A City Dweller Chooses the Life of Religious Hermit

Richard Withers does not fit the popular image of a hermit. His beard is neatly trimmed, and he is friendly, not taciturn. He lives here in a tiny row house, which he rehabilitated, and while the struggling neighborhood might appear daunting, it is not the desert.
And, of course, this is 2001, not the fourth century, when solitary religious life flourished within an emerging church.
The life Brother Withers has chosen — as a canonically recognized hermit within the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia — is possible only because the Vatican revised the church’s canon law in 1983, adding a provision allowing bishops to accept hermits within their dioceses. Since then, others have chosen this path, bringing back an ancient tradition, although Catholic officials do not seem to know how many live as hermits today.

See http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/30/us/a-city-dweller-chooses-the-life-of-religious-hermit.html
See also http://deacongerry.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/modern-day-hermits-bringing-back.html, http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1696&dat=20011116&id=JPkcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=JZgEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6866,1946486 and http://www.cpfphila.org/NL1002/NL1002%205.html

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