Sunday, August 12, 2012

It Really All Comes Down To A Difference In Consciousness And Vision

Carl Anderson and his clerical sycophants at the recently completed international K of C conference which ran from August 7-9.  Carl may have had the attention of all the Catholic hierarchy, but the LCWR convention had the attention of all the media, and Carl well knows, that's priceless.

The LCWR finished their deliberations on Friday and released their response concerning the mandate from the CDF.  Two ideas struck me as important, the idea that dialogue with their bishop overseers could result in an understanding that the Church of the future must open up meaningful avenues of participation for religious and laity, but especially women; and that they will insist the dialogue be between equals and will cease dialogue if they sense the path forward includes compromising the integrity of their mission.  I take this to mean there will be no such thing as compromising their integrity to avoid scandal to the Church or embarrassment to the hierarchy, ala Msgr Lynn in Philadelphia.

The following are a couple of excerpts from a piece written by Tom Fox of the National Catholic Reporter.  Fox was a presenter at the conference and was there for it's entirety.  He has presented a first person summary that I found fascinating:

......Coming after several days of deliberations, the LCWR statement is anchored in an unstated belief in process, of forward movement, and a sense that at this time in history women are being asked by nature itself to lead the way. It is also anchored in a belief in a loving God who not only created the universe, but who also remains active in it, as the Second Vatican Council has taught. (I think women are most certainly being asked to step up to the plate and add their input as equals.  The men have come to the end of their time as sole arbitrators of cultural mores and direction.)

The women see this God Spirit walking among us and before us and calling us forth. Sometimes in our hostile and uninviting world, they seem to say, this requires special courage. The women view this as part of an evolutionary process. And while our common journeys, as experience shows, are fraught with peril, (personal and institutional sin are very much part of our story), the women paint a hopeful picture, one in which women and men of good will can work together on behalf of justice to build the Reign of God on earth. 

This vision is a distinctly Catholic sacramental vision growing out of ancient Catholic traditions, more recently contextualized by the writing of the late Jesuit Father Teilhard de Chardin, as well as Passionist Father Thomas Berry and captured in conference talks by the futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard.

It is a vision articulated, in part, in the closing address by then LCWR President Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell to the sisters on the last night of the assembly. She said:
“Many institutions, traditions, and structures seem to be withering. Why? I believe the philosophical underpinnings of the way we’ve organized reality no longer hold. The human family is not served by individualism, patriarchy, a scarcity mentality, or competition. The world is outgrowing the dualistic constructs of superior/inferior, win/lose, good/bad, and domination/submission. Breaking through in their place are equality, communion, collaboration, synchronicity, expansiveness, abundance, wholeness, mutuality, intuitive knowing, and love. This shift, while painful, is good news! It heralds a hopeful future for our Church and our world. As a natural part of evolutionary advance, it in no way negates or undervalues what went before. Nor is there reason to be fearful of the cataclysmic movements of change swirling around us. We only need to recognize the movement, step into the flow, and be carried by it. Indeed, all creation is groaning in one great act of giving birth.”......

..... Our women religious, represented in the LCWR leadership, recognize more than most the dis-spirited nature of our times. Theirs is an alternative vision. It is a vision that proclaims that Christian communities are intrinsically hopeful, that they believe in the goodness of all people, and that these communities must never stop being living examples of the full embrace and acceptance, which Jesus taught.

Specifically, these women appear to have growing confidence that that the pastoral vision of church that grew out of the Second Vatican Council, a vision that moved them obediently to renew their congregational charters decades back, is, indeed, the church of the future, and that after 50 years this church, in part through them, is coming to fruition. It is a church containing the collective yearnings and aspirations of untold millions of lay Catholics throughout the world, laity these religious women among them.


I've done a lot of posts on this blog about the LCWR, about the failed leadership of the hierarchy, about the futility of the return to the past embodied in the 'reform of the reform', about the radical masculinism embodied in Catholic leadership, and about the shift in consciousness the world is currently undergoing.  I have written all these words because they describe the 'knowledge' many contemplatives, psychics, and mystics are receiving all across the globe, and all across spiritual systems.  The way humanity is beginning to see itself, the way cultures are organizing themselves, and even the way our technology is evolving, all point to exactly what Sr Pat Farrell describes:  

"The world is outgrowing the dualistic constructs of superior/inferior, win/lose, good/bad, and domination/submission. Breaking through in their place are equality, communion, collaboration, synchronicity, expansiveness, abundance, wholeness, mutuality, intuitive knowing, and love."

The power structures of the old consciousness will not give up easily.  They will fight tooth and nail to keep the status quo, to keep themselves in power, to control the present moment in order to preserve the future for their past.  This is one explanation for the polarization with in the Church and with in the politics of the United States.  We hear a great deal from our conservative religious leadership about traditional Catholicism with it's unchanging truth.  We hear a great deal from our conservative politicians about returning the United States to it's divinely ordained founding principles, and both conservative groups have targeted women's reproductive issues and gays as their pivotal issues around which real Catholics and real Americans must rally both flag and cross.   

This is symbolically seen at the K of C international conference which was attended by 12 Cardinals, 70+ bishops, and of course the ubiquitous Catholic republican operative Carl Anderson.  The Kof C convention ran during the exact time frame as the LCWR convention.  The LCWR had one bishop at their opening Mass and only their Vatican watchdog, Bishop Blair, in attendance at the conference.  This discrepancy is really quite sad and quite pathetic.

In the meantime the ground swell of opposition to this old world view of reality is beginning to coalesce as the over ripe 'fruits' of this old energy continue to rot.  The Arab spring and the Occupy movement are just the beginning.  As world food shortages reach new levels this coming winter, the unrest will continue to escalate.  The only answer the old energy will have is the only one they've ever had, military power and armed conquest---domination not dialogue.

In reading the comments on the NCR after numerous articles about the LCWR answer it struck me that some people didn't really get the gist of this message.  The LCWR is letting the CDF know in gentle, if no uncertain terms, that they will only enter any dialogue as equals.  No ring kissing, no bowing, no scraping, no unearned deference just because Sartain and company are men with white collars and purple piping.  Those days are long gone for this group of women.  That in itself is a major statement of their own changing world view as it concerns themselves, but there was also a second message.  They will not compromise their integrity, and that means the world view in which it is based.  These women are not interested in the 'reform of the reform' or returning to the guilt driven ever so transcendent church before Vatican II.  They are committed to the Vatican II vision of the world, because that vision is the future.  The boys may have run from their own vision for Catholicism, but the girls aren't and won't.  That is the final and perhaps core message in the LCWR response.


