Tuesday, December 16, 2014


The original updating of Nun's habits made sense and was sensible as seen in this picture showing an updated version of the Sisters of Mercy habit (Is the one wearing the updated habit Lucille Ball?):
But very quickly in the late 1960's and early 70's any identifiable habit was completely eliminated in favor of unbecoming street apparel sometimes nicer than what most lay women wore, but certainly not always! UGH!
The media seems to be pleased with the positive tone of the summary of the Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious. And it is positive.

You can read the National Chismatic Reporter's (NCR) take on it here. While I usually criticize this post-Catholic publication, I have to say that it's article is the best I have read thus far and shows where the Vatican criticizes those orders that have abandoned an outward sign in their dress (habit) and common community as well as orthodox Liturgy, prayer and theology:

From the NCR:

The report also acknowledges that many women's communities are developing programs for lay people in order to carry on their charisms in an age of fewer vocations.

"This Congregation praises these creative ways of sharing the charismatic gifts given by the Holy Spirit to the Church and asks that the essential difference between the vowed religious and the dedicated lay persons who maintain a special relationship with the institute be respected and celebrated," it states.

In the second area, the report again expresses gratitude to the women for their work in promoting new vocations to religious life but also obliquely criticizes U.S. women's communities who have chosen not to wear religious habits following the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"Vocation and formation personnel interviewed noted that candidates often desire the experience of living in formative communities and many wish to be externally recognizable as consecrated women," states the report.

"This is a particular challenge in institutes whose current lifestyle does not emphasize these aspects of religious life," it continues.

The report also makes similar oblique, but sharp, critiques of the women in other areas, especially regarding the prayer life of their communities.

In a section titled "Praying with the Church," the report states that a review of the constitutions and other decrees of the women's communities "generally revealed that institutes have written guidelines for the reception of the sacraments and sound spiritual practices."

But the report continues: "This Congregation asks the members of each institute to evaluate their actual practice of liturgical and common prayer. We ask them to discern what measures need to be taken to further foster the sisters’ intimate relationship with Christ and a healthy communal spirituality based on the Church’s sacramental life and sacred Scripture."

In the next section, "Called to a Life Centered on Christ," the report issues a warning.

"Caution is to be taken not to displace Christ from the center of creation and of our faith," it states. "This Dicastery calls upon all religious institutes to carefully review their spiritual practices and ministry to assure that these are in harmony with Catholic teaching about God, creation, the Incarnation and the Redemption."

The visitation is one of two investigations of U.S. women religious launched by different Vatican offices in recent years. The other investigation is a doctrinal assessment of an umbrella group of U.S. sisters known as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and is being led by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Tuesday's report does not concern the investigation of the LCWR.


Gene said...

Soft-speak. It will be ignored.

Rood Screen said...


Are you daring to suggest that tomorrow morning they will not all be wearing religious tunics and veils as they move back into their old convents in time for common Vespers tomorrow evening? I guess we'll just have to wait and see. All those polyester pant-suits would sure make great Christmas presents to poor, single, working moms.

Anonymous said...

Toothless, meaningless drivel.

So what else is new?

Cameron said...

Probably 90% of religious communities in the US will be dead within 25 years.

Romulus said...

Man, that picture says it all. Nothing like a little eyeliner and lipstick, not to mention a well-turned calf, to let the world know we've thrown open the windows.

Today's report is hard to mistake for anything but a humiliated "never mind; sorry we brought it up."

Jacob said...

Some good news, at my traditional parish (in union with Rome) we had one girl enter the traditional Benedictines in Missouri last month and this month another entered the traditional Carmelites in Penn. This is much needed good news.

Anonymous said...

The disrespect and hatred against women in general and Nuns in particular that oozes through this blog and through many of the comments of the self important, self righteous clerics and laymen writing here is insulting and ungrateful to the thousands of holy, dedicated women who have taught in our schools, nursed in our hospitals and have, in general, kept the Catholic Church running while the men took, and still take, all of the credit.

