liberal LCWR sisters are lawyering-up

From a reader:

I just wanted to pass onto you this tip I received about the Apostolic Visitation of U.S. Women Religious.  The second part of the questionnaire sent by Mother Clare Millea to superiors general of the American women religious orders was sent this past month.  The deadline for orders to complete these questionnaires is November 1.  However, many of the LCWR-friendly orders, having read the questionnaire and "lawyered up" with canon lawyers who have advised them of their rights and responsibilities, will be informing Mother Clare that they will need "more time" to complete the questionnaire.

Needless to say, the Sisters are going to have their canonists review their carefully answered responses before submitting them. It will be interesting to see how Mother Clare and company react to this delay and what implications it will have on these communities, who are obviously extremely concerned about what the future holds for them.

That is from a reader.

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56 Responses to liberal LCWR sisters are lawyering-up

  1. Thomas S says:

    How about an Apostolic Constitution setting up a way for disaffected members of LCWR-represented orders to achieve full, corporate unity with the Bishop of Rome?

  2. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Not surprising. Canon-lawyering up is something I never thought of. However, lately I’ve been looking at various websites of local nuns and have come to the conclusion that they have, indeed, strayed. One example from my hometown of Boston is the Sisters of St. Joseph. They are currently on a climate action crusade, urging people to follow the lead of our Nobel-Prize winning president. They’re also strongly against human trafficking, for helping illegal aliens, against war and global poverty and like to walk around labyrinths. The nun in charge of their website is an avid reader of … The Daily Om. These sisters are of course, part of the dissident LCWR. To think of all the good Catholics that were educated by this order back in the day!

  3. Ana says:

    Given the fact we have pro-abortion nuns volunteering at abortion mills without any public disciplinary action along with the other preposterous ideas current female religious orders stand for, this is far from surprising. Is anyone truly surprised?

  4. TNCath says:

    Yes, indeed. The Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Kentucky are having a big “pow-wow” this weekend. Topics being discussed: eco-feminism; resisting and confronting “dualism,” patriarchy, and oppression; creating a new understanding of religious life that goes beyond the magisterial structures of the institutional Church; and responding to the Apostolic Visitation in a way that essentially will not provide the visitators with any more information than they had when they started. They are going to argue that the Apostolic Visitation has no right to interfere in the interior lives of the sisters and their congregations, and that since their constitutions are already approved by the Vatican, they are meeting their canonical obligations and have the right to function as they are. In short, they are running scared. I predict a possible showdown ahead IF Mother Clare and her team are able to successfully get to the truth of what is going on in these orders. While we might indeed be welcoming the Anglicans back into the fold, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see the orders under the aegis of the LCWR (what’s left of them) break from either the Church or formal religious life, as did the IHM Sisters in Los Angeles 40 years ago.

    I encourage everyone to pray for Mother Clare. She needs to prepare herself for a lot of vague, uninformative, circumlocutive, temporized answers to the questionnaires, and look beyond the diatribe she will be given.

  5. Random Friar says:

    That strategy may work in the short term. After all, didn’t the new Missal take years to come to fruition? “We need more time/study” etc.

  6. PatrickV says:

    If there were nothing wrong, and all was in accord with Church Teaching why would anyone “Lawyer up”?

    Unless of course you have some guilty secrets to hide, and want to spin things out as long as possible.

    This is akin to the priest who presides over a liturgical free for all each week, with abuses and novelties abounding. Then comes time for the Bishop to visit for Confirmations and there is a miraculous return to the G.I.R.M. and appropriate and correct behavior.

    Seems to me that if you think you are right that you would continue to act as you thought appropriate.

    Unless you had a guilty little secret.

  7. Rachel says:

    Even if I was one of the faithful orders, if I got a questionnaire in October with the kind of involved questions this visitation is asking, and I was told it was due Nov 1, I’d ask for more time too!

    There’s a monastery “in the Catholic tradition” that carries worship of the environment to new heights. Get your Earth prayer beads and your Mary of the Cosmos right here! See the touching baptism of a child with “water from our brook, made holy from the long journey it has made through billions of years on the planet” right here!

  8. Girgadis says:

    Oh, Rachel….

    I clicked on one of the “here” links that you posted and I don’t believe what I just read. At first, I thought the website was a satirical jab at the New Age orders that have sprung up. All I can say is that I’m not surprised the “monastery” is in Vermont. I’m afraid to ask why they refer to the child in the “baptism” photo as their son and grandson. God help us.

