Thursday, March 17, 2016

The Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 24

Last post we talked about excommunication and penance. In this post we cover more of the same.


  1. There ought to be due proportion between the seriousness of a fault and the measure of excommunication or discipline.
  2. The abbot determines the gravity of faults.
  3. If a brother is found guilty of less serious faults, he will not be allowed to share the common table.
  4. Anyone excluded from the common table will conduct himself as follows: in the oratory he will not lead a psalm or a refrain nor will he recite a reading until he has made satisfaction,
  5. and he will take his meals alone, after the brothers have eaten.
  6. For instance, if the brothers eat at noon, he will eat in mid afternoon; if the brothers eat in mid afternoon, he will eat in the evening,
  7. until by proper satisfaction he gains pardon.

In the first verse we see that there should be some proportion between the fault and the punishment; you don't want the punishment to be overly severe because that breeds resentment, which isn't the point. The point is to bring about penance.

Another military example, since I'm finding so many similarities; one of the females in my platoon while I was deployed forgot to lock her truck a few times - and on these Hummvees you used a Master Lock type of lock - so after her second or third time of doing so her team leader made her carry a chain and a lock every where she went, and if asked for it she was supposed to be able to present both items. The punishment wasn't harsh, it pertained to the infraction, and it helped my platoon mate to remember to lock her truck.

In the same way a penance should fit appropriately to the infraction because it is to be used as a teaching tool. Giving too much for a penance can harm someone spiritually.
Post a Comment