Occasionally I take a glance at the website of the National Catholic
Distorter Fishwrap Reporter for the purpose of amusement. Yesterday I wandered over there to see their reaction to the Vatican’s attempt to reform The Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The reactions were both hysterical and hysterically funny. Father Z, who I have designated the Master of the Fisk, had one of his patented devastating takes on one of the reactions:
[Sr. Joan] Chittister said she was deeply distraught at news of Sartain’s appointment and the order for LCWR to revise itself. [What a surprise!]
“When you set out to reform a people, a group, who have done nothing wrong, [You mean, other than purposely embrace heresies and all sorts of strange things, criticize and defy the Holy See and bishops, abandon their habits and the charisms of their communities… ] you have to have an intention, a motivation that is not only not morally based, but actually immoral,” she said. [Keeping in mind that this new project comes from the CDF and that this is approved by the Holy Father, I rest my case.]
“Because you are attempting to control people [Note the word “attempt”. I look forward to many more statements of defiance from women religious, speeches at conferences, articles in NCR.] for one thing and one thing only — and that is for thinking, for being willing to discuss the issues of the age … If we stop thinking, if we stop demanding the divine right to think, [She pretty much side-steps the problems, no? This “think” thing is misdirection.] and to see that as a Catholic gift, then we are betraying the church no matter what [NB] the powers of the church see as an inconvenient truth in their own times.” [Sr. Joan must be for the Magisterium of Nuns what Al Gore is to the climate change crowd.]
In attempting to take such control of people’s thinking, [She must think most of her readers are pretty stupid, since she keeps repeating the point.] she said, “You make a mockery of the search for God, of the whole notion of keeping eyes on the signs of the times and of providing the people with the best possible spiritual guidance and presence you can give. [More Enneagrams, please!]
“When I was a child in this town, I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.
In my lifetime, the church, to its eternal credit, admitted that it was wrong. [!?! About entering Protestant churches? – Would that some of them would… but I digress. ] The scandal and the sin is that it took 400 years to do that.”
Go here to read the brilliant rest. As amusing as the reactions of the writers of the National Catholic Reporter are, they pale in comparison to the amusement afforded by reading the comments to the articles. Go here to read some of them. This comment is typical:
How many of us know nuns, priests and other lay people, active in parishes and dioceses, who compromise their core beliefs so as to carry on the good work they are doing within church structures? Whether the issue is eucharistic inclusivity, option for the poor, a thinking laity, married clergy, women’s ordination, homosexuality, contraception, our Church fosters a culture of keeping quiet so as to keep going. Sometimes the pressure from above is overt, but we are all subject to that subtlest form of institutional intimidation which everyone registers without it having to be articulated. We watch the few who persist in standing against it being marginalized or pushed out altogether; their whole lives can be taken apart. Many, both young and lifelong churchgoers, can no longer accept it and are walking away. Meanwhile those who slip into capitulating to it progressively deform their spiritual integrity. Of course, the Protestant tradition and secular society have long picked up the tenor of hypocrisy about Catholicism. After Vatican II, though, many of us felt we were on the way to being freed from it. But the volume now seems to be ratcheting up again. How can we commit to the Church we love without dancing to this particular tune?
A serious question arises amid the merriment. Why do people who so manifestly hate the Church, at least the Church as she has existed throughout history and not the Church of their desires, stay? Wouldn’t they be much more comfortable as Episcopalians, Unitarian-Universalists, Atheists, Quakers, etc than Catholics? I think for more than a few it comes down to one word: Power. They see the Catholic Church as an extremely powerful institution. They seek to control that institution, and, failing that, to neuter it. They work against the Church as she is from within to transform the Church into an instrument for them to wield. Outside of the Church they are mere dime a dozen anti-Catholics, by the world forgot. Within the Church they are, in their eyes, heroic dissenters and the vanguard of a movement that will ultimately control the only world-wide organization that has roots in almost every country and society on Earth. They are playing for very big stakes, and that is why they do not head for the exits and leave the rest of us in the peace of Christ.