National Schismatic Reporter starts to turn on the Pope – Francis and the LCWR

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.

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37 Responses to National Schismatic Reporter starts to turn on the Pope – Francis and the LCWR

  1. LarryW2LJ says:

    “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”

    Ummm …… don’t WE ALL have to obey? Men and women? I mean, if you want to remain a faithful Catholic, that is, you have to remain obedient to the Magisterium regardless of your gender. Why is this such a difficult concept to understand?

    Unless of course you want to follow in the footsteps of the first disobeyer. Personally, I’d rather not.

  2. VexillaRegis says:

    OH- -H!!
    OOOHHH

    This will be fun to watch – popcorn time!

    BTW, who is this Card. Braz de Aviz really? Not the sharpest knife in the drawer, or the opposite?

  3. Cantor says:

    There is, as always, an enormous difference between precise and accurate

  4. wmeyer says:

    “There have been high hopes for Pope Francis among those left spiritually bruised by the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.”

    Oh, wait… I may cry. Spiritually bruised, as opposed to those of us who have been battered by the wreckovation of churches, the abuses of the liturgy, and the travesties which pass for hymns in recent years.

    [BAM! Well done.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  5. Stumbler but trying says:

    “the requirement that the women obey the men, I’m afraid, will continue to stay the same.”

    What a sad and “empty of heart” statement. No wonder I never sense any depth of love or joy when I see the more liberal side of nuns. How one can relate to such a way of thinking is beyond me. If one refers to the Church as “just a bunch of men to obey,” no wonder they are so bitter, dry, and angry. Who can give birth to the faith and inspire others on to truth when one’s heart is not in it?
    I am glad Papa Francis used the word “zitella” as it is true in many ways if some of these sad, empty, angry women cannot offer but a husk for a heart.

  6. wmeyer says:

    Well, thank you, Fr. Z! And I cannot help but wonder whether Avlon writes or has written for one of the many soaps. The bathos is overwhelming.

  7. Christ-Bearer says:

    ‘What Francis and the doctrinal congregation may interpret as a “deviation from doctrine” or a “failure to obey” are really just the fruits of women religious fulfilling their vocation as a prophetic life form.’

    Finally admitting the LCWR are aliens sent to infiltrate the Church on Earth.

  8. jflare says:

    “Their intensely sacramental lives of service help clarify their priorities in their pursuits of justice and mercy.”

    I must say, this statement truly has me floored.
    I find it hard to believe that anyone in their crowd lives a sacramental life to any particular degree; I’m not convinced these ladies understand what a “sacrament” or a “sacramental” ARE. If she’d said “sacrificial” it might’ve at least made a little more sense, but as it is, their priorities seem badly skewed.
    I’m inclined to wonder whether they’ve every truthfully been properly catechized. [I am sure most of them were. I suspect they simply went off the rails. As the sisters used to teach - when these old sisters uses to teach - they taught children to avoid the company of bad friends. They sisters themselves did not and do not. They fell into serious errors over time, not over night.]

  9. Patti Day says:

    Am I being uncharitable to think that Card. Braz de Aviz is lacking a spine when he is speaks to the LCWR? [Perhaps. We don't know what he was thinking.]

  10. CrimsonCatholic says:

    Perhaps the greatest irony is that the Vatican is punishing women religious for failing to strictly adhere to doctrines that they have had no voice in developing and no role in shaping — precisely because they are women.

    I believe Mason missed the real irony, that the founders of the women religious groups that the LCWR is suppose to represent, has always believed in the Holy Church and adhered to the Truth. The LCWR no longer truly represent the women religious.

  11. tzard says:

    “Second, Francis is more familiar with the saga between the doctrinal congregation and LCWR than some had hoped.”

    Am I reading this right? To what end would someone hope *anyone* is ignorant of the situation. She should at least hope he had a different opinion or approach (delay by dialogue anyone?) – but to hope someone is ignorant of the truth – is only important if you’re not dealing in truth.

  12. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    When Fr. Z quoted about “the requirement that the women obey the men,” I was reminded of that Biblical ‘nomen’ which enjoys a rich Jewish (etc.) demonological elaboration, Lilith – especially as taken up by some feminists in the 1980s, by whom she is made the archetypal ‘heroine’ who ‘refused to submit to Adam’. Chrsit-Bearer quoting about “their vocation as a prophetic life form” gave this thought a new direction: are they taken to be the Pythias ‘prophetically’ ‘inhabited’ by and expressing such a feminist ‘Lilith’, or something like?

