Bose put to the test of universal hospitality



The Bose Monastery has always been a place where the Gospel rhymes with freedom. Each guest was greeted there personally without the slightest question about his life or his religion. A fraternal welcome that continued during meals, shared in small groups with a few brothers or sisters. The community asked nothing of the hosts except respect for places of silence. But impossible on the spot not to be challenged by the lifestyle of the monks and nuns, strictly punctuated by prayer and work. Their extraordinary hospitality wanted everyone to be received like Christ himself. It was also reflected in a great care for the thousand and one details of everyday life and, of course, of the liturgy which played such a determining role in the atmosphere of Bose. The first place went to God and so all the worries and worries of the world that the hosts were carrying were placed in another dimension of time and this lightened many burdens.

→ READ ALSO. Bose, a monastery deeply of its time

No wonder, then, that over time Bose’s hospitality has grown considerably. Politicians, artists or bishops met there Catholics, Protestants or Orthodox from all over Europe; young and old, rich and poor, believers and non-believers could come together around the same table. In the eyes of all, the community of Bose lived as close as possible to the Gospel and formed a solid point of support for those who walk somehow in the world.

The hope of reconciliation

Although Bose founder Enzo Bianchi wanted to carefully prepare for his succession, it did not go as planned. As in any human organization when a strong and visionary personality leaves power after many years, his succession has caused a period of uncertainty which forced everyone to find their place in a new configuration. A hesitation that both have failed to manage and which has degenerated into conflict.

The Vatican’s intervention opened up hope that a path of reconciliation would emerge. Unfortunately it is not. From a distance, it is not possible to comment on the adequacy of the measures taken, but it is clear that, in the current management of the crisis, the most basic human rights are gleefully trampled on and that pettiness disputes it. to the ridiculous.

Poor management of the crisis

In May 2020, it was first of all a real stay ban that was pronounced against Enzo Bianchi, two other monks and a nun, coupled with a ban on meeting, on having contacts between them or with the community. These sanctions were taken against people who are not accused of any crime or offense, without any adversarial procedure and without possibility of appeal.

→ THE FACTS. Enzo Bianchi ordered to leave Bose before Lent

Certainly, with the agreement of the Pope. But is it nevertheless permissible to note that these people suffer violations of certain freedoms and certain fundamental rights guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights in the absence of a fair trial? Can canon law so far ignore the international conventions that the Holy See also defends?

Areas of lawlessness in the Church?

To this is added, in February 2021, a decision by the current prior of Bose which deprives those who would choose to follow Enzo Bianchi in his exile, of their monastic rights and forbids them to form a monastic community around him. Here again, it is astonishing that monks and nuns are deprived of the possibility of exercising their own discernment in a conflict which is painful for all. On what basis can a prior suppress the freedom of conscience inscribed in the monastic rule? To be sure to discourage any inclination to follow Enzo Bianchi, the place of exile proposed to him would be the subject of a precarious occupation agreement, without any legal protection. Finally, the founder and those who follow him are prohibited from using the name “Bose” in any form whatsoever, as if it were a controlled designation of origin! All this gives the impression, worrying for Catholics, that there are areas of lawlessness in the Church and that society protects people’s rights much better than the Church.

Treat each person like Christ

Behind these inglorious legal claims and maneuvers looms the community’s real challenge: to live up to Bose. Because for all those who frequented this place, Bose remains synonymous with this extraordinary hospitality, today undermined. That the community has to reproach its founder and wishes his estrangement, fine. But universal hospitality and a stay ban do not mix.

→ CHRONICLE. Meditations in Bose

And above all, when the monastic rule commands that each person be treated like Christ, should the founder and the other three excluded not benefit from the same respect, the same attention and the same benevolence which has always guided the welcoming guests?

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