Reactionary Layman Successfully Defends Church from Wounded Sinner Seeking God

From Terry Nelson:

[W]hile he was Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, Cardinal Burke permitted a transgendered woman to begin a religious community, or pious association of the faithful.  As Bishop, Burke said he did so in consultation with the Holy See.  A concerned lay woman, went over the Bishop’s head and complained to the Vatican.  As a result, the community was disbanded.

In a letter, Bishop Burke responded to the complaint, writing:

“With regard to Sister Julie Green, F.S.J., the recognition of the association of the faithful which she and Sister Anne LeBlanc founded was granted only after consultation with the Holy See,” he writes. “These are matters which are confidential and do not admit of any further comment…. I can assure you that Sister Julie Green in no way espouses a sex change operation as right or good. In fact, she holds it to be seriously disordered. Therefore, I caution you very much about the rash judgments which you made in your letter to the Apostolic Nuncio.” – Source

Although the woman could not continue as a woman religious, she was obviously admitted-accepted in the Church, and I believe she remains a faithful Catholic.

A reader then corrects him.  Apparently, thanks to the vigilance of the Reactionary Pharisee who attacked Burke and Green and made sure her efforts to serve the Church were destroyed and she felt ostracized, Green’s left the Church and is in declining health.  Way to go, Reactionaries! Here’s your millstone.  Thanks for guarding us against the laxity of flaming liberals like Burke and driving those weak and damaged people away lest they be saved and screw up your perfect little fortress. More evidence that Reactionaries hate evangelism and loathe the Church’s missionary imperative.

  • Gia

    I’m a woman. I could theoretically be a Sister. A “transgendered woman” (barring the rare occasion of a true instance of intersexed biology) is a chemically altered and surgically mutilated male — one day there’ll be a word for “sex-reassignment surgery,” and it will be “malpractice” — and therefore it’s biologically impossible for that person to be a “Sister.” Allowing someone to perpetuate a false religious identity with the blessing of the Church (if indeed there was one, since a layman’s call to the Vatican resulted in a very different decision) is scandal and heresy on the part of the bishop, especially to the troubled among the faithful who might, and probably would, get the wrong idea. Burke should never have done that. I doubt he helped Green come to true reconciliation with the Faith or the consequences of past decisions. But, should someone like Green be in the Church as a layperson, be urged to live as much as humanly possible according to its teachings, and be accepted fully and lovingly as one of the faithful, no matter what happened earlier in life? Of course. If Burke had not encouraged an objectively impossible situation — maybe out of ego or a misguided notion of compassion — perhaps there would have been a better outcome for all concerned.

    • chezami

      Repel Boarders! Yes. The most important thing was to make sure that this repentant sinner’s attempt to find a way to serve God was crushed and this person driven away. Because the mission of the Church is to smash the impure. Good thing that liberal heretic Burke was put in his place by a faithful Inquisitrix. The fewer damaged sinners in our ranks, the better! It’s the Reactionary Way! Thank God this person is no longer around to seek grace. The Pure saw to that.

      • Marthe Lépine

        I agree with you.

        As I read the above comment by Gia, I cannot avoid thinking that, now that some reactionaries have gained more confidence by criticizing Pope Francis, they now think that they can judge a cardinal’s decisions… Such hubris! (maybe I should not say it that way – feel free to remove my comment if you want, I won’t complain. I just felt that I needed to say it.)

        • linda daily

          Again, unfortunately, this is not new. Many priests and bishops have stories of being reported to their superiors by (usually) ultraconservative Catholics – sometimes referred to as parish spies – for pastoral practices deemed unorthodox by the reporter.

          • Faithr

            Yes, this is true. Years ago when I started homeschooling, the Catholic homeschoolers that went before me apparently took it upon themselves to report on priests they deemed not Catholic enough. So homeschoolers got a nasty rap for being troublemakers. Priests and parishes got nervous around homeschoolers. Gradually this has changed and there are now a new generation of priests who support and encourage homeschoolers, but it wasn’t always like that.

