Monday, August 6, 2012

Moving Beyond The Vatican Jesus, The Unforgiveable Sin

This could seriously be me back in the day.  Not the sister, the too talkative little girl.

Here's part of another NCR opinion piece I found insightful.  It's written by Patrick Rearden, and in it he wonders if the sisters of the LCWR represent a real and present danger to the culture of both Church and State.  The following is an excerpt but includes what I found to be the best part of the article.

....Our society gives a lot of lip service to the idea of God, to the sacredness of a human being, to truth. But how much faith do we really have? How comfortable are we, as a society, with ideals, visions, dreams?
Not much, if our treatment of nuns in modern media is any measure.

In movies, plays, ads and songs, sisters -- always in the religious habit that most real-life nuns set aside decades ago -- are shown as clucking hens, sometimes loveable, more often just plain stupid. They are outside the world, needing to be saved from the harsh realities of life. Like by a Las Vegas showgirl. Exhibit B: “Sister Act.” (I get his point, but I thought Sister Act was really funny and it dissed Las Vegas culture just as well as convent culture.)

The movie defines a nun on the basis of her habit, so distinctive, so otherworldly, so un-normal. And that’s how American society sees sisters. They’re not after the good life. They’re not looking for wealth and comfort, the American dream. Instead, they work to improve the lives of the poor and oppressed. In a nation with a long history of violence and the largest military in the world, they work for peace.

They’re seen as good-hearted, perhaps, but childlike. Asexual naifs. Talk about not fitting in.
That’s why the American culture goes to such great efforts to misunderstand nuns. It’s because women religious are a challenge to the status quo. Nuns are countercultural. Their lives of service are a challenge to American materialism and consumerism. Their chastity is a challenge to the American mechanistic view of sex. (That's the necessary view for a certain clerical mind set.  Religious women have to be seen as more immature and wrestling less with chastity--for a number of reasons and one of the primary reasons is a sexual morality which sees men as the active sexual agent and women as the receptive agent.)

They are the butts of Hollywood humor because they are dangerous. We make fun of what threatens us. This is how this nation has dealt with communists, anarchists, hippies, Native Americans and African-Americans. To blunt their challenge, sisters are reduced to punch lines.

Humor hasn’t been the method of the Vatican, though. Rome’s weapon has been a club -- a bureaucratic club to crack down on sisters for failing to toe the line that male hierarchs have laid down. For listening to the Spirit and following that inspiration, for being creative, for coloring outside the lines. (Only in  public do we see the club.)

Sisters are a challenge to the male power structure in the Catholic church because they’re not male. (Radical masculinism at it's finest.)

Recent popes and prelates have made so much of the maleness of the clergy, arguing against female priests with great vehemence and theological legerdemain, that, of course, women religious are a challenge.

They do God’s work without being male. So, unless they are knocked down and forced into some sort of male-defined orthodoxy, their work raises an unanswerable question: If women, as nuns, can do God’s work, why can’t women do God’s work as priests?

Nuns are a danger to the Vatican. That’s why they’re under attack.


I think it's not so much that the sisters are a threat to the Vatican, as it is they are a threat to the type of Catholic identity the Vatican clerical system needs for it's own in tact survival.  The sisters symbolize a form of Catholicism that is capable of witnessing Christianity by living directly in the culture, while the Vatican has opted for a form of Catholicism which is to survive by removing itself from the culture--ostensibly by living 'above' the prevailing culture and 'transcending' it.  That transcendence is to be firstly symbolized by a priest centered ritualized Catholicism complete with all the accoutrements of a supposedly spiritual monarchy which points to the Vatican and the papacy as the closest thing to heaven on earth.

The second component where the sisters apparently have failed is with the theological conception of the laity. The laity can't really constitute the People of God in the transcendent view of Catholicism.  That Catholicism needs laity catechized in it's idealized concept of the patriarchal nuclear family, a male led family which is essentially self sufficient except for it's religious and spiritual formation.  Historically that religious formation has been accomplished by nuns living in convents, teaching in parochial schools, and reflexively assenting to male clerical authority.  In this scenario, which many of us boomers have actually lived in, the Parish becomes the village in which families find their religious/social/cultural identity.  In this Catholic form of village, the sisters served as the teachers which passed on the tribal culture, but not the 'elders' which determined what would be passed on.  The nuclear family served as the lived reality of the symbolic relationship of Jesus the bridegroom and his Holy Mother Church.  Priests functioned in the person of Christ, the traditions and teachings were embodied in 'Holy Mother', and the laity were the obedient children who paid for all of it. Sociologically, the glue that held all of this together were the thousands and thousands of teaching sisters ----and the world view they held and accepted about themselves.  They were in the world but not of it, dressed accordingly, and they lived walled off from the laity whose children they taught.  The parents of those children reflexively enforced the authority of the sisters, believing it came from a higher source than their own.  The sisters may not have been priests, but they most certainly weren't mere laity either.

For a lot of sisters, this sort of 'table scraps' level of authority sufficed, but then darn it all, things started to really change, and not just with regards to women's status in the world, but Vatican II came along and upset the whole Catholic apple cart.  Religious orders were mandated to re evaluate everything about themselves in light of this whole new vision of Catholicism, and so they did, and not necessarily happily.  At least not at first, but they kept at it, recentered and eventually found their charisms were as badly needed in the world as they ever had been.  They also found the cultural environment in which those charisms were needed had drastically changed.  But more than that, they educated themselves to be real leaders in the various professions in which they found themselves.  In the secular world they didn't have 'table scraps' authority, they had real earned authority and they were making real differences in real human lives----and they were changing and growing.  Eventually they found themselves moving beyond the very rigid conceptualization of a Jesus that supported the male clerical system, the Catholic parish as Catholic ghetto, the laity as clerical and religious meal ticket, the Vatican as the only voice of the Holy Spirit.  

That last moving beyond was their big mistake.  It is the unforgivable mistakeIt is the exact same mistake many many catholic laity have made. We have grown up spiritually in a religious system whose authority structure depends on keeping adults spiritual children.  It is no wonder so many laity support the sisters.  It isn't just about clerical abuse or betrayal of authority by the hierarchy, it's about not going back to the status of children to support too many male clergy who never grew up and who therefor can't let others grow up either---especially nuns.


