The Latest Vatican Critique of U.S. Nuns

Her hands were impossibly clean. Her habit smelled of sunshine. Sr. Cyrena Harkins, RSM was the principal of St. Richard’s School and the sculptor of my early Catholic formation. When our baby brother was badly burned, the sisters at St. Dominic’s hospital nursed him back to health. Later, in another state, the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa added to the certainty that “Jesus loves you because I’m here to show you so.” Millions of Catholics have similar happy memories of America’s religious sisters. Today, millions more have rarely seen a sister in a school or hospital or soup kitchen.

Last December, the Church released its five year study of American women religious. The inquiry was prompted by concerns of a “secularist mentality.” In the turbulent decades since the 1970s many religious congregations faltered; some failed altogether.

Anyone familiar with the heart wrenching destruction of the IHM Sisters of California by Rogerian psychological experiments knows of the pressure that many vowed women suffered. The Second Vatican Council was viewed by some as an invitation to dismantle religious discipline in search of new “structures.” Others were simply victims—as were many lay people—of the culture war that still rages today.

By the 1990s a virulent wave of dissent engulfed most of the houses of women religious. Prominent professors and “femilogians” openly espoused new theologies. Sister Sandra Schneiders, a professor of New Testament Studies at Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, author of New Wineskins: Re-Imagining Religious Life Today told a conference of dissidents “Scripture is violently sexist—the problem is in the texts” and, “we reject a woman made from man, subject to man….”

Lured by FutureChurch and other heterodox organizations, “self-actualization,” “sensitivity training” and new-age trans-humanist horizons, too many women marched out of their convents and into the chaos.

The loss to the sisters themselves and to the Catholic community is incalculable. A Pew Research project reports that from its peak of 180,000 sisters in 1965 (16 percent of the world’s religious women), American women religious today are numbered at only 50,000, despite a national population growth of 100 million souls.

New vocations do sprout in those congregations that managed fidelity to their original charisms. But far too many are troubled by internal divisions or have derailed into dissenting camps with an outward mission of “peace and justice” that has scant focus on Jesus Christ. It’s little wonder that the latter group attracts few vocations. More often than not, the image of women religious today is an elderly woman demanding “women’s ordination” or an angry feminist theologian whose theological writings spurn all authority.

Enter Rome. In 2008, after years of soto voce exchanges, the Church announced an official investigation: The Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America. Its stated purpose was “to look into the quality of the life of religious women in the United States” under the guidance of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL). Visitations are described as part of normal governance to “evaluate an ecclesiastical entity in order to assist the group in question to improve the way in which it carries out its mission in the life of the Church.”

CICLSAL understood that the investigation would cause some discomfort:

We initiated the Visitation because of our awareness that apostolic religious life in the United States is experiencing challenging times. Although we knew that any initiative of this magnitude would have its imperfections, we wished to gain deeper knowledge of the contributions of the women religious to the Church and society as well as those difficulties which threaten the quality of their religious life and, in some cases, the very existence of the institutes.

The visitations spanned three years and included evaluations of nearly 400 houses. The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life selected an American, Mother Mary Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., as the Visitator.   A “sister-to-sister” model was suggested.

Mother Millea and her team made on-site visits to twenty-five percent of the institutes and conducted a comprehensive questionnaire of major superiors. Data gathered included details of communal and spiritual life and ministry work. The evaluations included members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) who represent eighty percent of American women religious, and the newer Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR). Cloistered communities were exempt.

In 2009, one year after the announcement of the Apostolic Visitation, a separate inquiry into LCWR alone was initiated by Rome. It is unclear whether or not preliminary reports from the Visitation conducted by Mother Millea revealed issues particular to LCWR that required this additional level of investigation.

More likely, the known irregularities within LCWR were legion. This includes years of open, public dissent from Church teaching; thus a deeper investigation and plan for reform of LCWR was needed.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued its Doctrinal Assessment to LCWR in 2012 including mandates for reform of its statutes and by-laws. The Assessment was reconfirmed by Pope Francis in 2013. Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle oversees this renewal effort. Thus far the LCWR has rejected the reforms.

Cardinal Muller, prefect of the CDF, frankly acknowledged that tension in April of 2014 during a meeting with LCWR leadership. “We are aware that, from the beginning, LCWR Officers judged the Doctrinal Assessment to be ‘flawed and the findings based on unsubstantiated accusations.’ ” Incredibly, the LCWR’s choice of speakers for their recent meetings—in particular St. Joseph sister Elizabeth Johnson whose writings have received criticism from the USCCB’s doctrine committee—violated the requirements such that Cardinal Muller judged it an “open provocation against the Holy See….”

This Doctrinal Assessment and required reforms (still not accepted by LCWR) are not part of the December 2014 report on the Apostolic Visitation. One wonders if secular publications understand that there are two separate inquiries into American women religious. Before the Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation was issued in December, several outlets predicted an authoritarian male dominance stance toward America’s consecrated women. Once the Report was published, these same outlets applauded it as an “olive branch” or “conciliatory” in tone or even as Pope Francis’ gentle hand balancing the heavy hand of the CDF. The Economist wrote that the Report represented a reversal of Pope Benedict’s “castigating tone” to Pope Francis’s “supportive” approach. Those who assume that Pope Francis would “support” a feminist-focused life for women religious have overlooked his plain statement, “I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of female machismo because a woman has a different make-up than a man.”

The sisters themselves rejoiced when the Report was received. The findings praise consecrated women for their courage and selflessness. It highlights the contributions they’ve made to American history, especially in education and healthcare. There is a clear concern for the dearth of vocations which threaten the survival of some institutes: “Some institutes reported that they have suspended vocation efforts for a variety of reasons, the most common being the declining membership….”

Interestingly, the Report observes what to many members of LCWR must be a painful truth,

Vocation and formation personnel interviewed noted that candidates often desire the experience of living in formative communities and many wish to be externally recognizable as consecrated women. This is a particular challenge in institutes whose current lifestyle does not emphasize these aspects of religious life.

There is also a pointed note against an eco-pantheism. In an era where new-age mysticism tantalizes many, the Report warns,

Caution is to be taken not to displace Christ from the center of creation and of our faith. Truly, the Word of God is the one through whom the cosmos is created and sustained in being since “all things have been created through him and for him, and he is before all things, and in him all things have their being” (cf. Col. 1:16f). This Dicastery calls upon all religious institutes to carefully review their spiritual practices and ministry to assure that these are in harmony with Catholic teaching about God, creation, the Incarnation and the Redemption.

Significantly, the section on prayer calls on communities to “evaluate their actual practice of liturgical and common prayer. We ask them to discern what measures need to be taken to further foster the sisters’ intimate relationship with Christ and a healthy communal spirituality based on the Church’s sacramental life and sacred Scripture.”

The Report is appreciative and tender; it certainly does not “castigate.” Yet, it does not gloss over the difficulties facing women religious. Nor does it pretend that those who have strayed from authentic prayer and communal life can go their own way—and survive.

