April 27, August 27, December 27
Chapter 69: That the Monks Presume Not to Defend One Another
Care must be taken that no monk presume on any ground
to defend another monk in the monastery,
or as it were to take him under his protection,
even though they be united by some tie of blood-relationship.
Let not the monks dare to do this in any way whatsoever,
because it may give rise to most serious scandals.
But if anyone breaks this rule,
let him be severely punished.
The other day I babbled a bit about “custody of the senses”, the ultimate in minding one’s own business. It is helpful for me to view this somewhat problematic passages (for me at least!) as minding my own business. Just think of all the gossip and scandals in our church communities that occur because we would not concentrate on minding our own business.
I also see in this section a challenge to all the dysfunctional patterns that can turn relationships toxic. Such as triangulation… this occurs when instead of speaking to Person B directly, Person A instead talks to Person C, telling C what they ought to be saying to B. C then tells B what A said, B tells A off via C and the next thing we know, it’s a mess of miscommunication, misunderstanding and no one getting the facts straight.
Something else that occurs to me is that we never know all the details of a situation in which we are not directly involved. We might not know all the details even if we are. The members of the monastic community are supposed to trust in the monastic superiors as if that person were Jesus.
We are in the school of the Lord, maybe that is where we should focus our attention.