Anonymous said...

Same old, same old. Francis effect?

Tommy Chong said...



The order that taught me in elementary school turned so far to the left that it was actually a 180. To call them "nuns" is almost an insult to the fine women who DID serve the Church.

I won't deny that many dedicated women have done the tasks anonymous names. However, many of them also went WAY too far and turned their "orders" into a shadow of their former dignified selves.

I still love the nuns that taught me. I still love nuns. I especially love to be able to RECOGNIZE nuns and whenever I see one in a habit, I thank her for her witness. As for those who forsook their orders' charisms to join the revolution. Shame on you all. Call it hatred or whatever you like. For me, it's just disgust. The gasping blue hairs who forsook the veil asked for it.

Gene said...

OOOOHHHH…listen to Anonymous huff and get all outraged. I love the sound of liberal outrage…music to my ears…Spike Jones music, that is.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 6:55 p.m.
"The disrespect and hatred against women in general and Nuns in particular that oozes through this blog..etc., etc."

All I can say is, "YIKES!"

My goodness, such disrespectful and insulting language aimed at people you don't even know, who themselves, for all you know, have served the Church in holy, dignified ways that have kept it running.

Who can even take what you say seriously, since you epitomize the spirit of the proud and arrogant feminist that is the opposite of Christ's command of humility and meekness?

Can anyone say strident feminist?

If a nun has done all that work, to keep the Church running, and she did not receive her reward here on earth, then certainly God will reward her richly in heaven, which is what she signed on for. But I expect you believe that idea is just patriarchal nonsense to dupe women into accepting nothing in return for their valuable service. Well, Faith is hard to come by these days, and some of us have it, and some of us don't.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

This Vatican summary and recommendations is very sensible. There is no way to make women relgious do what they will not do and they will continue as they are. Here I am speaking of the most progressive, all of which will soon be extinct in fewer than 20 years. They will be irrelevant.

I know of no progressive groups that have taken steps to go back to even a uniform or community living. The ones that are growing are the more traditional forms of religious life and this is the hope for religous life in the USA.

When people criticize the excessive progressivness of sisters it is directed toward them not their forebears who built the Catholic Church in America all the while wearing full habits and in the south this was a real sacrifice and lived simply and toiled mightily. We lament and mourn the loss of authentic religious life.

Anyone can do social work and be political about it. No need to single out women religious in this regard. It strikes me as clericalism.

Anonymous said...

Another scandal coming from Rome. We are to believe that all is well and individual congregations are "encouraged" to follow the teachings of the Church. And what if they don't........excuse me, they don't follow the teachings of themChurch and nothing has been done. YET the Franciscans of the Immaculate are being crushed.

With all the scandalous statements and behaviour coming out of Rome it is obvious that Our Lord is allowing all of this evil to happen for a reason. Perhaps it is a cleansing. I don't know. What I do know is is that I need as much grace as possible to deal with all this because it really is too much. If I didn't believe and know with my entire being that the Catholic Church was founded by Christ Himself as a THE means for salvation I would walk away.

MIke said...

I'm wrapping up a semester teaching in Dubrovnik, Croatia, and all I can say is that it's been a breath of fresh air. Beautiful churches and chapels everywhere, and not just historic relics - folks here attend regularly. No din of chit-chat before Mass, long queues for Confession - what a change! Mass, Novus Ordo in Croatian, is performed solemnly and with great fidelity to the rubrics, so that even I, who is not fluent in Croatian, can still participate to the fullest.

Priests all around dressed in black suits with Roman collars (unless they're Franciscans in their brown robes); nuns - lots of them, and of all ages - dressed in simple habits. It's wonderful; it's intoxicating; it's refreshing. Perhaps it's all a residue of 40+ years under Tito, but the Church here is alive.

Gene said...

Besides, without habits, all the old nun jokes won't be understood by the new generation:

"What's black and white and black and white and black and white?"
A nun and a penguin fighting over a mullet on Friday.

