Why The Hierarchy Fears The Nuns
Frank Cocozzelli printable version print page     Bookmark and Share
Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 12:03:56 PM EST
In recent weeks we've watched the Vatican try to stifle a vital part of the Catholic Church: the nuns.  Indeed, the Church fathers seem to have become quite unhinged in their efforts to quiet women who have dedicated their lives not only to Catholicism, but to betterment of all.

Why is this?  Its simply because the good Sisters have the ability to redirect the Church to a place where conservative men do not want to go.

Chris Hedges once wrote "faith is how we treat each other."  Perhaps no other group of Catholics embodies Hedges' definition of faith than the various orders of Catholic nuns. The women's orders and individual nuns perform a wide range of services; from teaching in parochial schools; to providing health care; to making great contributions in theology.  It has often been nuns who reported their suspicions of priestly pedophilia and forced transparency in how these matters were handled.

Nuns have also been at the forefront of a potential Catholic remonstrance. Is it any wonder that the hierarchy and their friends on the Catholic Right are trying to reign them in?

The Vatican has revealed itself in the current spectacle as more reactionary than conservative. Even the suggestion of discussing progressive takes on dogma is often denounced as heresy.  Arguably, moderate and liberal Catholics live in a new reign of terror whose principal players are Bernard Law, disgraced former Boston Cardinal; Cardinal William Levada, Prefect for the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura; and well-placed, movement conservative-friendly bishops and cardinals in cities such as Madison, Wisconsin, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

These clerics apparently recognize that the nuns could become a rallying point and potential leadership for reform for those of us unhappy with the turn away from Vatican II's Aggiornamento - "bringing up to date" that has occurred since the ascendancy of Pope John Paul II.

In fact, that is exactly how many of us who oppose the reactionary doctrine and culture trickling down from the hierarchy see the nuns'  potential for leadership.  They are not a dissident lay group such as Call to Action, but part of the institutional Church. It would be a change from within.

While many in the hierarchy are courting reactionary movements such as Opus Dei and SSPX, groups that seek a more insulated, doctrinaire - and smaller Church.

But the sisters toil in the real world; rubbing elbows with everyday people; dealing with the grey issues of life. This provides them with perspectives sorely missing in the Vatican, notably women's points of view. The nuns understand pregnancy; they understand glass ceilings; they live with being marginalized by gender.  And they see how related injustices play out in the lives of real people.

One nun who dealt with the grey issue of abortion and paid the price was Sister Margaret McBride, a hospital administrator who allowed an abortion in order to save the life of a critically ill pregnant woman. As I reported two years ago, doctors had determined that continuation of the pregnancy would end the mother's life due to complications from a pulmonary hypertension.  For Sister Margaret, it was obvious that if the mother died, so would the child. For this, she was excommunicated by her bishop and removed from her hospital position.

On questions of theology, nuns who put forth heterodoxical but feasible religious theses, they too are censured and bullied. The most recent example has been Sister Margaret Farley, author of the Vatican-criticized book, Just Love. And what did Sister Margaret write so as to incur such wrath?  She simply used a theological standpoint to challenge current Church teachings on -- among other things -- masturbation, homosexuality, gay unions and the problem of divorce and remarriage. To its credit, the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) backs Sister Margaret.  

Now, LCWR, the umbrella group that represents most of America's nuns has been falsely accused of promoting "radical feminist themes."  This has been amplified by Rush Limbaugh who (claimed the good sisters "have gone Femi-nazi") and Catholic League President Bill Donohue (who said of Sister Margaret Farley, "Nor would anyone think she was a nun if he consulted her official Yale biography."). This is not the first time Donohue has gone after the LCWR.

After all, progressive-thinking nuns break down the myth that "good Catholics" only vote Republican and  an Ayn Rand-inspired economic plan appear godly.

But the nuns have responded to all this by calmly and gracefully  brushing aside the sneering accusations with cool reasonableness that exudes confidence.

However, it is worth underscoring that to accuse the nuns of disobedience is to say the same of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who was also denounced in his day for daring to integrate the teachings of Aristotle into Catholic thought.

But part of the threat to the hierarchy is that the nuns point out the obvious; that mere discussion of new interpretations of faith is not disobedience, but the exercise of reason. What's more the nuns are doing about social Social Justice is more than just talk. Most notably with a bus tour that challenges the American bishops apparent tacit approval of GOP economic miserliness.

