Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 69: That the Monks Presume Not to Defend One Another, April 27, 2017

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.

 

Some thoughts:
 
Not defend a friend? Not stand up for someone that has been maligned? Not defend the underdog? Why ever not? Surely the world needs more people willing to speak up for the truth?
 
Not a lot of information given here. The reason offered is “it may give rise to most serious scandals.” What could this mean?
 
The first thing that comes to my mind is that no one of us knows all there is to know about a person, situation, etc. Only God has the complete and perfect vision. Maybe this is what Benedict is talking about?
 
Maybe it is a question of humility? Even in a small community, such as a monastery, even there one cannot know everything and it takes humility to admit that.
 
Maybe it’s a question of the grumbling, muttering and complaining that Benedict is so dead set against?
 
Maybe it has to do with the abbess/abbott standing in for Jesus within the community and so one must allow the monastic superior to handle these issues?
 
Anyone else have any ideas?
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