Vatican Publicly Rebukes Dissenting Nuns

past & present leaders of LCWR Aug 10 2012 (CNS Photo-Sid Hastings) 2

Like recalcitrant teenagers, taunting their teachers with their latest refusal to submit to authority, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious—an organization that represents more than 80 percent of the more than 50,000 Catholic women religious in the United States—has finally been publicly rebuked by the Vatican.  After several decades of trying to persuade the intractable women religious to comply with the teachings of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, issued a strong statement on April 30, 2014, demanding that the group return to the “ecclesial center of faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.”

For decades, the LCWR has refused all calls for renewal by the bishops. Promoting women’s ordination, reproductive rights, and an “end to patriarchy,” the LCWR has refused to comply with Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata entitled Sentire Cum Ecclesia—“to think with the Church.”

More than six years ago, in response to the decades-long defiance by the LCWR, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith initiated a Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR on April 8, 2008. The concern of the doctrinal Assessment was to assist the LCWR in implementing “an ecclesiology of communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the church as the essential foundation for its important service to religious Communities and to all those in consecrated life.”   Three major areas of concern were given by the CDF as motivating their decision to initiate the Assessment including: concerns about the speakers at the LCWR Assemblies; the policies of corporate dissent on issues like women’s ordination; and the prevalence of radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith in some of the programs and presentations sponsored by the LCWR.

muller_(CNS)These three areas of concern remain intact today.  In fact, it appears that things may have actually gotten worse within the LCWR as Cardinal Muller concluded that a “de facto movement beyond the Church and sound Christian faith has already occurred” in the LCWR.  For evidence of such dissidence, Cardinal Muller wrote that he was “saddened” to learn that the sisters had decided to give the 2014 Outstanding Leadership Award to Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, a Fordham University theologian who has been criticized by the bishops of the United States because of the gravity of the doctrinal errors in her book, The Quest for the Living God.  Cardinal Muller advised the LCWR that their decision to honor Johnson was an “open provocation against the Holy See … further alienating the LCWR from the bishops as well.”

The choice of Sr. Johnson as honoree was clearly calculated to demonstrate the LCWR’s contempt for the teaching authority of the bishops.  More than three years ago, on March 24, 2011, the USCCB Committee on Doctrine published a “Statement on Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God, by Sister Elizabeth Johnson,” which concluded that Johnson’s book does not adequately express the faith of the Church. And, although the USCCB Committee wrote that they made no attempt to judge the intention of the author, the book created a “particular pastoral concern” because it was written for a broad audience—and was being adopted as a textbook for the study of the doctrine of God—rather than a more narrow scholarly audience.  As the teaching authority of the Catholic Church, the bishops have a responsibility to ensure that the truth of the teachings of the Church are presented accurately.  Honoring Sister Elizabeth Johnson—a theologian who has devoted her career to denouncing as a “tool of patriarchal oppression” the traditional masculine language for God, including God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—was itself a statement of resistance.

In addition to the honors given to Sr. Johnson, Cardinal Muller was especially concerned with what he called a “focalizing of attention with the LCWR around the concept of Conscious Evolution.”  Cardinal Muller writes: “Since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the Assembly on this topic two years ago, every issue of your newsletter has discussed Conscious Evolution in some way.  Issues of Occasional Papers have been devoted to it, and we have even seen some religious Institutes modify their directional statements to incorporate concepts and undeveloped terms from Conscious Evolution.”  For Cardinal Muller, such a focus has “robbed the religious of the ability truly to sentire cum Ecclesia…. The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.”

Dismissing the “new fad” of Conscious Evolution as nothing more than a resurgence of the “bitter fruit” of the Gnostic tradition, Cardinal Muller concludes that such a focus “does not offer anything which will nourish religious life as a privileged and prophetic witness rooted in Christ revealing divine love to a wounded world. It does not present the treasure beyond price for which new generations of young women will leave all to follow Christ.”

Cardinal Muller knows that the “charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church.” Faithful Catholics have known this for decades and have been bewildered by the lack of attention given by the bishops to the dissidents within the women religious communities—especially on Catholic college campuses and beyond.

Perhaps it is finally time to stop cajoling and flattering the dissident women religious.  While well meaning, the constant accolades given to these women for their many sacrifices on behalf of the Church is misplaced.  In 2013, Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the Vatican apostolic nuncio to the United States showered praise on the annual gathering of the LCWR in Orlando Florida—claiming that the Holy Father “is most thankful to you for all the good you have done throughout the years…. By the sacrifice of your own lives you have been deeply touching other people’s lives, bringing hope and healing, helping to form minds and hearts in the image of Jesus.”

Likewise, the well-meaning Seattle archbishop J. Peter Sartain, who had been appointed the apostolic delegate, charged by the Vatican with helping to bring the LCWR back into communion with the Church, told the 2013 annual Assembly that he was there as “your brother and friend.”  Concluding that “we have developed a wonderful respect for each other and, yes, I would say a friendship with one another,” Archbishop Sartain had to be disappointed to find that the hand of friendship he extended to them was all for naught given that the Assembly chose to defy the bishops by honoring someone like Sr. Johnson the very next year.

Earlier this week, Archbishop Sartain stated that he is in “complete agreement” with Cardinal Muller’s statement.  And, although Archbishop Sartain continues to maintain that he has “developed a very good relationship” with the women religious during  his time as Archbishop Delegate, he has promised to work more closely to address concerns regarding significant areas of the Doctrinal Assessment that have not been addressed; he has “asked for clearer signs of collaboration with the Holy See and with me as Archbishop Delegate.”  Archbishop Sartain will attend the August, 2014  LCWR gathering in Nashville as the Assembly gives its award to Sister Elizabeth Johnson—providing a powerful witness to the Truth of Catholic teachings in the midst of the accolades given to the heretical writings of Sr. Johnson.  In doing so, Archbishop Sartain will truly be functioning as a brother and friend—dedicated to helping the members of the LCWR begin to recover their faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.

Editor’s note: The lead photo was taken August 10, 2012 at a press conference called by past and present leaders of the LCWR during their annual assembly held that year in St. Louis. (Photo credit: CNS photo / Sid Hastings) Inset photo: Cardinal Muller. (CNS photo)

Anne Hendershott

By

Anne Hendershott is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Veritas Center at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio. She is the author of Status Envy: The Politics of Catholic Higher Education; The Politics of Abortion; and The Politics of Deviance (Encounter Books). She is also the co-author of Renewal: How a New Generation of Priests and Bishops are Revitalizing the Catholic Church (2013).

  • Mike Nace

    “Honoring Sister Elizabeth Johnson—a theologian who has devoted her career to denouncing as a “tool of patriarchal oppression” the traditional masculine language for God, including God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”

    Obsessions like this one are as erroneous as those who seek out the “historical Jesus” as opposed to studying and contemplating his ministry vis a vis the canonical Gospels. Putting aside the fact that Jesus historically was (and still is, mind you) a man, and that Christ himself personified God as our Father (or “Abba” — Daddy), anyone who feels compelled to overturn these conventions are looking to do so in opposition to God HIMself. In other words, if you think these masculine characterizations are inaccurate, then you don’t really believe in Christ, nor in the doctrinal basis of the Gospels. You’re more concerned with co-opting the Church with political correctness.

    Is God the Father in effect a “man?” Probably not. Nor is he a woman — these gender designations are part of the natural world He created — of which He is part of, but also outside of. But the fact that Christ personified Him as our Father — and that we’ve seen his role in humanity from the Old Testament onward as outwardly Fatherly (in that we can relate His actions to the traditional role of the Father that, only until now has been steadfast in human history) — should be enough. C’mon, ladies!

    • Objectivetruth

      Why is God “Our Father?”

      Because Jesus told us so………

    • http://www.tylerblanski.com/ Tyler Blanski

      “The maleness of Jesus and the masculinity of Jesus’ name for God—“Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”—is not a misogynistic mind-game but mystagogy, an initiation into the mysteries of the most adorable Trinity.” http://www.crisismagazine.com/2014/gods-masculine-names-misogyny-or-mystagogy

    • Thomas

      Right on the point, as usual. Of course, some people just don’t like the facts if it doesn’t fit within their worldview.

    • musicacre

      Maybe they’re obsessive -compulsive and have to put everything into neat, tidy definable categories….

  • Margaret O’Hagan

    Thank God for Cardinal Muller.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      ??

    • Patrick

      Thanks God for Cardinal Kasper.

      • Art Deco

        Why?

        • fredx2

          I think Kasper;s thoughts on the divorce and remarriage issue should be carefully read and thought about. Even Pope Benedict said that there may be ways of extending more mercy to people in this situation, at least in certain cases. So let’s by all means hear all sides of the issue and then let’s do what we can, consistent with Catholic Doctrine. There is no need to be less merciful than we can be. I think that is the approach Pope Francis is taking – lets make sure we all discuss every angle, make sure we have all of the information, and then make a decision that is in complete conformance with Doctrine.

          • Art Deco

            Do we really need ‘more information’ with regard to teachings which date from the early Church?

            • fredx2

              You forget that once the liberal theologians have come to the Vatican, and all have had their say, and after this issue been kicked around for a year or so, and after everyone who does not understand the reasons for the policy come to understand it, then it will be much easier to get assent, and the liberals will have nothing to stand on or whine about, because they have had their say, and in the course of this, many of them might even come to agree with the current policy.

              • Art Deco

                and after everyone who does not understand the reasons for the policy
                come to understand it, then it will be much easier to get assent,

                [chuckles]

            • Interested

              No

            • Margaret O’Hagan

              We could go around and around forever……..

  • jacobhalo

    According to the Catechism, these nuns are heretics.

    • Patrick

      How do you figure?

      • jpct50

        They reject the authority of the Church. Duh!

      • jacobhalo

        If you deny one teaching of the church you are a heretic. Take a look inside the catechism.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    These wimmin moved “beyond Christ” (in their own words) long ago. They are not Christians in any sense of the word. Unfortunately, Müller’s typically milk toast words do not inspire confidence that anything official will be done about this any time soon. No, to bring down the charitable anathema these days you have to go all the way into something truly demonic, like exhibiting a clear preference for the Traditional Latin Mass. As long as they stay clear of groups like the FFI, these nuns “in good standing” will continue cash their fraudulently acquired paychecks worry free.

    • mother not-so-superior

      I’m truly sorry for these poor, misguided women… talk about an inferiority complex!

      • Arriero

        Feminists are usually very ugly. And not very intelligent. They usually wear very ugly (anti-feminine) clothes, too.

        Therefore, it’s not very difficult to argue that they are resentful (in the worst sense of the Kierkegaardian-Nietzschean concept).

        Every intelligent woman knows that feminism is, actually, anti-feminine. And anti-natural.

        Postmodern Feminism is XXIst century women’s explicit resentment.

        I take all feminists speeches, unlike other more serious speeches, as a comedy. Well, actually many of them are not even able to reach an humorous level.

        When you talk with a feminist, just say: «I think your skirt is too masculine».

        • rhodapenmark

          What a big, stinking load of crap.

          • Arriero

            Yes, that is usually the typical response that a feminist gives me every time I say her this.

            But I feel flattered.

            Post-modern feminism is nothing more than a can full of disgusting nonsenses. I think Post-modern feminists don’t even have a brain, because no animal with a brain would ever dare to say such stupid things they usually say with that also disgusting feeling of superiority.

            They are at the pinnacle of human stupidity, and I don’t have any problem about telling them that thing every time I have a chance.

            Garbage is collected with broom and dustpan. There is no better broom than a Catholic broom.

            • Tim

              This is the usual nonsense one hears from racists and anti-feminists and other bigots. Pure spite and ad hominem and no reason whatsoever. I could show you some lovely, intelligent young men and women who are counter-examples to your ignorant prejudices.

              • Art Deco

                I take it you fancy uttering non sequiturs.

              • Arriero

                This is the usual nonsense one hears from someone who is resented because has to bear a family full of feminists, which is something, undoubtedly, unbearable, and does not have the courage to admit what a stupid nonsense is all that.

                Ultimately, a coward. From those whose blood is always boiling, his head about to explode but he is able to maintain a quiet position with a smiling face, while always saying yes to each stupidity – as a parrot would do – and applauding to a nonsense as if would be the last possible time to enjoy the rotten smell of the irrationalities of the human convivence.

                You could be a saint for being able to survive in such enviroment. It’s worse than a jungle (a place without Reason, rules and common-sense). Could it be even worse than hell?

                • Art Deco

                  Take a pill. He ain’t worth it.

              • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                You forgot to add “Nazis, anti-Semites, and Climate Change Deniers” to your list of stock epithets.

                • Art Deco

                  He’s pulled that trigger in his exchange with Dr. Esolen.

        • fredx2

          “Every intelligent woman knows that feminism is, actually, anti-feminine. And anti-natural.”

          Exactly. Feminism is not feminism, it’s masculinism.

        • jacobhalo

          Many of them are lesbians.

    • Dustin

      Bravo… well stated. I hadn’t even considered comparing this situation to the shakedown of the FFI. It is outrageous. At the risk of becoming a heretic myself, the Church seems to be going mad.

  • stpetric

    “Faithful Catholics…have been bewildered by the lack of attention given by the bishops to the dissidents within the women religious communities…”

    One bishop told me he was reluctant to be more assertive with an egregiously “progressive” women’s order in his diocese, because he didn’t believe he’d be backed up by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. Perhaps that Congregation and the CDF need to coordinate their objectives and let the bishops know they’ve got their backs.

    • ElizD

      Yes, Pope Francis has talked about the need to decentralize functions like doctrinal correction but in this area of consecrated life in particular there is currently very limited possibility of that, and the bishop is all too likely to be correct that CICLSAL would not back him up even though his diocese is seriously negatively impacted. But they should, in all the matters that are genuinely his prerogative to regulate and teach about in his diocese. The egregiously liberal religious congregation I myself have in mind is of pontifical right and not a diocesan institution. And sadly these truly wayward sisters know as well as the bishop does that the bishop cannot do much of anything and CICLSAL has little to no will to do anything. And that the local secular media and the N.C. Reporter loves heterodox sisters and happy to crucify the bishop.

    • Howard

      So in other words, the bishop simply passed the buck rather than act as a successor of the Apostles.

      • stpetric

        I suppose you might put it that way, but this guy is sound. I think a more charitable take would be that he’s choosing his battles.

        • Howard

          Well, OK — as long as he shows up for some of the battles.

        • Art Deco

          but this guy is sound

          Yeah, just like Bps. Jugis and Tobin. Tames in clerical life.

  • Lily

    They are nothing but heretic shrews – buzz offffffffffffffffffffffff!

