Benedictines Back More Leeway and Cooperation

ROME, SEPT. 30, 2004 ( The Benedictine Congress of Abbots approved greater autonomy for nuns but also more cooperation between the women religious and the monks of the Order of St. Benedict.

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Father Notker Wolf, the abbot primate, told ZENIT that the Benedictine monks and nuns «are rediscovering our common patrimony … a beautiful and intense experience.»

«The change of the ‘Lex Propria’ implies that our association with the nuns makes them more autonomous,» Father Wolf explained.

The congress, held in St. Anselm’s Abbey, brought together 230 abbots, 24 abbesses and Orthodox monastic representatives. Among the latter were representatives from the Patriarchate of Constantinople, Athens, Moscow and Romania.

The theme of the congress was «Globalization: Phenomenon, Opportunities and Challenges.» The main speakers were Norbert Walter of Deutsche Bank’s Council, and Andrea Riccardi, founder of the Community of Sant’Egidio.

Father Wolf told ZENIT that the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls «continues to be of the Benedictines,» thus denying reports suggesting that a new community would occupy the Roman landmark.

Abbot Wolf believes that «it is important that St. Paul’s becomes an international monastic center in Rome which will be the hub of ecumenical and spiritual activities.» The congress closed Wednesday.

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