Maybe I should be surprised, or maybe I shouldn’t, by the results of my recent poll asking you, dear readers, which form of Catholic spirituality you most identify with. Although I plan on leaving the poll up, as of today — February 8, 2017 — the “Benedictines” have a 2:1 lead on the “Byzantines.” Although far less people took the poll than visit this blog on a regular basis, it would seem that those identify with Benedictine spirituality make up nearly 40% of Opus Publicum‘s readership. My best armchair explanation for this is that, historically, a fair number of “liturgy nerds” (of which I am one) populated this blog’s combox, particularly when I delved into the tumultuous realm of Latin liturgical reform and praxis (including among traditional Catholics). Moreover, I suspect that more than one Eastern reader of Opus Publicum (Orthodox and Catholic alike) find it easier to identify with the sober reverence of the Benedictine way of life than the apparent exoticism of Byzantine spirituality — a spirituality which, for better or worse, is today most identified with Palamism.
The biggest “loser” in my poll is Servite spirituality, which failed to gain even single vote. Redemptorist spirituality didn’t fare much better as it drew only one vote: my own. Admittedly, my poll was far from scientific or complete. Some spiritual forms, particularly the Byzantine, could have been subdivided by geography, and certainly Benedictine spirituality has developed an array of nuances over the centuries, leading to multiple religious orders which, though distinct, all trace their lineage back to St. Benedict himself.
Thank you to all who participated in the poll. It was a fun, if not illuminating, little exercise.