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[Ms P, fol. 95rPaulus Diaconus
Ps.-Basil: Ms K1, fol. 67r; Ms E1, fol. 115v; Ms E2, fol. 181r]

Ch. 29

Translated by: Abbie Owen

1Frater, qui proprio vitio egreditur aut projicitur de monasterio, si reverti voluerit, spondeat prius omnem emendationem vitii, pro quo egressus est, 2et sic in ultimo gradu recipiatur, ut ex hoc ejus humilitas comprobetur. 3Quod si denuo exierit usque tertio ita recipiatur, jam vero postea sciens,1 [page 365] omnem sibi reversionis aditum denegari.

1If a brother who leaves the monastery or is expelled through his own fault wants to return, let him first pledge full amendment of the fault for which he departed 2and be received at the lowest rank, so his humility may be tested in this way. 3If he leaves again, let him be readmitted in this manner up to three times, [page 365] knowing then that afterwards any re-entry is denied him.

Egregium ordinem tenuit in hoc loco S. Benedictus, quando prius dixit de expulsione fratrum, et postmodum subjunxit legem revertentium, quasi interrogasset quis S. Benedictum dicens: 'Ecce pater Benedicte! jussisti expelli fratrem vitiosum de monasterio. Si ergo reverti voluerit, quid faciemus? utrum recipi debet an non?

Saint Benedict kept to excellent order in this place, when he first spoke about the expulsion of brothers and then he devised a rule for readmission as if someone had asked: ‘Behold father Benedict! You commanded that a sinful brother be expelled from the monastery. And if he wishes to come back, what should we do? Should he be readmitted or not?’

Ille autem quasi respondens dicit: Frater, qui proprio vitio egreditur aut projicitur de monasterio, si reverti voluerit, spondeat prius omnem emendationem vitii, pro quo egressus est, et sic in ultimo gradu recipiatur et reliq.

However, Benedict, just as if he were responding, says: If a brother who leaves the monastery through his own fault wants to return, let him first pledge full amendment of the fault for which he departed and be received at the lowest rank and the rest.

Sciendum est enim, quia istud capitulum varie intelligitur. Sunt enim, qui intelligunt profundius et diligentius dicentes: Non enim S. Benedictus pro vitio sed proprio vitio jussit expelli fratrem, quia aliud est vitium, cum absolute dicitur, et aliud est illud vitium, cum dicitur cum adjectione proprium.

It should be known that this chapter can be understood in many ways. For there are those who understand it more deeply and diligently, saying that yes, Blessed Benedict commanded that a brother be expelled not on account of a fault but on account of his own fault, because a fault is one thing when it is said absolutely, and another when it is said with the addition of his own.

Tunc enim non est proprium vitium, quando homo ita peccat, ut alter se ibi intermisceat, v. gr. sicut est in graviori culpa immunditia vel sodomiticum, quod non unus, sed duo solent peragere; hoc enim quia cum alio fit, ideo non est proprium, i. e. tantum unius hominis, sed duorum , et eo amplius peccatum.

For then it is not a private sin, when a man sins in such a way that another man involves himself in it, as is the case in a more serious sin such as impurity or sodomy, since not one but two are accustomed to commit it; since this is done with another person, therefore it is not private, that is not only of one man, but of two, and so much greater is the sin.

Similiter etiam in levioribus culpis non proprium vitium intelligitur discordia et detractio, in quo vitio etiam non tantum unus, sed etiam alii commoventur.

Likewise in lesser sins, such as discord and slander, a private sin is not to be understood, but a sin in which not only one man but others are involved.

Sicut dicit Salomon: Sex sunt, quae odit Dominus, et septimum detestatur anima ejus: oculos sublimes, linguam mendacem, manus effundentes innoxium sanguinem, cor machinans cogitationes pessimas, pedes veloces ad currendum in malum, proferentem mendacia, testem fallacem, et cum, qui seminat inter fratres discordias. [Prv 6:16-19].

