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Religious Orders And Pastoral Care In The Late Middle Ages

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Chapter Summary

This chapter demonstrates that monks and nuns, following the decrees of the Fourth Lateran Council, took the conciliar charge to heart regarding the cura animarum. Despite the councils lack of issuing the charge directly to monastics, it is clear that monks and nuns understood that such a task belonged to them as well as to parish priests. For those monastic orders guided by the Regula of Benedict such pastoral care should not be unexpected, given that Benedict himself wrote that his monks must relieve the lot of the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick (Matt 25:36), and bury the dead. Go to help the troubled and console the sorrowing. By preaching to those outside of the monastery, above all in the vernacular, and caring for infirmed children, late medieval monks were simply doing that which was expected of them by their sixth-century patriarch.

Keywords: cura animarum; Fourth Lateran Council; monastic orders; monks; nuns; parish priests; pastoral care; preaching



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