Norcia monks will not rebuild St. Benedict’s Basilica. Archbishop plans ‘modern style’ church

Norcia monks will not rebuild St. Benedict’s Basilica. Archbishop plans ‘modern style’ church

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St. Benedict’s Basilica in Norcia, before and after the quake

Pete Baklinski

NORCIA, Italy, April 26, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — The Benedictine Monks of Norcia will not, as they had hoped, rebuild the Basilica of St. Benedict, site of the birthplace of the father of Western monasticism, after it was destroyed by an earthquake last October. Instead, the local archbishop has decided to rebuild the Basilica in a “modern style” and will use the quarters as his part-time residence.

“The Archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, which owns the buildings, has decided that the spaces will have to be used by the diocese since all the other churches in town were also destroyed,” the monks state on their website.

The order has announced that their move after the quake to an old monastic grange on a hill above the city about two miles away will now be permanent.

The Basilica was destroyed save the facade on October 30 after a 6.6 quake hit central Italy. The quake’s epicenter was located just 6 miles away from the ancient Umbrian town.

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Norcia before the Oct. 30 quake that destroyed the town. Basilica on right

Dr. Robert Moynihan, founder and editor-in-chief of Inside the Vatican magazine, said in an April 23 email that he had spoken with the monks about the archbishop’s decision.

“They told me that the archbishop of Spoleto, Renato Boccardo, age 64 — who has jurisdiction over Norcia — has decided that he will rebuild the Basilica of St. Benedict in a modern style of architecture. He will also take possession of the quarters where the monks had been living from the year 2000 until October 2016. He will use the quarters as a part-time episcopal residence,” he wrote.

“So the Benedictine monks of Father Cassian will not return to the center of Norcia, to the spot where St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica were born. That period of the monastery’s life is over now, it seems. The monastery will now be built on the hillside above the city, about two miles outside of the city walls,” Moynihan added.

In a blog also dated April 23, Father Benedict Nivakoff, the monastery’s prior, alluded to the struggle that the archbishop’s decision has caused to the community.

“For us monks, there have been struggles: on minor things, like the type of brick to be used to the roof, but also about serious things, such as how to meet the high hopes that the community has placed in us after the earthquake,” he wrote.

“The Archbishop has shared with us his concern for the pastoral needs of Norcia, and this has allowed us to understand more clearly that our task is to live more deeply the monastic life in the new monastery on the mountain, because God seems to have other plans for the oldest monastery in the city,” he added.

Prior to the quake, the monks had completed many renovations on the property, including the library, sanctuary of the basilica, monastic cells, and bell tower. They had commissioned a beautiful painting of the Crucifixion for their new and expanded refectory.

All of this has now been lost.

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Benedictine monk celebrates mass at the Norcia Basilica’s Epiphany altar.

[From this to this?]

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Nuns hold urns of incense to bless the altar during mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

The monks stated on their website that they were grateful for the support they received in rebuilding the Basilica after they had moved to Norcia from Rome in the year 2000.

“For 16 years, the monks acted as guardians over the historic birth home of St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica. The monks are grateful to the many who helped them restore the basilica to great beauty over the course of those blessed years,” they said.

The monks of Norcia are an international community committed to living according to the ancient observance of the Rule of St. Benedict. They are seen by faithful Catholics across the world as a lighthouse of orthodoxy and a stronghold of sanity in a Church troubled by unrest, uncertainty, and disintegration.

The monks said that the European Union as well as the Italian state have pledged to help restore the basilica and monastery, now according to the plans of the archbishop.

“Throughout the many years needed for the massive work of reconstruction, while the monks work to build the new monastery in Monte, their hearts will remain there in the ancient crypt of the basilica, the birth home to their great founder and father, St. Benedict,” they said.

Fr. Benedict said in his Easter message that the hand of Divine Providence must be looked for in the archbishop’s plans for rebuilding the birthplace of the two saints.

“For the monks it is a time to focus on new building projects at our home in the Norcia mountains, following the request from the archdiocese asking us to free up space in our buildings in town (which belong to the diocese) for their own needs,” he said.

“The archdiocese has hundreds of damaged properties and the buildings in town were among the least damaged. We see their request as a sign of God’s will as we too can begin a new chapter of our community’s life on the mountainside,” Fr. Benedict added.

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4 comments on “Norcia monks will not rebuild St. Benedict’s Basilica. Archbishop plans ‘modern style’ church

  1. An Unsettling Development in Norcia

    Steve Skojec April 26, 2017

    I’ve never been to Norcia, but before the seemingly-endless series of earthquakes that ravaged the town and destroyed the Basilica of St. Benedict, I would imagine it as my friend Hilary White described it, or as it was captured so beautifully in the photographs and descriptions offered by Julian Kwasniewski. Just the other evening — and not for the first time — I was listening to my album of Marian chant from the Monks of Norcia, and as the bells of the Basilica pealed in the first track, the thought struck me again that this is a sound that might never be heard again. As I listened to the chanting, I took note of the particular echo of the particular place, as unique as a fingerprint, but forever lost in the recent past.

