Sr. Joan’s moral equivalence between Archbp. Sartain’s view of Mary and Islamic “Fulla” doll.

When an organization needs to deflect or obfuscate or change the subject (because things are going wrong), it uses surrogates.

Does Sr. Joan Chittister speak for the LCWR? Is she one of their surrogates? Sr. Zinn at the LCWR should clarify if Sr. Joan is their surrogate.

On 30 August at Fishwrap (the National Schismatic Reporter), Sr. Joan had an attack op-ed piece – Hierarchy’s Mary is vastly differs from ours – aimed at Archbishop Sartain.

But wait! There’s more.

The piece you see at Fishwrap now is not the version that was originally posted.  After a few hours, Fishwrap replaced Sr. Joan’s piece with a bowdlerized version.

What did Sr. Joan originally write about Archbishop Sartain and Mary?

Sr. Joan suggested that Archbp. Sartain is a kind of Catholic mullah with an Islamic, repressive view of women.

She attacked Archbishop Sartain for the sermon that he gave at the LCWR assembly in which he presented an image of Mary. He described Mary as quiet and docile. Sr. Joan, on the other hand, draws a moral equivalence between Sartain’s view of the Blessed Virgin Mary with “the new Islamic Fulla doll, the Barbie doll of Islam”. I am not making this up.

The idea is that the Islamic ideal for women is reflected in the Fulla doll.  They are supposed to be docile and domestic.  Get it?

She must have been pretty angry at Archbp. Sartain to have made that Islamic comparison.  Or perhaps she had some directions from the LCWR.  In any event, NSR was originally willing to post it.  Originally.  Then the original was replaced by expurgated version that eliminated the Islamic references.

Instead, Sr. Joan presents a Mary as liberated, avoiding men, even pushy with the angel of the Annunciation.  Happily Miley Cyrus seemed to “like” the guy she embarrassed herself with the other night on TV, or Sr. Joan might have used her as her model in contrast to Archbp. Sartain’s traditional view (aka the Islamic Fulla Doll).

If you go now to the site of the NSR, you will find that her Islamic comparison has been entirely expunged from her piece.   But it was there.

CLICK FOR A LARGER VERSION

Here (right) is the screenshot from my search for the original version, which I pulled up from a cache. Click for a larger version.

Here is the text of her piece:

Hierarchy’s Mary is vastly differs from ours
Joan Chittister | Aug. 30, 2013

Two things happened in August that, though apparently unrelated, had a great deal in common. First, the new Islamic Fulla doll, the Barbie doll of Islam, was released, dressed in hijab and abaya — a clear image of the ideal Muslim woman who spends her time “mostly shopping, spending time with her friends, cooking, reading, and praying.”

The second was Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain’s homily to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious’ annual assembly.

Both of these events emphasized the submission of women to the dictates of religion as defined by men, whether supported by the Scriptures of either religion or not. Both the doll and the homily communicate some clear, if indirect, points. Neither, we know now, will be inconsequential in a society where communication is the order of the day.

One of the major scientific discoveries of the 20th century, for instance, revolves around the role played by communication in stressful situations — the notion that a person’s communication style can soften or harden conflict depending on how it is used; the idea that simply the amount of information supplied in crucial situations effect the tone, the efficacy and the outcome of negotiations. As a result of those findings, whole corporations changed their processes of decision-making and dissemination of information.

So with all those things in mind, people waited for information about the progress of the Vatican visitation of the LCWR from this year’s gathering in Orlando, Fla. Given the fact that none was forthcoming, people drew their own conclusions.

I, on the other hand, went for the one piece of data the assembly managed to produce on the subject, the homily Sartain gave to the membership. And a clear piece of communication it was.

In this homily, Mary is “quiet,” “docile,” submits herself over and has no “desire or a need to figure things out … or resolve them to her own personal satisfaction.” There was, we’re told here, no “no” or “mine” in her. The Mary of this homily is a passive receptacle of what she understands to be the Word of God.

Well, maybe. But it might be good to think about all that a bit in the light of the other things we also know about Mary.

The purpose of this column is not to parse what the bishop said about Mary on the Feast of the Assumption. I prefer instead to look at what he did not say about her because, it seems to me, what he left out of that homily says just as much about what is expected of women in the Catholic church as Fulla dolls communicate the desires of many Muslims for the place of women in Islam.

For instance, Mary answers the angel’s declaration to her by questioning it. An angel! Someone of much higher rank, it would seem, than even apostolic delegates, and only then with a “Be-it-done-unto-me” response to a situation to which, apparently, “no” was a viable answer. Otherwise, why bother to have the conversation?

Even more important, perhaps, is the awareness that despite the seriousness — even the danger — of her situation, Mary did not go to any man — to the high priests of the temple, the local rabbi, her father or even Joseph — for directions about what to do next. She went to another woman for the wisdom she needed and followed that instead. No visitations here.

In another instance, at the wedding feast at Cana, Mary gives her own set of apostolic orders to no less than Jesus himself as well as to the wait staff, as in, “Go and do what he tells you.”

Mary herself questioned the propriety of what Jesus was doing in the temple with the elders and later is part of a crowd of family and friends who are even concerned that Jesus may be, as the Irish would say, “losing the run of himself.”

