Poll Results: #BenedictOption

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.



  1. Bernard Brandt
    February 8, 2017

    Thank you for your useful and interesting poll. While I would be tempted to indulge in the reductio ad absurdum of ’10^20th power flies prefer ordure, therefore…’, or otherwise point out the argumentum ad populum implicit in the conclusions, I will manfully resist the temptation.

    Seriously, though, as an Eastern Catholic myself, I am heartened by your findings, Gabriel. You run an intelligent, articulate, and (rarer yet) spiritually mature weblog here. It pleases me to find that the majority of your readers and auditors are tending toward the Benedictine (if not the Benedict) option. For any number of reasons, which include its great age and venerability, the Benedictine Order has the potential to provide small communities with a spiritual center which will be needed as forces within the world and within our current Church are acting as they have and promise to act in the future.

    That said, I must point out that the strength of the Benedictines has been in their repeatedly looking back to the Fathers, both Greek and Latin, for their counsel. This should be noted by anyone who has actually studied the Order, or read the Blessed Benedict’s ‘Regula’. I would therefore suggest that Byzantines and Benedictines might want to seek common cause in the study of the Fathers, especially Evagrius and Dionysius the Areopagite. Pope Saint Gregory the Great did so, and His legacy has been particularly fruitful for both East and West.

    1. gregorystackpole
      February 8, 2017


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