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May 27th, 2010
08:46 AM ET

Monks and money: A business beyond prayer

Their surroundings are idyllic, their lives contemplative, their needs simple. But don’t assume monks who live in monasteries and dedicate their lives to prayer aren’t feeling pressure in this economy.

The idea of monks making money and being self-sufficient dates back to the 6th century, and across the U.S. you'll find them in the business of coffee, caskets, fruit cakes, honey, bonsai and more. A Georgia monastery once raised ostriches and emus - a venture the abbot calls "a bust."

Read the full story

- CNN Writer/Producer

Filed under: Art • Christianity • Culture & Science • Money & Faith

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Why Motorists That Compare Car Breakdown Cover Are Better Off in the Long Term

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    January 5, 2012 at 2:29 am |
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    August 10, 2011 at 2:25 pm |
  3. tattoovideo550

    Hello everybody, how do you do
    My handle's Pigeon Johnny
    LA symph's the company
    I know what you're point of view
    Who is this dumb-bell
    My prestige's Pigeon Johnny
    I type the ladies drool
    Not indeed but it sounds cool yet

    April 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  4. pirsingnosa103

    Hello everybody, how do you do
    My handle's Pigeon Johnny
    LA symph's the crew
    I remember what you're opinion
    Who is this deceive
    My name's Pigeon Johnny
    I type the ladies drool
    Not indeed but it sounds relaxed allowing

    April 15, 2011 at 6:40 am |
  5. Laparoscopic Surgery

    this december, fruit cakes are becoming more common in our local supermarket. i love fruit cakes ;`~

    December 13, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  6. Resistor Color Code :

    my sister always bake fruit cakes coz we always love to much them at night;`:

    October 23, 2010 at 11:17 am |
  7. Outdoor Rugs `

    fruit cakes with lots of raisins is the thing that i often much, they are great and yummy-;*

    October 11, 2010 at 1:46 pm |
  8. Katie Patel

    i love those german fruit cakes because they have more nuts in it "'

    September 1, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  9. Chris

    Why does CNN have a Religion section? Tell me that??? Might as well have a Santa Clause and Easter Bunny section as well. Or just combine them all into a 'fictional beings section" or the "if you believe this tripe, you're legally insane section". Idiots all.

    June 2, 2010 at 5:18 pm |
    • Tim N

      They have a section on fictional beings. It's called the Entertainment Section, where I read about the Lost finale, and all the latest summer blockbusters. This blog should go in that section.

      June 4, 2010 at 10:14 pm |
  10. vilma

    Exd 20:4 ¶ Thou shalt not [make] unto thee [any graven image], or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

    Jhn 2:13-17 ¶ And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14 And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he [drove] them all [out] of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and [poured out] the changers' money, and [overthrew] the tables;

    June 2, 2010 at 9:45 am |
  11. V. Sheldon

    Monastics have been making money for a couple of millenia now. So what is new here?

    June 2, 2010 at 8:17 am |
  12. Jim Bob

    God became a Sports Fan around the time he became a war fan.

    May 31, 2010 at 10:25 am |
  13. AGuest9

    Actually, it wasn't Paul. It was Jesus' brother, James. About the time it looked like Pilate was going to be forced to put Jesus to death by the influence of the Sanhedrin, James realized that he could rise to power if he could take up Jesus' ministry after his death. That's why James was said in three of the four gosples (M,M,L) to have found the tomb empty. This is how we also know that the shroud of turin is a fake – it was told in MML that there was a separate head-wrap.

    James, and likely some of his friends, whether they were any of the remaining 11 disciples or not, moved Jesus' body and buried it elsewhere. So on Saturday night, or on Sunday morning, the rock had been rolled away after the guards were incapacitated (or, lured away), allowing James to start his evangelistic career as the risen Jesus, and become the first to capitalize on the new church. (Swaggert, Falwell, Baker & Roberts are just the latest in a VERY long line of men looking for power in the name of the original, 1st Century hippie.)

    May 30, 2010 at 4:28 pm |
    • LouAz

      Finally someone tells us what really happened. Thanks ! Makes sense now.