And finally, if anyone wants to know just how influential and important a figure Mary was to the development of the early church, the very idea of her being part of the gathering of apostles on Pentecost when each of them is anointed into discipleship by the Holy Spirit ought to be enough to dispel the notion that what we have here is a woman without a strong sense of self.

No, the Mary not mentioned in this homily on the Assumption was a woman not intimidated into the Incarnation, not beholden to male answers, not shy about giving directions about what should be done, not without a high sense of personal responsibility, and not one bit in doubt about her place in the hierarchy of the church.

Those, I think, are precisely the qualities we see in women in our own time that make for what some parts of the church are now calling “radical feminism.”

From where I stand, that is a sad misuse of language, a kind of Fulla doll theology and an even sadder case of spiritual blindness.

We know what Sr. Joan really thinks. I think we have the right to know what sort of surrogate role she is playing for the LCWR.

I’ve got to give some credit to the Fishwrap this time.  Even they had the good sense not to public that embarrassing twaddle.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

FacebookEmailPinterestGoogle GmailShare/Bookmark

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Our Catholic Identity, Women Religious and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Sr. Joan’s moral equivalence between Archbp. Sartain’s view of Mary and Islamic “Fulla” doll.

  1. Cantor says:

    Even more important, perhaps, is the awareness that despite the seriousness — even the danger — of her situation, Mary did not go to any man — to the high priests of the temple, the local rabbi, her father or even Joseph — for directions about what to do next. She went to another woman for the wisdom she needed and followed that instead. No visitations here.

    Excuse me, but wasn’t that THE Visitation? And, come to think of it, wasn’t it Mary who sought out the advice of somebody older and wiser than she, rather than waiting around for somebody to have to come to her?

  2. MikeM says:

    Once, upon seeing an article in a Catholic paper about some LCWR-type going on a tirade against “submitting to men,” an old nun (from a fantastic order) looked up and said in her slightly broken English, sounding a bit perplexed, “But… Jesus was man, no?”

  3. Bruce Wayne says:

    If I can find a key phrase in this article to give a glimpse of just why she is so insane I think it may be: “not beholden to male answers.” That answers can have a sex is in itself enough indication that she is seriously mentally ill. I am not sure what the proper diagnostic term is. Her kind have drilled into me that there is a mental disorder called “misogyny” or irrational hatred and fear of women. But I am not sure I have ever heard what the equivalent is towards men, is it not a p.c. malady worth admitting as real?

    Her suggestion is that women must never believe themselves subject by reason (or anywise) to “male answers.” So how do we (err I mean women) recognize these answers that we must be certain to avoid like the plague? Well, there is the rub, and why I think she is quite insane. Her article gives numerous examples derived from the life of Mary that anything directly communicated to a woman even by God through either His angels or his Son falls under the category of “male answers” to which the woman is not beholden, and certainly by extension anything ever said by any males at all. Now, ignoring the materialism (and sexually reductivist manner) of her views I just note the solipsism or self-referential nature of her stance. She is suggesting that the proper attitude of a woman towards the world is to subsist in such a self-absorbed and paranoid state of mind that even God is in the dock as a purveyor of “male answers.” And here I was thinking that she would be capable of NOT falling into the materialism of believing that the one God in three divine Persons, the esse subsistens, has a sex?

    To mis-appropriate Nicolaus Cusanus: she is both the center of the universe and its circumference revolving eternally around herself. This is likely pathological narcissism and paranoia.

  4. Bob B. says:

    First thing I noticed was that she obviously doesn’t want anyone to know she’s a “Sister” because it’s missing from the author portion of the article, which says a lot to me. Reading through her nonsense was depressing enough and she obviously played hooky from religion classes growing up (and afterwards), but did you notice the number and ferocity of the people commenting on the article? If anyone ever wanted to see how seriously un-catechized Catholics are, have them just scan through the responses and count the heresies.

  5. RafqasRoad says:

    Bruce,

    I believe the term you are looking for is ‘Misandry’.

    It would be very tempting to speculate upon the boomer/Builder/Federation Generation’s (especially re the Sr. at the centre of this article) tendency to cling onto relevance/power/’but… I…I…I…its all about me…what about the self…?’ mentality, especially concerning those of the heterodox side of the spectrum. It would appear that, even subconsciously, there exists amongst this demographic of a certain ideology an increasing level of desperation as their hippy, pot-fueled pipe-dreams go up in smoke – Gen X and latter generations waking up and beginning to see through the ’60′s and 70′s revolutionary haze. Additionally, in a desperate bid to remain ‘relevant’ and in order to continue challenging even reason and logic itself, they think up ever more outrageous theories. They are afraid of letting go of power, afraid of ceding it to the next generation, of handing over the baton they stole almost fifty years ago. As we the younger generation come up and become more educated concerning the things that matter, they see their little love-in experiment dissipating – blowing on the wind like so much dandelion down. The advent of the Internet allows us to go straight to the source – VII documents, Incyclicals, orthodox commentaries, early Church Fathers, Doctors of the Church and read for ourselves, clearing the scales from our eyes and helping us to escape the deception. Then there are the Priestly bloggers and dedicated lay Catholic evangelists (many from evangelical Protestant backgrounds as am I) who come to Holy Mother Church already possessing a love of Christ and dedication to the Word of god free of the revolution-think so fashionable in terms of scriptural interpretation that arose in the 60-s to the 80′s.

