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Apostolic investigation of women’s religious turning into a fiasco? August 11, 2011

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, Dallas Diocese, disaster, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, religious, sadness, scandals.

Any faithful Catholic who follows events in the Church should know that most women’s religious orders – especially those affiliated with the sadly misguided Leadership Conference of Women’s Religious (LCWR) – are in a dire state in every possible sense.  Philosophically, theologically, financially, physically (age, lack of new vocations) – many are bereft of the Faith and headed towards collapse.  Recognizing this, albeit very belatedly, in 2009 the Vatican, in the form of the Congregation for Religious, instituted a ‘visitation’ of women’s religious orders in the US, similar to the ‘visitation’ of men’s seminaries, the latter meant to curb the orgies of homosexual improprieties and heresies ongoing at those centers of priestly formation.  In the case of the former, from the start, the then leader of the Congregation for Religious, Cardinal Rode’, made plain that he felt there were serious problems among women’s religious.  The women’s religious in the US, especially their leadership in the  LCWR, howled and yelled that they were being persecuted, and claimed that the Vatican was only targeting the most progressive orders (i.e., those most headed for collapse), a claim I refuted on this blog.  But, he was replaced upon retirement earlier this year by a Brazilian Cardinal (not a good sign), and the new ‘secretary’ of the Congregation for Religious (a position with perhaps more hand’s on control over the Congregation), Archbishop Joseph Tobin, has since radically changed direction.  Instead of investigating the problems of women’s religious, we appear to be headed towards a massive whitewash:

Archbishop Joseph Tobin, the secretary of the Congregation for Religious is offering strong criticism of the atmosphere surrounding the Vatican’s apostolic visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States.

The comments by Archbishop Tobin reinforce the perception that the Vatican investigation, which was once seen as a serious challenge to the policies and directions of some American religious orders, is now unlikely to call for major changes. [this will be a tragedy if so.  There are many formerly great orders who will simply disappear in the next 20 years or so because of a collapse in vocations.  Reform is completely necessary for their survival.]

Archbishop Tobin indicated that he was sympathetic toward the leaders of women’s religious communities who felt that they were being accused of a lack of orthodoxy or obedience to the Church. [Why were they accused?  Because they are filled with heresy and heterodoxy, perhaps?] He said that the Vatican is now working to restore their confidence. [This is almost Orwellian.  The Vatican must go, hat biretta in hand, begging for the ‘forgiveness’ of those who have repeatedly rejected the Faith and cast aspersions at the ‘patriarcy’ leading the Church?  This is not true charity, this is a collapse of legitimate authority]

“The trust that should characterize the daughters and sons of God and disciples of Jesus isn’t recovered overnight,” Archbishop Tobin added. “I think women religious have a right to say, ‘Well, let’s see.’” [I think this makes plain this Archbishop Tobin feels that women religious hold the moral high ground over the Church.  Think about that.]

Archbishop Tobin directed his most pointed criticism towards “canonical advisors” who “exploited” rumors that some communities might be dissolved or be given new leadership.

“It’s like Fox News: they keep people coming back because they keep them afraid,” he said. “But certainly, on our side of the river or our side of the pond, we had created an atmosphere where that was possible.” [This is just a stupid shot.  I don’t even have a TV, I don’t care about Fox News, but the implication that the reason why people watch the most highly rated cable TV network is because they are afraid is both uncharitable and egregious.  It’s also very revealing – Tobin is signaling to the far out radical feminist sisters he’s one of them]

This is a tragedy.  Whatever hope (by human means) these orders had of being reformed likely just disappeared.  The only possibly justification I can see for this behavior is that it has been determined at even higher levels of the Vatican that these orders are too far gone to be reconstituted, and they may as well avoid scandal in fighting a hopeless battle.  Or, this could be some kind of political tradeoff – you LCWR ladies keep quiet and we’ll forget about the results of the investigation, which is complete, btw. Both involve a level of realpolitick I would find disheartening in the Church, but I can’t think of another charitable explanation for this behavior.  The problems in the LCWR orders are so legion as to fill entire shelves in libraries.  The fact that these orders desperately need radical reform is apparent to every faithful Catholic I know.


1. Maria - August 11, 2011

Hi –Am new here. You know, truly, some days it is very difficult for me to hold on. There are no words to adequately describe just how surreal and how completely outrageous this is. And they wonder why the pews are empty.

tantamergo - August 12, 2011

I’m sorry. I know how you feel. Cling to Jesus and His Church. No matter how screwed up the human element is, it is still and will always be His Holy Church. Things will get better. They are starting to improve, in places.

2. Catechist Kevin - August 12, 2011

Maria! Courage, dear, courage. 🙂 (you came over from Carol’s blog, yes?)

This quote from our host speaks volumes to me, “Tobin is signaling to the far out radical feminist sisters he’s one of them.”

Hmmm… Maybe I should just keep my thoughts to myself on that one. 😉

The sad fact of the matter for the vast majority of these LCWR orders is that they are not Christian anymore – they are secular feminists. Even Cardinal Ratzinger said this in “The Ratzinger Report”:

“I am in fact convinced,” he says “that what feminism promotes in its radical form is no longer the Christianity that we know; it is another religion.” (TRR, p. 97)

As Fr. Benedict Groeschel says of such orders: “They are so busy rearranging the deck chairs on their Titanics they don’t realize that water is pouring in through the port-holes!”

However! There are fine exceptions to these misguided orders. The Ann Arbor and Nashville Dominicans are fine examples of what authentic women’s religious orders should look like. And the numbers of these excellent examples are growing…..small, but growing.

I agree that what Abp Tobis says is “a tragedy.” Maybe he should come and visit the OSBs near where I am located. He could attend a fine retreat on “Centering Prayer,” “Labyrinth Walking,” “Reiki” and other such nonsense.

Catechist Kevin

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