      • Benjamin2.0

        You seem to be taking an all-or-nothing binomial approach to the situation and downplaying the fact that a castrated man was given the go-ahead to form a community of religious sisters. One might certainly question the wisdom of such a decision without necessarily giving thanks to God for the man’s decision to forego sacramental grace. As in many modern controversial circumstances, the middle ground seems the most rational. After all, the purity of Church teaching and the salvation of the sinner are both goods, and the truth is that neither should be sacrificed for the other – lest one become a “liberal catholic” or a “reactionary” (i.e. a heretic). Heresies, as we all know, are introduced in pairs, each claiming its own side of a true paradox.

        • chezami

          I’m saying that an obvious wounded and damaged person’s attempt to make reparations and serve Christ should not have been treated with this kind of Pharisaic brutality.

          • Benjamin2.0

            I’m not sure a case for bedside manner can be made given the evidence at hand. All I could glean was that the order was disbanded. Did I miss something?

    • Faithr

      But Cardinal Burke wrote that the woman in question did not believe sex change operations were right. It sounds like there was no surgical solution sought. So how do you come up the idea that the transgender woman was surgically mutilated? I was talking to my dd the other day (just graduated college) and she had an interesting thought: that life in a monastery or convent is actually a good place for people who have sexual identity/orientation issues. They can devote themselves to a higher calling that keeps them from focusing on their sexual problems and they can have the support of the community and a life structured around prayer. I think people are very reactionary when they hear about things like this. There is a visceral repulsion because it is so weird to us. But I think if we act out of love and with clarity of thought, I think we can be both orthodox and allow room for them. I think someone who is faithful to the Church’s teachings while working out their painful confusion could actually make one very holy!

      • Marthe Lépine

        This is one of the most intelligent comments on this thread. Since you say you just graduated from college: I wish you a good career, and with that head you have on your shoulders, you should do very well, or at least do a lot of good even if you ever come to find it difficult to succeed in the way the world sees success.

  • James C

    Okay, I’m confused. Was this “Sister Julie” born a woman or a man? If a man, then “she” had no business founding a community of sisters.

    • S. Murphy

      “Was Sister Julie born a man or a woman?” None of our business, is the point. Cdl Burke came to a conclusion, with the Vatican, that she could found a religious community. Then somebody decided to second guess the cardinal and the Vatican, leading somebody at the Vatican to second-guess the original pastoral decision.

      • vox borealis

        Right, thus vindicating—it seems—the layperson who complained. Maybe “the Vatican” changed its mind when presented with more (or more accurate) information. Who knows. Shouldn’t we trust the Vatican’s final decision in the matter, rather than condemn the messenger?

        • Marthe Lépine

          As I asked above, is it the Vatican, or the nuncio acting on his own, and shouldn’t we trust Cardinal Burke , who was the closest to the case, to know what he was doing?

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Wait, wasn’t the second decision also from the Vatican? What makes the first decision pastoral but the second not?

        There’s got to be more to this.

        • chezami

          Note the time it occurred: 2002, just as the priest scandal was sending the hierarchy into blind panic. An excellent time for a reactionary busybody to say to a panicked Roman bureaucrat, “If you do not crucify this person, you are no friend of Caesar.”

          • Andy, Bad Person

            Do you think the timing of the complaint was deliberately timed to coincide with the scandal? I’m normally with you on the criticism of Reactionaries, but I think you’re reaching on this one.

            • chezami

              No. I think the timing of the complaint was luck (if you want to call it that).

          • Andy, Bad Person

            Is that what was said? Where is your evidence of this? You’re treading close to calumny here.

    • Stu

      The “source” story states that is was a biological man living as a women after a sex change operation.

  • vox borealis

    So let me get this straight. Assuming this story is an accurate representation of what happened, including the subsequent fate of Sister Green (reported only by a commentor as having left the Church), here are the principal characters:

    — the Bishop Burke who gave permission to Green to found a religious community, in consultation with the Vatican.

    — a concerned laywoman who thought it was maybe a little weird to have a women’s (?) religious community founded by a man who “became a woman” (?) [or a woman who “became a man” but then gave up on it? the story is not clear), so she contacted the nuncio, the level above the bishop, an act within her canonical rights as a Catholic lay, albeit perhaps not the “nicest” thing to do.