Perhaps it is wisdom that the Report stops short of directives. It favors language such as “This Congregation asks…” and urges “evaluation” where changes are clearly intended. Unlike the direct reforms required in the LCWR Assessment, the Report reflects the Congregation’s expectation that consecrated women will welcome the path to a renewed vocational life lived in communion with the Church.

¤   ¤   ¤   ¤

Postscript: The Church has called for a celebration of a Year of Consecrated Life, November 30, 2014 to conclude on February 2, 2016, World Day of Consecrated Life.

(Photo credit: Sr. Elizabeth Johnson photographed in August 2014 by NCR reporter Dan Stockman at the LCWR conference in Nashville.)

Mary Jo Anderson

By

Mary Jo Anderson is a Catholic journalist and public speaker. She has been a frequent guest on "Abundant Life," an EWTN television program, and her "Global Watch" radio program is heard on EWTN radio affiliates nationwide. She writes regularly for Crisis Magazine. More articles and commentary can be found at Properly Scared and at Women for Faith and Family. Mary Jo is a board member of Women for Faith and Family and has served on the Legatus Board of Directors. With co-author Robin Bernhoft, she wrote "Male and Female He Made Them: Questions and Answers about Marriage and Same-Sex Unions," published in 2005 by Catholic Answers. In 2003 Mary Jo was invited to the Czech Republic to address parliamentarians on the Impact of Radical Feminism on Emerging Democracies.

  • ForChristAlone

    Let the LCWR communities defend themselves against this accusation: They reject Jesus Christ because God became man in the form of a male. I am waiting to hear that they do not.

    (And Elizabeth Johnson needs to use far less rouge on her cheeks and toss out the designer glasses)

    • jacobhalo

      I took a theology class a couple of years ago. The sister (you would never know it by the way that she dressed) handed out a syllabus which stated that the bible was to be a feminized interpretation. I didn’t know what they meant, and I didn’t ask. I just never returned for another class.

  • samnigromd

    This is SUGGESTIBILITY at its worst–the impact of communications explosion for which the Church was not prepared. The nuns were turned SELFISH…robotile selfish…

    A
    Suggestibility Prevention Program—

    Not true, not one, not good, not beautiful?

    FORGETABOUTIT!”

    by: Samuel A. Nigro,
    M.D.

    April, 2008

    ABSTRACT:

    Fifty years of information
    technology has overwhelmed the Church’s traditional role as the source
    of all that is true, one, good and beautiful. Therefore, Original Sin prevails
    as humans have been proven to be gullible and suggestible about anything if it
    is packaged sensationally. Suggestibility Prevention Programs can help
    everyone understand ways to cope with antitranscendental messages flooding us.
    The soul is analyzed transcendentally, and reference material is provided to
    help all, especially youths, to not be so suggestible and gullible. Until this
    is done, the Church will always come in second to the suggestibility experts of
    current information technology

    (If not with this article, mentioned
    reference material will be provided upon request from Sam@DocNigro.com. Just
    ask for “And Satan Turned Into An Angel of Light”, for “YUK the Press and
    Media,” for Chapter 12 on “Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Virtues and Sin” from my
    book Happy Ending, for “The Ten Commandments of CounterSecularization,”
    for the poster “Why Burn A Flag When You Can Burn A Newspaper,” for “The
    Journalism Ethics and Public Service Award,” for “Ideas: You Are What You
    Think,” and for “The Lack Of Survival Stress.” )

    Problems today for the Roman Catholic
    Church devolve to one major sin of omission:
    the failure to adjust and cope with information technology, a
    problem first addressed in 1994 by my pamphlet “And Satan Turned Into An Angel
    Of Light.” The problem persists. One report says that one-third of raised
    Catholics do not remain in the Church, while the dearth of vocations to
    priesthood and religious life speaks for itself…and the reason is that the five
    decade culture of information technology suggests (seduces to) other ways of
    thinking and living (“Seduction” is almost always equivalent to
    “suggestibility” in this article).
    Indeed, with the flood of messages and suggestions from the world wide
    web, one hardly knows what to read much less what to believe.

    To counter this, I now offer a Suggestibility
    Prevention Program, not to stop suggestibility itself which would be
    impossible, but to help all learn to avoid being suggested to evil i.e., to
    avoid being seduced to sensationalism, emotion, unreason, fantasy and non-being
    by the mass media of pretendvision (television, movies and internet) and of
    liarpresses (the liberal press) all without allegiance to much more than
    disgust, death, sex, and evil (the pursuit of non-being).

    The contemporary press and media are
    generally nothing more than suggestibility machines and manipulation gadgets,
    used to get people to believe and do what the owners of the press and media
    want and are willing to accept. Those in
    charge of these mind control monstrosities are usually “liberals” meaning they
    are relativists i.e., open-minded for anything except that which they really do
    not like, at which time they become fascists causing the named “Free Flow Of
    Information Act” to be a joke. But
    “suggestibility,” their suggesting, is the name of the game, and their
    brutal intolerance of that with which they disagree is never seen as
    self-contradictory and self-discrediting to their eager so-called openness
    (liberalness) to all things.

    Actually, suggestibility is proof of the
    Bible story of Adam and Eve. The serpent
    suggested (advertised, sold) the idea that they would be like God and live
    forever if they ate the forbidden fruit when, without realizing, they already
    were made in the “image and likeness of God” and if living rightly would
    already live forever. Thus, as
    satanically suggested, they made the wrong choice and broke the up to
    then automatic transcendental existence for all humanity. “Choosing wrong” became possible, and suggestibility
    (the convincing of another by rhetorical power), first offered in the biblical
    story, became part of human nature, also proving that some myths are true. Basically, Original Sin continues as man’s suggestibility,
    and it haunts us day in and day out, especially with the advent of current
    slick information technology flooding us in our homes, cars, theaters and
    everywhere. Information technology is a
    “look at me”, “believe me,” “do what I show and tell” suggestibility contest
    (and, more often than not, if we see it, we will do it, proving Original
    Sin). Information technology today has
    only a facade of logic and cares little for “reality” except to occasionally
    claim it.

    It is evident that ever since Adam and Eve,
    humans have competed for what and whom to believe. We all offer suggestions, this paper being an
    example of such. However, being reminded
    that we are in a continuous showbiz circus of suggestions can reduce
    impulsiveness and thoughtlessness in making choices about what to believe and
    do. Further helpful is the truism that a
    major way to confirm the acceptability of any suggestion is that the ideas
    offered can be applied to themselves, something rarely true outside of what is
    compatable with Natural Law, the metaphysics of
    St. Thomas Aquinas and the Transcendentals.

    Given all that, it is time for Suggestibility
    Prevention Programs to help everyone understand that we are being suggested
    to, manipulated, and shamelessly influenced to believe and act in certain ways
    never more enticing, seductive, and slick than with and by the contemporary
    press and media imposing what is paid for and what is demanded by whoever is
    paying. Without proper understanding of
    this, people have been and will be suggested to do almost anything—from running
    around naked to running concentration camps and everything in between.

