Weigel on the Nuns on the Bus v Real Nuns

From NRO:

The Sisters of Life were founded in 1991 by Cardinal John O’Connor and Mother Agnes Mary Donovan (a former Columbia psychology professor and clinician) as a new religious community of women dedicated to the defense of life at all stages and in all conditions. The Sisters of Life are wholly orthodox and wear the kind of modernized (and in their case, quite beautiful) religious habit envisioned by the Second Vatican Council. And unlike the religious orders represented by this summer’s “Nuns on the Bus” road show, which culminated in Sister Simone Campbell’s attempt to excommunicate Representative Paul Ryan at the Democratic National Convention (an effort that was, as President Obama might say, above Sister Simone’s pay grade), the Sisters of Life are growing, often attracting new recruits among highly educated and accomplished professional women.  [I wonder how many vocations Sr. Simone’s group has had in the last few years.]

A few weeks ago, two Sisters of Life were stopped on a New York street by a man who, seeing their habits and imagining that all nuns think (and dress) alike, rushed up and asked the sisters if they, too, weren’t proud of Sister Simone. The two sisters politely explained why they were emphatically not proud of Sister Simone and took the opportunity to explain the Church’s pro-life teaching, which Sister Simone had declined to endorse in Charlotte when pressed by a reporter.  [Remember that?  Go HERE.]

A small vignette, you might say. But Sister Simone’s 15 minutes of fame, which were the culmination of a series of distortions and plain mistruths advanced by “progressive” Catholics [usually pro-abortion] for months, seem now to have been something of a clarifying moment. And those two Sisters of Life in New York aren’t the only ones willing to explain, politely but firmly, that Sister Simone, Catholic University’s Stephen Schneck, and others in the Obama Amen Chorus are severely misrepresenting Catholic social doctrine, both in general and in their specific attacks on vice-presidential candidate Ryan.

[… he brings in Bp. Paprocki’s Red Mass talk in Green Bay and expands… we will cut to the end.]

As for those who play the Ayn Rand card in their attack on Paul Ryan, Bishop Paprocki had a few words of counsel:

The National Catholic Reporter columnist Michael Sean Winters has accused Mr. Ryan of “libertarianism” which he describes as a “heresy,” [pffft] since he sees it as being at odds with Christ’s admonition that we will be judged by how we care for the least of our brothers. Surely, Ryan does stress individual responsibility — which, not coincidentally, is a strong theme in Catholic social teaching — but Ryan’s proposed budget is hardly libertarian. That is, it is hardly libertarian to publicly guarantee the existing Medicare program for those who are 55 years of age or older, and to propose a government sponsored voucher program, in which citizens would receive $8,000 adjusted for inflation in the form of a voucher for the purchase of insurance. This is hardly the proposal of one who believes that all individuals should simply fend for themselves and that the government has no role in helping to ensure their well-being.

Bishops Paprocki’s purpose, it should be emphasized, was not to endorse the Ryan budget, which he explicitly stated was not within his remit. His purpose was to clear the air of the thick fog of obfuscation (and, in Sister Simone Campbell’s case, disinformation) that has befouled the Catholic debate during the 2012 campaign. That, in doing so, the lawyer-bishop whose cathedral is a few blocks from Abraham Lincoln’s old law firm might have given the boys in the back room in Boston a much more refined way of discussing personal responsibility and the economy: Well, that was an unintended bonus — but one that demonstrates that the Catholic Left has no monopoly on the Church’s social doctrine, its presentation, and its application.

Read the rest over there.

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19 Responses to Weigel on the Nuns on the Bus v Real Nuns

  1. AvantiBev says:

    “being at odds with Christ’s admonition that we will be judged by how we care for the least of our brothers”

    Yeah, we have been doing such a bang up job of that caring with each guv program and expansions of same that we have had since the Great Society of my childhood. So now da faderless yutes of Chi town blow each other away and my alma mater, the great NU, had to have a moment of silence for an Evanston, IL black teen gunned down his offence having been looking like a member of the shooter’s rival gang.