  9. The damage has been done and these gals are all gonna be dead soon enough anyway. The Church should just concentrate on getting her things back when they go.

  10. Rien says:

    I wonder if this is really an effort to hide anything on the part of the LCWR?

    It’s not like what many of the congregations have been teaching or practicing is a secret. Its been in the open for decades. Catholic World Report had a great report on this a short while back. With quotes from and actions taken by various orders over the past years.

    Rome let this go on too long IMO. Rome must have known – like who didn’t? Now what can come of the investigation? Will Rome even demand significant reforms? I doubt it as Rome knows they can’t enforce anything. Push come to shove many of these congrgations will move out on their own. leaving Rome in the lurch to the extent the orders work in the community, hospitals, education and such.

    Fr. Jenkins being reappointed President of Notre Dame last week is a recent example of the defacto loss of control of the American church by Rome. The Catholic colleges mostly are not yet nothing is done by Rome.

    The horses have gotten out of the barn IMO and I don’t see anything significant coming from the visitation.

  11. Gabriel Austin says:

    Has no one noticed that when cornered, liberal organizations always “lawyer up”? Consider the ACORN organization which does not answer directly the accusations but asks their lawyers whether they can sue the investigators?

    I remind of Our Lord’s reproach to lawyers
    Like 11:52 “Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered”.

  12. Henry Edwards says:

    Girgadis: At first, I thought the website was a satirical jab at the New Age orders that have sprung up.

    Of course, it’s precisely that. Surely, you didn’t take it seriously! Well, maybe, “Fool you first, shame on them. Fool me next, shame on me.”

  13. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Perhaps one of the positive fruits of the worldwide web is that all these poor eco-spiritual nuns who have been tolerated in various localities have seized the chance to gain a worldwide reputation and put their crazy beliefs out there for all to see. Even the dullest observer now sees something is very, very wrong. There’s a virtual paper trail that can’t be covered up. It shines a light into a dark place.

  14. kelleyb says:

    One hopes that the Apostolic Visitation will uncover and end this scandel. href=”http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2009/10/sister-act-nun-works-at-abortion-clinic.html”>scandel

  15. kelleyb says:

    If this doesn’t work I give up.
    One hopes that the Apostolic Visitation will uncover and end this scandel. href=”http://blog.beliefnet.com/deaconsbench/2009/10/sister-act-nun-works-at-abortion-clinic.htm”>here

  16. kelleyb: Click here. Then write me and I’ll tell you how it’s done.

  17. Mrs Kate says:

    Presumably Mother Clare Millea also has access to some orthdox canon lawyers…

  18. The Egyptian says:

    If you haven’t had enough of the green mountain girls try this one

    http://www.greenmountainmonastery.org/tbburial.html#bs

    the picture of the ritual dance around the coffin is just precious

    Featured them on my blog the German Egyptian

    http://germanegyptian.blogspot.com/2009/07/hell-bound-in-polyester.html

  19. Nora says:

    Rachel, FWIW, the questionnaire went out in mid September and the responses are due just over 2 months later. http://www.apostolicvisitation.org/en/about/index.html .

  20. This lunacy HAS gone on long enough.
    Somebody, years ago, at the Congregation for Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (I believe that is the title), was asleep at the wheel. Or just didn’t want to get “into it” with the radical feminists who were taking over their congregations.
    We do need to pray; hard.
    If Consecrated Life is not reformed radically, even with the new communities being founded, the Church will continue to be weakened and negatively affected.
    Don’t mean to be a pessimist; I’m not by temperament. But this is serious stuff.

  21. And one more comment:
    What other commentators have brought up about the New Age and anti-Christian spirituality of many of these congregations is not exaggerated. I don’t know if Jesus Christ is even a thought in some of these groups…much less the Church…much less the Blessed Mother.
    Some of these consecrated women do not even go to Mass anymore. And any Mass they might have is probably questionable, if not filled with liturgical abuses.
    Wearing a monastic habit? This is not the point here.
    Being faithful to the Lord Jesus and His Church in Her teachings, practices and Tradition. Yep.
    That’s it.

  22. chironomo says:

    Heavens… that monastery is frightening…the funeral pics looked more like something from a Wiccan ceremony (their close neighbors in Vermont..). We can hope that all of these types of places will be cut off.

  23. Bornacatholic says:

    Can’t the Pope just trade them to the Anglicans for some orthodox Christians to be named later?