    Especially, youth and the immature are
    prone to be suggested into all sorts of anti-transcendental aspects of
    existence which do little for the common good and are against individual
    positive development. Finally, the
    flagrantly stupid self exposures rampant on the world wide web are
    unimpeachable proof of the need for Suggestibilty Prevention Programs. Something is clearly needed to better prepare
    all youths, including the college and university bound, for the pandemic of
    liberal assaults on life, family, country, God, and virtue.

    Twelve
    Elementary Suggestions to Prevent Suggestibilty

    Beginning in grade schools, calculated
    educational efforts and experiences need to be taught on a regular basis about
    “not being so suggestible or gullible.”
    Consistent with that, the following suggestions are made:

    1. A
    newspaper or media story would be brought in daily and reviewed with an effort
    to identify suggestions if not errors in the article and discern what the
    writer was trying to get you to believe and do.
    An atmosphere of healthy doubt will occur in the discussions of
    alternative ways of presenting and interpreting the information provided. The universal questions will be: Why is this information presented this way;
    what do they want you to buy; and is it junk food or junk ideas? These questions should be automatic with
    every statement in the press and media not only in newspapers but in what is
    seen in television, movies and on the internet.
    Make no mistake about it: Every
    word in the press and media has been chosen to suggest something to you.

    2. Suggestibility
    Prevention Commandments to be learned:

    1. Do not be so
    impressionable.

    2. Do not be so
    gullible.

    3. Do not be a
    “monkey see, monkey do copycat” – you are not a monkey.

    4. Celebrities are
    fakes. Actors are fakes. It takes them hours to look that way and they
    get paid to carry on like that. Consider
    none of it to be real. Be who you
    are. The seeking and promoting of
    non-being is evil unless known to be entertainment.

    5. Believe nothing
    on television, in movies, on internet or in newspapers without two
    confirmations. The most you can usually
    hope for is to be entertained.

    6. Do not believe,
    do anything, or imitate except what is true, one, good and beautiful no matter
    what is done, offered or believed by others.

    7. Materially, you
    are what you eat. But spiritually you
    are what you think and will become what
    you think and do … so think matter, identity, truth, oneness, good and
    beauty, and all will be well or better.

    8. In the long run
    you will get for eternity (in heaven, purgatory or hell) whatever you have
    thought and done … so think and do what is true, one, good, and
    beautiful. You are what you think, and
    you will get forever in justice in an afterlife what you think and do on earth
    as a reward or punishment as the case may be—so do what is transcendental so you
    will get what is transcendental!

    9. Boycott all
    antispiritual dehumanizing degrading anti-nature glitzy nonsense from the
    uncivilizing unreliable press and media.
    Do not spend your life doing, thinking, or promoting unreality or
    non-being.

    10. Do not be
    suggestible. You are not missing a thing.
    Do the transcendentals and avoid evil!

    These prevention
    commandments are to be learned and discussed thoroughly.

    3. On
    a monthly basis, review portions of “Satan Turned Into an Angel of Light…” so
    that the entire pamphlet is covered each year.

    4. On
    a quarterly basis, review portions of “Yuk, the Press and Media.” This book provides the vocabulary and
    imagery necessary to prevent the ethnic cleansing routinely offered by the
    slick press and media.

    5.
    Because of the flagrant exploitation of human sexuality, the dysphoric
    but exciting, the vulgar but sensuous, the antisocial but exhilarating, the
    destructive but satisfying, and the antiplanet but self-inflating sexuality
    imposed by the press and media, more than anything, needs defusing and reduced
    to elementary understanding in order for people not to be suggestible and not
    to have to imitate all the unnatural polluting crudities seen. Sex sensationalism will never be minimized
    so it must be defused by repetitive clarifications that, for all the animal
    kingdom of which man is a part, sex is for reproduction. Period.
    When not for reproduction, sex is animal cruelty, a form of excretion,
    or non-being. Any exceptions are
    isolated deviations readily discerned as abnormalities from environmentally
    sound nature. Thus, contemporary
    non-marital human sexuality flooding the world is behavioral pollution and,
    pure and simple, against the animal kingdom, the planet and nature. Non-reproductive sexuality is a form of
    excretion better known as “sexcretion,” which is to dediaper each other and
    bring one another to “squirt/moan” or “slime/squeal” anyway possible. Such sex polluting ideas are primarily due to
    the press and media suggesting ejaculation (a simple neurological reflex) and
    its anticipation as the ultimate all-encompassing life experience to vulnerable
    excitable suggestible people, especially youth.
    To offset that, the attached Addendum:
    “1 Page Suggestibilty Education And Sex Education For All People” needs
    yearly promulgation in all schools. To
    allow this simple ejaculation reflex to be supreme ruler of the brain and body
    is absolute idiocy even if everyone suggests that should be the case.

    6. Suggestibilty is made more salutary if the
    meaning of the soul is taught and reminded of daily as the personification of
    one’s Transcendentals. The soul is the
    personification of the permanent things in our existence. That is, all being at the human level
    needs Transcendental awareness and Transcendental projection because that is
    the only way to “save” our souls. All
    else, all else, is impermanent.

    The soul contains six discernible
    components of being known as Transcendentals: the embraced material
    substance (res), forming identity (aliquid), truth (verum),
    oneness (unum), good (bonum) and beauty (bella). To relate in tune with the universe and all
    Nature, to be Catholic encompassing all possible, to be genuinely free, and to
    “save one’s soul,” each of the six dimensions listed of the soul needs to be
    enthusiastically promoted and projected at all times. The Transcendentals are basic elements to genuine
    humanbeingness:

    1. The embraced-by-the-soul material substance (res)
    of one’s being must be fostered, cared for, and engaged in and with the world. Res is our body. It must be used. It is our matter and our organizing fathering
    capacity.

    2. One’s forming identity (aliquid) must
    be established and allowed full and free expression in confluence with the essence of humanity. Aliquid is the activating gentle
    mothering capacity, giving identity and essence to all.

    3. The truth (verum) of one’s being must
    be kept consistent, conforming and in social reality confluence with one’s
    self, one’s family, one’s community, one’s species, the planet and the
    universe.

    4. The oneness (unum) of a being is the
    unifying of desirables into a totality of being as oneself relates from family
    to the universe.

    5. The good (bonum) of one’s being must
    be projected in confluence with Natural Law.
    That is, Natural Law as it is perceived and understood must be followed
    and chosen. One must be environmentally
    sound not only in terms of the planet and nature but in terms of one’s own
    personal beingness as part of that environment.
    Human beings as individuals must be environmentally and behaviorally
    real and consistent with nature. Bonum
    is choosing transcendental work and life.

    6. One’s beauty (bella) must be projected
    in confluence with the uplifting dimension of being. That is, the best must be brought out in
    one’s self and in those capable of being influenced. Bella is the elevating and ascending of
    self and others.

