Tuesday, February 2, 2016


 The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Corondelet who taught me in elementary school and who looked like this at the time and had huge numbers. Their 1960's renewal destroyed a good thing and they'll be history soon. It is very sad indeed and the worst part about it is they don't seem to care or want to take steps to recover what they lost that led to their decline and fall:
What do you do with a girl like Maria?

Pope warns gossiping priests, nuns to 'bite your tongue"


Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis told gossip-loving priests and nuns to bite their tongues on Monday, and warned those breaking their vow of obedience to fall into line sharpish. "If you get an urge to say something against a brother or a sister, to drop a gossip bomb, bite your tongue! Hard!" the pontiff said in an improvised speech to members of the clergy marking the end of the Year of Consecrated Life.  

The Argentine warned against those abusing their religious vows of chastity, poverty and obedience, describing "anarchy" as the "daughter of the devil". And he bemoaned a drop in the number of people signing up for a religious life, but warned against taking just anyone.  

"Why is the womb of consecrated live becoming so sterile?" he asked. "Some congregations experiment with 'artificial insemination'. What do they do? They welcome... 'Yes come, come, come'. And then there are problems," he said. "No. We must be serious about who we take. We must clearly distinguish if it is a real vocation, and help it to grow." The number of priests and nuns in industrialised countries is in sharp decline, though the Church still counts 693,000 nuns around the world and 55,000 priests.

 My Comments: The elephant in the room is the excesses too many religious orders took when they were "renewing" themselves in the 1960's and 70's. They became a mere shadow of themselves and so many left disillusioned by the changes. The ones who stayed became invisible. The ones today simply want a nice retirement.  The key to recovery of religious life is to go back to what worked but make things a bit more flexible and human. The successful religious orders who actually want new vocations from the pool of healthy candidates there are, are the ones like the various traditional Dominican Orders of women and men, the Nashville variety for women and the New York Province for men.  Once again I have to reflect upon the Nun's Story. What attracted so many women to this way of life as it was practiced prior to Vatican II? It was serious, austere and the way to spiritual and moral perfection. It was rigorous and it was respected because of its seriousness and rigors and the good work that the nuns did. In a way, women's religious orders of yesteryear are like the specialized military units of today which are attracting women too. There are women marines, seals and Green berets not to mention the more rigorous units in the army.  It is tough and no one cries out that it is too tough unlike the religious reformers of the 60's who did and softened the discipline and lost the vocations.   Not even artificial insemination will bring numbers to religious life that has lost its way, its visible habit and the rigors of spiritual and moral perfection!


TJM said...

And as they are being pushed around in their wheelchairs these misguided nuns are still talking about the glories of Vatican II and "renewal."

Anonymous said...

Sad to say I am no longer shocked or dismayed by his vulgarity.

Jusadbellum said...

There are women Marines, but no women actually on the Army OR Navy special forces teams. Now, women may "embed" with the SF for HUMINT operations, to talk with the women folk in Iraq or Afghanistan etc, but they're not "in" the special forces per se.

And they most likely will never be unless the standards are substantially lowered along with the mission parameters. There are guys who will go months without a shower in the field... there are missions where the standard load is 120 lbs. before you pick up the heavy machine gun or anti-tank weapon or ammo for the guy who is carrying the weapon. If your squad had 3 women you'd need a pack animal to make up the difference because vanishingly few women (like 1 out of a thousand) is capable of SUSTAINED rates of physical punishment that men routinely face in the infantry.

Yes, there are awesome Amazonian women, cross fit trained, marathoners, gals who can run fast and long as they're in spandex. But add 120 lbs of gear and suddenly that fast woman's bone and muscle structure begins to suffer disproportionately compared to men under the same load.

Now, the women religious issue...I think there are a cocktail of reasons: family life no longer exposes the typical girl to the idea of chastity and celibacy. If we worry about boys being exposed to sexual images what about the girls? Almost NO piece of literature a girl will read before she is 10 years old will highlight and praise the idea of becoming a professed religious. When a girl is 13 almost NO media content exists to glamorize and glorify the lifestyle of religious sisters.

And given that virtually all nuns are old enough to be a girl's great aunt or grandmother, what living role model do our girls have to turn to when thinking about a religious vocation?

The reform will come from the humble - the uncool, the homeschoolers and those on the peripheries, despised by the pop culture and 'cool kids'. It will be the families who were counter-cultural and forged their own Catholic culture that provide the religious vocations of the future. They will have zeal and not much else.

Anonymous said...

You picture also the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, NJ. Once overflowing with vocations every year. Thriving to such an extent that during “the” council they built a huge novitiate, finished at the end of the council. I don’t believe it was ever used, at least not for more than a year or so. They are on the edge of extinction.
The religious and clerics who, for whatever reason, managed to carry on by whatever means through the years since 1965 seem only bent on justifying the tragic turn Ecclesia made in the sixties, unable to abandon their ephemeral notions that have all proved emphatically false. From the very top, to the bottom, the absence of any degree of authentic humility is frightening.
It will serve us well, although agonizing, if the memory of this tragic epoch in Church History is remembered with clarity. Perhaps there will be a new age ahead when the invaluable selfless service of men and women religious will again transform the earth.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

Even before the startling decline in the number of young women entering religious life, by the 1970's women religious were being encouraged to choose their apostolate that came to be called ministry. Most did not want to teach anymore, prefering more priestly-like forms of ministry in parishes such as pastoral assistants. Other chose secular well-paying jobs. Soon Catholic schools had no sisters. Catholic schools were the recruiting grounds for new blood and girls exposed daily to good sisters and their way of life with full habit wanted to become like the good sisters who taught them with all the trappings.

Here in Macon, the Sisters of Mercy once had an unprecedented presence in our school and their high school. Today neither school has a woman religious, not one, not even the school owned by the Mercy Sisters. Astounding to say the least. The sad thing is that our kids in these schools are clueless about women religious, absolutely clueless and would not even think about becoming a nun or a sister because of this cluelessness which is far from their fault.

TJM said...

they, like many Popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests, lack the humility and introspection to admit, they just might have been wrong.

Anonymous said...

Jusadbellum has an excellent point: The idea of a life of chastity is so removed from the norms of our culture that unless we completely isolate our children, they are hypersexualized by the age of 7. My sister home-schooled her children and had to give it up to go to work. After placing her children in a Catholic school, they suddenly can't get enough of the semi pornographic pop music on the radio and they are suddenly talking about discrimination against gays! And there aren't even any nuns in this school (or most Catholic schools for that matter). My oldest son went away to a Catholic college that appears to be pretty kosher from what he's told me about the content of his classes. I asked him once why there was no Traditional Latin Mass on campus and his answer blew me away: "The nuns here would throw a fit if that happened!" (A liberalized order of nuns is in charge of the college administration).

The nuns who taught me in elementary school, an order closely related to the one you mention in your post, have a website. I don't mean to sound vulgar, but when you visit the site, it looks like the site of the "Lesbian Avengers". Everything on the site is about social justice and it operates on the premise that all of society is bigoted and doesn't care about the poor or any of the "minorities" (who are rapidly becoming the majority). This order and others like it are stuck on the self-destruct switch.

TJM said...

Father McDonald, bingo. Ironically, the spirit of Vatican II comes down to: "it's all about me, me, me, me." Well that's what they have left - me, myself, alone

Gene said...

A lot of the kids in Catholic schools, including Mt. de Sales, are clueless about Catholicism.

Rood Screen said...

If no one is knocking at your door, then you need not decide whether or not to let them in.

Rood Screen said...

Pope Francis seems to worry about odd things. If your house is burning down, it's not the right time to Feng shui your living room.

Jusadbellum said...

The funny thing (well, more like ironic) is that it is now considered cutting edge 'insight' to accept the Hispanic culture carte blanche, without question - including ALL their piety, devotionals, customs, etc. as something we shall not question and shall not impose upon..... but then we, non-Hispanics are to jettison all OUR ethnic or traditional devotions, customs, etc. and melt into a Disneyesque bland Amerikan-Katholique church of adults....while the non-Hispanic youth are cultivated to have their own separate liturgical style entirely distinct from their parents or older siblings.

It's pretty weird actually. How does it makes sense for the HIspanics to be allowed to keep all their cultural specific devotions while non-Hispanics get brow-beat for holding on to ANY...but then the young, of our own ethnicity are magically in a different cultural cohort from us?

Of course it doesn't make sense if the goal is union. It makes perfect sense to divide and conquer us. To divide children from parents and split our ethnic tribes from each other and turn us into a Babel, a cacophony of discordant voices who don't trust each other, who don't trust "the institution" and so are ever more vulnerable to "the state".

Anonymous said...

There is a small parish in the Diocese of Savannah that will remain nameless. The Hispanic priest who runs this parish shall remain nameless. However the actions of this parish shall not. Liturgical abuses abound at every Mass. The Hispanics let their children run wild sometimes. Canned music is played at every Mass and the poor dupes in charge of the stereo sit there like they can't wait to push the button for the next tune. At Christmas Masses, instead of reciting or singing the Gloria, they substituted a watered-down half-Spanish, half-English, sing-along-with-the-stereo version of "Angels We Have Heard On High."

I only point this out because for far too long we have tolerated liturgical abuses and a flat-out flaunting of all propriety at Masses because of this subtle message: "It's OK. Don't worry about it. We're reaching out to the Mexicans. This is Hispanic Ministry!"

May I suggest we are doing no one from ANY culture any favors by teaching them to codify and institutionalize liturgical abuse. It's not OK just because you are Hispanic, or Polish, or Middle-Eastern or Asian or Black or White or anything else. If Jesus came to reach ALL of us, then ALL of us owe Him reverent worship.

gob said...

And who decides what "reverent" is? You, right? (Just guessing... you're a white guy....)

Rood Screen said...


On this singular occasion, I think your point has some merit, although, as usual, you express it poorly.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps Cardinal Arinze could show you an example. He is a "person of color" who understands reverence.

Anonymous said...

People of color? This is beyond ridiculous. The Mass IS for everybody and I long for the time when no matter where you went, you knew pretty much what to expect when you went to Mass. It's absurd to think that if we appeal to Hispanics, we have to have happy-clappy singsongs, or if we appeal to African-Americans, we have to have hand waving and squealing like a bunch of holy rollers. I happen to be a white person and I would be insulted if I were either black or Hispanic and witnessed this kind of condescending pandering by well-meaning liturgical "experts" who were trying to "reach" me. The Church was once a grown-up kind of place. With each year, it appears to get increasingly childish.