  1. I have to agree with you, Colleen. The Vatican is promoting a Catholic identity in which nuns and the rest of us are not permitted to grow up or allowed the gift of the Holy Spirit, of which they have no control or power to really do. It is a no-win situation for anyone to cling to the Vatican's notions of identity while they deny the free and promised by Jesus gift of the Holy Spirit - to all who love Him.

    Jesus even said that one could deny Him, but not the Holy Spirit.

    And I loved the movie Sister Act.


    1. And I have to add here, that St. Paul was given the gift of the Holy Spirit, even though he didn't love Jesus and was persecuting Christians who loved Jesus because they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

      Because the Vatican holds the view that they can restrict the Holy Spirit by containing it within the confines of its self-made notions is a complete lie. It is an identity not unlike those who decided to free Barabbas and favored nailing Jesus to a cross. Of course they will not admit that because they are in denial and only out to protect their own asses and assets. They continue the lie and perception that they can contain all the notions of God by their prejudiced views of God and a denial of the Holy Spirit that can reach anyone God pleases or wills to gift.


  2. Replies
    1. Also, most nuns aren't dissident nuns, so it's highly misleading to say "nuns" but mean "this group of dissident nuns".

      It marginalises the vast majority of nuns, who are faithful and orthodox.

    2. These nuns are faithful and orthodox. Their sin is to manage their lives and faith without slavish devotion to the instructions of the bishops.


    3. Surely some nuns are indeed faithful and orthodox, but the LCWR is not.

      Exhibit A)
      Barbara Marx Hubbard, invited to address the LCWR, is about as incompatible with Catholic doctrine as it is possible to be without actually calling for the disestablishment of the Church and the execution of the clergy.

      Exhibit B)
      Sr. Theresa Kane, past President of the LCWR, derider of bishops, and outspoken proponent of Catholic priestesses; "I’m not out of communion. The institution got out of communion with me.", even though the Church has never in her lifetime (or, indeed, ever) ordained women to the priesthood.

      Exhibit C)
      Sr Donna Quinn, open supporter of "abortion rights", allowed by her LCWR affiliated order to assist at a clinic which provides abortion.

      Exhibit D)
      Sr Laurie Brink, invited to address the LCWR, "...the God of Jesus might well be the God of Moses and the God of Mohammed". Overlooking the Christian doctrine that unlike Moses, Jesus is God, and that unlike Moses, Mohammed was not a prophet.

      Exhibit E)
      Sr Margaret Farley, of an order affiliated to the LCWR, publishes a book either completely ignorant of or deliberately contrary to the Christian understanding of sex.

      Exhibit F)
      Sr. Sandra Schneiders, invited to address the LCWR, is an outspoken proponent of contraception, and rejects the doctrine of the authority of the Church.

      Exhibit G)
      Fr Michael Crosby, invited to address the LCWR, has disobeyed the Church and continues to promote the undoctrinal view that women can be ordained to the priesthood.

      Exhibit H)
      Sr. Brigid McDonald, member of an LCWR affiliated order, is an open defender of killing unborn babies, rejects the authority of the Church, and violates her vows.

      As I said; it is highly misleading to - as the blog post above does - say "nuns" but mean "this group of dissident nuns".

    4. Invictus, I don't know where to start with you, except to say that I suspect home schooling hasn't served you well. (FYI Electricity isn't a mystery...)

      Let's begin in the pre-Christian era. Socrates, the foremost teacher in Western history, uses the dialectic technique to seek truth by comparing opposite arguments.

      Let's move on to the Dark Ages, when the church determines truth. Opposition, or even lack of enthusiastic acceptance of the church's argument is met with cries of heresy. Some are executed by the church for their "heresy".

      Try re-reading your "exhibits". Incidentally, I appreciate your use of citations for most of them. What form of argument are you using to make your case? As I read your comments, and God knows I've suffered through too, too many of them, you lean heavily, almost exclusively on authority.

      I have no intention of joining you in the pre-Renaissance, pre-Age-of-Enlightenment, pre-scientific-method Dark Ages.

      Why don't you take the example of your rhetorical forebears regarding prevention of the Black Death. "...there were numerous explanations for its outbreak. Accordingly, preventative measures ranged from self-flagellation (among those who believed that God had sent the disease as punishment for the sins of mankind) to the killing of cats and dogs (which were supposed to be contagious). Doctors who thought that the plague was caused by a pestilential atmosphere wore long gowns and masks stuffed with aromatic herbs, and recommended strong-smelling herbs such as myrrh for purifying the air."

      I am not a masochist and am tired of being the object of your misplaced hits.


    5. Wow, Invictus, you sure are trigger happy at pointing the finger at the Sisters !! And you call us bitter !! What a waste of your God-given time and talents to be picking on these women.

      You are an obvious dogma lover and not a people lover and you certainly demonstrate that you believe God is in a Box with just your misunderstanding. Yours is droolings from the catholic cage of dogmatist pushers who have no idea of what love is. Pathetic and disgraceful of you to define people by what is freely given them by God and that is a mind to think on their own and free will to discern the truth for themselves. Oh, no, you can not have people thinking. Anyone who does not think like YOU or the magisterium you have them on a list to be banned from Catholic Church, right? That's the old Hitler spirit !! Follow the way of Hitler and outlaw those you condemn, consider not pure enough!!!

      The above are not criteria in order for one to claim they are a Catholic and a follower of Jesus. Because you said so or a group of power mongers decided that THINKING and reasoning should be ruled out in the Church Laws does not qualify you to be their judge!!
      Jesus is the judge. Get with it~!!! That is in the Bible, but you don't seem to want to follow what it says in there!!

      Oh, Wake Up Invictus !!! The Magisterium making themselves superior and deciding only they get to receive the Holy Spirit is a complete LIE.

      Your idea of Catholic Faith is to deny people the right to think. How stupid!

      Get yourself a real life instead of picking on these nuns!


    6. p2p,

      First people here wrongly assume I'm in SSPX, then a member of Opus Dei, then a seminarian, and now you've wrongly assumed that I was home educated. I don't dare wonder where these 'prejudices' will end.
      And as you clearly didn't notice, my post wasn't actually an argument. It was a submission of evidence.


      I'm not picking on anybody. Nor do I love dogmas more than people. Nor do I "follow in the way of Hitler".

      All I have done is submit evidence for the claim that the LCWR is neither faithful nor orthodox.

      Crying "NAZI!!" is not a mature response to this.

