Sunday, July 24, 2016


I read Pope Francis' exhortation to contemplative nuns (not monks, btw) and wondered what it was all about and what impact it would have on the practical level. Is it just one more papal document that nuns be they contemplative or not will ignore?

But the Huffiness post has an article about it and they aren't happy with Pope Francis, the nicest pope ever!

What do you make of this article and more importantly of Pope Francis' new rules for contemplative nuns only?????

Pope Francis Tightens The Reins On ‘Listless’ Nuns

For some time now, I’ve been concerned that while Pope Francis was awfully good at improving the tone of the church, he hasn’t done much to actually change things. You know, by issuing Papal edicts.
But on July 22, he did issue an “apostolic constitution,” a binding document with new rules. And to whom is the document addressed? Contemplative nuns!

These are the sisters we generally don’t see. They live in cloistered monasteries, away from daily contact with the world, focused on work and prayer. (We call them monasteries, not convents, because that’s the accurate term when referring to the residences of either nuns or priests who lead contemplative lives.)
You would think that the Pope would not have the time to worry about roughly 40,000 nuns whose main occupation is to pray for the rest of us.

After all, there was the mess at the Vatican bank, including continued questions about the bank’s possible ties to Nazi collaborators, the ongoing problem of pedophilia scandals in the church, and the efforts by conservative clerics to challenge the Pope’s encyclical on marriage and the family.
But no, here’s the institutional church meddling with nuns living in small communities all over the world and not making any trouble, at least as far as I know.

In the document, “Seeking the Face of God“ on women’s contemplative life, the Pope praised these sisters to the sky for their “life of complete self-giving,” noting that their contemplative life “produces a rich harvest of grace and mercy.”

But then the Vatican went into micro-management mode. The Pope focused on twelve areas of contemplative life, including how the nuns recruit, pray and use the Internet, among other things. The Vatican will be issuing more detailed instructions, and monasteries will have to revise their rules to adapt.
I understand the Pope feels these mandates are important. He writes that contemplatives can succumb to the “subtle temptations” of “listlessness, mere routine, lack of enthusiasm and paralyzing lethargy.”

But even if that were true for many sisters, I don’t think that listless cloistered nuns are the church’s biggest problem these days.

The Pope wants to make sure that the sisters pray, every day, the Divine Office, prayers focused on the Psalms and other readings from the Bible that are recited hourly. (And yes, there now is an app for that.)

He wants them to spend more time adoring the Holy Eucharist, which Catholics believe contains the real presence of Christ.

He orders the nuns not to poach new members from other countries, saying it is to be “absolutely avoided.” He requires individual monasteries to form federations with other monasteries in order to collaborate with one another.

The Pope doesn’t want a bunch of elderly nuns continuing on in a monastery unless it has enough younger members, and also “self-sufficiency and a suitably appointed monastery building.” If any of these elements is missing, an “ad hoc commission” may be formed to determine the monastery’s fate. The commission, which will include Vatican representatives and other outsiders, will decide whether to pull the plug and merge with another community, or come up with a revitalization plan. That may make sense, but it could be very traumatic for elderly nuns who likely would find it difficult to change.

Contemplatives in the U.S. have been using social media to preach the Gospel to the world while remaining cloistered, and to help their recruitment efforts. While acknowledging that social media “can prove helpful for formation and communication,” the Pope wants the nuns to exercise “prudent discernment,” so that that social media does not become “occasions for wasting time or escaping from the demands of fraternal life.”

No more tracking your twitter followers, Sisters!

One hopes that the sisters do not have to cut back on social media efforts like those of the Visitation Monastery of Minneapolis. They call themselves the “Nunz in the hood” and write thoughtful blogs that are far more informed and topical than many sermons I hear.

Interestingly, these directives to not apply to monks. Changes for the men, a Vatican official said, aren’t even being - uh - contemplated.


the egyptian said...

just like democrats instructing republicans how to do politics,or Satan instructing Christ on how to go about saving souls, the huffpost is definitely the former and deserves no respect

Anonymous said...

Bee here...

What do you expect from someone who labels themselves a "Catholic feminist" and then says "He [the Pope] wants them to spend more time adoring the Holy Eucharist, which Catholics believe CONTAINS the real presence of Christ. (Emphasis on "contains" my own.)

Not IS the Real Presence of Christ, just contains it... Some expert. Some Catholic.


Dialogue said...

I just finished reading "Vultum Dei quaerere", and there's really nothing either innovative or regressive in it. It's basically just a description of what you would assume already is the life of contemplative nuns.

The journalist's objection that the pope should be concerned with more important things leads me to wonder if perhaps this journalist should be concerned with more important things.

Mark Thomas said...

Not surprisingly, The Remnant's take, written by Hilary White, on the "SINISTER" document, is extremely negative.

