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Vatican ejects ecumenical community founder

Cindy Wooden - CNS - Wed, Jun 10th 2020

Following a visitation to the monastery, the Vatican has ordered Bianchi and three other members to leave.Vatican ejects ecumenical community founder

Pope Francis is pictured with Enzo Bianchi, founder and former prior of the ecumenical Monastery of Bose, at the Vatican. CNS photo.

The Vatican has ordered Enzo Bianchi, the 77-year-old founder and former prior of the ecumenical Monastery of Bose, to leave the community following an apostolic visitation to clarify leadership within the group.

Bianchi, who founded the monastery in 1968, stepped down as prior of the community in January 2017.

The community, living a monastic life of common prayer, work, study and hospitality, is made up of 80 men and women from a variety of Christian traditions. They are particularly known for ecumenical conferences and liturgical studies.

In December, the community announced that Pope Francis had appointed a three-person team to conduct an apostolic visitation. The statement said it was prompted by a moment in the monastery's life “that could not be anything but delicate and, in some ways, problematic as regards the exercise of authority, the handling of governance and the fraternal climate” among the members.

The month-long visitation began last December and a report “based on the contribution of testimony freely given by each member of the community” was given to the Vatican, the community said.

With the approval of Pope Francis, the community said, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican secretary of state, signed a decree earlier this month ordering Bianchi and three other members “to separate themselves from the Monastic Community of Bose” and move out of the group's headquarters in northern Italy.

The decision was communicated with “the maximum respect possible for the right to privacy of those involved”, the community said, but “some of those involved” announced their refusal to comply, leading the community to publish its statement.

The community did not identify which of the four refused to leave.

Bianchi said in a tweet: “What is decisive for determining the value of a life is not the quantity of things we have accomplished, but the love with which we lived through each of our actions. Even when the things we created end, the love will remain as their indelible trace.”

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