    — the nuncio, a representative of the Vatican, which formerly approved of the religious community. The nuncio, however, felt the lay woman’s concerns were justified enough that he overruled Burke’s decision.

    — Sister Green, a transgendered woman (what that means here is still unclear, but anyway), a person so devout and well formed in the faith that when her efforts to form a religious community—not to attend mass, or be welcomed into the church, or to be forgiven in the confessional, but to form a religious community—were stymied, she…quit the church.

    And the takeaway from the story is “bad reactionary lay Catholic?”

    Seriously?

    • Marthe Lépine

      I have a question: It did not seem clear to me whether it was the Nuncio himself, on his own, who overruled the decision, or if it was the Nuncio “in consultation with the Vatican”. That would make a difference.
      Then, as I said before, we don’t know the state of mind, and/or the level of maturity in the faith, of Sister Green, and as well we don’t know the words used by the busybody in order to spread the story all through St-Paul. Those facts could also make a difference. All we know is that a person seeking reconciliation with the Church, probably not perfectly as that person, like all of us, was a sinner, but probably as an honest try (we cannot judge him/her level of willingness to do the right thing without knowing more facts) was deeply hurt and her emotions took over and she left the Church. I myself was hurt some 40 years ago – by something totally different but that was brought about by judgmental busybodies – and nearly left the Church), and I do not consider that I can judge Ms. Green. But there is nothing wrong in pointing out that busybodies can do a lot of harm and drive some people out of the Church.

  • Lisa

    Why did you dig this story up after all these years?
    I think there is more to it. Can’t remember what it was, but there was something else.

    Religious orders put up all kinds of boundaries. If you’re in debt, you can’t join. If you’re disabled, you can’t join most of them. That’s the way it is.

    By the way, I saw you had dinner with a fellow Patheos blogger who has been very direct in her criticism of Pope Francis. Cutting, even. Are you going to take *her* to task in this space or you just going to reserve your name calling for obscure folks you dig up when you’re bored and need a jolt of blog hits?

    • vox borealis

      Why dig up the story? Because it fits the narrative that Mark has been pushing. The fact that the papal nuncio appears to have agreed with the concerned layperson—the reactionary in this narrative—is immaterial.

      Or maybe the real story here is that the nuncio was weak-willed and easily cowed by a grumpy lay person, or that he had terrible judgment in overruling the bishop. But then, that would play into the “reactionary” complaint that the hierarchy is often inconsistent and capricious.

      Or maybe the the story is that an allegedly devout sister got mad and quit the church when she didn’t get her way, because she has the right to form a religious community, and that is the only way she can faithfully serve the church. Oh wait, isn’t that what the reactionaries allegedly do, when they don’t get their way?

      • Marthe Lépine

        Interesting how you are able to read Mark’s mind! Your tone in this particular instance suggests, I am sorry to have to say, the attitude of a reactionary. If you so disapprove of Mark to that extent, why do you waste your time reading his blog?

        • Andy, Bad Person

          Wait, so now we’re cautious about attributing motives to people without knowing what they’re thinking?

          EDIT: Let me put that in a less jerky way. If we are being charitable and not trying to read into Mark’s mind, perhaps we should extend the same charity to the woman who voiced her concern to the nuncio. She might have been a busybody, but we really don’t have that information.

          • Marthe Lépine

            I agree if it is about judging her intent. However, looking at her actions and their consequences, some judgment can legitimately being made about their appropriateness. Remember: Judge the sins, not the sinner!

    • jack

      “By the way, I saw you had dinner with a fellow Patheos blogger who has been very direct in her criticism of Pope Francis. Cutting, even. Are you going to take *her* to task in this space”

      you kidding? there’s more ass kissing and tribalism here than a hollywood get together.
      by the way shea, you sound like the other idiots who come in here with hate, bigot, phobia rhetoric during discussions of gay marriage. newsflash, even if those 3 things are the case, it doesn’t make gay marriage or pope francis right. so you can drop the ad homs anytime now, take your own advice of using the intellect instead of worshipping it and look at what francis is saying.

  • linda daily

    My understanding is that all this took place in 2002.

