Catholic nuns are not the prissy traditionalists of caricature. No, nuns rock!They were the first feminists, earning Ph.D.’s or working as surgeons long before it was fashionable for women to hold jobs. As managers of hospitals, schools and complex bureaucracies, they were the first female C.E.O.’s.They are also among the bravest, toughest and most admirable people in the world. In my travels, I’ve seen heroic nuns defy warlords, pimps and bandits. Even as bishops have disgraced the church by covering up the rape of children, nuns have redeemed it with their humble work on behalf of the neediest.So, Pope Benedict, all I can say is: You are crazy to mess with nuns.Nicholas Kristof
American Catholics stand in solidarity with nuns as the hierarchy tries to impose top-down power.Sing a new song to El Shaddai, the Breasted One;sing a new song to the Comforting Friend;sing a new song to the Rock of Salvation,sing a new song to the soaring Mother Eagle;sing a new song to the nurturing Mother Hen;from “Psalms of Thanksgiving” by Jann Aldredge-Clanton
Now I turn to a huge ruckus going on in the Catholic Church. The Vatican shot itself in the foot by attacking the one religious group that is above reproach and universally admired—religious sisters. Its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, notorious for suppressing freedom of conscience, accused the U.S. Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCWR) of flouting Church teaching.
The congregation had three major areas of concern with the group:
- The content of speakers' addresses at the annual LCWR assemblies;
- "Corporate dissent" in the congregation regarding the church's sexual teachings; and
- "A prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith" present in some of the organization’s programs and presentations.
Sister Campbell suggested that her organisation's vocal support for President Barack Obama's healthcare bill was behind the slapdown."There's a strong connection," she said. "We didn't split on faith, we split on politics."
These nuns—“radical feminists,” says the Vatican—have failed to understand that the bishops are their “authentic teachers.”Does that include Boston’s Cardinal Bernard Law who, after obstructing justice in one of the most horrific chapters of the pedophile scandal, now lives in Rome as a prince of the church?
S. Campbell said, “I don't think the bishops have any idea of what they're in for."
Neither does the Vatican. But it will learn that, instead of bolstering obedience, its foolish move will cripple Vatican authority.
View from the left, May 12
His concern was for “true obedience,” Benedict said, “as opposed to human caprice.”Of course, the pontiff fails to point out that Jesus was obeying God while also radically disobeying the religious leaders and laws of his time. Like so many archconservative Roman Catholics, he is confusing God with the institutional church and its doctrine.
The Catholic hierarchy from the papacy on down seems to be roiling through a series of manic episodes in which they execute perverted power plays against those perceived as enemies. . . .Catholicism and Saudi Arabia are the last all male kyriarchical monarchies left on the planet.
Is it religious liberty, as they insist? . . . Is it a desire, conscious or unconscious, to reassert their authority after the dog days of the sexual abuse scandal? Is it simply anti-Obama prejudice?
What Lynch describes -- and what the Vatican continues to demonstrate -- is a dysfunctional, secretive palace culture of another age. . . .Lynch obviously means well, but his language is that of the older brother in an abusive family where everyone knows Dad is beating up Mom and a few of the kids regularly. But older brother wants to assure everyone that it will work out all right in the end, because it always does, because Mom stays on for the sake of harmony despite Dad's quirks and flare-ups. Besides, he always ends up apologizing the next day, saying he loves us.
From where I stand, it seems to me that male "protection," paternalism and patriarchal theology are not to be trusted anymore because the actions it spawns in both men and women have limited the full humanity of women everywhere, and on purpose.