For openers, Hilary White claimed:

"The pope has issued “new guidelines” for contemplative nuns, and it has set off every one of my alarms, long, loud and terrifying as an air raid siren. It is possibly one of the most sinister things I've seen coming from Bergoglio thus far, but I think few people will understand how serious it is or could be."

"The document, in short, is an attempt to close off avenues of opposition to – and escape from – the new paradigm Francis and his friends have been busy installing in the Church, cementing the ultra-liberal direction and, in the words of his lieutenant Cardinal Maradiaga, making it so that his changes can never be undone."

"The permanent re-structuring of the entire Church from top to bottom, the installation of a radically different religious paradigm, has been the goal from the start."

"So determined, in fact, is the regime to make sure there is no doubt about altering contemplative life, that Francis has stated in the text that this document trumps even Canon Law. He specifies that any canons that “directly contradict any article of the present Constitution” will be abrogated."


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Ariana Huffington is one bitter, babe. She went off the deep end after it became known he was gay. Her liberal screed vies for irrelevancy with the New York Slimes

Anonymous said...

Look for what the Catholic Ladies Group just said on this blog.
See if you can find it.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this is another Pope Francis document that will be largely ignored, especially the proviso that a minimum of nine years is required before a woman can take her final vows.

Also, another call for errors in LA to be corrected which the signatories of a recent document say contains heretical statements:

"A group of Catholic scholars, prelates and clergy have sent an appeal to the College of Cardinals asking that they petition Pope Francis to “repudiate” what they see as “erroneous propositions” contained in Amoris Laetitia.

In a statement released today, the 45 signatories of the appeal say Amoris Laetitia — the Pope’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation (summary document) on the recent Synod on the Family that was published in April — contains “a number of statements that can be understood in a sense that is contrary to Catholic faith and morals.”

The 13 page document, translated into six languages and sent to Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals as well as 218 individual cardinals and patriarchs, quotes 19 passages in the exhortation which “seem to conflict with Catholic doctrines”.

The signatories — described as Catholic prelates, scholars, professors, authors, and clergy from various pontifical universities, seminaries, colleges, theological institutes, religious orders, and dioceses around the world — then go on to list “applicable theological censures specifying the nature and degree of the errors” contained in Amoris laetitia.

A theological censure is a judgment on a proposition concerning Catholic faith or morals as contrary to the faith or at least doubtful.

The statement says those who signed the appeal have asked the College of Cardinals, in their capacity as the Pope's official advisers, “to approach the Holy Father with a request that he repudiate the errors listed in the document in a definitive and final manner, and to authoritatively state that Amoris laetitia does not require any of them to be believed or considered as possibly true.”

“We are not accusing the Pope of heresy,” said Joseph Shaw, a signatory of the appeal who is also acting as spokesman for the authors, “but we consider that numerous propositions in Amoris laetitia can be construed as heretical upon a natural reading of the text. Additional statements would fall under other established theological censures, such as scandalous, erroneous in faith, and ambiguous, among others.”"

George said...

Perhaps this is another Pope Francis document that will be largely ignored..."

I wouldn't say that Jan(excepting some of those in the LCWR, of course). I don't know of any professed religious that take the vow of obedience more seriously than women contemplatives.

rcg said...

Gene frequently a cuses me of being impertinent. I could write for a major publication.

Gene said...

RCG, Like you are being now?

rcg said...

Dang. Yes. I should have included the phrase, "but after reading that article..." ADD kept me alive but has made working with regular people a challenge.

Mark Thomas said...

The Remnant has published an additional story that has trashed Pope Francis' Apostolic Constitution Vultum Dei quaerere (VDQ), on “women’s contemplative life.”

Christopher A. Ferrara's article on VDQ is every bit as negative as Hilary White's spin on VDQ, which she described as "one of the most sinister things I've seen coming from Bergoglio..."


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

the "nuns" the Pope should be worried about are the old babes in pantsuits supporting abortion on demand. Talk about delusional

Jenny said...

rcg, aren't you being presumptuous as well as impertinent calling us all here "regular people"?

Anonymous said...

The people that the Church should be worried about are not the "old babes" they should be worried about bigots like you TJM..

Jenny You are all "regular people" you are not the voice of God.

Jenny said...

Nope, I am not the voice of anyone but myself, and may God have mercy on me...

Jenny said...

Oh, and by the way, I was being facetious with rcg in case that was missed by anon 6:34. I have come to respect rcg over the years and value his input. I'm thinking that the Anonymi here lately over the past few weeks just need to be ignored and not replied to despite what I've just done. Father, you deserve better than this craziness...just sayin'

rcg said...

Jenny, i have to stereotype people into manageble groups to save time. I have you in the group that like curry.
Anonymous, thank you for the defense but I took it corrctly as a joke. I think a sense of humor, especially towards oneself and situation, is a sign of intelligence. When i was growing up everyone made jokes about me. They have thought i was very smart.

Jenny said...

Oh, yes indeed, rcg, I do so like curry...and anything with salsa... (-: