Friday, July 3, 2009

US Nuns Facing Vatican Scrutiny

It's about time.

The NYT has the story.

The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition.

Nuns were the often-unsung workers who helped build the Roman Catholic Church in this country, planting schools and hospitals and keeping parishes humming. But for the last three decades, their numbers have been declining — to 60,000 today from 180,000 in 1965.

At this point, any doctrinal inquisition is probably a good thing, but let's face it, the women religious communities are long overdue for something like this. When was the last time you personally met a sister who wore her habit and didn't want women to be priests?

The best part of the whole article is how there's all this shock and outrage with nobody knowing exactly why this would be happening, while the whole account is peppered with examples. It makes you wonder if any of these dissenters are even paying attention. For instance:

Given this backdrop, Sister Schneiders, the professor in Berkeley, urged her fellow sisters not to cooperate with the visitation, saying the investigators should be treated as “uninvited guests who should be received in the parlor, not given the run of the house.” She wrote this in a private e-mail message to a few friends, but it became public and was widely circulated. . .

So much for obedience.

Then there's this:

Cardinal Levada sent a letter to the Leadership Conference (of Women's Religious) saying an investigation was warranted because it appeared that the organization had done little since it was warned eight years ago that it had failed to “promote” the church’s teachings on three issues: the male-only priesthood, homosexuality and the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the means to salvation.

The letter goes on to say that, “Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses” at assemblies the Leadership Conference has held in recent years, the problem has not been fixed.

And who can forget this?

The Leadership Conference drew the Vatican’s wrath decades ago when its president welcomed John Paul II to the United States with a plea for the ordination of women. But several nuns who have attended the group’s meetings in recent years said they had not heard anything that would provoke the Vatican’s ire.

People who think that all is well with the religious orders remind me of the folks who think that, just because the Jesuits were awesome a century ago, they are a-okay in our current era.

What is needed are groups like the Nashville Dominicans, who are bringing in novices by the truckload:

Pray for these ladies and for the success of the Vatican's efforts on this front.

No comments: