Where in the world is Sr. Joan?
For a while I have been wondering where Sr. Joan Chittister has been. Shouldn’t she be back in Egypt again, helping the Egyptians to sort out there problems? Shouldn’t she have been at the recent LCWR assembly rallying the sisters against the evil CDF?
She has finally surfaced.
An alert reader find someone from her on the website of perennial agitator Richard Sipe. Sr. Joan is going to have a teleconference! No, really!
Emphases mine as are comments. I am not making this up.
August 22, 2013
TO ALL OF THOSE WHO HOPE FOR REFORM WHICH AT THIS MOMENT SEEMS TANTALIZINGLY CLOSE, AND YET AT THE SAME TIME FAR TOO FAR AWAY: THE QUESTION IS WHAT CAN WE DO AT THIS TIME TO BRING THIS NEED AND URGENCY TO CONSCIOUSNESS AT THE LEVEL OF THE PAPACY ITSELF?
For the first time in years, reform-minded Catholics [HEY! I’me one of those! Though I suspect my idea of “reform” and hers might diverge a little.] find themselves at a moment of opportunity, a time that could well begin again the kind of church renewal Vatican II heralded for all the world to see. [I suspect Sr. Joan does not have a clue about what the Second Vatican Council actually called for in its documents.]
Bogged down by restorationist papacies for years, [Oooo!] the church has lurched between a deep-seated vision of renewal and the continuing shadow of 19c authoritarianism, between the kind of scandals authoritarianism breeds and the steady stream of defections they carried in their wake. [Lemme get this straight. It was authoritarianism that has caused all the problems?]
The Traditionalist papacy maintained the trappings of a medieval church and became more and more monarchical by the year [Huh? On which planet did that happen?] while the church of the people [Get that? “the church of the people” pitted against the “hierarchical” Church. This is an indication that Sr. Joan has either not read or has read and not understood Lumen gentium.] clung to the call of Vatican II [What a vague, empty phrase.] and worked and prayed for the conversion of the institution that could make it possible. [Again, people v. institution.] You know the truth of all of that because you are it. [Sounds like gnosticism.] You are the American voice of a church in exile groaning for new life. With the election of Jorge Bergoglio as the simple Pope Francis, [The “simple” Pope Francis? That is the one thing that Pope Francis is not.] it is possible that the time of listening has finally come. If we can possibly get his ear.
This week I got a phone call that I have been waiting for, for years. Rene Reid, a member of one of our Vatican II groups [What could those be, I wonder.] called to ask me whether or not I thought that it might not be more effective if her group collected the concerns of multiple groups and wrote a common letter to present to Pope Francis at the first meeting of his new advisory Council of Cardinals in October. I agreed to write my answer to all of you: I sincerely believe that until we raise a common voice we will not only not be heard, we will not even be listened to in the light of larger issues and larger groups, all clamoring for attention. By this I do not suggest the collapsing of reform groups into one agenda or one leadership. [HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!]
On the contrary. Every agenda being pursued by church groups in this country shines, as far as I can see, a valid and enlightening laser beam [A “valid” laser beam?] on the effects of bad theology [Like, perhaps, what the LCWR is into?] or poor church administration in a modern world. This work cannot be bartered after all these years of study, research and compilation of materials. These groups are our experts on multiple subjects and must, I think, be encouraged to feed the rest of us with the background material we need to understand the problems and address the answers plainly and persuasively. [Good luck.] The work they have done, are doing, cannot be lost. Nor do I think that we should sacrifice the leadership of each group to some kind of super-group. I am not suggesting any particular format or organizational structure. [The second time she mentions that.]
But I do think that our leaders should model together another way of being church. [buzzzzzz] Without competition, without distrust, without control. Instead, we need to raise a common voice on a single issue—the immediate need for the genuine renewal of the church.
The problem is that we can’t get anyone to take seriously the most serious issues in the church because they have yet to take the Reform of the institution itself seriously. [I think there is a church for them out there, now that I think about it.] And so we go on as if transparency, lay participation, finances, the women’s issue, authority, sexual abuse, the genderization of the church, [Good grief.] the nature of the episcopacy, the right to the sacraments and a host of others will not eventually destroy the church no matter how much good work we do. A church that refuses to take the Gospel as its guide on these topics rather than canons that are designed to prop up the structures that spawn them cannot possibly really preach Jesus. [ROFL! Yep, there’s a “church” for them out there. They could become, perhaps, Lutherans or Anglicans. Reason #3 for Romanorum coetibus!]
My hope is that by speaking out together–a strong chorus of calls for Reform–we can provide a common, a clear, a strong and ongoing voice for the yet incomplete vision of Vatican II. [I suggest they start by reading Lumen gentium.] My hope is that by putting all of our petitions in the same envelope we may actually visualize the breadth and depth of this movement more effectively than any amount of words can do. My hope is that in our desire to be heard on particular issues—all of them important–we do not lose the strength of our common voice by reducing it to a whisper. The purpose of this letter is simply, as Sr. Thea Bowman loved to say, to encourage the Church in one great lusty and full-bodied voice to say “AMEN” together to a new beginning.
Joan Chittister, OSB
Note: The first teleconference call is set for Wednesday, September 4th, at 10:00 A.M. eastern time. The phone number to call is 712-432-0080 and the code is 1031413. The purpose of the call is to find our common voice on a single issue that we, as Church organizations and reform groups, want to have delivered to Pope Francis. We are requesting to have our topic placed on the agenda of the October meeting which the pope has scheduled with his cardinal advisors. Along with it, we intend to include a summary of backup data gathered by all of the organizations who have resource information, initiatives, or petitions that have been gathered over the years. If you want to be a part of this special opportunity, please mark this date on your calendar and be on the call or have a representative from your group. Because we are a worldwide group, the time for the call is: U.S. eastern time: 10:00 A.M.; U.S. central time: 9:00 A.M.; U. S. mountain time: 8:00 A.M.; U. S. pacific time: 7:00 A.M.; U.K. time, Ireland time, and Italy time: 3:00 P.M.; Sydney, Australia time: midnight. There is no need to pre-announce your plan to be on the call. We will take a roll call at the start. And minutes will be provided to everyone afterwards. If you see that an individual or group has been left off of this list, please forward them this information and have them contact us to be included in the future.
I think a whole bunch of you readers out there, should get involved. Share your voice! Don’t allow yourselves to be repressed!
Work for Reform!