    • linda daily

      To clarify my comment, I mention the date only to point out that the Church has always had its share of Gladys Kravitzs (gossipers and detractors) and unfortunately always will. A most destructive sin combination.

  • PeonyMoss

    If this story is true as reported – if Bishop Burke sought and received the approval of the Holy See only to have that approval yanked when someone else complained – if I’d have been Bishop Burke I would have been furious at the lack of support from my superiors.

    • vox borealis

      Or, if you were Bishop Burke, you might simply accept obediently the decision of your superior…something that Sr. Green apparently did not do, if in fact she quit the Church (as the commentor on Abbey Roads claimed).

      • PeonyMoss

        You can accept a decision with obedience and still be annoyed by it.

        • Marthe Lépine

          And… Sr. Green was probably too new to the faith to even be able to consider “simply accepting obediently the decision” of a superior. It takes a level of maturity in the faith that s/he had not had the time to reach, and was not even given the opportunity to reach. S/he just got ever more wounded and probably was unable to see any further than her pain. And “vox borealis” argument could be turned the other way: why would not the “busybody” involved not consider accepting a decision of her bishop with obedience? (Spoken by someone who has had personal experience of busybodies in the church, particularly women busybodies, to the extent of considering leaving the Church. That was 40 years ago, I did not leave the church, but I still to this day avoid belonging to any church organization – such as the Catholic Women’s League – that is only for women, and even staying well away from any small group made up only of women.)

          • Andy, Bad Person

            And… Sr. Green was probably too new to the faith to even be able to consider “simply accepting obediently the decision” of a superior.

            And yet she was given permission to found a religious community. Religious communities have the principle of obeying superiors as a key concept.

            • Stu

              Elsewhere it was reported that he/she had been in the Church for over 13 years.

  • Stu

    “Apparently, thanks to the vigilance of the Reactionary Pharisee who attacked Burke and Green and made sure her efforts to serve the Church were destroyed and she felt ostracized, Green’s left the Church and is in declining health. ”
    ——————–
    Assuming that is true, your conclusion (though it fits your narrative) doesn’t necessarily follow especially since the same poster subsequently states that the person in question blames “Burke”. Truth is, we don’t know the complete truth and are making conclusions with is ostensibly what you are railing against with respect to the so-called “reactionary” who we also don’t know anything about.

    The Holy See felt need to change course on this. Are they wrong? Are you criticizing their decision?

  • Dave G.

    Call me unCatholic, but I’d want more information before rushing to judgment one way or another. I mean, obviously we can indulge in our recommended daily dose of ‘Reactionaries are stupid and evil!’, but I’m not sure that’s the message from the source article. In terms of the chosen focus of the post, it would be a sticky situation to be sure. But it’s hard to say without more facts. If I should say at all. If it’s not someone’s business to judge the woman in question, I wonder if it’s any more my business to judge those who did so. I would, based on the source article, not suggest it’s only those rascally Evil Ones who are the mischief, since most of the nine year old article was about a wide range of folks who refused to work with Burke over a host of issues. In fact, most of it was about those who were railing against Burke for his ‘neo-Conservative eccentricities’. Why this one case of folks going against him from a different perspective got the post focus, I can only imagine.

    • James C

      But that’s the rub! Is it even a woman we’re talking about here? If my bishop allowed a man pretending to be a woman to found a religious community of sisters, you bet I’d report it to Rome. Now if it were a woman who “turned” male and then went back to living as a woman, I would shut my mouth and defer to the bishop’s wisdom.

      But we already have an order of “sisters” with men pretending to be women, and there is room in the world for only one Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

    • Paul

      Call me Catholic, but it’s not our place to judge.

      • Dave G.

        My point.

  • Stu

    31-January-2003 — Catholic World News Brief
    SEX- CHANGE OPERATIONS RULED INVALID BY VATICAN
    http://www.ewtn.com/vnews/getstory.asp?number=33494

    Given this situation apparently concerned a biological man living as a woman, there were bigger implications. For instance, could a woman who is surgically altered to be a “man” now join a male religious order and receive Holy Orders?