    These six
    components of our souls, these Transcendentals (material substance, identity,
    truth, oneness, good and beauty), are how each human being needs to grasp the
    awareness of and to project in consciousness the transcendental embracing of
    all one deals with by intellect and will.
    In total, these six Transcendentals personified are one’s soul embracing
    the body as a composite person being.
    The soul contains not only our body but in equal proportion an identity, a truth, a oneness, a good, and a
    beauty, all of which need equal attention and expression. When one starts treating all of them as our
    body (res) is treated, the whole universe changes and we become immune
    to non-being (and able to resist the pursuit of non-being, which is evil,
    overwhelmingly offered and suggested by most of the press and media,).

    7. Something
    must be provided, offered, imposed, suggested, of course, which is
    transcendentally sound to functionally replace all the exciting glitz, the
    psychological nonsense, and the bewildering confusing idea pollution
    continuously flooding the suggestible
    world. Not only must all be warned and
    trained not to be easily suggestible, but something must be offered to take
    the place of what is seen and heard—not only to replace it in space but
    with insight, understanding, and functional positive alternatives, i.e., to
    replace non-being with being itself.
    Thus I recommend “Chapter 12:
    Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Virtues and Sin” from my book Happy
    Ending. To know what sin is, to know
    what salutary habits are, and to know the influences to virtue, is to be able
    to recognize evil (sin) when being suggested, the appropriate methods of coping
    (virtues), and the motivation to do what is transcendental (the Gifts of the
    Holy Spirit). In fact, almost all
    psychology can be replaced by this chapter which is more valuable than any
    suggested psychological fantasized processing.
    (Almost all psychology is irrelevant non-being when compared to the
    knowledge of sins, virtues and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; because whenever
    psychology provides valid interpretations, documentations and actions, the
    meanings and significance thereof are fundamentally and incontrovertibly in
    terms of sin and virtue, a fact usually overlooked, ignored or denied. Even
    with volumes of Freudian or scientific data, all psychology can be replaced, in
    the final analysis, by a knowledge of sin, virtue and the Gifts.) In short, the information in these pages
    should be an annual educational experience because they will be more
    explanatory and functional for the common good and for individual positive
    development. Truly, “humanbeingness”
    cannot be understood without understanding sin, virtue and the Gifts of the
    Holy Spirit.

    8. The
    Ten Commandments of CounterSecularization are to be studied learned and taught
    yearly. These are attached or available
    by email as a separate article.

    9. A
    work of art poster “WHY BURN A FLAG WHEN YOU CAN BURN A NEWSPAPER?” is offered
    as a classroom aid. It is the first
    “PRESS ED” ever offered anywhere. It
    provides all the vocabulary and information needed to understand and cope
    better with the press and media. It was
    first promoted in 1991 as something to “immunize…to cope with PAMS…the Press-And-Media
    Syndrome (the most devastating mind-killing disorder in the history of the
    world).” An enlargement of this poster
    should be in every classroom.

    10.
    The JOURNALISM ETHICS AND PUBLIC
    SERVICE AWARD was begun in 1994. It
    conveys information exhaustively helping to understand and diminish the
    suggestibility of the press and media. Never
    has the press and media been more accurately described. This is an essential study deserving
    distribution to all in every school on an annual basis. Actually, almost all in the press and media
    should be mockingly referred to as “American Royalty.” The New York Times and Hollywood represent
    the castles, and all in the press and media in general represent the worst of
    all kings and queens who ever lived.
    They have ordained themselves for the people as divine providers of
    outlandish pretenses of justice and charity by unconditional legitimacy and
    authority to manipulate and suggest their beliefs. The American Royalty provide government of
    the press&media, by the press&media and for the press&media. Never call any of them “journalist x” or
    “actress/actor x” or “editor x” and so on, but “royalty x!” It is “The New York Times royalty” or
    “Hollywood royalty”—they know it all, are in charge of everything, and are
    never wrong—THEY ARE ROYALTY in the worst sense, and they should NEVER be
    allowed to forget it.

    11.
    The article “Ideas: You Are What
    You Think” describes how we turn into that which we see, hear and believe,
    obviously true if one follows those who left the Church for the suggestions of
    the mass media.

    12.
    Finally, Suggestibility Prevention Programs are needed to enable all to
    be able to focus on what is really salutary.
    The distractions from the press and media are so overwhelming that
    people have lost the ability to participate rather than just mindlessly
    wait for entertainment. The passivity of
    doing nothing, of thinking nothing, and of inactive thoughtless watching
    flickering lights and reading ink smudges without really participating in an
    activity, is detrimental to one’s being.
    A good example of that is the losing of participation in the Mass by
    passive numbness as described in “The Lack Of Survival Stress” available by
    e-mail.

    Conclusion:

    Recognizing and promoting A
    Suggestibility Prevention Program will be to move to the new world, the new
    age, the new millennium, the new man (male and female), and to assist in the prevention of
    suggestibility for all that is
    antitranscendental. And maybe the Church will be able to offset the avalanche
    of seductive suggestions from the press and media. Furthermore, the projection of one’s personal
    Transcendentals will enhance the bursting forth of peace on earth. By suggestibility prevention, people will be
    better immune to the Culture of Disgust and the Age of Anathema both
    characterized by labial linguistics, proctological exuberance, flirtation with
    feces, boobsolatry, phallic abuse, psychological hubris, willful entropy, and
    violence … in other words, the defeat of the Mortuary Life and escape from
    “the fallen West” and from “the pagan (demanding agreement to non-being)
    non-West.” So stand aside to protect
    your own but vigorously challenge all suggestions against Transcendental life, taking
    comfort in your loneliness, because while the mass media gives little, the rain
    Baptizes, the wind gives Penance, the bright warm sunlight gives Holy
    Communion, the cold gives Confirmation, the heat gives Extreme Unction, the
    lightning gives Holy Orders, and the thunder gives Matrimony. By the Transcendentals, suggestibility
    becomes salutary and the Sacraments are
    everywhere; the Incarnation is
    completed; Redemption is in hand; and Resurrection is just around the
    corner. But you will hardly ever get
    any of that from the press and media but a myriad of suggestions for
    non-being. That is, all sorts of
    non-being are offered by the mass media seducing all from the transcendental
    life,…and, once again, the pursuit of non-being is evil. The more evil one does, the more one’s being
    is annihilated and one is converted into that black hole of negative
    nothingness wherein one repeats for eternity against oneself all the evil
    (promotion of non-being) one has perpetrated while on earth. But by following and living the Sacraments,
    one’s identified matter flows on a transcendental conduit of truth, oneness,
    good and beauty, to and through eternity.
    All you have to do is reject Original Sin by not being suggestible to
    non-being and what is not real. And,
    then one can relax knowing that Easter is coming.

    You are what you think. You will get what you do. Be transcendental not suggestible. A Suggestibilty Prevention Program is needed.

    • lifeknight

      Is there a limit to one’s publishing on Crisis? Honestly, I wouldn’t take the time to read all this even if I had the time.

      • samnigromd

        sorry to disturb you…new ideas have a rough time….

        • GaudeteMan

          New idea? All is vanity.

          • samnigromd

            Speak for yourself, Gaudete.

            • GaudeteMan

              We are speaking for ourselves. What a novel idea!

    • Like eating molasses.

