Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Nun Pro Tunc

Apparently the number of nuns (and monks) in the Roman Catholic Church has been on a steady and strong decline since Vatican II, although the overall membership of the RCC has continued to steadily increase. During the reign of John Paul II, the ranks of the nuns declined by about 25%, and a new report indicates that from 2005 to 2006 the ranks thinned by 10%. (source)

The reason? Death.

Old nuns are dying or and many other nuns are simply abandoning their vows. There are new recruits, but the new recruits are not keeping pace with the exiting folks.

The current breakdown according to the article is:

1.1 Billion Catholics
of which
0.09% are in monastic orders (total: 945,210)
of which
753,400 are women (about 0.13% of all Catholic women)
191,810 are men (about 0.04% of all Catholic men)

The Reformation churches have consistently held that monastic vows are unlawful. While we are not rejoicing because of the death of nuns and monks, we are glad to see the ranks of the monastic orders dwindling. It would be a delight if, by God's grace, the entire monastic system were abolished. This is an example of change for the better brought about by Vatican II, though perhaps not by intent.

8 comments:

phatcatholic said...

What's so horrible about having monastic orders?

Hidden One said...

Please forgive my ignorance, but why do Reformers such as yourself hold monastic vows to be unlawful?

Turretinfan said...

For the record, I hadn't yet published PhatCatholic's comment when "Hidden One" commented.

But the Hidden One hit on the correct explanation. One of the main problems is the unlawful monastic vows.

Why are the vows unlawful? In general, they are unlawful:

1) under the second commandment (thou shalt not make unto thee ... etc.), as being an unaccepted form of religious worship to God, inasmuch as God neither asks nor desires men and women to vow what these men and woman vow.

2) under the third commandment (thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain ... etc.), as being a misuse of God's name inasmuch as God is called upon for his assistance in rendering service that is undesirable to him.

There may be additional reasons from order to order for opposing the vows of a particular order, but I'm trying to keep this as general as possible.

Additional objections to the monastic orders are:

1) Recruitment of novices under false pretences (such as the the monastic life is especially pleasing to God).
2) False hope given to those who pursue monastic orders, that their salvation will be secured through devotion to their duties.
3) Connection with and allegiance to an apostate church.
4) Indolence, with respect to those monastic orders (and obviously, that is not universal within the monastic orders) that focus on the performance of empty rituals and repetitious prayers.

Some of the objections to monastic orders may be moot in view of the modifications made by Vatican II, in that it is now easier for monks and nuns to escape their vows. Previously, the unduly binding nature of the vows was an additional objection.

-Turretinfan

Rhology said...

Let's not forget 1 Tim 4:

1But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

2by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron,

3men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.

4For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude;

5for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.

Turretinfan said...

Rhology,

I thought about including that. I suspect that their defense to that charge is to assert that participation in the monastic orders is purely voluntary.

Lucian,

I received your comment. Though I did not decide to share it, I did get a smile from your exploitation of the ambiguity in item 3.

-Turretinfan

Lucian said...

Though I did not decide to share it ...

Figures! It's all a huge cover-up!

Hidden One said...

@Turretinfan

A. Given your interpretions of 1 and 2, explain the Nazirite vow.

B.
1. It's pleasing to God if God calls the monk to do it. Not elsewise.
2. I don't feel like trying to explain the Catholic doctrine on salvation and debating Sola Fide atm.
3. On that count, a monk is no more evil than a Catholic layman, current or future-intended - such as PhatCatholci and myself, respectively.
4. Prove that the rituals are empty. Prove likewise that all repetitious prayer is anti-biblical. (Be aware that I do in fact read and write English and will immediately ask how you can use either another reference or justify grammatically your probably assertion from a certain passage we both know that all repetitious prayers are vain.)

-Hidden One

PS: I recently posted something dealing with the material sufficiency of Scripture. I'd be interested in your take on it.

Turretinfan said...

Dear Hidden One,
A. Nazarites were not recruited under false pretenses, and were not give hope of salvation through obedience. Nazarites were also not celibate.

B.
1) It would be great if that's how they were recruited. And maybe some do recruit that way.
2) Ok.
3) Devotion of one's life to service in the church is a little bit closer connection than coming to Eucharist on Sundays and "other holy days."
4) I'm not interested in debating the issue of whether praying Rosaries is vain repetition and not merely repetition in this thread at this time.

Your thoughts on material sufficiency with respect to silence are interesting. I should point out that your "not" in the final paragraph is misspelled.

I think you misunderstand the weight that silence has in a Reformed view of Sola Scriptura. We don't accept things as articles of faith for which there is only Biblical silence.

-Turretinfan