    • vox borealis

      Yep, and the situation with Sr. Green apparently played out in 2002, just before this ruling, which might explain the seeming inconsistency on the part of Burke and the Vatican. It may also explain why Sr. Green quit the Church (if in fact that additional info is true). Shea wants her decision to quit to be tied directly to the reactionary conservative keeping her (him?) from starting a religious community. But isn’t it just as likely—indeed more likely—that Sr. Green’s disaffection was more the product of the Vatican’s clearer stance taken on transgender operations in the following year? If so, then blame “the Vatican”, not the concerned layperson who raised concerns with the papal nuncio.

      • Stu

        And with that, I will agree that if the concerned parishioner didn’t go to him first with her concerns, then that was wrong too. One must us the chain-of-command for it to be effective.

        Further, we also really don’t know what Cardinal Burke did or did not do. The same poster who reports that Green left the Church says that he/she is mad at Burke. It’s quite possible the Burke did not know the full story initially.

        • vox borealis

          True. We are led to believe that the layperson jumped over Burke’s head—perhaps understandable if she felt that the bishop was the problem, though it would have been improper not to raise concerns with the bishop first before going to a higher authority.

  • http://www.likelierthings.com/ Jon W

    I think Shea’s point is that there was almost certainly a much better way than the above to a. take care of someone who wanted to follow Christ and, b. gradually deal with the moral, theological, and philosophical issues that arise with any irregular situation.

    If our focus is first on the purity of the institution itself, then we do damage to people who have come to us for help.

    • vox borealis

      Really? There is a “much better way” than notifying the competent Church authority and letting them make the decision? If the nuncio didn’t agree with what the layperson complained about, the complaint would have died right there with no one the wiser. If anyone is at fault for sacrificing individuals in the name of institutional purity, it would be the nuncio, right?

      • guest

        The competent church authority was Burke and the busybody reactionary went over his head and did not give him an opportunity to address it. Burke had approval of the holy see when he granted approval for the order, but that wasn’t good enough for the holier than everyone busybody, was it? Meanwhile, the abuse scandal gets going, the church is in PR hell and the see reversed itself in order to avoid further scandal. As if anything could possibly be as scandalous to the church as what the sexual predator priests and complicit bishops did to our church.

  • Andy, Bad Person

    Sounds like there’s more to this. On one hand, I sympathize with Mark’s view that there was a busybody who just couldn’t mind her own business (though that’s a complete projection; I have no idea what the complainant’s role was).

    On the other hand, I don’t think the relevant bit of information is whether or not Sr. Julie championed sex change operations; it’s whether she is, in fact, biologically female, and therefore qualified to join a women’s community at all.

    I have no idea, and don’t care that much, but from the Church’s standpoint, it’s pretty important since it also involves setting precedent (which is important in Canon Law, too).

  • Sharon

    Mark, I hope that you will get a chance to reply to this question. If a person who has a sex altering operation (if that is indeed the case for Sr. Julie) can start or belong to a religious order for women, can a woman who has similar surgery be ordained to the priesthood?

    We do not have enough information here to really know what was going on, and it is rash judgement to decide that the concerned Catholic was a “reactionary”. The Vatican saw fit to reverse its decision. Without sufficient information, I don’t see why we should accept the first decision from the Vatican but not the second.

    • chezami

      No. Of course a transgendered person cannot be a priest. The point here is that the person was obviously deeply damaged and was trying their best to make reparations and live in obedience to Jesus. In return, they got kicked in the teeth and driven out. It could have been handled in all sorts of gentler ways. But the proud Pharisee sent the lost lamb back to the desert at just the moment the heirarchy was most like to respond with panic as it was reeling from the priest scandal. And so a soul might well be lost for Christ. But Reactionaries kind of get off on that.

      • tj.nelson

        “The point here is that the person was obviously deeply damaged and was trying their best to make reparations and live in obedience to Jesus. In return, they got kicked in the teeth and driven out. It could have been handled in all sorts of gentler ways.”
        You are correct.

    • Mariana Baca

      Religious vows (poverty, chastity and obedience) are not reliant on gender. Men and women can take them, and there are coed communities. A trasgender person can start such a community with approval, I would think. The church shut down the community in order to avoid scandal, not because such a thing could not be permitted.