    It would seem to be the effect, whether it is the conscious intention or not…

  13. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Oops: ‘Christ-Bearer’, of course (with apologies for sloppy typing and proofreading)!

  14. robtbrown says:

    The NCR and the LCWR seems to be in a doctrinal eclipse.

  15. Traductora says:

    I never understood how anybody could have thought that Pope Francis was a “liberal.” If anything, I think he’s going to be more conservative in his moral and doctrinal positions, or at least more outspoken in stating them, than BXVI and certainly a whole lot more conservative than JPII across the board.

    He’s not particularly interested in liturgy, but I think he can be excused because the liturgy was in bad shape even before VII (I lived through it and can tell you that outside of a few churches, it was horrible and I never wanted to invite people to go to mass with me). But he realizes that what people are asking now is simply, Master, what must I do to be saved? That is, how should I live?

    I guess the good sisters don’t like the answer.

  16. McCall1981 says:

    @ Traductora
    I feel like Pope Francis hasnt really gotten around to moral issues yet (and hopefully he will) but I have been shocked in a good way by how strong he’s been on theological issues so far. Think of all the good things he’s said, like Christ is only found in the Church, Jesus is the only savior, the reality of the devil, sin and the need for confession, the list goes on. And when I remember he’s still only been Pope two months its amazing how strong he’s been on theological issues. Hopefully he’ll be this way on moral issues as well.

  17. pmullane says:

    “There have been high hopes for Pope Francis among those left spiritually bruised by the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI.”

    Give me a break, you’ve never read a word that the man wrote.

  18. jflare says:

    “I’m inclined to wonder whether they’ve every truthfully been properly catechized.”

    Hmm. Maybe I should clarify this remark a little.
    I assume that nuns take vows, possibly including poverty, definitely chastity. But those vows are not precisely sacramental in nature, at least, not to my knowledge. A nun arguably will not live a “sacramental” life to any greater degree than a lay person.

    They DO lead “sacrificial” lives, giving up on “goods” like husbands, biological children, wealth, sometimes careers. These are laudable and virtuous sacrifices.
    Yet Ms. Manson said “sacramental” lives. ..I almost began to wonder if Ms. Manson might be thinking that a woman could legitimately offer Mass or hear confessions. As Catholics, we do not believe women can be ordained, therefore, nuns cannot offer sacraments. Nor even formal blessings necessarily.

    So while I expect the nuns to have decent understanding of Catholic catechesis, I’m not so sure that Ms. Manson necessarily learned all she should have regarding the tenets of Catholic faith.

  19. shoofoolatte says:

    It looks to me like – as in all healthy family and marriages – there is some very valid tension and disagreement in the Church. It will be interesting to see how we grow, as a Church, through and with this tension. I love the way that Frances speaks of seeing authority as a way of serving. He certainly appears to know his own authority in this way. Cardinal Braz de Aviz is opening doors and windows when he insists that authority cannot be domination and that “obedience that becomes a copy of what the other person says infantilizes”. These words will do a lot to further the dialogue.

  20. dominic1955 says:

    No traditional spiritual writer would characterize obedience as a “copy” of what someone else says. So called “blind obedience” is not the issue, the Pope or the Church at large never expects such a thing from anyone. A healthy relationship sometimes has it’s really trying moments, but a good example would be along the lines of the story of St. Mary MacKillop and her “excommunication” rather than this dog and pony show with people like Sr. Schneiders and the leftists that dominate the leadership of the LCWR.

    When people, like some of these sisters, think they can hold, teach, promote, etc. things clearly contrary to Church teaching then it is not being heavy-handed to expect them to either get back to Catholicism or at least show real integrity and join some other group that is in line with what they think is “true”.

  21. robtbrown says:

    shoofoolatte says:
    It looks to me like – as in all healthy family and marriages – there is some very valid tension and disagreement in the Church.

    Keeping with the marriage comparison, the sisters’ dissent seems to me like adultery.

