Fellowship of Saints and Sinners

Fellowship of Saints and Sinners


Vatican “Nunsense”: Why Old “Habits” Die Hard

Catholic school never had been so fun, thanks to Sister Bernice.

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers…” – Genesis 3:15

“But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” – Luke 24:11

I’ve been following with interest the Vatican’s crackdown on women religious and in particular one group of American nuns, the “Leadership Conference of Women Religious.”  There’s something laughably ironic here: only recently the Vatican was coming out with loud censures of the movie, “The Three Stooges,” for the movie’s caricatures of nuns as loose and naughty; now the Vatican is denouncing these same women in orders for their “unlicensed” theology, and with a similar effect; women like Elizabeth Johnson or Margaret Farley, brilliant, thoughtful theologians in their own right, are made to look like loose, naughty hussies with little respect for authority- “radical feminists” out to bring down centuries of church tradition.  (I guess the implicit assumption at play here is that you have to first belong to the family if you want to throw chauvinistic insults at the mothers and sisters of the household.)

Just last week the Franciscan friars became the first Catholic religious order to come to their sisters’ aid, calling the Vatican’s crackdown on the women “excessive.”  I applaud this move, and hope it signifies the beginning of more support in the direction of genuine, mutual dialogue in which power and authority are no longer wielded as weapons but as instruments in service of truth and love.

That said, I’m also pessimistic in my optimism here.  The Bible describes the reality of the world we live in as one in which, after the Fall, men and women’s enmity against one another is an abiding sign of their accursed state.  This world is one in which men do not believe their female friends and sisters- even when these women bring joy-filled tidings of a God who has conquered the grave out of love for us.  The men dismiss their accounts as mere “idle tales.”

Does this reality justify complacence with the order of things? I don’t think so.  The kingdom of God is a place in which there is no male or female, Jew or Greek (Galatians 3:28).  It is an oasis where lambs peacefully lie down with leopards (Isaiah 11)- where, in fact, the one who rules is both the Lamb and the Lion of Judah (Revelation 5).

I am left wondering how we as brothers and sisters in Christ are to incarnate this kingdom of God when the conflicts before us, often in the form of hot-button issues such as abortion or gay marriage, threaten to undo us.  What does it look like to live as if our prayer, “thy kingdom come,” is coming true?  Maybe a realistic start is simply remembering how our world works and vowing to be different.

What do you think? Leave your thoughts below!

 

 



Previous Posts

Writing Sabbatical—and "The Departure of the Prodigal Son"
I'm sorry: my absenteeism at this intersection can be attributed to a number of things lately, the most pressing of which is my forthcoming book with author and Christian addiction specialist Jonathan Benz. The book (Prodigal Church or a version of it) is now officially under deadline and by April 1

posted 10:55:10am Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Restless Soul Hall of Fame: Sister Corita Kent
Since NPR's recent segment, Sister Corita Kent has come to mind a few times this week as someone who d

posted 10:23:30am Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

"I Am Charlie Hebdo"
I struggle to know how to greet you after such a long hiatus from posting here—and in light of how much has happened in the world since Christmas

posted 4:42:48pm Jan. 12, 2015 | read full post »

A Christmas Homily
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. —Luke 2:6,7 The sheer physicality of this picture strikes me this Christmas. The ba

posted 1:54:50pm Dec. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Mental Health Break—Sprawl II
My favorite band these days is Arcade Fire, and I've featured the Canadian indie rock group before at this intersection between God and life. The lead singer studied Kirkegaard in college and their songs, like this one, are often subtle but brilliant critiques of the least aesthetically pleasing thi

posted 12:58:15pm Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.