On that singing nun and the “acid bath of ingratitude”

The good folks at CNS have posted a transcript of that conversation that Sister Cristina had with the Italian judges after her sensational performance on Italy’s “The Voice.” She speaks of how she has “a gift to give,” and talks freely about her joy in giving it.

To wit: 

Raffaella Carrà: Listen Sister Cristina, are you a real nun or…?

Sister Cristina: I’m truly a real nun!

R.C.: It’s not possible. But how did it ever cross your mind to come be on The Voice?

Sr.C.: Well, I have a gift and I’m giving it to you, right? That’s the way it is!

R.C.: Honestly, I would be curious to know, but I won’t conduct an in-depth interview to learn about your decision to become a nun, certainly you had your reasons, however, to be able to sing like this…I’m at a total loss, you know, dear sister?!

Sr.C.: Rather, I can imagine.

R.C.: Well, ok. Also, J-Ax was the first to turn around [to show a vote of approval for her "Blind Audition" tryout].

Sr. C.: J-Ax! He’s the best! It’s so wonderful!

… [back and forth about how she has to choose which coach to join forces with]

J-Ax: Hello sister! I am–

Sr. C.: Awesome! [gives thumbs up]

J-Ax: You’re the sister, I’m the “uncle” [dude]. Listen, I’m not sure, but do you sing in church on Sundays?

Sr. C.: Yes, absolutely!

J-Ax: I don’t know, but if you sing in church on Sundays, with the donations, we all can get out of paying ‘IMU’ [taxes] for sure.

Sr. C.: [continues in jest] Perhaps I can suggest it to the parish priest.

J-Ax: If I had found you when I was a child when I used to go to Mass, I’d be pope right now! I would have kept going [to church]!

Sr. C.: Very good! You’ve found it now!

R.C.: What do you think the Vatican is saying about you appearing on The Voice?

Sr. C.: Hmm, look, I don’t know, I’ll wait for the phone call from Pope Francis, for sure. Because he invites us to go out, to evangelize, to tell people God doesn’t take anything away [from you], rather he gives us even more! I’m came here for this!

R.C.: Brava! Brava

But, of course, some commentators were appalled.  Elizabeth Scalia looks at that over at First Things:

Amid the comments on Sr. Cristina—which even on secular sites tended to be enthusiastic (“No twerking [just] Talent and enthusiasm!” one Huffpo commenter noted approvingly)—some seemed intent on drowning any hopeful good feelings in a bath of acid, decrying her “unseemly bopping,” her “undignified” choice of song, and her “taking on the trappings of the world.” One miserable being outright predicted that nothing good could come of this. To a response that the sister might inspire young Catholics to seek out the “small, still voice” and discern vocations to church-service, this person snarled, “she will shame the church, just like the last ‘singing nun’ did.”

And that is the other part of mystery—that some people cannot wait for misery; they anticipate it, and reach out for it and claim it; they cling to it like Gollum to his Precious; they wrap it around themselves, because only within its shrouds do they feel comfortable and complete. There is no generosity there—not toward the grief-stricken, nor the sacrificial—because there is no capacity for joy. And there is no joy because there is no gratitude.

… To witness love and joy in sparkling abundance, and respond to it with dark prophecies is to refuse a gift because one does not like the wrapping. It too is pathetic in its warped isolation.

Read it all. 

I think we need to keep remembering the admonitions of Ash Wednesday. Rend your hearts, not your garments.

Many of us have hearts tightly sewn shut—almost incapable of moving, let alone mustering anything resembling a beat.


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