I’ve been targeting the LCWR for good reason, but not with hate… I think some important distinctions need to be made regarding my own attitude toward the LCWR. I want to be honest about it too. I have a single agenda regarding the LCWR, and do not agree with the Vatican on everything. I am using the current pity party being thrown by the media for the nuns to advance my own agenda, and that of other victims of abuse by nuns which the LCWR refuse to address directly and with sincere compassion, and even empathy.
Yesterday, Jamie Manson wrote in the National Catholic Reporter that it is Time to face facts: Pope Francis agrees with the doctrinal assessment of LCWR; Manson states Pope Francis agrees with Cardinal Müller‘s concerns that the Evolution of Consciousness is too close to the gnostic heresy which denies the Incarnation and the need of Christ’s message and mission to bring God’s love to us. This is in connection with the bishops’ critique of Fordham theologian, Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, and her work on the Evolution of Consciousness (see the article in NCR on that too), and the fact that the LCWR had Johnson as a speaker after her book was put on the Vatican $#it List (which should have made it a best-seller). Manson also speaks of other differences between the pope and (not just) the nuns, and describes Francis’ attitude and totally negative understanding of feminism–an understanding held by men who cling only to negative extremist examples of feminism, rather than looking at the equality feminism promotes!
So I am suggesting that those (victims or any Catholics) trying to understand the LCWR read this article:Time to face facts: Pope Francis agrees with the doctrinal assessment of LCWR in the National Catholic Reporter to have a more complete picture of the current difficulty and pain felt by the Sisters regarding the response they recently got from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith’s Cardinal Müller. I am not easy on the LCWR, but I am trying to put some things in perspective, and understand how they can make a difference in the issue of sexual abuse by nuns, the topic of interest to their victims.
I was very impressed by the comments and information within this response by Marx Hubbard, mentioned in the above article, during the meeting at the Vatican with LCWR. (The list of books alone is reason to read the article if one is serious about why we are here on this Earth, in this beautiful Cosmos!)
I was struck in particular with the questions with which she ends her comments:
If Christians, and vowed religious in particular, have any questions to ask and answer themselves, then ask of others, it certainly includes these. The basic meaning of What’s it all about Alfie (or whatever your name is)? Orthodoxy will come up with–or at least express the answers differently than some others interested in this topic (and that’s part of the Vatican’s concern here). But the questions are vital to a life of Faith and deepening spirituality.
- What is my unique contribution to the conscious evolution of humanity?
- What is my greater life purpose?
- What can I do, small or large to contribute toward a positive future for all?
- What are the purposes of the heart of Christ?
Flashback: Sister Mary Laura, RSM was a lovely young sister who taught me in first grade at Queen of Angels in L.I.C. back in the late 50’s. She made a tremendous impact on my life, representing forever the innocent image of the good sister who cared about the kids in her keeping from 9 AM to 3 PM each day. I have only wonderful memories of her, and some very funny ones. She was my introduction to Mother Catherine McAuley’s Sisters of Mercy and I could not have had a better intro. Among the many things I remember about her lessons is what she told us about being Sister and her purpose in life. She said that if she could help save even one single soul by serving as a Sister, then her life would be a success! I never ever forgot that, and actually took it to heart for my own life. It’s one of my foundational thoughts, a motivating thought. I will never do great things in worldly terms, and I’ve never had much of an interest in doing so. I think that was partly as a result of taking Sister Mary Laura’s words deep into my heart as a child. I wanted to love God that much too. To her words I have added many other words of wisdom from my parents and older brothers, and other good Sisters, teachers, priests, spiritual directors, mentors, and my very wise husband, who have each been personal gifts to my life. Because of all these good people and their wisdom, life is very simple, and, frankly, very focused. Wounds have healed leaving scars only as reminders and inspiration to share some good news, and over the years life has become very peaceful. I am glad of that. Very grateful. Aging brings its own physical challenges, so having deep inner peace is a blessing while dealing with physical adjustments. Peace comes from asking those questions, either in those words or similar ones, and answering them over the course of a lifetime. Joy accompanies the peace when one can share the peace with others in the many relationships one develops, careers one has, communities in which one lives and loves.
I think reading Marx Hubbards comments and questions hit me tonight because I believe that the LCWR is made up and represents good women. I know I attack their refusal to address and even embrace victims’ groups. I equally attack the reasons they refuse to address the issue of abuse by their own members, and their victims. There is no excuse for their hiding under the guise of some kind of technicality of hierarchical authority and its restrictions. Such hogwash! However, none of that means they are not generally good women. How many of us had to hit rock bottom before being able to face our history of sexual or physical abuse? Why would the 40% of abused nuns, and their enablers be any different, any stronger than the rest of us who have been abused and have hidden it and hidden from the reality of it? I do feel Mercy toward them. I do.
Again, those reading this who have been abused and are content to take aim and fire might consider shutting up for a bit, and hearing me out, or just closing this blog and go be angry elsewhere. Anger has its place, but, imo, only as far as it works toward a positive outcome. IMO Hubbards’ questions refocus us toward what is ultimately important, and inspires me, at least, to use my original rage at evil to overcome it, not merely punish the abuser(s).
The LCWR and the members of all religious communities would actually be taking a prophetic lead in the Church and the world if they would look within their own wounded souls (all of them–both the 40% of them who have been abused, including those who have repeated it, and the 60% who indicate they were not abused but still ignore the issue in their ranks, thus allowing and thereby encouraging repeat abuse) and be honest about how they can make a major difference in the Church today regarding this scandalous heartache of sexual misconduct and abuse. By examining the well-documented effect of sexual abuse, and facing their own demons within, as victims, they then could be a humble source of healing for their own wounded members, and for the victims of their wounded members.
THAT is a major way the vowed religious women of the Roman Catholic Church could, if they cared,
- honestly contribute to the conscious evolution of humanity,
- courageously fulfill their greater life purpose,
- contribute toward a positive future for all,
- and realize the purposes of the heart of Christ?
Before trying to play the prophet to the Church and the world on any other social justice issue, they need to look in the mirror and deal with their secrets. They will be stronger and more respectable women for doing so.
In my opinion,