Sunday, January 16, 2011

Become a Trinitarian in Rome


  1. The Trinitarians operate a guest house for pilgrims near Vatican City -- literally steps away. It is Casa Ferie Santa Maria Alle Foranci -- it is clean, exceptionally well run and very inexpensive. The staff is wonderful and supportive. They cater to pilgrim groups and individuals. I've taken groups there for years and will do so again in July. The Trinitarians are a great group. And John, perhaps we can meet this summer.

  2. The Trinitarians (except in the USA), is a magnificent Order which has largely maintained traditions of the Order, and have not (except in the USA) become radical liturgical liberals and experimenters. Likewise, the Order has not collapsed as so many other larger and smaller Orders have done since Vatican II.
    Before Vatican II, there were about 900 Trinitarians in the world, with about 65 in the USA. The were largely concentrated in Spain and Italy, with smaller communities in Latin America.
    One happy event in the Order which can't be claimed in most Orders is that even though they are down about 220 members from their pre-Vatican II peak, they have remained relatively stable, do not have a severe problem regarding declining members and no vocations, nor do they have a high median age like some communities such as the once flourishing Jesuits (median age 67 for priests), or the White Fathers (median age is over 70).
    Though reduced for their high in Rome before Vatican II, the Trinitarians still maintain a rather good presence in the Eternal City, and staff a handful of Churches and other priories and hoiuses. The are still recieving a fair number of Italian vocations, and elswhere they are doing very well (Poland, India, Zaire, Mexico, Madagascar...and even doing not too badly in Spain).
    In the USA unfortunatly, they became (after 1980) very liberal, lost nearly all their vocations, and also suffered from 1 case of priest-sex abuse scandals. They had close to 100 members at one point in the late 1970's, because they were seen as one of the few stable Orders in the USA at a time of great change and abuses of all kinds in the Church...but they joined in the general climate of rebellion and dissent in the USA after 1980.
    The one sad thing about the Order in Rome and elsewhere is that they seem to have discarded their distinctive black cape, which is similar to the Dominicans only shorter, and having a blue and red cross on the left side. Unfortunatly, this part of the habit is rarely seen...even in Rome.
    But the Order is a great institution in the Church, flourishing in many countries (even France where it has been re-established after dying out there after the French Revolution), and being re-established in Poland and Austria, where it was expelled in the late 18th century by the Modernist/Humanist ruler of the Austro-Hungarian Emmpire, Emperor Joseph II (patron of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart).
    God bless the Trinitarian Order, and may it grow and expand in Rome and everywhere....and recover itself in the USA!

  3. O.SS.T. are have been around since 1198. In 1984 their new constitutions were approved.

  4. As a candidate at the White Fathers, I have one remark about the second comment: while it is true that the median age of the Society is almost 70, there are also 417 students in the different phases of initial formation, which is a remarkable number, as the Society has just 1.500 members.

    May God bless the Trinitarians and all Orders. Lord, send out labourers for Your harvest!

  5. They might have 1,491 members and 417 students, but of the 417, only 6 are from either Europe or the Americas or Australia. The rest are from Africa and India. Also, first year entrants are always the largest class...however the attrition rate seems to be close to 75% after year 1. That's not especially impressive or hopeful.
    When you consider that the White Fathers were, before the disaster of Vatican II the largest missionary order of men in the Church with 5,500 members....and then look today, it isn't a hopeful future for the Order at all.
    A return to wearing the traditional habit, and a return to traditional CATHOLIC missionary spirit as existed pre-Vatican II could save the Order....and others, from a slow extinction.

  6. Just an update on the White Fathers, just so noone comes to a rosy picture of the Vatican II Church
    1,333 priests
    121 Brothers in perpetual vows: (in 5 years)this class of religious in the Order will likely go extinct .
    2 Brothers in in temporary vows
    21 seminarians in perpetual vows
    1 priest in temporary vows
    3 associates

    So, of the 417 "students" in fomation, after the perhaps 8 years of formation and seminary, there are at present only 21 seminarians world-wide in perpetual vows.

  7. While "the habit does not make the monk" there is a direct correlation in the abandoning of religious habits and the precipitous fall in vocations. The Sisters of Mercy, for example, used to regularly have an entry of 40 novices per year. Then the habit was abandoned and they went into civilian clothes which, in the main, appeared to come from charity shops. While laudable in that they hoped to identify with the poor, vocations stopped abruptly and - I believe I am correct in saying - that there have been no vocations in the UK at least for 30 years.