  • lifeknight

    I have longed believed the nuns who have lived out in the world without habits, develop bad habits.

    • Gueust

      I agree. I asked a Religious Sister several years ago why they gave up their Habits. She said it was a symbol that separated them from those they were to serve and that people should know they are a Sister by the way they carry and conduct themselves. I politely disagreed and moved on since the Sister who helped formed me taught me to not argue with someone who would not be moved. If all these changes were meant to help foster growth…it failed. I am glad to see that the more Traditional Orders (men AND women) are growing as they have returned to their charism, their habits and those they serve….and Service to God!!

      • St JD George

        More likely cowardliness. As for me, my heart is always lifted when I see either nuns in their habits or priests wearing their clerical collar in public. It’s a sign of strength of conviction in one’s faith.

        • And the absence is a little like the Priest that says “call me Bill”.

          • HowardRichards

            The absence also reminds me of a married man who hides his wedding ring. He’s probably up to no good.

            • Paddy

              Femilogians and pastoral gals are simply…well…er..insane. In New York, they’re pushing Gov. Cuomo’s “Women’s Equality Act”, a Marxist redistribution with expanded abortion rights. They save severe social ostracism, with backbiting, for nuns who keep the Faith. The pastors and bishops are too emasculated to even notice. The American church may be beyond reclamation, as Obama shoves the Little Sisters of the Poor out of the country. Join Dolan in having a Gay Saint Patrick’s Day.

              • Atilla The Possum

                When Christ lunched with tax collectors, sinners and other miscreants and rip-off merchants, you can bet your mortgage that He did not pander to their sins, shout ‘bravo!’ or grin like a demented Cheshire Cat. He’d have told them to ”go away and sin no more”.

                It is heart breaking that CINO Cuomo is pedalling death in New York and – to add insult to injury into the lives of faithful Catholic New Yorkers you have C’ardinal Timothy ‘Cheese Mitre’d Bravo!’ **Dolan accepting the post of Grand Marshal of the 2015 St Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City with a group of LGBT mincers – er, marchers – in tow, his grinning face is everywhere … whilst the Archdiocese of New York is on its proverbial backside!
                **Cardinal Dolan was photographed with a cheese wedge-shaped hat … at a Mass! He declared ‘Bravo!’ when some sportsman or other came out as gay.
                No, moderators, His Eminence is being disrespectful to Christ, His Church and to his position … and therefore is being disrespectful to his flock!
                Does Dolan think the Catholic faithful are naïve or totally blind not to ask themselves why he makes these loonytoons decisions and his all-too-eager enthusiasm for the LGBT people in New York – ‘Gay masses’ advertised on the internet and in church bulletins in his own backyard before the city’s ”Pride” and those who ”don’t get with the programme” of diversity, inclusivity etc. etc. are threatened with closure or admonished by him?

                At least Scotland’s former Cardinal Keith O’Brien resigned from his office when he was ”outed” as a ‘…passenger on the Lavender Bus.’ and was sent to a monastery far, far away.
                Like nuns who go on the bus, there’s one around the corner just for Dolan …

          • Steve

            These guys must be BPOE

            • I see them more as Odd Fellows than Elks, but yes.

        • John O’Neill

          What is even rarer is to encounter a Catholic priest in a cassock; they have almost disappeared from the Catholic world. They really bought into the modern world as if that is what Christ came to found. When one really looks into the modern world, specifically the twentieth century all we see is wholesale slaughter, destruction and perversion on a classical scale. Yet the Leftists still want to teach us about the evil of religion and all the evil that comes from Christianity. It is really modernism and Americanism that has produced the worst side of homo sapiens.

    • jacobhalo

      The pope just came out with a new rule. Priests and nuns may date, as long as they don’t get into the habit. (joke)

      • lifeknight

        At least we can joke about it!
        I gave up on most nuns a long time ago.
        As a graduate of an all girls, ????Catholic high school with nuns in the 1970s, I feel qualified to make jokes. Sad ones.

        • jacobhalo

          I graduated Catholic high school in 1964, before all the heretical changes.

          • lifeknight

            I think when we get to Heaven (IF we get there) we will find something out about this time period…..1973 (my graduation year) was a big year for the Devil….decriminalization of abortion and the declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness. Look at how those two items have changed our society……in evil ways.

      • TERRY

        That was not funny when I first heard it 50 years ago and nothing has changed since then.

        • jacobhalo

          Yes, that was about the same time that I heard the joke.

    • Steve

      It is very significant that, oh, say, Hollywood and most popular press refuses to see nuns is in secular mufti. It’s got to be tonsure.

  • The_Monk

    The point regarding “eco-pantheism”, and all its relatives (eco-feminism, eco-theology, etc.), is well-founded. But it is a charge that should not be pointed only at the women, because a lot of men are singing at that altar, too….

    • Scott W.

      Nothing sadder than a grown beta-male parotting progressivist drivel.

      • The_Monk

        True….

  • HartPonder

    Before Vatican II, the religious and parish membership were at all time highs. After VII, it all drastically declines. The goal of VII, as I understand it, was “renewal”. This fact is worthy of prayer and reflection. An observation, not a judgment.

    • JR

      I think too many people blame Vatican II for changes in secular society that were happening coincidentally at the same time: civil rights and anti-Viet Nam war demonstrations, rise of feminism, campus unrest, legalization of abortion, etc. etc. The world was turned upside down at that time; Vatican II happened at the wrong time. The rise of feminism especially had a profound negative effect on women’s religious life.

      • HartPonder

        Interesting point, but in history the Church has encountered many heresies, schisms, invasions, “cultures” and the the like for two thousand years.

        Notwithstanding, today certain so called traditional societies, orders and others in communion with Rome seem to be less affected by the current culture. What gives?

      • jacobhalo

        You are correct about the state of secular society at the time of Vatican II. The problem created by Vatican II was its goal. It wanted to bring the church into the modern world. Presently, it is still their goal. What the goal should have been is to bring the modern world into the church. Actually, Vatican II happened at the right time. The problem was its goal.

      • Don Lond

        When Abortion was first legalized by a handful of diabolically trained lawyers making incantations over emanations from penumbras, over 79% of the total citizenry thought it wrong. The resistance fell later.
        Your observation of the prevailing culture makes one wonder why the Church would open its windows to such a morally corrupt modern world at that time and let all the sheep escape.
        I lived through that and now have the same queasy feelings as then–and I fear for the remnant flock.

    • Interestingly, yesterday evening I watched a talk about the consecrated life and its crisis in the last few decades since VII. The speaker, a diocesan priest and seminary rector, pointed out the ambiguity in Perfectae Caritatis about the status of religious.

      What many religious took it to mean was that there are only two possible status in the Church: the ordained clergy and the baptized laity. Since a religious is not necessarily an ordained man – even if many are it’s not an essential trait – they passed to consider themselves lay. From there, they went to shed everything that set them apart as consecrated religious.

