Monk Not Allowed to be a Carmelite for Loving the Habit and Being Too Prayerful?

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The case of ‘Friar’ Abel Hernandez is sparking growing interest and raising many questions.

Newsroom (17/09/2022 3:45 PM, Gaudium Press) The Discalced Carmelite friar, Abel de Jesús, has given, on his YouTube channel, some not so pleasant news to his more than 20,000 followers: he is no longer a friar – not by his decision, but by that of his superiors:

“It’s like when you reach the final stage of Operation Triumph [musical talent show] and they say you are the best artist, you have the best personality, the best presence, but you can’t enter the Academy…“, this is how Abel introduced the subject.

“Until now I was temporarily professed in the Iberian province of the Discalced Carmelite order,” he says. In other words, he was going through a phase of joint discernment, both of himself and of the community to which he wanted to give his entire life.

“I really had no doubt that God was calling me along this path,” Abel Hernández Llanos stresses. However, that was not the thinking of his superiors. Why this decision? “The main reason was due to a difference of style that they considered incompatible with my remaining in the province”, says Abel.

What could these differences be?

Apparently, the friar was fond of things like “the wearing of the habit“, “the observance of fixed times of prayer or the practice of external silence, and the conventual, <strong>contemplative or monastic manner”.

Abel declares that he never wanted “to belong to any side”, that of the so-called traditionalists or their opponents, and “nor did he want to create division”. Indeed, all his explanatory words are uttered without the slightest acrimony. However, he considered “that this was the proper way to be religious, simply“. In fact, Abel exposes in the video images of the letter received by his superiors, in which “ reference was made to all these ideas, which they declared as very firm ideas in this regard“.

I was sure that wearing the habit was the proper and appropriate way to be a friar today, precisely in these times, in a society so lacking a strong identity of exterior signs”, he affirms, and even emphasizes that this is the desire of many new vocations.

Many people are interested in the case of Abel. Indeed, there were many who considered him as one of the promises of his community, not only a person formed in the art of communication, who carried out a promising apostolate through social networks, but also a remarkable author (Internet and contemplative life is already a well-known work) and who continued to deepen his knowledge of theology, particularly dogmatic theology.

But of course, only one part of the discerners is being listened to. Another is now also being heard.

Compiled by Sandra Chisholm

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