Just as Solomon says: There are six things which the Lord hates, and a seventh which his soul detests: prideful eyes, a lying tongue, hands spilling innocent blood, a heart plotting the most wicked plans, feet swift down the path of wickedness, a false witness proffering lies, and when someone sows discord among brothers. [Prv 6:16-19]

Quia, in eo vitio discordiae alii intermiscentur, ideo ipsa discordia non est proprium vitium. Et propterea B. Benedictus non dixit solummodo pro vitio, sine adjectione proprio, ut ostenderet, se non jussisse, pro hoc peccato, quod non est proprium, fratrem recipi. Quare? Ne una ovis morbida totum gregem contaminet. [Regula Benedicti, c. 28.7]

Since in that sin of discord others are implicated, therefore discord itself is not a private sin. And therefore, Saint Benedict did not say only for sin, without adding private, so that he might show that he did not command a brother be taken back on account of this sin which is not private. Why? Let not one sick sheep spoil the whole flock. [Regula Benedicti, c. 28.7]

Proprium vero vitium est illud, ubi, cum perpetratur, alius non intermiscetur, solus unus illud malum peragit, v. gr. sicut est in leviori culpa risus, superbia, [page 366] jactantia, invidia, odium et reliqua alia his similia; et in majore culpa, sicut est furtum, gula et his similia.

But a private sin is one that, when committed, does not involve another man; only one man commits the evil deed, for example as in a lesser sin like mocking, pride, [page 366] boasting, envy, hate and other like these; and in a greater sin, like stealing, gluttony and others like these.

Et ideo, quia proprium vitium est, i. e. quia alios non corrumpit, S. Benedictus fratrem recipi jussit.

And therefore, since it is a private sin, that is, since it is one that does not corrupt others, S. Benedict commands that the brother be readmitted.

Nam pro illis, quae non sunt propria, de quibus superius diximus, i. e. immunditia, sodomiticum, quia valde Deo detestabilia sunt, sicut de discordia, ut dictum est, Salomon dicit.

For about those sins which are not private, about which we spoke above, that is impurity or sodomy, Solomon says that are very detestable to God, just as he says about discord.

Sed intuendum est, quia in hoc loco, ubi dicit egreditur vel projicitur, excluditur, i. e. separatur ille, qui pro melioratione conversationis egreditur, quia ideo egreditur, eo quod cognoscit, malam eorum esse vitam. Iste talis, qui pro hoc egreditur, non est in ultimo gradu recipiendus, sed magis rogari et honorari debet.

But where Benedict says leaves or is expelled, it should be understood he is excluding or setting apart someone who leaves in order to improve his own behaviour, for that one leaves because he recognizes that their [i.e. other monks’] mode of life is evil. Such a person who leaves for this reason should not be readmitted at the lowest rank, but rather he ought to be invited back and honored.

Intuendum est etiam, quid est, quod dicit: spondeat prius omnem emendationem vitii, pro quo egressus est - ac si diceret: in ipsa poenitentia suscipiatur, quam dignus erat habere, quando projectus vel egressus est; v. gr. si fecerit furtum et debuerat in gravioris culpae excommunicatione detineri, et fugerit, tunc, cum recipitur, in ipsa poenitentia debet iterum recipi sive gravis sit culpa sive levioris;2 eo quod istud spondere ad emendationem in hoc loco magis attinet, quia ille veraciter emendat vitium, qui poenitentiam veraciter agit.

It should be noted that he says Let him first pledge full amendment of the fault for which he departed, as if he were saying he should be received in the same penance he deserved when he was expelled or left; for example, if he stole and he should have been excommunicated for a very serious fault, and he fled, then when he is readmitted, he ought to be received in this penance, whether the fault is lesser or more serious; this pledging is important to his amendment more in this instance, because he who truthfully does penance truly amends his sin.

Poenitentiam vero veraciter agere est, et perpetrata mala plangere, et iterum plangenda non committere.

But to truly perform penance is both to lament the evil deeds and not commit the same lamentable deeds again.

Forte dicit aliquis: 'Non debet poenitentiam agere, sed solummodo in ultimo gradu eum debere recipere. Iste enim sensus valde stultus est.

If another says, ‘He ought not do penance, but he ought merely to be received at the lowest rank’ [we think] this sentiment very foolish indeed.

