Pope Francis on centuries of monastic life: a ‘movement of snobs’ and ‘spiritual hairdressers’ with ‘all the sicknesses of isolation’

Ever since the beginning of Christianity, certain men and women have been called to offer themselves entirely to God: they leave the world to dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer, fasting and penance in intimacy with the Lord. Many obtained such a fame of sanctity that they ended up attracting multitudes – their example awakened in many others the desire of imitating their lives of perfection. Small communities thus originated; and these became the starting point for the great religious orders of the future.

Regrettably, however, it is not unusual for some people – who lack supernatural vision – to consider this holy recollection as some kind of egoistic cowardice. They fail to understand the value of the oblation of contemplative souls in sustaining the evangelizing action of the Church. But, the Church knows well that the inaction of a missionary would be just as culpable as the abandonment of the contemplative life on the part of those called to such a sublime vocation.
In light of these principles, are certain generalized statements that strike a blow to the contemplative life reasonable, helpful, or even desirable?. …Read on…