Saturday, August 16, 2014


These are the images of religious life that Pope Francis held up today in his speech to Korean religious orders. The LCWR just got some more gray hairs over this, as though they needed more!

The Holy Father condemns this form of religious life:
 The Holy Father condemns the worldly look for religious:
And the Holy Father condemns this as downright scandalous:

I post the text of Pope Francis' speech to the Korean religious orders below my comments. In a nutshell the following is my interpretive, reading between the lines, summation of the Holy Father's words:


These are the Holy Father's exact words which I paraphrased above: "The hypocrisy of those consecrated men and women who profess vows of poverty, yet live like the rich, wounds the souls of the faithful and harms the Church. Think, too, of how dangerous a temptation it is to adopt a purely functional, worldly mentality which leads to placing our hope in human means alone and destroys the witness of poverty which our Lord Jesus Christ lived and taught us."

As many of us know, some religious orders, especially that of the LCWR ilk have reinterpreted or "re-imagined" as they like to say, the vow of obedience to mean just about the opposite of what the Church teaches this vow means for individual religious and the orders to which they belong.  These groups believe their purpose is to be a pararell magisterium opposed to the Pope and bishops of the Church, especially what they like to call "patriarchy." Basically these groups are men-haters.

Here is the Holy Father's complete speech with my "bold" highlighting of the most important: 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
I greet you all with affection in the Lord. It is good to be with you today and to share these moments of communion. The great variety of charisms and apostolates which you represent wondrously enriches the life of the Church in Korea and beyond. In this setting of the celebration of Vespers where we have sung the praise of God’s infinite goodness and mercy, I thank you, and all of your brothers and sisters, for your efforts to build up God’s Kingdom in this beloved country. I thank Father Hwang Seok-mo and Sister Scholastica Lee Kwang-ok, the Presidents of the Korean Conferences of Major Superiors of Men’s and Women’s Religious Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life, for their kind words of welcome.

The words of the Psalm, “My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Ps 73:26), invite us to think about our own lives. The Psalmist exudes joyful confidence in God. We all know that while joy is not expressed the same way at all times in life, especially at moments of great difficulty, “it always endures, even as a flicker of light born of our personal certainty that, when everything is said and done, we are infinitely loved” (Evangelii Gaudium, 6).

The firm conviction of being loved by God is at the center of your vocation: to be for others a tangible sign of the presence of God’s Kingdom, a foretaste of the eternal joys of heaven. Only if our witness is joyful will we attract men and women to Christ. And this joy is a gift which is nourished by a life of prayer, meditation on the word of God, the celebration of the sacraments and life in community. When these are lacking, weaknesses and difficulties will emerge to dampen the joy we knew so well at the beginning of our journey.

For you, as men and women consecrated to God, this joy is rooted in the mystery of the Father’s mercy revealed in Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Whether the charism of your Institute is directed more to contemplation or to the active life, you are challenged to become “experts” in divine mercy precisely through your life in community. From experience I know that community life is not always easy, but it is a providential training ground for the heart. It is unrealistic not to expect conflicts; misunderstandings will arise and they must be faced. Despite such difficulties, it is in community life that we are called to grow in mercy, forbearance and perfect charity.

The experience of God’s mercy, nourished by prayer and community, must shape all that you are, all that you do. Your chastity, poverty and obedience will be a joyful witness to God’s love in the measure that you stand firmly on the rock of his mercy. This is certainly the case with religious obedience. Mature and generous obedience requires that you cling in prayer to Christ who, taking the form of a servant, learned obedience through what he suffered (cf. Perfectae Caritatis, 14). There are no shortcuts: God desires our hearts completely and this means we have to “let go” and “go out” of ourselves more and more.

A lively experience of the Lord’s steadfast mercy also sustains the desire to achieve that perfection of charity which is born of purity of heart. Chastity expresses your single-minded dedication to the love of God who is “the strength of our hearts”. We all know what a personal and demanding commitment this entails. Temptations in this area call for humble trust in God, vigilance and perseverance.