  • Dave S

    I have to say…after first reading the story about Cardinal Muller chastising the LCWR…and then the following day Cardinal Kaspar essentially telling his audience to “pay no attention to the CDF and Cardinal Muller, I have to ask; who is running the ship?? The barque of Peter seems to be like a drunk driver zig-zagging it’s way down the street, hitting first one curb and then the other. I hope and pray someday Catherine of Siena’s prayer for Church unity is answered and manifest at the highest levels of the Church; until then no wonder we have so much trouble being taken seriously.

    • Watosh

      This does seem to be the pattern.

  • Art Deco

    No point in continuing with this wheel-spinning exercise. Give the corrupted orders the boot (or the steel-toed sensible shoe). Individual members therein who would wish to remain within the Church could seek to join (as individuals) orders not yet ruined. Others could continue within the Church as laywomen.

    • TheAbaum

      “Individual members therein who would wish to remain within the Church could seek to join (as individuals) orders not yet ruined.”

      Check resumes and references and make ‘em start as postulants.

    • fredx2

      It’s not even that bad – the LCWR really does not represent anyone except themselves – remember they are simply a “Leadership Council” composed of the heads of several orders. So the only ones in their clubs are the mothers superior of the orders so to speak. The actual nuns aren’t members of the LCWR. If this small group of women is kicked out of the church, none of the orders has to go at all. Now, there are some truly horrific orders – the ones that are really feminist clubs that worship sea, sky and air, and so forth. so those should be closed down.

      • Art Deco

        How did the superiors acquire their positions?

    • musicacre

      You know some of the most beautiful flowers emerge from forest fires, and likewise, from this fiery crash of these nuns -in- name- only.. some beautiful new orders are arising strongly from the ashes. Life always renews!!

  • Objectivetruth

    Like some of the heretical priests that flowed like pollution from our “me generation” seminaries in the 60′s and 70′s, these theology watered down nuns wil soon be dieing off, purged from the Church. Interestingly, the orders that are attracting the most young women these days are the ones wearing full habit and have a 100% adherence to the magisterium such as the Dominicans and Missionaries of Charity. As one young girl entering the Missionaries of Charity once told me, ” If I’m going to be a nun, I’m going to be a nun!”

    • Objectivetruth

      …..and if I might add..

      Looking at the picture above the article, what I’ve always found baffling is how some orders of nuns in the US are doing their best to not look like nuns. As if they’re trying to apologize and surrender to the secular world the fact that they are Catholic nuns.

      • susanwho

        And in doing so, have lost most of the respect once given to Catholic nuns. Many have become part of the radicalized women’s movement.

        • Objectivetruth

          Closer on the slide scale to liberal, secular feminism than orthodox Catholicism.

          • fredx2

            And since they routinely show up at the Democratic Convention, on buses to push Democratic party ideas, etc. They should be part of the Democratic party, not part of any church

            • Rudy Spongelli

              I guess that means cardinal Dolan should leave the church for the Republican Party, since he was prominent at their convention.

              • Margaret Rudolf

                No The GOP platform is much more in line with The US Constitution than the Democrat platform. Cardinal Dolan is therefore in line with both The Catholic Church and The US Constitution. In my opinion, the old guard members of the GOP are Democrat light and the GOP members, such as Ted Cruz and Mike Lee etc. are just Conservative Party members although The Conservative Party is not recognized by the government. Therefore, they are GOP members because it is the party closest to their core beliefs.

              • Howard

                He gave the invocation for both conventions.

            • Margaret Rudolf

              Democrat Ideology these days runs contrary to the US Constitution, just as these “nuns” run contrary to the Catholic Church Teachings.

        • Rudy Spongelli

          Interesting. I have lost most of my respect for the Hierarchy who renders judgements like this – not with dialogue, but after secret and one-sided investigations. Let’s pray that God will forgive these supposed spiritual leaders who are anything BUT pastoral.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            I see the idea of being pastoral abused far more often than the idea of being legalistic.

            • Rudy Spongelli

              Examples? What is pastoral abuse? Baptizing the baby of an unwed mother? Treating a gay person like a brother in Christ and not a pariah?

              Your definition of pastoral abuse is simply an assessment based on your own personal standards.

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                Pastoral abuse would be *refusing* to baptise the baby of an unwed mother- it’s not the baby’s fault. But equally would be pastoral abuse not to invite the *father* to the baptism.

                I don’t know anybody who treats gay people like pariahs- but I do know a good many who fail to treat the same sex attracted person for what they are- somebody with the same propensity to sin that I have, who has the same relationship to other members of the same gender as I do to food; that is, a disordered relationship.

                Pastoral abuse is lying in an attempt to make somebody feel better- it’s telling them that sin doesn’t exist, instead of helping them to deal with the sin that does exist.

                The great lie of the modern age is that evil does not exist.

                • Rudy Spongelli

                  While I disagree with you on many points, I appreciate the respectful ways that you present your arguments. And you debate points I have actually written. I can’t say the same for every response I have gotten here.

          • Tish Morgna

            Faithfulness comes before being pastoral.

            • Rudy Spongelli

              That’s pretty much the approach the Pharisees took.

              • Interested

                No, untrue.

                • Rudy Spongelli

                  The Pharisees were not sticklers for the law? “Woe to you experts in the law, because you have taken away the key to knowledge. You yourselves have not entered, and you have hindered those who were entering.” sounds like a warning against those who put adherence to the law ahead of love.

                  • Interested

                    You might want to read more and closely. Christ said to the people to do exactly as the Pharisees tell you to do as they have the seat of Moses. But, do not act as they do for they are hypocrites.

                    They did not believe what they bound others to believe. That is why libs and dissenters are like the Pharisees. They want to bind others to their beliefs yet they reject the Church. Total hypocrisy.

                    • Rudy Spongelli

                      Jesus healed on the sabbath. He didn’t choose faithfulness to the law over pastoral care in those cases.

          • stpetric

            Rudy, Cardinal Muller’s comments are based on extensive interviews with women in religious communities across the U.S. There has been no shortage of “dialogue”. But after you’ve amassed a significant amount of information, you synthesize and draw some conclusions. That’s what the CDF has done, in a process that was neither secret nor one-sided.

            • Rudy Spongelli

              The Cardinal’s recent pronouncement said that every issue of the LCWR’s newsletter discussed Conscious Evolution in some way. I looked back at at least a half dozen issues of the newsletter. In almost every case, the term is only mentioned in the announcements of an upcoming event. Not a discussion at all, simply an announcement of one event at which someone is speaking on the topic. That is not a thorough analysis and a poor synthesis. I doubt that the Cardinal got much detail. Probably some underling who simply searched for certain verboten topics, and reported them as violations. I can’t comment on conscious evolution, as I’ve not investigated it. But some in the church have a tendency to look at anything new with distrust, and discard it completely without looking at what might be good about it. Wikipedia says “Conscious evolution suggests that humanity can choose advancement through co-operation and co-creation or self-destruction through separateness and competition”. Sounds like a call for community. Is that un-Christian?

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        I think they are doing their best to look like abortion clinic counselors.

        • Objectivetruth

          Agreed…..

        • TheAbaum

          Prune industry representatives.

          • tom

            Ho HO!

      • TheAbaum

        They really just need the plaid shirts to complete the picture.

        • Art Deco

          Acres of plaid flannel, bad haircuts, and ugly glasses.

          • Rudy Spongelli

            “Thou shalt make fun of the appearance of people you don’t like”

            The eleventh commandment?

            • Guest

              The pope said they should not look like old maids. Take it up with him.

              • Rudy Spongelli

                He said they should be “spiritual mothers and not old maids”. That doesn’t sound like a comment on how they should look.

            • Tim

              What else do they have other than gathering as a pack and hurling puerile insults? Pathetic and sad, really.

              • Art Deco

                Well, Tim, we often do not see ourselves as others do…

              • TheAbaum

                Oh please. Dress is a common method of signalling.

                Save your contrived indignity.

            • TheAbaum

              People can’t affect their appearance.

              Their attire is completely in their control.

        • Thomas

          When the kids in school are out of dress code, they usually misbehave. Every time kids are acting up in school, people talk about instituting a dress code. Who knows? Perhaps these gals might just behave like real nuns.

          Better not hold my breath.

          • Objectivetruth

            It’s why policemen wear a uniform. It’s why Bruce Wayne wears a cape and a cowl. He truly becomes Batman. They become truly a policeman. It’s why a priest wears vestments at Mass. They truly become “in persona Christi.” It’s why nuns wear the habit. It’s an outward sign of their inner humility and purity. They become truly a consecrated religious, truly one whose spouse is Jesus Christ.

            • Art Deco

              Yes, but the iron-grey hair and sensible shoes are signs of something too. Just something you don’t want.

            • Rudy Spongelli

              I had a nun in school who was not very nice. She always seemed bitter and grouchy. The fact that she wore a habit did not make her seem humble or pure.

              • Objectivetruth

                Perhaps it was you that made her “bitter and grouchy?” Or perhaps you never went to Catholic school, and are just trying to perpetuate some type of stereotyped myth, which seems more likely the case.

                I always enjoy posters like you Rudy that make it seem that young Catholic girls were abducted in the middle of the night at gunpoint, torn from their mother’s arms and forced to be nuns.

                When in fact they were called by Christ, and joyfully answered that call.

                I had dozens of nuns in school that were very nice. The fact that they wore a habit they told me was a reminder to them that they had been willingly called by Christ Himself to serve His Church. This incredible calling brought them both humility and joy.

                • TheAbaum

                  The comment history is instructive.

                  Left wing troll.

                  • Objectivetruth

                    10-4………

                • Rudy Spongelli

                  For someone with the word “objective” in your screen name, you jump to a lot of incorrect conclusions.

                  I went to Catholic school – and had nuns as teachers for seven years. Most were wonderful. I mention the one to illustrate that the packaging doesn’t always represent the product within. I was actually a very shy kid who never made trouble for teachers. I was so shy that I got picked on – pushed down staircases and the like. My father had me take self-defense classes, and somehow word about this got to this nun. She didn’t like that. Did she take it up with me and my parents? No. She proceeded to excoriate me in front of the class for taking “fighting lessons”. The bullies of course, got a huge laugh out of that. That’s only one example.

                  I have also worked with many nuns who don’t wear habits. They aren’t politically involved. They simply serve the church with a smile. That they chose to wear more ordinary – and likely much more comfortable clothing – does not diminish their commitment or service. I find it amusing when Catholics/Christians opine on someone else’s behaviour, when they themselves have nothing at stake.

                  You say posters like meI make it seem like girls were abducted in the night and forced to be nuns? Where in my comments did I say anything remotely close to that?

                  If you want to debate, argue based on what I have written – not on some caricature you’ve created of me based on your stereotype of “posters like me”.

                  • TheAbaum

                    Your posting history is clear.

              • TheAbaum

                The habit doesn’t remove the effects of original sin, but it’s absence always seems to exaggerate rebellion.

                • tom

                  Throw the baggage out….fast.

              • MgW

                Her habit was the sign that she belonged to Christ. just like the wedding ring mentioned in the comment above. When we look at the habit we think of holiness. When we look at wedding rings we think of fidelity, even tho the person may be cheating, even tho the nun is grouchy, it does not negate the “sign” she is called to live up to…as we are reminded to do the same when we see her dressed in her habit

                • Rudy Spongelli

                  We all belong to Christ. But I don’t think it right to insist that someone else dress a certain way because of my personal needs or desires.

                  • TheAbaum

                    We all don’t take vows. It’s not the same.

            • Howard

              A priest is better off if he ALWAYS dresses as a priest, if for no other reason than it reminds him that he is being watched, and that many people will judge the Catholic Church on the basis of what they see him do and hear him say. When a priest doesn’t want to wear his collar, or a nun doesn’t want to wear her habit, it reminds me of married men who do not want to wear their wedding rings. It’s not a good sign.

              • Tony

                Excellent point. When I see a priest in his clerical garb, I am reminded of more important things than who won the ballgame tonight. When I see a nun in her habit, I am looking at someone who reminds me that the whole of our life need not be organized by money and power and celebrity. I am reminded of real things.

      • Art Deco

        Worked real well for them. I talked to a melancholic member of the Congregation of St. Joseph about a dozen years ago. She told me they had since 1970 inducted into their order about one young women per year, half the number they had inducted in 1961 and 1962. “Vatican II destroyed us”. She said that their median age was 70 as of that date. I believe there were 100,000 women religious in the United States in 1965, and they did not skew old.

        • Art Deco

          To clarify, she told me that the number who had entered between 1970 and 2001 was half the number who had entered in 1961 and 1962.

      • musicacre

        I guess that’s what turns off the young women today; they don’t want to downplay a role they’re signing up for. They don’t want some burnouts trying to come up with excuses to help them bow out of their sacred duties.

        • Rudy Spongelli

          No. Women of today are turned off by having to take roles where they are treated as second class, and must defer to men. Not to mention a church that is going backwards, and has people like those here that want to force them to wear catholic “burkas”

          • Objectivetruth

            Explain to me how becoming a consecrated member of a religious order, a nun, is somehow “second class?” Do you then believe that Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta was somehow viewed as “second class?” Was she somehow being persecuted by willingly wearing the white and blue sari of the poor of Calcutta, or as you call it, a “Catholic burka?”

            Or perhaps you really have no clue what you’re talking about, and are trying to view something through earthly, secular lenses that should be looked at in an eternal, or heavenly perspective?

            • Rudy Spongelli

              If I erred, it was in not saying “many or most women”. I don’t think you can argue that in western society, women have wider horizons than they had in the past. They can be CEO’s, Prime Ministers, and many other professions that were barely attainable by them in the past, But I think fewer women are willing to accept that they can only play what look like minor roles in the church. I think that humble service is admirable and desirable. But I think that overall, attitudes have changed.

              Maybe you aren’t old enough to remember some of the habits that nuns wore. What the Missionaries of Charity wear looks pretty comfortable compared with the wimples, scapulars, etc. that the nuns I had as teachers wore.

              And I wish I could remember the order, but I recall reading that the habits of one group of nuns is actually based on the ordinary clothes worn by women at the time. The foundress wanted here sisters to dress like the rest of the people. But they continued to wear the same style of clothing, which eventually became distinctive.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Then why are the traditionalist orders growing?

            • Rudy Spongelli

              Maybe because those who are not traditionalist have been made to feel unwelcome.

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                Why would those who are not traditionalist feel unwelcome when the LCWR has gone to great lengths to welcome them?

            • Rudy Spongelli

              Why indeed? I don’t know of any studies. Unless there have been, one can only speculate. Assuming (speculating) that there are two groups of Catholics – one that feels Vatical II went too far , an one that feel it was just a start. Also, let us assume that the former group is pleased that what they perceived as post-conciliar excesses have been reigned in. Let’s also assume the latter group thinks that the changes from Vatican II are being reversed. Which group is more likely to feel energized and open to priestly vocations?

              • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                There’s a third group.

                The ones who know that Vatican II was necessary, but didn’t buy into either the relativistic spirit of the modernizers who ignored everything Vatican II taught, or the fear of the sedevacantists.

                The ultramontaine Orthodox are the ones who are truly growing the fastest; the under-40 year old priests and nuns who actually are faithful to the Pope.

                • Rudy Spongelli

                  There is probably more than three groups, for that matter. I was just trying to make a point using two extremes. The main point is that in any group, you are more likely to feel positive about a group if the general direction they are taking aligns with your own beliefs. And you may be more reticent if you feel the group is not aligned with your beliefs. And when you have had a pope who talked about a “smaller, purer church” (probably misconstrued by some), it can alienate some.

                  I don’t know what the statistics are. But I am curious if the fastest growing groups are achieving growth levels that they had in the early part of the last century. Faster is after all, a relative term. You may be able to run faster than me. But that doesn’t mean you run fast.

                  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                    True enough. For instance, the Archdiocese of Portland, after two rather conservative archbishops, is now ordaining between 15-25 priests a year, up from the low of 2 priests in 1978 under a rather liberal archbishop.

                    But I don’t know the numbers for pre-sexual-revolution, they were likely much higher.

                    • Rudy Spongelli

                      Probably. But I was somewhat suprised to read that were already in decline before Vatican II. I wish I could find the page reference. But according to Fr. John O’Malley’s book “What Happened at Vatican II”, the bishops going into the conclave were concerned about the drop in vocations. So, it had been going on for a while. As I think back to that time, there were lots more priests. But in my home town there were a lot of priests from outside the US – especially Ireland. So the church made up some of the shortfall in US vocations by importing priests from elsewhere.

                      I would not consider the sexual revolution to have had much effect. I would suggest (only an opinion) that overall economic prosperity contributes more to the problem. The more you can achieve and acquire for yourself, the less need you may feel for God. Look at the two former hotbeds of Catholicism in the past – Ireland and Poland. Both countries have achieved new levels of prosperity (and in Poland – freedom). Both have had significant dropoffs in vocations and Mass attendance. To me it just underscores what Jesus said about the difficulty for a rich person to get into heaven.

                    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

                      “So the church made up some of the shortfall in US vocations by importing priests from elsewhere.”

                      As it has always done. The United States is a Protestant country after all, needing evangelization.

                      Economic prosperity caused the sexual revolution; countries in poverty don’t have a problem with traditional marriage.

          • Objectivetruth

            “where they are treated as second class, and must defer to men.”

            Hmmmmm…..sounds like the Obama White House…..

          • TheAbaum

            I wonder how “Women of today” feel about having you as their spokesMAN.

            • M

              I, for one, feel delighted.

              • TheAbaum

                Terrific. There’s always one.

          • M

            You go, Rudy!

          • slainte

            Mr. Spongelli, I invite you to watch this video (http://youtu.be/Rn1yFZl1nZs) whereby a young novice, Sr. Faustina, of the Sisters of Life gives testimony about her vocation and courtship by Our Lord.
            .
            The Sisters of Life are a religious order filled with joyous women of all ages who are in love with Our Lord Jesus Christ. I just spent part of today with them and can attest that they radiate His love in the lives they lead as holy sisters. Your conclusions are so, so wrong.

            • Rudy Spongelli

              What conclusions are wrong? I didn’t say that religious orders are filled with women who are not joyous or filled with love. How did you make that conclusion?

              • slainte

                This statement: “…Women of today are turned off by having to take roles where they are treated as second class, and must defer to men. Not to mention a church that is going backwards, and has people like those here that want to force them to wear catholic “burkas”

                • Rudy Spongelli

                  As I said in another post, I may have erred by not saying “most women” or “a lot of women”. But, I was responding to a comment about what turns off young women today. And I gave my opinion on what I thought were salient social changes.

                  I know many Catholic parents with far-ranging views of Catholicism. Not one of their sons or daughters have entered the priesthood or
                  religious life.

                  Whether or not you are pleased with the trends in society doesn’t mean you can dismiss that the trends exist or deny their causes. I would have thought most people here would agree with me that a lot of modern women feel that way. That is not to say they are right. But if anyone is suggesting that simply requiring nuns to wear habits again is going to drive up vocations to previous levels, it is my opinion that you have false hopes.

                  • slainte

                    Wearing a habit and veil is merely an outward symbol of the sisters’ love and dedication for their Lord whom they serve with great Humility and Joy.
                    .
                    I suggest you visit the Sisters of Life at Villa Maria in Stamford Ct. and observe what I witnessed…love and service in His name joyfully remitted.
                    .
                    I estimate about 85 percent of the sisters were in their 20s… a very young and beautiful group on fire for God and the preservation of Life.

          • Interested

            Ah, now we see. Old = bad and new = good. So simple minded and shallow. Perfect.

            • Rudy Spongelli

              Thanks for pigeonholing me. But, I never said old is always bad and new is always good. Many if not most religious communities chose to give up habits back in the 60s and 70s. It was their choice. If some want to return to them, that’s fine. But it should be up to them. The most important thing is that they are doing God’s work. Just because someone else’s sense of nostalgia or personal forms of reverence makes them to long for nuns to wear habits again doesn’t mean they should.

          • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

            Yeah, the Catholic Thing this morning had it right:

            http://www.thecatholicthing.org/columns/2014/stamp-your-feet.html

            Christianity isn’t just about WOMEN being treated as second class, and we all need to defer to a man.

      • Purgatrix Ineptiae

        Gay Ray stole all their dresses.

    • musicacre

      I know someone who joined the Sisters for Life (after she got her degree in nursing) and I know two families whose daughters are currently joining the St. Walburga monastery (Benedictine) in Colorado!! Just coincidence they are both going; they didn’t know each other before. I think the orthodoxy and loyalty to Christ’s teachings have a lot of appeal to these young women who seek not a contentious or easy life, but an adventurous one. These fem nuns misread human nature….young people WANT to be challenged..severely. I see it in my teen son’s face every time he gets invited to a long and arduous back-country back-packing trip. The last one, in the Rockies, they had a Latin mass Priest with them and had Mass every day; on the mountain!!!! Spectacular pictures! It was the best hike he had!

  • susanwho

    Its about time! When once I had the opportunity to question a Catholic nun on her having voted for Obama, I asked her if she felt that voting for a blatantly pro-abortion president was in fact very hypocritical. She replied that she voted for him because of his ‘social justice’ and that abortion was not the only issue. You could have picked me up off the floor! Life trumps all social justice. Obama’s is a form of reparation and vote buying, and not truly a ‘hand up’ for those truly in need.

    • Art Deco

      “She replied that she voted for him because of his ‘social justice’”

      He’s on-air talent from Chicago who couldn’t manage his personal finances in spite of the bodacious patronage jobs he and his wife were gifted (see Rezko), verbalizes compulsively but hasn’t an original idea in his noggin, and is currently occupied fronting for the party of the teachers’ unions, the trial lawyers, and Hollywood. So socially just.

      • musicacre

        Yes, “just” what?

    • Rudy Spongelli

      Social justice is about life.

      • TERRY

        GO TO YOUR ROOM!!!!

        NOW!!!

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        It is. And that’s why you can’t have social justice without being firmly against abortion, euthanasia, war, and the death penalty.

    • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

      Life and social justice are the same issue, that’s what I tell Catholic pro-choicers.

      You can’t do social justice without being pro-life, and nobody is more for social justice, than one who will defend life from conception until natural death.

  • Bee

    Dave, thanks for your double metaphor of the Church as barque of Peter as of drunk driver. It explains why I regularly feel nauseous.

  • John O’Neill

    The question of the day is what actually do these Americanized Liberal nuns do for the Church; most of them are working in cushy university departments where they are protected by tenure unto death. The average Catholic teenagers even if they attend a Catholic school have never seen a nun and only know what they look like from Hollywood parodies and/or indecent American comedians who make fun of them. These super Liberal nuns are only useful to the American Left which openly despises the traditional Catholic Church. These women would be much happier residing in an American Protestant Leftwing church such as the episcopal church. What are they waiting for? The would be welcomed with open arms by the pro abortion, pro homosexual marriage, pro feminist, pro Obama, pro fornication Episcopal Church and could have even cushier sinecures where they could spout their nonsense under the blessing of the Church of Henry VIII.

    • fredx2

      Yes, but at the moment they leave the church they become zero as far as getting publicity goes. Poof! Their fame would disappear. No, they get their jollies from the fight – when they fight against their horrible patriarchal overlord tyrants, feminists from all over fawn over them and praise them. If they were to do the honest thing and admit they are not Catholic, and move to the Episcopalians, then every thing they love so much – the thrill of being thought of as being on the cutting edge of a new world order – would collapse and they would be just another group of ageing woman in a failing church. No one would pay them any attention.

      • musicacre

        So it”s about pride too, then.

      • John O’Neill

        You are correct; they need the public limelight and no better way to get it in the modern American State that go public with vicious attacks on the institutional church.

  • http://afteraristotle.net/ Richard Hennessey

    Setting invective aside, why do you suppose that so many women have the feminist beliefs that they do?

    • Objectivetruth

      Satan. The father of all lies convinced Eve, he’s now convincing modern woman. Also, feminism’s foundation is that ones feelings and emotions trumps Truth and reason.

      • http://afteraristotle.net/ Richard Hennessey

        Three further questions, then, First, what in this specific context is Satan convincing modern women of? Second, by what arguments is he convincing them? Third, what is the basis of your assertion that feminism’s foundation is that one’s feelings and emotions trump truth and reason?

        • Objectivetruth

          1) their fertility is a disease and that abortion, contraception, are anchors that keep them from becoming “fully a woman.” 2) narcissism, body image, your womb and child bearing ability is a scourge and negative. 3) the “my career, my personal wants and lifestyle” attitude comes before the growing baby in my womb and therefore said baby must die.

          • http://afteraristotle.net/ Richard Hennessey

            I was not aware of feminists having claimed that the fertility of women is a “disease” or a “scourge.” Perhaps some have, but have the nuns under discussion made any such claim? And have the nuns under discussion advocated abortion?

            • Objectivetruth

              “First, what in this specific context is Satan convincing modern women of?”

              You didn’t ask me what feminists claimed, did you?

            • Art Deco

              You’ve never encountered Amanda Marcotte, or contemplated the significance of Clare Boothe Luce’s disappearance as the public face of feminism and her replacement by Betty Friedan and then Gloria Steinem.

        • Objectivetruth

          I find it intriguing that feminist groups will attack the Church and conservative groups on abortion and contraception. But clothing companies such as Victoria Secrets or strip joints and pornography mags objectifying young, mostly teenage women as sex objects in their advertisements you never hear from them. Why is that?

          • Vinnie

            Because that’s THEIR CHOICE! No other person can tell them what to do with their bodies!

            • Objectivetruth

              It’s always intrigued me that the only party involved in the abortion decision and has NO “CHOICE” is the baby who is being dismembered and decapitated in the womb of its mother. I believe, if given a “CHOICE” the baby would choose clearly to say “PLEASE DON’T KILL ME!!!!”

    • Interested

      Shallow thinking.

    • thebigdog

      Modern feminism has brainwashed many women (and men) into believing that the meaning of life for a woman is “to want what you want when you want it and anybody who tries to tell you differently or make you feel guilty for being selfish, is a sexist misogynist”

      • Art Deco

        Aye. A critic put it this way recently, contemplating Sandra Fluke: feminism is not a well articulated social theory; it’s an open mouth saying “I want”. A mentality wherein wishes and appetites are their own justification is incongruent with a vocation (one reason, I suspect, these wretched orders are demographically imploding).

    • fredx2

      I don;t think that many women are old style feminists nowadays. The old, militant, feminists are really quite passe. Women today know they make no sense, are poison for relationships, etc.

    • Howard

      Fads, whether they last for a couple of years or for a couple of generations, don’t have to have any obvious or compelling cause. Why did so many kids recently want to wear drooping pants? Why are sappy vampire stories popular? Why are “ghost hunting” shows so popular when the ghost hunters display a confusion between spirits and electromagnetic phenomena more appropriate to the late 1700′s?

      • http://afteraristotle.net/ Richard Hennessey

        Are you identifying, say, the core feminist thesis, shared it seems by the nuns in question, that women are in all relevant matters (intellectual, volitional, and spiritual) equal to men as a fad?

        • Howard

          The feminism that developed in the 20th century is of the same nature as teetotalism. Teetotalism had some arguments in its favor, certainly — feminists have no trouble finding horror stories they can use to explain their positions, but neither did teetotalers. Whereas the Equal Rights Amendment failed, teetotalism succeeded in amending the Constitution. Even now there are still dry counties and dry cities. In spite of all this, I think it is clear that teetotalism was a fad — even the word is rarely heard. States are more likely to make pot legal than to make drink illegal; New York City is more likely to ban Big Gulps than to ban gin.

          By the way, I’m not even sure the feminists would agree with your suggestion for their “core feminist thesis”. If “women are in all relevant matters … equal to men”, then men are in all relevant matters equal to women (because that’s what “equal” means), and women have nothing unique to contribute.

          • http://afteraristotle.net/ Richard Hennessey

            I meant by “relevant” relevant to roles people can play in the church.

            • Howard

              What happens in a little-c church is no business of mine.

  • Dustin

    The men in the Vatican need to do what men all around the world need to do — grow a pair. It is embarrassing to watch men behave in such a weak and clownish fashion. You do not befriend your enemies. That’s pathetic.

  • http://dabidross.com David Ross

    Marxist-feminism is mixed up with a muddled idea that women are free when they serve Satan but slaves when they serve Christ. (cf. Chesterton, Social Reform versus Birth Control, 1927)

    • Neihan

      I’d never read Social Reform versus Birth Control before, thank you. I was in stitches. Your rephrasing of his quote is well done; I am going to steal that from you, but I will probably be less honest than you in citing my sources.

    • musicacre

      Ha! Chesterton is always sooo right on the button!

  • Don Campbell

    Cardinal Muller had better watch out or he’ll get himself fired by Pope Francis.

  • Tim

    Cardinal Walter Kasper has deftly defended the LCWR and has publicly stated that Mueller’s view is typical of a “narrower view” and has compared Elizabeth Johnson to Thomas Aquinas, who was at one time also out of vogue with the Vatican. Pope Francis has said he wants to improve the position of women in the Church. Comparing brilliant theologians like Johnson to “recalcitrant teenagers” is part of the sexism that intelligent women still face in the Church. I hope Pope Francis comes down on the side of the LCWR. In fact, I hope he replaces Cardinal Mueller with Elizabeth Johnson.

    • shaggyk

      You are delusional.