    Even deeper still across much of the boomer and builder demographic lies a very real fear of death – look up what the likes of Ray Kurzweil et al have to say. This is the true heart of the problem – ‘Four Last Things, anybody???

    Pray for the desperate and terrified of this generation that they will return to their senses before it is too late.

    Blessings,

    Soon to be ‘South Coast Catholic (Aussie Maronite).

  6. C N says:

    Mary herself questioned the propriety of what Jesus was doing in the temple with the elders and later is part of a crowd of family and friends who are even concerned that Jesus may be, as the Irish would say, “losing the run of himself.”

    If she is referring to Jesus staying in the temple with the elders when he was a child, how in the world could that be interpreted as Jesus “losing the run of himself?!” I hardly think learning and trying to spend some time with GOD and those who can teach you more about your faith is “losing the run” of anyone’s self.

    If this is not the passage being referenced, could someone please tell me what she is referring to, besides her own delusions?

    No, the Mary not mentioned in this homily on the Assumption was a woman not intimidated into the Incarnation, not beholden to male answers, not shy about giving directions about what should be done, not without a high sense of personal responsibility, and not one bit in doubt about her place in the hierarchy of the church.

    I think she forgets, as Bruce Wayne already stated, that her son and His Father are both men to whom Mary happily and humbly submitted. And of course she had a high sense of personal responsibility, she was raising the Son of GOD. She got the rest of that paragraph right I think, starting after her “male answers” comment, although not in the context she thinks. She forgets the essential supportive role us women have in the church: to pass on the faith, as Mary did, to comfort and provide spiritual strength as Mary did for Jesus as he died on the cross. Our role is to joyfully live and spread the faith that the (men and women) saints have studied and died for over the last 2000 years. To achieve all that we do need to “not [be] shy about giving directions about what should be done, not without a high sense of personal responsibility, and not one bit in doubt about her place in the hierarchy of the church.” She is just so misguided as to how this applies to her (and any Catholic woman’s) life. She forgets that women are capable of utilizing all of these traits without having to go against the Church.

    Sr. Joan makes me think of the book AA-1025 by Marie Carré. Trying to take down the church from the inside, one bad piece of theology at a time.

  7. JonPatrick says:

    I found this interesting:
    One of the major scientific discoveries of the 20th century, for instance, revolves around the role played by communication in stressful situations — the notion that a person’s communication style can soften or harden conflict depending on how it is used; the idea that simply the amount of information supplied in crucial situations effect the tone, the efficacy and the outcome of negotiations.

    Wow, those poor people in the 19th and earlier centuries that didn’t realize that the way you communicate can affect stressful situations – how did they ever manage? We are so much smarter now :)

  8. jaykay says:

    “…enough to dispel the notion that what we have here is a woman without a strong sense of self.”

    Yeah, a strong enough sense of self to know her exact position: “Because he hath regarded the humility of his handmaid…” But having a strong sense of self is of course not incompatible with humility, as these sisters ought to know from the countless examples of holy women in the history of their own communities.

    They have replaced that with a strong sense of I, me, myself.

  9. NoTambourines says:

    Mothership Conference of Women Religious…

  10. Joseph-Mary says:

    These sorts of women have no idea about who and what Our Lady is—that humble handmaid of the Lord who is the most powerful of intercessors.

  11. Supertradmum says:

    I think the nun is forgetting that Mary is the only person conceived without Original Sin. How dare she compare the rest of us with this Singular Vessel of Devotion? She can look up the meaning of that title.

    Also, her comparisons with the good Bishop’s talk do not hold up to scrutiny. Sister is merely spilling out her own hatred of the hierarchy of the Church, one set up by God in the Old Testament, and continued by His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ in the New Testament.

    On a side note, this Barbie is better than the black hijab Barbies. Sister missed those in her research for this talk, I guess……………….http://www.upliftmagazine.com/uplift/wp-content/uploads/EmelBarbie.jpg

  12. Supertradmum says:

    PS as a nun, should I write an article comparing her, she who is a Bride of Christ, with the Fulla Bridal Hijab Barbie? Hmmmm http://blogs.ocweekly.com/navelgazing/fulla_hijab-barbie.jpg

  13. Supertradmum says:

    oops I mean that she is a nun, not me…false modifier. I need a nap.

  14. Athelstan says:

    The NCR has, perhaps, moved quickly enough to head off Islamic criticisms (the main, if not only, motivation, I think) by rapidly recasting the essay on its website, but the real problem remains: In their pride, these women religious and their apologists at the NCR have replaced the Catholic faith with highly incompatible secular philosophies, and their pride will not allow them to admit the mistake. Pride is really the fatal sin here. And it is even harder for the old, in their pride, to admit such a mistake.

    What I most hope for, what I assume most of us hope for, is the repentance of these women religious, that they might abandon their error and have eternal life, and once again be instruments in gaining that life for others, too. “I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.” (Luke 15:7)

    But I see no prospect of that now, and the Church has done none of them favors by treating them so indulgently. It’s long past time for a sterner medicine. And that medicine, I’m afraid, is a demand for repentance on pain of dissolution of some of these orders, and, in some cases, excommunication. Gentler approaches have been tried, and they have failed. And the scandal to the faithful has only increased in the interim.