  24. JimGB says:

    I am sorry but I just do not understand how a Catholic nun can openly, notoriously and flagrantly assist in procuring abortions! Can nothing be done to expel her from her order? This only proves to me that Satanic forces are actively at work within the Church, using unfortunates like Sister Quinn to promote the most evil of acts. I am appalled that her Congregation would protect her, and believe that this alone should be enough to revoke Vatican approval of its Constitution and throw them all out into the street, which is where they belong.

  25. JimGB: I share your concern and outrage.
    Sr. Donna Quinn has been, for years, a very vocal dissenter.
    This just is the logical consequence of the trajectory of disobedience and outright hatred of the Church and Her teachings.
    The scandal of a consecrated woman, a religious Sister, being an escort at an abortion clinic is “over the top”…somebody better do something. Quickly.

  26. JimGB says:

    Nazareth priest: Father, is there anything that the lay faithful can do? Or is this solely within the jurisdiction of her “religious” superiors? Would the Archdiocese of Chicago have any authority to act? If this were a religious order priest the Cardinal could revoke his faculties (and the faculties of the rest of the members of his order active in the Archdiocese, if he wanted to play hardball). The Vermont “nuns” worshiping the eco-system and making wreaths is one thing; active participation in the death of innocent unborn children is another. Can we not find some way to shine a light on this evil and stop it?

  27. JimGB: If Sr. Quinn belongs to a pontifical religious community, which I am sure that she does, the Cardinal could lodge a complaint, but Rome would have to intervene.
    Something similar happened in different situations when Sisters were either advocating abortion rights or as in Michigan a Sr. was a public health official (I believe); it had to be handled at the highest levels. And there is the example of Fr. Nugent and Sr. Grammick, who were advocating the morality of homosexual relationships (genital); they were told to stop speaking or writing publicly; Fr Nugent honored this, I believe; Sr. Grammick, has not; she belongs to the School Sisters of Notre Dame and her superiors supported her in her “dissent”.
    Maybe with this visitation things can change; let’s pray that it does. Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!

  28. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Could a cardinal or bishop withdraw permission for an order to operate in his diocese? Just toss out all the School Sisters of Notre Dame, for example. Or would that have to go through the highest levels as well, Nazareth Priest?

  29. Massachusetts Catholic: There is a document, “Mutual Relations”, that describes the relationship that should exist between pontifical congregations/orders and the local bishop.
    A cardinal/bishop COULD do such a thing, if there was sufficient cause.
    Religious communities, even of pontifical right, cannot just do whatever they please.
    Unfortunately, bishops have been reluctant to deal with these issues.
    I’m sorry; I cast no aspersions. But the whole issue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation and Cardinal McIntyre, of which William Coulson, PH.D., documents, shows what a prelate is up against when he dares to confront the issues involved in congregations of women religious.

  30. ckdexterhaven says:

    Hoo boy. I went to the Green Mountain monastery website. Their director? Fr. Thomas Berry died this summer, the description of the ‘funeral mass” is unreal. Here are some examples:

    “The Gloria was from the Mass in the Ecozoic by Jan Novotka and the first reading was done by Kaiulani Lee from the Gospel of Thomas:”
    “we then rose to recite the Litany of the Saints written by John Becker in 1987, words adapted by Srs. Gail and Bernadette….This recitation lists the growing number of saints including now Thomas Berry himself ”

    Then one of the sisters goes on to explain going out to eat with the (now deceased) priest…”The waitress came to the table with a glass of merlot and basket of bread….Then Thomas broke a piece of bread and passed the basket to me. I took a piece of bread and ate. In that moment the impact of Eucharist became a staggering reality”

    I don’t know if lawyering up is going to do much good. Why are they using canon lawyers when they’re clearly not even Catholic!

    If a bunch of pajama clad blog readers can figure out these “sisters” are not Catholic, I would go so far as to say they’re Pagan, where’s the Bishop of this diocese? I’m glad the Vatican is doing the Visitation, but this is beyond the pale.

  31. Canon lawyers to help them out? Come on — bloggers such as the American Papist, Fr. Z., and myself know that even though they certainly might have somewhat of a leeway within canon law, they’re basically trapped. I mean, how is the Vatican going to tolerate nuns who go around teaching kids at Catholic school about the goddess “Earth Mama” (if anyone remembers the video from the Papist a few weeks back)? No matter what those LCWR superiors are trying to do in order to maintain their power over the heterodox community, it is going to fail without a doubt in my mind.

    And if that comes to pass, I might as well say, “Deo gratias!” I’d want the superiors to fail and see their consequences rather than delay the punishment.