Pope Benedict is no stranger to persecuting Catholics who propose more enlightened paths of the faith. As head of the CDF -- formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition -- he had theologian Father Charles F. Curram sacked from the faculty of Catholic University in Washington, DC, for questioning the validity of the Church's disapproval of artificial birth control.  Likewise, he ostracized the esteemed theologian Hans Küng, rescinding his authority to teach Catholic theology because he questioned the notion of papal infallibility.

But the situation with the nuns is different. The CDF can pick off one deviant theologian at a time, but it is harder to oust 57,000 American nuns. Catholic hospitals and schools would shut; many other day-to-day functions would simply cease. The Vatican is walking a tightrope and they are in danger of falling off.

In a previous post, I called for a Catholic remonstrance against the current Vatican's strident rejection of Vatican II.

Now a vehicle exists within the Church for the return of reason. These brave sisters should be a rallying cry for every one of my co-religionists who are tired of the bullying, the lack of transparency on issues such as hiding pedophile priests and the absurd notion that the Church is to be a co-belligerent with Protestant evangelical theocrats in a culture war in order to advance the economic agenda of the Republican Party.  In short, the nuns' fight is our fight. Let's lend them a hand.




Display:
Just click here.

By empowering the Nuns, we empower a renewal of the Vatican II spirit.

by Frank Cocozzelli on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 12:07:50 PM EST

The sisters are doing a better job of living the Gospel than the hierarchy. Rome has a problem with its "leadership" failing upward. The fact the disgraced Bernie Above the Law has a significant position in Rome tells me the Vatican leadership lives more by the Peter Principle than Jesus' principles.

by khughes1963 on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 07:46:23 PM EST
Parent


 I learned to ride a two wheeler and to crack up Mom's car.  I, also, became afraid of sledding down icy slopes and of the darkness.  mold removal


by mike12 on Sun Aug 12, 2012 at 03:05:49 AM EST

 Social Justice is more than just talk. Most notably with a bus tour that challenges the American bishops apparent tacit approval of GOP economic miserliness.total beauty center


by nilky698 on Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 05:32:02 AM EST


WWW Talk To Action


Cognitive Dissonance & Dominionism Denial
There is new research on why people are averse to hearing or learning about the views of ideological opponents. Based on evaluation of five......
By Frederick Clarkson (155 comments)
Will the Air Force Do Anything To Rein In Its Dynamic Duo of Gay-Bashing, Misogynistic Bloggers?
"I always get nervous when I see female pastors/chaplains. Here is why everyone should as well: "First, women are not called to be pastors,......
By Chris Rodda (40 comments)
The Legacy of Big Oil
The media is ablaze with the upcoming publication of David Grann's book, Killers of the Flower Moon. The shocking non fiction account of the......
By wilkyjr (29 comments)
Gimme That Old Time Dominionism Denial
Over the years, I have written a great deal here and in other venues about the explicitly theocratic movement called dominionism -- which has......
By Frederick Clarkson (35 comments)
History Advisor to Members of Congress Completely Twists Jefferson's Words to Support Muslim Ban
Pseudo-historian David Barton, best known for his misquoting of our country's founders to promote the notion that America was founded as a Christian nation,......
By Chris Rodda (34 comments)
"Christian Fighter Pilot" Calls First Lesbian Air Force Academy Commandant a Liar
In a new post on his "Christian Fighter Pilot" blog titled "BGen Kristin Goodwin and the USAFA Honor Code," Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan......
By Chris Rodda (32 comments)
Catholic Right Leader Unapologetic about Call for 'Death to Liberal Professors' -- UPDATED
Today, Donald Trump appointed C-FAM Executive Vice President Lisa Correnti to the US Delegation To UN Commission On Status Of Women. (C-FAM is a......
By Frederick Clarkson (34 comments)
Controlling Information
     Yesterday I listened to Russ Limbaugh.  Rush advised listeners it would be best that they not listen to CNN,MSNBC, ABC, CBS and......
By wilkyjr (32 comments)
Is Bannon Fifth-Columning the Pope?
In December 2016 I wrote about how White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, who likes to flash his Catholic credentials when it comes to......
By Frank Cocozzelli (16 comments)
Ross Douthat's Hackery on the Seemingly Incongruous Alliance of Bannon & Burke
Conservative Catholic writer Ross Douthat has dissembled again. This time, in a February 15, 2017 New York Times op-ed titled The Trump Era's Catholic......
By Frank Cocozzelli (14 comments)
`So-Called Patriots' Attack The Rule Of Law
Every so often, right-wing commentator Pat Buchanan lurches out of the far-right fever swamp where he has resided for the past 50 years to......
By Rob Boston (18 comments)
Bad Faith from Focus on the Family
Here is one from the archives, Feb 12, 2011, that serves as a reminder of how deeply disingenuous people can be. Appeals to seek......
By Frederick Clarkson (44 comments)
The Legacy of George Wallace
"One need not accept any of those views to agree that they had appealed to real concerns of real people, not to mindless, unreasoning......
By wilkyjr (11 comments)
Betsy DeVos's Mudsill View of Public Education
My Talk to Action colleague Rachel Tabachnick has been doing yeoman's work in explaining Betsy DeVos's long-term strategy for decimating universal public education. If......
By Frank Cocozzelli (24 comments)
Prince and DeVos Families at Intersection of Radical Free Market Privatizers and Religious Right
This post from 2011 surfaces important information about President-Elect Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. -- FC Erik Prince, Brother of Betsy......
By Rachel Tabachnick (33 comments)