    7. Some people cringe at the idea of any comparison of their views to the Nazis. Most unfortunate they do not see that their views are practically the same.

      The acceptance of sspx into the Church and all the hate talk towards progressives and anyone who thinks outside the box of doctrine are clear signs of an attitude that is diseasing, dis-easing to the Church. It says that this papacy is in alliance with the same type of people, same type of philosophy, same world view, same screwball attempts to take care of their lifestyle of the rich. They've chosen the riches of the world. They've chosen ignorance and shut all those out who can not in good conscience agree with them or accept that they only are endowed with the Holy Spirit. They defy the Gospels. They do not live the Gospels. They live in a political realm. They do not live to bring us to Christ. They bring us to wars.

      Do you believe that people who think outside the box of the Magisterium's way are not Faithful to God?

      What is more important? That one is faithful to the Magisterium or that one is faithful to God?


    8. I'm not going to be drawn onto the topic of SSPX, nor will I be drawn into tackling your misleading questions.

      Neither of those things have any bearing on the discussion here; the question is whether or not the LCWR are, in light of the submitted evidence, faithful and orthodox.

    9. The questions are very easy Invictus. They are not misleading or attempting to be misleading at all. I knew you would not answer this question. You never answer any question that I have presented to you.

      That just proves to me that you can't think on your own. You can't answer from what you know is the truth.

      And who are you to be determining whether or not some nuns in the LCWR are faithful?


    10. Fidelity to God and fidelity to the Magisterium are not contradictory, they are complimentary, so your questions are inherently misleading. They also distract from the discussion here.

      The questions is: if the LCWR is orthodox and faithful, why do they give such free rein - and even central prominence - to individuals who are unfaithful, unorthodox, or both?

      The answer would seem to be that the LCWR does so because it is not faithful or orthodox or, at the very least, because it doesn't hold fidelity or orthodoxy as priorities.

      ...unless you can think of an explanation which successfully reconciles the cited evidence with a faithful and orthodox LCWR?

    11. Invictus, if the Magisterium was faithful to God we would not be having this discussion about the faithfulness of LCWR. If the Magisterium were faithful to God, then why does it put up with Opus Dei and Legionnaires and pedophile priests, have a law on the books that the age for consensual sex is 12 in the Vatican City???

      Why pick on the women? If the Magisterium was so Holy and Good and perfect as God - as you seem to classify them - then by all means, I'd be just like you.... But.... guess what - the Magisterium does not come close to being God!!!!! Just because they said so, doesn't make it so!!


    12. Furthermore, you said "Fidelity to God and fidelity to the Magisterium are not contradictory, they are complimentary."

      The Magisterium contradicts themselves.

      The Magisterium at this point in history are the blind. If Fidelity to those who walk blindly is your thing, I am not required to follow the blind. That act and decision of mine does not interfere with my Faithfulness to God or in any way does it reduce or nullify the Faith I have in God. You have no control over and above the Faith one has in God. The Magisterium is like a middle-man who has become addicted to power, riches & glory to themselves, has written laws to favor their positions of power in this world, very much like a corporation handles their business. It is a worldly power and has no authority over and above God's authority and cannot control where the Holy Spirit goes.

      And that decision to not follow the blind of the corrupt Magisterium does not make one unfaithful to God. If a worldly institution that we call Church has gone astray from the central message of Jesus, is keeping people of Faith in ignorance of the Truth, the Holy Spirit will surely bless those who will not follow the ways of the blind. In Jesus' time He fought the same mentality of those in the Temple. He called them hypocrites and the corrupt Magisterium are hypocrites and they prove it more each day that they don't really love God, don't walk the way of Jesus. They are a lot of hot air.

      It is the corrupt Magisterium who are not being faithful to God and have no fidelity to God in their campaign against the LCWR, against contraception, against VII, against freedom of conscience.

      It is sad for me to break the news to you that you are following the corrupt Magisterium blindly and take their word and worldly power as being the same as having Faith & Fidelity to God. In so doing, you reduce the message of the Gospel teachings as not quite relevant and you distort the meaning of the Holy Spirit.


    13. Ok.

      Show me the doctrinal errors or contradictions of the Magisterium.

    14. I've already touched on that. Perhaps you might find the answer here.

      Read the History of the Catholic Church by Fr. Hans Kung. Read Thomas Merton.

      Expand your consciousness. God is much bigger than the Magisterium who have made many errors in judgment against their fellow Catholics and followers of Jesus, have led people to war instead of to Jesus and His Way. Is it really all about dogma, or maybe it is about much more?

      The Magisterium, in their Acts, are a walking contradiction to the teachings of Jesus Christ since Constantine. They have become the persecutors of Christians, Jews, have tried to bury the role of women in the early Church, have outlawed priests from marrying, when even the Apostles were married. That is a contradiction. I can't trust them. It is for that reason I will not follow them. They have lost all credibility. What dogma do you defend, while turning a blind eye to the Acts of the Successors of Peter who hide pedophile priests and turn a blind eye to their own mortal sins? Are we not all called to the Priesthood by our Baptism?

      The Roman way has set the tone for far too long. It is the Roman way that created the first schism, and that still exists all of these years later. It has been one schism after the other with way too many Popes not worthy of being called a Successor of Peter.


    15. Errors of judgement, you say. Ok, yup. But that's judgement not doctrine. Celibate priesthood is a tradition not a doctrine, as demonstrated by married priests in the Ordinariate or converted from Protestantism or Eastern Christianities.

      And that's all you have? Neither of those add up to "doctrinal errors" or the Magisterium...

      ...therefore if you feel you can't hold to otrthodoxy and can't faithfully take guidance from the Magisterium, then we've established that whatever the causes are rooted in, they are not rooted in doctrinal errors of the Church.

    16. You have totally twisted the discussion. I have not rejected the Church and its teachings and I have not rejected the scriptures. I've found a lot of answers in the Bible that you can't get anywhere else, and I found it because I was seeking God and I am always seeking God and the truth. So your comments to me are way out of line. If anything, the Church has rejected me. It has also rejected Vatican II. It has rejected much needed reform. It has rejected gays. It has been escalating a campaign of rejecting people such as liberation theologians, people who are pro-choice to save the mother's life, people who vote for Obama. The culture in the Church is sick. And it is as sick as its leaders are apparently, especially the newly appointed Archbishops such as Dolan and Burke.

