Benedict's rule against homosexuality
The following is a commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict. I wanted to introduce new topics in the forum to breath a sort of new life to the general discussion. I here introduce it to the fellow brothers/sisters in Christ, Catholic, Eastern/Oriental Orthodox, and Protestant, as a means of providing a historical continuity against homosexual practice. To all others, a means of demonstrating the unstability of "progressive" Christians who might claim homosexual acts are acceptable. I hope therefore to keep some people from coming into the Catholic Church thinking there can be some sort of "political" change to accept open homosexual relationships.
With my comments, here is the quote:
The early monastic hostility to nude bathing is even more evident in the Pachomian Rule (pr. 92–95). Here it is clear that the danger to be avoided is homosexuality, which was very common in pagan society and which cons***uted a serious problem for the Pachomian movement (see Bohairic Life 18, Veilleux, 1.152; also discussed in Ruppert, 181). With our modern Western obsession with hygiene, we cannot comprehend the monastic aversion to bathing, but they could hardly have understood our casual at***ude toward sexual morality.
St. Augustine does not have a good reputation when it comes to his views of the body and sexuality, but the surprising thing is that he is relatively broad-minded about bathing. In reg. serv. 5.5 he not only permits (as does Benedict in RB 36.8) the sick to take baths, but he commands them to do so when the doctor orders it. Pr. 5.7 requires that the monks go to the baths in twos or threes, and not with whom they wish but with whom they are sent. He is thinking, of course, of the public baths in a big Roman town like Hippo. Augustine’s Gallic disciple, Caesarius of Arles, makes more or less the same arrangements for bathing (reg. virg. 29) with perhaps a less tolerant spirit.
Seen in this trajectory, Benedict does not come across as particularly rigorous on the question of bathing. Although there are no verbal clues to that effect, he seems to be in the same spirit as Augustine. Probably, though, there were no public baths in the rural area in which Benedict lived. The charged atmosphere of the Pachomian strictures versus homosexuality are nowhere in sight in RB 36. Certainly Benedict does not share the almost fanatical spirit of Benedict of Aniane, who attempted to ban bathing and bathtubs altogether from Carolingian monasteries (see Horn and Born, 1.22).
Kardong, T. (1999). Benedict's Rule: A commentary (electronic edition.) (308–309). Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press.