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Letter from Rome: Of monks and men

What's behind the scandal at the Ecumenical Monastery of Bose in northern Italy?

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Letter from Rome: Of monks and men

Prayers at the Ecumenical Monastery of Bose. (Photo: Matteo Montaldo)

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The Ecumenical Monastery of Bose — a Vatican II-inspired religious community of women and men near the northern Italian city of Turin — announced last week that the Holy See had ordered its 77-year-old founder, Enzo Bianchi, to leave the premises and go live elsewhere.

The order came on May 13 from Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican secretary of state. And Pope Francis personally approved the decision in forma specifica, which means it is final and cannot be appealed.

It seems the Vatican had intended to carry this out quietly. But it authorized the community to make it public because it appears that Bianchi — and three others who were also ordered to leave Bose — refused to budge.

The alleged reason for the ouster was that the founder's "exercise of authority" was creating a "tense and problematic situation" in the life of the monastic community.

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