Sr. Joan and the Usual Suspects

Just when you think the dissidents can’t veer farther into fantasy comes this knee slapper from Sr. Joan and the Usual Suspects.

Notice how I don’t even have to give her last name or the name of the publication?

She compares the unnatural urge for women’s ordination to Ghandi’s salt making revolution.

The catalyst for this was the sad affair of Cincinnati Sister of Charity Louise Akers, which we have read about here.

Savor the reasoning of Sr. Joan and the Usual Suspects:

"As they march in silent ranks to the shore, the Indians are met head on by hundreds and hundreds of British colonial police — many of them Indians themselves — clubs and muskets in hand, who systematically beat every rank of unarmed demonstrators to the ground. But the ranks never stop coming. One after another they come, row after row of them. Beating after beating after beating, they walk over one another in ordered formation into the butt of British rifles, certain of their personhood, sure of their cause, convinced of its right."

Get it?  Get it?

The Pope and bishops are to these noble women what the colonial dictators with their thuggish police and military were to the oppressed freedom seeking Indians.

Remember: we are talking here about the infallible teaching of the Church, namely, that the Church has no authority to ordain women.

More bits from this dopey article:

  • thousands of defenseless peasants risking beatings, imprisonment and even death
  • the injustice of the oppressor and claim the conscience of the world
  • Suppression does not end revolution; it breeds it. It solves nothing.
  • animal resistance
  • those who support the pursuits of women for recognition as full human beings — are getting a taste of the same kind of opposition.
  • Fundamentalist extremists of all ilk and their interpretations of religion everywhere claim one way or another that God is sexist.

You get the idea.

Were I to fisk this, you would barely be able to see the original text.  If you have a few minutes to read this whiny piece, knock yourselves out.

Someone need to find out from Sr. Joan and the Usual Suspects if they accept the Church’s teachings and make a formal, public declaration.


In the meantime, a contributor, below, said:

Perhaps Sr Joan and her friends will follow the example of India and write a Declaration of Independence from the Church.



This is what the Indians did.  They voted with their feet and left the Empire.  They left.  Right?

Then?  Their country split into parts and pretty much went to war with each other. 

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in SESSIUNCULA. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. Fr. John Mary says:

    Father, I followed this for several days. The apostasy, ignorance, hatred for the Pope, the bishops, priests, Catholic teaching, other people trying to state the Church’s teaching, you name it in that article (not to mention in the comment box)–all of it–is outrageous. You are right on; somebody should look into this and take “Catholic” right off the masthead, for starters. I couldn’t stomach any more.

  2. pbewig says:

    Perhaps Sr Joan and her friends will follow the example of India and write a Declaration of Independence from the Church.


    [Boy, did you hit the logical nail on the head! I think I will update my top entry!]

  3. kelleyb says:

    I wish these ladies could see real abuse. Millions of women and girls are physically abused and/or killed each year around the world . Sr. Joan and company just whine about the evil Church men who block their goals…intolerable abuse, my Aunt Frances.

    [If only they would dedicate their great energies to some good cause.]

  4. Agnes says:

    Who died and made her popette! Might we have a few issues with authority?

  5. PatrickV says:

    Dear Sr. Joan should take some lessons in history.

    Granted, Gandhi led the salt marches, and granted, Gandhi was instrumental in forcing the issue on Indian independence, but at what cost?

    We forget the partition, the riots, the death trains. We forget the the British did provide for a stable polity, even though there were gross inequalities.

    I would guess that Sr. Chittester supports the wholesale abandonment of the colonial system after World War 2. What did it get us?

    Idi Amin, Rwanda, slaughter in the Congo, Biafra, do I need go on? Sr. Chittester is amazingly myopic, her tunnel vision and adherence to selfish perversions of the truth are intellectually dishonest and stifling.

    [If I remember, Sister received the prestigious WDTPRS Idi Amin Dada Award for her previous contributions!]

    The WDTPRS Idi Amin Dada Award goes to Sr. Joan

  6. Hidden One says:

    That magazine is the American Tablet – ceterum autem censeo relator esse delendam.

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    Sr Joan Et al make Mgr Williamson look respectable, sure he’s a bit mad but at least its in defense of Doctrine rather than trying to tear it down.