      Of course this is an absurd interpretation that not only contradicts history but also ignores a blatant trait: religious profess vows of the Evangelical Counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience. While the laity is called to live these counsels as are the clergy, none of them is in such a total way as the religious. As a matter of fact, being less than chaste, poor and obedient may amount to venial sins by those not consecrated, but it’s always a mortal sin for a religious to falter in these vows.

      It took SJPII to clarify religious life and end the conciliar confusion in his Vita Consecrata, where he did not deny the distinction between the ordained and the laity, but affirmed the distinction between the consecrated and the non-consecrated.

      Unfortunately, because such clarification came about 30 years after the council, when much of the damage had already been done, 20 years later and his exhortation is still unheeded by most of those mired by confusion. Regrettably, even orders with centuries of existence, which endured much more critical moments in the history of the Church, if not having contributed to its renewal then, turned their backs to their history and, most importantly, to their charism. Their rejection of the gift that they are is not theirs though, but the Holy Spirit’s to the Church. This rejection practically amounts to their rejection of the Holy Spirit, Who refuses to impose and withdraws Himself. And, since the Holy Spirit is the source of life, such recalcitrant orders now find themselves lifeless and sterile.

      Meanwhile, the Holy Spirit continues to give life and fruits to the orders, old and new, which embrace His gifts. May such orders bring about renewal and peace to the Church today.

  • AcceptingReality

    The wheels on the “bus full of nuns” go round and round, round and round, all through the town…..Too many nuns have become political activists for the democrat party. No way that fulfills their calling.

    • Ned’s Atomic Dustbin

      The nuns on the bus are round the bend … round the bend … round the bend … the nuns on the bus are round the bend. Round the bend.

  • Dominic Lombardo

    One little quibble, as I know my Italian well: The phrase is “sotto voce” (a double “t” in the first word).

  • Dominic Lombardo

    Kudos to Mary Jo Anderson for a generally well-written article – and for the reminder that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s investigation into the beliefs and activities of LCWR continues. I hope that in my lifetime, but in GOD’S time, of course, Holy Mother Church finally throws up its hands and says, as Vito Corleone says at one point in Mario Puzo’s THE GODFATHER, “But you cannot reason with them!” – and declares that LCWR is not authentically Catholic. LCWR’s brinkmanship, stall-and-obfuscate tactics, and de facto “throwing up the middle finger” at Holy Mother Church certainly merit this action.

    • Florian

      Feb. 3rd…here’s the thing: if the Church permits Catholics like Nancy Pelosi to be considered Catholics in good standing with the Church and therefore permitted to receive the Eucharist, then there are no standards left…Pelosi (like other Catholics in public office) that while she is personally opposed she does not want to impose her beliefs on others…well, beliefs are ‘imposed’ as laws in our society…however, Pelosi does not merely refrain from ‘imposing’ her so called beliefs, she publicly stands against the Bishops and the Church and urges others to stand with her; she publicly and aggressively promotes the mass killings of babies in the womb with on no limits imposed whatsoever…it is reported that she receives large sums of money from Planned Parenthood which is worse than the gas ovens of Dachau – they exterminate human babies as their main source of income and Nancy Pelosi supports them … so there is really no criterion for being Catholic anymore…Mother Theresa of Calcutta used to say: “If we would kill the innocent baby in the womb what would we not do?” – Indeed, what would we not do?!

      • upchuck

        Applaud applaud. Pelosi should be put on a spit and roasted. Even Joan of Ark would approve. She has the most expensive office and grandeur in California, and went bananas when they took away her private plane paid for by taxpayers. Every time she comes on TV I upchuck. Forgive me Lord, she is also one of your children. Boy, you can sure pick em.

      • TERRY

        Dedicate your next Rosary to ‘The ending of abortion and the Grace of contrition for those catholics (small c) in public life who have abandoned their faith to support it.’ There is a long list of them and they need our prayers. With Lent approaching February 18 that would be a good idea.

  • GaudeteMan

    Nice article but the numbers demonstrate it will be a non-problem very soon as the dissident orders begin to return to dust, lacking the new candidates they had hoped would perpetuate the folly they embraced instead of their original charisms. Ironically, the very faithful that they abandoned and deceived are the ones they are calling on to care for them as their health begins to fail and old age takes over. My checks will go to orthodox orders only. You reap what you sow.

    • upchuck

      George Soros? My God, he also should be put on a spit and roasted.

  • s;vbkr0boc,klos;

    I remember nuns on the bus. And on the street and subways too. Simply to see a consecrated and collected human being is a blessing to the eyes of even the most wretched of us. The abandonment of the habit was an act of collective cowardice and betrayal to the charism of their founders and to God.

    • kentgeordie

      “Simply to see a consecrated and collected human being is a blessing”.
      That’s the finest piece of religious writing I have read for a long while.
      And to be looked at by one, or smiled at by one, well …

  • RufusChoate

    I had Sisters of Saint Joseph in grade school and other orders in College from that experience I can only say that I greeted their collapse as a hopeful sign that such madness is fleeting.

    In an uncharitable moment, I like to point out that none of the Nuns who effect secular dress are improved aesthetically by the choice (see above). It would be far better for all concerned if they humbly accepted their habit and concealed their bitter contenances in some case and beatific mein in others from public display.

    • GaudeteMan

      Well said. When I was in seminary we watched George Wiegel debate such an aesthetically challenged sour puss on the topic of ‘female priests’ ( a notion I refer to as ‘square circles’). Mr. Weigel said, “you really need to lower the anger level Sister. I suggest you go to the cross and bend the knee.” If fire could’ve shot from her facial apertures it would have. Needless to say, none of the fruits of the spirit emanated from her after that charitable suggestion. We stood up and applauded.

    • novice

      definitely uncharitable ….. and totally off topic

      • RufusChoate

        But truer than anything you’ve got in their defense and it is definitely on topic about progressive nuns. Try again, I am a patient and tolerant man.

      • Phil Steinacker

        Not at all.

        I think he’s correct to say religious sisters wearing secular dress does nothing for their appearance, precisely because that mode of dress denies their vocation. They look no different than any other old lady senior citizens, just in the same manner old men who are priests do not appreciably improve their appearances by hiding their vocation from others.

        Staying in religious garb, OTOH, always seems to evoke an enthusiastic and positive response among Catholics and non-Catholics alike, which is how it always was before the current nonsense became the “norm.”

        I think the bitter faces and set jaws Rufus cites would soften much if they wore habits, which strip one of inordinate focus upon self. Perhaps Rufus was too quick to judge himself, but your response is the one which might have violated Mathew 7:1.

        • GaudeteMan

          If I were on a 757 30,000 feet over the Atlantic and have been told that the engines may fail…Id rather not shout out, “is there a Catholic priest on board?!” I’m sure a nice long line would have already begun forming behind the man who happened to be wearing his Roman collar.

          • More Tea Vicar?

            Many years ago, I was going to board a flight on my own for the very first time. Anxious and nervous wasn’t in it. I prayed the night before I went to the airport that I would be OK.
            After checking in and having a drink, being seen off by my mum, what did I see in the departure lounge but a nun in her habit and guess what – she sat next to me on the flight! We had a lovely time.
            I have no time whatsoever for nuns who don’t wear their habit, nor for priests who don’t wear their collars.
            When I see a priest or nun in their clerical collar or their habit when I’m out and about – whether on a bus, in a supermarket or on the street – I always go out of my way to say hello.