Through the evangelical counsel of poverty you are able to recognize God’s mercy not only as a source of strength, but also as a treasure. Even when we are weary, we can offer him our hearts burdened by sin and weakness; at those times when we feel most helpless, we can reach out to Christ, “who made himself poor in order that we might become rich” (cf. 2 Cor 8:9). This fundamental need of ours to be forgiven and healed is itself a form of poverty which we must never lose sight of, no matter how many advances we make in virtue. It should also find concrete expression in your lifestyle, both as individuals and as communities. I think in particular of the need to avoid all those things which can distract you and cause bewilderment and scandal to others. In the consecrated life, poverty is both a “wall” and a “mother”. It is a “wall” because it protects the consecrated life, a “mother” because it helps it to grow and guides it along the right path. The hypocrisy of those consecrated men and women who profess vows of poverty, yet live like the rich, wounds the souls of the faithful and harms the Church. Think, too, of how dangerous a temptation it is to adopt a purely functional, worldly mentality which leads to placing our hope in human means alone and destroys the witness of poverty which our Lord Jesus Christ lived and taught us.

Dear brothers and sisters, with great humility, do all that you can to show that the consecrated life is a precious gift to the Church and to the world. Do not keep it to yourselves; share it, bringing Christ to every corner of this beloved country. Let your joy continue to find expression in your efforts to attract and nurture vocations, and recognize that all of you have some part in forming the consecrated men and women of tomorrow. Whether you are given more to contemplation or to the apostolic life, be zealous in your love of the Church in Korea and your desire to contribute, through your own specific charism, to its mission of proclaiming the Gospel and building up God’s people in unity, holiness and love.

Commending all of you, and in a special way the aged and infirm members of your communities, to the loving care of Mary, Mother of the Church, I cordially impart my blessing as a pledge of enduring grace and peace in Jesus her Son.


Gene said...

These women simply do not care what the Pope or the Church says and will only view this as a challenge to become louder and more obnoxious. They need to be suppressed…that's right, suppressed.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Gene, these groups are suppressing themselves into geriatric oblivion. In 10 years they will be suppressed to their assisted living facilities. They don't need an official suppressing.
The only orders that are thriving are the ones that follow what the pope outlined in his talk today.

Anonymous said...

" They don't need an official suppressing." That statement shows how disconneted you are from the reality of the state of the Church today.

Yes they need suppression. And if action had been taken 50 years ago when it started, instead of ignoring disobedience, heresey and sin, they and WE wouldn't be in the situation we are in today.

"Nuns" like members of the LCWR destroyed the faith of millions. Millions! And nothing was done to stop or even correct them.

A good shephard protects his sheep from the wolves. Christ Himself said that anyone who leads people should be cast into the sea. Oh, wasn't that pastoral, so sorry.

And yet what religious order does Francis crush under his fist.....the Franciscans of the Immaculate.......all because 5 members, 5, complained. Yet thousands have complained about heretical teaching, liturgical abuse, sexual immorality, for decades and NOTHING has been done. The Jesuits continue on a track of destruction as do the majority of "religious" orders.

Who was the ONLY BISHOP TO BE PUBLICLY REBUKED BY PAUL VI? Not Suenens who destroyed the faith of an entire country and defied the pope, or all of the bishops of Canada and the list goes on, but Marcel Levebre. And all Levebre asked was for the traditional Mass, he never embraced heresy as did hundreds of bishops. And nothing has changed. Vienna for example.

But as usual it is faithful Catholics who are persecuted and ridiculed and punished by the heirarchy while modernists and heretics continue merrily leading other astray. Nothing is done to Fr. Michael Phlagher but Fr. Wylie was deported.

I know, I know, to much truth for you to publish and even if you did you would be unable to respond. But just know that you public staements that nothing needs to be done about correcting error will be with you when you stand ALONE before your creator and have to give an account. You in the clergy may seem like you are winning in destroying the Faith but God will not be mocked and you will all be held to judgement for what you are doing and allowing.

And you can ignore and not publish valid, real concerns, because you can't defend what you have done or it's to "mean spirited" (which means of course that what is said is true and you can't handle it) but people KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING. Modernism will eventually die and you neo cons will be dead, in case you haven't realized the Churches are more empty year after year and neo cons don't pass on the Faith to their children. Why, why do you refuse to confront evil? Are you that spineless. And make no mistake, leading people away from the truth of the Gospel is what the LCWR is doing and that is EVIL.

rcg said...

