Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bishops and Religious Women: NCR Commentary

Rachel Weeping

As a brief postscript to what I've just posted, I want to make note of a valuable resource National Catholic Reporter has just created for those following the current politically motivated attack on U.S. religious women:

NCR is gathering all of its articles and commentary about this topic at a single link.  There's a great deal of valuable commentary already pulled together at the link.  I highly recommend Jamie Manson's reflection on how Catholic religious women are motivated by radical obedience to the voice of God in our time.  Manson challenges her readers both to recognize that the lives and ministry of religious women are rooted in the gospels and in listening to the voice of the Spirit in church and world today, and that the political backdrop against which the hierarchy is attacking religious women requires the rest of us Catholics to make choices about where we stand: 

It [i.e., the attack on LCWR] is a moment that demands we read the writing on the wall: There is no safe place within the institutional church for intellectually based, pastorally grounded interpretation of or questioning of doctrine. There is no space in this institution for prophets to dwell. 
With each new crackdown on a priest, nun or layperson of integrity, the institutional church seems to be begging a schism. Their goal is either to coerce or force out anyone who won't toe the line on marriage equality, contraception and women's ordination. Without absolute conformity on these issues, the bishops cannot make their far more profitable alliances with right-wing religious and political groups.

An equally rich reflection: Eugene Kennedy asks who will watch the watchmen who have been appointed to oversee religious women.  I appreciate Kennedy for paying close attention to the less than stellar (and, in some cases, outright dismal) record on cases of clerical sexual abuse of children of each of the chief episcopal players in the current attack on LCWR.  And his recognition that the way in which the current hierarchical "terrorist attack" on religious women has been orchestrated.

As he notes, the leaders of the LCWR had arrived in Rome for a meeting they understood to be undertaken in good faith with Cardinal Levada of the CDF, when the news broke that Levada and the CDF had already dispatched news of the mandate to "reform" American nuns to the USCCB.  What religious women have to say about their own lives, their commitment to the gospel, the spiritual paths their congregations follow and the charisms from which those paths proceed: all of this is beside the point, when the big boys in the USCCB and Rome decide to play politics with women's lives.

And Rachel weeps again over the unnecessary and undeserved suffering of good women, Kennedy thinks.

No comments: