Here is something that I never thought I would write.
Fr. Z kudos to Jamie Manson of the National Schismatic Reporter.
One of Fishwrap‘s headliners, a darling of LCWR, the openly-lesbian, Margaret Farley-mentored Jamie Manson has sobered up about Pope Francis.
She has a piece in the Fishwrap today in which she tosses Francis under the bus. Be clear about this: she is wrong in her positions, but she is honest enough to state her case clearly and she sees accurately what is going on.
Context: she starts with the high hopes which the liberal, dissenting LCWR-ers had for Pope Francis, how jazzed they were at the odd comments João Card. Braz de Aviz (Prefect of Religious) made to the plenary meeting in Rome of the UISG. Then she gets into it:
There was hope this week that all this conjecture was accurate when Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Religious, told the sisters at the UISG meeting that the doctrinal congregation made its fateful decision without his knowledge and that it caused him “much pain.”
Less than a day later after his stunning admission, Cardinal Braz de Aviz was apparently taken to the doctrinal congregation’s woodshed. The Vatican quickly released a statement claiming that the media (namely, the report in NCR) had misinterpreted Braz de Aviz’s words and that Braz de Aviz and Müller “reaffirmed their common commitment to the renewal of Religious Life, and particularly to the Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR and the program of reform it requires, in accordance with the wishes of the Holy Father.”
[Watch…] The statement made two realities clear. First, as has typically been the case throughout the church’s history, the doctrinal congregation wields more power than any other congregation in the Curia. Second, Francis is more familiar with the saga between the doctrinal congregation and LCWR than some had hoped. [Yessiree! Jamie got it right.]
In a press conference the following day, Braz de Aviz claimed not to have seen this statement from the Vatican and affirmed NCR’s report as “precise.” He said the only idea that got lost in translation was his explanation of authority.
Braz de Aviz went on to reassert what Pope Francis had said earlier in the day about authority and obedience during his speech to the UISG.
“Christ and the church. The two have to be together. For some people, Christ is fine, but the church isn’t. You can’t separate the two,” the cardinal told the press.
Braz de Aviz was echoing Francis’ statement to women religious: “It is an absurd dichotomy to think of living with Jesus but without the church, of following Jesus outside of the church, of loving Jesus without loving the church.”
Francis has offered this idea more than once over the last few weeks, but when directed at women religious, as it was on Wednesday, it takes on a particular weight.
Then Jamie goes back into LaLa Land.
After the quote, above, she blathers on with usual whiny line about men being mean to poor oppressed women, because they are women, etc. My main point here is that Manson understands that Pope Francis is – TA DA! – The Pope. He is not going to change the Church’s fundamental doctrines or disciplines, he is not going to cave in under the pressure of an interest group, no matter what their sex is, and he is not, for all his “humble” demeanor, a pushover. Francis is the Pope.
Jamie distorts what Pope Francis told the nuns, but… at least… she doesn’t try to sugar-coat his hard message. And make no mistake, there no way that the LCWR types are going to see themselves in Francis message, once they figure out what he actually said. Jamie got there first and for that she deserves credit.
At the end, both her recognition of who Francis is and her ideological hobby-horse come together in this succinct statement:
The look and feel of the papacy may be changing under Francis, but the fundamental understanding [of] magisterium’s authority and the requirement that the women obey the men, I’m afraid, will continue to stay the same.