  1. Oh dear.

    It looks like the LCWR are toppling over the precipice after all, and that's a real shame. If only they paid more attention to the Second Vatican Council, and less to New Age thinkers, they might have kept themselves on this side of the line...

    We can still hope though, it's not necessarily too late for them to rejoin the Church.

  2. Replies
    1. Invictus, I watched the entire video and read the entire article you linked. You chose the most startling statement in her talk to entirely discredit Marx Hubbard. I don't agree with euthanasia. I doubt whether most LCWR sisters do either. Marx Hubbard evidently sees the elderly as a cancer sapping the world of limited resources. Sr. Pat Farrell, in her closing remarks at the conference, renounced the myth of scarcity and welcomed an age of abundance, an abundance of life, offering a Christian rejoinder to Marx Hubbard's pessimism. The LCWR is energized by the spirit of Teilhard de Chardin. They continue his mission. The institutional church fumbled the Teilhardian ball. The New Age intercepted it, but fundamentally distorted it. Teilhard's message is Christ-centered, an apologia for Catholic Christianity, and flowed from the vision of a mystic. At the same time, he called for a full transformation of Christianity from within, a re-orientation toward the future, an evolving cosmos, where human beings and God work together to create a New Creation. The Catholic church lack the courage to move forward in such a profoundly this-worldly mission. It cannot embrace cosmology, and risk another Galileo Affair. It had a grand and majestic cosmology once, a cosmology of gravity and light, epitomized in the great Gothic cathedrals and in Dante's Divine Comedy--a cosmology not so different from Teilhard's as you might think. This was the true summit of Catholic culture, not the Renaissance. Teilhard converted me to Christianity, more than 40 years ago, and I remain deeply in his debt. He's still the way out of the cul de sac Catholicism finds itself in. The LCWR is right to continue his work. The Vatican's actions are not directed only against what it perceives as "radical feminism", but at a last bastion of Teilhardianism. It's all part of the roll-back of Vatican II.

    2. Not read any Teilhard de Chardin, so can't really comment.

      If the LCWR are faithful and orthodox, why do they invite speakers who are - as you concede - so antithetical to Christianity, defend nuns complicit in mortal sin, and defy the Church?

      The question still seems unresolved.

    3. Invictus, please do read Teilhard de Chardin. His vision is mind boggling, is being affirmed by quantum physics, and paints a picture of how we bring the Kingdom of God to earth--partly because we are already in it.

      Here's why your question about the LCWR can not be answered for you. Right now you are seeing things related to the Church as very black/white, either/or and in quite an absolute way. Any deviation you see is catastrophized and you wind up throwing out the baby with the bath water.

      I hold things in a both/and kind of process. For me the LCWR is both highly orthodox and not so orthodox. They are in process. That means they are open to other thinking. Big deal. The trick to merging with the existing Kingdom is to learn to hold a both/and mind set and let the process of personal discernment work. It is there one finds the Holy Spirit at work and one learns we are all connected, that we don't know the end game, and we best just go with the flow.

      Once you can do this the benefit is you always find good parking spots at Walmart.

    4. I'm on Ronald Knox now, and St Francis of Assisi next, but I'll look into maybe reading de Chardin after that.

      Black and white things often have grey edges, but the LCWR's teaching is either compatible with Christianity or not compatible, and if - as you say - they are including elements which are incompatible with Christian truth (even if they retain many more elements which are compatible) then the LCWR has placed itself outside of the Church.

      And if they have done so, great effort should be taken to help them return.

  3. Invictus...The LCWR is the true embodiment of the loving heart of the Church and Gospel at this time in history...that you are unable/unwilling to see this process does not surprise matter what hollow words you use to try to denigrate the LCWR and their position, you and the hierarchy are failing to see reality unfold before your very eyes...the hierachial, misogynist, homophobic, and mean spirited type of leadership you support and amazingly call Christian is as we speak happily withering away and will be consigned to the dust bin of have missed the point if you are confusing these power plays by the hierarchy as signs of real power...rather they are signs of desperation...the LCWR are the prophetic voice of Spirit moving through the Church in our time...these are exciting times - full of hope and promise of renewal! Michael Ferri

    1. The true embodiment of the loving heart of the Church and Gospel supports abortion?

      Obviously the LCWR is not what you claim it to be. So perhaps we ought to be grateful that it will by demographic probability be gone within a generation or so?

      Personally, I'm more concerned that it gives those responsible for these abuses so little time to recant and rejoin.

    2. Where have you found an official statement from the LCWR that they support abortion, or eugenics, or anything else you have accused them. Linking to a picture is not proof. It's propaganda.

    3. Consult Exhibits A through H under blog post "moving-beyond-Vatican-Jesus".

      As a primer: LCWR order of nuns allows an openly pro-abortion nun to assist at an abortion clinic, and the keynote speaker at their recent annual conference prescribes eugenics and genocide as a means to the 'conscious evolution' of mankind into Gods.

      Happy reading. It's all there for you.

    4. Operative word is 'official' statement. Using one nun to attack the entire group is juvenile, infantile, and beneath you. It is as useful to the conversation as me using Cardinal Groer to condemn the entire College of Cardinals for officially promoting pedophilia.

      You are also taking Hubbard's quote out of context, but that is precisely what you have done with Sr Lauri Brink's presentation. Those particular quotes are now found all over right wing Catholic blogs, and Hubbard's is placed in quotes as exactly as you did. This is neither creative nor constructive. If I want to puke on right wing comments I can go to Cal Cath, EWTN, or Lifesite News. I do not need this repetitive garbage on this blog.

    5. The LCWR defended that nun.

      Puke on right-wingers all you like. It's not the right wing I'd love to see you embrace.

      It's the teaching of the Church I'd love to see you embrace. And you can't spit any parallels to the LCWR's keynote speaker here, so the to-and-fro of these comments is misplaced.