  15. Massachusetts Catholic says:

    Call me crazy, but I see a relationship between Sr. Joan and Miley Cyrus. Each has lived in a bubble for so long she has lost the sense of what she is really saying and doing and how others might see it. They are “celebrities” who feel they must keep pushing the envelop to stay relevant. At least Miley must have gotten a reality check by reading and seeing the backlash at her self-indulgent behavior. Sr. Joan hasn’t yet answered the wake-up call.

  16. OrthodoxChick says:

    We can dissect Sr. Joan’s personal motivations in this article, but I think that part and parcel of doing so requires us to consider the bigger picture. Her personal agenda to change the Church from within is being used against her and all of us. Remember that the LCWR bus tour was funded by a Soros-owned entity. Make no mistake about it. The Catholic Church has no place in the New World Order. The main point of Sr. Joan’s article is to lump Magisterium-loyal Catholics into the same category as extremist/jihadist Muslims. In other words, we’re as evil as they are. Once the world at large recognizes “M.L.” Catholics as evil, then the world will not feel badly about ridding itself of them/us. It seems to be shaping up to be a situation in which the “enlightened” Catholics will be used to persecute their own Catholic brethren. And Sr. Joan begins by taking aim at Bishop Sartain! The Vatican really should come out and loudly and publicly back up their bishop and do something to publicly denounce Sr. Joan’s words, otherwise, it will be the start of the open season on the un-enlightened among the flock.

  17. The Egyptian says:

    without a high sense of personal responsibility, and not one bit in doubt about her place in the hierarchy of the church.

    an idea sister seems to have trouble with herself, no sense of personal responsibility what so ever, off to the Anglicans with her

  18. Jeannie_C says:

    Supertradmum beat me to one of my thoughts, concerning the fact that Mary was conceived without sin, so is such a singular human being we can’t possibly compare ourselves to her, but we can certainly work towards emulating her. My second point – Mary was brought up and preparing for marriage as a Jewish woman, taught to rein over her home in a role quite distinct from that of Joseph – no competition there, only complementarity. No conversation is worth having where our Blessed Mother is described as an ally with radical feminists. Submission is not a dirty word, in emptying ourselves of our own willfulness we open ourselves to being filled with the will of God.

  19. jmoran says:

    “And finally, if anyone wants to know just how influential and important a figure Mary was to the development of the early church, the very idea of her being part of the gathering of apostles on Pentecost when each of them is anointed into discipleship by the Holy Spirit ought to be enough to dispel the notion that what we have here is a woman without a strong sense of self.”
    This sentence makes it sound as though it were just the apostles and Mary in the upper room without any other disciples.

    And then Sister slips this in: “…and not one bit in doubt about her place in the hierarchy of the church.”
    Mary wasn’t in the hierarchy of the church.

    “Both of these events emphasized the submission of women to the dictates of religion as defined by men, …” When I read this I thought, I wonder what church Sister belongs to? Just makes me sad.

  20. Jeannie_C says:

    jmoran:

    What church does Sister belong to? The one she has founded in her own mind.

  21. Gail F says:

    Power power power, men men men. There. I wrote her next column for her.

  22. Indulgentiam says:

    “Hierarchy’s Mary is vastly differs from ours”
    Her opening salvo says it all. She is a self proclaimed heretic. Plus I think she needs a better editor.

  23. gracie says:

    I’m always a bit troubled by people who claim to know what Mary was *really* like. We know she said “yes” to God, we have a few snapshots of her and some beautiful quotes but does any of that really complete a picture of her personality? Extraverts as well as introverts can say “yes” to God. Joan Chittister is politicizing Our Lady but the archbishop also is creating a personality for Mary that may have little to do with who that person is. The words “quiet and docile” are pretty specific – how do we know that Mary was quiet – she may have been very outgoing, a very lively person. Maybe she was a good story teller, displayed a great sense of humor. Why does Mary have to be “quiet” to be perfect? – Ditto for docile. Mary said “yes” to God, that doesn’t mean she passively went along with whatever the people around her decided for her. The word “docile” implies Mary wouldn’t have voiced her own opinion but would have gone with the flow of whatever decisions were being made by the people around her.

    So as much as I fault Sr. Joan for being a poster child of the feminist ideology of the 1960′s, it’s equally true, imo, that Archbishop Sartain’s description of Mary is pretty pathetic.

  24. Suburbanbanshee says:

    “Docile” is another word that has been captured and changed by English. It doesn’t mean somebody who doesn’t have an opinion and doesn’t speak out.

    “Docile” in Latin means “willing to learn; teachable; responsive.” It implies somebody who listens carefully. So when you see Mary described as “docile to the Father” or “docile to the Holy Spirit,” it means that she was paying attention, learning something from God, and acting on what she learned! She’s a smart cookie!

    The opposite of Mary’s “docility” would be someone stubbornly refusing to listen to God, stubbornly refusing to learn from Him, stubbornly refusing to do His will, and basically acting like a spoiled child.

    Re: Fulla, there are plenty of places in the Islamic world where she’d be regarded as dressing like a hussy. (Heels, you know. Colored heels. And a hood instead of a face mask.) I have no doubt that fatwas will follow.

  25. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: “quiet,” this is usually drawn from Luke’s description in the Gospel that “she pondered these things in her heart.” (Lk. 2:19 and Lk. 2:51) However talkative Mary may have been, she did clearly have contemplative moments, even if it was only an inner quietness of soul. :)

    St. Joseph also “pondered these things,” according to Mt. 1:20, as well as keeping quiet about his doubts and divorce plan instead of spreading them all over the village. So it’s not just a female thing.