      May 31, 2010 at 1:17 am |
    • Reality

      Said comments are not new:

      "Reimarus (1774-1778) posits that Jesus became sidetracked by embracing a political position, sought to force God's hand and that he died alone deserted by his disciples. What began as a call for repentance ended up as a misguided attempt to usher in the earthly political kingdom of God. After Jesus' failure and death, his disciples stole his body and declared his resurrection in order to maintain their financial security and ensure themselves some standing."

      May 31, 2010 at 10:13 am |
    • Jonny

      Truly inspired wisdom brother. Do you make money solving mysteries? maybe you could enlighten us and tell us about the grassy knoll as well. Or is that too recent for you? You must be popular with people people who can't think for themselves.

      May 31, 2010 at 10:35 am |
  14. Reality

    Christian economics 101:

    The Baptizer drew crowds and charged for the "dunking". The historical Jesus saw a good thing and continued dunking and preaching the good word but added "healing" as an added charge to include free room and board. Sure was better than being a poor peasant but he got a bit too zealous and they nailed him to a tree. But still no greed there.

    Paul picked up the money scent on the road to Damascus. He added some letters and a prophecy of the imminent second coming for a fee for salvation and "Gentilized" the good word to the "big buck" world. i.e. Paul was the first media evangelist!!! And he and the other Apostles forgot to pay their Roman taxes and the legendary actions by the Romans made them martyrs for future greed. Paul was guilty of minor greed?

    Along comes Constantine. He saw the growing rich Christian community and recognized a new tax base so he set them "free". Major greed on his part!!

    The Holy Roman "Empirers"/Popes/Kings/Queens et al continued the money grab selling access to JC and heaven resulting in some of today's richest organizations on the globe i.e. the Christian churches (including the Mormon Church) and related aristocracies. Obvious greed!!!

    And the featured monks? Can we buy stock in this operation since they are competing with my dividends from Smuckers!!

    May 27, 2010 at 11:56 am |
    • tashinka

      comments appear to be purely tripe , simpla and plain.

      May 29, 2010 at 11:37 pm |
    • Ronald Sullivan

      The most tired rant in the history of the world. "Christians are greedy." Go study something that you love. Do some good for society and direct your anger towards something else.

      May 30, 2010 at 8:50 am |
    • k

      Reality: econ 101...get help soon. Instead of seeing only the bad things people do, why not BE the good?

      June 2, 2010 at 1:20 pm |
    • Patricia O

      IThe secular never ceases to amaze me – the hateful comments coming in just bgecause CNN does a report about Monks who are self-supporting. Even one asks w y CNN has a Religion Section: guess what when this World as you and I know it comes to an end, and when you draw your llst breath, then you will wish you read those columns to find answers.
      Meanwhile, I envy these monks and cloistered nuns, who are in this world yet not off it – they are the happiest people alive – you better believe i t!

      June 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm |
    • Patricia O

      The secular and the ignorant never cease to amaze me with their disrespectg of all things Sacred. I thank God for my 3 grown kids every day. Such hateful comments coming in just because CNN does a report about Monks who are self-supporting. Even one asks wh CNN has a Religion Section: guess what when this World as you and I know it comes to an end, and when you draw your llst breath, then you will wish you read those columns to find answers.
      Meanwhile, I envy these monks and cloistered nuns, who are in this world yet not off it – they are the happiest people alive – you better believe it because they know where they are going ahead of getting there!

      June 10, 2010 at 12:47 pm |
    • Patricia O

      The secular and the ignorant never cease to amaze me with their disrespect of all things Sacred. I thank God for my 3 grown kids every day. Such hateful comments coming in just because CNN does a report about Monks who are self-supporting. Even one asks wh CNN has a Religion Section: guess what when this World as you and I know it comes to an end, and when you draw your llst breath, then you will wish you read those columns to find answers.
      Meanwhile, I envy these monks and cloistered nuns, who are in this world yet not off it – they are the happiest people alive – you better believe it because they know where they are going ahead of getting there!

      June 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm |
  15. oh no!

    I'd post my honest opinion but unless it's pro-Christian the mods will just delete it like they do everything else that brings up debate.

    May 27, 2010 at 10:23 am |
    • Abdul

      My sentiments exactly. But then again, christianity is in desperate desperate need of some help, so why not some friendly mods from CNN!!

      May 27, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • Jim

      They should make explosive vests for Muslims; that seems to be a growth business

      May 29, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.