A nun trips and falls on the street, and a drunk staggers over and helps her up. "Thank you so much," the nun said. The drunk replied, "Ma'am, any friend of Zorro's is a friend of mine."


Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Mike, thanks for reading and thanks for sharing that and praise God!

Rood Screen said...

Anonymous would have a good point if so many nuns had not abandoned teaching and nursing, common prayer and common life. It's hard to praise people who've abandoned their mission.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Up until the mid 1960's there were about 30 to 35 sisters of mercy in Macon, many of them teaching at our school and as principal and the others at their historic all girls academy that once was a boarding school and became co-ed in the late 1960's.

Today there are no sisters of Mercy in Macon, none. There are no sisters of Mercy in their own school and not at our elementary school.

Our children do not know what a sister is and would not know how to relate to one.

That is what I grieve, the loss of the charism of sisters because the sisters did such a wonderful job in the so-called bad old days.

Rood Screen said...

Father MacDonald,

Same here. In my "neck o' the woods" the Sisters of Mercy ran a hospital and staffed four primary schools. Today, the hospital belongs to a for-profit corporation, and there are no RSM's in the schools. However, the Nashville Dominicans are ever increasing their teaching presence here, and a new group of Mercy Sisters (different order, same foundress) is rapidly increasing it's presence here.

So, those who abandoned their mission are vanishing without a trace, while those who've embraced their mission are bearing much fruit.

Anonymous said...

JBS at 10:07 am: "So, those who abandoned their mission are vanishing without a trace, while those who've embraced their mission are bearing much fruit."

So I guess, at least in the case of religious orders of nuns, what Jesus said is true: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned." Fancy that!

Anonymous said...

There is no hatred towards women or nuns in this blog. It is only the modernists who say this because they are the true HATERS of women and REAL NUNS in full habit. Modernists hate chaste and devout nuns in full habit, they prefer the mean, angry, lesbian, pagan "nuns" who walk around the circle who wear skirts, makeup, earrings, and who would never even come close to being like Our Lady who covered up from head to toe as a real lady should. 40 years ago we would have giving our seat up on a bus in a nun in full habit, now you would not even know what one is.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:09, I am not a HATER of women. My wife of 58 years and our three daughters and our four daughters-in-law are women. I LOVE all of them. I am not a Hater of REAL NUNS. My sister is one. I LOVE her. She is not mean nor angry nor lesbian nor pagan. She is chaste and devout. She is NOT in full habit. And THAT it seems, is your obsession...what they wear. (And you say there is no anger or hatred in this blog?)

Do you have any problems with priests (yes the much admired new generation too) in khakis and polo golf shirts,,,shorts, tee shirts and blazers? Shouldn't they always be in black suits and roman collars or cassocks?

Anonymous said...

For once, I suspect Nicole Winfield gets it about right in her AP story:

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican went out of its way Tuesday to mend fences with American religious sisters, thanking them for their selfless work caring for the poor and promising to value their "feminine genius" more while gently suggesting ways to survive amid a decline in numbers.

The report, the long-awaited results of the Vatican's controversial three-year investigation into U.S. women's religious orders, was most remarkable for what it didn't say. After years of tension and distrust, there was no criticism of American nuns, no demands that they shift their focus from social justice issues to emphasize Catholic teaching on abortion, no condemnation that a feminist, secular mentality had taken hold in their ranks.

Rather, while offering a sobering report on the difficult state of American congregations, the report gave a positive view of the sisters' contributions to the church and reflected a merciful and encouraging tone that is characteristic of Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope.

The report, as a result, offered a radically different message, in both tone and content, to the 50,000 sisters living and working in the U.S. than that of another Vatican office investigating an umbrella group of their leaders.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Henry, keep in mind the theological investigation of the LCWR is not complete and being done under the CDF. Not all LCWR orders are wacko either and even though they might not wear habits, they are faithful to the Church in prayer, spirituality and mission. A minority are wackos and unfaithful.

Gene said...