  8. The problem, of course is that many of these Sisters are/have been in teaching Orders and therefore we have been exposing our children to these ideas. I had some run-ins with Sisters of this type in the 1980s as they taught in what passed for a “Catholic” high school my children attended. In one on one conversations with them in the Convent sitting room, one realized they had not had a CATHOLIC thought in years! They spoke of being “post Christ” or “post Church” in order to change the social order. They charged me with having “middle class values”. In short, they were automatons spouting the ideas the had heard on their last “retreat”. The Vatican did not want to enforce Ex Corde Ecclesiae? This is the product which was produced.

  9. Craig says:

    I was loving the excuses why men cannot join her community. Perhaps I should apply and when denied, have a huge demonstration, call the media, write articles etc.

    Seriously, reading the comments, just the first page, made me want to cry, so many souls being lost.

  10. Agnes says:

    Roles of men and women are not better or worse, but different, complimentary, and very necessary. These women have collar envy because they don’t understand their basic dignity. Their oppressors, I think, are the demons within.

  11. I’ll repost here the comment I just submitted there:

    It is interesting how the heretical call to overturn the infallible teaching of the male only priesthood (yes, it is infallible, and proclaimed so by the Church, no matter how much people will have you believe otherwise. This is made clear by the Responsum ad Dubium signed and ordered published by JPII, which states explicitly that male-only ordination is an infallible teaching of the Church) actually supports the clericalism from which we are recovering. Women do not need to be priests to have their dignity recognized as equal to men. The priesthood has no bearing on the dignity of the human person. Our dignity comes from being created by God, equally in the divine image, not by what office God calls us to serve vocationally. Sr. Louise was dismissed because she is a heretic, and the Church has a responsibility to all the faithful to ensure that the true teachings of the Church are taught, and that heresies are recognized as just that.

    Women crying oppression over the teachings of the Church and the fact that Christ ordained a male only priesthood sadly are actually diminishing their own sense of dignity and misrepresenting the source of all human dignity. Would that they might recognize this.

    [Sadly, I think we cannot argue with them. They are impervious to reason. I return to my arguement elsewhere: liturgy… stupefyingly beautiful liturgy… manly priests and breathtaking liturgy.]

  12. ray from mn says:

    I’ve been wondering what to do with this piece of mail that I received last week. I’ve found the place!

    S. Joan Chittister, OSB [sic] [Is that a typo or a new convention for “Sr.”?] will be giving a free public lecture sponsored by the Conversatio Lifelong Learning Program of Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary on “Monasticism as Radical Christianity”

    This will be at 8 p.m. Friday, October 8 at the S.B. Humphrey Theater, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota.

    That should be an interesting event.

  13. ray from mn says:

    That should be Friday, October Ninth!

  14. TRAD60 says:

    This woman should have been excommunicated years ago. Period. If that is not going to happen, she should at least be completely ignored.

  15. JARay says:

    I fully agree with TRAD60. I posted a similar comment about six years ago on another blog and the follow-up mail lambasted me unreservedly. I really do think that she should be excommunicated and banned from giving any lectures and seminars on Catholic property.

  16. shoofoolatte says:

    I would like to hear Sr. Joan in person, and if I were in Minnesota I would go to that talk about Monasticism, since I am particularly interested in monasticism.

    This is an interesting discussion, comparing the struggle of women with the Gandhian movement to restore dignity to the Indian people and end British rule in India. The world changes and grows in strange ways, with a lot of resistance and suffering along the way. I wonder if the Indians think that they were better off when they were ruled by the British?

  17. JayneK says:

    “Sadly, I think we cannot argue with them. They are impervious to reason.”

    This is not always the case. Sr. Sara Butler used to support women’s ordination. (The womenpriest web site still has an article of hers posted.) Through study she experienced an “intellectual conversion” and came to understand that the Church’s teaching is correct. She has written what many reviewers consider one of the best books in defense of Church teaching.

    I myself used to believe in women’s ordination but now accept Church teaching. In my case, disgust with the disobedience, disrespect and ignorance expressed by women’s ordination proponents was a factor in my rejecting their position. Calm, logical and charitable presentations of Church teaching were very helpful to me in coming to learn and accept the truth.

  18. RR says:

    She should not take communion if this is her belief, if she is to be intellectually consistent and honor the Church. Taking communion while professing such things is a fundamental wound to the Church she claims to want to serve.

