Wednesday, May 2, 2012


Are you properly angry at the Vatican for badgering our nuns?  Have you the proper moral outrage?  Are you disgusted? 

Why do you feel that way?  Are you confident that you have all the facts of the case?  Are you sure that the way information is coming to you is balanced and complete? 

The Cleveland Plain Dealer ran a salacious article concerning these matters written by Maureen Dowd.  Here are some quotes from her column entitled “Misguided Vatican takes on sisters” dated 30 April 2012:

“Who thinks it’s cool to bully nuns?”

“Yet the nuns must be yanked into line by the crepuscular, medieval men who run the Catholic Church.”

“How can the church hierarchy be more offended by the nuns’ impassioned advocacy for the poor than by priests’ sordid pedophilia?”

“Instead of looking deep into its own soul, the church is going after the women who are the heart and soul of parishes, schools and hospitals.”

“The stunned sisters are debating how to respond to the Vatican’s scorching reprimand.”
 “. . . it scares the church hierarchy to have ‘educated women form thoughtful opinions and engage in dialogue.’”

If this was all that knew about the situation I would be embarrassed, humiliated, and ashamed of the Catholic Church.  Indeed there is no local paper willing or brave enough to give a broader perspective and so the cultivation of animosity toward the Catholic Church continues to be planted and nurtured.

But what if there is more to the story?  Take these quotes from Elizabeth Scalia’s article in the Wall Street Journal entitled, “The Vatican’s Corrective to Liberal Catholics” dated 27 April 2012:

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s first duty is to assure that the doctrines of the church are being accurately reflected and communicated to the church body by those canonically representing the faith.”

“. . . Sister Laurie Brink (the then president of the Leadership Conference) had acknowledged that while many sisters walked unevenly with Rome, some had moved, ‘beyond the church, even beyond Jesus.’”

“But concern is not the same as condescension and there is an unmistakable pastoral tone permeating the entire assessment.”

“Yet the corrections and reforms prescribed to the Leadership Conference are few in number and not extraordinary.  They include liturgical prayer, Eucharistic focus, putting away “other” minds in order to form more closely to Christ’s and – a genuine challenge for all Christians – obedience to primary church teachings that remain unchanged even after Vatican II.”


One might wonder if Dowd and Scalia were talking about the same situation – the same country – the same century.  If one or the other was your primary source of information on this news item, it would greatly sway your position.

What I offer is this: be very careful about forming an opinion from single source or similarly biased news sources.  Always wonder if there is more to the story than is being told.


Anonymous said...

Father, I live near Columbus and subscribe to the Columbus Dispatch, and they printed an article written by Nicholas D. Kristof of the NY Times, on the same topic. It's apparent to me that liberal columnists: 1)take every opportunity to bash the Catholic Church 2)have shared talking points that show up in all their articles.
The first talking point is any and every article about the Church must mention pedophilia priests regardless of what the topic of the article is. A second talking point is to say that the Church is run by old medieval-minded men. And the third talking point is to obfuscate the real issue with statements designed to elicit a reader response toward the Church of either anger or eyeball rolling.
Being typical of journalists these days who don't bother to properly research or objectively report on their topic, they don't seem to know or care what the Church's point of view is. These columnists' goal is to push for reform of the Church into THEIR idea of what a church should be, which is to say, one that is devoid of anything Catholic.

Kate J said...

Oh, they're just so "beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus"... can they not see that there is a problem?

Love the 2nd cartoon!

The.Baroness.Von.Korf said...

I am very excited about the Vatican's "crack down" on rouge nuns. (I can way for a crack down on the bad thology in some seminaries and the rouge priests.) I am so tired of what I refer to as "Pants suit nuns." You know the type the Feminists who feel like women should have the ability to join the priesthood and other such nonsense. I get to work with some of them at local seminary. I also have the pleasure of working with some "real nuns", the habited kind in a teaching capacity.

I can only make observations. For the most part (this is by no means a hard rule) the "pants suit" nuns are bitter and often miserable people where as the habited nuns are filled with joy of and for the Lord. Just an observation.

Michelle said...

It's useful to have all the information at hand, indeed. Best, if you can, to go back to the source.

The now infamous speech by Sr. Brink can be found here (

She does not advocate a "post-Jesus" form of Catholic religious life, she personally rejects it as a solution. She does note (truthfully - and facts are facts, however unhappy they may make us) that there are congregations that do work under a "beyond-Jesus" framework, and that the congregation she cites as an example has left the Church. As she explicitly says, this new way of life, whatever else it might be, is not Catholic religious life.

My observations have been that sisters (not the same as nuns) are a joyfully faithful lot - both the ones I know that wear the habit and the ones that don't. A life in the Lord can do that to you, no matter what you wear.

Edward said...

There is always more to the story than what's being told.

ck said...

Those cartoons are priceless!