      The LCWR backs pro-abortion nuns, foregrounds pro-eugenics pro-genocide New Agers, promotes the ordination of women to the priesthood, and attacks the Church they have vowed to obey.
      But the choice isn't them or Opus Dei, them or Michael Voris, the choice is them or the Church.

      ...and still, still you choose them.

  4. We have always been in charge of God's selection process for death, when death is the choice of humanity. The Church has centuries of selecting people for death. The Church has called for massive movements of people in the Crusades. It adjudicated hundreds of thousands of deaths during the Inquisition. It sanctioned millions of deaths in the New World, and allowed for Christian Catholic countries to engage in whole sale slavery of dark skinned races. It sanctioned cleric led countries, like Slovenia and Croatia, in World War II with their individual campaigns of genocide based on religious adherence.

    You are the one who refuses to see the death and destruction inherent in patriarchal Catholicism. It will continue in that Ugandan bishops have sanctioned the 'kill the gays bill'.

    I don't think you really want to be part of this, but you are blinded by your rediscovered traditional faith and in denial about where that faith has led in the past. We can not repeat this past and we will if the same leadership and same 'logic' for that leadership stays in place. I don't agree withe everything Hubbard says and writes, but she is dead on when it comes to the necessity of evolving beyond our past. And it's coming, and it will not be in the hands of stage I and stage II spiritual thinkers, because they are too afraid to even go where this is leading. Pope Benedict is basing the future of Catholicism on this mind set, but thank God, God is not. There are no real mystics coming from Benedict's Catholicism because it is inherently working against the mystic experience. Rahner was right, the future lies in the experiences of our mystics, not our clerics.

    1. Colkoch,

      Think seriously for a moment.

      It has never been a doctrine of the Church that one must kill, and has always been a doctrine of the Church that innocents are to be protected and that life is essentially sacred.

      By contrast, it is a doctrine of the eugenicist hippy robot woman that 1/4 of humanity must be killed and that rest of us will no longer be humans but Gods.

      And the LCWR choose her as a keynote speaker rather than someone representative of Christianity.

      There is no explanation compatible with the LCWR being faithful or orthodox, unless I'm unaware of something?

    2. Or to state it succinctly, the church only sanctions allowed deaths that aren't our fault. It's the deaths that aren't allowed that we graciously refrain from, that make us the apple in God's eye, and we are appalled when anyone says otherwise.

      Not arguing with you anymore. Just pointing out where your adherance to doctrine tears you from love. I still hope for you.

      Matt Connolly

    3. Well, if deaths aren't our fault, they're not our fault. We can't do much about things literally beyond our control.

      What exactly would you propose in lieu of that situation?

      Superpowers, or blaming people for deaths they can't avert?

  5. Invictus, ten years ago there were maybe 10 billionaires in the US. Now there are about 40? They are not only getting tax cuts, they aren't paying any taxes and with higher unemployment fewer people in the job market who were barely making it before are having to make up the difference. That's just the tax end of it. Other costs are skyrocketing, such as food, gas, medical care, tuition, prescriptions, just everything. Is this the way for an economy to be operated solely for the profit of a handful? Might we call it what it really is: an economy for the wealthy. And the Bishops don't give a crap! They side with the wealthy and think everybody else is a hippy robot woman who doesn't agree or obey them.

    They have the economy all worked out for themselves and it is all for their short term economic gain while we lose our shirts, our homes, our jobs, a way to make a living. And if that's not bad enough, our Church leaders want to pick on a bunch of religious women who are doing the dirty work the leaders don't want to mess with because it is the real Christian work of witnessing and telling it like it truly is. You said the Church was about the Truth. Well, the LCWR are telling the Truth the way they see it and witness. They don't witness the Truth like a Bishop. How could they? Do they live like a Bishop? So, really, how could they see like a Bishop sees. A Bishop sees he has power. The Sisters see they have the power of God in them. The Bishops should have the power of God in them, but they have chosen the power of riches.

    The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. It's a fact. It's seriously coming down to the decision of whether or not people such as yourself are going to be on the side of the poor or the super-wealthy. I guess the poor or those who help the poor are hippy robots to you. Well, to me, they are the real one's serving Christ. We know who the Bishops are siding with and it is by sheer willful Christian negligence that they would so choose.


    1. This woman doesn't say (and even more importantly, doesn't do) anything about social justice, so that's irrelevant to the discussion.

      It's very relevant to the world and to the Church though. Massively so. Hopefully Colkoch will give us a blog post someday where it can be covered fully and in its own right, rather than as a distraction from the topic.

      I'll be more than happy to cover it with you.

    2. Invictus, Seems that desiring to narrow the discussion to only what you want to talk about is being like a robot.


    3. I want to talk about it, I just don't want to do so here where it'll distract from the matter at hand.

      I clearly want to talk about it,or I'd not have expressed the hope that Colkoch'd make a post with a direct relevance to the question of social justice and the work of the Church.

    4. Invictus, I think it is all interrelated and not so compartmentalized, when discussing issues.


    5. There are connections, but the matter is still a very different one and would distract from a proper analysis of either.
      As I say, when Colkoch blogs about social justice then we can get down to business.

  6. Part I

    The LCWR are the living proof of social justice is the most relevant point to what is happening in the catholic church. As a physician, I can honestly say that I have never participated in an abortion and took plenty of heat for it in the first part of my carrier as anesthesiologist. However, as an educated person, I would never wish to see abortion categorized as murder or illegal. Fortunately, most abortions are neither. The idea that a birth control pill produces abortion is ludicrous. The primary acton of these hormones are to prevent ovulation. There is a secondary action or side effect of making a uterine wall less likely to receive a blastocyst, but about 70 to 80% of formed blastocysts in women taking no hormones (BC pills) do not implant. If we call the non implantation of blastocsts abortions, then the Church should be on a massive scientific rescue operation to rescue these structures from the tampons of menstruating women! This is nonsense. Most of the early bishops and priests believed abortions could not take place until quickening or about 12 weeks gestation as they thought there was no life or personhood until then. Today, we as a thinking people have no good idea when there is a soul or personhood. One thing seems clear there must be some sort of mind and brain present for soul to be present. Otherwise we would need to protect the insects of the world no matter what they were doing to our crops, as their neuro tissue is much more highly developed than the lack of any such neuro tissues in a blastocyst or ball of completely undifferentiated tissue.

