Rome, Italy, Sep 5, 2004 / 22:00 pm
A new monastic community called the Fraternity of Jesus has replaced the Benedictines as the caretakers of the Roman basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, and they announced their goal to return the church its splendor as one of the most symbolic edifices of worldwide Catholicism.
According to Vatican observer Sandro Magister, the basilica of St. Paul, which is the second largest in world behind St. Peter’s, had lost its importance and prestige.
“The Benedictine monks that worked there numbered less than a dozen, were mostly elderly, and were all very tired. Masses were barley attended, and the territory surrounding the church was poorly maintained and annexed by neighboring parishes,” said Magister.
Magister said the Holy See had decided that in order to revitalize the basilica it was urgent to replace the monks, and the community that was chosen is new and young with many vocations.