      • Andy, Bad Person

        Was this founded as a coed community? It was my understanding that it was a community of sisters, but I could be wrong.

  • tj.nelson

    How did you dig this up? LOL! So I’m the reactionary?
    Just stirring the pot – but I wasn’t being reactionary.
    All I wanted to do is show that transgender people would not be rejected from entering the Church – the Burke story was meant to demonstrate that – even though it wasn’t the right solution. The poor soul has many problems that unfortunately were exposed publicly by the lay woman who went to the Vatican. Burke could have handled things on his level if she had gone to him, and the poor transgendered person may have been helped with a better solution – privately and discreetly.
    At the time, locally, the story spread like wild fire, and the person suffered even more shame and rejection.
    I apologize for having posted about it.

    • Vince Gilbert

      “…locally the story spread like wild fire,…” What do you mean by this exactly? What source can you give for that comment?

      • tj.nelson

        I’m the source for the wild fire comment – the story spread amongst conservative Catholics in St. Paul, MN at the time.

        The person who made the original complaint is the same person who spread the story amongst fellow Catholics in St. Paul – I have no idea if she was responsible for contacting the newspaper as well. Her name is Mary Therese Helmueller. If you Google her name or Sr. Julie Green you can follow the links and have your questions answered.

        Otherwise maybe contact Cardinal Burke.

        • Vince Gilbert

          So Mary Therese Helmueller is the Reactionary Layman who successfully defended the Church from the wounded sinner. Got it.

          I think I would contact her first, to get her side of the story, before labeling her a Pharisee. As I recall Mark recently mentioned that that would be the way he intended to approach issues like this going forward.

          Not only was this confusing, it was also disappointing.

          • tj.nelson

            I never called her a reactionary or a Pharisee, did I?
            You seemed to want to trace the sources so I was just supplying the links.

    • Vince Gilbert

      I think one possible reason that First Things may have rejected your comment Terry was because it didn’t think that Malcolm Gay (the writer of the Riverfront Times article you cited) was a good source of credible information.

      See Malcolm’s article on Burke which was beyond lewd and didn’t seem very reliable to me (its subtitle is ‘Some dirty little secrets followed Archbishop Raymond Burke from Wisconsin to St. Louis’). But you can draw your own conclusion.

      http://www.riverfronttimes.com/2004-08-25/news/immaculate-deception/4/

      I only hope that Mark might consider apologizing for posting about your post. :)

    • chezami

      What? No, you aren’t the reactionary. The person who decided that God had called her to take this obviously damaged soul’s attempt to make reparations and serve Christ and crush it with all deliberate brutality was the Reactionary. Such people are a stain on the Church.

      • tj.nelson

        Oh good. Carry on.

  • Vince Gilbert

    I would be careful of citing anything as a source from the Riverfront Times. Also where did you get the information that Joel Green (the transgendered “sister”) was in ill health?

    • tj.nelson

      The person who wrote that, knows her, and was a friend. She also has spoken to her in the past. She also knows people who are close to her. Green was also a friend of a local community of Franciscan brothers.

      • Vince Gilbert

        The person who wrote the Riverfront Times article was his friend?

        • tj.nelson

          Not that I know of. The person who said Green was in ill health was a friend of Green – the last person I know of to have been in contact with Green.

  • R. Howell

    As far as I can tell from the quoted article, responsibility for the shutdown of the order lies squarely with the pope at the time, Bl. John Paul II. I had no idea he was one of the reactionary pharisees. In any case he was certainly not a layman – perhaps that is a typo that needs to be corrected?

  • Julia

    Mark, I agree with you about the hysterics that have come out over Pope Francis’ comments.

    This seems to be clearly different, though. A man who has been surgically altered to appear to be a woman should be welcomed into the Church. But allowing someone who had had a sex-change to form a community of sisters is inappropriate. It seems to say that the church believes that this operation really changes a person’s sex when it doesn’t.

    In your zeal to stick it to the reactionaries, you seem to have gone too far here.

