Thursday, May 24, 2012


I was rereading Crisis Magazine's article: Liberal Catholicism: Requiescat in Pace by Samuel Gregg and struck by the following quotes which are so true as it concerns the impending death of liberal Catholicism:

"So what are some likely results of dissenting Catholicism’s accelerating meltdown?

One is that Catholics in the West will increasingly fall into one of two categories. They will either be (1) quite orthodox on matters of faith and morals and trying, despite sin, to live the Church’s teaching; or (2) more-or-less totally detached from the Church, living lives indistinguishable from secularists. Slowly but surely, the mushy-middle is emptying out.

Another development will be what’s already obvious to many in Europe and North America: the on-going emergence of a clergy happy to articulate Catholicism’s specific truth-claims and who do so in an intelligent, joyful way. It’s partly a self-selective process. There’s no conceivable reason why anyone in the West today would become a priest or religious unless they truly believed the Church’s teaching and wanted to invite others to see its truth.

Yet another, less fortunate trend will be the relentless secularization of many nominally Catholic universities and hospitals as their token links with the Church continue to fray and weaken. And that will render irrelevant the power to which many dissenters cling in these Catholic institutions for the simple reason that no-one will regard such organizations as Catholic in any meaningful way...

...In the meantime, watch for escalating incoherence from dissenting Catholics as they fade from the scene. Judging from the “beyond Jesus” nuns’ reaction to some simple home-truths about just how far they have wandered from the Catholic faith, it won’t be pretty. But that’s all the more reason to pray for them. For no matter how great our intellectual and moral errors, the Truth can set anyone free. "

This last sentence provoked a comment from an aging former nun which I believe says it all. I firmly believe that the Church's hierarchy and patriarchy, monarchy if you will, must call the Leadership Conference of Catholic Women to accountability and reform for they are the face of sisters in country all the while not actually representing the humble sentiments of most of the sisters they say they represent.

No one believes that calling Cardinal Bernard Law to accountability for the debacle and wrong-headed leadership that he and many other bishops in this country exhibited which has led to the scandal of leadership so afflicting the bishops today is a denigration in any way whatsoever of rank and file Roman Catholics.

Yet listening to dissenting Catholics, lay, religious or clergy decry the Vatican's treatment of the LCWR one would think that the Vatican's henchmen have denigrated every sister and nun who every existed on the face of this planet. This is a tactical ploy that may have worked once in the recent post-Vatican II, power of leadership that the spirit of Vatican II liberals once held in the Church but is quickly dying out. It simply won't work anymore and is in fact the worst kind of clericalism (yes sisters orders have it in abundance, especially the radical feminist ones)that liberal Catholics are so quick to decry in others--it is the worst form of psychological projection on their part. And they fail to see the damage this has done to their orders, their members in their orders and to the Church at large.

And here is the comment to the Crisis article which I think captures it all:

There is another story within the story here. There are good, faithful women who belong to these institutes of religious life. They are not in leadership positions, and are really quite powerless and have been marginalized by their superiors. I speak from experience, having entered a community that was over 350 years established and faithful to the Magisterium. I went all through formation (8 years) and took final vows. Five years later, I had to petition Rome and ask for a rescript of vows. What happened? The mother general, duly elected after I had made final vows, made sweeping changes (with the consent of her council) to the constitutions, modernized the habit far beyond the the renewal called for by Perfectae Caritas and/or the Essential Elements of Religious Life. Schools and children's homes were closed, and sisters went into various types of ministries which were never within the vision of the foundress (an educator). Even the name of the institute was changed! All was done by vote, within the framework of canon law except for the closing of the last school where I was assigned to teach elementary students. In that situation, the local superior (with the support of the regional superior) decided that the sisters should simply walk off the job and abandon the students (and their families) in the middle of the school year. That was the last straw for me. I could not participate in what I believed to be public scandal, and so asked to be released from vows. This was my only choice, as my superiors denied my request to transfer to another institute. I was not the only sister to believe that my community was not being obedient to the Magisterium, but I was the only one to leave for that reason. The others stayed for various reasons - i.e., they could not return to their family or had no family, or they were dependent on the community for healthcare and support due to their advanced age. What do you do if you are 70 or so years old, and the leadership of your community takes you somewhere you did not want to go? Pray for these few women, living martyrs all!

Sister Mary Awol

My suggestion is to always pray for the religious sisters we still have and pray that those sisters who have marginalized the silent majority by their sick power plays may repent and accept Vatican II as it is written and the reform of the reform which by the grace of God is occurring.


rcg said...

I need some education on the vows of the nuns. Specifically, are they more bound to their superiors than to the Church or the Pope? Seems like a similar question as being discussed re: SSPX. My objective is to understand why these faithful nuns could not use exactly the same tactics on their superiors and councils as those councils have on the Church and the Pope and Bishops. It seems that if the leadership has broken with Rome in some way they have removed themselves from allegiance to their order. While these sisters are not, and should not be, inclined to litigation, perhaps someone could take up a class action on their behalf. Is there such an approach in Church Law? As for the original article, my quibble is that two choices are really the same thing as the sheep and goats separate from each other. I do think many of the people in the pews will find other churches to attend, but will first look to their dissident leadership to make the move. This will not happen because the leaders e.g. 'beyond Jesus' are actually creating themselves and their own church using the resources of our Church. They would not be at home in any church because they have found their god in the mirror. Otherwise, they would have simply moved into the local Anglican or Methodist church and hardly missed a beat of the tambourine. This is what will save many of the people in the pews. They will see that they were being taught to worship the leaders and not to look for the True God. I believe we will flourish as we have not in memory when the Churches are quiet places to be in God's presence again. The Poor in Spirit are legion and they have had very few places to go in a long time.

Gene W. (formerly Pin) said...

Well, I would still caution against sounding the death knell of liberal Catholicism too soon. There is no level to which progressivists will not sink, no tactic too abominable, and no scheme too ruthless for them to employ. They have the media, most often the White(sic)House, and the Democratic Party in their camp. They combine intelligence, cleverness, and energy with the inhibitions of a hyper-active, poorly toilet trained toddler. They will never go away. Keep your powder dry...

rcg said...

This is certainly a new approach from the Protestants and others who disagreed and then broke away. The liberal Catholics could easily follow the lead of SSPX or even more appropriately, Zwingli and other Reformationists. I respect the Holy Father's desire to keep these within the folds of the Church, but I wonder if they aren't infecting more than he might save.

ytc said...

Father, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but I found a youtube video that incorporates an image of one of your EF Masses. I thought this was very interesting:

Your church is shown at around 45 seconds, and I believe you are celebrant.

Father, you're livin' it up now. Getting featured by Catholic slideshow makers and stuff.