      This current Papacy and the US Bishops are taking people the wrong way, as it seems you are as well. I am a witness to what is going on in the Church, as are many of the readers here at this blog, as well as the writer of this blog, and I am still a member of this Church and so are they. I don't sit around reading about dogma. That's not what my life's purpose is about. And God still loves me!!! Will love me for who I am, not what your idea of the Church might want to impose or enforce upon me.

      All I am saying is that the Church hierarchy is currently not True to its own teachings in some cases, and that should not be swept under the rug. There have been books written about murder in the Vatican and Vatican Bank scandals. Mafia Dons buried in Basilicas in Rome. Should we just shut our eyes and pretend all that stuff is not happening in our Church? And we're just the messengers of what has been witnessed. You call people who speak the truth bitter because you can't handle the truth. You seem to think that the Holy Spirit is just around to safeguard doctrine maybe. That sure limits the role of the Holy Spirit. Those responsible should be held accountable for aiding and abetting criminal pedophiles, murderers, thieves, etc. But the priest-culture that exists now is a system in which they cover for each other.

      If there is a bitterness, it is a bitterness from the Pope himself bringing his bitterness, fears, misogyny, homophobia, fascist leadership into the Church. It has a terrible effect on the entire Body of Christ. He's not lighting up the world with any love from what I have witnessed.

      It is a lie to say that people drive themselves out of their own Church. That's your opinion and not based on any fact. We are being kicked out and told to just leave if we don't like all the corruption. Priests are being kicked out if they aren't right wing enough, or are honest about their views about women priests. Get real. You are living in a fantasy Church that is not real if you think that people in the Church should be docile and not concerned about the future of our Church. You have a delusional view of the Church. It is not based on the facts. Read the history of the RCC. Wake up.


    17. Fran,

      You claim that the Church rejected you, but the Church hasn't changed its teachings on sexual ethics, on marriage, the ordination of women, or the sanctity of life.

      It's not that at one point the Church held your views, but then abandoned you. The Church has never held you views, and by taking the position you do you put yourself outside of the teachings of the Church. Outside the teachings of the Early Church Fathers, of the Disciples, of Jesus.

      We (those of us who love the Church) are not docile, and are concerned about corruptions and abuses, and we do what we can appropriate to our place. Those problems are not problems of doctrine, and they are not problems remedied by leaving the Church.

    18. As long as you agree to stay 'appropriate to your place' the abuse and corruption will continue. I can't think of one Catholic mystic who hasn't specifically stated the corruption in the hierarchy must be dealt with and dealt with severely.

      The ruling clerical caste has no real mystics. JPII doesn't count because he flagellated himself and achieved whatever he achieved through self inflicted corporal punishment. Why is it that the clerical caste has very few mystics, and most of those vowed religious in monastic settings? The Church you believe Jesus founded stopped being prophetic and healing as hierarchy came to the ascendance. Do you suppose there is a message there? The mystic tradition has been held by women, and many of those were not cloistered, not monastic. Every single approved Marian appearance happened to young girls, children, or old people. Why do you suppose that is?

    19. Rejecting the Church and falling into schism isn't going to save any choirboys, but setting a good example, holding to account those who I am able to, and engaging healthily in the processes of the Church will, however, help to maintain the healthy functioning of the Church in a way which is appropriate and positive.

      The Church has had plenty of mystics, and none of them affirmed your New Age psychobabble, let alone eugenics and genocide a la Barbara Marx Hubbard. That's enough for me.

      There is a message there, but you never seem to notice it.

    20. It would have been almost impossible for mystics of the Middle Ages to affirm 'New Age psychobabble' since neither quantum physics nor psychology were in anyone's lexicon.

      You ignored my point about the paucity of mystics in the male clergy in favor of another attack on BM Hubbard. Again, not very creative.

    21. They affirmed Christianity. Christianity is incompatible with New Age philosophy. Ergo, they did not and could not have affirmed the position of the LCWR's keynote speaker.

      There are mystics in Islam, in the New Age movement, in Evangelical Protestanism, and in tribal religion. You need to stop playing the "But we're mystics!!" card as an affirmation that the Holy Spirit is with you and you speak Truth.

      If you deny Christian teaching, then from a Christian perspective you are by definition in error.

    22. But I've never claimed the Holy Spirit is with me. I've only claimed connections with Beings of incredible light that bathe one in peace and then give me experiences which completely blow what I thought I knew about reality out of the water.

      I do not deny the teachings of Christ. I just don't buy a bunch of the teachings of men who don't know what they are talking about any more than any other human who dabbles in theology or speculative metaphysics. I will admit though, I had to have my reflexive assent to their authority knocked out of me. It was actually an insult to my own spiritual quest. I will face God alone, and I might as well do it on my own two feet having discerned as much as possible. I have been given reason the believe using 'but the pope taught' isn't going to get me very far.

      Actually Pope Benedict teaches the exact same thing. In the end it's my fidelity to my own conscience that is the issue, not my fidelity to Church teaching.

    23. Oh, and apparently you have no idea how many of today's Catholic mystics and spiritual teachers rub elbows, share stories, reach for explanations and explore cutting edge ideas about consciousness and reality with the best of the New Age teachers/psychics. In spite of what EWTN would have you believe, not all things New Age are crap. I will admit lot of the purveyors are really hucksters but that's a different story.

  3. Invictus, I think your problem with some members of the LCWR is that they actually think about what they are asked to believe. And more than that they look for believable logic behind the teachings--something a little more recent than Thomas Aquinas' understanding of natural law.

    You've listed 8 sisters out of 30,000 whose thinking upsets you. Check out They list 300+ bishops out of 550 who actively hid pedophiles. For some reason 300 pedophile enablers bothers me way more that 8 sisters whose thinking is outside your ortho-box.

    1. Rude of you to assume that I haven't thought about any of this. I suppose you thought I just stumbled into the Church from my dissolute atheism without any sort of intellectual engagement? Bullshit, Colkoch, and I'd ask you to drop that lazy and insulting assumption.

      I've listed people the LCWR has publicly approved.
      As the Church does not and has never approved of the sexual abuse of minors, the pressure is now on you to show that the LCWR does not in fact approve any of those un-faithful and/or un-orthodox nuns and clergy; a difficult task, given that a number of them have been invited to preach their unfaithfulness and heterodoxy at meetings of the LCWR, but a task I look forward to you tackling.