    (And I really do hope that Mother Clare is reading this, by the way. Terrible times to be a nun, ain’t it?)

  32. EXCHIEF says:

    Since they are lawyering up the answers will be neither accurate nor honest….hum….

  33. JosephMary says:

    “I mean, how is the Vatican going to tolerate nuns who go around teaching kids at Catholic school about the goddess “Earth Mama” (if anyone remembers the video from the Papist a few weeks back)? No matter what those LCWR superiors are trying to do in order to maintain their power over the heterodox community, it is going to fail without a doubt in my mind.”

    Considering this kind of bunk has been going on since the 70s with the result of the loss of the faith of millions, I would say the “Vatican” has tolerated it very well.

    I only expect this to end when the last of the dissenters have gone to meet their Maker and there will be no lawyer present to plead their case; it will be the soul bare before God. And then it is God who will know how culpable the soul is and the whole story of that soul. Prayers for conversion are always needed.

  34. catholicmidwest says:

    Rien,

    Most of the sisters in contemporary religious orders no longer do nursing or school-teaching work. That’s all done by laypeople on a salary now.

    If/when the biological solution comes to pass, or if they defect from religious life, it matters rather little other than the fact that a rather less gullible people will be led astray.

    Honestly, most sisters are so old, you never see them anyway. What few convents there are look like just more senior citizen homes.

  35. catholicmidwest says:

    RE the Green Mountain website: That has to be somebody’s idea of a joke. At least one picture on that site is downright lewd.

  36. Agnes of Prague says:

    The alarming Green Mountain Monastery linked above, to clarify, doesn’t bill itself as a “Roman Catholic monastery” but as “in the Catholic tradition.” Which is still a lie, but it doesn’t put them under the umbrella so to speak. The way some universities are “in the Catholic tradition” meaning they either are pretty much Catholic (like Ave Maria?) or they aren’t and want you to think they are (some Jesuit universities?). In both cases they aren’t actually under Church authority qua institution.

  37. kellym says:

    I’ve passed this tidbit of information on to my family in Vermont to follow up. Will update if I can. I grew up in Vermont and as much as it pains me to say, it’s not surprising. It’s always been a little crunchy-granola but it’s really gone to the dogs in the last decade or so. The state has become a haven for every disaffected pseudo-religious group out there.

  38. Norah says:

    Is that ‘monastery’ receiving any of its funding from the Catholic Church? Is the abortion escort ‘sister’ receiving any money from the Catholic Church?

  39. Folks, and especially PatrickV, Rien and Gabriel Austin:

    I have absolutely no problem with the LCWR-friendly congregations “lawyering up”, and frankly, neither should any of you.

    People have rights.

    A visitation is a legal process.

    I would be flabbergasted to discover that ANY community would submit its answers to the questionnaire without first letting a lawyer vet them.

    I think heads of communities under visitation would do very well to involve legal counsel in the process of drafting answers.

  40. More to the last:

    The communities themselves, as corporate entities (personae iuridicae) have rights, as do their individual members. Those in positions of authority within the communities have an obligation to make sure the rights of the members (both civil and canonical) are protected.

    Every community being visited ought to have both canon and civil lawyers helping them through the process.

    C.

  41. catholicmidwest says:

    Chris, this is the part that most lay Catholics don’t understand. They tend to think of sisters as selfless individuals striving primarily for holiness, and they have a paradigm of what it is to be a sister that’s 50 years old and usually no longer correct in any way, shape or form.

    It’s very important that before Catholics contribute to religious orders they understand what they are contributing to, and for what the money will be used. I will not contribute to many of them, myself, because I know what some of these groups are up to. Nor will I contribute to blanket “retirement fund” drives.

    Catholic laypeople need to know more about the structure and governance of religious orders, and realize that many of them are outside the administrative structure of the church. It can be very difficult to discipline them, individually and as groups, even when they are acting like a bunch of heretics, and worse. A bishop cannot just stride down the halls of a religious house and “make people behave (whatever that means).” As an example, recall the recent mess at Notre Dame with Obama, if you don’t believe me.

    Religious orders have a separate jurisdiction, one not completely under the control of the church. Yet, religious orders are often the first to allow themselves to be conflated in common understanding with the church when it comes time for some $$$$ in the coffers. Be aware. Know what you are contributing to! Just throwing money at religious orders, thinking you are helping something warm & fuzzy out of a 50s movie, doesn’t work. If you do that, you’re probably paying for somethings you don’t approve of!

    A practical note: Most sisters NO LONGER teach school, act as nurses or do direct charitable work. Many of them are college professors at universities, run politically-affiliated groups (gay lesbian etc), run “alternate spirituality” groups and so on. Many of them live outside their foundations and are not living in austerity by any description whatsoever. Many of them are openly dissenting and very successful (read $$$) with naive people who donate to them.

    It’s true that some sisters are old and infirm, but in many places, if you contribute hoping to help the old “faithful ones,” the money won’t get to them unless you take care of it directly yourself. Rather it will end up doing something like fueling the solstice ceremonies on the ecofarm where it will turn a profit and confuse people, or pay for publishing the latest incoherent “study” on alternate spirituality etc, which also makes a profit. These people have big old crumbling houses and businesses to run, never mind that they’re not orthodox. This is where the lawyers come in, and yes, they know how to do that. They’ve known it for years.

    There are a few good Catholic religious foundations in the US, but very few. CHECK out DETAILS BEFORE you contribute!!!

  42. catholicmidwest says:

    PS, anymore there’s an increasing tendency for the real estate belonging to religious foundations to be used for other purposes, simply because it’s not being occupied and there’s a need to pay the taxes and upkeep. Consequently, not every “retreat” or “activity” that occurs at these places is something you should be involved in. Do your homework.

  43. Dear catholicmidwest,

    I honestly have no idea where you are coming from.

    Where did I say anything about contributing to religious orders – or where are you getting that what I said has anything at all to do with the question you address?

    Best,
    C.

  44. catholicmidwest says:

    Chris, I’m not disputing anything you said. I’m simply agreeing with you. The way religious orders currently are, it makes complete sense for them to go get their legal counsel. It’s how these things work and you and I both know it. It’s high time, naive Catholics knew it too.

  45. Dear catholicmidwest,

    I do not mean to raise the gale here, but I am not sure whether we are on the same tack (I almost said, “on the same page,” but then I thought I’d stay with the nautical metaphors).

    I am absolutely free of illusions regarding the state of women religious communities in the States.

    I am also aware that they are juridically erected in ways that make it difficult for bishops to discipline them.

    My point is another, and holds equally of the most pious, orthodox and energetic communities, and the most degraded, heretical and lazy ones: they have rights, their members have rights, and their leaders have obligations to them with respect to their rights, both civil and canonical.

    So you see, it is not for me a question of circumstance. It is a question of principle.

    Best,
    C.

  46. catholicmidwest says:

    Very good. I understand that they have rights. My point is that they are not the only ones with rights. Members of religious orders held captive to the mentality of the dissenting majority have rights that need to be upheld. Those having a genuine vocation and hoping to enter a foundation, and who need to know the truth about the foundation before they enter, have rights. Lay people who are asked to contribute to religious orders and their businesses have rights.

    I am 100% in favor of the investigation, BTW. I think that the magnitude of the blatant fraud (and that is the right word) that goes on around religious orders is amazing. And disgusting. It would not pass muster anywhere else on this earth. Religious have a sort of “street cred” among Catholics and way too often, they abuse it.

  47. catholicmidwest says:

    The Catholic Church herself, and all of her members, have some rights–in truth. The Church should not be misrepresented by the likes of some of these religious orders and their malarkey. It violates the rights of all of us.

  48. catholicmidwest says:

    And I think that sorting out these rights is, and should be, the business of the commission led to investigate the LCWR. This is why I approve of it.

    Let the LCWR call out all their lawyers,and arm them up. Let them drag their feet screaming all the way. It tells the story better than any denial could.

  49. catholicmidwest says:

    Moving into the next phase of this whole thing, we have this:

    http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=ca63910a-2dbc-4dea-9b04-bd7a9322a6f6

    Brought to you by the very same Sr. Mary Brinks that presented the talk which brought the Vatican to its feet and writing letters to the LCWR. Way to make a million bucks, huh?

    Perhaps the Vatican has grasped the danger of “sojourning” or going “non-canonical” and is realizing that it could happen like dominoes.

    Put this with the recent peculiar talk going around CTA/American Catholic Council et al, and you have a phenomenon that could spread.

  50. lome says:

    Understandable! If they believe that God don’t have an answer to their
    Holy world views,the way they would like to believe,then by all means
    consult your lawyers.The God of this world is legalistic too!