    But don’t worry, we show we CARE by sending those checks as long as dad doesn’t stick around, taxing and regulating business owners til they close or move their production offshore, and making workers such as I reflect on what chumps we have been! I should have been out there humping and bumping and birthing bastards. Obama phones for all.

    As of yesterday, senior citizens who are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge will cause a fine to be imposed on that hospital. Gee, I guess the least of these includes those 70 and 80 year olds who die while waiting for PERMISSION to re-enter for treatment!!

    Stop please. Your government CARING is KILLING us – young and old.

  2. rtjl says:

    Two days ago I attended the annual dinner of our local pro-life organization at which two of the Sisters of Life were speaking. They were completely and unequivocally orthodox and completely firm in their commitment to the gospel of life. They were blunt and forthright in their speech with no hidden agenda or double speak. What you see is what you get. But they were also joyful, exuberant, generous and charitable – even towards those with whom they completely disagree. I have been supporting the Sisters, financially and spiritually, as generously as I can for several years. After hearing them speak I will be seeking ways to double my financial support. If you don’t already know about the sisters, please take the time to find out about them. http://www.sistersoflife.org/

  3. wmeyer says:

    Yeah, we have been doing such a bang up job of that caring with each guv program and expansions of same that we have had since the Great Society of my childhood.

    Yeah, ever so much better than could be accomplished through subsidiarity and charity, of all things. All good things flow from guvmint, after all. We just have to remember to bow and say thank you, being mere chattel of the state.

  4. Christine says:

    The Sisters of Life seem like an amazing group of women. May God continue to bless their order and increase vocations!

  5. JKnott says:

    “The Sisters of Life are wholly orthodox and wear the kind of modernized (and in their case, quite beautiful) religious habit envisioned by the Second Vatican Council.”

    Vatican II never “envisioned” a “kind of modernized” habit. What an absolutely ridicuous statement.
    Some Carmelite communities of women and some communities of the Sisters of the Visitation that I know of, (probably many more) voted to keep the original habit design by the hands of their founders and foundresses. In this case St Teresa and St Jane de Chantal and St Francis de Sales. The story goes that St Francis de Sales actually helped arrange the folds in the veil which is the same pattern that is used to make the nun’s veils today. At least for those who chose not to go to a ‘uniform’.
    Vatican II asked the religious to go back to the origin of their charism and ensure it continues as envisioned. Funny thing, people love the nuns who have kept the original habits of their founders.
    So do today’s “modernized” young vocations.

  6. rtjl says:

    “Vatican II asked the religious to go back to the origin of their charism and ensure it continues as envisioned. Funny thing, people love the nuns who have kept the original habits of their founders.”

    Well – seeing as the Sisters of Life are currently living right at their point of origin, original habit of their founders and all, that is exactly what they are doing. And in fact their habit is quite distinctive and quite beautiful.

  7. Tradster says:

    I fail to understand why we continue to dignify the dissident leftists as being “the Catholic Left”. It is a contradiction of terms that makes as much sense as saying “the Catholic Methodists”. Either a person is Catholic or he is a liberal. A faithful Catholic cannot be both.

  8. Gail F says:

    We’ve got our own Nuns on the Bus in Ohio now! I know, I know, it’s SO last season:

    http://cincinnati.com/blogs/politics/2012/10/02/holy-rollers-nuns-on-a-bus-support-social-services/

  9. scotus says:

    [I wonder how many vocations Sr. Simone’s group has had in the last few years.]
    Which order does Sr Simone belong to?

    Elizabeth Scalia has news about the number of vocations received by different orders of nuns:
    Nun News for Autumn 2012
    Is Sr Simone’s order mentioned?

  10. Horatius says:

    The Sisters of Life all wear a full habit. I have no idea what the writer is referring to, at all. The habit was designed for the order by an English maker of fine clothes, and a Catholic. It is quite beautiful.

    The Sisters are growing in number by leaps and bounds. They are utterly wonderful, and I miss seeing them.

  11. frjim4321 says:

    …the Catholic Left has no monopoly on the Church’s social doctrine, its presentation, and its application…

    Nor does the Catholic Right, to be sure.

