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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

BELMONT JOURNAL


I was surprised to find this video which is about my monastery.   I was sent by the abbot with two others to found a monastery in Peru in 1981 and shall be returning to Belmont in January, 2018 at the age of 80, my mission having been completed.   Of the other two, Father Luke left reluctantly because the abbot in 1991 decided that, at his age, it was better that he should have all the benefits of the National Health, and he died this last year; and the other left, just as reluctantly, to become the present abbot, elected by the Belmont community in 2000, after having actually founded the present monastery in Peru.

If you watch this video, you will see a monk who clearly is not English: he is, in fact, a Peruvian called Brother Wilmer.   He represented the community here at a chapter in Belmont.   He was a nurse in a "centro de salud" in the countryside not far from Tambogrande where the doctor sometimes didn't turn up, so he is quite good at diagnosis.  Now he is guestmaster and a very hard worker. Wilmer is one of the people I will miss when I return to Belmont.

   I was interim superior of the monastery for nine years until a Peruvian could be chosen as Prior; and now that Father Alex is Prior, chosen in March 2016,  it was only a matter of time before someone - in this case, a Peruvian monk who is a medical doctor, suggested that I should follow Father Luke.
  
Father Alex and I are very close friends, and there was no sense of rupture with the change of superior; but, as he is so much more practical and dynamic than I, there is a change of pace, which is just as it should be.  I return to Belmont with an immense sense of satisfaction that, often in spite of my own weaknesses, God's will has been done.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Belmont has given up its school.  As a past pupil and teacher and chaplain in the school, I considered this to be a disaster, the end of something really worthwhile; and the school still lives on in my dreams, although Peruvian boys increasingly become members of the school I visit in my sleep.  Nevertheless, the closure of the school has enabled the monastery to concentrate more on its essential vocation, and I need to do the same.

I feel as reluctant as Frs Luke and Paul did when they left Peru but know it isn't the end of the world.   Please pray for me, for our house in Peru, and for Belmont.





When I studied theology at Fribourg from 1961 till 1964, my very closest friend among the students was Dom Robert Gough of Quarr.  This was because there was a group of Downside monk and another group of Ampleforth monks studying theology at the same time, but only one from Quarr and one from Belmont.  He was older than I and had done his National Service in the Royal Navy, while I had gone straight into the monastery.   He introduced me to Wagner and we had immense fun laughing at everybody else.   He later became prior of Quarr and died some years ago.  Resquiescat en pace




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