    Several days ago, our friends at Juventutem DC posted a note on their Facebook page about a recent development in Norcia that has many supporters of the Benedictines there on edge:

    Dr. Robert Moynihan in his latest letter (email only right now) reports some very depressing news from the Monks of Norcia / Monaci di Norcia:

    “They told me that the archbishop of Spoleto, Renato Boccardo, age 64 — who has jurisdiction over Norcia — has decided that he will rebuild the Basilica of St. Benedict in a modern style of architecture. He will also take possession of the quarters where the monks had been living from the year 2000 until October 2016. He will use the quarters as a part-time episcopal residence.

    “So the Benedictine monks of Father Cassian will not return to the center of Norcia, to the spot where St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica were born. That period of the monastery’s life is over now, it seems. The monastery will now be built on the hillside above the city, about two miles outside of the city walls.”

    In an update to their post later the same day, they revealed:

    The Monks of Norcia have made a somewhat cryptic comment confirming Dr Moynihan’s report in a new blog post today on their website, in Italian:

    “For us monks, there have been struggles: on minor things, like the type of brick to be used to the roof, but also about serious things, such as how to meet the high hopes that the community has placed in us after the earthquake. The Archbishop has shared with us his concern for the pastoral needs of Norcia, and this has allowed us to understand more clearly that our task is to live more deeply the monastic life in the new monastery on the mountain, because God seems to have other plans for the oldest monastery in the city.”

    The website of the Benedictines of Norcia also indicates that the monks move to the mountains outside of town will be a permanent relocation:

    For 16 years, the monks acted as guardians over the historic birth home of St. Benedict and his twin sister St. Scholastica. The monks are grateful to the many who helped them restore the basilica to great beauty over the course of those blessed years.

    Now, the European Union and the Italian state have pledged to restore the basilica and monastery. The Archdiocese of Spoleto-Norcia, which owns the buildings, has decided that the spaces will have to be used by the diocese since all the other churches in town were also destroyed. Throughout the many years needed for the massive work of reconstruction, while the monks work to build the new monastery in Monte, their hearts will remain there in the ancient crypt of the basilica, the birth home to their great founder and father, St. Benedict.

    In Italy, there are bureaucratic protections against arbitrary changes to historic places like the Monastery of St. Benedict. This means that the bishop may well be fighting both local and national governments — including the agency known as the Beni Culturali — if he wants to make architectural “improvements” rather than simply restoring the monastery.

    The Benedictines of Norcia also have oblates from around the world, so the repercussions of any such action would be far more than local. I am told by sources close to the Monastery that the Nursini themselves — the natives of Norcia — are very fond of the Benedictines, are proud of their presence there, and that the local bishop would become very unpopular if he displaced them.

    But it’s hard not to read a finality into the words of the monks themselves. It’s a tragic thought that a time may well be returning when no Benedictines will serve in the birthplace of their founder.

  2. re: “a modern style of architecture”

    What did he mean by “modern style”??? That sounds a bit ominous.



    Who should we call?



    Uh….never mind.

  3. UGLY MONSTROSITY: A cathedral inspired by the fallen angels

    April 26, 2017

    This Vortex comes to you from perhaps the ugliest building in the world, the cathedral of the Los Angeles archdiocese — the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Completed in 2002 at a whopping $250 million, it was forced on the people of Los Angeles by the egocentric and modernist archbishop Cdl. Roger Mahony. And for the record, $250 million in 2002 would be the equivalent of $350 million in today’s dollars in 2017.

    But Mahony was no stranger to enormous sums of money, having to pay out $660 million — the largest to date for homosexual priest sex abuse victims, which he covered up for years. So between this building and hiding the sex crimes of his gay clergy, Mahony cost the archdiocese $1 billion, and that’s just in financial terms. Only God can calculate the costs in souls that his wicked reign racked up.

    Men like Mahony — and there are many of them — hate the Church and want to change it and made this the entire object of their long, clerical careers. They network with each other and promote each other and cooperate in ways that enhance their ability to destroy the Faith.

    While lightning-rod types like Mahony and Bernardin and Weakland and so forth get lots of attention, their handiwork is carried by lesser-known names who manage to fly beneath the radar — men, for example, like Richard S. Vosko, a priest in his mid-70s from the diocese of Albany, under the then-notorious, homosexualist Bp. Howard Hubbard.

    Vosko has made a career going around not saving souls as a priest ought but rather destroying Catholic architecture, saying that the old-looking traditional churches need to be swept away and new churches arise that reflect the new Church of post-Vatican Council II.

    While it was Mahony who forked out the third of a billion dollars for this hideous edifice, it was Vosko who oversaw the construction of it. Father Vosko has been brought in on many projects all around North America to essentially wipe out the old and bring in the new.

