This interview with Sister Brigid McDonald (no relation) of The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet is a perfect snapshot of everything wrong with a certain strain of American religious life. The woman is alternately nasty, ignorant, arrogant, and contemptible. She’s a dissident, pro-abortion, pro-Occupy Wall Street shrew who spits venom at the Pope and the Church, yet seems offended and shocked that this same Church dared to try to restore order to the religious life of American women. There is no charity, no faith, no love in any of her words. After a lifetime of religious life, this is what she has to show for her faith? Anger, bitterness, and hubris? How very sad.
First, we’ll get the reporter’s interpolations out of the way:
As a rule, Sister Brigid McDonald tries not to pay too much attention to papal pronouncements
[Aaaaand, here we have, in the first sentence of the article, the core of the problem. What the Pope--the successor to Peter, the Servant of the Servants of Christ, the leader of Christ’s Church—says should be of intense interest to a woman who takes a vow to serve that Church in poverty, chastity, and obedience.]
Nuns, the investigation also concluded, spend too much energy on poverty and economic injustice and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage.
[Oh yes, that’s exactly what the investigation concluded: “enough of those friggin’ poor people already.” Which is why the report begins by praising and encouraging their service of the poor.]
And now, let’s hear from Sr. Brigid herself:
Well, some are shocked that he would go that far, you know, to start using his power. To me, it is a misuse of power, a misuse of authority where he can step into religious communities and dictate how they should speak about these issues.
[Actually, it’s the precisely correct use of his authority (not power: power is a weasel word of the left, which attempts to recast everything into Marxist power dynamics). His authority is in teaching. Popes have been endlessly patient with the American nuns for the past 40-odd years, repeatedly attempting to stem the tide of heterodoxy that has surged through the religious orders under the guidance of the LCWR. Those pastoral attempts were so successful that the LCWR could invite a New Age Gnostic nut-bag to be the keynote speaker at this year’s conference. The sisters repeatedly ignored the Church’s attempt to restore orthodoxy, so now they get stronger medicine.]
MP: When you say “he,” you are talking about Benedict?
SBM: Yes. I still call him Ratzinger. That fits him better. But that is just a personal bias.
[This is the Pope we’re talking about, so show some respect. You say you “still” call him "Ratzinger," not out of affection, but as some kind of stupid dig at his German name. We can assume you were doing that before the LCWR report. And you still wonder why you need to be called on the carpet?]
I can’t even begin to imagine what he could say or do that would change religious women’s beliefs. I don’t know how he plans to change that. That is of concern. That could be scary — what will he do to change our beliefs. You know, that scares me.
[“What will he do to change our beliefs?” What are you raving about now? What beliefs? The report says it clearly: “On the doctrinal level, this crisis is characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration which leads, in turn, to a loss of a “constant and lively sense of the Church” among some Religious…. It arises as well from a conviction that the work of any conference of major superiors of women Religious can and should be a fruitful means of addressing the contemporary situation and supporting religious life in its most 'radical' sense—that is, in the faith in which it is rooted." They're trying to return Christian nuns to Christian orthodoxy. It's what you professed to believe when you took your vows. If you no longer believe it, why are you still a nun?]
Other than control, I don’t know what his motivation is. I think it is pretty impossible for us to all change our beliefs on these issues to coincide with his beliefs. That sounds impossible.
[Once again: what are you talking about? Change what beliefs? Are we talking about fundamental dogmatics? Or are we talking about the fact that you support abortion and gay marriage and a radical socialist agenda? Because, you know, those beliefs are wrong. Your inability to understand that proves that report was, in fact, correct.]
When I am speaking, I am not giving an official stance of The Sisters of St. Joseph. I wouldn’t. Mine always is my personal reaction of what he is doing. Nobody is going to speak for the whole community. It is too hard to speak for hundreds of women. They aren’t all going to talk alike anyhow.
[Really? Because someone is speaking for all the nuns in America, and it’s the LCWR, which long ago exceeded its mandate and started issuing "position statements" on controversial political issues. And when the USCCB was trying to get a concession on the contraception mandate from HHS, the LCWR was busy cutting them off that knees by issuing a statement of support for Obama’s BS compromise. That’s the entire heart of the problem: the nuns have set themselves up as an alternate magisterium, which confuses people and gives the enemies of the Church a way to divide and conquer. The LCWR, the Catholic Heath Association, and other groups were useful idiots throughout these debates, doing great damage to the Church and sowing confusion. I don’t know why I have to tell a nun this, but your vows do not give you teaching authority in the church. That authority resides with the bishops alone. You’re meddling in issues you shouldn't be and making the work of the Church harder.]
The nuns that I talk to aren’t really afraid, because they can’t see or they can’t imagine what he would do to change us.I mean, like, excommunication? That is a thing of the past.
[No, it’s not.]
He should start with getting his priests together and try to help them through some of their problems. He should get after them for molestation.
[What an utterly scummy thing to say. She just slandered the entire priesthood. She must be aware that a only tiny minority of priests ever even abused, and the vast majority of those are no longer in ministry, but she still says that the pope needs to get “his priests” together because they’re all a bunch of filthy molesters. For the enemies of the Church (and Sr. Brigid is certainly one of them), it always comes back to the sexual abuse scandals, no matter what the subject is. Is there even an iota of charity in this statement? After all the times Benedict has spoken out about the sexual abuse scandal, after the church is finally addressing the subject in a serious and effective way, this awful woman tries to drag the subject back to the scandals. And for what? A cheap rhetorical point that doesn't even make sense?]
But now they are right, we are out there in the different movements. We help with the Occupy movement and the right-to-choice movements.
[Right now the LCWR is thinking, “Seriously, Sister Brigid, shut up already and get off our side.”]
I see the bishops and priests don’t get updated in theology. They are still back, for an expression, with Noah’s ark.
[So much idiocy, and so firmly packed into so few words! Where does she get the idea that bishops and priests don’t continue their theological studies? What does she mean “update”? Does she mean some kind of new post-Christian theology, such as that espoused by LCWR at conferences and in publications? What does “they are still back … with Noah’s ark” even mean?]
We should get into cooking or something, I suppose he thinks.
[That would at least be useful, which is more than I can say for supporting abortion and the antics of the OWS "movement".]
They are trying to get us back, bring us back, as it was in the beginning and now as it will ever be, amen, or something like that.
[Yeah, “or something”.]
UPDATE: Carl Olson at Catholic World Report does a more thoughtful job at taking apart this nonsense.