    2. Actually Invictus, I think you are like a lot of bright folks who were are ex atheists. Many of them tend to delve into traditional Catholicism because it's logic is appealing and even beautiful in places. The problem is most of the basis for the logic is founded in unprovable or ill defined assumptions and terminology. Catholicism becomes a big beautiful mind game that makes one feel good. My spirituality stopped being a mind game the minute my entire view of reality was blown out of the water. Believe me, it was blown out of the water, and specifically in order for me to stop intellectualizing what couldn't be intellectualized. Not that I haven't kept trying mind you. LOL

    3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    4. I think it's as much to do with the uncompromising dedication to the moral good and to social justice, actually. Though of course, as you say, its logical coherence and the technical soundness of its historical, theological, and cosmological claims are naturally attractive to the critical-thinking ex-atheist.

      But irrespective of your outlook or mine, I'm still interested to see you demonstrate - in the face of the submitted evidence - that the LCWR is faithful and orthodox.
      That is, after all, the discussion here.

    5. Faithful, yes. By their fruits you shall know them.

      Orthodox, no. Neither am I. And that's really the discussion. Is orthodoxy necessary? Even helpful? By the fruits of the hierarchy, many are saying no.

    6. I actually did respond to your challenge about the orthodoxy of the LCWR and then accidentally deleted it when attempting to edit it.

      I don't actually know what the official stand of the LCWR is in regards to the eight points you list. I am not aware that they have taken an official stand in favor of any of these particular persons or their point of view. Some of these are just talks given by women, who in the case of Lauri Brinks, were just stating what is, ala Fr Greeley. She wasn't advocating any particular choice. Theresa Kane is definitely pro women's ordination, but that is not an official stance taken by the collective LCWR, although they are in dialogue with the Women's ordination group. Big deal. Quinn does what she does because she believes women facing abortions don't need radical pro lifers attacking them at a very difficult moment. I don't see this as all that different that Bishop Morlino sitting on the board of the School of the Americas. She is not pro abortion. I haven't heard of McDonald, and Fr Crosby is perfectly entitled to his own opinion on women's ordination and Catholics are free to listen to him, even professed religious. I happen to appreciate the fact he says what many other priests think but are too afraid to say. Most of us adults just laughed when JPII demanded discussion about this issue stop because "he said so". Not one of his better moments at all given his own commission said there was no real scriptural or traditional reason women couldn't be ordained.

      If you believe the members of the LCWR, highly educated adult women, need to be treated like children unallowed to voice their own opinions, then I guess nothing I write will change your mind. These are 8 individuals speaking their minds, some of them quite interesting. Seems to me you are making the mistake you frequently accuse me of doing with the bishops, painting the LCWR with a broad brush on the basis of a few examples.

    7. Colkoch,

      It seems the general thrust of your response is to say that the unorthodoxies and unfaithfulnesses are the unorthodoxies and unfaithfulnesses of the individuals and do not reflect the LCWR.

      However the LCWR give them a platform, and single them out to give speeches in prime position at their meetings. I am not saying that these speakers should be in any way prevented from sharing their misguided ideas, but when they are placed at centre stage by the LCWR, that does reflect the low regard the LCWR have of orthodoxy and faithfulness.

      (You've blogged about McDonald, so I'm surprised to hear you say you've never heard of her.)

    8. Invictus, you presume that your understanding of what is orthodox is a predetermination in assuming whether or not one is a true Catholic or not? What do you mean by "orthodox?" What do you mean by Faithful? Faithful to whom? To what?

      I am really just trying to understand you by asking you questions. It would be nice for a change to see a comment from you that came from your heart and not your head. However, each and every question I have to you, you come back with an insult, a derogatory comment of attack at me personally.

      I think the whole point of your argument is that you are truly stuck and secretly desire to be unstuck in your misguided ideas from orthodoxy which is tainted with a lot of misguided beliefs turned into a fundamentalist orthodoxy, because it truly is holding you back from receiving the Holy Spirit as your guide.

      Clinging to the Catechism for all your answers suggests you are new to the Faith. If I am guessing wrongly about that, then say so, instead of your customary rude comments back which suggest you desire to belittle the faith others have and elevate your own sense of what you deem is Faith or Faithful.


    9. Invictus, you remind me of me when I was a child who fumed and fussed whenever the peas on my plate touched the carrots. Didn't they know they were supposed to keep to themselves and not roll all over like unruly sinners?! The difference between us is that my mom's horrific NFP-triggered abuse of me shook me out of that time-wasting nonsense. So what if the peas roll into the carrots! -- I soon had much bigger worries. But you're an adult in a religious terrorism- and poverty-plagued world, and you're fuming at us peas as we roll about our business because we're still just peas on your plate and we're supposed to obey you and your flat-earth beliefs. Grow up already!

    10. Fran,

      If you are being guided away from the Church, away from orthodoxy, away from fidelity, then I hate to be the one to break it to you...but it's not the Holy Spirit that's guiding you.


      We're all unruly sinners, or all just a whisker away from it, so you can't play that card.
      The world is plagued by lots of bad things. We don't help any of them by rejecting the Church. Your prescription is an insane one.

    11. Invictus, You don't own the Holy Spirit and neither does the Magisterium.


    12. Indeed. Obviously nobody 'owns' God.

      But - if we believe the Bible - the Church is protected from error by the Holy Spirit. The Church, and God, are intrinsically linked, as the Church was established by the Son who placed the Holy Spirit over it.

      Thus, if you are being guided away from it, away from fidelity to it, then...well. Like I said..

    13. This reply is for everyone.

      I just spent some time reading through these Invictus discussions I've played a part in, and I feel I need to apologize. I was sucked into feeding the troll again. There's a romantic part in me that wants to Ee-vangel-ize, that wants to win the argument like the 22nd minute of the sitcom on TV. That's not what I want from this group, and that's not what I should contribute.

      I think the processing theology and discourse that I hope to see and learn from here has been hijacked. Argumentation for the win is the theme of the last 10 days. Logic is met with illogic, emotion with derision, my side is wonderful and you are going to hell, etc, etc. It is fire with decreasing substance.

      Again, my apologies for my part. I won't make this mistake again.

      Now, Invictus, you keep telling people that they really aren't part of the family. You are wrong. We, and you, are part of the People of God, and even the church defines it that way. It is an underhanded hateful statement disguised as a concerned holiness. Stop, for your own sake as well as out of charity.