    Keeping your mouth shut until it’s time to talk is one of the marks of wisdom in the Bible, particularly in the Book of Proverbs which contrasts the yapping of a fool with the silence of a wise man about five zillion times. (Jewish people of both sexes tend to be very verbal and very gifted at talking a lot on any subject, so this is an equal opportunity sort of rebuke.)

  26. Indulgentiam says:

    Docile- origin: from the Latin- docile late 15th cent. (in the sense ‘apt or willing to learn’): from Latin docilis , from docere ‘teach.’
    Many words such as gay, bad etc… Have had there true meanings corrupted by the secular.
    I believe that quiet and docile is the way Our Lady is in scripture and so that description is, very much, in keeping with what the Church has always taught. Strength doesn’t have to be loud. We are told that God whispers. “[11] And he said to him: Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord: and behold the Lord passeth, and a great and strong wind before the Lord over throwing the mountains, and breaking the rocks in pieces: the Lord is not in the wind, and after the wind an earthquake: the Lord is not in the earthquake. [12] And after the earthquake a fire: the Lord is not in the fire, and after the fire a whistling of a gentle air. [13] And when Elias heard it, he covered his face with his mantle, and coming forth stood in the entering in of the cave, and behold a voice unto him, saying: What dost thou here, Elias?”
    The Church Fathers & Saints have taught that there is power in obedience and purity.

  27. gracie says:

    I understand what you’re saying about the words “docile” and “quiet” but if we’re trying to reach hearts we can’t be relying on historical, outmoded definitions of how those words were originally used in Latin or Old English. For Pete’s sake, we could do that with almost any word. Archbishop Sartain and others in the Church need to use words that are understood by today’s audience, not by people of the past.

  28. inexcels says:

    It’s sad how many people are convinced that “strong sense of self” equates with “answers to nobody.” On the flipside, how self-obsessed must you be to believe that the sole purpose of upholding a hierarchical authority is simply to repress YOU?

    News flash for all the misandrists: Most of us men have much more pressing things to do (e.g., keep food on our tables) than go out of our way to boss women around. The man-haters really need to get over themselves.

  29. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Sartain was talking about “docility” in exactly the “teachable, responsive” sense.

    Here’s the first sentences of his sermon:
    “In the first months and years of our lives, the fact is that we’re like sponges — so we simply learn things and take things in by being there, without even knowing. Effortlessly, we breathe in the knowledge around us and so things become a part of our life. From the earliest age we learn them without effort because we put no obstacle between ourselves and the world around us. We put no obstacle between ourselves and our parents and family. So as we breathe all of this in, breathe what we learn in, we also breathe the goodness and grace of our families effortlessly.

    “But then something happens. It doesn’t take very long — we learn to talk and we learn to take charge of things ourselves, even in the earliest days. And two of the earliest words we learn to say are “no” and “mine.” Those words become, in many ways, sort of a model that we have to overcome as time goes by. It isn’t about me. And in our relationship with God it’s all about “yes.”

    “What strikes me about Mary in the Gospels is that she did not place any obstacles between herself and the grace of God. And so she breathed in this gift of God’s loving care, God’s mercy. That itself was God’s gift to her from the moment of her conception, preparing her to be the mother of the Son of God, to be the mother of the savior. No obstacle at all did she place between herself and the grace and mercy of God.”

    Later in the homily, Sartain tells us that he gets this “no obstacle” image from Merton.

    Now, I know those LCWR ladies, and Sr. Chittister, are old enough to have learned the Latin meanings of words. So unless they all have amnesia and got F’s in Latin class, they have no freaking excuse to misunderstand Bishop Sartain. I also know that they all looooove Merton, or claim to do so. Merton can do no wrong, so obviously they don’t object to the “no obstacle” part of the image. So in that case, they must be misrepresenting the homily on purpose.

    Re: Mary’s intellectual practices, here’s the rest of it:

    “she’s docile to the command of God, even though she has questions… Mary was one who took God’s word to heart and lived it. She heard it and put it into practice…

    For Mary, it was enough that she pondered the words of God and let them turn over in her heart — over and over again, as the Gospel tell us. Without, in a sense, any desire or a need to figure things out in the way that we normally think of figuring things out — or resolve them to her own personal satisfaction. It was enough, apparently, for her to let the things that she witnessed but did not always understand roll around in her heart — seeing them as joined to God’s will for her, recognizing that of these things that she witnessed, all of these things of which she was a part, will be resolved in the love of God just as her own call came from the heart of God.”

    Now, you could argue that this part of the homily could have been better expressed. But Sartain is clearly talking about the normal Catholic prudence of pondering mysteries and mandates that we don’t understand without feeling a necessity to either understand them right away, or throw them out as useless right away. You can follow the Church’s teachings right now, keep pondering them, do your research or ask other people, but not get frustrated if every question doesn’t get a complete answer right away. You can wait, remember, and expect to learn more later. You can wait until you’re in Heaven, if necessary, though you usually don’t have to wait and ponder quite that long.

