
it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries.
Love does not rejoice in what is wrong
but rejoices with the truth.
There is no limit to love's forbearance,
to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.
Love never fails.

and in Colossians 3:12-17:

Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved,
clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy,
with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.
Bear with one another;
forgive whatever grievances you have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you.
Over all these virtues put on love,
which binds the rest together and makes them perfect.
Christ's peace must reign in your hearts,
since as members of the one body
you have been called to that peace.
Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness.
Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you.

In wisdom made perfect, instruct and admonish one another.
Sing gratefully to God from your hearts
in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs.
Whatever you do, whether in speech or in action,
do it in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Give thanks to God the Father through him.

The Network acknowledges and accepts that many Christian Churches and people have killed and tortured each other and non-Christians alike. The Network recognizes that such occurrences in human history have taken place because those involved had imprisoned themselves in their own illusions, delusions, and allusions.

Therefore, the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict, through the Benedictine Network, offers a context, an episcopal jurisdiction—a field of spiritual comfort—for joint religious and spiritual affiliation so that we can serve the People of God as we are ought-being present as Christ is Presence, being open to all.
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)


A structure, although not always self-evident (as order in seemingly chaos), is an inherent principle of the phenomenal realm, the universe. There are many metaphors for structure, from pyramid to circle. The structure of The Network is that of a circle.

The Network, following its own Old (Dutch) Catholic tradition, reverts to the early Church. The specific time is the transitional stage between the time of the Apostles or their representatives (as Timothy and Titus) exercising authority over several communities and the time of Ignatius of Antioch (c. 107 CE.) when a single bishop exercised authority over an assembly and over a number of priests. The transition phase held a single bishop with authority of the Apostles over a single community. (Jerusalem Bible, Titus, note 1b.)

Each independent episcopal jurisdiction, as the Church at Jerusalem or at Corinth, remains autonomous, yet interdependent within the whole. The Network remembers Christ's reminder to Peter: There are many rooms in my Father's house (John 14:2). Following Systems Theory and the theology of the Mystical Body of Christ, each part is a part that itself forms a whole. Yet each whole can only function within the structure of other wholes, all wholes then becoming parts of yet a greater whole. Likewise, in the Mystical Body, as is evident in the physical (sub-atomic) universe, each whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The Whole Itself being greater than the sum of Its parts.

In essence, the Network holds that communion or koinonia is the heart of its ecclesiology. The Network realizes that it forms a communion in grace with God and a communion of all the faithful. The horizontal perfects the vertical. Hence, the idea of teaching authority does not reside necessarily in a juridical or hierarchical understanding. The Network as a communion of independent jurisdictions is the bearer of God's word—not just the bishops'. Each Bishop embodies and testifies to the faith of (the Bishop's) own community, of which (the Bishop) is an integral part. (Catholicism, Richard P. McBrien. New York, Harper Collins, 1994, page 701.) As was the case before Pope Eugene III (1198-1216), each bishop bears the responsibility of being Vicar of Christ (and recognizing the Pope in his traditional (since the end of the 4th Century) title of Vicar of Peter). (c.f., page 756)

Religious Orders, Congregations, Institutes or Third Orders without a Bishop as a major superior will subsume within the episcopal approbation of the Bishop-Abbot of the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict in the beginning. With the presence of other Bishops, each religious community is free to ask a Bishop for approbation. Likewise, it may be fitting and proper for the major religious superior to be ordained to the Order of Bishop in due course. In any event, each religious community will function autonomously according to its own Rule, Constitutions, and Tradition only under the guidance of the Bishop as the community and Bishop so ordain.

Ordained Catholic Clergy not presently incardinated may seek incardination from any jurisdiction within The Network. A priest or deacon incardinated in one jurisdiction is automatically incardinated  in all jurisdictions of The Network. A priest or deacon may ask any bishop within The Network to hold one's incardination papers.

