The “horrors” of Ireland’s sexual abuse scandals by clergy gave an “incalculable blow” to the Church’s credibility, he added.
“This island was once dotted from east to west, north to south, with monasteries. The heartbeat of the Irish people was the heartbeat of the monastic round of prayer,” Father Benedict said.
Pope Benedict XVI’s 2010 Letter to the Catholics in Ireland noted the role of monasteries in promoting Eucharistic Adoration and their ability to revitalize priestly life through retreats.
“We have, as it were, our marching orders from the Holy See, and while we cannot physically leave the cloister, we are dedicated to an unseen, spiritual battle for the soul of this country, and specifically for its priests,” Father Benedict said.
The monks dedicate their time and energies to prayer, Mass and the eight hours of the Divine Office.
“Our approach to the faith and the spiritual life relies to a great extent on our study of the Scriptures (particularly the Psalter) and the Church Fathers, both Eastern and Western,” the monk explained. “Our monastic customs are thoroughly traditional, yet we are always aware of St. Benedict’s spirit of moderation and adaptation to various circumstances.”
The Benedictines of Silverstream Priory have adopted the charism of Mother Catherine-Mectilde de Bar, who founded the Benedictine Nuns of Perpetual Adoration in the 17th century.
“Mother Mectilde established her particular Benedictine family to adore the Blessed Eucharist in a spirit of reparation for offenses and abuses committed against the Sacrament of Christ’s love,” Father Benedict said. “As monks, however, we have a particular focus on reparation for the sins of priests which, especially of late, have so disfigured the Face of Christ in the eyes of the world.”
“Out of weakness and defeat, and yes, even sin and infidelity, can come power and victory,” he continued. “May God hold our country close once again to his Sacred Heart, beating in the Sacred Host.”
Bishop Michael Smith of Meath presided at the monastery’s canonical establishment earlier this year, saying he was “delighted to recognize the unique presence of this new monastery.”
“Through their prayer, study and hospitality, the monks are ‘speaking to the heart’ and their quiet witness is a reminder that the Lord continues to provide the Church with new gifts and grace,” the bishop said, the newspaper The Irish Catholic reports.
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This article was originally published on CNA March 17, 2017.