Anonymous, I don't even take nuns in street clothes seriously. They are laughable.

Templar said...

That's the real problem with the Church today. We can survive bad Popes, but the lack of real Nuns staffing schools is what has brought us to this point where nominal Catholics don't even know their own faith. Any real restoration of the Faith will require real Catechism, taught at real Catholic Schools, by real Nuns. Until you have that you have no foundation upon which to build.

And Anon with the Nun as a Sister, as a matter of fact Yes I do take exception to Priests not wearing Clericals, and would go so far as to say I think Cassocks should be mandatory for all priests all the time. It makes a statement about Catholic Identity. In this world, but not of this world. The same goes for Nuns, if you're not in a Habit you're just a lay person, with no more or less authority than Johnny Pew Sitter.

Anonymous said...

Yes I do want our priests to wear full Cassocks on the street!

Gene said...

I agree with Templar.

Anonymous said...

This discussion about the importance of apparel always reminds me of an old tune that was done by the Kingston Trio in (gasp) 1962. The Kingston trio were evil communists who tried to destroy America and Christianity with their so-called "folk music".

It was a parody of the very old western song called "The Streets of Laredo" and it says:
"I can see by your outfit that you are a cowboy. You can see by my outfit that I'm a cowboy too. We can see by our outfits that we are both cowboys. Get yourself an outfit and be a cowboy too."

Juden said...

It is truly amazing that many of you actually believe that in 20 years the liberal Catholics will all be dead and that nobody will take their places.


(We just mean the renegade evil Nuns)

Gene said...

No, Anonymous, The Kingston Trio pre-dated the really angry, anti-establishment garbage like Dylan and Peter, Paul, and Mary. They were just harmless kids.

Juden, no one believes that, in 20 years, all the liberal Catholics will be dead. It is merely a devout wish on the part of many. We fully understand that there will always be whiney, sniveling, self-hating, angry, unbelieving liberals. But, they do provide good entertainment. I mean, no minstrel show I ever saw beats what is going on in the White House right now...

Anonymous said...

Gene....Streets of Laredo by The Kingston Trio was on a 1962 album. Both Peter, Paul and Mary and Bob Dylan had albums at the top of the charts in 1962.

Gene said...

Anonymous, you are correct. In fact, I had every Trio album. I learned to play the guitar listening to them.
Let me amend my statement, the Trio were not eaten up with anger and bitterness like Dylan and PPM.

Anonymous said...

Gene, on the same album with Laredo the Kingston Trio did a wonderful anti-war song...."Really angry" peacenik Pete Seeger's "Where Have All the Flowers Gone".

By "eaten up with anger and bitterness", I guess you must mean that they didn't like war and race discrimination....which seem to be "a few of your favorite things"...

Gene said...

"Where Have All the Flowers Gone" is from an old European folk song that was adapted by Seeger. There is nothing inherently anti-war about it…it is a sad lament that was co-opted by the spoiled brats of the sixties whose parents did not spank them enough when they were little.

No one prefers war, but it is often a necessity. Race discrimination is a world-wide human trait. Live with it. It would be wise to learn to be discriminate regarding whose company you keep.

Anonymous said...

Our local sisters originally wore graceful habits, which they shortened in the 60's. Then they switched to lay clothes and wore little veils. One sister wore hers on top of her high bouffant hairdo! Eventually, they ditched their veils altogether because they "clashed" with their secular garb. They started wearing jewelry and makeup, to look "professional", and a couple of them smoked in public. In time, we had just 6 nuns living in a convent designed for 20. They moved out, took an apartment together, and got secular jobs. Today, we have no nuns in our community. Am not suggesting that giving up religious habits lead to their demise, but it does seem to go hand in hand with this particular group's changes. Oh, I have a photo of one of these nuns and a student, taken in 1969 on a windy day. The sister has one hand on her shortened skirts and one hand on her little veil to keep them from blowing up and off. The student stand beside her looking unruffled and dignified: in a "maxi-coat"!