      Matt Connolly

    14. Invictus, that is bull shit! The truth is that "the Church" is not protected from pedophile priests, and "the Church" protects & enables pedophile priests! The Holy Spirit wasn't anywhere near the pedophile priests in "the Church." The Holy Spirit wasn't anywhere near the Priests who enabled them in "the Church", sent them to other parishes in "the Church"!! How could you overlook that great error?

      Define "the Church." As a woman I have no say in this Church. The Church leadership itself is guiding me away from its version of "the Church." That's the Holy Spirit - guiding me out the door!! And many others too. This has been going on for hundreds of years, people driven out by the criminals who are running "the Church."

      My fidelity is not to the Church of Pope Benedict, the sspx lover, misogynist, gay basher, pedophile enabler.

      "The Church" of Pope Benedict is driving us out, just like the early Christians were driven out of the Synagogues. The Roman Church shuts out the Holy Spirit by its obstinate rulers who are hypocrites.

      However, I am a part of the Body of Christ. That can't be taken away. Neither can my Baptism and Confirmation. "The Church" of Pope Benedict's fundamentalist pedophile enablers and gay bashers and women haters are destroying "the Church."


    15. Matt,

      You just changed the terms. People of God? Of course you are, and it's to be applauded. Along with Protestants, Mormons, Muslims and Jews, we are People of God.
      What I'm saying shouldn't fully distract from that important unifying fact. I am saying, on a different level, that those in the Church are in the Church, and that those who remain or who have placed themselves outside of it are outside of it.


      The Holy Spirit guards the Church from doctrinal error; protects its teachings from error, and maintains them complete. The Holy Spirit was not sent down to make us all perfect, or to make us immune to all evils from the apparently benign to the deeply evil. The world would be a very different place were that the case, and it would rob us of all freewill in the matter of doing good or bad.

      You drive yourself out by your unscriptural expectation that the Holy Spirit should make the Church perfect rather than True, and by your bitter mischaracterisation of the work of the Church and the Pope.

      You are right that your baptism and confirmation makes a permanent difference. Part of that difference is that when they day finally comes, you won't be able to claim innocent ignorance of true doctrine. The case of those who've lived their full lives in an isolated tribe or unChristianised society, and that of those who've been brought into the Church before then rejecting it, is quite different.

  4. One more time, Invictus, ...."that does reflect the low regard the LCWR have of orthodoxy and faithfulness." You place these together. I've had them forced apart by the silk wearers, the princes. You look at the words of the nuns, and I look at the actions of the bishops.

    I listened to EWTN today. The host was taking Cardinal Dolan (no favorite of mine) to the woodshed for the Al Smith dinner. How could Dolan happily sip brandy with Obama? Aren't we at war for the sake of our church and American freedom? The callers kept stating how confusing it all was, when the church was coming together so well and fighting this good war against evil secularism.

    And I kept thinking, "You're right. It is confusing. You've been lied to as well as I have. Some of you may see it soon enough, while others are so hypnotized (self induced) by this bastardization of faith that seeing it is too painful. Keep praying. Maybe you'll see the hiding of abusers, the huge money, the magical thinking at the expense of critical thinking reflect our scared (read faithless) leadership."

    The nuns are faithful. You should see that. The nuns aren't orthodox because they were forced to choose between the two, and they chose faith at all costs. God bless them. Would that our leaders had a thimbleful of that courage, that fearlessness on the brink of the abyss. And your anger at their impudence is mostly a reflection of your wish to be like they and so full of God's grace.

    1. If a nun is not faithful to orthodoxy and to the Church through which we receive it, what is that nun faithful to?

      There you have your answer...

      The nun is not faithful.

    2. Not listening as usual. Must be fun to be God's oracle. I have no idea how you have made Her so small.

    3. I understand from your perspective Invictus that issues of orthodoxy, and adherence to same, equal true salvific faith. What I don't get is why you seem to hold the sisters of the LCWR in a higher form of contempt than the clerical men whose adherence to their vows, especially celibacy and chastity, is abysmal, has cost the Church billions of dollars, destroyed the credibility of the moral authority of the hierarchy, and emptied the pews in Europe and North America.

      If we are to judge by their fruits, the LCWR should be the last thing the Vatican should be worried about. The fact the supposed heterodoxy of the LCWR has taken such a high place on the Vatican's radar speaks volumes about the skewing of priorities in the Vatican curia. The men are desperate to survive with an unreformed clerical system. They are allowed and even encouraged to get away with this because too many Catholics let them by following the line so closely they can't see the forest for the trees.

      It is most certainly in the Vatican's interest to emphasize following the Catholic line so closely that one never does see the forest, especially when the Catholic line is reduced to a few trees like abortion, women's ordination, birth control, and gay marriage. Keep the orthodox focused on pelvic issues and they will never see their saving clerical caste has utterly failed at the temptations in the desert. The LCWR is not so myopic.

    4. The priests I've known have all been ok, and the ones I know best are truly inspirational. Clearly, as we see in the sexual abuse cases, and in instances of fraud, corruption, etc there are also bad priests, and - analogous to the LCWR - there are unfaithful and unorthodox priests.

      Those priests do not have a movement, though. Dissident priests are generally not organising themselves against the Church in the way the LCWR does (pace Austria, where I gather things are very bad).

      Please don't think I'm being excessively harsh on the LCWR. I assure you, I have a very evenly balanced discomfort over all colours and styles of opposition to the good work and doctrinal integrity of the Church. If there was an order of priests as unfaithful and unorthodox as the LCWR, be certain that I'd stick the knife into them just the same.

      At least we've established now that the LCWR are indeed, as the evidence suggests, not overly serious about being faithful or orthodox.

    5. No actually we haven't established the LCWR are indeed, not overly serious about being faithful or orthodox. You have only done that for yourself.

      What you have done for me is hardened my attitude toward the male hypocrites in collars who lead this Church. Secondarily you have proven to me that you are far more concerned with the letter of Catholic doctrine than the fact it's chief spokesmen run the largest and most organized sexual abuse network on the planet, amongst a great deal of other criminal activity.

      Believe me, I'll take the nuns of the LCWR any day of the week as those who truly understand what Jesus taught in The Way. The magisterium definitely have the Way of Constantine down pat. You can have Constantine and Roman Law, I'll take Jesus and learn to love.