    • Art Deco

      and has compared Elizabeth Johnson to Thomas Aquinas

      You’re offering this as a defense of Kasper?

      Irony is dead.

    • Marcelus
    • Marcelus
    • Interested

      You are too funny.

    • cestusdei

      He already reappointed Cardinal Mueller. Johnson is not all that brilliant. It is not sexism to point out that the sisters have been behaving badly.

    • slainte

      I suggest that you read the excerpt I posted below from a recent interview at Fordham whereby Sr. Elizabeth Johnson makes claims against men that are not, in my opinion, reasonable, charitable or consistent with Church tradition. Her responses are profoundly troubling.

      • Art Deco

        He’s already spit from his sippy-cup all over it.

    • fredx2

      Cardinal Kasper did not really defend the LCWR. The left wing Catholic media, once again, took his rather cautious remarks and spun them to their political advantage. The stories tried to spin things that way, but the only full quote we have from Kasper was this:

      The only thing he said was “Kasper said that he hoped that the confrontation between the Vatican and the Leadership Conference for Women Religious would be overcome.

      “If you have a problem with the leadership of the women’s orders, then you have to have a discussion with them, you have to dialogue with them, an exchange of ideas,” he said. “Perhaps they have to change something. Perhaps also the Congregation (for the Doctrine of the Faith) has a little bit to change its mind. That’s the normal way of doing things in the church. I am for dialogue. Dialogue presupposes different positions. The church is not a monolithic unity.”

      “We should be in communion,” he continued, “which also means in dialogue with each other. I hope all this controversy will end in a good, peaceful and meaningful dialogue.”

      Everytime a wacko theologian comes along, their adherents need to describe them as “brilliant”. They are “brilliant” presumably because they have the right political opinions, not because their work really does anything new.

      And you misunderstood his comment on Thomas Aquinas. He was not out of favor with the Vatican, he was out of favor with his local bishop. Trouble with local bishops happens all the time, These local issues get investigated by the Vatican and they then issue a more sober judgment on the matter. In this case, Johnson was not criticized by her local bishop. She was criticized by the entire USCCB – and now by the Vatican, after due review.

  • Arriero

    Nowadays, everybody is free to say whatever nonsense.

    I already knew it, although I thought that that was not allowed in the Church.

    There was a time when the Church ended with such nonsense in less than a second.

    How much I love freedom of speech…

    This reaffirms my thesis that Pope Francis MUST eliminate such pseudo-calvinist opinions from within the Church (there is no worse enemy than this that you regarded your friend). The protestant concept of freedom (as opposed to the Scholastic concept of freedom) has done a lot of harm. These nuns are heirs of the Reformation within the Catholic Church. Their rhetoric is from the same kind than the anti-government-per-se rhetoric: they ultimately hate having a (powerful) Institution above all them, ruling and regulating their (freely chosen) bad behaviour.

    There is nothing to argue. Simply broom and dustpan.

    PS- Is it merely a coincidence that many of these dissenting voices come from America? Is it also a coincidence that a prominent – and media-lover – dissenting Spanish nun – Teresa Forcades – studied theology – and medicine – in the US?

  • big al

    ”For decades, the LCWR has refused all calls for renewal by the bishops. Promoting women’s ordination, reproductive rights, and an “end to patriarchy,” the LCWR has refused to comply with Pope John Paul II’s apostolic exhortation Vita Consecratae entitled Sentire Cum Ecclesia—“to think with the Church.””

    Correction: JPII’s document was simply entitled: Vita Consecratae

  • tamsin

    Perhaps it is finally time to stop cajoling and flattering the dissident women religious.

    LCWR: Does this theology make me look dumb?

    Cardinal Muller: Yes.

    Cardinal Kasper: I love you just the way you are.

  • Tony

    The LCWR has a lot to answer for; there will be a fearful reckoning.

    Their sole claim to garnering respect from the faithful is their supposed championing of the poor. A lot of words, you “leaders,” and ever dwindling action. When the nuns were faithful, the Holy Spirit blessed the Church with an abundance of women religious dedicated to teaching children, taking care of the sick, and ministering to the poor. It doesn’t matter, O Sisters, how much you say you feel for the poor; more than you care for the poor, or for the Church itself, you care for your feminism. So that when it comes to choosing between your feminism, and a vibrant renewal of your orders that would provide the poor with far more helpers than they have now, or that would provide children with far more Catholic teachers than they have now, you choose your feminism every time.

    It is an idol! Why do American feminists, in the teeth of all the evidence, continue to denigrate marriage by recommending to young women the single life, when everyone knows that it is far more dangerous to shack up with a boyfriend than to live in a home with a husband? Why do they ignore the evidence connecting abortion with breast cancer? Why do they push the Pill so hard? Why are they now championing “sex workers”? Because — more than they love women, they love feminism — it is an idol!
    At some point you have to exercise charity to OTHER PEOPLE by publicly dismissing idolaters. Feminists have long enjoyed the residue of chivalry — men don’t want to tell them to their faces that they are fools, and ill-tempered and touchy fools at that. There is no way that any group of men so long obstinate and so long incompetent would be tolerated by men. Men know how to deal with stubborn incompetence and insubordination in other men….

    • Tim

      You have a great deal to learn about feminism if you think all feminists denigrate marriage. As a feminist and a man, I encourage women to expect respect within marriage. You have created an emotional straw man for yourself to beat down. There is nothing wrong with women religious being brilliant theologians. In fact, more power to them. Pope Francis himself has said that, “Women must have a greater presence in the decision-making areas of the church.” Does this make him incompetent and insubordinate too?

      • cestusdei

        Radical feminism denigrates the feminine.

      • Art Deco

        You have a great deal to learn about feminism if you think all feminists denigrate marriage. As a feminist and a man,

        I’m afraid we’ve been reading the newspapers the last 40 years.

        -

        Why not locate a soi-disant ‘feminist’ who has, in the years since 1967, ever suggested that unilateral divorce on demand was bad policy.

      • Art Deco

        There is nothing wrong with women religious being brilliant theologians.

        At this juncture, it is exceedingly doubtful that original work in humanistic and allied disciplines will allow for more than incremental amendments to insight. Calling people ‘brilliant’ is a means of literary social climbing.

      • Tony

        Sir, I’ve been around academic feminists my whole adult life. I deny the very premises upon which feminism is based. If we are talking about respect, and kindness, and charity, and humility, then why do we need the label “feminism”? The premises of feminism are these:

        The good of woman is separate from the good of man; the sexes are not meant, each for the good OF THE OTHER.
        The good of woman is to take precedence over the good of the family.

        The whole world has been organized against women, from time immemorial. This is a tenet that can only be held by somebody in a wealthy post-industrial society. You try to grow food on a large scale, or herd cattle, without men around. You try to quarry stone for a town, or pave a road, or cut through a mountain.
        It would be a fine thing if each sex considered first the gifts that the OTHER sex brings; then the sins which their OWN commit … and after all of that, we can get around to considering the gifts of our OWN sex, and, last, always last, the faults of the other. But feminists do just the reverse. As I said, I’ve been around them for my whole professional life.
        As for great women theologians, let us listen to them indeed — and they have precious little in common with the feminist poseurs of the LCWR.

        • Tony

          And if somebody can give me an example of a single “feminist” nun standing up for the rights of boys to have their masculine nature respected and affirmed, and standing against the constant denigration they receive in our schools, I’d like to see it. Or a single feminist nun standing against the calumnies of feminists who would deny to men any say in such issues as abortion and contraception. Or a single feminist nun having second thoughts about how ineptly they have run their own orders — a single feminist nun saying that maybe they were WRONG all along, and that God had better be addressed the way Jesus taught us to address Him, as our Father? Just one, just one.

          • Tim

            Your premises for feminism are absolute rot. I have three feminist daughters, all happily married to feminist men, and two feminist sons, happily married to feminist women. All of these wonderful young people are committed to one another’s happiness, success, and development. I would not want one of my daughters married to a man who was not a feminist. The world has certainly been ordered against women in the past. With men like you still around, it still is. My daughters all have graduate degrees, and one of them had to put up with discouraging sexist comments while pursuing her medical degree, e.g., “Is this an alternative to running a dress shop?” from one of her male professors. It is thanks to feminist men and women who have gone before her that she was able to deal with that remark as it deserved to be dealt with.
            “And if somebody can give me an example of a single “feminist” nun standing up for the rights of boys to have their masculine nature respected and affirmed, and standing against the constant denigration they receive in our schools, I’d like to see it.”
            What about the whistle-blowing nuns who stood up for boys being sexually abused in our Catholic schools? http://www.bishopaccountability.org/Whistleblowers/

            Or the feminist nuns who allow boys to have their minds opened to a wider spectrum of theology? Cardinal Walter Kasper, “the pope’s theologian,” has said he esteems both Elizabeth Johnson and Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza. Has the good cardinal nothing to offer boys in the way of theological training?
            When you use words like “insubordination” to describe feminists, you are revealing your true colors. You want Daddy smacking down any girl he sees as “out of line.” Thankfully you’re living in the wrong century.

            • Art Deco

              Your premises for feminism are absolute rot.

              He could have simplified matters, perhaps. A passable definition has been offered by a critic of feminism among the worlds psychologists: “the habit of looking at the world with the assumption that women have options, and men have obligations”.

              As you’re not signing your name to these posts, biographical references are usually redundant, and tedious when they extend longer than a sentence fragment. (And also not very credible in certain circumstances).

            • Arriero

              «The world has certainly been ordered against women in the past.»

              A woman – or a man – saying that has a very big inferiority complex. Or what is the same, has a very big Nietzschean rabid resentment within.

              «I would not want one of my daughters married to a man who was not a feminist.»

              A «feminist man» is an oxymoron. Of course, you either don’t seem able to distinguish between «feminine» and «feminist»; between «respect» and «acceptance»; between «equal» and «the same». Ultimately, you don’t understand what’s the real meaning behind marriage; or what is the same, behind Catholic marriage, which is the only admirable and real marriage.

              «My daughters all have graduate degrees.»

              So what? Has someone in the Catholic Church denied women to have degrees, to success, to study, to learn, to teach? I don’t think so. In fact, INTELLIGENT WOMEN – a very tiny minority, just exactly as it happens with men – are those who know how stupid are all these bunch of feminists, who barely know how to add and substract, whatever the degrees they may have. Apart, are you implying that a woman who does not have a degree is less intelligent or less succesful than a feminist who teaches a course nobody really cares about in whatever Ivy League University? The books are in the libraries; are there and everyone has access, men and women.

              «and one of them had to put up with discouraging sexist comments while pursuing her medical degree»

              Chapter II in the inferiority complex lesson. People make jokes about everyone, not only about women. Jews, Blacks, Hispanics… everybody is suceptible of being mocked. (despite this, if a teacher says such things, he is definitively a very stupid man; and recall that stupidity is shared equally by both men and women).

              «You want Daddy smacking down any girl he sees as “out of line.”»

              You should define what you understand by «out of line». Punishment has nothing to do with sex, or race, it has to do with behaviour, acts. Less cheap metaphysical concepts and more rational thinking. Somewhat I see a bit of an obssession… I would have never implied or think the things you implied from the comment above.

              What do you think a Catholic father would answer to his daughter asking him: «Dad, could you let me your volumes on Scholastic theology, especially the ones from Francisco Suárez, I would like to read and study them?». Undoubtedly, he would answer exited: «Of course! (and then he would think for an hour if he was dreaming or not when his daughter asked him)». He would never answer «No, I deny you to read». But… do you think feminists cares about Francisco Suárez?

            • Art Deco

              Thankfully you’re living in the wrong century.

              I think you hit just about all the cliches proximate to this subject.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              “I have three feminist daughters, all happily married to feminist men,
              and two feminist sons, happily married to feminist women.”

              Wait, don’t leave us in suspense! How many feminist grandchildren do you have? How many feminists pets? How many feminist plants in your garden? Please, we need the complete picture!

              • Interested

                Yes, absurdity does require absurdity. All nonsense.

              • Objectivetruth

                Yuk! Good one…..

                • Bucky Inky

                  While it may sound like an oxymoron, it is an unfortunate reality, and they make up the most insufferable lot.

            • fredx2

              Just a correction. Kasper is not in any way the Pope’s theologian. That title was bestowed upon him by a talk show host a couple of days ago, with no basis in fact. Actually, the Pope has an official theologian, and it is not Kasper.
              Yesterday, several left wing media outlets suddenly started calling Kasper the “Pope’s theologian”, I suppose in an effort to puff him up bigger than he is.

            • Tony

              Did I attack you personally? No, I didn’t.
              Order is for everybody. That’s why I like to do the thought experiment — keep sex out of it. Let’s just talk about men. They would understand the pragmatic necessity, let alone the holiness, of obedience. “Let there be subordination among you,” says Saint Paul.
              Your example about the whistle-blowing nuns proves nothing at all. I want to see the feminist nun who has made a point, all through her career as a teacher, of affirming the goodness and the richness of the masculine nature, rather than ragging on the poor boys, world without end.
              You are assuming a great deal, aren’t you, about what I believe about women — when I am not talking about women, but about feminists. I know plenty of women who could beat the feminists silly in an argument, or in their professions, who do not make the mistake of confounding feminism with a love and admiration for women.
              I will be spending much of my time this summer reading the works of St. Edith Stein, and Sigrid Undset, who I believe is the greatest woman novelist who ever lived, and one of the few genuine geniuses in European literature in the last hundred years. Either one of those women makes Schussler Fiorenza look like a spoiled high school kid. S-F begins from utterly false premises. It is really easy to pretend, from your comfy professorial chair, that the world COULD have been organized according to your feminist dreams, but for almost all of human existence, the exigencies of daily life took precedence over all the dreams of political projectors. You can theorize all you want, but no theory is going to clear a field of trees and boulders and stumps. The oak stump with its roots fifty feet from end to end doesn’t care about your theories. The ox you are trying to get to pull your plow doesn’t care about them. The red clay you are trying to farm, that is like brick when it is dry, doesn’t care about them.
              What I am saying is what would be obvious to anybody before our very comfy times. Most human beings had to do all they could to get food to eat, warm clothes on their backs, a dry roof over their heads, and a little bit extra when times were bad. Most men and women did not have the time to indulge in feminist fantasies. It’s pretty darned easy to say to people in the past, “You know, you really should have had women mayors,” when those people had to do, daily, fifty things that we no longer know how to do, just to keep body and soul together.
              I have yet to encounter a SINGLE feminist nun who showed the least appreciation for these things. Go down the mines with my grandfathers, Sister, and then talk to me about male privilege.

              • Tony

                I’d also love to be a fly in the wall to overhear what Flannery O’Connor would have to say to the LCWR. It would be most colorful.

