The Monastic Life

As my regular reader and may well have guessed by now, I am not a great admirer of either organised religions or hypocrites, so when you put the two together it is best to stand clear of the steam that tends to vent from my ears.

Such an occasion arose the other day when Mrs D. and I visited in the Centosa di San Laurenzo in Padula.

Now admittedly the two hour coach trip either way to get there likely didn’t help – although the excellent lunch we had at a local agrotourismo afterwards mellowed me more than somewhat. When it comes to religious hypocrisy, the Centosa (that’s monastery to you and me) seems to epitomise a textbook definition.

It was built by the Carthusian order over a few hundred years starting in 1306.  The Carthusian were a wealthy order and the area around Pakula was mainly marshes, so whilst the locals benefited from the drainage, the order acquired rather a lot of land in the process.

The monastery contains the largest cloister in Europe and one of the largest in the world.  The monks cells are equally palatial.  Forget your 10′ x 8′ dimly lit room containing a basic wooden bed and a crucifix!

We were shown around cell number four which is one of the smallest.  It comprised a portrait of three room suite of around 1200 ft.², a private garden and a cloistered terrace.  Look at the size of the cloisters in the picture above and then consider that the four sides house just 24 cells.  You get the idea.  The monastery was sufficiently wealthy that Napoleon sacked it and took any wasn’t nailed down back home to Paris.

And of course the monks were far too busy praising God to do anything else so the had lots of staff to do it for them.  That’s servants you and me.

Now I know you shouldn’t apply the values of today to the social order of 500 years ago, but a wise man by the name of Jesus once said “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”.

So one can’t help wondering where all those monks are these days…

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5 responses to “The Monastic Life

  1. I know this is off-topic but I seemed to have lost my "cool" this morning after seeing The Independent on Sunday Pink List 2011.I felt an unbearable need to rant in their comments:-"How about a list for the "unsung heroes" the middle class, middle age, English white male.You know the guy that pays most of the taxes. Doesn't mug pensioners. Doesn't want hand-outs. Doesn't break the law. Doesn't stand on the street corner selling drugs. Brings up a family in responsible manner. Doesn't have massive credit card debt and lives within his means. Doesn't have "parades that have to be policed.You know. The guy that lives with a normal women and maybe a couple of kids. Goes out to work everyday and is expected to tolerate and hand-out money to all the weird groups who never seem to be able to earn their own money. The guy you can count on when there is a problem………and usually doesn't complain until now.We seem to have "lists" for Feminists, blacks, gays, animals, religious fanatics etc. etc. etc.: the list goes on forever. There seem to be any number of "special" cases all with their hands out for "grants" from the local council and government."

  2. Captain Haddock

    Well said indeed George .. We're a breed whom TPTB would far rather didn't exist ..

  3. Captain Haddock

    I was put off the Monastic life Dio, after I was tolled that they all had dirty habits ..Neither did I fancy being the Duty Fryer .. or the Chip Monk .. 😉

  4. Dioclese,Have some pity. These monks may well live in luxury, but the "no shagging" rule surely makes even the softest bed a lonely one. I expect that access to metaxa is off-limits as well. Poor buggers. (no pun intended)

  5. Waddya mean 'no shagging'? These are Catholics we're talking about…