    The first sign of a sensuous neural process in a human embryo is the development of taste at 12 weeks. This is the sign of a small brain but no sign of a mind. Certainly sometime in the uterus a fetus evolves some forms of mindfulness as we see that new borns are indeed in possession of a thinking feeling expression of humanity. There have been many scientific studies proving this. However, if you see a mother of 5 drowning in an ocean an a newborn struggling in the same body of water, as a life guard that could save only one because of the distance the two were apart, what would you do? I don't know, as the good sister who authored the above article implied, sometimes actions can be right and wrong at the same time. Sometimes what one person considers the best course of action is ethically unacceptable to another.

    In Phoenix, Bishop Olmstead excommunicated a learned nun on a hospital ethics committee because she of the choice she made when she was presented with a case of an unborn baby in a mother hospitalized in the ICU dyeing of pulmonary hypertension. If the mother died, and this is as close to a certainty as medical science can predict as there is not one mother of her gestational age with progressing pulmonary hypertension in the literature who has ever survived this disease and carried a baby, the good sister allowed the emptying of the uterus to save the mother. ONe was saved where if nothing were done, two would die!!
    Part II to follow.

  7. Part II

    In Brazil a Bishop excommunicated a 12 year old girl pregnant with twins, her mother, and all her doctors after an abortion that was thought by her physicians to be life saving. The father who impregnated his daughter was not as much as mentioned by the "good bishop." What kind of decision was this? Ethical people have condemned not only the Bishop but also the Vatican's lack of proper response. What type of world are we to live in when unlicensed Bishops demand to triage medical emergencies of women? This is to say nothing of the private medical records compromised by the Bishop when he took it public.

    I think the actions of the very good nun in Phoenix point to the Roman problem. Bishops want to practice medicine without a license or a degree. It seems to me that Olmstead has no fundamental belief in human science or decency. This is typical of the current crop of RCC Bishops. The nuns are by and large much more spiritual than these men of archaic thought --- many of them members of the fascists Opus Dei crypt. Yes it is about fascism, the Bishops have chosen the wealthy over social justice. That is why many of us are catholic but not Roman catholic. We do not like the cafeteria style of the Bishops and last two popes.

    No wonder Ratzinger has had so many problems as Pope Benedict; he censored most of the Roman Church's best theologians and philosophers. A group that sensors the most creative of its members is surely ruining itself. As Kung put it the Roman Church is becoming the Church of the Ghetto controlled by the extremely wealthy. Most others are running for the doors to find catholicism outside of the crumbling Roman walls.

    The Fascist Opus Dei Bishops and Popes are guided by the philosophy of the Southern European mafia, while the great theologians continue to be censored. (Sister Johnson and on and on) The leadership of the Roman church is steering a course away from prophetic spirituality in to the arms of autocratic authoritarianism. That is why so many of us flee the Roman bishops, we will never give them a cent. Time for the catholic Universities to awaken and announce their 2000 years of foundation in catholic thought and their lack of support of the current Episcopacy that is now and never has been infallible teachers. Rather, the Roman bishops are teachers without resumes. They are teachers only because of political appointment not because of scholarship.


    1. Dennis,

      i. Your understanding of what does and does not constitute human life is abysmal. I'm amazed. You even brought insects into the discussion.

      ii. The solution in cases where justice appears to have been unevenly applied is to deploy our orthodoxy more thoroughly, not less thoroughly.

      We won't improve our souls and our structures by trading true Christian belief for any kind of -ism. Protestantism, modernism, relativism...none of these things will help us to make the Church work better than it does at present.

      Your last three paragraphs are angry conspiracy theory, so in the interest of discussion I've left them to one side.

  8. "We won't improve our souls and our structures by trading true Christian belief for any kind of -ism" You left out Catholicism, which when I was studying theology was considered an 'ism' one had to avoid if one truly wanted to understand the teachings of Jesus.

    Invictus, you don't actually dialogue with anyone, so I'm sure Dennis won't be offended by your refusal to take on his conspiracy theorizing, and with you there really isn't any such thing as 'interests of discussion'. You claim you are here to help us rediscover our Catholicism or save our souls or whatever you are using to justify essentially spamming this blog. You have an agenda. Good for you, I just wish you had some understanding that you are killing discussion, not furthering discussion.

    This is exactly what the LCWR will have to deal with when it comes to the CDF. There's is an arrogance implied in this that has nothing to do with the truth of doctrine and everything to do with an over reliance on personal feeling as to it's 'rightness'. The truth of the matter is you are not arguing from truth, but from how your truth makes you feel. I just wish you could admit that, because then you might understand your truth does not make others feel equally good. In fact it makes them feel marginalized, infantilized, and in too many cases persecuted. I personally feel this is why Jesus was so insistent we see Him in others, because if we first look for Him we will not be so ready to see the sin, the immorality, the betrayal, and even the heresy.

    Now before you accuse me of hypocrisy when it comes to church leadership, I'm taking my cue from Jesus on that as well. He didn't mince words when it came to hypocritical, self serving, doctrinally obsessed church leadership. Neither will I.

    1. Then ditch "Catholicism", and just "live in the Church"!

      The LCWR backs pro-abortion campaigners and invites a New Age eugenicist nutcase as their keynote speaker, and you back them against the biggest charitable organisation on the planet, with twenty centuries' record of teaching the same things it inherited from Jesus and his disciples.

      I think that's all anyone needs to know to see that your position is utterly discredited.

    2. I can think of a number of charitable organizations that are bigger than the Church, starting with the Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, and the UN itself.

      In this country Catholic charities receives 67% of it's funding from the US government. That amounted to 2.25 billion dollars in 2009. That alone is more money than the global church doles out. Oh and by the way, Catholic Charities receives less than 3% from diocesan or other Catholic donations.

      The Roman Catholic Church also has some 17 centuries of it's leadership utterly ignoring the Gospel call for solidarity in the poverty of others. They may teach, but they do not follow.

      The LCWR has backed pro choice politicians and that is a far cry from backing pro abortion politicians. I personally have never met anyone who was pro abortion. In this country abortion goes down significantly under the pro choice party because that party promotes policies which reduce the reasons for abortion. Abortion always goes up under the pro life party because that party promotes individualism at the expense of the common good.