              • Tim

                You are arguing from confused premises. So what if men are better at manual labor than women (although my petite wife could operate a combine harvester as well as I could.) That has never meant that women need to be subordinate to men. Nor has it ever justified male-preference primogeniture. Or that women can’t be doctors, engineers, lawyers, CEOs, or presidents. What exactly is your point? One of my daughters earns more than enough in one hour to hire 20 manual laborers for one hour each. Are you suggesting that because she has a 20:1 productivity ratio to male manual laborers that somehow establishes her superiority or justifies some sort of social ordering that allows her to dominate? Because it looks like that’s the argument you’re making. When one hears insecure, pathetic insults being thrown at feminists, one knows there is real fear and a sense of inadequacy behind them. Too many male “authority figures” need to demean and control women in an attempt to prove their own “manhood.” This is unhealthy for men and for women.

                • Brian

                  Tim, ALL the anti-feminist arguments I’m seeing here are confused. They’re either mere ad hominem attacks on feminists or there’s this effort to defend discrimination because life used to involve a great deal of menial work.

                • Objectivetruth

                  It’s funny, I’ve never really seen a happy, smiling feminist. Take Sandra Fluke. Every interview I ever saw her with she had a dower, sour look. Always sad looking, soulless, joyless.

                  I contrast that to the sisters of the Missionary of Charity (I’ve been a lay volunteer for them for 18 years.) They are always joyful, smiling and happy! No exaggeration, and its always such an authentic joy, one that I envy. I’ve only once in 18 years seen one of them sad. Even then it was temporary.

                  Because feminists like Fluke only serve their own self centered wants and desires, they’re never going to be happy. While the Blessed Mother Teresa’s young nuns that make Christ their center and find Him in the “distressing disguise of the poor”, have found true happiness and joy!

                • Tony

                  No — please think. Most people at most times in the history of the world have depended upon hard manual labor to survive. Cultures organized themselves accordingly. It is madness, and utterly unfair to our ancestors of both sexes, to suggest that things could have been organized according to modern egalitarian principles.

                  My point is that it is bad history to demand that cultures whose material conditions differed so starkly from our own should have accepted a way of life that no one at the time would have considered possible or even desirable. I’m saying that the feminists do that, all the time.
                  When I talk about the goodness of authority and about the impossibility of love without obedience, I like to limit consideration of the matter to one sex alone, just so that people do not immediately break out into hives. The plain fact is that, even in practical terms, you cannot dig a ditch that will really drain a field unless you have hierarchy. A team without a leader is not a team. An army in which every soldier gets to choose which orders he is going to obey is not an army.

                  But you are not arguing in good faith, are you? I’ve been asking you to name for me a single feminist nun who has ever stood up strongly for the goodness of masculinity. Now maybe you yourself can come clean here, and tell us whether all the feminists in your life stand up for the indissolubility of marriage; the sanctity of human life at all of its stages of development; the impossibility of same-sex “marriage”; the primacy of the good of the family over the good of personal achievement; the duties of men toward women and of women toward men; the male priesthood; the address of God as “Father,” taught to us by Christ himself.

                  • Tim

                    Not only feminists but minorities of all sorts are glad modern of egalitarian principles. I’m sure the Obamas are happy to be in the White House rather than in a shack on Simon Legree’s plantation. The leisured classes in, say, Jane Austen’s or Simon Legree’s times, frequently led indolent lives and had ample time to reflect on injustices. It wasn’t necessarily constant menial labor but opportunism that cemented their prejudices. I’m not sure what point you are trying to make by introducing hierarchical work or military situations. I assume this is some attempt to justify the idea that women should obey their husbands? Or that men should lead? Close and mature human relationships are not so. My wife and I have always made decisions by consensus.
                    I’ve given you an example of feminist nuns that stand up for boys — those who spoke out against the abuse of boys and the coverups. I know of feminist nuns and women who stand up for the “goodness” of both masculinity and femininity. As far as I can tell, you divide the world into “should-be’s” — men in one mold, women in another, both complying to your own idea of how we should all think and what we should all believe. The world is not like this. Feminists, like most of us, hold a spectrum of often nuanced views — on all of the “should’s” you list. ALL the feminists I personally know who are married put the “primacy of the good of the family over the good of personal achievement.” This is why the feminists I know are so devoted to their families, often at the expense of their own careers. For example, my son-in-law (a feminist) recently turned down a promotion because it would involve too much business travel, and he wants to be around to see his baby take her first steps and learn to talk. You would deny both men and women a great deal of fulfillment with your narrow pigeon-holing.

                    • Tony

                      If all you mean is that women ought to be treated with kindness and justice, then that is not feminism; that is simple humanity.

                      You can’t avoid the ad hominem, though, can you? Let me see if I can explain, again, what I am talking about, when I criticize unrealistic and uncharitable interpretations of history. Suppose you have fields that need to be cleared of rocks and stumps, swamps that need to be drained, large animals that need to be domesticated and herded, and so forth. None of that can get done by one man alone. None of that is going to get done by women; it is simply not feasible, not before diesel powered machines. It has to be done by men working in concert. The necessities of life compelled all kinds of divisions of labor, and that in turn required rules, and hierarchy. Do you not understand the goodness of these things? Of course a thing that is in itself good can be abused or corrupted. The question is whether, without hierarchy and obedience, anything of any difficulty, danger, or complexity can get done, especially under conditions that prevailed in all places on earth until very recently.

                      My wife and I make decisions together. Why on earth do you assume otherwise? My sister is responsible for all the infectious disease departments in a large consortium of clinics and hospitals in Pennsylvania. Why do you assume that I would not admire that? Why do you assume that simple justice requires feminism — which is an ideology, slandering everybody (men for being monsters, women for being chumps) who did not live as we now can live?

                      You gave me NO example of feminist nuns standing up for boys. That the children were boys formed NO part of their outrage. The nuns didn’t give a rat’s tail about the offense done to the boys’ masculinity, because these same nuns go a-cheering for Sodom at every opportunity. That most of the children abused happened to be boys was an accident, as far as they were concerned. You heard not one peep out of them about the homosexuality, not one.
                      These nuns have run their orders into the ground. They have been flagrantly disobedient at the same time. No wonder, that they get NO vocations, and that their orders are dying. Sometimes the Holy Spirit speaks quite clearly. Why aren’t they saying, “Gosh, maybe we ought to have obeyed?” I am not ashamed to say that I only began to understand my faith after I decided to obey.
                      I notice also that you haven’t answered my question. These feminists you are talking about — these specific feminists — do they all uphold everything that the Church teaches about sex, marriage, the family, abortion, and birth control? Because these are the neuralgic issues of our time. If the answer is No, then I suggest again that Christ has told us that obedience brings light, not the other way around.

                    • Tony

                      And let me add that feminism is at heart as absurd as masculinism. The man is for the woman, and the woman is for the man, and both are for their children, and for God. Neither sex can claim moral superiority over the other. Each sex can be, and often is, remarkably adept at making other people miserable, though the means and the habits will differ. Each sex is in dire need of the grace of God. You cannot corrupt one sex, also, without corrupting the other. It is not clear to me which sex, in our insane times, is in worse straits. But things are pretty bad when you can hardly ever find, in mass entertainment, a single example of a woman expressing gratitude and admiration not for one exceptional man, but for men in general; and vice versa.

                    • Tim

                      If feminism and masculinism are both absurd, why would anyone need to express gratitude and admiration for men or women in general? One should instead praise groups of men and women working together. We can praise Doctors without Borders or foster parents or humane society volunteer (men AND women.) It doesn’t make sense to focus so much on limiting humanity to two groups when there are in reality as many groups are there are human beings.

                    • Tony

                      Because the groups are REAL, drat it all! There are plenty of things that men and women do well together, and there are plenty of things that they do not do well together. Why should anyone need to express gratitude? You must be kidding. I am grateful to God for having created women — why should I not be? Why should my gratitude be confined to His having made one woman, my wife? Each sex should be grateful for the existence of the other. Why not? Why should a man not be fascinated (though often frustrated) by the very different embodiment of humanity that is woman? Why should a woman not be fascinated (though often frustrated) by the very different embodiment of humanity that is man?

                      You see, at base feminism is either a belief in the moral and intellectual superiority of women in general, which is absurd, or a belief in the utter irrelevance of sex, which is also absurd, or a belief in the first on Monday and the second on Tuesday, which is absurdity squared.

                      If you believe that sex is indifferent or irrelevant, then you must believe that a man CAN marry a man, that a woman CAN be a Catholic priest, that a father and a “father” is no different from a father and a mother, and the rest of it. In that case, you are here arguing in bad faith. You are pretending to be a faithful Catholic upholding the honor of nuns unfairly charged with heresy. But instead your argument is not with us … It is with Scripture, and the magisterium of the Church. Then the bishops must have been correct in rebuking the nuns, no?

                      Come on, now, you can try it. Don’t let my irritation get in the way. Try what I tried twenty years ago. Try obedience … it enlightens. It really does. You don’t have to admit it to me; I’m suggesting it for your good.

                    • Tim

                      You didn’t answer my question about whether you would have valued blind obedience toward the Spanish Inquisition or Hitler. Conservatism, authoritarianism, and religiousness correlate very strongly (consistently at 0.5 to 0.7). There are two major evolutionary theories that explain the predisposition to obey authority. I am sure this predisposition has its uses in certain situations as it would otherwise not have evolved as a genetic factor in part of the population, but it can also be ossifying, dangerous, and counter-productive. It can negate personal integrity, sincerity of conscience, creative thought, personal and social development, and all the other advantages of the probing and independent minds demonstrated by the feminist theologians in the LCWR. “Pray, pay, and obey” or “Shut up and do what you’re told” don’t work for everyone, thank God. Some of us are religious without the conservative and authoritarian parts, meaning we are open to renewal and advancement. Pope Francis has called for renewal within the Church and for a greater leadership role for women. This may prove difficult for the overly legalistic and rule-bound.

                    • Art Deco

                      Thanks for the precis of Robert Altemeyer’s ‘work’, but there’s a reason he’s been called ‘the clown prince of political psychology’ by other psychologists.

                    • Tony

                      False dilemmas, and slander of obedient Catholics. I will write a series on the virtue of obedience, distinguishing between the true virtue, mere compliance, cowardly cooperation with evil, disobedience proper, and so forth. I believe that none of us can be quite sure, in a dreadful moral situation, that we would do the right thing, and obey God rather than man, when the authority in question urges us to do what is evil. But that is not the case here, is it? If the Church says, “Contraception is an evil,” and I believe that it is not evil but permissible, I surely do not get to claim that I MUST do as I please, because in fact the Church is not requiring me to do anything evil, or even anything at all. If the Church says, “Abortion is an evil,” and I believe that it is not evil but permissible, I do not get to claim that I MUST have an abortion, merely because my “conscience” is silent on the issue.

                      Your difficulty is not with me, but with Jesus, who says to Peter, “What you hold bound on earth will be held bound in heaven,” and Paul, who said, “Let their be subordination among you,” and John, who said that if we love the Lord we will keep His commandments, and that meant, for John, exactly what Jesus said it meant, that we would obey those whom He had sent.

                      Thomas Aquinas, the greatest theological genius in the history of the Church, would have been appalled to hear that someone thought he was “original.” Or “independent.” Both of those adjectives are illusions, anyway. The nuns in question are passé .. peddling Gnostic gnostrums … and plainly declaring that they have progressed “beyond Jesus.”
                      What “legalism” is involved, if you are asking somebody to declare that she agrees that Jesus is Lord, the Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father? Legalism? To deny that is to deny Him. That’s rule-bound? What rule?
                      But I’m through with this discussion. You won’t be honest. You in fact do not hold with the Church. Again I urge you to reconsider. Obedience opens the mind; it is exactly the opposite to what you think. Jesus has said so.

                    • Tim

                      Jesus condemned legalism. Legalism causes moral immaturity and denies the primacy of the individual conscience. Pope Francis has called a synod next October to discuss issues such as marriage, contraception and divorce. He has solicited input from the Catholic laity as well as theologians and bishops. What if these teachings change or at least soften Church teachings? Could you be right one month and wrong the next and still be obedient? When Sister Laurie Brink talked about “moving beyond Jesus,” you have to look at the context. What she was saying is that you can reverence the Gospels but also look beyond Christianity to other sources of good and right behavior that are found in other religions and in creation, meaning that salvation is not limited to Christians. There is nothing un-Catholic or “disobedient” about this claim, which has been echoed by Pope Francis. Just last Wednesday, Pope Francis said much the same in a homily (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/pope-francis-good-atheists_n_3320757.html .)

                    • Tony

                      You are adept at setting up false dilemmas.

                      Jesus condemned legalism. Jesus also RAISED the bar, when it came to the true practice of virtue. The legalist thinks he can sneak in by dint of clearing the letter of the law. That is why Jesus consistently says, “It has been said to you,” that a certain morally shady thing was permissible — hating your enemies, giving your wife a note of divorce — or that a certain obviously vicious thing was impermissible — adultery, murder — and then says, “But I say to you,” and attempts to make us understand the realities of good and evil. Adultery then is still vicious — but so is merely looking at a woman with lust (and, a fortiori, don’t even bother asking about fellating another man); murder is still vicious — but so is speaking in wrath against your brother. The Jesus who said, “In the beginning it was not so; for in the beginning God made them male and female, and for this reason a man should leave his mother and father and cleave unto his wife, and they two should be one flesh,” that Jesus cannot possibly be imagined as shrugging, and saying, “But if you want to shack up, go ahead,” or, “Well, a man and a man, big deal.” We are to be holy — our righteousness is to EXCEED, not fall short of, the righteousness of the Pharisees.

                      What Pope Francis is trying to do is to be more effective in preaching the full truth about sex, the family, marriage, and so forth. The sisters in question do not want that preaching to be more effective. They want the teachings themselves to be changed, or reversed. But that simply cannot happen. There is no way that the Pope is going to declare that fornication is all right. And if fornication is not all right, you needn’t bother asking about sodomy and abortion. He cannot declare that divorce and remarriage is all right. If that is not all right, you needn’t bother asking about cohabitation.

                      You seem to believe that we here believe that God saves only people who declare themselves to be Christians. We don’t. But when Jesus says that he is the gate to the sheepfold, we must believe that to enter into conversation with Jesus is utterly unlike merely entering into conversation with Buddha, or Socrates, or Epictetus. The Cardinal wants the nuns to reaffirm their devotion to Christ and their agreement with our Mother, the Church. Why that should be problematic for nuns, I can’t fathom. If they cannot do that, then in all honesty they should step down and give their jobs to women who are ready to take them and to return five talents for the five they have been given. There are plenty who are ready. These women in charge now have sat down on the orders for far too long. They have been the suppressers. Time to retire them and bring in people on fire with the love of Jesus.

