Front Page Titles (by Subject) CHAPTER LXIV: CONCERNING THE ELECTION OF AN ABBOT - The Rule of St. Benedict
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CHAPTER LXIV: CONCERNING THE ELECTION OF AN ABBOT - Saint Benedict, The Rule of St. Benedict 
The Rule of St. Benedict, translated into English. A Pax Book, preface by W.K. Lowther Clarke (London: S.P.C.K., 1931).
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CONCERNING THE ELECTION OF AN ABBOT
At the election of an abbot let this principle be always observed, that he be appointed whom the whole community, being of the same mind and in the fear of God, or even a part albeit a small part of the community shall with calmer deliberation have elected. And let him who is to be elected be chosen for his worthy manner of life and his fundamental wisdom, even if he be last in order of community seniority. But if even the whole community, which God forbid, should by agreement among themselves choose a person who is a consenting party to their faults and those faults somehow should come to the knowledge of the bishop to whose diocese that place belongs, or should be manifest to the abbots and faithful of the vicinity, let them not suffer the agreement of the wicked to prevail, but let them appoint a steward worthy of the house of God, knowing that for this they will receive a good reward if they do it of pure zeal for God, just as, contrariwise, they will receive punishment if they neglect to do so.
But let him who is elected abbot always bear in mind what manner of burden he has received, and Who it is to Whom he will have to render account of his stewardship; and let him know that it behoves him to be of service rather than to be served. It behoves him therefore to be learned in the divine law, that he may thence bring forth things new and old; to be chaste, sober, merciful; and let him always exalt mercy above judgment, that himself may attain it. Let him hate the faults, let him love the brethren. In the matter of correction let him act prudently and not too severely, lest while he desires to scrape off the rust too much the vessel be broken; and let him always keep an eye upon his own frailty and remember that the shaken reed must not be crushed, by which we do not mean to say that he is to permit faults to be nourished, but that he cut them off prudently and with charity, as he sees to be expedient for each, as we have already said; and let him take pains to be loved rather than to be feared. Let him not be full of commotion nor anxious, let him not be over-bearing nor obstinate, jealous nor too suspicious, because such an one is never at rest. In the matter of the commands he gives let him be provident and considerate before God and man. The work which he enjoins let him apportion with discretion, having in mind the discretion of holy Jacob who says: “If I shall have made my flocks over-travel, they will all die in one day.” Taking therefore these words and others bearing testimony to discretion as the mother of virtues, let him so apportion all things that there be something to which the strong may aspire and something the weak may not shrink from; and principally that he conserve this present rule in all things so that when he shall have fulfilled a good ministry he may hear from the Lord what the good slave heard who gave out wheat to his fellow-slaves in due season: “Verily I say unto you,” He says, “over all his goods will he set him.”