Greetings and Apostolic Blessings!
Monsignor John Blair (Dom Blair) approached me some time ago in regards to the creation of a new order within Christ Catholic Church. After much prayerful discernment and an informative shared dialogue between us, I am persuaded that Dom Blair is being called to a unique and venerable tradition in the creation of the Order of St. Benedict (OSB) for Christ Catholic Church.
As such, I have formally transferred his vows as a life professed Franciscan Friar to this new expression of the Order of St. Benedict within Christ Catholic Church and have appointed him as the Abbot-Elect until such time as we are able to confer upon him the abbatial blessing in a liturgical celebration.
As part of its commitment to the Rule of St. Benedict, the new Order of St. Benedict will have a special charism to teach Christian contemplative prayer and Buddhist meditation and practices.
In addition to his vocation as a Catholic priest, Dom Blair has studied and practiced Buddhism for over twenty years and has received teaching ordination as a non-sectarian Buddhist priest (teacher). His approach to Buddhism is as a non-theistic, contemplative philosophical tradition.
Similar to other catholic priests who have also practiced dharma (Buddhism) and or served as Buddhist teachers such as Father Robert Kennedy, a Jesuit priest and Zen Roshi, and Father Thomas Merton, a Trappist Monk and lay Buddhist practitioner, the particular charism of this new OSB will be to provide teachings in Christian contemplative prayer and dharma meditation.
As Benedictines, the Order’s allegiance is to the Blessed Trinity, the church catholic, and the teachings derived from it. The new OSB will situate their common life around the Holy Eucharist and liturgical prayer as they are, after all, Benedictines. Yet within the Order will be a teaching mission, identified as the Center for Progressive Buddhist practice, a non-theistic, non-sectarian, Buddhist meditation group.
As already noted, while a charism of this particular OSB, the teaching mission is separate from the liturgical life and rule, so as not to promote confusion. Yet as monks and teachers, they can explore the similarities of Buddhist meditation and Christian contemplative prayer. As their charism will be to present non sectarian Buddhism, they will not be under any other Buddhist group, so their loyalty remains to the church.
For more information Dom Blair can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please keep Christ Catholic Church, the Order of St. Benedict, and Dom Blair in your prayers, as he begins the practical discernment of forming our latest religious community.
+Brian Ernest Brown, OSH
Christ Catholic Church