    Basically, what Sartain is saying is that the best thing for the LCWR to do is to fulfill the Gospel counsels, contemplate, read, pray, consult the wisdom of previous generations, and wait and see what God wants to teach them about, say, why nuns and sisters should do nun and sister things, or why women can’t be ordained. This is not news, not startling, not oppressive, and not hard to figure out. It’s not what they want to hear, of course.

  30. Suburbanbanshee says:

    But mostly, if you follow and ponder the Gospel and the rest of the Bible, and you do what Jesus and His Bride tells you (as Mary would advise), you will have all the freedom anybody could possibly desire — the freedom of total love, the freedom of the children of God.

    It’s the really Gospel-oriented saints, the listeners, the humble ones, who are as free of physics as a glorified body and do amazing miracles of teleportation, bilocation, and multiplication of food, as well as having the mental freedom to do whatever is needed, no matter what the cost; to do new things at God’s command; to see what a person really needs and tell him so; and to free others from sin and sorrow and error. If the LCWR wants to do something cosmically awesome, they need to be more teachable, more responsive, more willing to ponder and wait.

  31. Indulgentiam says:

    Gracie-, we could do that with almost any word. Archbishop Sartain and others in the Church need to use words that are understood by today’s audience, not by people of the past.”
    Allowing the world to set the bar is never a good idea. These situations are excellent teaching moments. Better to teach the true meaning of something than to go along with the worlds lies.

  32. OrthodoxChick says:

    Indulgentium,

    Agreed, but how does that take place in some way that is practical? Is Archbishop Sartain supposed to take to twitter and say, “Duh! Lewis & Short newsflash for Sr. Joan Chittister: The proper definition of docility is…”

  33. The Masked Chicken says:

    Oh, just interdict her and be done with it. That can be medicinal.

    The Chicken

  34. The Masked Chicken says:

    Canon 1373:

    “Can. 1373 A person who publicly incites among subjects animosities or hatred against the Apostolic See or an ordinary because of some act of power or ecclesiastical ministry or provokes subjects to disobey them is to be punished by an interdict or other just penalties.”

    The Chicken

  35. Indulgentiam says:

    @orthodoxchick
    No, I do not believe that the use of the word duh will edify anyone. People are capable of understanding more than the VII mentality would have us believe. I understood the simple definition that I found for “Docile” on the internet, and I’m a low brow cleaning lady. It took me longer to get ineffable ;) but I did get it. All I had to do was look it up. Words have power. The more words you give someone the more you open up their horizons. Today Docile and ineffable tomorrow classical literature! :)

  36. Bruce Wayne says:

    I really like the discussion of docility here by SuburbanBanshee and Indulgentiam.

    When teaching I love to delve into etymologies in order to try and expand the understanding of my students. The typical way to understand docility is as if one has said “passivity.” This tendency to redefine or misdefine words should always be fought against by the reflective. I would just add that docile’s root in docere is similar to “doctor” which comes from the same root but is also generally misunderstood in English given our penchant for anti-intellectualism and pragmatism. The typical American only, or primarily, thinks of physicians when they hear “doctor.” But, medical doctors are primarily “physicians” that is they are trained technicians equivalent to auto mechanics and other such skilled laborers. They are skilled in the mechanics (physics) of human bodies and have a technical skill in diagnostics and repairs of the body. Secondarily, they are meant to be capable of teaching the patient to also care for their own body. So the designation of “doctor” only secondarily applies to medical practitioners and primarily applies to those who teach.

    The corresponding virtue of docility is necessary for the student. Ask any teacher to describe what they want and need to see from their students in order to have hopes of teaching them and what they will describe is actually docility. The problem is that contemporary English has no single word it uses to make that description of the proper comportment of a good student. So the call to not use docile and instead use “modern” with-it language ignores this lack and is an idle complaint.

    How would you describe the traits necessary for the student to effectively learn Gracie? Try and find one word.

    Those excerpts from Abp. Sartain’s talk demonstrate that he fully explained himself and tried to make his audience more knowledgeable and smarter than when they came in. He tried to teach valuable lessons. In so doing he helped separate the wheat from the chaff, the goats and the sheep, the stupid from the educable (the docile).

    In this thread I was educated to the term “misandry” and am grateful for that release from ignorance. Education happens when doctors teach the docile.

  37. PA mom says:

    What is that line about” women may receive instruction but must remain silent because I was Eve who was fooled by the devil”? I read it the other day and, where as in my younger years would have felt annoyance, instead thought of these women.
    It sounds like the Arbp made some very good points. He really starting with disposition, without which all the words in the world dont change the heart.

  38. Suburbanbanshee says:

    gracie — If the good archbishop had been addressing women who were in early middle age or younger, he probably wouldn’t have used “docile” in the old sense. But he was addressing a bunch of well-educated elderly women who went to school in the old days and know their technical theological terms. He was treating them like theology colleagues, which is what they say they want to be.

    Even if they act like idiots, which they do, they actually do know this stuff. Like I say, they were perfectly well aware of his meaning. They just pretend they don’t.

  39. tioedong says:

    Actually, comparing Mary to a pious Muslim woman is a complement. What exactly is wrong with praying five times a day, being generous to the poor, helping her husband run the family business, caring for her extended family, dressing modestly, and trying to serve God in her daily work?