    • chezami

      Julia: What I see is an obviously damaged person who came to Christ seeking to find some way to make reparations and live as Christ would want as best they could. Instead of finding mercy, what they got was a kick in the teeth from Pharisees. The wounded sinner was driven from grace. It’s a shameful story of arrogant pride destroying one of the lost sheep for whom Christ died. It sickens and angers me.

      • Stu

        So you are second-guessing the decision by the Vatican? You are against the requirement that nuns/sisters need to be actual women?

        • chezami

          I’m in favor of the Church welcoming wounded sinners and their attempt to make reparation and serve God. Rules and regulations take a back seat to that since the law was made for man, not man for the law. This is not the last time the Church is going to be confronted with a penitent transgendered person. Burke attempted a legitimate pastoral approach to this person. The Reactionary, like a true Pharisee, cared more about the letter of the law than the good of the person and successfully drove a sinner seeking grace away. Disgusting.

          • Stu

            I’m in favor of such things too but I fail to see how the Church requiring that religious sisters be actual female precludes that from happening anymore than the laws that don’t allow women to be priest would. The Church has ruled on this. So again I ask, are you against the Church ruling on this?

            Are you for allowing men to be sisters and women to be monks in religious orders as a “pastoral approach? Yes or no.

            You also don’t know what Burke really allowed. He says that she never took her vows. Sounds to me that the possibility exists that he was not going to ever allow it (which is why Joel/Julie Green would be mad at Burke which was relayed in the same post) and his (Burke) gripe with the lay person is that she didn’t contact him first privately.

            You shot from the hip on this one (as you are increasingly prone to do) and put yourself in an untenable position of now standing against a reasonable policy of the Church because of your desire to find more proof on your continuing “reactionary witch hunt.”

            • http://hjg.com.ar/ Hernán J. González

              “the Church requiring that religious sisters be actual female”
              I wonder how you apply that requirement (not to speak of ambiguous cases – google for “intersex”) for a transgendered person. If Julie wants to enter a religious order, would “she” be allowed to enter a feminine order, a masculine order, or none?

              • freddt

                Actually relgious orders, guided by the Church, tend to set the bar fairly high for who may enter. The religious life is not for the faint of heart! I have a sibling in a religious order and know that a certain minimum level of physical, mental and spiritual maturity and health is required. Of course the religious life attracts its share of damaged psyches (and we all are, in some way or another), but due to the rigors of the life it is often better to guide the wounded soul to proper therapy and spiritual guidance rather than allow entrance into a life that soul would be unable to live.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Seems to me that if someone wants to belong to a community of sisters, that person is clearly showing a desire to follow Christ, whatever that person’s status is. If that person seeks to lead a celibate life and give his/her life to Christ, it should be enough to be accepted by the Church. Whatever has been done in the past by that person that would be difficult to change does not in any way negate the person’s wish to repent and convert and get closer to Christ..

      • Stu

        I think for one to belong to a community of “sisters”, one should actually be a “sister”.

  • defiant12314

    Mark, please for the love of all that is Holy put a sock in it.

    Due you really think that we Trads are Pharisaic ‘reactionaries’ who hate evangelism and are only for ‘the Church of the Pure” ? Well let me burst your bubble. I have a gay friend who through dialogue I am hoping to help bring into the Church, I am not affirming his lifestyle but neither am I hurling Bible verses at him as since as an agnostic he doesn’t accept the Bible’s authority. I am instead (a) disabusing him of the notion that Christians want to string him up from the nearest lamppost and (b) introducing them to the classical arguments for the existence of God and Catholicism in particular.

    I do not know all the circumstances in this particular case but neither do you, so please put a sock in it.and stop spreading discord amongst the faithful

    • Chesire11

      In which case, it is excruciatingly clear that he is not talking about you.

      • Half Heathen

        Ditto!

    • JeffAStevens

      If the shoe does not fit, I would suggest not wearing it.

  • Elmwood

    I always noticed that there are a lot of funny people in the church, especially in the more traditional ones (Latin mass/Byzantine). This doesn’t surprise me.

    We had some lady who dressed up as a nun for years until the bishop found out she wasn’t a nun.