    If Weigel was quoting Paprocki’s homily it sure seemed like the bishop was arguing policy points in such a way to begin crossing the line into partisanship.

    A person can’t avoid being partisan just by saying “I’m not being partisan.”

  12. Faith says:

    On a talk show, I heard a generalization that I hope isn’t true. “The Bishops will vote republican. The nuns will vote democrat.”

  13. JKnott says:

    Yes, sorry about being unclear in my comment. The Sisters of Life have a beautiful traditional habit which I think Mother Assumpta of the Dominicans helped to design with an obvious purpose to maintain tradition. I wasn’t speaking about them because they are a new order.

    The point of reference was to George Weigel’s interpretation that Vatican II back in the 60’s wanted religious to modernize their habits. That is simply untrue. It is just one of the many spirit of Vat II myths. Many religious kept their founding habits and are now getting good and young vocations.

  14. TMKent says:

    I believe this may be what Mr. Weigel is talking about. There is no doubt that some older habits were were neither simple nor healthy.

    DECREE ON
    THE ADAPTATION AND RENEWAL OF RELIGIOUS LIFE
    PERFECTAE CARITATIS
    PROCLAIMED BY HIS HOLINESS
    POPE PAUL VI
    ON OCTOBER 28, 1965
    17. The religious habit, an outward mark of consecration to God, should be simple and modest, poor and at the same becoming. In addition it must meet the requirements of health and be suited to the circumstances of time and place and to the needs of the ministry involved. The habits of both men and women religious which do not conform to these norms must be changed.

  15. JacobWall says:

    Look at the Sisters of Life web site:
    http://www.sistersoflife.org

    Look at their Prayer Life page:
    http://www.sistersoflife.org/about-the-sisters-of-life/prayer-life

    “Four hours a day are spent in common prayer. Sisters also spend time each day in spiritual reading. All the convents reserve one day a week and one Sunday a month as prayer days spent in silence with extended hours of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.”

    That’s only part of it. I looked at the LCWR page once and at a page of supposed nuns associated with their kind of view; no mention of prayer life, let a lone 4 hours a day, or reserved prayer days. This makes a difference.

    Habits are important. So are habits. (If you understand what I mean.) I can’t back this with any knowledge whatsoever, but I suspect that a big part of what went wrong with the Sr. Simone type is the loss of daily prayer as a central part of religious life. What came first, the loss of prayer or the loss of habits? Perhaps someone who knows more can comment on this.

  16. Pingback: Subsidiarity Padre Pio New Evangelization Jack McKeon Josh Horn | Big Pulpit

  17. Athelstan says:

    “…and wear the kind of modernized (and in their case, quite beautiful) religious habit envisioned by the Second Vatican Council. ”

    TMKent is no doubt correct that Weigel is thinking of Perfectae Caritas 17 here.

    And yet, it’s a strange inclusion in his essay here. When habits get mentioned in discussions like these, it’s usually just a simple dichotomy between having them (the traditionalist and conservative position) or not having them (liberals).

    But I think what George is up to here is a case of going out of his way to stake out Vatican II as the high ground, and to do it in such a way as to distinguish himself from not just the liberals, but from the traditionalists as well. It’s something of a pattern in his writing.

    While it’s true that a few habits of the old days were unusually ornate, the reality is that the Sisters of Life have a habit that would not have looked out of place in the “preconciliar” Church, so to me it seems a distinction without a difference. There *are * areas where even conservative CMSWR orders still diverge from the pre-conciliar traditions, some of them good (better psychological formation, education), and some of them not so good (loss of traditional sacraments and office). But the question of habits really is not one of them.

  18. “What came first, the loss of prayer or the loss of habits?”

    I don’t know, and it may differ from order to order. But I’m reminded of the bishop who said that whenever he had to call in a priest who’d gotten into “trouble”, the first thing he always asked him was, “When did you stop praying your daily Office?”

  19. acardnal says:

    Henry Edwards, I have heard the same comment made by the late Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon, S.J. when counseling priests who were thinking of leaving the order or were in “trouble”. His first recommendation to them was to start praying the Office again.