  40. Indulgentiam says:

    tioedong-”Actually, comparing Mary to a pious Muslim woman is a complement.”
    Surely that is not a well thought out statement. Comparing the Mother of God to a heretic is an insult to Our Lady. Muslim women may very well do all those things you mentioned but they still deny the Holy Trinity, The Real Presence etc…

  41. mrshopey says:

    The Muslims hold Mary in high regard, esteem. I bought a Mary medal in a Muslim country and it is one of my most precious possessions because of Mary and where I got it! Late Bp Fulton Sheen didn’t say our help to convert them would be through Mary for no reason.
    She clearly was trying to insult the Bp and if she was trying to insult muslims she picked the wrong analogy as that would be a high compliment!

  42. gracie says:

    mrshopey,

    “The Muslims hold Mary in high regard, esteem.”

    Half a dozen churches as well as a convent – all dedicated to Mary – have been vandalized in Egypt. Googling for a few minutes will bring up the images, including decapitated statues of Our Lady. I don’t see how this could happen if Muslims have such a devotion to Mary as they claim.

  43. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The Muslims hold Mary in high regard, esteem.”

    While this may be true, they really don’t hold her in the esteem she deserves as the Mother of God. There is an infinite chasm between being the mother of a prophet and the Mother of God. They hold her in dulia, while we hold Mary in hyperdulia – the highest possible honor. If Jesus were merely a prophet, then why go to the trouble of a virgin birth or mentioning Mary’s Immaculate Conception? An Immaculate conception is not a sine qua non for being the mother of a prophet. Indeed, if Mohammed were the greatest of all prophets, then, surely, HIS mother would have been immaculately conceived, but that is not the case. This looks like badly cribbed and mis-understood New Testament note-taking. They claim an immaculate conception for both Jesus and Mary, but to what end?

    They may honor Mary as the mother of a prophet (not THE Prophet), but their whole theology and recording of the events of her life are inconsistent.

    The Chicken

  44. mrshopey says:

    As off as they may be on their understanding of who Mary really is,i
    It doesn’t mean they don’t still hold her in high esteem nor that she could be gateway for conversion ESP Our Lady of Fatima
    http://m.whatistruth.webnode.com/apologetics-topics/mary/mary-and-the-muslims-by-archbishop-fulton-j-sheen/
    Why are they destroying Church’s etc dedicated to Our Lady? They are at war and want to eradicate the Christians.
    That comparison still wouldn’t offend them.
    They should be more offended at who Barbie represents than Mary!

  45. SonofMonica says:

    We should be careful when making blanket statements about all Muslims, as though the actions of some represent the religion of all or the religion as defined. That some would burn churches dedicated to Our Lady is not necessarily a sign that Islam doesn’t respect her. It may be a sign that those who torched her churches are not good Muslims, no? If that can’t be, then apparently all Catholics hate men merely because Sister does.

  46. The Masked Chicken says:

    I am familiar with the passage by Ven. Fulton Sheen, but the problem is that Islam cannot fully embrace Mary without fully embracing the divinity of Christ. It is possible that as Judaism is looking for the Messiah and will, eventually, find Christ (see St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans, chapter 12), so, too, Islam will find that their messiah, Mahdi, and Christ are one and the same, but the difference between Islam and Judaism is that Jesus has a pre-assigned role as the right-hand man of the Madhi and when Jesus returns, that will signal the coming of the Mahdi. This still makes Jesus closer to John the Baptist than God. If Islam, eventually recognizes Jesus as God, it may take a cataclysm to do it, I suspect. Time will tell.

    The Chicken

    P. S. For the sci-fi geeks, Poul Anderson died (93) yesterday, and in Dune, Paul MUAD’DIB, sound very similar to Madhi.

  47. netokor says:

    My goodness. Five more years of this….

  48. The Masked Chicken says:

    Should be Frederick Pohl, not Poul Anderson.

    The Chicken

  49. Palladio says:

    How sad she thinks this. I will pray for her. In tone, and sometimes in tenor, She sounds like an average episcopalian or any number of atheist feminists. I thought the Church was “defined” by Jesus Christ, not “men.” I thought our faith was as revealed by God, not “hierarchy.” Etc.

  50. maryh says:

    I think we’re getting a little carried away with “docile.” From my feminist background, I would say that Joan knows all of the meanings. And she thinks, quite correctly, that the Archbishop means the LCWR must be teachable, and she is quite as clearly answering that the LCWR is not teachable. Even had the Archbishop NOT used the word “docile” – say he had used “teachable” instead, she could very well have noted that another word for “teachable”, as used by the Church hierarchy is “docile”, and brought it in herself.

    One of the problems is that to Joan and others, being docile / teachable is the same thing as being a “passive vessel.” I hope we all agree that our Blessed Mother was not THAT.

    Since “docile or teachable” = “obedient to the hierarchy” = “passive vessel” = “diminution of personhood”, Joan necessarily casts Mary’s actions in the Gospel as being in contradiction to obedience. When of course, the opposite is true. It is because Mary was docile that she was able to determine what God’s will for her was and then to do it.

    One thing that struck me when I came back to the Church was how many of the feminist “discoveries” about Mary and other holy women were simply the traditional doctrine of the Church. Like Joan’s example, that Mary was given the opportunity to say “no” to the angel. Well, er, yes, of course. Why do they think we make such a big deal about her “fiat” if she had no choice?

