22Apr Thomas C Fox comments on the Vatican’s attack on US Religious

Thomas C. Fox on Apr. 21, 2012 NCR Today

The Los Angeles Times has chimed in, adding another incredulous voice to many more certain to come, as reasonable observers consider the Vatican’s destructive attack on U.S. women religious last week.

Columnist Steve Lopez writes that when he first heard of the Vatican doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the umbrella group of 80 percent of U.S. women religious now under attack by Rome, he thought it was some kind of satire, “a parody of the out-of-touch Vatican patriarchy.”   No, Steve, the men in Rome seem to think that without ever entering into serious conversation with LCWR they can order these women into some kind of straight jacket Vatican think. Get on the band wagon, they command the women. Condemn same sex liaisons; stand up for our failed anti-abortion political campaign; step away from the programs which have an actual track record of reducing abortions while assisting women raise children.   So very strange. The men in gowns don’t speak to the women in pants.   Oh, and this message to the bishops: forget those young spirit seeking women who might have given a sliver of a thought to entering religious life. Those vocations are now dead.   Bishops, listen: Any man who lives with a woman or is close to one, close enough to really listen and try to understand a woman, knows you cannot force her to think as you do. You’ll learn to thank God for that.

Maybe, just maybe, on the other hand, in listening to her you might learn something that could possibly influence the way you look at the world.

Meanwhile, Lopez makes the point — you will read it again and again as word of the this stupid episcopal action spreads — that it is almost unfathomable that it is the men in red who have given Catholics the clergy sex abuse scandal and cover up now have the audacity to judge the commitments and manners of tens of thousands of women religious, women who have given their lives to selfless service, most often of the poor and marginalized.

Bottom line: the women cannot be other than who they are. Nor will they try.

5 Responses

  1. Marcus

    Have the ACP been given a mandate by all ordained priests on this island? You are entitled to your opinion, but thankfully the Catholic faith has survived much more than these slanderous attempts at reform and opinion. Please publish this as I have in past submitted and have not been allowed to speak.

  2. Sue Foley-Currie

    I am a mere woman in Canada – so this whole mess is a great puzzle. What is the biggest question is why is the Roman Catholic Church involved so heavily in the present presidential politics in the U.S. – especially over health care. Canada has had health care for all for decades as have other countries and we have fine faithful Roman Catholics who supported it and there are no problems. For years one has held all religious women in the highest regard – no matter where they might be in terms of supporting the poor, healthcare, or even the wealthy Vatican for that matter. So why is the Pope who may or may not be be poorly advised by those with their own agendas for their personal advancement when he dies so closed to taking time for the spiritual discernment? Or is he so ill that he is just signing and saying what is put in front of him by others who wish to gain power and prestige? It is all very sad for the Roman Catholic Church to have come to all of this.

  3. Michael O'Brien

    Lest Marcus gets too cross that this website doesn’t always put up his comments, I would like to declare my strong preference that this website would stop putting anonymous comments like his up, at all.
    While the ACP Leadership team, whom he is critical of are well known, we have no idea who he is and an anonymous comment, I firmly believe, is not worthy of a platform such as this one.
    The inclusion of such comments, reduces the respect many have for the site and it limits many others I know – particularly ACP members – from contributing as well.
    Can I appeal again for consideration of this point.
    Maybe a survey, on this issue, to your members might give you some more worthwhile data to consider!

  4. Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

    To Sue Foley-Currie As an American, I believe that the Pope and the American hierarchy are very angry at the nuns for supporting President Obama, and for accepting the protection to religious freedom made by the President on February 10, 2012. From what I have read in the National Catholic Reporter and elsewhere, the Pope and the American hierarchy want to do everything in their power to block the re-election of President Obama. Reasons include: 1) American money supports the Vatican; many Catholics are in the rich 1% and want the Bush tax cuts to continue; President Obama wants the Bush tax cuts to end, in order for some fairness towards the 99%; 2) the Pope and American hierarchy fear that they will be made accountable for their complicity in the clergy sexual abuse scandal if Obama is re-elected, since President Obama respects the laws protecting children and focuses on doing the right thing. The nuns are interested in doing the right thing. The American hierarchy do not seem interested in doing the right thing. They are interested at maintaining their power and control at all costs.
    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago, Illinois

  5. Mary Burke

    This controversy is about power and nothing else. Anyone who thought that the men in purple and red in Rome were going to let their power-base be taken from them unchallenged was naive.
    From the CDF’s point of view the problem is that people are commenting critically and evaluating negatively, the current position on the two major issues identified by the document: the ordination of women to the priesthood/episcopacy and in a hierarchical church, by definition, [hiereus: priest; arche: rule] therefore, also, to leadership; and the status of same-sex relationships.
    To critique the current position on any subject is seen as the problem. This shows the intellectual bankruptcy of their position. Instead of taking people’s criticisms and evaluating them one by one, they try to shoot those making the criticisms. In this case they do so by appealing to the claim that the position of the magisterium is beyond criticism. This is attempted thought-policing of a type which would put the Cold War practices of the Soviet block into the halfpenny place.
    As the ACP survey reveals, 77% of respondents in favour of women’s ordination and 61% opposed to the current position on same-sex relations, (and 77% who consider the magisterium’s position on sexuality irrelevant)there is an enormous gap between the magisterium’s position and the sensus fidelium.
    This document and the silencing of Irish priests reveal a deeply dysfunctional leadership structure in the RCC.
    Power tends to corrupt. And absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.


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