Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Sister X's Letter on the Vatican Visitation- Part 5

Part 5 of Sister X's article on the upcoming Vatican visitation with my responses in pink. And yes, Part 5 also gets a Sadie frown.

"Did it also accelerate a growing distrust between sisters and the episcopacy? That distrust has been present for a long time. In the late 1960s, after Los Angeles Cardinal James McIntyre ordered the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary to get back into their habits and classrooms or get out of the diocese, the LCWR tried to address issues of women’s ministerial equality." Possibly because some thought they should be able to trade their habits for a priests collar. "Later, in 1976, came Inter insigniores, the CDF’s “definitive” rejection of the possibility of ordination for women. It shut down any formal discussion of women’s equality in the church." At least it did for anyone who can't see that women can have equality without being exactly the same. We were created differently and God has different intentions for our lives. "For many women religious, the emphasis shifted then to social-justice concerns." And for others it meant it was time to found the WOC (women's ordination conference).

"Since then, Rome has been busy shoring up its doctrinal barricades, and in the process has seemed intent on casting feminism into the outer darkness." Is that what Rome was doing? I thought that they were busy leading the Church into the twenty-first century. I wonder if she really believes that the Pope wakes up each morning and says "I wonder how I'm going to keep those American nuns repressed."? "Under John Paul II, the Vatican became enamored with a reading of Scripture and the tradition as calling on every woman to understand herself spiritually as “spouse.”" Here we find why she doesn't seem impressed with John Paul II after the early 80s. "I find this at odds with the presentation of women in Scripture, and would point out that Jesus uses neither spousehood nor marriage as a model for discipleship. Quite the contrary." Maybe she could explain what model He uses that would be a better fit. The theme of "give up everything and follow me" comes to mind. That would be why vows usually include a vow of poverty. "This reductionist anthropology, moreover, has become so arcane and removed from real life that much of what is written about how the church understands sexual symbolism has taken on a frankly gnostic character. Do we really want to limit our notions of the essential nature and meaning of embodiment to little more than the physical function of father and mother and the social relationship of bridegroom and bride, husband and wife? Again and again in recent years, this seems to be Rome’s mantra." I wonder if she's offended by St. Paul's description in Ephesians (5:21-33) that compares a relationship between husband and wife to that of Christ and His Church. That comparison goes both ways. Could that be where the idea of "spiritual spouse" came in? Is she part of Christ's Church? She claims that she is. St. Paul compared Christ's relationship with his Church to that of a husband's with his wife. He gave up His life to her and she submits to Him (to oversimplify things a bit for the sake of brevity on my part... this article is long enough as it is). But then we can see why Sister X would have a problem with this particular comparison because "submitting" probably doesn't fit with what she's read in historical novels and her psychology tomes. "Particularly offensive was the 2004 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and the World, issued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, which demeaned feminist theory as inimical to the common good of the church, the family, and society, and as the logical outcome of this analysis argued against women’s ordination." What Sister X finds offensive I find insightful and refreshing. Then again, I don't think that I know more than the Pope and that my way would be better than his. "In my opinion, his letter expressed a great deal of hostility to what women have attempted to say about themselves for the past forty years. It hardly encouraged dialogue." Here we get to the root of the problem. His letter expressed hostility to what women have "attempted to say about themselves for the past forty years," when he spoke against female ordination. Maybe that's where the Vatican Visitation team should start when looking at problems with these orders "doctrinal orthodoxy."

"What I sense today is that the Vatican will not budge in how it thinks theologically about what it means to be a woman;" nor should it. The Vatican has long honored women and their place in the world. That place either religious or lay, does not seem to please certain women who who remake the world and rename God, "Godde." "nor will it consider opening positions of real ecclesial authority to women." It also won't bend on abortion or homosexuality. I wonder if these upset her too. "There is simply no getting away from the fact that in the Catholic Church it is men who tell women how they should understand themselves as women." And we should be thankful that God has promised that the Catholic Church is His Church and that the gates of Hell will not prevail against it. "Rome wants women religious to accept such understandings not merely without dissent, but without comment." When they are in teaching positions. Sister Louise Akers wasn't stripped of her habit (not that she wears one). She was told that she couldn't teach in Church institutions. That isn't exactly the same thing. For anyone who was confused, she also won't be burned at the stake as a heretic. "The Vatican doesn’t want independent-minded women theologians or biblical scholars, and seemingly won’t read or quote them unless the women mimic the Vatican’s—and that means men’s—voice and views." Here we get down to the basic, angry feminist rant: No man can know me or understand me and no man's views can represent mine. Women who share the Church's views are just mimicking what we've been taught. Only women who believe what Sister X believes can be genuine free thinkers. My independent thought process (and God's Grace) brought me home to the Church. Hours of reading and debating and finally just stumbling in the right direction brought me Home, in direct contradiction to what I'd been taught. "But we are not “men” or “mankind.”" Really? I always considered myself to be part of "mankind." I wonder what Sister X is part of then. "We are persons with minds and hearts and voices, who have lived lives of integrity and loyalty, and who remain loyal to this church, even when it treats us as second-class citizens and makes us beg for financial support in our old age." When did bashing the Church, the Church's teachings and the Church's leadership become an action that involved "integrity and loyalty"?

Part Six coming soon. Yes, it's almost over.

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