    Bishops give him carte blanche, along with various pastors, to brainwash their parishes into thinking that tabernacles should not be visible, altars need to be turned into tables, statues need to hit the dumpsters, communion rails need to go and sanctuaries be pulled into the middle to “enhance the worship experience” — because, apparently, having God physically present on the altar isn’t enough.

    Vosko travels from diocese to diocese, charging at least $15,000 a plan to shape, oversee and implement what has come to be known as “wreckovations,” where instead of renovating church buildings, he wrecks the Faith.

    He has “renovated” some of the more noteworthy cathedrals in the country, as well as numerous parishes where he has lied about what the Church says about liturgy to fool parishes into shuffling the tabernacle off to a closet, ripping out pews and brainwashing them about their “worship space,” saying that is God’s house but our house too.

    In interview after interview and presentation after presentation, he makes clear that in his treasonous mind, all that existed in the Church before Vatican Council II was wrong and needs to be swept away.

    He even told one parish congregation that all their concern about statues and the tabernacle and all that didn’t matter. He said life’s too short for worrying about such things, and everybody goes to Heaven anyway, so why get all worked up over these things? His particular attack involves destroying the beauty of the actual church buildings.

    Others in the Church attack Her in other ways, but whether it’s architecture or art or theology or music or a host of other avenues, Catholics need to wake up and understand that the Church is under attack from within. These men, clerics inside the Church, hate the Faith. They hate the Church, but they have chosen for their plan of attack to remain in and seize control of the institutions and slowly transform things.

    It’s a much more diabolically clever plan than Luther’s Protestant revolt. At least he had the integrity to leave and set up his own thing. These men are much more sneaky. They keep their robes and offices and titles and custodianship over the physical plants and buildings and so forth, all the while twisting and perverting the teachings of the Faith and the presentations of the Faith — up to and including the actual buildings. The funny thing is this: They aren’t even that secretive about it.

    Vosko freely admits that his goal is to free the Church from its shackles of medieval darkness. And his work is done on the level of the physical construction of the buildings to rid people of any sense of the divine and make it all about the people. They silence dissenters from their view and label them, marginalize them and demonize them. At some point, of course, all the rebellion in the Church had to come to being physically apparent as well in her churches and cathedrals.

    Like every single aspect of Church life needs to raise the minds and hearts to Heaven, so too does the architecture of the actual church buildings. This is what accounts for the glory and majesty of so many of the world’s beautiful Catholic cathedrals and churches. They were built, sometimes over the course of centuries, with an eye to the reality of beauty being an avenue to the Divine.

    But the new rebellious church that has been erected in the middle of the authentic Church cares nothing about God. It is nothing more than a social agency that uses the trappings of religion to try and institute its radical view of man as supreme. The devil built this monstrosity as a temple to himself. It represents a supplanting of all that is right and true and good and beautiful and glorious about the Catholic faith with a twisted, perverted aping of the authentic faith.

    Don’t think for a single moment that Satan does not have disciples right in the midst of the Church. He does. He has had them all the way back to Judas, who is burning in Hell now. He too desired to fashion the truth to suit his own needs and views, and though he was an apostle, he lost his apostleship and had to be replaced. Unfortunately, even though he has received the punishment of his guilt, as is recorded in the words of Holy Thursday Mass, his traitorous ilk still run wild throughout the Church seeking to destroy it.

    Catholics who are still sleeping need to wake up to what is going on. Where are all the Catholics as dedicated as these people are? Why is it that so many people associated with the Church have such zeal and passion for destroying the Church and so few have any zeal or passion for defending and advancing her? Every one of us is going to have to give an answer to this question when we depart from this earth.

    Coming to you from a cathedral that is so costly and lavish (not to mention demonically inspired) that it quickly earned the nickname the “Rog Mahal” or the “Taj Mahony,” after India’s Taj Mahal.

  4. Hilary White’s take on things from whatisupwiththesynod.com/index.php/2017/04/15/the-ancient-faith-not-as-dead-as-old-king-miraz-the-usurper-would-like-to-believe/
    Hilary White says:
    Apr 25, 2017

    I talked a lot about this on FB yesterday. 1st, the news Rorate is going with is actually olds. I read it months ago. 2nd, there is a big difference in the way things are done in Italy. Bishops don’t have the power to wreckovate historic buildings. Churches in Italy belong to the Italian state, and are managed by a government office called the Beni Culturali. 3rd, the Norcia basilica is a historic monument of international significance. The chances that Norcia (where the bishop is not well loved.. ahem… to put it mildly) the Umbrian regional government, the Italian state and the European Union would agree to build some modernist monstrosity are slim to none. Which is probably why Bishop Skinny McNarcisspants worded it so carefully as a suggestion.

    Get upset about things that are actually happening right now. There’s plenny.

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