Sonntag, 23. September 2012

Cistercian Causes for Beatification

In 2011, the Abbot General nominated P. Pierdomenico Volpi to be Postulator General for the beatification processes in the Cistercian Order. Among other developments, a packet of four pocket-sized booklets has been published for each cause. There are currently four causes open: Maria Evangelista Quintero Malfaz (1591-1648) was the foundress of the Cistercian Abbey Santa Cruz Casarrubios del Monte in Toledo. The six Martyrs of Casamari (three of them were originally in French monasteries) were murdered in 1799  during Napoleon's first campaign in Italy. Soldiers plundered the monastery and desecrated the Eucharist. The monks were slain while gathering the sacred particles and are thus considered martyrs of the Eucharist. Venerable Felix Maria Ghebreamlak (1895-1934) brought Roman Catholic monastic life to Eritrea and Ethiopia. Dom Wendelin Endrédy (1895-1981) was the Abbot of Zirc. During the Communist regime, he was imprisoned and tortured for years.

The new booklets, all written in Italian, vary greatly in their style of composition. The booklet on Maria Evangelista is the longest with 45 pages of text and 34 footnotes, listing many sources. The one about the Casamari Martyrs is the shortest with 15 pages and 21 footnotes. Dom Wendelin’s booklet is an autobiographical portrayal, written in the first person, of his incarceration from 1950 to 1956. The text on Venerable Felix is not attributed to an author, but describes the Ethiopian’s life and the veneration which set in soon after his death. Liturgical prayers are printed in the booklets on Venerable Felix and the Casamari martyrs. These and further materials are available from

Samstag, 8. September 2012

Latrun Abbey in Israel vandalized

The Trappist Abbey of Latrun (near Jerusalem) was vandalized in early September 2012; the door to the church was set on fire and graffiti endorsing the Israeli settlement of the Palestinian Territories – written in contemporary Hebrew – was scrawled on its walls. While Christian buildings are vandalized daily in Europe and North America and everywhere else in the world, this example of Jewish violence against Christians was a disturbing novelty. The case evoked unusual reactions, for instance among French diplomats who are usually experts in radically secularized comportment, sometimes they even glory in an anti-clerical tone. In this case, however, the French Consul General in Jerusalem visited the site immediately and the French Government published a "strong condemnation" of the violence on the internet (read it here). Their actions reminded the world of the particularly French character of the Trappist Order. By way of explaining their jurisdiction in this matter, the statement invoked a forgotten diplomatic agreement between France and Israel called the Chauvel-Fischer agreements. The diplomatic scholar Uri Biale has studied these agreements and their genesis in the first years of Israeli rule. See Uri Biale, Cross On The Star Of David: The Christian World In Israel's Foreign Policy (Bloomington [Indiana] 2005), pp. 117-120.