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When the monasteries in which the same regular observance is followed, or the abbeys of the same province, district, or country form a congregation, i.e.
a federation of houses to promote the general interest of the order, the presiding Abbot is styled the "Abbot President", or the "Abbot General." Thus, the Cassinese Congregation of the Primitive Observance has at its head an Abbot General; the English Congregation, the American-Cassinese, and the American-Swiss, have each an Abbot President.
If an Abbot's jurisdiction extends beyond the limits of his abbey, over the inhabitants -- clergy and laity -- of a certain district or territory which forms an integral part of a bishop's diocese, he belongs to the middle grade ( praelatus quasi nullius dioecesis ) and his exemption is termed active ( exemptio activa ).
An Abbot canonically elected and confirmed, and exercising the duties of his office, is by the law of the Church styled a Regular Abbot.Among abbeys of this class in other countries may be mentioned: in Italy, the arch-abbey of Monte Cassino, founded by St.Benedict himself about 529; the abbey of Subiaco, of which the titular is always a cardinal ; the abbey of St. Stephen, King of Hungary ; and in West Australia the abbey of New Norcia.It is of course needless to say that this obedience did not extend to the commission of evil, even were any such command ever imposed (Gasquet, English Monastic Life , London, 1904, p. The obedience shown to the Abbot is regarded as obedience paid to God Himself, and all the respect and reverence with which he is treated by the brethren of his house is paid him for Christ's love, because as abbot -- father -- he is the representative of Christ in the midst of the brethren.The whole government of a religious house depends upon the Abbot.