  • freddy

    Mark,
    I’ve been noodling this around and praying about it this weekend. I have a few thoughts; don’t know if they’ll do any good, but be patient with me! I’m just a sinner.
    I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that it’s wrong to frame this story as “Evil Reactionary Uses Forces of Darkness to Evict Sinner From Church!!!!” Here’s why:
    .
    1. The story is over ten years old. “Sr. Julie” isn’t likely to be impressed as this is “too little, too late” though not, of course, your fault. “The Complainer” is also not likely to be swayed by your fraternal correction, as she’s already been chastized by no less than a bishop!
    .
    2. You’re also not likely to reach other reactionaries in potentially similar situations. I truly believe their take-away from your presentation will only be “Right. Send a letter *first* to the bishop, *then* to the nuncio.” and not, “Gee, maybe some things are not my business….”
    .
    3. Shrieking “REACTIONARY!!!” effectively ignores the greater point of the original article — that we must have, if the Church is a hospital for sinners, good conversations regarding the best medicine for particular sin. For example, if the Church can suggest to a man who has had a vasectomy, who later comes to believe all that the Church teaches, that he and his wife, if the procedure cannot be reversed (either because of expense or possibility of success) they might find it spiritually beneficial to follow a practice of periodic abstinence; then why cannot the Church discuss whether it is spiritually beneficial to a man who presents as a woman to found a religious order for women.
    .
    I would agree with you that it would be better to have these discussions rationally and in advance, that nosy lay folks and The Scandal should have no bearing on these discussions, but unfortunately that’s not how our beloved Church works. As you know, noisy discussions and Church decisions are made right in the middle of real people’s real lives, for good or for ill.
    .
    Finally, the idea that you seem to have is that this “Reactionary” is directly responsible for “Sr. Julie” leaving the Church. I will not question that perhaps the “Reactionary” should have, if truly concerned for souls, worked quietly with each person involved, including the good Cardinal, but starting with “Sr. Julie.” However, you seem to be able to see into the hearts and minds of these people and that’s disconcerting.
    .
    Thanks for bearing with me and please delete this if I’ve said anything untoward. God bless you.

  • Thomas

    I recommend Dr. G. C. Dilsaver’s book “The three Marks of Manhood”…its about the biggest threat to society and to the Chutch…anti-catholic secularism and liberalism.

    • Thomas

      …Church…and it is also about why a patriarchy is important to society. He’s also the guest on Women of Grace this week. Good stuff.

      • Shilo

        Yes! I wish we could get Dr. Dilsaver’s “Three Marks of Manhood” by into the hands (and hopefully minds and hearts) of the Cardinal Burke and the Curia!

  • freddy

    Maybe I’m wrong for coming back to this, but it’s still bothering me. What I find most troubling about this post, Mark is that you describe a real human being in these terms, based, as far as I can tell, from a single quote from one letter written over ten years ago:
    .
    “Reactionary Pharisee” “Reactionaries hate evangelism and loathe the Church’s missionary imperative….” “…shameful story of arrogant pride….” “The Reactionary, like a true Pharisee….” “…a stain on the Church.” “…the proud Pharisee….” “…a reactionary busybody….” “…a faithful Inquisitrix.”
    .
    You also accuse this real human of: “Pharisaic brutality….” of thinking that, “The most important thing was to make sure that this repentant sinner’s attempt to find a way to serve God was crushed and the person driven away.” of “deliberate brutality,” of “caring more for the letter of the law than the good of the person.”
    .
    Mark, you’ve written some beautiful things on forgiveness, recently in your book “The Heart of Catholic Prayer.” You even point out the dangers of being angry on behalf of another, and refusing to forgive from that basis. I’ve found great help in my own life from your writing on this subject, but when you write as you’ve done here, you lose me. I don’t see how the rage and invective gel with forgiveness. I’m really not trying to pick at a mote in your eye, Mark; I just don’t get it. Thanks for your patience; sorry for blathering on!

  • disqus_KWqcWZOpiq

    Preventing a transgendered woman from starting a religious community is rooted in tradition. Those who castrated themselves and became eunuchs were barred from the priesthood eventually after it became a problem. Transgender people deform God’s creation and create illusions of changing gender, which would vseriously be a problem as regards women becoming “transgendered men” to become priests.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X