If anyone in the English speaking world knows what the status quaestionis is concerning American women religious it’s Ann Carey. She has written insightful books about, especially, why some orders are imploding from their own suicide pact with modernity. See in particular the thoughtful and balanced Sisters in Crisis Revisited: From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal.
A few days ago, Carey had a piece at National Catholic Register which, if you missed it, you should track back to.
She spotlights a real nut-job as exemplary, though she must be counted an extremist. I’ve written about her too: Sr. Donna Quinn, OP – a Sinsinawa Dominican (based in the Diocese of Madison where I am, founded by the titanic Ven. Samuel Mazzuchelli whose cause is stalled for no good reason.) I wrote about here in my legendary post: NUNS GONE WILD! Let’s have a look at Carey:
‘Progressive’ Orders are Passing Away—the Future Belongs to the Faithful
Young women are rejecting the dissent perpetrated by women who use their status as religious to get attention for their attacks on settled Church teachings.
The other headline I saw — “Decade after dust-up, nun firm on abortion: ‘Choice is the woman’s’” — was in the Oct. 27 Chicago Sun-Times. It describes an interview with Sinsinawa Dominican Sister Donna Quinn about her 10-year pro-abortion activism, which she summed up by saying: “The choice is the woman’s … do not interfere.”
Sister Donna also told the Sun-Times that the Vatican and Church hierarchy have no authority, and she voiced her support for the ordination of women and dismissed Church teaching on the Eucharist. As the Sun-Times wrote:
Quinn sees the Eucharist as not necessarily ‘something you go to and that only the priest has this power to change this into something else, but I see Eucharist as being part of our everyday life.’
‘A grandparent who embraces his little grandchild … is Eucharist to me.’
Yet, incredibly she insisted: “I still belong to the community called Sinsinawa” Dominicansand “could have left” the Catholic Church, but staying gives her a stronger voice.
This nutty heretic, like so many of the other weird sisters, Jesuits and their companions in prevarication, and, I’m sure, lib catholic writers for outlets like Fishwrap, stay in the Church because they have a bigger platform, not to mention their four hots and a cot.
Carey contacted the Sinsinawas for information about Quinn and received back a slithery non-response about “values” and “compassion” blah blah.
Donna Quinn escorts women into abortion clinics, by the way.
While the Quinn story is an extreme example of dissent by a so-called religious, this sad situation also raises serious questions about why higher Church authorities allow such scandal by religious to persist. [JAMES MARTIN, SJ] It also dramatizes how some formerly outstanding religious orders have self-destructed, adversely affecting the image of religious life and slowing vocations to a trickle.
This phenomenon is not limited to women religious. Although, as I write this, I recall a breakfast chat I had years ago with a bishop, now, an archbishop. He had just had an early meeting with his local ordinary: “John,” he said wearily, “never forget this: there are old women of both sexes.”
The same dynamics affect the growth or dissolution of religious vocations for men as for women. They are also the same for diocesan priests.
When these groups conform themselves to the world, they die. When they embrace and maintain a strong identity and their charism, they grow.
This isn’t rocket science.
We have to get down on our knees constantly and pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Let’s not pray for generic “vocations”, lumping them all together. No. We need a public, manifest, constant call for vocations to the priesthood from our own homes and families, not someone else’s.
Here is a prayer for vocations which has in the past proven itself to be effective.
At my home parish this was prayed immediately after the Gospel at every Sunday and Holy Day Mass. There was, on average, a First Mass every year for 30 years.
At the parish where I serve now, the pastor and I had cards printed. From now on, at every Sunday and Holy Day Mass, after the Gospel and before the announcements and sermon, everyone will kneel and say this prayer:
LEADER: Please kneel for our prayer for vocations. Let us ask God to give worthy priests, brothers and sisters to His Holy Church.
ALL: O God, we earnestly beseech Thee to bless this (arch)diocese with many priests, brothers and sisters, who will gladly spend their entire lives to serve Thy Church and to make Thee known and loved.
LEADER: Bless our families. Bless our children.
ALL: Choose from our homes those who are needed for Thy work.
LEADER: Mary, Queen of the Clergy!
ALL: Pray for us. Pray for our priests and religious. Obtain for us many more.
Fathers… use the prayer, but leave it as it is, only changing “archdiocese” to “diocese” where necessary. Don’t fool around with it.
A friend back home – whom I miss rather a lot – sent me one of the original holy cards, which I prize.
Note that key line:
Choose from our homes those who are needed for Thy work.
We had cards made with beautiful artwork on the front and this very prayer on the back. Soon it will be so much a part of the regular Sunday and Holy Day practice that everyone will know it by heart. It will ring in the ears of young people and keep the idea of a religious vocations constantly present and active. I don’t doubt the outcome over time.
This is an ACTION ITEM. Fathers, consider implementing this in your parishes. Do NOT junk the prayer up with additions about “married life” or “single life” or “permanent deacons”. Just leave it as it is. We’ve done the heavy lifting by already printing the cards if you want to drop a line.
Lay people! Especially you who are in sound parishes! Go to your priests with this post and ask them to implement a prayer for vocations to the priesthood. Keep at them.
Thus endeth the rant.