    It will be interesting to see how we grow, as a Church, through and with this tension. I love the way that Frances speaks of seeing authority as a way of serving. He certainly appears to know his own authority in this way. Cardinal Braz de Aviz is opening doors and windows when he insists that authority cannot be domination and that “obedience that becomes a copy of what the other person says infantilizes”. These words will do a lot to further the dialogue.

    The first question in such a dialogue is: “Does someone believe that the Church teaches by Divine Authority or not?”

  22. shoofoolatte says:

    So what should we do with these troublesome women? Kick them out? Burn them at the stake? The nuns that I know personally (working with migrant farm workers in Central Florida) love the Church and her sacraments. They would never leave. [You have set up ridiculous alternatives here.]

    How would that play out in history – kicking the nuns out? It’s too weird to even imagine.

    If the nuns are to be reformed, it seems to me that that reform must come from within their own orders. If they are in error, then they must be able to see that error. [And they have to be told what the errors are. That is what is being done. Of course they have to carry out the reform from within. Good grief.] So far, the nuns that I know sincerely believe that they are following Christ as he is revealed to them through the Church, messy as it all is.

  23. Cathy says:

    Shoofoolatte, perhaps the question is whether or not reform within their orders is possible. The recent Apostolic Visitation was not met with a desire to show themselves to the Church, but was extremely defensive from the get go. All this leads me to think is that they know well that the Church could not approve their direction in the life of the Church, and would make necessary reform a requirement. Radical feminism is rooted in mysandry and morphs into radical misogyny. Not only are men despised, but, in an odd way, the women who would surrender authority to them are despised as well. I’m guessing this is why US orders of women’s religious are currently in two separate groups – LCWR and CMSWR. My question would be, are any of the LCWR represented orders willing to cross over to CMSWR.

  24. shoofoolatte says:

    We’ll see, Cathy. The sisters that I know are loving women, and open to change.

  25. acardnal says:

    shoofoolatte,
    Please search the various postings by good Fr. Z on the LCWR and the “nuns on the bus” here on this site. The unfaithfulness to Catholic teaching by many of its members are real – particularly their reluctance to oppose abortion! Then there is their belief in ordination of women, gay “marriage”, New Age presenters at their most recent convention, etc. Do some research and, hopefully, you will come to realize what two Popes and the CDF have: they need reformation or perhaps lose their canonical status. Being “loving” and being “nice” does not get one into heaven nor does “sincerely believing that they are following Christ” when they are sincerely in error according to the CDF.

  26. dominic1955 says:

    Also, it might be that the nuns she knows aren’t in the same boat as the ones deserving of criticism. If they help the poor and are orthodox-absolutely wonderful and then they aren’t the ones getting the criticism.

  27. I’m starting to get the impression that one day, on the front page of the NSR, will be a headline:

    “Pope is Catholic. Progressives Stunned”

    I’m thinking they were banking too much on the order he belongs to having had an effect on him that it didn’t. Thinking Francis is more from the Fessio/Pacwa side of the Company than the Berrigan/Donceel/Murray/et al wackjob side.

  28. shoofoolatte says:

    I’ll bet we’re all going to be surprised with where Francis takes us. [Especially if you are liberal.]

  29. robtbrown says:

    shoofoolatte says:
    10 May 2013 at 11:58 am

    So what should we do with these troublesome women? Kick them out? Burn them at the stake? The nuns that I know personally (working with migrant farm workers in Central Florida) love the Church and her sacraments. They would never leave.

    How would that play out in history – kicking the nuns out? It’s too weird to even imagine.

    I don’t know what you mean by “kicking the nuns out”. They own their own property, not the Vatican, nor a diocese. In many cases, their houses are on the way to extinction–aging community and almost no vocations. Will the last one to leave please turn out the lights?

    I suggest you ask those sisters whom you know what the average age of their community is.

    Re your question: Those orders can lose their canonical status as religious institutes, in which case they wouldn’t even have the status of the CYO.

    So far, the nuns that I know sincerely believe that they are following Christ as he is revealed to them through the Church, messy as it all is.

    If they are advocates of women priests and are pro abortion, then it is not being revealed to them by Christ through His Church.

    The sisters that I know are loving women, and open to change.

    What do you mean by change? Are they open to Latin liturgy–that would certainly be a change.

