Who are Contemporary Catholics?
The White Robed Benedictine Network is a Contemporary Catholic community, outside the institutional church, dedicated to making the world a more compassionate place. Guided by its own Bishop/Abbott, it celebrates the same sacraments and follows the spirit of reform initiated in Vatican Council II.
When people refer to Catholics today, they often mean Roman Catholics. But, there are many other types of Catholics. Some are associated with cultural groups like Byzantine Catholics or Polish National Catholics while others such as Old Catholics span all cultural groups.
While some groups are in union with Rome, others have been independently governed by their own bishops, in the tradition of the Eastern Orthodox church, for well over 200 years.
Uniformity of externals does not equate with the unity called for by Christ.
During much of the first eleven hundred years after Jesus, there was only one church that developed different traditions. Everything from the way the Mass and sacraments were celebrated to the date of Easter and celibacy were interpreted differently. Even today, the Eastern and Western churches have many externals that are vastly different yet all celebrate the same sacraments and scriptures.
The institutional church of today can be traced, in part, to ongoing disagreements over papal supremacy in the 11th century resulting in a schism with the Eastern church, reaction to the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century and the proclamation of papal infallibility in the 19th century which created further schisms. All these events speak to the confusion of unity with uniformity.
Being Catholic Today
Being Catholic today means many things. Most importantly it continues to represent the faith community of Christians most identified with the celebration of the sacraments and its rich tradition of symbols and metaphors. Contemporary Catholics is a term which best describes those who continue to search for a non-judgmental, sacramental experience different from that offered by the institutional church.
Because these searchers have not found the kind of experience they want within traditional, institutional Catholicism many drift to other Christian communities but still miss the sacraments in their lives.
Recognizing the need to fill a void in the lives of many, the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict, offer the sacraments in a non-judgmental Catholic experience. By celebrating the sacraments without question, the WRM hopes to bring unity without the stumbling block of uniformity.
Community versus Place
Many who come to the White Robed Monks are filled with a hurt or a longing not met in the institutional church. With us, they find an openness and acceptance that is a reflection of Christ’s love.
Because doctrine can cause division, the White Robed Monks only asks that we follow Christ’s two commandments: to love God and to love one another as He loved us, wholly and completely.
Those who come to the White Robed Monks in tears move forward rejoicing after experiencing loving acceptance. If you have been rejected because of a previous marriage, you are welcome here. If now you can’t believe the religion taught you as a child but still want a sacramental relationship with God, here is your home. If there are barriers in your relationship with God, then we wish to be with you in loving compassion. With roots in the Old Catholic tradition, the White Robed Monks offers the Contemporary Catholic a home filled with acceptance and compassion. As the presence of the White Robed Benedictine Network in Illinois, we are here for you.
For more detailed discussion about Catholicism you may wish to peruse these pages:
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers
On Catholic Jurisdictions and Protestant Denominations
Spirituality in the 21st Century