      I would hope you will also take to task the Vatican for allowing the Mafia to dictate it's financial strategies, something for which they are still being investigated by Italian banking authorities. Not to mention the Vatican bank is disobeying the never changing multiple papal edicts against charging interest for loans. Which brings me to the never changing teachings on the Jews which JPII himself disobeyed. I could go on, but I bore myself.

      At least the LCWR doesn't have BM Hubbard on their payroll the way the K of C has a brazen Republican operative as their president to the tune of 1.3 million per year. A man, who by the way, was a speech writer for one of the most racist politicians this country has ever produced. A man who would not have given a rat's ass if eugenics were practiced against African Americans.

      But hey, one man's orthodoxy is another woman's orthotoxicity.

    3. I was thinking of the Knights internationally. I can see that there could be clear concerns over the political neutrality of the President of the KofC in the USA.

      But again, nobody would ask you to reject the increasingly unfaithful and unorthodox LCWR in order to embrace the Knights of Columbus, or any of the corruptions of the Church.

      All they would hope for is that you would come to love and embrace the Church and its gifts, rather than New Age errors.

      Turning a blind eye to corruptions is not a part of loving or serving the Church, after all.

  9. I would ask you one thing.

    Please name me one thing that Jesus specifically said about Abortion. Quoting Gospel reference.

    Then please quote me one thing that Jesus specifically said about the life in the womb having greater value than the life of the mother. Quoting Gospel reference.

    If you are unable to do this, then please bear in mind that there may be women reading this who have been in the appalling situation of having to terminate a pregnancy of a much wanted and loved unborn baby, because the baby had defects incompatible with life, and the pregnancy threatened the mother's own life. Especially if that mother already had children.

    And then perhaps think that that is a situation that only God can judge, and that for someone else to attempt to pass judgment on this woman is arrogance in the extreme.

    And that there are many circumstances in all our lives where we have to pray that God's loving kindness is greater than his justice. Because if he is only just, then we're all in trouble.

    1. Thank you Olivia. Your last paragraph is profound.

    2. Tell me one thing he said about rape. Or genocide. Or running a crystal meth lab. Or suicide. Or pedophilia.

      Oh, look at that. Apparently that's not how this game works.

      But ah, look at this. The Bible does make clear that human life is sacred, and that human life begins at conception (a point now backed up by modern embryology).

    3. The start of most human biological life starts at conception. Twins are a different story. Oh well what's important about a little detail like that.

      The bible actually states that human life is in existence before conception. Oh well, what's important about a litte detail like that.

      You've also left out the part about the bible having a hierarchy of human life, that not all life was equally sacred. Oh well, just another little detail.

    4. Not to mention the issue of an embryo that divides before implantation, to produce identical twins. I don't think that anyone sane believes that they share a soul. Which at least ought to place ensoulment at the point of implantation rather than conception. But I digress.

      Returning to the situation I detailed above, what would be the response of the Church to a mother faced with the dreadful necessity of turning off a life support machine sustaining life in her dying child when all hope is gone? This is a situation that could (God forbid) face any parent. I cannot imagine that the response of a parish priest to a woman in this torment would be anything other than love, comfort and prayer.

      And yet the same woman, faced with the same situation with the unborn child in her body that cannot live outside that body because of its damage, is considered a murderer. Worse than a murderer. As is any doctor or nurse who has helped or advised.

      I don't believe it is only myself who would consider this a grave injustice. And profoundly illogical.

      The woman who has lived through this situation and has had to make the worst decision of her entire life suffers with Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, appealing to God to "take this cup away". And throughout it, Mary who watched her Son die on the cross stands beside her. Nobody who has not lived through this has the right to judge. And frankly, most priests would hesitate to judge in this situation. There are things that can only be left to a merciful God.

    5. It isn't only yourself who considers this situation a grave injustice. I am getting ready to write another blog post on abortion and what an entirely deceptive piece of work this issue has become. It no longer has much to do with any kind of pastoral response to tragic human situations. It's all about politics. I have been utterly appalled with the hoops the right wing has been willing to jump through in order to maintain Romney/Rand...ooops I meant Romney/Ryan...are pro life.

      That can only happen in whatever parallel Star Trek universe Burke is emperor.

    6. ...if you're not going to bother looking at Church teaching, and at every turn will favour your own unchallenged impressions, of course you'll never agree with Church teaching.
      In reasoning without the Church, you never even give orthodoxy a hearing.

      As for US politicians' pro-life credentials. Yeah. I'm with you. The abortion industry seems to have expanded freely under both U.S. political parties, so all party political pro-life claims are dubious.

    7. It's a subject I did once discuss with the Monsignor of my local diocese, a very wise, kind and loving man. Whose response was that canon law simply was not written to deal with a situation like the one above. But that changes in the Church and in Church thinking tend to be a matter of centuries, not years or even decades. It doesn't mean that the problem is not being discussed or thought about.

    8. I know Church teaching on abortion backwards and forwards and upside down and sideways. I assume you do as well and argue from that assumption. Silly me. I guess I'll have to cite chapter and verse from the catechism for you so your fears about my knowledge of orthodoxy are alleviated.

      The truth is the number of abortions under Democrats drops significantly, and I mean significantly as in statistically significant. The 'abortion industry' in the US has shrunk by quite a bit if one uses numbers of practioners and clinics. The most effective strategy has been to make it virtually impossible to find a clinic in which to exercise one's choice. There are other strategies other than criminalizing abortion. Unfortunately, those other strategies aren't nearly as useful for politicians who want to polish up their 'pro life' credentials.

    9. The comment right above this one is for Invictus.

    10. @ Invictus

      But ah, look at this. The Bible does make clear that human life is sacred, and that human life begins at conception (a point now backed up by modern embryology). Agreed.
      However regarding the status of the unborn life and the morality of abortion, the Scriptures are not as clear cut. While Yahweh does tell the Israelites , " therefore choose life" in Deuteronomy a look through Mosaic law shows different punishments for treatments of the unborn. Exodus 21:22 deals with the accidental miscarriage which are nowhere as severe as other punishments metes under Mosaic. Numbers 5 in particular commands a woman suspected of adultery to enter the temple with her husband and drink of bitter water prepared by the priest who then accurses her womb to miscarriage and barreness.

