Sunday, May 6, 2012

Re: The LCWR (aka What Does Heresy Look Like)

First off, I'm posting this to help out some folks who don't seem to understand why Pope Benedict is "going after a bunch of nuns" in the form of the LCWR

Second, to answer the question I posed in the title, it looks like this:

This is Sr. Brigid McDonald of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Let's examine her comments:

MinnPost: What are you hearing in your community about the (Pope's) decision?

Sister Brigid McDonald: 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.

Yeah, who does this guy think he is? The Pope or something?

MP: When you say “he,” you are talking about Benedict? 

SBM: Yes. I still call him Ratzinger. That fits him better. 

Not really heresy. Just hubris and disrespect hardly befitting one who takes a vow of obedience.

But that is just a personal bias. I think they are overstepping their jurisdiction to expect that nuns are going to think as they tell us to think. To me those issues are not spiritual issues; many of them are political issues and some, of course, are social justice issues. I think that our personal spiritual life, it is another matter and that is our private belief. 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.

Sister, as a Catholic, let me say that there's not much that scares me more than you and those like you. Let's reflect a bit on these comments. She has just said that she and other women's religious will believe what they want to believe and think what they want to think. And that the Holy Father's efforts to change those things are "scary." If ever there was a case for a mass excomming, it's this right here. The scary things that popes used to do was just fire off an anathema and let it be known that these people had placed themselves outside the Church. The Sister here has been nice enough to reveal herself as not Catholic. Not content with leaving the Church, she now endeavors to destroy it by shattering the unity of Faith. And talks about it like that's a good thing!

MP: Can you speak a little bit more about that, the difference between changing your belief and silencing you, and where that line gets murky?

SBM: You are right, those are two different issues. If he wants us just to shut up about how we believe and don't put it out in public, that is one issue. Or if he is really trying to get us to make statements that are opposite of our beliefs, I don't know what his motivation is for this. Other than control, I don't know what his motivation is.

Perhaps he's motivated to try and keep your soul out of hell? Or the souls of those you might be misleading? Maybe?

I think it is pretty impossible for us to all change our beliefs on these issues to coincide with his beliefs. That sounds impossible.

Yeah, the Pope's beliefs are obviously the problem here.

MP: Can you tell me what you are hearing? Are people afraid?

SBM: It is interesting. 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. You can't excommunicate hundreds of nuns. Wouldn't that be kind of funny? Excommunicate the whole order! It is irrational. I don't know what other consequences there would be.

Sure, it would be freaking hilarious to have hundreds of nuns excommed. How can having that many heretics and schismatics forcibly cast out of the Church not be funny? It's just salvation that we're talking about here. That she speaks of it so lightly is very illuminating, I'm afraid. I will give SBM some credit here. She has summed up the major problem with the post-conciliar era quite well in her response.

Skipping down a bit:

Why is he picking old nuns? More than half of us are over 75. We are almost an endangered species now. If he is trying to really change the church, he should start at the level with youth and talk to youth groups or something like that.


Ok, Sister. Now that one WAS funny. There are almost too many jokes we could build just from this one paragraph. For readers who might not know the situation that well, here's a hint. Take a look at SBM's statistic. Then check out the stats from the Dominican Sisters of Mary as a counter-example.

MP: Somebody suggested to me that nuns in the past had enjoyed some latitude because you were thought to be powerless, and that in a strange way, this might be recognition that your ministry is powerful.

SBM: That is good insight. Because [before] we were just school teachers and we just had nice little kids in front of us, you know, and we just emptied bed pans in the nursing homes and in the hospitals. 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.

So you promote violent socialist movements and the murder of children? And you still wonder what the Holy Father's motivation is? Throughout her talk, by the way, see if you can find anything in her mission statements that involves holiness, salvation, and so forth.

MP: The other thing people have said is possibly dangerous about nuns is that you understand church teachings and can talk about the ways in which they might be being subverted or perverted.

SBM: Nuns [traditionally] haven't been educated in theology. There are more theologians now. We go to workshops and we are at schools and we are taking classes and people are going on for further degrees in theology and stuff like that. So, maybe that is a threat that we are getting educated, especially in theology. I see the bishops and priests don't get updated in theology. They are still back, for an expression, with Noah's ark. But, that is a point: People will ask our opinion of theological insight and possibly not ask Father anymore, you know. So, he might be losing his authority in theology particularly. We should get into cooking or something, I suppose he thinks.

Well, I guess that's that then. Somebody went to a workshop somewhere. Or took a class. How can there be any questioning the LCWR now? Somebody needs to check Pope Benedict's resume and see if he ever took a class or got a degree in anything.

This reminds me a lot of Fr. Zuhlsdorf's comments re: the Magisterium of Nuns. Notice how the question is phrased. SBM apparently understands Church teachings better than anyone else. So when the Church teaches about the authority of the Pope, she understands it to mean that the Pope has no such authority.

Weird how someone can be that smart.

MP: Who do you think will be hurt by this move?

SBM: I have a feeling women theologians who are partners with the nuns and some of our teachers in our schools will be really hurt. It will be a fear hurt and they may not feel free to speak out. I am suspicious of the motivation. I don't think it is for the common good. 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. They want us back in the habits and being obedient. You don't belong out here with social workers.

Don't you have to take vows and stuff on the whole obedience issue? And again, we see her impression of what a woman religious has as their mission. They are social workers.

MP: Do you think that it will work? 

SBM: I can't imagine it working. I think we are too wrapped up in the issues of the time. 

This from the same person who just admitted that they are an endangered species.

You can't just forget the common good and the people who are suffering right now. The more you are with those in pain, the more radical you become to overcome that pain. I don't think it is possible to go backwards. I really feel that Jesus would want us to go forward and to be out there where the people are in pain. I believe that about Jesus. I always say, Jesus never said worship me, he said follow me, so that is what I am trying to do. 

Let's hope that what is implied by this comment isn't what she actually means. Pray for this woman. Not to make light, but it's clear she probably doesn't have much time left. If we trust her to her words, heresy and schism are all over the place. Pray that she overcomes her pride and remembers that she did take a vow once.

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