Friday, November 27, 2009

Women Religious Claim Vatican Investigation is a "Cycle of Violence"

Some people are professional victims. They go through life seeking to turn any conversation or event into attack. They may frequently accuse every single person they come across as being "violent" or "abusive" and they play the victim in a way that might actually be convincing to people who don't know them very well. The saddest part of this reality is that they actually believe the lies that they tell themselves and shuffle through life as dreary, self made victims, feeling sorry for themselves.

I've watched a family member struggle with this sort of illness, for it really seems to be an illness, and have seen how this sort of anger can eat away at a person until they are paranoid and hardly sane. As I read through one of my favorite blogs, Hanc Aquam, and then clicked over to see the news story Father Philip had linked to at NCR Online I seriously began to wonder how many women in the leadership of the LCWR have this sort of complex. The paranoia in the women who commented to NCR was apparent to anyone who isn't a Vatican Conspiracy Theorist.

Here are some of the responses to the voluntary visitation of the women religious in our country:
"This was a grassroots response. It was not organized. It came out of a widespread sense that the Vatican action was an unjust affront to women religious."
So a voluntary investigation is an "unjust affront to women religious?" I thought it was especially interesting that, after hearing so much about how horrible the retirement conditions are for these women, they are deeply offended that the Vatican is inquiring about their retirements. You can't really complain that the Vatican isn't doing anything to help, when you won't hand over the information about what's going on!
"All along, said one woman religious, the challenge has been to respond to the Vatican in a way that breaks a cycle of violence. She said that the women religious communities have attempted to respond by using a language "devoid of the violence" they found in the Vatican questionnaire and within the wider study. She characterized the congregation responses as "creative and affirming," and part of an effort to set a positive example in "nonviolent resistance."
"On the one hand we didn't want to roll over and play dead," she said. "So the question was, "How do you step outside a violent framework and do something new?' That was the challenge that emerged." One congregation, she said, cited a U.S. bishops' statement concerning domestic abuse in its response letter to Millea. "The point is, there have to be more than two choices: Take the abuse and offer it up, or kill the abuser.""
I have to say that as a woman who had a boyfriend during my teen years pick up a two by four and slam me across the back with it, I find this statement and the comparison of women religious with abuse victims to be offensive. My feelings are somewhat dulled by the decade that has passed between that incident and the present time. A voluntary investigation by the Vatican is hardly "violence." These women claim in the interviews to be out in the world and ghettos living out the spirit of Vatican II, but they really seem to living in a fantasy world that is completely out of touch with reality if they think that words and investigations are equatable to domestic abuse. I can't help but feel sorry for them and will offer up prayers that God will grant guidance to them and heal the anger that they very obviously feel towards the Church they claim to love.


  1. It has been my experience that people only react as victims and become defensive as these sisters have when they have something to hide or to lose. As liberal as our American religious communities have become, I'm sure Papa Ratzinger scares the veils off their heads... wait a sec, they're already gone. *sigh*

  2. Ouch! I hope that former BF got as bad as he gave. More charitably, I should say I hope he repented and will only suffer purgation.

    Do try to find some happier things to post about. Your little girl is so much cuter in smiles. :)

    BTW - check out

    I think they are right up your alley.

  3. Wow I haven't heard of this before.. Gotta love being out of the loop :-/

    I do recognize that complex you mention though. My mom has it.. I know I shouldn't, but it annoys me to no end.

  4. I am so sorry to hear that you were a victim of abuse, Cam.

    I really think that large numbers of women religious have gone off the rails completely. This summer, my husband attended a conference that was held at a college founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph, and has not for years now been considered Catholic, though there are still sisters affiliated with it. There were flyers advertising Planned Parenthood, and, at a Mass held to end the conference, one of the sisters invited all who wished to receive the Eucharist. We were horrified, but, sadly, unsurprised.

    It's high time there was an investigation of some sort.


  5. Hi Marie-

    Even when I think I can't be surprised by anything I'm still surprised when I hear about places who claim to be Catholic handing out flyers for Planned Parenthood (or signing up students to intern there as my alma mater did when I was there). I think this investigation couldn't come too soon!

  6. Hi Mama Kalila-
    Prayers for your mom and family. I know it can be so tough on the families of people that have this problem. I'm used to this particular family members behavior on our side of it, because she's been doing it since I was little, but the people in her generation (my parent's generation too) are still surprised and wounded by it regularly. And it seems like such a hard way to live for people who see the world that way!

  7. Hi Brooke-
    When I read the article I kept thinking that it definitely seems that they have something to hide. One thing I left out of my blog post that really struck me was that they demanded that their financial records not be part of the investigation. That sounds more than a little suspicious to me, since they're furious about the "transparency" of the Vatican!

  8. Hi Cliff-

    Shortly after he graduated (or more accurately, didn't graduate, but left school) I heard he was in Oklahoma State Pen for the sale of Meth. Last year I offered up a few prayers when we heard from mutual friends that his lifestyle had finally caught up with him and he was killed in an explosion of some kind (my friend said on an oil rig). Coming from a town where violence wasn't uncommon, I've noticed that that sort of lifestyle definitely catches up with people much of the time. Wow did I have bad taste back then!

    But you're right, I need a bunch of happy posts to offset all the bad stuff I've been ranting about! I think it's these pregnancy hormones! They give me extra inspiration for rants!

    We got a ton of pictures of Sadie today when we took her to see Santa, unfortunately they are of the cute "crying baby with Santa" variety. But I did get some good smiles yesterday after she ate Thanksgiving dinner!


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