                    • Tim

                      “Time to retire them and bring in people on fire with the love of Jesus.”
                      Why assume the nuns are NOT on fire with the love of Jesus? It appears as though you believe anybody who does not agree with your interpretation of the rules is not a true Christian. Theologians that move the Church forward, whether they do it about slavery, usury, or whether non-Catholics can be saved, are often abused or condemned by authority figures within the Church.

                    • Tony

                      I’m not the one who said that there were four directions the organizations were going in, none worse or better than the others — and that one of those four, “Sojourning,” involved moving “beyond Jesus.” That was Sister Laurie Brink. I’m not the one who refuses to call God “Father,” as Jesus instructed us to do; that’s the feminist nuns, there.

                      If they were on fire with love for Jesus, we would see plenty of vocations, because love is contagious. But resentment and griping are not.

                      You really want to get into a discussion with me about Church history? Really? For two thousand years the Church has been tempted just to mosey along with the spirit of the times, or to capitulate to the State, whatever the spirit was, or whatever the State wanted. Every time she does that, she falls into sloth and corruption. Just look at the dead State churches of Europe. They aren’t evangelizing the world; they can’t even evangelize their own people. The Church has often to stand against the spirit of the times. The spirit of these times? Sexual permissiveness — everything these days, in one way or another, comes back to sex; it’s where the rubbers hit the rogue. It’s either people who are not married pretending that they are, or people who are married wishing that they were not, or people of one sex denying its reality, or denying the goodness of sex itself — whatever. So the Church has to say, as she has often had to say, “This here is lunacy.”

                      You will kindly name for me a single person condemned by the Church for condemning slavery or usury … Sorry, it won’t happen. And the Church since the days of Justin Martyr never closed off the possibility that God would save people who had never heard of Christ; the so-called anima naturaliter Christiana.

                      Sure, individual authorities in the Church have been a mixed lot. Nothing new there. Saint John Chrysostom said, I believe, that the road to Hell was paved with the skulls of bishops. Churchmen have LONG been calling other churchmen out for their wickedness. But here we DO have authority figures — the LCWR — who have long been abusing their authority; they have managed their orders into dissolution; they have punished or persecuted orthodox nuns in their orders, or bullied them into silence (Ann Carey has all of the details in her book); they enjoy cushy benefices, while truly ALIVE orders must scramble for every penny — they are the ones who need reform. You see, it’s not this individual or that individual whom they oppose. They oppose the WHOLE MAGISTERIUM.

                      That was not the way of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint John Vianney, Saint John of the Cross, Saint John Bosco … All of those were faithful to the teaching authority of the Church, and all of those, at one time or another, were opposed by either bad or intemperate churchmen. But none of them ever disobeyed. Nothing good has ever come to the Church by way of disobedience. Nothing.

                    • Interested

                      Conscience is never above the Church. If one places themselves above the Church one is placing themselves above Christ. He said he who hears you hears Me and he who rejects you rejects Me.

                      As for legalism that must be properly defined. If one stops at red lights, does not rob liquor stores, and does not commit arson is one then a legalist? Such facile reasoning is not only unChristian but shallow and silly.

                    • Tim

                      “The necessities of life compelled all kinds of divisions of labor, and that in turn required rules, and hierarchy. Do you not understand the goodness of these things? ”
                      Some people believe patriarchal structures grew out of agrarian societies. The division of labor in these societies may have been good and have had many benefits at the time. This is not to say that there were not damaging side effects to some (not all) of these arrangements. When there is a major power differential between men and women, as tends to be the case where men are seen to be more important socially and economically, women statistically become more vulnerable to abuse, subjugation, and inferior educational and vocational opportunities. Rape and physical violence against women in developing countries, where major differences in power between men and women still exist, are endemic. For example, 50% of women in Tanzania and 71% of women in Ethiopia report having been beaten or raped by their husbands. Hunter-gather societies such as the San in Namibia, on the other hand, tend to be extremely egalitarian. In any case, the point is moot as most of us don’t live in either agrarian or hunter-gather societies.
                      In terms of the value of obedience, one has to be nuanced. I doubt you would value obedience for its own sake to Hitler or Mussolini or the Spanish Inquisition. On the other hand, there are situations when some degree of hierarchy is healthy, for example when managing small children or a prison gang. The LCWR are neither small children nor prisoners. Now if you want to claim the nuns should be obedient to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which descends from the Inquisition, we must part ways. As someone else so rightly pointed out, Cardinal Mueller is an administrator, while Elizabeth Johnson is a theologian with the right to exercise her intelligence, creativity, and primacy of conscience. She is entitled to disagree with Mueller, just as Cardinal Walter Kasper clearly disagrees with Mueller. When justice and kindness is denied to women, feminism is warranted as a matter of humanity. You illustrate this when you assume the nuns should be “obedient” to Mueller.
                      Maybe vocations for nuns are diminishing because of men like Mueller, rather than because of some imperfection in the nuns? I assume you have noticed priestly vocations are also diminishing?
                      If you believe feminism slanders men as monsters or women as chumps or that feminists “cheer on Sodom,” you have a paltry and very hackneyed idea of what feminism really is. If you support your sister’s work as a physician, you are at some level a feminist. As I know from my professional, high-achieving daughters, women still struggle to achieve political, social and economic equality with men. This is not about hating men. It is about justice for all. Patriarchy hurts and diminishes men too.
                      MOST (not all) of the specific feminists I know do not agree with the Church’s teachings on birth control. Few do, including most Catholics and many Catholic priests. Even Pope Francis appears to be moving toward a more pastoral and less dogmatic approach to this issue (are you so “disobedient” at to question him?:-).) ALL the feminists I know are strongly pro-children. Decisions about divorce, the family, education, and work are made exclusively with the welfare of children in mind. My daughter-the-doctor and her husband arrange their working hours to maximize time spent with their children, who are the best cared for, best adjusted children you could imagine. While their arrangement might not fully meet with YOUR approval (they do co-ed private school rather than home school, my son-in-law plays a very active role in domestic duties) it is incredibly successful and pro-social.

                • Bucky Inky

                  I think I’ve posted something similar in another similar exchange at another time, but it bears repeating:

                  Thanks to Tim for posting his opposition to Dr. Esolen. It has given Dr. Esolen a reason to share more of his much-needed clear thinking on these matters. Of course I am grateful to Dr. Esolen for being willing to do so.

              • Brian

                The fact that a cardinal is scolding these good sisters rather than his fellows in the pedophile business is certainly telling. Many members of the nobility had vast amounts of leisure time in the past, along with a wealth of education, which should have given them more than enough time to contemplate whether women deserved their restricted roles. It’s taken a great deal of intellect, courage and creativity on the part of women to give them the opportunities they have today.

                • Interested

                  You’re funny. Do you actually believe any if that propaganda?

                • Tony

                  Really, now? You can, from your armchair, reorganize entire cultures at their most intimate levels, the day to day division of labor that made a household work? “Restricted roles” indeed. What on earth are you really talking about? Go to a farm — there are still farms around. Remember that most people until recently lived on or near a farm, and did work on or closely related to the work on a farm. My wife’s aunt worked her whole life on a small pig farm in upstate New York. If you had ever suggested to her that she should exchange jobs with her husband, she would have clobbered you, and she could do it, too.

                  Their roles were restricted, really? The typical woman even as late as my own grandmother’s day had to do — had to know how to do — fifty things a day that hardly anybody knows how to do now. She had regular and personal dealings with all her neighbors. She had to raise ten children on the poor pay that her husband could wrest from the owners of the coal mine. You want to talk about restrictions? How about the cramping of your back down the mine shaft? The man depended utterly upon the woman, and the woman depended utterly upon the man. Who in those days INSISTED that the man go forth and fight for his family and children, in the workplace and on the field of battle? Women did — women themselves wanted men, not boyfriends.

                  What has made modern feminism possible? Refrigeration; antibiotics and modern surgery; labor saving devices invented by men to help women in the home; the green revolution that literally has brought billions of people away from the soil; supermarkets; basically, high technology. That has made it possible. Without all of that, feminism is but empty dreaming, utopian castles in the air.

                  • Brian

                    Of, of course. We don’t need feminism because your granddaddy went down a mine and your grandmother had 10 children. I don’t know how I ever missed that argument. Thanks for clarifying. My great grandma worked in the textile mills in England during the Industrial Revolution. Her husband died in a work-related accident and she gave up her children to a charitable home for waifs and strays. That proves she didn’t need feminism or any other sort of social justice. A hundred years earlier, Jane Austen was writing about wealthy drones and marriage as an economic institution. The Bennett girls had all the time in the world to become “accomplished” by painting, playing the piano and wandering around the neighborhood because they didn’t have anything else to do, but they couldn’t go to Oxford? No, they didn’t need feminism either (not even poor little Mary, who was doomed to a life of ridicule and dependence as she never managed to secure a love interest.)

            • Marc L

              You keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means.

        • Objectivetruth

          Amen……..

      • fredx2

        First of all you say “I encourage women to expect respect within marriage” Do you think this makes you unique or something? Every decent human being thinks the same thing, it has nothing to do with feminism.

        Second, NO, there is nothing at all wrong with women religious being theologians. However, they are not brilliant theologians, they are kooks. Look at the nonsense that virtually every speaker at their convention spouts. First there was the speaker who spoke approvingly of “Going beyond Jesus”. She did not adopt that position, but praised the nuns who were going beyond Jesus. Then there is the “Conscious Evolution” stuff – ” a combination of X-Men comics, techno-fetishizing, narcissism, New Age nonsense, paganism, trite bromides, bad grammar, Gnosticism, and good old heresy.”
        Then there is the Johnson stuff .If they want to be goofy wacked out theologians, then fine, leave the church and do not pretend to be Catholic. But that is not their job – their job is to support the orders in their mission to reflect Christ on earth. None of their exploring new ideas does anything to help this mission and they are basically driving young women away.

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  • slainte

    Sister Eilizabeth Johnson, CSJ, Professor of Theology at Fordham University, responds to questions posed in an interview with “Inside Fordham” dated March 24, 2014 in connection with her recently published book “Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love” (Bloomsbury, 2014),

    …..”What are your sources?
    ,
    I spend the first four chapters parsing Darwin’s view. As a dialogue partner I then bring in the Nicene Creed as shorthand of what Catholics believe about God. It’s a narrative like Darwin’s narrative of life. It tells of God and God’s acts in relation to the Earth. The book puts these two in dialogue and moves toward an ethic at the end. Of course a primary source would be scripture, but Thomas Aquinas plays an important role, as do various other theologians and philosophers. I use the Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner and a great number of feminist theorists such as
    Rosemary Ruether, Heather Eaton, and Karen Warren.
    .
    What’s do the feminists have to say about this?
    .
    There’s a whole range of analysis showing how the Western
    mindset, crafted by men, equated women with nature. In the dualistic framework of spirit over matter, men were allied with spirit while women and nature were connected with matter. Men were considered rational and independent, while women and nature were bodily and dependent on the underside of that dualism. Much of this analysis is called ecofeminism; it parses out or deconstructs prejudice against women, drawing out the links with a dim view of nature.
    .
    For example, Carolyn Merchant found that Sir Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method, compared the right of men to investigate nature to the right of the Inquisition judges to interrogate women under sexual torture. Men may enter the holes of both women and nature and make them give up their secrets; men may pull them by the hair to master and overcome them. The analogies of rape and dominance stand at the dawn of the modern era of scientific investigation.
    .
    These are some tough facts for even the most educated to contemplate. Does it in a way explain religious resistance to evolution?
    .
    Not directly. Fundamentalisms of all kinds are born in resistance to the modern world: you need to have secure borders; you know what you know on good authority; you are secure in how you live; and you’re not
    bothered by the ambiguity of life—especially in our modern age when life is getting so confusing. Biblical fundamentalism, which reads the opening chapters of Genesis literally, secures your world based on the central idea that God is a male monarch ruling over everything. The theory of evolution, which explains that all living creatures developed by a natural process, obviously threatens that view of God. Thus it needs to be rejected.
    .
    My book works to develop the idea of the God of Love who dwells within, empowers, suffers with, and moves in company with the evolving Earth. Then evolution is not a threat.”….

    Source: http://www.fordham.edu/campus_resources/enewsroom/inside_fordham/march_24_2014/in_focus_faculty_and/on_darwin_and_religi_94782.asp

    • cestusdei

      Catholics are not biblical fundamentalists. But we are orthodox. She is not. Her book is not.

      • slainte

        Sister’s responses demonstrate a profound lack of charity toward men as well as an overtly biased interpretation of history which, in my opinion, is not supported by fact.
        .
        As a Fordham alumna and Catholic woman, I hope that she recants these ill advised and unjust positions.

        • Objectivetruth

          Welcome back, slainte!

          • slainte

            Thanks OT….I abstained from commenting for Lent. I hope you and your family are well.

            • Objectivetruth

              Yes, you too!

    • Tim

      A God of Love and a world in which men don’t have the right to interrogate women under sexual torture? What a concept!

      • cestusdei

        Basically these nuns don’t want to be questioned at all. If you do then they cry “sexism.” That doesn’t seem to be very mature or strong.

        • Art Deco

          Well, they want to continue to draw fruit from whatever surviving properties and benefices their orders have (and academic salaries) while not thinking with the mind of the Church. And they want everyone to not bug them while they do it.

      • Art Deco

        I’m confused here. She quotes someone named Merchant who attributes a metaphor to an early modern protestant about the methods of ecclesiastical courts and this is relevant just how to the question of orders of women religious acting in fidelity to the Church? (Or relevant to much of anything other than Merchant’s macabre imagination?).

      • slainte

        Our God of Love and His bride the Catholic Church binds men and women together and in unity, they are fruitful. He does not divide them or needlessly provoke one against the other.
        .
        Sister’s comments, in my opinion, are divisive and not reflective of God’s will or His ways.
        .
        As a Catholic female attorney, I appreciate that you support the well being of women but there is a better and more equitable way to do so.

      • Interested

        What?

      • fredx2

        You have nothing to say, so you exaggerate things.

      • luisa

        As a historian -and having written a PhD thesis on the Inquisition- I can guarantee that this is utter rubbish. Please quote your sources.

    • fredx2

      And here is John Allens coverage of what the USCCB had to say about her book”

      “First, at the level of method, the statement accuses Johnson of questioning core elements of traditional Christian theology, including its understanding of God as “incorporeal, impassible, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.” Doing so, the statement asserts, is “seriously to misrepresent the tradition and so to distort it beyond recognition.”

      Second, the statement faults Johnson for treating language about God in the Bible and in church tradition as largely metaphorical, implying that truth about God is essentially “unknowable.” Even if mysteries such as the Trinity and the Incarnation can never be fully grasped, the statement says, they can nevertheless be “known.” While Johnson bases part of her argument on early church fathers, according to the statement, her position actually has more in common with Immanuel Kant and “Enlightenment skepticism.”