V. gr. peccant duo unum peccatum, et unus ex illis fugit, antequam poenitentiam agat, alter vero, qui remansit, agit suam poenitentiam. Et ideo magna stultitia est, si is, qui fugit, cum revertitur, sine poenitentia recipiatur, quasi ipsa fuga sit ejus poenitentia, cum ad pejorem vitam i. e. saecularem egressus est, et ibi forte aliud peccatum pro fragilitate commiserit.

For example: two brothers commit one sin, and one of them flees before he performs penance, but the other one, who remains, does perform his own penance. And therefore it is great folly if he who flees is received without penance when he returns, as if the act of fleeing was his penance, when he left for a more wicked life, that is, the secular life, and there may have committed another sin on account of his frailty.

Quomodo enim potest suum peccatum solummodo per ultimum gradum delere? Et ideo rectum est, ut, cum revertitur, in ipsa poenitentia [page 367] recipiatur, qua dignus ante fugam fuerat.

For how is he able to expunge his sin solely through entering the lowest rank? And therefore it is correct that when he returns, he out to be readmitted by performing the same penance [page 367] that he deserved before he fled.

Bene diximus, quia prius poenitentiam debet agere, deinde in ultimo gradu consistere, ut per poenitentiam satisfaciat Deo, et per ultimum gradum humilitatis satisfaciat fratribus, ut ex hoc, sicut ipse dicit, ejus humilitas comprobetur.

Rightly we have said that first he ought to make amends, then assume the lowest rank, so that through his penance he may satisfy God, and through the lowest rank of humility he may satisfy his brothers, so that in this way, just as Benedict says, his humility may be tested.

Sic enim alibi B. Benedictus de graviori culpa extra oratorium et extra mensam praecipit esse. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 25]

For thus in another place the blessed Benedict rules that on account of a graver sin, the perpetrator should be banned from the oratory and from the table. [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 25]

Deinde post poenitentiam jubet illum suscipi in choro, sed tamen non in ordine suo, sed ubi voluntas abbatis fuerit.

After the penance he commands that the brother be received into the choir, but not in his own place but where the will of the abbot deigns.

Vide modo, sicut illic judicavit illum poenitentiam habere et post in ordine suo non debere stare, [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 43.4] ita etiam in hoc loco sentiendum est. Similiter si in secunda vice pro peccato exierit, in poenitentia debet suscipi et postea in ultimo gradu recipi. Ita etiam in tertia vice faciendum est. Si autem non pro peccato in secunda vel in tertia vice exierit, sed pro verecundia solummodo, eo quod in ultimo gradu receptus est, tunc non debet poenitentiam habere, quia non fuit peccatum, pro quo egrederetur, sed in ultimo solummodo gradu recipiatur.

Consider how just as in that instance Benedict judged that the brother make amends and afterwards that he ought not to stand in his own place [cf. Regula Benedicti, c. 43.4], it should be understood in the same way in this case. Similarly if he leaves a second time on account of sin, he ought to perform penance and afterwards be received at the lowest rank. Thus also it should be done for a third time. If, however, he does not leave on account of sin the second or third time, but only for shame, because he was received at the lowest rank, then he does not have to do penance because he did not leave because he sinned, but he should only be received at the lowest rank.

Nunc vero quasi interrogasset quis S. Benedictum dicens: 'Ecce pater Benedicte! jussisti in prima vice fratrem exeuntem recipi; si denuo exierit, quid faciendum est?' Ille [vero] quasi respondens dicit: Si denuo exierit, usque tertio recipiatur, jam vero postea sciat, sibi omnem reversionis aditum denegari.

But just as if one had asked S. Benedict, saying: 'Behold, father Benedict! You ordered that the first time a brother leaves he is to be received; if he leaves again, what should be done?’ Benedict as if he were responding says: If he leaves again, let him be readmitted in this manner up to three times, knowing then that afterwards any re-entry is denied him.

In hoc loco sciendum est, quia S. Benedictes non abbati vel alicui interroganti respondet, sed fugienti, cum dicit sciat - ac si diceret aliis verbis: Fugientem constringo et illi pono legem et terminum, usque quot vices se cognoscat recipi; abbatem vero non constringo tali lege nec illi terminum constituo, sed illum liberum in misericordia relinquo, eo quod vicem Christi agere debet. Illum fugientem ideo constringo, ut cum post tertiam vicem non fuerit receptus, non possit querelari contra abbatem, quare post tertiam vicem non recipiatur.