      Also, while Judaism and our Protestant brethren regard human life as sacred , abortion is not weighted as strongly as in Catholicism and Orthodoxy. This is notable in that Jewish and Protestant traditions use Scripture as their primary guide. Tradition, if considered at all, is subordinated. Catholic and Orthodox prohibitions are rooted in the Patristic era of the Justinian Codes and early documents such as the Didache and the writings of Tertullian.

      Also, while modern embryology has shown much about the development of the human body the metaphysical issue of ensoulment still remains. Since the human person is comprised as spirit, mind and body this is important. See this article Do Embryos Have Souls?. Pope John Paul II made the same argument in his encyclical Evangelium Vitae, that regardless of the biological development of the human body and the philosophical quandary of ensoulment, abortion remains morally illicit. Many in the Church are questioning on what basis is it always wrong? While others are saying this is very slender reed.on which to base legal prohibitions by civil authorities. Does being immoral necassarily mean it should be illegal?

      John Fremont

    11. It is notable that the Orthodox church also has given thought to the situation of a woman who has an abortion if her own life is severely threatened by the pregnancy

      "In case of a direct threat to the life of a mother if her pregnancy continues, especially if she has other children, it is recommended to be lenient in the pastoral practice. The woman who interrupted pregnancy in this situation shall not be excluded from the Eucharistic communion with the Church provided that she has fulfilled the canon of Penance assigned by the priest who takes her confession."

      The responsibility of the mother to the children she has already brought into the world is taken into account, and the termination of the life threatening pregnancy is seen as a terrible but necessary evil. Frankly, there's a lot of Catholic priests who wouldn't react very differently to that, whatever the Vatican might say. It has always been understood at the grass roots level of Catholicism that (thank God) there have been doctors and midwives prepared to do what is necessary to save the woman's life, and not to upset His Holiness with the details. Otherwise there would have been an awful lot more little Catholic children growing up without mothers.

    12. John Fremont,

      The different Jewish and Protestant understandings of killing in the womb make for interesting reading (and I'm thankful to you for sharing those insights), but as we are not Jews or Protestants their teachings don't effect the standing of Church teaching.

      Abortion is gravely wrong because it is the intentional killing of an innocent human life. It is wrong also because of the damage it can and often does do to the mental and physical wellbeing of the mother.

      The question here hasn't been about the legality or otherwise of abortion, but about whether or not it constitutes a grave sin, in light of the LCWR's protection of those who dissent in supporting it.

      Olivia Cook,

      That seems to be from a document entitled "Bases of the Social Concept of the Russian Orthodox Church" released by the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church, which is good because we now know that in its complete agreement with the Catholic Church it is authoritatively representative of the largest of the Orthodox churches.

      As with the Catholic Church, the quoted extract affirms that abortion is inherently a mortal sin, and as with the Catholic Church it approves sensitivity for women who have killed their child out of fear for their own lives.

      If you do a page search for "abortion" it'll take you to Ch XII 2, where you'll find the Patriarchate of Moscow speaking as with one voice with the Catechism of the Catholic Church and with Evangelium Vitae.

      CCC: "2271. Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."

      Evangelium Vitae: "Christian Tradition(...)is clear and unanimous, from the beginning up to our own day, in describing abortion as a particularly grave moral disorder. From its first contacts with the Greco-Roman world, where abortion and infanticide were widely practised, the first Christian community, by its teaching and practice, radically opposed the customs rampant in that society, as is clearly shown by the Didache mentioned earlier. 62 Among the Greek ecclesiastical writers, Athenagoras records that Christians consider as murderesses women who have recourse to abortifacient medicines, because children, even if they are still in their mother's womb, "are already under the protection of Divine Providence".63 Among the Latin authors, Tertullian affirms: "It is anticipated murder to prevent someone from being born; it makes little difference whether one kills a soul already born or puts it to death at birth. He who will one day be a man is a man already".64"

      Patriarchate of Moscow: "Since the ancient time the Church has viewed deliberate abortion as a grave sin. The canons equate abortion with murder. This assessment is based on the conviction that the conception of a human being is a gift of God. Therefore, from the moment of conception any encroachment on the life of a future human being is criminal.
      It is incompatible to be faithful to the biblical and patristic teaching that human life is sacred and precious from its origin and to recognise woman’s «free choice» in disposing of the fate of the foetus. In addition, abortion present a serious threat to the physical and spiritual health of a mother. (...) Under no circumstances the Orthodox Church can bless abortion.

      So you see, in defending pro-choice nuns, the LCWR very clearly separates itself from Christian teaching.

    13. "The question here hasn't been about the legality or otherwise of abortion, but about whether or not it constitutes a grave sin, in light of the LCWR's protection of those who dissent in supporting it."

      You do understand the LCWR is not an order or congregation of nuns, it's umbrella organization. You do understand any internal discipline would have to be effected by the actual order a nun belongs to and that the LCWR has no jurisdiction. What you are demanding is that the LCWR function as a disciplinary body and it has no such mandate. This is no different than a national organization of bishops which have no mandate to discipline any individual bishop.

      With regards to abortion the LCWR has not been charged with defending abortion, but with not shouting about it from the roof tops. Same with gay marriage. Women's ordination is a different story.

      You should thank God everyday you aren't female and won't be faced with pregnancy or abortion on any meaningful level. Please add extra thanks that you can keep the whole topic safely up in your pristine Catholic head.

    14. I would add that if you are convinced of the Catholic's Church's love towards women faced with death as a pregnancy continues, you might want to look at this.

      A nun, excommunicated for agreeing with a hospital ethics committee to save the life of a woman pregnant with her fifth child and with a close to 100 percent risk of death with pulmonary hypertension if the pregnancy continued.

      The only decent thing that came out of the whole sorry tale was that it made the issue public and that Margaret McBride's excommunication has since been rescinded. Someone in the hierarchy developed a brain, belatedly.

      The Diocese of Phoenix severed its affiliation with the hospital when they wouldn't promise it could never happen again, and the hospital president, Linda Hunt, made a statement

      "If we are presented with a situation in which a pregnancy threatens a woman's life, our first priority is to save both patients. If that is not possible, we will always save the life we can save, and that is what we did in this case. Morally, ethically, and legally, we simply cannot stand by and let someone die whose life we might be able to save."

