Nuns and Bishops and Popes, Oh My! – UPDATES

The sisters are all Joan of Arc and the Bishops are all Don Giovanni!

Allow me to clear my tabbar of these numerous links touching on the Sr. Margaret Farley story, the LCWR leadership meeting with Rome story and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad menfolk — offering “the contorted thinking of celibate men” — who just don’t appreciate the linear and perfect thinking of the celibate women.

I guess female celibacy is superior to male celibacy and therefore confers credibility on their thinking? Or something? Do people just forget that the sisters are also celibate and vowed to that discipline?

Anyway, here we go: In response to this piece posted this morning, I got an email from someone sending a link to this piece at Deacon Greg’s saying that some of the celibate women were becoming “tiring” to the sender. I don’t know about that yet, but I do think this sister doth protest too much when she keeps repeating “We are the church. We are the church.”

Well, yeah. We’re all the church. Even those pests in Rome, sister.

Amy Welborn, going for the ironic, looks at a different sort of nun-ly water-stirring:

Here you go: the American religious sister who’s had more conflicts with more bishops than any other over the past few decades. Who’s gone head-to-head with a bishop or two, whose work has been supported by lay people, but who’s had bishops has her primary opponents, both overtly and covertly, who, up until various shifts and changes of the past 5-7 years, has had probably 80% of the American bishops strongly in opposition to her ministry.

You’ll have to go to the link to see who she means. What’s interesting is that beyond all of these theatricals — and all of this brouhaha is, to a point, theater, the media-assisted stirring up of sentiment, creating pure heroines and demonic antagonists (or stalwart heroes and witches) and meant to further agendas existing on all sides — and despite all the noise from one corner, the youth and energy of the church is collecting in the quieter corner. We are the church; we are all the church. Who will be the church, in ten or twenty years? We will. All of us. Same as it ever was.

Robert Royal: Notes the difference in how universities and others receive certain theologians according, apparently, to the political characterizations they can attach to their wonderings.

Rocco Palmo has the full statement out of Rome re their meeting with the sisters.

Not sure how accurate this is: I think the author is making a mistake here. If the LCWR does sever its relationship to Rome, I don’t think it means these sisters are no longer sisters. I think it simply means the LCWR itself, as an organization, no longer has canonical status.

At NRO, George Weigel how distorted understanding can become when casual observers of Church-related stories get what’s filtered through the secular press.

At dotcommonweal: Sr. Simone Campbell on Colbert.

MEANWHILE, our dear pope has this to say:

“Renouncing the glamour of Satan in today’s age means rejecting a culture where truth does not matter.” . . .

He said with Baptism, we are now in the life of the Trinity: “uniquely united to God, with a new life that belongs to God, we are immersed in God Himself.”

This being true, the Pope said this means God is not some distant reality, but “we are in God, and God is in us.”

He said we also must keep in mind that this relationship begins with God.

“Yes, my decision is necessary, but ultimately, it is an act of God within me,” he explained. “I do not decide to become a Christian. I am … chosen by God, and by saying “yes” to this action of God, I become a Christian.” [...] Pope Benedict said this means rejecting a “culture that does not seek goodness, whose morality is only a mask, which covers confusion and destruction…that seeks only material wealth and denies God” . . . The Pope then pointed out that becoming a Christian is not just saying ‘no’, but also saying ‘yes’ to the truths about Christ expressed in the Creed.

Because of this, Christians are “in communion with the truth.”

Perhaps Ms. Quinn would call that the “distorted thinking of a celibate man” but I think papa has succinctly identified the tension between all sides. The poor must be served; fixations on material wealth are damaging. But before all else: be in communion with the great Truth of Christ.

It’s all about balance, ultimately. And balance is not found in a soundbite. It is found in and on the cross

UPDATE: Tim Dalrymple, writing from an Evangelical perspective deftly chronicles the scandal of Christians kicking the crap out of each other to try to show the world who “the good ones” are. “Don’t you just love ME, God? I’m not like that Christian over there!” just foments precisely the sort of bigotry that allowed Archie Bunker to determine which of his black co-workers was “one of the good ones.”

And sadly, this lovely state of affairs is also current in the Catholic church, too. Shame on us all. Jesus must be so very pleased.

Max Lindenman, meanwhile offers what is probably the only unique perspective, here.