In this case, it should be noted that Saint Benedict does not respond to an abbot or to anyone else asking but to the one fleeing, when he says ‘let him know’ – as if he were saying, in other words, ‘I constrain the fugitive and place this rule and limit on him, so that he recognize up to how many times he is to be received; but I do not constrain the abbot with such a rule nor do I place a limit on him, but leave him free in his mercy, because he ought to perform the duty of Christ. Therefore I put constraints on the one who fled so that when after the third time he is not received, he cannot argue with the abbot about why after the third time he is not received.

Ideo illi jubeo, ut sciat, sibi omnem aditum reversionis denegari, ne suo frequenti exitu aut ingressu monasterium inquietet. Nam abbatem in misericordia constituo liberum, ut, quot vicibus voluerit venire ille frater, tot vicibus recipere possit pro misericordia. [page 368]

Therefore I command that he should know that afterwards any re-entry is denied him, lest he disturb the monastery by his frequent leaving and coming back. For I leave the abbot free in his mercy that as many times as that brother wishes to return, so many times the abbot can receive him according to his mercy. [page 368]

Quia Deus, cujus vicem agit, non judicat secundum praescientiam nec secundum praeterita, sed sicut est unusquisque; et propterea elegit Judam et dedit illi loculum, eo quod Judas in illo tempore bonus videbatur. Unde quamquam illum cognovit Dominus esse malum secundum praescientiam suam, tamen secundum quod erat, remuneravit illum Dominus in praesenti saeculo.

Since God, whose duty he performs, does not judge according to foreknowledge nor according to past deeds, but according to each individually. And for this reason he selected Judas and gave him a place because Judas seemed to be good at that time. Whence, even though, the Lord recognized that Judas was evil according to his foreknowledge, nevertheless according to what he was at the present time, the Lord rewarded him.’

Et propterea non constrinxit abbatem in (non) recipiendo fratrem, sed ut recipiat, ut si forte fratrem non lucratus fuerit in secunda vice, lucretur in tertia; et si non in tertia, lucretur etiam in quarta vice; et si non in quarta, lucretur saltem in quinta vice; et si non in quinta vice, lucretur vero in sexta, et similiter in reliquum tempus.

And therefore Benedict does not constrain the abbot in not receiving the brother, but says that he may receive, so that if by chance he does not convert the brother in the second instance, then the third, and if not in the third, then he may convert him in the fourth instance, and if not in the fourth, then at least in the fifth instance, and if not on the fifth try, he may surely get him on the sixth, and so on forever.

Verumtamen sicut illum, qui pro proprio vitio egressus est, constrinxit et ei legem posuit, ut post tertiam vicem non possit querelari et contra abbatem agere de non recipiendo, ita etiam subintelligendum est de illis, quamvis S. Benedictus non dixerit, qui egrediuntur pro non proprio vitio, ut post primam vicem non recipiantur, pro causa, quam supra diximus, i. e. pro periculo aliorum - non posse querelari3 et agere contra abbatem, eos constrinxisse et eis legem posuisse.

But even so, just as Benedict constrains him who left because of his own fault and he subjected him to the rule so that after the third time, he is not able to complain or act against the abbot for not admitting him, it should also be understood about those (although S. Benedict does not say it) who leave on account of a sin that is not their own, that they not be received after the first time for that reason that we spoke of above, that is on account of endangerment of the other brothers, he constrained them and placed the rule on them that they cannot argue with or act against the abbot.

Nam si abbas motus misericordia illos, qui non proprio vitio egressi fuerint, forte voluerit aut potuerit suscipere, ita illis dicere debet: 'Nos vos voluissemus suscipere, sed tamen non audemus, ne per vos alios perdamus.

On the other hand, if the abbot is moved by mercy for one who left not through his own fault, perhaps he might wish to or be able to accept him, in which case the abbot ought to say to the brothers: ‘We might have wished to receive you, however, we don’t dare, lest we destroy others because of you.