    6. Your attitude was already stone; I couldn't have softened or hardened it. The proof is dripped through every bitter remark in this blog of yours.

      There is no effective love where is ceases to concern itself with truth, just as truth is inert if it cannot love.

      The answer is to love, and to love the Church, and to love in the Church, but always always to love.

      How can you disagree with that?

    7. Jesus taught we must love God and love others, He said nothing about loving a Church or loving in the Church. Early communities placed an active love as the center of their identity, but not for some monolithic all knowing institution.

      Sometimes you strike me as defending the institutional church with the same vehemence an addict defends and or denies their addictions. Addiction is not love, it's need. It's fear of deficit.

      Sometimes the term 'recovering Catholic' is used for lapsed Catholics. It's actually meant as kind of a joke, but I think it's a very accurate term and not for loss of religious faith, but for moving beyond addiction.

      mjc wrote above that the conversation the last week or so is getting angry and lacks coherent logic. He's right. Returning to my addiction theme, sometimes your comments come across as encouraging relapse at an AA meeting and they trigger a great deal of emotion.

      I just wish you could entertain the fact your version of the Roman Catholic Church has caused a great deal of pain for millions of people. This is not just about the abuse crisis or the criminality of some of the higher clergy, it's in the 'truth' itself. You want a contradiction that caused great angst for many people for centuries? Try going to hell for eating meat on Friday. The hierarchy had the audacity to take a morally neutral act and turn it into a sin which could condemn you to hell for eternity. There was no Truth in this doctrine, just a great deal of fear generated by millions and millions of Catholics who believed it was True. One more example is Limbo. I could easily write a book on that concept and what it did to mothers who lost children before baptism. That's no longer a Truth either. The only reason people won't look past this kind of false Truth, is because they are addicted to the Roman version of the Catholic Church for their salvation. I prefer to think of myself as a Christian in the Catholic tradition, no longer addicted to Catholic 'truth' which has no basis in Christian thought or spirituality.

    8. If your subscribers get angry when faced by Catholic teaching, that is not my fault.

      I am aware of these painful facts, as they are often the same painful facts that kept me out of the Church when I was younger, which is why I can see so clearly now that they are a weak reason indeed for placing oneself outside of the Church.

      (Limbo was never infallibly declared. It's interesting that whenever someone here argues that X, Y or Z thing is false and demonstrates the falseness of papal infallibility, they never manage to refer to actual Catholic dogma.)

    9. Invictus, I get angry when the tenets and principles of my church are used as a blunt weapon. Doctrines meant to lead people to an understanding of Christ are used to belittle, to control, or to dismiss. The hierarchy of who is in and who is out, the one Jesus so forcefully contradicted, is reinforced. When you do that, count on me to react like my Lord, with anger.

    10. Limbo was never infallibly stated? Oh, OK. Do you honestly think the average pew sitter had the theological sophistication to make that judgment call. Most priests didn't. Limbo was the real deal for 99% if the Church, unbaptized babies weren't allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. This caused incredible pain. My personal belief is the only reason Limbo has been down played is because it doesn't fit the 'full person from conception' abortion argument. Can't be havin' all those pre born languishing in Limbo.

    11. Divorced and re-Married - Married for the 2nd time for 20 years now and denied the Holy Eucharist in the Church. Even pedophiles are not denied the Holy Eucharist.


    12. Divorced and re-Married - They too will not be allowed to be buried in consecrated ground. We're too unworthy. We are pushed out of the Church. We're even pushed out of cemeteries. We are told we are not worthy. That is ground into our psyche by the Church which keeps us out of the Church. It is bad psychology and bad theology to deny the Holy Eucharist, force people to go through a process called Annulment. I guess for lack of real understanding of the mercy of God the big wigs in the hierarchy feel they have to bully people who have had a divorce.

      But I know I'm still a member of the Body of Christ, even if the Church does not think I'm worthy enough, calls me an adulteress, says I am committing adultery. Jesus didn't act like that to people. That is not how Jesus taught. We must be like a hangnail or something like that compared to the worthy other pew sitters whose life is all neat and tidy on the surface according to the dogma and might have not even taken the chance to risk everything and try to love and be loved by someone but it failed, never went through a divorce and remarried, or the pompous ones in the priesthood who equate holiness with a lot of mumbo jumbo that they are superior to anyone else in the Church because they are supposedly celibate & we know not all of them are and they took a vow too.

      When dogma interferes into issues that are personal, such as marriage & relationships, and it denies people a seat at the table, then it is the Church that needs to reform. This could apply also to those who are straight or gay.

      The Church makes the same mistake as those Jesus called hypocrites in the Synagogue. The fundamentalist back then got pissed off because Jesus was healing people on the Sabbath. Jesus continues to heal on the Sabbath through the Holy Spirit and that healing has not come through the hierarchy's dogma in the Church.

      I've chosen to follow Jesus and not the types that hold onto views that really say they don't believe Jesus is the Head of the Church. They say that dogma is the head of the Church and that means everything.


    13. You choose your mortal sin, you take your consequences. Why should an exception be made for you?

      You must have weighed up how much X and Y mattered to you before you put yourself on the path you are now on. You choose to live in a state of mortal sin, by definition you choose to live without the Blessed Sacrament.

      To make a decision and then bitterly complain about the obvious and inherent consequences is profoundly immature.

    14. Not all mortal sinners get the same consequences. Pedophile and abusive priests were forgiven again and again and again irrespective of any promise they made to change their deviant sexual ways. How are long term committed couples considered more unforgivably deviant than pedophile priests who wont' change? To forgive the repetitive pedophile priest and not the committed Catholic in a second relationship is considerably beyond immature and into full fledged hypocrisy or the worst sort. It's an hypocrisy which says priests deserve more mercy than laity. That's bull shit. But maybe it's bull shit you desperately need to believe in for your own soul. More power to you, but I would appreciate it if you limited your commenting or stopped altogether. It would probably be better for you and certainly better for other members of this blog who don't think their salvation is based on magic words from ordained Vatican hypocrites who wouldn't recognize the real Jesus if He kicked them in their not so consecrated ass.

    15. They all get the same consequences. They might eat the sacrament in defiance, but they do not in actuality receive it until their such a time as souls are reconciled.

    16. So then when does the grace of the sacrament touch your soul? Now? Are you so much more graced than they are, than I?

      Are you really this sure of your ability to understand how when and if God grants grace?

