St Augustine of Canterbury and the Problem of Conversion

I have a soft spot for Augustine. He wasn’t conventionally brave and kept dawdling on his way through Gaul, so un-eager was he to encounter the Anglo-Saxons. Gregory the Great wasn’t keen on his miracles attracting too much attention, but Augustine was quite happy to make sure the stories didn’t spread. Modest, yes; a monk (though not a Benedictine); with a profound reverence for the pope and the ability to stand firm in the face of opposition, Augustine was obviously an effective preacher. Today we stand more in need of his prayers than his preaching: for the conversion of England, which must be one of the most secular countries in Europe; for the Church, which is constantly in need of renewal; and for all the various organs of government on which we rely for the good ordering of civil society. St Augustine, pray for us.

Santa Croce in Gerusalemme
I haven’t commented on the suppression of the Cistercian community because some of the reporting in the secular press has been sensationalist and some of the commentary in the blogosphere has been of the ‘ya, boo, sucks’ variety. The suppression of any monastic community is a personal and institutional tragedy, calling for prayer not gibes.

A Vatican spokesman has mentioned ‘liturgical and financial irregularities’ as well as a questionable ‘lifestyle’. Others have commented adversely on Abbot Simone Fioraso’s stewardship. To an outsider it all sounds pretty damning; but we must remember that we are outsiders with imperfect knowledge and understanding. Let us pray that the suppression of the community will lead to good; and let us pray especially for those to whom the loss of the community, however flawed, comes as a great sadness.


1 thought on “St Augustine of Canterbury and the Problem of Conversion”

  1. I had not heard of Santa Croce until yesterday when I saw an article by John Allen in NCR, It may confirm what you already know.

    As to England being a secular country… maybe. I could not say. Most of my English friends are profound Christians.
    I could say the same of France and secularity… I also think of the US where so many people speak of faith, God, … while so few seem to agree on what being a Christian means πŸ™‚

    We are all looking, I think. I join your prayers. Finding God is such a wonderful experience — or being found by God maybe — that I wish it to happen to everyone πŸ™‚

    Thank you for your candor.

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