            • RufusChoate

              I am odd I appreciate our Priests and Nuns in their habits but I also love to see an observant Jews, Sikhs Buddhists and Hindu wearing identifying clothing in public. I do draw the line with the full Burqa and facial veil which is dehumanizing but anything else is fine.

              • More Tea Vicar?

                I’m with you there, RufusChoate! It’s not odd at all, especially where I live and go out and about.
                The full Burqa and facial veil are as you said – dehumanising. They are also impractical and heaven help the poor woman if she has a streaming cold or feels queasy at any time.
                People of faith are more often than not puzzled (and amused) by the fallacy propagated by secularists and atheists who go overboard with Political Correct diktats that any form of Christian expression ”offends” them.
                They are actually far from offended.

  • GG

    ‘By the 1990s a virulent wave of dissent engulfed most of the houses of
    women religious. Prominent professors and “femilogians” openly espoused
    new theologies. Sister Sandra Schneiders, a professor of New Testament
    Studies at Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley, author of New Wineskins: Re-Imagining Religious Life Today told a conference of dissidents “Scripture is violently sexist—the problem is in the texts” and, “we reject a woman made from man, subject to man….”’

    They are still fighting the drama of their upbringing.

  • Florian

    Feb. 3rd…It is good that Pope Francis has used a gentler tone but the strident feminist cries from LCWR leadership will cause his voice not to be heard…and I doubt they will listen but he has to try. I wonder how many among the actual membership knows what their ‘leaders’ are doing? We have to pray that these radical feminist man-hating women find their way back to reality and to truth before it is too late…

  • Tony

    Marcel Lefebvre could only have wished to have received such gentle treatment for so long. These damsels in distress have been running their orders into the ground for forty years now, and their treatment of their fellow sisters who remained orthodox has ranged from dismissive to shabby to vicious. Take the talent from them and give it to the women who have the ten. From them who have, even that little which they have shall be taken away from them.

    • upchuck

      During the civil war, the hospital tents were filled with nuns. Today they would all demand to be officers. Very sad.

      • Don Lond

        Today, many I talk to, would be fighting for the other side.

    • HowardRichards

      Tony’s thought when watching the Super Bowl: “Marcel Lefebvre would never have called a pass up the middle on 2nd and 1 with the Super Bowl on the line. On the other hand, if Marcel Lefebvre had been the quarterback, he would have completed the pass.”

      On learning that Lance Armstrong had been doping: “Marcel Lefebvre could have won the Tour de France seven times without cheating.”

      When the Genesis probe, carrying samples of the solar wind, crashed in 2004: “Marcel Lefebvre would not have installed the accelerometers backwards.”

      While watching the movie Titanic: “Marcel Lefebvre would have missed the iceberg.”

      • Tony

        Well, you’ve missed my point entirely, and you’ve engaged in personal insults.

        I don’t attend the Latin Mass. I hold no brief for Marcel Lefebvre. I have never written a word in support of the SSPX. The point was that Lefebvre and his followers received a treatment that was far harsher than anything the sisters have experienced, even though Lefebvre was, if a heretic at all, nowhere near the heresy of the sisters. That’s what I meant. They complain that they are treated badly. But they have been treated with kid gloves, when the Church finally got around to criticizing them at all. They don’t know what harsh treatment looks like.

        • HowardRichards

          There is no good reason to bring up Marcel Lefebvre in each and every topic. This had nothing to do with him. It also had nothing to do with Galileo (who didn’t really suffer during his house arrest, but that’s another matter). Presumably you would have found it a tiresome distraction if someone had said, “Galileo could only have wished to have received such gentle treatment for so long.”

          If you don’t support SSPX, great. Why do you have to post a comment that is guaranteed to open up the ugly argument over Lefebvre yet again?

          • Tony

            But … when have I ever written about Marcel Lefebvre? I have never written anything about him. I am not interested in him. I only used him as a convenient example of somebody contemporary with these foolish and irresponsible nuns, who DID experience severe treatment, as compared with the too-too-tender treatment they have received.

            • RufusChoate

              Professor Esolen,

              I just tweeted my wholehearted endorsement of your last two books but I want to both recommend and commended you on them book and tell people they are on sale (discovered for the link to my tweet.

              Just splendid and brilliant you’re a great gift to us all. God bless you and your family.
              Ciao

              http://shop.sophiainstitute.com/Anthony-Esolen-Set-Save-30-P768.aspx

            • Howard

              You threw a rock at the hornets’ nest. Maybe you have not thrown rocks habitually, but that is not the point. You threw a rock at the hornets’ nest, so you should expect an angry reaction from those who are tired of being stung by hornets aroused by others.

              I’m not going to extend this thread any further when my whole point is that I never wanted it opened.

  • I find it strange that those who claim oppression and want power in the Church do not understand the notion of self-criticism and the reality of compromise. Without these virtues, one cannot lead, but becomes a tyrant, seeking to impose her will on all she has power over. The male hierarchy has been lambasted for decades now over such ideas and has put into place correction to abuse and unlimited power in order to make the Church more Christ-like and put focus on the poor and down-trodden. The LCWR wants power, not equality, and refuses to look at its own warts. Give me a nun that preaches Jesus Christ, lives in community, has a specific ministry that does not include labyrinths and eco-pantheism and might even wear a habit occasionally and you will have vocations and a joy-filled life that does not care about power and the turmoil of gender politics.

  • fredx2

    “the image of women religious today is an elderly woman demanding “women’s ordination” or an angry feminist theologian whose theological writings spurn all authority.”

    How true. When one views the LCWR types, Christ is the last thing that comes to mind.

  • Howard Kainz

    Bishop Sheen tells the story of the nun who had just started wearing secular garb, and asked her pastor what he thought. He replied, “I never knew you had varicose veins!”

    • Atilla The Possum

      ROFLMHO! Brilliant!

  • Captain America

    Some kind of visible identification is a very good thing—several times I’ve found myself talking to a woman, and learned later that she was a religious sister. I think it would have been more fair to me to have known this important fact, rather than go undercover.

    It also lessens the impact the sisters may have.

    I’m leery of theory. It’s SO easy to spin philosophy and theology in whatever direction you wish it, and as a Catholic, it’s good to have Catholic organizations, institutes, orders really be Catholic and preach Catholic teachings, if this is what they SAY they’re about.

  • I’m afraid many people are missing the point. Many of these orders are thinly disguised investment funds, operating autonomously. They sit on giant gobs of mammon, and whoever has the gold makes the rules.

    While some people rant and rave about some guy with a small business, three kids and a homschooling wife objecting to the latest attempt to have his pocket picked, not a word is said about these women who are free to indulge their latest eco-feminist furies and fashions under the cover of being a religious charity, while having the nerve to solicit like beggars.