Respect for Others? or Political Correctness?
The term "political correctness" as used by Conservatives and Republicans has often puzzled me: what exactly do they mean by it? After reading Chip Berlin's piece here-- http://www.talk2action.org/story/2016/7/21/04356/9417 I thought about what he explained......
MTOLincoln (49 comments)
Fear
What I'm feeling now is fear.  I swear that it seems my nightmares are coming true with this new "president".  I'm also frustrated because so many people are not connecting all the dots! I've......
ArchaeoBob (31 comments)
"America - love it or LEAVE!"
I've been hearing that and similar sentiments fairly frequently in the last few days - far FAR more often than ever before.  Hearing about "consequences for burning the flag (actions) from Trump is chilling!......
ArchaeoBob (30 comments)
"Faked!" Meme
Keep your eyes and ears open for a possible move to try to discredit the people openly opposing Trump and the bigots, especially people who have experienced terrorism from the "Right"  (Christian Terrorism is......
ArchaeoBob (72 comments)
More aggressive proselytizing
My wife told me today of an experience she had this last week, where she was proselytized by a McDonald's employee while in the store. ......
ArchaeoBob (28 comments)
See if you recognize names on this list
This comes from the local newspaper, which was conservative before and took a hard right turn after it was sold. Hint: Sarah Palin's name is on it!  (It's also connected to Trump.) ......
ArchaeoBob (32 comments)
Unions: A Labor Day Discussion
This is a revision of an article which I posted on my personal board and also on Dailykos. I had an interesting discussion on a discussion board concerning Unions. I tried to piece it......
Xulon (34 comments)
Extremely obnoxious protesters at WitchsFest NYC: connected to NAR?
In July of this year, some extremely loud, obnoxious Christian-identified protesters showed up at WitchsFest, an annual Pagan street fair here in NYC.  Here's an account of the protest by Pagan writer Heather Greene......
Diane Vera (24 comments)
Capitalism and the Attack on the Imago Dei
I joined this site today, having been linked here by Crooksandliars' Blog Roundup. I thought I'd put up something I put up previously on my Wordpress blog and also at the DailyKos. As will......
Xulon (22 comments)
History of attitudes towards poverty and the churches.
Jesus is said to have stated that "The Poor will always be with you" and some Christians have used that to refuse to try to help the poor, because "they will always be with......
ArchaeoBob (24 comments)
Alternate economy medical treatment
Dogemperor wrote several times about the alternate economy structure that dominionists have built.  Well, it's actually made the news.  Pretty good article, although it doesn't get into how bad people could be (have been)......
ArchaeoBob (25 comments)
Evidence violence is more common than believed
Think I've been making things up about experiencing Christian Terrorism or exaggerating, or that it was an isolated incident?  I suggest you read this article (linked below in body), which is about our great......
ArchaeoBob (26 comments)
Central Florida Sheriff Preached Sermon in Uniform
If anyone has been following the craziness in Polk County Florida, they know that some really strange and troubling things have happened here.  We've had multiple separation of church and state lawsuits going at......
ArchaeoBob (33 comments)
Demon Mammon?
An anthropologist from outer space might be forgiven for concluding that the god of this world is Mammon. (Or, rather, The Market, as depicted by John McMurtry in his book The Cancer Stage of......
daerie (32 comments)
Anti-Sharia Fever in Texas: This is How It Starts
The mayor of a mid-size Texan city has emerged in recent months as the newest face of Islamophobia. Aligning herself with extremists hostile to Islam, Mayor Beth Van Duyne of Irving, Texas has helped......
JSanford (30 comments)

More Diaries...




All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments, posts, stories, and all other content are owned by the authors. Everything else 2005 Talk to Action, LLC.