  51. Palladio says:

    Yes, indeed, and docile < doceo, -ere, to teach! We get it, poor Sister: perhaps you have nothing to learn, and thus are not teachable! Pride rhymes with protestant. Mary was humble and obedient, but, most importantly perhaps open, as the best students always are, to TRUTH, WHOM she bore in her own womb!!!! May God have mercy on us all.

  52. Ella says:

    Before I became a Catholic a few years ago, I thought nuns and sisters were like the amazingly Godly sisters that I met when I was a playground monitor at the local parochial school when I was in college. Now that I pay attention to them, I am stunned how anti-Catholic and hateful some of the more public ones are. I would wonder why they stay but I figure that Satan’s work is best accomplished from the inside.

  53. Indulgentiam says:

    Sonofmonica:”We should be careful when making blanket statements about all Muslims, as though the actions of some—represent the religion of all or the religion as defined—That some would burn churches dedicated to Our Lady is not necessarily a sign that Islam doesn’t respect her.”
    It is precisely b/c most Christians do not know what the quran says that these erroneous statements are so prevalent on the internet. The Mary, Mother of God, of the Bible is NOT the Mary of the quran. Theologians who have extensive knowledge of the quran have explained this fact. They give chapter and verse proof. I looked for the briefest synopsis, to get, those interested, started in their research. Briefly—”The Arabic word for “Mary” (the mother of Jesus) is the same as the word for “Miriam” (the sister of Moses and Aaron). If the Qur’an is not the word of God, this confusion might cause problems for Muhammad. Interestingly enough, the Qur’an confuses Mary with Miriam.
    Qur’an 19:27-28–”At length she brought the (babe) to her people, carrying him (in her arms). They said: ‘O Mary! Truly an amazing thing hast thou brought! O sister of Aaron! Thy father was not a man of evil, nor thy mother a woman unchaste!”
    Notice that the Qur’an refers to Mary (the mother of Jesus) as the “sister of Aaron” (i.e. Miriam, the sister of Moses and Aaron). Even Christians during the time of Muhammad recognized this error, and Muhammad had a chance to respond.”
    Read the rest here—http://www.answeringmuslims.com/2008/12/muhammad-mary-and-miriam.html?m=1

    Then do your own research and see where it leads you.
    The Lord bless you and keep you,…
    Our Lady guard you and guide you.

  54. mrshopey says:

    I will have to disagree with you, Indulgentiam, regarding Mary Mother of God not being the Mary the Muslims refer to. When I first encountered this, it was not from some misunderstanding on the internet, but in a Muslim country speaking with a Muslim. I was taken aback to see a Mary medal and thus a conversation started. Also, if they have a tradition of understanding Mary as the mother of Jesus, someone who is righteous, I am not going to argue with them. It would be the same Mary we know to be Mother of God. They just haven’t arrived at the fullness of truth yet.

  55. Indulgentiam says:

    mrshopey–If I understand you correctly you are disagreeing with an established fact i.e. the mary referred to in the quran is NOT the Mary, Mother of God, of the Bible. And your only basis for this disagreement is a conversation with a Muslim who is in darkness as to the True God and the Mother of God. I’m sorry but I do not find that a compelling argument against what the quran actually says.
    You also say ” They just haven’t arrived at the fullness of truth yet.”
    Nor are they likely to when Catholics, as you so aptly put it, won’t “argue” the point. We have been commanded to preach the Gospel to all nations. Saying to a heretic “hey look how much our faiths have in common” is counterproductive not to mention an offense to the One True God and the One True Faith He established.

  56. mrshopey says:

    I am becoming more familiar with the apologetics that is pointing out the errors in the Quran but that is as far as I have gotten. To realize they are referring to the same person is not denying who she really is nor is to say that acknowledging Mary might bring them into the truth.
    Part of wisdom is knowing what you are capable of and what you aren’t. I will leave the specifics to those who wish to go that course.
    It wasn’t jusr one Muslim but where the discussion began with that one.
    Also, I am familiar enough to know those who are taking the approach of disproving the validity of whole Quarn do so at a very high price – death threats.
    I do not and did not feel called to do that in this particular setting.

  57. StWinefride says:

    mrshopey, I understand what you’re saying. Many years ago, when I lived in France, I went on a Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes. On the train down there was an elderly Muslim lady seated nearby. We talked for a while and she explained, amongst other things, that Muslims honour Mary. She was staying in a different hotel to me so it wasn’t until the end of the Pilgrimage, for the group photo, that I saw her again. Her face looked different, she looked well and it was obvious to me that she had been deeply touched by her time in Lourdes.

  58. The Cobbler says:

    “One of the major scientific discoveries of the 20th century, for instance, revolves around the role played by communication in stressful situations — the notion that a person’s communication style can soften or harden conflict depending on how it is used; the idea that simply the amount of information supplied in crucial situations effect the tone, the efficacy and the outcome of negotiations.”
    I’m starving over here waiting for science to discover that fire can heat food.

  59. BLB Oregon says:

    They’re selling modestly-dressed Barbies now? Yes, I’m sure that spells the end of respect for women and the end of Western civilization.

    As far as Mary’s interaction with the angel, which feminists just love to talk about, it is reasonable to compare it with the other angelic visitation in Luke’s gospel, not with a totally unquestioning attitude. Mary’s questioning was docile; Zechariah’s was not. (Let us point out too that Mary, having questioned, chose to comply. She did not have to prove her free will by choosing the “well-reasoned” defiance of the first Eve.)