UPDATE II: Perhaps I spoke too quickly. Terry Nelson links to another very unique perspective from a fellow who left the church because he understands that it cannot change:

Another American nun has had her theological work condemned. The usual tired narrative is provoked: power-hungry old men vs plucky female pioneer. She favors masturbation, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and remarriage after divorce. People act shocked that there’s a problem. This “widely respected” teacher disingenuously denies that she was attacking traditional doctrine or proposing a new set. She calls her work “another genre entirely.” Her book, Just Love*, is apparently the theological equivalent of “Just sayin’.”

The author nails it, doesn’t he. Not a question. See, there really are honest people in the world – people who’ve been there, maybe even done that – as far as talkin’ the talk; saying the right stuff in order not to be kicked out, maintaining a sense of decorum, while having it your way. But I digress.

What people forget is how mild and rare Rome’s reactions now are, compared to what they used to be. And I include Rome during Cardinal Ratzinger’s term at the Holy Office. How many ideas, practices and/or people had sanctions laid against them during his whole term? It was hardly a reign of terror.

Read it all here

National Catholic Register: The LCWR, the CDR and the Doctrinal Assessment

USA Today: Offers links and its own perspective

LCWR and Rome: The Opera of Catholicism
Americans and Obedience: Oil and Water
Pope Benedict, Faith and Future
Prod Mary: The Church Does Not Hate Women
The Talking, Thinking and Wondering will Continue
Miserable Nuns and More Miserable Nuns

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Win Nelson

    Brava, Elizabeth!

  • Rich Fader

    Heh. I knew who it was before I clicked.

  • Gerry

    Well, at least one person visits the deacon’s “blog”. I’m not going add to that total, because a “blog” without comments is a one-man echo chamber.

    [Actually a "blog" is whatever a blogger wants it to be, whether it has comments or not. Do you avoid Instapundit because it does not have comments? Do you read a blog to get information, or to leave a comment that others can respond to, and thus validate your existence or your pov? Btw, a lot more than "one" person is visiting the Deac's blog. His traffic is just fine, thanks. - admin]

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  • Fiesta mom

    I knew who the mystery sister was too! In fact, during that whole “what sister means to me” deal, almost every tweet I sent was about that fine nun. I even quoted her. I didn’t get a lot of love from THAT crowd….

    In a less liberal dominated Hollywood, she would have had a biopic movie about her, strong woman w/out a dime, making it in a man’s world against all the odds. She’s a real American success story.

  • Brian A. Cook

    Can you comment on this too?

    [No, because it's stupid and irrelevant. There is not a person alive who is not willing (nay, EAGER) to praise the sisters for their past work -- work they did with the support and approval of a church which gave them the freedom to run with their heads when the rest of society thought women should shut up and go back to the kitchen -- and to acknowledge that without them, the Church would never have progressed in mission as it has. I've written it myself. That has nothing at all to do with the issues Rome has cited, and which many are willing (nay, EAGER) to ignore, which is that the leadership (specifically the LEADERSHIP, not the body of nuns within it) of a canonical organization (that is, existing in union with Rome and by Rome's permission) has publicly explored post-Christian thinking and has in some cases advocated policies that are in direct contradiction to church teachings that cannot be changed. In that case, ought they remain a canonical institution? It's a fair question. The issue the CDF has with the LCWR is valid, and the LCWR knows it. Which is why they're happy to wring sentimental heartstrings and allow the press to distort this into a "sisters being oppressed by bad men" story. Which is becoming so boring. Lies are always boring. -admin]

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  • Jim

    Love your posts, but please no more ‘very unique’.

  • Mary

    Obedience, obedience, obedience. None of us has the right to change Church teachings. Yes, we can have opinions but we should not be making our positions public and attaching a Catholic identity to them. It’s about time the LCWR was held accountable for their actions.

    Regarding the Deacon’s Bench I commend Deacon Greg for his decision to eliminate comments (hopefully it will only be temporary). One very well known Catholic blog banned me from posting when I complained about the blasphemous and profanity-laced comments. Rather than dealing with what I saw as inappropriate, it was easier for them to ban the complainer. Perhaps they like all the drama on the blog since it draws people in. That is sad if it’s the reason. I have high standards for a Catholic blog which is why I respect the decision Deacon Greg felt he had to make.