    15. Olivia, thanks for the quote from Linda Hunt. It is simply terribly sad that Olmstead couldn't understand that a hospital is obligated to save the life they can save. They can't let two people die when one can be saved. This is precisely where I draw the line on abortion. Catholic teaching places the value of the life of the pre born on a higher level than the life of the mother. No male is faced with that fact, where his life is doctrinally decreed to be secondary in importance to any other life.

      I might have a different opinion if the Church based this abortion teaching on Jesus' words in which He states our own lives are to be considered of secondary importance to any other life when He spoke about laying down our lives for others. Even then Jesus was describing the highest form of understanding and did not mandate such a thing of his disciples. Only for women is this ideal of Jesus' mandated, and only in terms of pregnancy, which of course never applies to the men who made the rule. "Always for thee, and never for me."

  10. The contrast of the two stories of the LCWR Meeting and the KofC Conference are startling. It's sort of like Lazarus and Dives. The bishops have their money and the sisters have the poor.

  11. Invictus, in comments you express what you are "conscious" of, but you are unaware of your own deep prejudices which is from being guided by a consciousness that has not been enlightened, blocks the light & accepts darkness as light, and holds onto ideas in darkness which are not Truth, but opinions & prejudices & from propaganda.

    Years ago I read somewhere that the present time is the most difficult to truly comprehend. That is because we are in the midst of the present and can be blinded by the distractions and self-interest. Those who can say that they contemplate the issues or have critical thinking are those who can stand outside the ego part of their opinions and begin to master the true art of having a wider perspective that brings us closer to the Truth which is about Love, that is a bigger Truth than our own self-interest within our own cocoon of understanding which has yet to come out of that cocoon into being in the true light of a bigger truth.

    The idea of freedom comes from God. The idea & manifestation of creativity also comes from God. In order to be creative one must step outside their ego, go to the desert and meet God. That way is the narrow path, the one that Jesus said it was easier for a camel to get through than a rich man. The reason being that even if one possesses the riches of wealth, or the clinging to the possession of self-righteousness and/or scholarship of the law, it doesn't follow they will get to heaven by it.

    It is the mystics and the Saints such as St. Francis, St. Clare, St Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, that have been the tradition in the Church, but during their time and day the Church gave them a bitter trial & inquisition. The hierarchy proves by their actions that they still do not understand the history. The history of inquisition in the Church is a great lesson for us not to repeat again.

    Unfortunately, in the Church in the 3rd Century of Christianity, the tradition of persecuting Christians by Christians began. The attempts to remove the cornerstone and replace it with opinions has been the history since. Here we go again with the Roman rulers way of the CDF in the desire to persecute Christians such as the LCWR.

    The CDF is truly against someone like St. Francis in their actions against the women religious that they just want to throw out. That's not Christian or Catholic tradition. It is Roman tradition.


    1. Those mystics were also very faithful to Church teaching, and to the Magisterium. St Francis of Assisi (so beloved of apostate dissidents) was famously and zealously loyal to the Church, to the Pope.

      So you see, true and authentic mysticism is not stamped out by faithfulness and orthodoxy, but flourishes alongside it. Yes, what they said was often challenging, but what they said was also very sound and in conformity with Christian teaching.

      (By contrast, those people and causes promoted by the LCWR are very often not in conformity with Christian teaching.)

      Nobody is throwing any nuns out. There is an investigation taking place to discern whether or not they have placed themselves permanently outside of the Church. This matter is not yet decided.

    2. Invictus, you fail to see my point, again.

      You also say that "Nobody is throwing any nuns out." That is the agenda though. You seem to be putting the Sisters down any chance you get & I really think it is because you just don't understand because you are too focused on the letter of the law stuff. You won't find the answers in the letter of the law in this case.

      You have not read Chardin, nor walked in the Sister's shoes to gain the perspective & insight, as well as discernment & witness of the truth they have. You might not understand Chardin even if you read him, but you should try. I hope to one day read him as well. For some reason the Holy Spirit has given some the intuitive understanding of Chardin without having read his writings.

      Some don't understand Thomas Merton and can not connect with the contemplatives. Some desire to do away with contemplation all together and just get all their "answers" from the Catechism. Contemplatives do not operate or take in information the same as others might. Much needed in the Church is the freedom to contemplate.

      Contemplatives and mystics do not live by the rule book of fixed notions, but truly try to be guided by the Holy Spirit. It is a different religious experience and existence than you might imagine. Have you read any Thomas Merton books?

      Since I was very young in the 1960's, reading Thomas Merton helped to give a real overview of that time in a Catholic monk's context. I know the Holy Spirit led me to him. It was like getting a parking spot in the front of the entrance to another store, which is not Walmart.

      You are right in saying that "This matter is not yet decided."

      Oh, how will it be decided? What is the rush to judgement of the Sisters for while the priesthood, the Church, the world itself is in the condition it's in? I wonder. Priorities seem very strange in my opinion. Priorities which seem more political & financial than anything else.

      I can recall in history that the Church "investigated" and then "decided" that certain views & ideas of our universe were fixed or unchangeable "truth", was "heresy" to believe beyond the Magisterium's point of view - and the Church decided on the basis of their own arrogance & stubborn resistance to thinking beyond the status quo, that they just couldn't open up to a new scientific truth view and they were absolutely dead wrong. Let's see now if you can recall any example of fixed notions of the "Truth" that were tied to theology and notions of the universe & science and the Church's decisions that much much later were found to be in conformity with Christian teaching and changed by the Church from condemnation or heresy to being accepted as Truth?


    3. Fran,

      Given the LCWR give free publicity to pro-genocide eugenicists, protection to pro-abortion nuns, and support to advocates of the ordination of women to the priesthood, I'd have to be persuaded that there's something to be gained by walking in their shoes to gain insight. In good conscience, I wouldn't be able to leave the Church in order to gain 'insight' into heresy from its own 'perspective'.

      Thomas Merton's 'Seven Storey Mountain' is a great book. I read it at the start of this year, and was so impressed that I gave my copy to my girlfriend's mother and bought two more, one for myself and one for my own mother. Indeed, the book is one of the things which has opened my eyes to the great gift of the religious life in letting people live their Christian faith without the necessary compromises of married life or the diocesan priesthood. In summary, thumbs up.

