For some in the older, nay, more experienced crowd, they may remember those days. However, for me, in small town Ontario, the only nuns I saw were dressed like the rest, and certainly not to impress. Don’t get me wrong, floral patterns are appropriate in some cases, like my grandmother’s seat cushions, but on a nun? Let’s be honest, I’m not hating on nuns without habits. I can name a handful of women religious that I know who are faithful, orthodox, and don’t wear habits. But, I am sorry to say, the handful is small in comparison to the ones I know who are not orthodox and the only habit they have is speaking heresy – bazinga.
Among the vast majority are a group of sisters who live relatively close to me, that I feel exemplify this paradigmatic shift from the traditional to the wayward quite well. My mom once visited them after being told that they were giving a seminar on Contemplation. Being driven to authentic Carmelite spirituality, she was drawn to learn more. When she arrived, the nuns began teaching Zen Buddhism and Earthen Spiritual philosophies. Awkward. When asked by my mother, “Are you not going to include God in any of this?” She was met with the response by the nun at the front, “You can if you want”. Horrifying.
Upon visiting other convents and religious communities, I saw even more so throughout my teen years, the fact that these nuns were off the rails. Everything from Yoga to dream catchers, replaced their rosaries and crucifixes. The breviary? Forget that. Oprah’s best seller replaced that ages ago. This was the vast majority of my experiences of women religious locally in my teen years.
The first encounter I ever really had with someone becoming a nun was when I was 13 years old and the youth minister at my parish announced she was joining the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Michigan.
I sort of felt like that at first. I was happy but also sad. But as time went on, I saw what an incredible experience it was to see her prepare and then leave for the convent. It was like watching a young woman prepare for her wedding day. I saw a young faithful Catholic woman give up her life and lay it down for love of Christ and His Church; a Church to which she was explicitly faithful and one she would die for. This type of faith was how I understood real religious life and it gave me hope as a teenager that amidst the secretly wiccan, feminist nuns that seemed to be around in my area, there were sisters out there who really loved Christ and the Church.
Why do I tell this story? In recent news, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) officially called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States (LCWR) to a reform. In short, the document states that the CDF wishes to “assist the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States in implementing an ecclesiology of communion founded on faith in Jesus Christ and the Church as the essential foundation for its important service to religious Communities and to all those in consecrated life.”
Why did the Vatican need to do this? Simply put, the foundations on which these communities were built are crumbling and dying because they have been slowly cutting or have effectively cut themselves off from the Vine, who is Christ in His Church, guided by the Pope and the Bishops in full communion with him. The Church, who longs for unity among her members, is taking definitive steps towards grafting these communities back onto the Vine.
But what happens when the branches don’t want to go back?
On June 1st 2012, the LCWR issued a response stating that:
“The board members raised concerns about both the content of the doctrinal assessment and the process by which it was prepared. Board members concluded that the assessment was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency. Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission. The report has furthermore caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization.”
Forgive me, readers, for my lack of walking on eggshells here, but it’s about time this happened. The amount of scandal and pain that these heretical nuns have done to souls is far more harsh than the CDF’s response. It’s time to rebuild these orders and unbury the Cornerstone that these orders were built upon. It’s time to clean house. If they refuse, that will be their own undoing, but we pray that the Holy Spirit would lead these orders back into deeper communion with Christ and the Church. In the history of the Church, there have been men and women in religious orders who have come to the aid of the Church, in seeking to bring about unity like St. Catherine of Siena. However, in these times, the Church now is returning the favour. Let’s hope the LCWR is able to respond to the gift of wisdom given to each of them at Baptism, to be able to discern and be obedient to the Holy Father, for their good and the good of all God’s Holy Church.
Please join us in praying a Hail Holy Queen for the LCWR and the future of the religious orders in North America and abroad.
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Posted on June 6, 2012, in Catholic, Church Corruption and Renewal, Vocations and tagged Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, LCWR, Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.