Skip to comments.Can nuns go “beyond Jesus”?
Posted on 08/07/2009 1:53:27 PM PDT by markomalley
Your GetReligionistas are big fans, when it comes to the work of Associated Press religion scribe Eric Gorski. However, there are times when it is hard to pack all of the good stuff into the small package that is the typical wire-service story.
Thus, before you read Gorskis recent report about the Vatican and the postmodern nuns the USA Today headline was U.S. Catholic sisters probed on doctrine, fidelity kindly consider the following quote from the famous 2007 address by Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Laurie Brink praising the many suns who have moved beyond the church, even beyond Jesus and into an interfaith approach to their work and theology. She was speaking at the national gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization at the center of the Vaticans concerns about the religious health of many religious orders here in North America.
In a Scripps Howard column on the subject, I offered this slice of this famous speech about the sojourning orders in this day and age:
Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian, added Brink, a former journalist who is a biblical studies professor at Chicagos Catholic Theological Union. For these women, the Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative. They still hold up and reverence the values of the Gospel, but they also recognize that these same values are not solely the property of Christianity. Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Judaism, Islam and others hold similar tenets for right behavior within the community, right relationship with the earth and right relationship with the Divine.
Now, with that quote in mind, work your way through Gorskis report about this apostolic visitation and the research document that is guiding it.
(The) nature of some questions in the document seems to validate concerns expressed privately by some sisters that theyre about to be dressed down or accused of being unfaithful to the church.
The report, for example, asks communities of sisters to lay out the process for responding to sisters who dissent publicly or privately from the authoritative teaching of the Church. It also confirms suspicions that the Vatican is concerned over a drift to the left on doctrine, seeking answers about the soundness of doctrine held and taught by the women.
Still other questions explore whether sisters take part in Mass daily, or whether they follow the churchs rules when they take part in liturgies. Church officials expect consistency in how rites and services are celebrated, with approved translations and Masses presided over by a priest.
Liberal Catholics are framing this investigation in terms of womens rights and they have every right to do so. Conservatives basically agree with the Vatican, which is what conservatives do most of the time.
However, the story never provides insights into the wide array of doctrinal issues at stake. Its sounds like another fight over womens ordination, not a debate about essential, creedal issues of ancient Christianity such as the uniqueness of the Incarnation of Jesus Christ.
Brink is by no means the only sister saying what she is saying. Where are the quotes in the AP story that point toward the actual doctrinal issues that are involved?
It seems that there is a big ecclesiastical mystery here and some people have no idea why the Vatican is concerned. Thus:
Francine Cardman, associate professor of historical theology and church history at Boston Colleges School of Theology and Ministry, said it isnt clear why these questions are being asked now in the U.S.
But she said the focus on doctrine puts it in the context of establishing a correct and exclusive interpretation of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s and of womens religious communities. She said the inquiry should be seen as part of a much older tradition of misogyny in the church and especially distrust of women who are not directly and submissively under male, ecclesiastical control.
In the end, we have another she said, she said story. This was a case where the editors needed to give Gorski a bit more room. We needed some real, live quotes to establish the width and depth of the issues that are really at stake.
Is the Vatican ready to move beyond the church, even beyond Jesus?
Thats the heart of this story. Right there.
Thank God for Orthodox orders, such as the Nashville Dominicans, Mother Angelica's Poor Clares, The Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, and so on.
A “drift” to the Left? How about a stampede.
Why does the Church still keep these bigger-than-Jesus freaks still attached?
In the long term, the lefty orders are self defeating. They are aging slowly out of existence. The traditional orders and convents are growing. In my Catholic-mail (a higher order of USPS spam) I get requests for funds from traditional, and contemplative, orders that are not financially able to take all the would-be new postulants. Women don’t seek to join Social Service Agencies when they can do the same thing working for the government at much higher pay.
I think you answered your own question.
I sometimes don’t remember that the Church deals in centuries where I look at months.
There’s a word for this sort of person, and that word is “heretic”.
Not the Political Left, surely. If anything, it's only been within the last generation that factions within the American Catholic Church have toyed with drifting to the Political Right.
Because the Church has also become "post-Christian."
As far as I am concerned, they started out in the middle, depending on where one lived, and then began the charge to the Left. There have been several periods of stampede to the Left, leaving them a little more Left each time one was over. Pendulum and all that. But I understand what you are saying. The Catholic Charities people are so far over, and moving so far to the Left so fast, that I long ago gave up on them.
A strange religion indeed; De Maistre and Franco in Europe, Joe Hill and Joan Baez in the United States!
Enough of the Wiccan lesbian nuns intent on forming their own pagan earth worshipping religion. We have the Church, not the remnant of the Western leftist socialist feelgood hippies out of the 60s.
I see a cloistered nun and I will address her with respect with a slight bow. I see a hockey player in civvies and do not consider her to be following her vows. The womynpriest movement is irritating. Not dangerous any more than ants in your kitchen, but irritating.
The picture in this article of the “nuns” looks like a meeting of the NOW gang...
There is no “beyond Jesus”!
My Lord said of Himself - “I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.”
“the beginning and the end”...enough said!
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