The Sydney Morning Herald reports :
A RENOWNED monastery in Rome where it’s been revealed monks staged concerts featuring a lap-dancer-turned-nun and opened a hotel with a 24-hour limousine service has been shut down by the Pope.
As part of Benedict XVI’s crackdown on ”loose living” in the church, 20 or so Cistercian monks are being evicted from the monastery at the basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, which hosts some of the church’s holiest relics.
”An inquiry found evidence of liturgical and financial irregularities as well as lifestyles that were probably not in keeping with that of a monk,” said Father Ciro Benedettini, a Vatican spokesman. ”The church remains open but the monks are awaiting transfer.”
Advertisement: Story continues below Reports saying the monks amassed large debts have also emerged, but Father Benedettini declined to give further details of the Vatican report.
The monks’ days have been numbered since 2009, when the Vatican sacked their flamboyant abbot, Father Simone Fioraso, a former fashion designer with a cult following among Rome’s fashionable aristocratic crowd as well as show business worshippers such as Madonna, who prayed at the church in 2008.
In 2009, Anna Nobili, a nightclub dancer who became a nun, was invited to perform her ”holy dance” before an audience including archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Vatican’s cultural department.
For her performance Nobili, who says she uses dance as a form of prayer, lies spread-eagled in front of the altar clutching a crucifix or twists and turns as in pole-dancing routines.
Santa Croce in Gerusalemme dates back to the 4th century and was built to house relics brought back from the Holy Land by the mother of Emperor Constantine.
They include items described as nails and splinters from the cross, thorns from Jesus’s crown, and a bone from the finger St Thomas pushed into the wounds of Christ.
The Italian newspaper La Stampa said that VIP guests were also encouraged to stay at a hotel opened at the monastery, which offered a 24-hour limousine airport service.
The Vatican’s removal of the monks to other monasteries, ending their 500-year presence at the basilica, follows Benedict’s hard line with other wayward orders.