Nunc autem optamus salutem vestram: pro misericordia vos recipimus, ut habitetis aut sitis in tali loco, h. e. aut in monte aut in secretis locis, i. e. ut non possitis alios ad illud peccatum trahere et eos maculare', sicut papa Gregorius docet in moralibus libris; ait enim:

Still, we desire your salvation: by mercy we readmit you so that as long as you stay or live in such a place, either on a mountain or in a secret place, so that you are not able to drag others into that sin or pollute them, just as Pope Gregory teaches in the Moralia, for he says:

Per iram gratia vitae socialis ammittitur, sicut scriptum est: 'Noli esse assiduus cum homine iracundo nec discas semitas ejus et sumas scandalum animae tuae,' [Prv 22:24-25] quia qui se ex humana ratione non temperat, necesse est, ut bestialiter solus vivat. [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob V, c. 45.78, CCSL143, p. 276]

Through anger the grace of social life is lost, just as it is written: ‘Do not wish to be friendly with a hot-tempered man lest you learn his ways and take up a stumbling block for your soul,’ [Prv 22:24-25] since anyone who does not temper himself with human reason must live alone, like a beast [Gregory the Great, Moralia in Hiob V, c. 45.78]

Si enim ita voluerint agere, ut supradiximus, recipiantur tamdiu, donec possit illos cognoscere [page 369] et eis credere sine difficultate. Si autem illi noluerint talem abbatis, sicut jam diximus, susceptionem, non recipiantur, ne per illos similiter alios perdat.

For if they should wish to act in this way, as we spoke of before, they would be received each time, until [a monk] is able to be able to understand those things [page 369] and believe them without difficulty. However, should those brothers not want such a reception by the abbot, as we already spoke about, they should not be received, lest he despoil other brothers through similar sins.

Et hoc notandum est, quia illud peccatum, quod dixi esse commune, ita intelligendum est: i. e. si aliquis in illud vitium immunditiae aut sodomiticum casu cecidit et verecundatur et alium fratrem non corruperit, ex hoc tunc non est projiciendus, quamvis commune sit. Si autem in consuetudine illud vitium habuerit et alios perdiderit per hoc et emendare noluerit, tunc est projiciendus. Similiter pro vitio discordiae aut detractionis vel furti ita faciendum est.

And it should be noted that that sin, which we said to be communal, should be understood in this way: for example if someone, by chance, fell into that fault of impurity or sodomy and he is ashamed and he did not corrupt another brother, then he does not have to be thrown out because of this, although it is communal. If however he committed that sin regularly and he imperilled other brothers in so doing and he does not wish to make amends, then he should be expelled. Likewise, the same should be done for the sin of discord, slander, or theft.

Insuper etiam sciendum est, quia sunt alii, qui non sic acute nec sic studiose atque subtiliter, sicut diximus, intelligunt nec discernunt inter proprium et commune vitium, sed tantum simpliciter, ut si pro qualicunque vitio frater egreditur, usque ad tertiam vicem recipiant fratrem exeuntem, et post tertiam vicem nolunt eum recipere; et cum receperint eum in secunda et tertia vice, nolunt eum in ipsa poenitentia detinere, qua dignus fuit, quando fugit.

Also it should be noted that there are others who neither understand acutely or studiously and subtly but rather more simply as we said, and do not distinguish between their own fault and a communal one, so that if on account of whatever sin the brother leaves, they may receive the brother who left up to the third time, and after the third time they do not want to receive him; or when they receive him the second and third time, they do not want to hold him in that penance which he deserved when he fled.

Et hoc maxima multitudo monasteriorum per Franciam facit. Sed tamen illi faciunt melius, qui secundum priorem sensum faciunt, eo quod sapientiores et acutiores sunt, qui ita intelligunt. Nam et ego facio ita in nostro monasterio, et ita hortor, ut ceteri similiter faciant, sicuti sapientiores intelligunt et faciunt.

This happens in many monasteries throughout Francia. But those who act according to the first sense of the rule do it better, because they are wiser and more acute who understand it this way. For I do it this way in our monastery and I encourage others to do the same, as the more sage ones understand and execute the rule.

1. sciat (?). (Mittermüller).
2. levis (?). (Mittermueller).
3. subintelligendum est, non posse querelari... (Mittermüller).

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