Democracy and the Rule of St. Benedict

From Chapter 64: On Constituting an Abbot:

“In the constituting of an Abbot, let this plan always be followed: that the office be conferred on one who is elected [elegerit, chosen] either by the whole community unanimously in the fear of God [democracy by consensus], or else by a part of the community, however small, if its counsel is more wholesome [republican democracy].

“Merit of life and wisdom of doctrine should determine the choice of the one to be constituted, even if he be the last of the order of the community [ie, the latest to have entered, and hence most junior member].”

In abbatis ordinatione illa semper consideretur ratio ut hic constituatur quem sive omnis concors congregatio secundum timorem Dei, sive etiam pars quamvis parva congregationis saniore consilio elegerit.

Vitae autem merito et sapientiae doctrina eligatur qui ordinandus est, etiam si ultimus fuerit in ordine congregationis.


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