    Of course while they’re attending corporate board meetings to pursue quixotic objectives, they are still looking to you for money.

    http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/faith-and-values/divine-dispatches/st-louis-franciscan-nuns-invest-millions-in-environmental-efforts/article_238144cd-389d-57fd-bb7b-0766f96230e5.html

    Note, this order is affiliated with LCWR, has attended meetings at the White House and has a male “Chief Financial Officer” as of the time of this article.

    http://www.fsmonline.org/news/article/582/

    One can only hope that actuarial tables catch up with these activists.

    • craig

      Reminds me of the popular misquote of Eric Hoffer that reads, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.”

    • ForChristAlone

      I remember having attended a banquet that feted the recipients of grants given by a foundation of religious sisters. This order of religious motherhoused in Ohio had sold off some hospitals that they owned (built with donor money and taxpayer grants, I am sure). I asked how much money was under the control of this Foundation. Answer $175 million.

      And yet, the USCCB has the gall to return year after year to the pew sitting Catholic to fund the retirement needs of these dying religious orders. This is one Catholic who ignores the appeals.

      • Funny how discussions of solidarity disappear when the object is a multimillion dollar portfolio. I wish I could ensure that I could donate to the orders that actually devote their life to prayer.

      • JR

        One wonders why the “rich” orders and congregations with multi-million dollar investment portfolios apparently don’t support the less financially off ones. One wonders why so many orders and congregations seem to have all the money in the world to send sisters “on the bus” or to this or that radical conference or provide their members with all the perks of an upper middle class standard of living. But don’t have the money to support the retired religious. Oh, I forgot. They take a vow of poverty.

        • Yeah, well it seems their conception of poverty is somewhat like their conception of obedience.

        • Atilla The Possum

          I often wonder where these ‘nuns on the bus’ get the money from to actually buy that bus!
          Don’t tell me, let me guess …

          When I see photos of this bus and their passengers on the ‘net, they look like rebel pensioners on a geriatric jolly-up to Amsterdam!
          At the same time, here in the UK, a parish in my local LPA (deanery) has a mini-bus which takes elderly and disabled to Mass every Sunday and Holyday … it’s a cold, damp rust bucket that’s been on the road for over 20 years.
          Know what I’m saying?

          • Unfortunately, despite being separated by an Ocean, your words are familiar. Off topic, I love the handle, you should make it a DISQUS ID.

            • Atilla The Possum

              You are very kind, DE-173! Thank you.
              My handle is loosely based on the memory of an old school friend of mine from primary school many eons ago. He once asked me to look after his pet white mouse whilst he went with his family to Ireland during the Summer Holidays:
              Imagine looking after a little white mouse called … Hercules!
              When choosing a handle, I thought of a cute little possum being named after Attila the Hun … I realised I made a spelling mistake doubling up the wrong letters in the name – and it stuck!
              God love you!

  • Dan

    The wolves in sheeps clothing comparison can also be applied to the dissident priests, universities, newspapers, politicians, etc. Although we should be concerned about everyones soul, I admit I get very disappointed in the fact that these types mis-lead and take more down with them. These realities do have a good side, remind me this is not my home and even though others may be OK with the fact that they are sinners, I hopefully never will be.

  • Seamrog

    I read this essay three times today, and I appreciate the effort.

    In all fairness to some of the comments, I think the Church has not done it’s part in promoting vocations for women, and in promoting faithful sisters. I have been blessed to know some remarkable sisters – women that have truly touched the lives of many, and who truly reflect the face of Jesus.

    I can’t help but feel women religious and women considering a vocation have not enjoyed the same support that men receive – a couple of examples:

    I was part of a vocation discernment group in my Diocese when I discerned my own vocation. We had a monthly mass and prayer group that included several women who were eventually excluded. I understand the reason – allowing men to openly discuss the particularly male issues related to priestly ministry, but there was no similar venue offered for the women, and they were left with hurt feelings, and a closed door.

    Vocations posters displayed in parish bulletins and schools: only show seminarians, and no women in formation.

    Seminarians serve summers in parish service preparing for ordination – this is a visible example for young men, but I have never seen a woman in formation sent to parish service.

    I do understand the grave concerns with the LCWR, but the laity (we) can also do better helping to foster vocations for women, and help fill the tremendous hole left by the absence of our sisters by questioning and encouraging our pastors and our bishops.

    • ForChristAlone

      Far too often in the recent past, we have viewed particular vocations in the Church as being influenced by good marketing strategies. This reflects the Church’s buying into the consumerist mentality of secular society which is one of the very roots of our current ecclesial malaise. We should, rather, look at these vocations as the movement of the Holy Spirit and it is for laity to be open to these stirrings. We do not need expensive and glitzy promotional campaigns to respond to the Holy Spirit; that’s man’s way, not God’s. Life in the Spirit is not just another commodity (Please do not interpret this as a criticism of what you’ve written; it is not,)

    • In my experience volunteering at parochial vocation committees is that the whole diocesan structure is quite ill prepared to foster religious vocations, whether for women or for men. Dioceses are driven to encourage priestly vocations to address the priest shortage, but this is no excuse to ignore those being called to serve the Church as religious. What I see is that orders and institutes are burdened to carry out their own vocation efforts on their own, often with no support whatsoever from dioceses, be it in their own diocese or nationwide. Moreover, I seldom see lay volunteers and priests who actually understand the religious vocation, if not even a hint of disdain about it. As I see it, the witches in the LCWR leadership have been able to rise to dominance with the partial responsibility of bishops who neglected their shepherding of all vocations, if not often contributing to the confusion that these poor religious mired themselves into.

      • What people forget is that long before there’s a quantitative crisis, there’s a qualitative one.

        Sixty years ago, there was no apparent shortage, but by then the deviants, political operatives and relativiists seeking a base of operations, with the respectability and secure income that came with it – had already infected the consecrated ranks, and in explicit and implicit ways began to virally replicate their DNA.

        When a certain poster here complains about young priests, I take that as one of the few hopeful signs.

  • Akira88

    I know this very old and very lovely Dominican Mother Superior. She told me that the cloister was going to change to a third order. It was pretty clear she didn’t like it.

    I remember walking past that convent every day to and from school. Once I climbed the trees in the back and peeked over the stone wall into the garden where one sister was praying her Rosary.

    Those Nuns and the Sisters who taught me were beautiful.

  • Michael

    Such good treatment to these heretical groups while the good and orthodox Franciscans of the Immaculate get the harshest slamming.

  • I_M_Forman

    Democrat Supporting nuns (abortions and gay marriage party) make poor priests. They have done more damage than good for all the souls they were supposed to help save. Not surprising from a group that wants to move to a Gospel beyond Christ.

    • Griffonn

      What is more important is that they do not believe in Catholic teachings.

      They should join the Episcopalian or UU church, instead of demanding that the Catholic church adopt UU beliefs.

  • grannylake

    The Bible’s tells us that Eve came from Adam’s rib by God’s hand just as the analogy that a baby comes from man’s sperm by a woman’s body. It’s not hard to understand.

MENU