  30. robtbrown says:

    Shoofoolate,

    Re loving sisters:

    http://littlesistersofthepoor.org/

  31. shoofoolatte says:

    Robtbrown, I love the little sisters of the poor! They took care of my aunt the last few years of her life and I remember so fondly the peace of their courtyard when we visited (Louisville KY). My father used to make a big deal about bringing them (the sisters) a case of whiskey every Christmas.

    I know several sisters from different denominations. They are all getting up in age. The one I know best is about 60 years old and works at a local (Marianist) retreat center, helping to lead retreats, spiritual counseling etc. I don’t think that she is opposed to a Latin Mass, but on Sundays when she is not needed at the retreat center, she attends Mass at an Orthodox Church. I consider her a good friend and a woman with much integrity. I know that she would be willing to change if she thought there was some “error” or fault in her spirituality. Of course, she is opposed to abortion. I don’t know her thoughts on women’s ordination but I’m fairly certain that she has no such aspirations herself.

    With that, I think I need to be on my way. I don’t understand the energy or zeal of you folks here, but I wish you all well. I love our new pope, Francis, and have much faith and hope in his ability to show us our unity in Christ and the one true Church.

  32. acardnal says:

    shoofoolatte,
    why does the Marianist sister you mention attend Mass at an [Eastern] Orthodox church?? Is there no Catholic Mass at the Marian Retreat Center or a nearby Catholic parish?

  33. shoofoolatte says:

    I’m not sure, Acardnal. Aren’t there Orthodox communities that are recognized by Rome? And I realized that it’s not a Marianist retreat house where she works, but a Passionist one (Our Lady of Florida Retreat Center, North Palm Beach FL). I’ll have to ask her, but I don’t think she is outside of the lines. Forgive me for not knowing all the rules. She is not a Passionist herself, but a Sinsinawa Dominican sister. [Good grief. One of them?]

    Thinking more about the Little Sisters of the Poor, I realize how humble that they are in their service — how they literally disappear — in their vocations. The same with many of the contemplative orders. But I don’t think that the women who are “out there” in the communities are less holy, just different. However, I do think that the Pope is onto something with his warnings against “careerism” – and not just for the nuns, but for all of us. Perhaps, though, especially for religious in communities who do not need to worry about providing for families – though they do need to provide for themselves. How much does the “individualism” of our culture play into this?

    Once again, I like the way that Francis is leading us toward simpler, more holy lives. We may even get over our financial insecurities and tribal based fears! [?!? Okay... are you impressed by the spirit of poverty Francis is manifesting by riding in a Volkswagen Phaeton? You might not know the model, since it isn't in the USA. Choosing to live in Santa Marta? That has required an expensive makeover and the hiring of lots more staff....]

  34. acardnal says:

    scoofoolatte,
    Aaaahh…..being a Sinsinawa Dominican explains much. Fr. Z has posted on them elsewhere.

    The Eastern Orthodox churches (not to be confused with Eastern Rite Catholic Churches) are NOT in FULL communion with the Catholic Church despite having valid sacraments. Under normal circumstances, Catholics should not receive the Sacraments from Orthodox churches. Under special circumstances and unless there is no other practical way to receive the Eucharist, a Catholic may receive at an Orthodox church.

    Canon 844, #2 addresses this:
    §2. “Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.”

    I find it difficult to believe that the sister you mention cannot attend a Catholic parish in North Palm Beach, Florida area!

  35. robtbrown says:

    Shoofoolatte,

    1. What do you mean by “tribal fears”?

    2. It’s not a matter of sisters who are “out there in the community”–that is a matter between them and their religious community. Rather it’s a question whether they are aligning themselves with issues like advocating women’s priesthood or abortion on demand.

  36. VexillaRegis says:

    Dear F. Z, people don’t believe me when I try to tell them that Pope Frances’ new living arrangements cost alot more the before and that he orded a new simpler chasuble (and dalmatics) instead of using vestments from the existing wardrobe – not exactly thrifty! I haven’t been able to find anything online about this. Since you now have mentioned it yourself in a comment, is it possible that you could make a separate blog post about this? Just for our information. Thank you!
    The new Pope is indeed a puzzling man :-)

  37. Skylarke says:

    I really would like to have the Pope to speak ex cathedra and declare abortion a mortal sin. That would end all this silly debate from Catholics trying to justify it.