Catholic Nuns Build Church With Bitcoin – Bitcoin Magazine
This is an opinion editorial by Andy Flattery, a Certified Financial Planner.
A careful observer of modern culture might aptly compare the world today to the Roman Empire of the 6th and 7th centuries. It was a period of cultural decline, where barbarian invasions destroyed cities, libraries, laws and even governments. Meanwhile, it was medieval monks, like Saint Benedict, who preserved and built Western civilization. The monks did this by preserving ancient texts, saving agriculture in Europe and preaching the Gospel.
Today, the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, are doing their part to build a civilization in the throes of cultural decay. And they do it with the help of bitcoin. These traditional Catholic nuns are a monastic order that follows the rule of St. Benedict and buys, receives, and keeps bitcoins in cold storage on behalf of their monastery. They survive on self-sufficiency and financial support from around the world – they have nuns from Mexico, England, Germany, the Netherlands and Lithuania – making bitcoin their go-to money.
Driving through the hills north of Kansas City, Missouri, en route to the monastery, I wondered, “What could these nuns have to do with bitcoin?” Father Matthew Bartulica, chaplain of the monastery, explained it to me this way:
“Monastic life is probably the greatest example of low time preference! It’s about passing traditions on to future generations… It also has a huge impact on culture, because it’s not just about satisfying one’s immediate desires, but about building a better future. Today’s world doesn’t offer much hope because nothing has value, partly because money is broken – just as it was in ancient Rome. The Benedictines helped rebuild civilization 1,500 years ago and I believe the life of the Abbey is like a citadel, a term popular with bitcoiners, that will help rebuild civilization in the 21st century.
Father Bartulica is the Catholic with the orange pills priest at the monastery. He skillfully references Dr. Saifedean Ammous, author of “The Bitcoin Standard”, on issues such as fiat architecture and fiat food. I was introduced to the priest by a mutual friend. “You are a Catholic who loves bitcoin… you have meet this priest!
It was Father Bartulica who endowed the sisters with material wallets and taught them how to send, receive, and embark on the path to financial sovereignty. Its mission is to convert local Catholic parishes to a bitcoin standard. So far, the Benedictines of Mary have been the most ready and able.
You can see parallels between bitcoin ethics and the way these nuns live. The sisters follow the march by dedicating their lives for the long term, even in the eternal. Following the “ora et labora” model, which means to work and pray in Latin, they show a low preference for time by praying eight times a day, growing their own produce and raising their own livestock and chickens. . These nuns even publish award-winning, uplifting songs and hymns.
Mother Abbess Cecilia is the young and dynamic abbess of the monastery, and puts it this way:
“What we do is build civilization. We cling to the traditions of the Church and the traditions that have built Western culture. We are stable, we have order, we know what we are supposed to do and we do it every day. We do it with love, with diligence.
One thing that immediately struck me when visiting the monastery is the impressive brand new church that dominates the grounds. I expected to go to a modern, utilitarian building, as (disappointingly) one would expect from any average suburban church today. Instead, the sisters built a beautiful architectural structure that features hand-painted murals, Italian marble, vaulted ceilings, and stained glass.
This was made possible by generous bitcoin donations made in 2017. These donations enabled the Benedictines to build a Church for the Ages without the burden of debt financing. Mother Cecilia described her first encounter with bitcoin in 2017:
“They [their bitcoin benefactors] knew we needed to build the Church and, boy, did it help us! I mean, wow, what a blessing. Without it, I don’t know if we would still be paying off a loan for this beautiful building.
So, despite the reputation Bitcoiners may have as avaricious hoarders, the generosity shone through and the nuns were able to sell the profits (tax free) in an effort to build their church.
“We have had such great success with several very large bitcoin donations to help build this house of prayer. If I were someone with means, I would want to help make tangible goods, not something that is slapped to last 50 years; something that’s going to last, something that’ll be handed down from generation to generation, to last a thousand years, this beautiful monument to the glory of God. — Mother Cecile
At first glance, it may seem incongruous to see traditional Catholic nuns embracing bitcoin — they are nuns who wear the full habit — but technology has helped them see significant growth in their order of nuns.
Many young women discovered the Benedictines of Mary by searching online for Catholic monasteries, including traditional Latin Masses. The internet, and now the Bitcoin network, has also made it easy for generous benefactors around the world to play a part in building a monastery. Their music has now been streamed over 3.5 million times on platforms such as Spotify; the sisters’ careful adoption of the technology paid off.
My favorite part of the trip, beyond the spiritual benefits, was seeing how many things the nuns do to prepare their own food. The sisters offered me a lunch consisting of a vegetable and beef soup, homemade rolls and butter, all produced on site. The conversation focused on ideas about honest money, how the Church could benefit from adopting bitcoin, and the health benefits of raw milk.
“Who knows how to cultivate anymore? It’s something we do and hopefully get better every year, just to support ourselves. So we can work closely with the ground, soil and God’s creation, and produce our own food right here. It really is a beautiful thing. — Mother Cecile
While admittedly foreign to many of us living in the clown world, myself included, the desire to join traditional religious life is growing. Each year, the Benedictine Sisters welcome more than 150 women from all over the world to discern the process of joining their order. Among these women, about 10 will make permanent vows. As a result, their space is packed and plans are underway for another new monastery to be built in southern Missouri.
It may be that the importance of traditional religious organizations, such as the Benedictines of Mary, embracing bitcoin will become more prominent as the beliefs they hold become more deplorable among the mainstream. The sisters know their unpopularity in the eyes of our conformist culture and have even been the targets of shootings in recent years. One can imagine that kind of animosity being used as justification to prevent an organization from using its own bank account, as in the situation of Canadian truckers in early 2022 – even for a group of unassuming nuns.
While churches and monasteries exist to serve as a refuge from a declining culture, their own finances are still at the mercy of artificial inflation and the traditional financial system. The permissionless nature of bitcoin ensures that these spiritual citadels can be safe from financial censors while simultaneously interacting with the global monetary network. As long as they choose to adopt bitcoin.
The sisters accept bitcoin donations on their website.
This is a guest post by Andy Flattery. The opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc. or Bitcoin Magazine.