Showing posts from July, 2010

The pope & the ritually unclean

Women religious are the best thing the Catholic Church has going for it—their effective ministry in schools, hospitals, inner-city and third-world neighborhoods, parishes, colleges, and spiritual centers stands in obvious contrast to the botched management of the sex abuse crisis by male clerics. A National Catholic Reporte r editorial asks readers to Speak up for our women religious as they are being harassed in two separate Vatican investigations, 1) the Leadership Conference of Women Religious on doctrine, and 2) women religious communities on how they live. What’s eating the Vatican? It must be that women religious avoid mindless conformity to its directives, that they think for themselves. It wants control. The Vatican is “assessing” three areas of “doctrinal concern” in the Leadership Conference: 1) ordination of women, 2) homosexuality, and 3) the primacy of the Catholic faith. The last doctrine Pope Benedict XVI reasserted just a few weeks ago, saying that other Christian chu

Womenpriests defy the Vatican

July 9 The words, feelings, and thoughts in Women Find a Way: The Movement and Stories of Roman Catholic Womenpriests mirror my own. The book contains the stories of 36 validly ordained Catholic women priests. I do not have the vocation to be a priest, but I identify with their stories of facing down fear. I admire their courage, I'm inspired and heartened by them. Like them, I act independently of official Church teaching. Like them, I’m accused of wanting to start my own religion. Like them, I could not ignore what I was assigned by Spirit to do. Like them, I woke up and wake up others to what’s wrong in the familiar picture. Some passages hit the bull’s eye for me. “Step by step,” I followed my internal compass. (Joan Houk, validly ordained Roman Catholic womanpriest) Some situations oblige us to obey God and one’s own conscience, rather than the leaders of the Church. (Cardinal Walter Kasper, Vatican Pontifical Commission for Christian Unity) Pushback from Church officials i

Releasing religious fear

June 5 Last Sunday I met with a group who are reading and discussing God Is Not Three Guys in the Sky . One in the group likes it but confessed it isn’t what he wanted. What did he want? A book telling him why he should stay in Christianity. I said I can’t imagine writing a book like that, although I stayed. I found the sentence in my book stating, I expect that, as the twenty-first century progresses, a formal religious setting will become increasingly irrelevant to many spiritually aware people. The questioner’s statements suggested to me that he needs to leave. Each person has to decide according to his or her situation. God Is Not Three Guys had an incubation period of twenty plus years. When in the 1980s I told a monk my desire to write it, he said, “They’ll throw bricks at your house,” voicing exactly my fear. I considered writing anonymously but knew it was impossible. I imagined being gunned down and leaving my kids motherless. I imagined various scenarios for protecting my