02 May 2012


UPDATED: 07/21/12
The Vatican recently released a curiously timed report harshly scolding its American nuns (because it can) for what it characterizes as "a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration which leads, in turn, to a loss of a 'constant and lively sense of the Church' among some Religious." 

In short, the Vatican claims its nuns are straying.

The assertion comes just weeks after the Obama Administration and the Catholic Church locked horns over the access to contraception, and religious liberty. Incidentally, support by key "women religious" of President Obama's compromise rendered the issue closed. Please see (here) and (here).

Here's an excerpt from Nick Kristoff's fantastic New York Times op-ed, "We are all Nuns," (4/28/12):
The Vatican issued a stinging reprimand of American nuns this month and ordered a bishop to oversee a makeover of the organization that represents 80 percent of them. In effect, the Vatican accused the nuns of worrying too much about the poor and not enough about abortion and gay marriage.
What Bible did that come from? Jesus in the Gospels repeatedly talks about poverty and social justice, yet never explicitly mentions either abortion or homosexuality. If you look at who has more closely emulated Jesus’s life, Pope Benedict or your average nun, it’s the nun hands down.
Since the papal crackdown on nuns, they have received an outpouring of support. “Nuns were approached by Catholics at Sunday liturgies across the country with a simple question: ‘What can we do to help?’ ” The National Catholic Reporter recounted. It cited one parish where a declaration of support for nuns from the pulpit drew loud applause, and another that was filled with shouts like, “You go, girl!”
The organization Kristoff cites is the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in the United States. 

It is worth reading the entire Doctrinal Assessment from the Vatican to get a feel of exactly what they find problematic. The assessment goes only so far as to make it known that it is troubled by its findings and intends to effect some very real reforms, including - as Kristoff's piece states - the appointment of a Bishop (Seattle's Archbishop Peter Sartain) to oversee the "makeover."

The more militant Catholics among us can rest assured. Not all nuns have fallen.

Mother Angelica and her network, the EWTN, recently sued the Obama Administration over the contraception mandate; further proving that this Catholic outrage is all just a bunch of election year evangelizing. Don't expect the Vatican to engage on the level that the nuns (and many Catholic laity) would actually prefer. All eyes will be on the LCWR as they gather for their annual assembly in St. Louis this August

Incidentally, this year marks St. Joan of Arc's 600th birthday.

UPDATED: 07/21/12 - The great purge continues. This is from the Huffington Post Religion pages, "Pontifical Catholic University Of Peru Stripped By Vatican Of Right To Call Itself Catholic" (07/21/12).

LCWR: We Are the 99% - The Occupy Movement (Spring 2012)
New York Times: Father Doesn't Know Best (by Maureen Dowd)

PHOTO: Stumbled upon a random church on the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica 2005.