    New Age Catholicism
    Mary Ann Collins
    (A Former Catholic Nun)
    March 2002
    Revised April 2007
    ________________________________________

    The “New Age” is a mixture of old paganism and Eastern religions that have been “westernized” by dressing them up in modern vocabulary and images. It denies foundational Christian (and Catholic) doctrines. In spite of this, there are some Catholic priests and nuns who openly promote New Age beliefs and practices.
    I will give documented information about this from Catholic authors. One of them is a Catholic reporter who spent over twelve years getting first-hand, eye witness information.
    As we will see, there are priests and nuns who promote pagan rituals, Eastern religious practices, worship of “the goddess,” witchcraft, and “channeling” (having “spirits” speak through you). They deny foundational Christian doctrines, such as the Atonement (Jesus Christ died to save us from our sins).
    If you have difficulty with the following information, I understand. So do I. But the facts won’t go away just because we don’t like them.
    Randy England is Catholic. He wrote “The Unicorn in the Sanctuary: The Impact of the New Age on the Catholic Church”. According to England, New Age concepts are taught at retreats, prayer workshops, and educational conferences. [Note 1]
    The theology of Jesuit priest Teilhard de Chardin opened the door for New Age concepts to come into the Catholic Church. (“Unicorn,” pages 78-95) These led to “creation-centered spirituality” and Catholic feminism, which will be discussed later. (“Unicorn,” pages 118-134).

  51. lome says:

    INVOLUNTARY NEW AGE INDOCTRINATION
    Catholic educators have been exposed to New Age indoctrination when they didn’t expect it and therefore weren’t prepared for it. This is of strategic importance for the Catholic feminist movement. If you indoctrinate an educator, then you influence all of his or her students. If one of those students is a nun, then she is likely to influence other nuns in her convent. In addition, feminist educators can influence their colleagues, thus spreading the influence of feminism on the educational system. [Note 7]
    Jean Houston was the director of the Foundation for Mind Research and past president of the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and she frequently speaks at New Age conferences. In 1982, 1984 and 1989, Jean Houston addressed Catholic educators at the convention of the National Catholic Education Association. (“Ungodly Rage,” pages 242-245)
    Between 1985 and 1988, the National Catholic Education Association had a “Catholic Education Futures Project”. Twenty other Catholic educational organizations participated in it. This was billed as being preparation for future needs. However, in actuality it was a New Age indoctrination of leaders in Catholic education. (“Ungodly Rage,” pages 244-245)
    Some Catholic feminist nuns teach New Age spirituality at parochial schools and Catholic colleges. This betrays the trust of Catholic parents who send their children to those schools, expecting that they will receive a good Catholic education.

  52. I suppose that’s their version of “Christ consciousness”.

  53. catholicmidwest says:

    Iome, you are correct. Even Catholics who think they’re orthodox often have a bit of it in their theological view, and they don’t examine the rationality or coherence of that at all. {Examining rationality & coherence are weak spots in Catholic educational & catechetical preparation (particularly in the lower-quality programs of which there are many). In truth, as a philosopher and a convert I can assure you that the Catholic church is the only one of which you can ask any question, but many people are still afraid of that out of ignorance.}

    New age thought and behavior is rife in retreat settings and among feminists and other ideologues in the church on all levels. Because many of these people are found in diocesan and parish ministry structures, it shows up often and when you least expect it and has to be carefully filtered out, which many people are no longer equipped to do.

    Some of it is childishly shallow and earnest, though bluntly idiotic and can be dismissed like a McDonald’s jingle; some of it is hardcore and evil and needs to be avoided strongly. Moreover because New Age religion is at root incoherent, it can be difficult to tell the difference unless you hear the person talk offline at some length and look at the coherence of their works. I don’t know how to get rid of it at this point. It’s a real problem. And the acceptance of it by authorities who should know better is a bigger problem.

  54. catholicmidwest says:

    And Iome, it’s propagated constantly both by those who don’t know what it is, and those who do. And it’s used as a political tool, even by those who know better. People like to hear pretty things (obvious, even dumb, but true).

  55. catholicmidwest says:

    ^Proof that Catholics can think, albeit not so openly that it can’t be denied if one is called on the proverbial rug by a fellow catholic or two.

  56. MichaelJ says:

    Chris,
    I am wondering how far you think a canon lawyer should go to protect the rights of a religious community. Would it be acceptable, for example, to hide evidence of blasphemy or heresy?

    Honestly, when did the role of a lawyer change from “ensuring that the client is treated justly and fairly” to “ensuring that the client escapes punishment”?