      In reading of Merton's life, you may note than in order to find his way into the religious life it was necessary for him to engage with the Sacraments, live a life of virtue according to the teachings of the Magisterium, and to struggle to conform his life to Christian truth.
      You may also note that having done so, the Holy Spirit did not then guide him into a pitched battle with the hierarchy or into a denial of the authority of the Church or into a laissez-faire attitude to the killing of unborn babies.

    4. Invictus, Your focus on the issues is too narrow and condemnational towards people. I wish you could move on and develop such as Thomas Merton did.

      Merton was instrumental in providing me with the real groundwork for demystifying a lot about the Church and the religious and spiritual life as well. His writing touched me on many different levels and aided my understanding of the time in which he lived. I had an estranged view of who monks were prior to reading that same book. What I admired most was Merton's honesty and the beautiful way in which he painted with words. His father was an artist. I loved his poetic spirit. When I read Seven Storey Mountain it was when I realized that I was a contemplative. I didn't really know who I was. When Merton wrote about his experience and the decision making as to which religious order he was best suited for that gave me insight into the fact there are different orders of religious in the Church and they are not all the same, because people are different and have different needs. Merton was in tune with his real self and knew what he wanted and where he was going to go. There was a place for him in the Church.

      I realized I met someone very special in Merton that I needed in my life. Also, I did not know any priests, so it was very important to hear what he had to say. I could not put that book down and something has to really engage me on a deep level for me to focus and finish a book. Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander is another great book, imo. Mystics and Zen Masters too.

      Too bad the attitude, such as yours, is to whip people with accusations of living in mortal sin if they have grown into a spirituality different than your external expectations, and the unfortunate truth now is that there is no place in the Church for real dialogue. There is a lot of censorship and denial. Merton was censored a lot by the Church. Like Hans Kung he is not given enough attention in the "official" Church. People like to name call against people too much in the Church and it is a sick immature environment to witness. People like Merton and Hans Kung are the real heroes in the Church, because they speak the truth.

      Merton lived in a different time. I have no doubt that Merton would not speak to me the way you do. I consider Merton my brother in Christ. He would never say the things to me that you have said to me.

      If anyone is in a pitched battle it would be the fundamentalist attitude in which the discussion is always dumbed down into accusations and judgments against people. Our conversations cannot grow from such an attitude because it is toxic to the soul.

      What is most important is if people are growing in their Faith. Faith can not grow with an attitude in the Church that condemns people for thinking differently than the Magisterium. Everything does not hinge on the Magisterium. It hinges on one's Faith in God.

      Merton was encouraged in his faith. He was not beaten over the head about his mortal sins. He was forgiven. He worried that he would not be accepted into the priesthood because he fathered a child out of wedlock. Merton was received into the Church to follow his calling to be a monk. There is nothing he could have done to change the fact he had a child out of wedlock. Today he'd be considered a liberal and maybe would not be accepted, imo.

      I hope you get into a deeper understanding of Merton & the heart of the people in the Church that you are too anxious to label and condemn and read his other books, especially the one's he wrote after Vatican II which led him to expand his views and perceptions.


  12. What strikes me as odd is that while reformers in the 16th century recognized that their faith was no longer compatible with the religion of the Roman Church and left to start their own bodies, proudly so, contemporary folks who find themselves inside the Roman Church but who have developed a faith even more distinct from it than Protestantism, refuse to admit that truth and leave.

    What you call old vs new "consciousness" is really Catholicism (or any kind of historically continuous Christianity) vs. Something Else.

    1. Continuous Christianity has succeeded as a religion, but failed as a spiritual system. Jesus acted outside consensus reality, outside time, matter, and space. So did the original Apostles which is one accepted reason for the early spread of Christianity. His followers actually did as He did, healed, had miraculous events happen around them, cast out demons, manifested daily bread.

      Those abilities were virtually lost after Constantine made the Christianity the Church of Empire. Human consciousness is changing in favor of mystical experiences. As it stands now, the official church teaching, especially the way those teachings are catechized, are impediments to mystical experiences. Everything is too left brained, too analytical, and far too judgmental.

  13. In a number of ways, Colleen, I support the thrust of your vision, especially in that I reject the politics of transcendence coming to dominate Catholic rhetoric. It represents an impossible retreat from the dynanics that shape present day social relations- and therefore spirituality. I'm also for people practicing religion as it makes sense to them and not pretending or playing house (or altar) to disguise their dissatisfaction with the modern status quo.

    But I can't say I understand the thoroughness of your aversion to Constantian Christianity. The faith didn't stop in the 4th century. Miracles and spirituality abound in the Middle Ages and after. In fact, the Middle Ages are one of the richest sources for Catholic tradition and practice, storing up a momentum that would persist for centuries until even the present day. The immensity of its fruitfulness in this time, the accomplishment of a Catholic culture, shaped and formed many generations well after the disentigration of Christendom- a cultural body that gave form to their hopes and desires, and structures to their community.

    Without Constantinain Christianity, I doubt I'd of ever got to pray the Rosary with a cluster of Slovenians at an in house shrine and experience that mystical state of social communion between child, parent, elder, neighbour, land and common heritage; or that Catholic symbolism would have been able to so thoroughly penetrate the psychic language of so many, myself and yours included.

    The transformation of Christianity from sect to civilization IS Catholicism in many ways. It is a beautiful thing, not a tragedy. Problematic, yes, in today's political climate. But I think it is wrong to demonize it. It disparages some less progressive spiritualities that are nonetheless important to mant of us.

  14. Point taken. It's not so much Constantine Christianity as it is the Empirical form of leadership it left us with.

    When I ever I get over the top with Constantine's influence, I am not so gently reminded that at the same time Constantine was 'guiding' those male bishops at Nicaea, his mother, St Helena, was in the Holy Land researching and actually finding the spiritual foundations of Christianity. He was forming the head, while she was finding the heart. This is why I have been told repeatedly that I will never get an orb photo of the Constantine window in the Cathedral here in Helena, but have dozens surrounding the St Helena window. We have to find our heart again as a spirituality. We have gone way over board on the head part.