      Hasn't the church, through two thousand years, had multiple saints who have counseled great leniency with individual cases? And wouldn't the grace that you've been granted be from God's leniency, and not from your lack of "defiance" making you somehow deserving?

    17. It's not my ability, it's the ability of the Church through legitimate interpretation (in this case the scripture is very explicit anyway) of scripture and through its legitimate teaching authority.

      1 Corinthians 11:27-29 & Can. 916.

      A term for what they would be doing is "sacrilege", and it is not compatible with reception of the sacramental graces.

    18. You are getting very close to the heresy of Donatism. Good for you because most Catholics who suffer from scrupulosity are Donatists at heart. I feel it's my duty to point this out for you.

    19. Which is why I stopped the argument. Just like Bible verses, Canon law and "the way we've always done it" can be used to claim knowledge and possession of all God's works and deeds. Do you know when Corinthians 11 was first interpreted like that? Does it surprise you that the early church fathers didn't see it that way? This is a much later development, and depending on your source somewhere between the sixth and eleventh centuries.

      How could we possibly have gotten along not knowing how perfectly the Holy Spirit leads the pope and the hierarchy? How could you ever be less than a god if you can perfectly tell what He'll do? But you remain less, as do I.

    20. That's absolutely crazy. Your people are the ones saying we must reject the Church because it is made up from sinners (i.e. Donatism), I'm the one taking the orthodox line that the Church is made up from weak links and sinners.

      My post above, rooted in scripture and tradition, simply makes clear that mortal sin separates an individual from the grace of God. It is important to note that mortal sins are very specific indeed, and (unlike sin itself) are not inevitably part of human life.

    21. Yup, crazy as a loon. I still want you in the church when neither of us deserves it. You are sure (sure!)that I've separated myself from church and God. I haven't in either case, by the way. You accuse me of Donatism? Wow, nice. Pretty soon you'll think I'm a Druid.

      Mortal sins, eh? Did the mortal sin of usury separate people from the grace of God in 1500? Then why not in 1600? Did enjoying sex with one's wife, a mortal sin until Augustine argued it was only venial, make 300 years of married lovers go straight to hell as well? Could a loving God be that small, that petty? Or could we be God's people even when we're less than ideal?

      I'm not rejecting the church, I'm accepting that God's reign obviously goes beyond it. And counting on God to correct me if I'm wrong. I'm usually wrong, but man, you're taking it to a whole new level.

  5. Of those eight examples I have above, I think Exhibit A deserves a bit more explanation. I had said:
    Barbara Marx Hubbard, invited to address the LCWR, is about as incompatible with Catholic doctrine as it is possible to be without actually calling for the disestablishment of the Church and the execution of the clergy.

    However, true though this might be, the details deserve to be more fully explored.

    Several of the other exhibits refer to incidents reported a few years ago, so one could try to make the argument that they represent the past of the LCWR and that the LCWR is actually moving back toward the truth.

    Exhibit A, however, refers to an annual conference of the LCWR which started after the blog entry was posted and which finished yesterday, and thus illuminates the direction in which the LCWR is going.

    And, we wonder, where is the LCWR going?

    "Out of the full spectrum of human personality… one-fourth is destructive… They are defective seeds… In the past they were permitted to die a ‘natural death.’ the elders the destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body . Fortunately, you… are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for Death… We come to bring death… The riders of the pale horse are about to pass among you. Grim reapers, they will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is the most painful period in the history of humanity."

    Exhibit A, quoted above. Totally nuts. On video, in her own words.

    Examination of Exhibit A's profound incompatibility with Christianity.

    Weapons grade crazy.

    1. The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has proven itself incompatible with Christianity for 1700 years. Barbara Marx Hubbard better live a lot longer.

      Wait Invictus. The Grim Reaper is coming for a lot of people on the food margins as we speak. The drought in this country will have devastating effects. Even you, in jolly olde England are going to feel this one. And when you do, remember it will be exponentially worse in Southern Africa.

    2. Back you into a corner, and the mask falls eh? You'll side with a eugenicist who calls for the murder of 1/4 of the planet before you'll side with the Church.

      'Non serviam', Colkoch. Sounds good at first, doesn't it? ...but look how far it's taken you.

    3. I have a pretty good idea I found the site where you cherry picked that quote. You should really stop cherry picking quotes off of conservative conspiracy sites, and actually read some more of her work so you get some context.

      Besides, I am quite familiar with the genocide promoted by the Church through out it's history. I would encourage you to read about the complicity of some German and Austrian bishops in the Nazi eugenics program, especially when it came to Jews, Roma, and gays--and they were bonafide Catholic clergy. Unlike BMH who is only a 'New Age Pagan Wiccan" or whatever you called her.

    4. "Non serviam"? Er, its originator wasn't a conservative, shall we say...

      Again, nobody would expect you to turn away from your New Age errors and embrace Nazi Catholics or eugenicists, only that you'd embrace the Church and its teachings.

      You seem to have set your heart against fidelity.

    5. Perhaps my heart is set on a higher fidelity. Over time I've learned that pursuing the God with in is a much more difficult task than obeying the self defined divinities without.

      Besides my heart is not set against fidelity, just hypocrisy.

    6. Higher "fidelity" which leads you away from loving and orthodox teachings, and toward New Age errors of transhumanism, perfectibility of man, eugenics etc, then it is not a fidelity to Jesus.

      By definition, it is not.

      If you truly have a faithful heart which merely recoils at hypocrisy, perhaps you should reject those errors and serve the Church in such a way that does not make you a hypocrite? i.e. Live charitably rather than just talking about it, inoculate your dealings against corruption rather than just rail against the corrupt, and engage with the sacramental life of the Church rather than with anti-Christian New Age thinkers.

    7. I work for less than 10.50 an hour for a non profit dealing with severely mentally ill people. Do not talk to me about living charitably.

      Jesus said the "Kingdom of God is within."
      He did not ever once imply the Kingdom of God could be found obeying the High Priests or the Levitical code. Love is the key to the Kingdom within. Love God, love your neighbor, look within. Jesus spent three years giving Peter those keys, and at the end of his life, Peter finally got it.

      Most New Age thinkers are not anti-Christian, but you wouldn't know that because you fear them. Such a shame, you might actually learn something. Take a chance, read Teilhard de Chardin. Don't ever think you know who I am because you don't.