      Third, the statement asserts that in talking about the “suffering” of God, Johnson actually undermines God’s transcendence, suggesting that God differs only in degree, not in kind, from other beings.

      Fourth, according to the statement, Johnson advocates new language about God not based on its truth but its socio-political utility. In particular, she argues that all-male language about God perpetuates “an unequal relationship between women and men,” and thus has become “religiously inadequate.” In fact, according to the statement, male imagery about God found in scripture and tradition “are not mere human creations that can be replaced by others that we may find more suitable.”

      Fifth, the statement asserts that Johnson’s emphasis on the presence of the Holy Spirit in non-Christian religions “denies the uniqueness of Jesus as the Incarnate Word.” In effect, according to the statement, Johnson’s argument suggests that for the fullness of truth about God, “one needs Jesus + Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.”, a position it says is “contrary to church teaching.”

      Sixth, the statement says, Johnson’s treatment of God as Creator ends in pantheism, undercutting the traditional understanding of God as “radically different from creation.”

      Seventh, the statement faults Johnson’s understanding of the Trinity. Johnson treats traditional language about God as three persons as symbolic, according to the statement, thereby undercutting the church’s belief that “Jesus is ontologically the eternal Son of the Father.”

      In its conclusion, the statement says the root problem with Johnson’s book is that it “does not take the faith of the church as its starting point.”

      • slainte

        Fredx2, I believe the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops (“USCCB”) condemned Sister Elizabeth Johnson’s earlier book “Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God:” Mrs. Hendershott mentions this book in her article.
        .
        The quotes I reference above are Sister Elizabeth’s comments in connection with an interview about her most recent publication. “”Ask the Beasts: Darwin and the God of Love” (2014).
        .
        I may be mistaken but I don’t think the USCCB has commented on the latter book yet.

    • fredx2

      This clearly shows that her ideas are completely nutty. What nonsense:

      “the Western mindset, crafted by men, equated women with nature. In the dualistic framework of spirit over matter, men were allied with spirit while women and nature were connected with matter.”

      Has anyone ever heard anything like this before? No, she is just making stuff up.

  • Teresa Trujillo

    It is sad that in both our national politics, and the politics of our faith, the vocal minority is heard over the voice of the faithful.

    Young women eschewed the religious life because so much of it became the “Nuns on the Bus” political activism pushing towards women’s rights.

    Our newly sainted John XXIII’s motto was “Obedience and Faith.” Maybe we all need more obedience to God’s laws and Church teaching.

  • cestusdei

    It’s about time the good sisters heard it.

  • Suzanne Graf Slupesky Beck

    It’s about time, but why not ‘defrock’ them and be done with it! Why let them continue calling themselves ‘religious?’ They aren’t religious in vocation or even as an adjective!

  • windjammer

    These “ladies” have been out of control for decades. Like herding cats. They have caused undue scandal to the Church, those they have influenced and to their once glorious religious orders. Radical feminist who had not the courage to leave the Church. Instead they remained. Like termites, they have hollowed out their souls and character. They are the shock troops of the misguided Vatican 2 generation of the 60′s & 70′s. The “Tiger Nuns” are rolling over in their graves. Father Time will literally solve the problem in fairly short order.

    • Tim

      These ladies ARE part of the Church. And the Church is moving more and more in their direction. It is you who will be left behind.

      • Art Deco

        Left behind where? These women are members of congregations of soon-to-be-nursing-home-residents. The younger cohorts are tiny. The septuagenarian nun I spoke to had seen in her order a 97% decline in annual professions.

      • Interested

        Confused.

      • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

        Unless someone quickly discovers a way to permanently turn off the aging gene, everything you write about these gals is nonsense.

        • Art Deco

          What he says has this strange vibe about it, repeating generations-old tropes as if he’d thought them up today.

      • fredx2

        I suppose it soothes you to believe that, but when Pope Francis starts telling us that the universe is becoming conscious, then I will believe you

      • leoni bernard

        These ladies have rejected the teachings of the Church. Thereby, they have placed themselves outside the church. That would more or less also place them in the category of heretics, no?
        Surely, prophecy has revealed there would be a time when Rome would become the play-ball of the devil. He is waging war against the church. These ladies seem to be pitching their best stuff at the Church to destroy its very fabric. In this regard, it appears they are aiding the devil. Our Lord has promised the walls of hell will not prevail. In the end, the Church will triumph. Do not confuse the will of the world with the will of God.

      • windjammer

        Truth is never left behind. Regardless of the apostasy within the Church, Truth never changes. The LCWR reports directly to Rome. They remain part of the Church as long as Rome says so. They left in spirit a very long time ago. It’s just a question of when their nonsense will be stopped by Rome. Their latest stunt is getting them just about there.

  • DarkFriar

    It’s time for the Vatican to take stronger measures against these women. I don’t like to call them women religious because there is nothing religious about them. Excommunicate them. Let them speak outside of the Church, not as representatives of members inside the Church.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      I think I might be inclined towards a more tolerant, patient view, provided that the Church speaks unequivocally about the heterodoxy of their views and declares that they have zero authority to teach. For God, everything is in the present moment, including the moment these women decided, long ago, to dedicate their lives to Christ. Just why and how they went off the rails is a tough question, and the periti of Vatican II will surely have to bear some of the blame for it. Let these poor old women die off with as much dignity as possible. They and their order will be forgotten soon enough.

      • leoni bernard

        They have done much damage, pretending to be members of a church they wish to annihilate. Excommunication will clarify where their anti-church ideas stand.

    • fredx2

      No need to excommunicate them. They are merely confused, and perhaps a gentle series of discussions with the CDF will get them to understand that much of what they say is nonsense. I am sure there are some good people there, just completely off base right now.
      It is only by talking among themselves and old line feminists that they can can come to seriously believe any of this gobbledegook. One they have to talk to others with other ideas, perhaps some minds will change.

      • Art Deco

        Let go of his leg.

        • fredx2

          Never underestimate the power of a person to change.

  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    “By their fruits you shall know them.” I had the great privilege this year to have as students two wonderful young women who long to enter religious orders. They are beautiful, joyful, confident, intelligent, feminine, and very orthodox. They would laugh gleefully at the suggestion that they are oppressed by the male hierarchy of the Church. In the 20 plus years I have been a professor at my current institution, I have personally seen more vocations among my own students than the Sisters of St. Joseph have received since Vatican II. (No, I am not claiming any role in their vocations. I have just been a happy spectator to a parade of beautiful souls.)

    • Objectivetruth

      Beautiful…..!

  • armamentalist

    Just because someone is a nun, it does not necessarily mean that they are a nun of the above. Down below has nuns too.

  • kmk

    Please ladies, instead of taking advantage of the awesome experience of being a nun, go start your own religion. I so appreciate the many authentic nuns that I know. They all wear habits and they all exhibit a glow of true joy that only comes from obedience to God.

  • sakostiuk

    Perhaps Archbishop Sartain could make a larger impact on the August, 2014 meeting of the LCWR’s honoring of Sister Elizabeth Johnson by his absence. Just a thought!

  • Tim

    Pope Francis needs to step in and sort this out. I hope he supports Kasper, his favorite theologian and one who says he “esteems” Elizabeth Johnson, rather than Mueller. It is discouraging that no bishop has yet been disciplined for covering up child sex abuse, while Mueller openly rebuked the LCWR for rewarding Elizabeth Johnson. It is also disappointing to read the ugly tone in some of the comments. The sisters are described as shrews, un-feminine, old, insubordinate, clad in plaid, etc. It is pretty clear that, to many, it doesn’t matter that the sisters have a point. They are women, so it is assumed they must be slapped into place. This is the ugliest, most bullying side of patriarchy. I hope Pope Francis refuses to allow it to continue and that the bulk of the laity makes a stand on behalf of the nuns.

    • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

      Yes, the sisters have a point, and it is heretical. Woman and men who have orthodox points are not “slapped down.” This has nothing to do with gender. (By the way, I fully share your outrage that no bishops have been disciplined for abetting child rape. I would put a lot of them in prison if it were up to me. But the two issues are totally unrelated.)

      • Art Deco

        I would put a lot of them in prison if it were up to me.

        Bishop Moynihan of Syracuse was consecrated in 1995. Over the next six years, somewhat north of 15 accusations against priests landed on his desk. In 2002 and 2003, north of 50 accusations landed on his desk. That’s north of 65 accusations, most of the concerning supposed events which occurred prior to 1980 and only three which concerned events after 1990. How was he ‘abetting child rape’? (And, while we are at it, the share of these accusations which concerned rape – as opposed to genital fondling – was in the low single digits).

        • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

          Alright, good points. I suppose “rape” is technically, medically not the right word. But when a family has suffered from clerical sexual abuse (as has mine) it is very difficult to remain objective. The damage is incredible, long-lasting, and I am quite convinced the American bishops still do not “get it.” I have had some extraordinarily bizarre correspondence with bishops to prove that.

          • Art Deco

            I do not doubt that you have. The thought-world of ecclesiastical brass and their camarilla (see Bp. Grahmann) makes little sense to me.

            That having been said, the vast majority of accusations against priests were very dated when they were received and difficult to verify or refute. A conscientious bishop was bound to make a great many mistakes. Syracuse had an abnormally high rate of accusation against priests, but not much of an episcopal scandal. The resources the media and the courts could command may be one reason, but I think the main one was that Bp. Harrison adopted a policy in 1980 (at a time when there had been few accusations) of putting accused priests on ice. You just did not have fodder for newspaper articles about Fr. Feely running the circuit from parish A to St. Luke’s or Jamez Springs to parish B.

    • Interested

      People react to extreme propaganda. They know nonsense when they see and hear it. To deny the obvious is dishonest. The sisters are way over the line. We are supposed to be Catholic. The means we accept Christvthrough His Church on His terms. Relativism, utilitarianism, Gnosticism, and all the rest is not compatible with the faith.

  • Dorothy

    Historically, it’s a long time since bishops can be considered theologians. They are administrators, mainly, and as such are of course concerned by any movement that would seem to threaten their authority. Theologians, on the other hand, are always seeking to expand and deepen our understanding of who God is and how we can relate to God. It would be nice if the Church administrators would listen and think about what they see the sisters developing, rather than trying to pack them back into the boxes the Church has set up for our theological thinking. Not everyone is interested in expanding and deepening, but it’s totally unreasonable, after all these years of change and growth, to think that we already know all there is to know about God and creation and our place in the universe. It’s nice to have neat “facts” to teach children and less thinking types, but the Church has to by now know that they cause themselves, and therefore us, trouble by proclaiming that they already know the whole truth about God.

    • Carl

      “Church has…caused….trouble by proclaiming that they already know the whole truth about God”
      Ahem…what version of the Bible do you own??
      Matt 16:18-19 Jesus gives Peter the keys to the kingdom
      Matt 18:17 Treat those who don’t listen to the Church as tax collectors
      Luke 10:16 “listens to you, listens to me”
      1Tim 4:11 “command and teach these things”
      Matt 28:18-20 “all power in heaven and on earth has been given to me”
      Matt18:18-20 binding and loosening authority
      2 Thess 3:14-15 admonish them as brothers who don’t listen

      • M

        Carl, the Church has always adapted in the face of new scholarship. That’s why we have theologians. It’s also why we have brains. I’m not hearing anyone complaining about male theologians, and I’m not hearing anyone explain why highly educated nuns should be “subordinate” to what Dorothy correctly describes as “administrators.”

        • Carl

          Well as a proud card carrying Masculinist member, my father was a masculinist member, as his father, as are my two sons, three grandsons! LOL

          “I’m not hearing anyone complaining about male theologians” Really? Well it started will Luther and Calvin and now we have, what?, thirty thousand denominations? Many of whom ordain women and homosexuals.
          The vicar of Christ speaks ex cathedra on faith and morals not theologians—they’re down the food chain.
          Faith and Morals never change because of “new scholarship” unless your protestant!

        • Carl

          And what you call “subordinate to administrators” I call [unfaithful to the magisterium].

          • M

            Muller is not “the Magisterium.” Cardinal Walter Kasper is closer to the real leadership of the Church as he is close to Pope Francis. Why should his words of support for the LCWR and his gibe at Muller’s “narrower views” have less authority than Muller’s?

            • Art Deco

              Because one of them is prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the other is retired from a job running the Vatican’s oecumenical wheel-spinning apparatus.

    • Interested

      Thinking poorly is not deep or profound. It may be contemporary, but what good is it if it is wrong?

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  • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

    I’ll be impressed the day that some of these nuns stop dissenting, and become pro-life.

    • susanwho

      I am trying to understand their level of thinking as it is impossible to rationalize it. But since nuns’ exposure to some of the everyday horrors of life is severely limited, I can only think that since they are not in the business of ‘reproductive’ anything, they have bought and still are buying the lie that ‘its just a mass of tissue’. 9 out of 10 nuns to whom I’ve spoken watch NPR thinking it is ‘objective’. I would love for them to view an abortion at 25 weeks via sonogram. Perhaps that would convince them that life trumps social justice.

      • http://outsidetheautisticasylum.blogspot.com/ Theodore Seeber

        Life and social justice are the same issue. Social Justice without being against abortion is unjust.

  • http://connecticutcatholiccorner.blogspot.com/ CT Catholic Corner

    It shouldn’t have taken this long. The FIRST time they refused to listen the Vatican should have said “YOU ARE EXCOMMUNICATED!”. Strip them of their religious vows and tell them they are excommunicated until they repent and submit to Church Authority by accepting the official Teachings of the Church. Remove ALL HERETICS from God’s Holy Catholic Church!

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  • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

    I had a hilarious conversation with a Sr. of St. Joseph many years ago, way back when my wife and I had only the first five of our eventual nine children. A mutual colleague, a college administrator, introduced me to the sister at a conference. He presented me as “an old friend from graduate school who has five kids already.” (I was about 32 years old at the time.) Sr. Polyester launched into me immediately: “I’ll bet you think a woman’s place is in the home, don’t you?!” To which I replied calmly: “Why yes, as a matter of fact I do.” But before she could launch her next torpedo, I continued: “…and a man’s place is in the home, too. In fact, that’s where I wish I were right now, with my wife and kids. But unfortunately, one of us has to leave home every day to earn a living. My wife told me years ago that there was no way in heck she would do that, so I have to do it.” Sr. Pantsuit wasn’t buying it: “I’ll bet you never lift a finger around the house!” When I assured her that I had changed countless diapers, routinely helped with the laundry and the dishes (as did the two oldest kids) and could cook well enough to handle it when my wife needed a break, the good sister could find nothing to fall back on, except the irresponsibility using Natural Family Planning! When I assured her we had no plan whatsoever, natural or otherwise, she just shook her gray mane and ambled off, muttering under her breath.

