Monastic Ireland.

3. Letter from Stephen of Lexington to the Abbot of Maigue (Letter 74)

Extract from Stephen of Lexington, Letters from Ireland 1228 - 1229 (translated and with an introduction by Barry W. O'Dwyer), Cistercian Publications Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan, 1982

Letter 74
To the Abbot of Maigue, greetings.
It seems to us amazing that you should order that all the wicked conspirators, the scandal of whom has already been known and will become known not only to the Order but even to the Church universal, be readmitted to their house this way, to the shame not only of that house but also of all the other houses of Ireland. For no-one would ever fear to offend the Order in future, but rather, with horns having been given to all the rebels here and elsewhere in perpetuity, this last error will be not just worse than the first, but the worst of all. Further, since we are preparing for our journey, we would not presume to grant dispensations of this king for any reason without the knowledge of the General Chapter, for reasons any fool can understand. But since the visitation has already been commissioned, we advise you to indicate to the King of Thomond, and other that it is right to await other visitors, with whose advice, indeed, you should act with all prudence. However, we grant that you may receive only seven of those who are more easily led and less likely to cause harm, and introduce them to into your monastery, suspended however from the performance of the sacerdotal and diaconal office until you receive the command of the General Chapter or of the general visitors. We do this out of respect for the king and queen of Thomond. When these other visitors come, and the repentance of the aforesaid conspirators has been clearly established, however, they can show mercy to the same at the insistence of the aforesaid king and queen if they are convicted it is in accord with the advantage and honor of the Order; but any religious or secular who appeals to or supplicates with us for the above-named people in future will do so to no purpose until we have had the counsel of the General Chapter. Farewell.
Stephen of Lexington, Letters from Ireland 1228 - 1229, translated and with an introduction by Barry W. O'Dwyer (Cistercian Publications Inc., Kalamazoo, Michigan) pp. 145 - 146
These extracts are reproduced with the kind permission of Liturgical Press:

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