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Vow of stability

This is a vow by which "the last vestige of personal freedom was taken away from the monk [or nun]".

(Mentioned in Article 10.1 of the 1933 concordat with Austria)

This vow (Latin: stabilitas loci) meant in the narrow sense to remain forever inside the walls of the cloister that one had entered, and in the wider sense to remain forever in that cloister community. (The roving medicant orders, of course, abandoned this Benedictine regulation.) The Catholic Encyclopedia is frank about the dependency that the stabilitas loci is designed to foster.

By the special Vow of Stability [St. Benedict] unites the monk for life to the particular monastery in which his vows are made. This was really a new development and one of the highest importance. […] By this the last vestige of personal freedom was taken away from the monk. […] The abbot was to be a father and the monk a child. Nor was he to be more capable of choosing a new father or a new home than any other child was. […] Only at the selection of a new abbot can the monks choose for themselves. Once elected the abbot's power becomes absolute [….] *

* . “Western monasticism”, Catholic Encyclopedia, volume X, 1911. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10472a.htm


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