    • TheAbaum

      I think I’d have said something about her place being in a home-a home for the terminally presumptuous.

    • Objectivetruth

      Home run……great story, Tim!

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  • Tony

    The idea that the Vatican is pickin’ on little ol’ heretical sisters is pretty comical. They’ve been given a pass for forty years! Partly it is because men are not actually inclined to be aggressive against women or even in the presence of women. Think about it. Despite the obvious opportunities, men direct most of their violence against other men; men are far more likely to be the victims of felony crime than women are. Most men still believe that a man who raises his hand in anger against a woman is less than the filth on the bottom of your shoe when you’ve walked through a pigsty. That disinclination to be violent shows up also as a disinclination to get into any kind of “fight,” intellectual, verbal, social, political, organizational, or otherwise.
    I’ve seen this phenomenon at work in academe for a very long time. I’m confident that most of our bishops have long thought that the LCWR were a bunch of self-satisfied Gnostic heretics running their orders right into the ground, but have not wanted to call them out on it, because they knew they would immediately look like bullies, and besides, nobody any longer pays attention to those women. Very different was the hierarchy’s reaction to the male-dominated SSPX, and to the male-dominated liberation theologians in Central America, in the early years of Saint John Paul II’s reign.

    But the crucial thing here is that the nuns have abandoned any commitment to the Catholic faith — and, some of them, to any recognizable form of the Christian faith. If, for example, you refuse to call God “Father,” I do not see how you can claim that you worship the Son.

    I note that Jesus never says that we should defer obedience until we understand everything. He says precisely the opposite. He says that if we obey his commandments, the Father will give us light.

  • http://rosarynovice.stblogs.com/ Augustine

    Sadly, it seems to me that many religious orders were suffering from acedia when VII asked them to reform. In that state of mind and heart and soul, they decided to institutionalize their acedia in reforming their orders. It’s perhaps so ingrained now, that there’s not only a way back, but that there now is an intentional movement outside the Church, away from Christ.

    But the Holy Spirit is wise. Wherever He is, there are fruits, good fruits; where He is not, there is sterility. I think that this is how He protects the Church, by withdrawing fruitfulness from branches that have withered.

    May He have mercy on them, for they are not on the road to Conscious Evolution, but to perdition.

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  • hombre111

    I was so deeply moved by the loving, Christlike tone of this piece. Actually, the reader should look up the LCWR’s carefully worded response to the cardinal and archbishop. No defiance, no teenage rebellion there. Simply the wish to talk to the big shots, adult to adult.
    I attended my sister’s 50th. at St. Mary’s, next to the Notre Dame campus, and stayed at the guest house in the imposing Holy Cross Sister complex. Each morning, I had the chance to eat breakfast with some of the leaders of this order, who had come to a meeting from different parts of the world. I was impressed by their wisdom. No teenage rebels in sight. Just thoughtful, extremely intelligent women who would pose a grave threat to any hierarch impressed with himself and his unhindered power.
    The Cardinal’s snit with conscious evolution caused me to look it up on Google. I think the sisters are on to something. Physically, how much can we evolve, unless it is to develop wings and fly. But on the level of consciousness? It is already happening, as Chardin observed. In my lifetime, I have watched the death of colonialism, the Civil Rights Movement, a growing repulsion against war, a deepening sense of the dignity of women, the slow demise of the death penalty, and on and on. The hierarchy is upset because these ideas have unfolded without its permission. As with democracy and freedom of religion, the Church has been dragged, kicking and screaming, toward the future. One day, it will do what Pope John Paul tried to do: Take credit for human progress when it was the long voice of dissent.

    • Tim

      Thank you for your humanity, sanity, and realism, Father. Catholic scholarship is not dead, praise the Lord!

      • Carl

        Code word alert:
        catholic scholarship = Catholic Dissension

        • Interested

          100%

      • Interested

        Insanity you mean .

      • Art Deco

        You realize

        1. He’s a regular here; and

        2. Everyone here who reads his words is well aware that he is commonly quite distant from any of those descriptors.

        • Objectivetruth

          After decades of thought and decision, hombre has effectively reduced his version of the Catholic Catechism to about 12 pages. Also, he has watered down the Ten Commandments to “3-5 Reccomendations.” Thankfully for all of us, Christ corrected His mistake with Peter in Matthew 16 and has rightly given the ability to “bind and loose” to Blessed hombre111 of the church of self authority.

        • Tim

          Thanks, but I can parse his words myself and I find him compelling. Courteous and patient too.

          • Art Deco

            Uh huh. His usual activity consists of historical reference: making a retrospective case for a variety of flagitious characters. Anyone will do: Ho Chih Minh and Saddam Hussein have had their turn. Another is sticking St. John Paul with the bill for social phenomena manifest in the Church a decade and a half before he ever sat on the Chair of Peter. I take it you find historical fiction ‘compelling’.

    • Carl

      What a bunch of malarkey!
      Death of Colonialism? How about Putin and radical Islam. Or closer to home, Mexico’s annexation of Western United States?
      Civil Rights movement is being turned into Christian witch hunting, Dan Cathy, Phil Robertson. No Christians allowed. Small minorities “rights” becomes the majorities loss.
      Repulsion against war? Where’s the outrage against droning civilians, Islamic terrorism at historic levels, Syria, N. Korea, Egypt…
      Demise of the Death Penalty? Really? Worldwide the abortion death penalty is unmatched in world history!!!!!!!!!!!
      Ecumenism with non-Christians? Are you serious? Radical Islam will kill us at any chance they can get! How’s evangelization going in Asia?
      Dignity for women? #saveourgirls
      I can agree that human dignity for sinners has improved but many times at the expense of “loving the sin” along with the sinner—which is wrong.
      Church Hierarchy should except democracy, freedom of conscience/religion, and should be dragged kicking and screaming? Wow! You want socialism not Catholicism.
      I truly hope you’re impersonating a Priest, if a Priest espoused this garbage in my diocese I would be relentless until you were removed.

      • hombre111

        Tsk. Read this rant if you want to see someone who is a) Not calm. b) Not rational.

        • carl

          The Myans of Mexico were boy scouts compared to just the United States in human sacrifice! (abortion)

          • hombre111

            Good point if you want to look at a cup that is half empty. But if you want to think of a cup that is half full, think of the stubborn Catholic conviction that keeps the immorality of abortion front and center. The pro-abortion folks thought that, after enough time had passed, they would win the day. But the anti-abortion people continue to touch the American conscience.

            • Carl

              No, the culture of death’s cup over floweth.

              Evangelium Vitae, 104 “Mary thus helps the Church to realize that life is always at the centre of a great struggle between good and evil, between light and darkness.”

              False again, Abortion was instituted by US Supreme Court, and until we stack the court like the culture of did then it can’t be overturned. Just like homosexual marriage the court system through liberal judges are creating law not the people.

              And why do you make capital punishment “front and center?” To ease your conscience that almost a million unborn babies die every year while less than 40 die every year by execution? Capital punishment is not even against Church teaching while all forms of abortion is.

              You appear to be gloating about the culture of death victories.

              • hombre111

                ????? Capital punishment. Read my post again. I said, with approval, that pro-life refused to go away, and continues to confront America. And pro-life has stacked the Supreme Court with five out of nine conservative justices. Unfortunately, the Repubs played pro-life for suckers. Reagan talked the talk and did next to nothing. As with succeeding Repub presidents. They got their men on the court, but they put them there to represent Big Money. With its current majority, the Court has managed to skirt dealing with Roe, although it has found time for guns and making money into free speech. They will avoid the issue again, this term.

            • carl

              “the stubborn Catholic conviction that keeps the immorality of abortion front and center”

              A complete mischaracterization of Church Teaching and probable misinterpretation of Pope Francis.

              Evangelium Vitae, 90. ” Here it must be noted that it is not enough to remove unjust laws. The underlying causes of attacks on life have to be eliminated, especially by ensuring proper support for families and motherhood.”

              Establish the whole truth, their is no “front and center.” Just like “social justice,” is not front and center in the Social Doctrine teaching, its not even one of the four main pillars of Social Doctrine. Common good, subsidiarity, solidarity, human dignity.

              If there is a front and center I would defer to Jesus, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

              Do this and everything else should fall into place.

              • hombre111

                Not bad. I stand corrected.

    • Interested

      Rebellion and lies are not from God.

    • ForChristAlone

      I do have one theory about why you missed observing these nuns teenage rebellion.

      • hombre111

        Did you read their response? They have always spoken with great respect and circumspection. No defiance. Simply the language of an adult trying to deal with an adult. The Cardinal, by contrast, spoke like a nagging parent. If you know anything about Transactional Analysis, you will realize that the Sisters are the adults in this conversation. Pope Francis has it figured out, as well. But the Curia and many a hierarch? They try to be parents speaking to children, and wonder why they are not respected.

        • Art Deco

          If you know anything about Transactional Analysis,

          Yet another secular-culture fad from 1970.

          • hombre111

            Which you obviously know nothing about.

            • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

              When someone says “I have moved beyond Christ,” I stop listening. I just move on.

              • Interested

                Kinda like saying one has moved beyond thinking.

              • Tim

                Except of course that’s not what she said! At least get your facts right before trying to form an opinion. What she said was that SOME have “moved beyond Christ” in that they still retain reverence for the Gospels, but they also find wisdom in other religions. This is not very different to what Pope Francis has been saying lately.

                • Interested

                  You think the Pope endorses stupidity like “moving beyond Christ”? Such absurdity.

                • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

                  Is this supposed to be a correction of what I said? If so, take another swing pal. You whiffed badly this time!

                • Art Deco

                  This is not very different to what Pope Francis has been saying lately.

                  In your dreams.

            • Art Deco

              A piece of advice from Mortimer Adler: not every book is worth a line-by-line read, even those with some residual value. A piece from a lapsed librarian: libraries are great cemeteries of the world’s mediocre literature (or sub-mediocre). Still, if any of the young people are interested, it’s here:

              http://www.amazon.com/Im-OK-Youre-OK-Thomas-Harris/dp/0060724277

              • hombre111

                Transactional analysis touches on perpetual themes that are part of human emotions and mindset: Adult, nurturing parent, nagging parent, not OK child, and OK child. It offers insight into much of the conversation appearing on these threads. I have used this approach for many years to help people understand family misunderstandings and their own personal struggles. While not couched in technical psychological jargon, it offers the ordinary person an insight into what is going on. What often appears are “crossed transactions.” A person will offer a carefully reasoned, adult insight, and will receive, in turn, “In your dreams”, or “what a bunch of malarkey!” An adult speaks, and a not OK child or a nagging parent responds.

                • Art Deco

                  I get it. You bought the book. Andrew Greeley fancied Erik Erikson. Others fancied Alvin Toffler. Snooze.

                  • hombre111

                    I took the course. Because I have to counsel so many people, I have studied a number of approaches. For instance, with the young women that I visit in prison, I use cognitive therapy. I also use the Meyers Briggs, the Enneagram, Brian Hall, and Walter Kunkel. Since you work with numbers, none of this would be your game.

                    • Art Deco

                      Because I have to counsel so many people,

                      I take it your diocese does not select for quality.

                      I use cognitive therapy.

                      Something you likely should not do without about seven years of academic study and clinical training.

                    • hombre111

                      The not OK child checks in. Except to note the fact, I choose to respond to adults.

          • Interested

            Hey man, like peace. Sock it to me, man.

    • Perry Turchi

      Spoken like a true descendant of the French revolutionaries.

    • Perry Turchi

      écrasez l’infâme!

  • Ruth Rocker

    Well, it’s about time. Now if we could get the USCCB and/or the Vatican to address the openly defiant “Catholic” politicians in this country, we’d definitely be getting somewhere. Allowing this kind of public defiance does no good for the Church at all.

  • MgW

    i keep thinking of Acts 5:38, where St Luke has Gamaliel saying of the new Christians, ….
    And now, therefore, I say to you, refrain from these men, (errrrr women, ) and let them alone; for if this council or this work be of men, it will come to nought;

    I think this is a good way to deal with this situation. because let’s face it, no one in the hierarchy of the Church is going to publicly silence these women as much as everyone wants them to, for whatever reason, it just isn’t going to happen. The LCWR is really is a political and worldly organization, so the children of Christ, will naturally be repelled by it because it is not the voice of Our Good Shepherd. It is the voice of “the world”, and the Sheep of Christ will not have anything to do with it. This is a time where all men’s (and women’s) hearts are being laid bare! See? yes! Now we see!

  • Micha Elyi

    Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, a Fordham University theologian who has… (grave) doctrinal errors in her book…

    Fordham is Jesuit. Has the Pope suppressed the Jesuits yet? If not now, when?

    • Art Deco

      When there isn’t a Jesuit sitting on the Chair of Peter. Given how frequently they manage to ordain anyone in this country, the census of the North American provinces should make it down to about 1,000 or so several decades from now (half of whom are quaffing Deanston’s and buggering each other).

  • tom

    Sister Mary Dipsticks. They’d do great bagging groceries at the local Wal Mart. You know they love Hillary, too.

  • Tony

    The correct response to the accusation, “You do not hold with the Church’s teachings, even on the divine Person of Christ,” is, if the accusation is false, “We surely do, but we are willing to clear up any confusion, and if we have indeed erred in any serious matter, we should very much like to be corrected.” That was essentially Flannery O’Connor’s response to a question about the Index. It was like her response to Mary McCarthy’s flip statement that the Eucharist was only a symbol. “If it’s only a symbol,” said that wry young observer of human flummery, “then to hell with it.” If her works were to be judged as injurious to the faith, then let them be so judged, she said — it was not her province to judge those matters beforehand. Flannery O’Connor is probably the greatest short story writer in English — a Dostoyevsky in miniature. She was a genius, and she was obedient.

  • antonsdatter

    I’m just curioius where these LCWR get all their money — big conventions in Florida, Nashville, etc. It costs quite a lot to hold these meetings, plus transporting, housing, and feeding the attendees.

    I also wonder what constructive “work” they actually do so that they can maintain themselves. Where are these 40,000 members of the LCWR? Teaching and nursing sisters are few and far between these days. I’ve read that a group funded by George Soros is the monetary benefactor for “Nuns on the Bus.” Is he behind this LCWR group as well?

    • Interested

      They have moved beyond money.

    • Art Deco

      I may be in error, but I seem to recall that “Catholics for a Free Choice” was a project of the Ford Foundation.

  • lmk

    The trouble is that some use this to blame church for the errors and sin of some people! Prayer is needed.

  • vahillbilly4

    what about excommunication?

  • Paul

    …what would saint teresa of calcutta do?

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