In the heart of Rome, the Franciscan Fraternity of Bethany has quietly opened the first convento misto, where men and women who take religious orders can choose to live under the same roof.
Unlike nuns and friars in traditional convents and monasteries, the Bethany brethren take meals together and hold joint prayer sessions every day.
They engage in discussions on the issues of the day and share the daily chores, such as tending the gardens that provide much of their fresh food. [Source]
But since it isn’t a monastery or a covent is it a conventery or a monavent? I am not sure what to make of this other than that it would have to be done very prudently.
…Brother Paolo said that he was confident that the order would know how to respond if a nun and a monk fell in love.
“Well, apart from closed orders, most communities of monks and nuns have contact with the opposite sex in one way or another. There is always the possibility they will be attracted to each other. But people become friars or nuns because they are committed to Christ. When Christ is in your life you need no other partner.”
Well that is certainly the right answer
… Pope Benedict XVI has shut the door firmly on any prospect of allowing priests to marry. Brother Paolo, the Father Superior at the Fraternity of Bethany, said that he believed mixed communities offered “the way forward”, and would attract men and women to the religious life at a time when Church vocations were in decline.
It seems to me that having a vocation to the religious life that required as a condition to live in a mixed community is rather problematic. It is like saying I will give myself wholly to Christ in religious life only if I can live in community with members of the opposite sex. The Church has a rich history of the interactions between religious of both sexes with St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila being a prime example.
The author of the article of course takes multiple potshots at the pope, past and present.
…Pope Benedict XVI has shut the door firmly on any prospect of allowing priests to marry.
…The nuns do not, however, appear to support the idea of women priests, an innovation sternly opposed by the late John Paul II and by his successor and former doctrinal adviser, Benedict XVI.
…In 1969 Pope Paul VI gave the Franciscans autonomy but their leftist sympathies have irritated the new Pope