The Presidency of The Network passes each year from Bishop to Bishop, much as the Swiss presidency passes annually from one Canton President to another. The order of passage is in alphabetical order according to the Bishop's surname. Each Bishop will become eligible to hold the presidency after three full years' affiliation within The Network.If a Bishop elects not to assume the Presidency in a rotation, the Presidency passes to the next in line. (Alternative: Specific geographic regions are established. Bishops within that region select/elect one Bishop to serve as Regional Bishop. The Presidency rotates from Regional Bishop to Regional Bishop, who together forms a Council of Bishops.)

The Presidency has jurisdictional responsibility for The Network as a whole only. The President's main task is to be responsible for the integrity of the episcopal jurisdiction — a context, a field of spiritual comfort for one and all. Secondary tasks include, among others, being the spokesperson for The Network so that The Network speaks with one voice. As President, the bishop exercises authority only as a servant of the servants of God. The President is only a shepherd guiding a flock. The Bishop does not lead the flock — the bishop only guides. The President necessarily seeks collegial guidance directly from the other Bishops and indirectly from The Network. The President is one among equals with other Bishops and as such cannot make any structural or policy change in The Network without collegial consensus. In short, it may be said that the Bishops as a whole are responsible for the whole as well as for each of their individual part — each making a personal and public written commitment to preserve the integrity and Spirit of the whole.

The President may be removed from the Chair by a 3/4ths vote of the Bishops. Any group of 20 people in The Network may petition the Council of Bishops to consider appropriate action regarding the President. The Network cannot emphasize too strongly the non-institutional form of its structure. The Network remains only a context for an expression of an answer to Christ's prayer: that they all may be one.
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)

Affiliation Process

There are two ways to affiliate: 1) as an individual or 2) as an episcopal jurisdiction or religious order.

To affiliate as an individual, the person completes a Network Membership Form. Upon receipt, The Network will send the individual a Certificate of Membership and will add that person's name and intentions to the General Intercessions of The Order and The Network.

To affiliate as an episcopal jurisdiction or religious order, the Bishop or the major Superior, completes Network Affiliation Form. Upon receipt, The Network will send the Bishop/Superior a Letter of Agreement that affirms the signatory's intention to further realize Christ's prayer: that we may be one, to respect the diversity of Christian expression possible within the diversity of human beings, and to be open and accepting of fellow affiliates. The signatory returns Letter of Agreement with a copy of the jurisdiction's Creedal Code, Constitutions and the like for the Archives, and an updated list of clerics and/or religious and a yearly summary of sacramental activity that may be shared within The Network for cross pollination possibilities. Finally, the signatory agrees to offer a modest US$100.00 per year (WAIVED —the White Robed Benedictines are absorbing initial costs till further notice) to cover maintenance costs and office expenses. (Each signatory recognizes that this stipend may be adjusted up or down with the approval of the College of Bishops.)
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)

The Bottom Line

The Network exists to provide anyone, specifically The Laity, the word and the sacraments—a spiritual context—without question. The Network offers people the opportunity to communicate with others in domains of human concern: business, social, personal, social, and spiritual.
(Index: Contemporary Catholic)

To read an abbreviated version of this document, please refer to Precis: Point of Departure

For further information, clarification, or offering of input, or please contact Father Abbot at address below.

Thank you.

Peace and joy to you and yours.

The Network's Brochure
The Network's Source Document 1 That All May Be One
The Network's Source Document 1 Addendum The Papacy:Its Corporate Culture Identity
The Network's Source Document 2 Religious Unification
The Network's Affiliation Process: Summary (Episcopal Jurisdictions/Religious Orders)
The Networks' Letter of Agreement(Episcopal Jurisdictions/Religious Orders)

The Network's Brochure
The Order's Brochure

White Robed Monks of St. Benedict
Post Office Box 27536
San Francisco CA 94127-0536 USA
Phone: 415-292-3228
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