This is one of the few times I completely agree with Gene's severity. More than their challenge to the magisterium, that I brought on its own head, they mislead the faithful and inquirers and thereby jeopardize souls. If they worked for anyone else we would cut them a check and thank them for their time.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:34 am:

RIGHT: Your first 6 or 7 paragraphs. Infidelity abounds in the Church partly because the Church has done much in the last few decades to encourage it. Fidelity is in short supply partly because the Church has done much to discourage it.

WRONG: Your last 2 paragraphs. Our blog host here is one of the few parish pastors around who’s doing it right, in his own parish and in his example to other pastors. Incidentally, whenever I see the telltale epithet “you neo cons” I know I should have stopped reading a couple of paragraphs back. Fortunately, I find it easy to forget rubbish.

Oh, well, what to expect from someone without enough self-respect to even give himself a moniker that identifies his opinions as those of someone whose opinions are worth reading.

jdj said...

Yes, rcg...
In the real world an insubordinate employee is handed a final paycheck (without benefits!) and told to pack a box and leave that very day. No waiting around for 40-50 years while that insubordinate destroys company integrity and productivity. Religious get a pass in every imaginable way and are answerable to no one for their behavior unless publicly scandalous (and sometimes not even then, as we learned the hard way).

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

jdj, although when the word "clericalism" is tossed about, it normally refers to priests who abuse their status and role as priests. However in my experience the most clerical bunch of Catholics I know are progressive LCWR type religious women who think they have a right to do what they have done first to their own religious orders, which is to deconstruct and reimagine them, which in reality means their complete destruction and elimination (which is the case with the Sisters of Mercy in Macon, Georgia) and then to bring this to the Church universal, which they have tried mightily hard to do and without repercussions--that's the clericalism part of it which is tied in very much with the sex abuse scandal by priests and how the were handled or mismanaged by bishops including the papacy.

Anonymous said...

I don't use a name when I comment on things because I don't have a Google account or any of those other things next to where it says "Open ID", I don't even know what they mean. I am not on Facebook or twitter and I don't even really know how to use the internet all that well. That's why I don't my name. So don't flatter yourself that I am in any way intimidated by you or anyone and I don't stand behind what I say because I don't believe it. To imply that is another liberal trick. You can't reason correctly so you have to attack me. I back up my opinions with proof.

Anonymous said...


You don't need a registered account, Google or otherwise, to identify yourself with a "handle" or pseudonym of your choice to identify which anonymous person is making which comments.

Under CHOOSE YOUR IDENTITY under the comment box, you just select "Name/URL". Then a little box opens where you can enter your chosen pseudonymn. For instance, if you don't want to pick a name "monicker", you could just enter something like Anonymous 37 every time. You can leave your URL blank in the other little box that opens.

Then you remain anonymous, but other readers then know which blog participant--Anonymous 37--to associate a comment with you, and perhaps place in context with previous remarks you have made. And thus "give credit where credit is due."

This makes a difference to me only because I value your comments--that is, those of the person you seem to be, if I am associating this comment with the right previous ones. Your comments are well written, and being a traditional Catholic myself, I agree with most of them, while disagreeing one or two now and then.

Gene said...

Anonymous, I wish you had an identifier, too, if only to distinguish you from the lib anonymi. I agree with most of what you say, but I cut Fr. more slack than you because I believe he is truly and honestly conflicted about this whole thing. I think deep down he is a TLM guy but can't admit it. He does a beautiful job of the OF ad orientum and is truly the only Priest I have ever seen celebrate it with such dignity.

jdj said...

Some of the most pathetically enabled people I have known are out of touch with reality and so dangerous to the Church with their "re-imaginings". And two of the saddest people I currently know are women who knew in good conscience they had to leave one of these LCWR orders when the chaos became insufferable. They have struggled with poverty, mental health issues and hardship all their remaining years.
Hard to believe the Church has allowed it.

Gene said...

"Enabled" or "empowered" in our society means permitted to act out.

George said...

I look at the what has transpired and developed within the orders that comprise the LCWR as as one of the tragic results of the immediate post Vatican II period and the wrong-headed implementation of aggiornamento. Father Mcdonald is right. These groups have been and are suppressing themselves. If you don't grow by gaining new candidates, you will eventually die out. It makes it all the more tragic when one thinks about how it would be now if things had turned out differently.