  19. Henry Edwards says:

    Father Z: They voted with their feet and left the Empire. They left.

    This is the key to our current situation. Throughout history, surely, many Catholics have lost their faith and left the Church. However, since Vatican II, large numbers of them have stayed in the Church to fight the Faith from within.

    Although often blamed on the Council, I suspect this phenomenon has more to do with larger conditions in the mid/late twentieth century world than with Vatican II itself. At any rate, these dissidents opposing Faith and Church from within are a majority in some parishes, and seem to be disproportionately represented in Church bureacracy, religious, and teaching ranks.

  20. shoofoolatte says:

    That’s interesting about your coming around on the issue of women’s ordination, JayneK.

    I don’t know what I think of women becoming priests. I, personally, have never had the slightest inking to be a priest.

    But I am concerned with conditions in the world where women truly are oppressed – raped, forcefully inpregnated, and enslaved without cultural protection. There is an underlying darkness (fear of women?) evident throughout history that allows and promotes this kind of treatment of women. So I tend to side with efforts that will give women the ability to control their destiny and follow their dreams. [Fine. And in many discussions that is appropriate. But this doesn’t apply to the issue of the ordination of women. This isn’t a “justice” issue, or a “human rights” issue.]

    I’m not sure that I totally understand the Church teaching on this matter? Is there anywhere that it is clearly explained?

  21. TheWork says:

    This does really need some kind of formal instruction and example. The NCR really is the American Tablet. The bishops should not allow these people to continue this kind of “reporting” and this woman should not be able to speak publicly.

    If we don’t oppose this ridiculous assault on the church, the faithful will wonder if the church is serious about our dogmas. When heresy is not addressed and opposed, heresies become more popular.

    This is very simply a new idol for the feminists.

  22. Fr. John Mary says:

    shoofoolatte: Have you read “On the Vocation and Dignity of Women” by John Paul II?
    That might be a place to start.

  23. Fr. John Mary says:

    If you want to see Sr. Joan’s webpage at the community’s website, you can find it at:

    This is not meant to attack her personally, but to help understand “where she is coming from” (as they say…) and her other media offerings. I do not understand “where she is coming from”…

  24. mpm says:

    Fr. John Mary,

    Don’t “beat yourself up” with that stuff. These poor people are captives of the “windmills of their minds.” Given all the canonical protections she enjoys, no glint of light is likely to penetrate except directly from God himself.

    They themselves express the idea that they have “progressed beyond Jesus”, which appears to actually be somewhat true!

  25. ThomasM says:

    The good news is that people like “Sister” Chittester will soon be history, and they know it, that’s why they are raging the way they do. I think when the bulk of the nuns left teaching school, running hospitals, orphanages, etc., they really lost their relevance. Most of them are now malignant, glorified social workers. No wonder they fail to attract young Catholic women to their “orders.” Tom

  26. ThomasM says:

    One last catty comment. Most of these modern “women” like Chittester live in the lap of luxury flitting to Europe, eating well, all the while they rail that they are “oppressed.” I’d like Chittester to be chained to a cash register and serve as a checker for a day. Maybe then she’ll appreciate what a lovely, little fantasy life she has. Tom

  27. irishgirl says:

    Ah, well-the ‘biological solution’ will take care of people like ‘sister’ Joan….

    St. Joan of Arc-please take your ‘sword from Heaven’ and slap it against the shoulders of this woman who dishonors your name!

  28. chcrix says:

    >Sr. Joan’s webpage at the community’s website …This is not meant to attack her personally, <

    One doesn’t have to – she does a splendid job herself. Take a look at the “Life in Pictures” comments.

    The self absorption is amazing. It puts me in mind of H.L. Mencken’s crack about Woodrow Wilson: “The man most qualified (in his own opinion) for the next vacancy that occurs in the Trinity.”

    Only Sr. Joan would bring diversity as well.

  29. Gail F says:

    I wrote a reply, just to leave another stupefied reaction. I agree with ThomasM above. What is this strange fantasy world she and Sr. Louise Akers live in, where not having women priests is somehow equivalent to all the real oppressed women in the world? They live in comfort and like to imagine themselves as “in solidarity” with the poor girls sold into sex slavery or married when they are 12.

  30. JayneK says:

    Here is an essay by Sr. Sara Butler:
    She understands this issue very well. This article has links to the relevant Church documents and I encourage you to read them as well.

    There is tension and even enmity between men and women that apparently goes back to the Fall of humanity. Men and women often hurt and fear each other. As women, we have a tendency to be most aware of the ways in which men harm us, but sometimes we are the ones doing the harm. A worldview in which men are seen as oppressors and women victims harms us all. It prevents human dignity, cooperation, and healing of relationships.

    Bringing this worldview to the issue of ordination compounds its harm. Framing the reservation of priesthood to men as a denial of women’s rights hurts women and men and the Church as a whole. You are going to need a paradigm shift to “get your head around” this doctrine, but it will be worth it if you do.

  31. JayneK says:

    shoofoolatte: Sorry about misspelling your name above.

  32. Frank H says:

    The problem with the “biological solution” is that it afflicts some of us as well, who would like to have been able to enjoy a few years of the more orthodox church that will result.

  33. mpm says:

    Thank you, Frank, for standing up for us “old fogeys”.

  34. Fr. John Mary says:

    Thanks, JaneK, for the article by Sr. Sara Butler. I sent it into the comments of the Sr. Aker’s article/comments. Maybe, just maybe, a few souls will be touched by the Holy Spirit of Truth.

  35. Fr. John Mary says:

    Sorry, JayneK, for misspelling your name!

  36. TNCath says:

    I see a definite trend taking place. On every “front” of the battle for the restoration of the Church, the tide is turning back to basics. Liturgically it’s Summorum Pontificum, the imminent release of the new translation of the Novus Ordo, and a return to reverence in the liturgy and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. Regarding consecrated life, it’s the Apostolic Visitation of U.S. women religious. Regarding Catholic education, it’s the current uproar over Catholic identity.

    These “enemies” of the Church (and I truly believe they are enemies) are trying in vain, via the NCR, to put up one last fight. I cannot help be reminded of the text of O Salutaris:

    Bella premunt hostilia
    Da robur fer auxilium.

  37. Fr. John Mary says:

    TNCath: Amen!

  38. nemo says:

    “refusing to attend the weddings of our children in Protestant churches”

    Isn’t this what we are supposed to do? We didn’t attend the sedding of our nephew to a Unitarian in a banquet hall.

  39. nemo says:

    make that “wedding”…

  40. Fr. John Mary says:

    Yes. Attending weddings where there is not the proper dispensation with a Catholic and a non-Catholic is correct. I don’t know where she gets this stuff.

  41. Fr. John Mary says:

    I’m sorry; not attending the wedding…it should read.

  42. JohnE says:

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that during this Year of the Priest Satan would be using his minions to increase his attack on the priesthood. We had a front-page story in our local paper yesterday about the Ecumenical “Catholic” Church, and some women who are going to be “ordained”. Supposedly, most of these women go by “Mother X” when they become “priests”, but one woman said she will go by “Father X”. If it weren’t real it would be comical.

    It still puzzles me why these people insist on associating themselves with the Catholic Church when just about everything they teach is against it.

  43. mpm says:


    A hint: think “income” and “retirement, medical benefits paid up”.

    “Money for nothin’ and the chicks are free!”

  44. shoofoolatte says:

    Thank you so much, JayneK, for referring me to the Sr. Sara Butler article. You’re right, you have to leave your pre-formed cultural conditioning at the door (you call it making a “paradigm shift”) but she does a very good job explaining the place that gender holds in the role of priest.

    It is too bad that Churchly “power” has gotten tied up into interpreting the role of priest, rather than “service”.

    I am beginning to wonder about and question the wisdom of artificial birth control – does this really help women at all? not to mention the assault of introducing an artificial and manufactured hormone into her body.

  45. JayneK says:

    “It is too bad that Churchly “power” has gotten tied up into interpreting the role of priest, rather than “service”.”

    While researching a paper on this once, I discovered that many, probably most, theologians say that priesthood is primarily about service. One of them made a similar point to you: “If these affirmations, incontestable on the theological plane, are to convince people in actual fact, the priesthood in its empirical form must correspond to the theological idea and must continually be purified of any appearance of being a privilege.”

    If you are wondering who wrote that, it was someone named Ratzinger. You may have heard of him. :)

    I know what you mean about artificial birth control. When I was a new convert to Catholicism, I had gotten the impression that the teaching on contraception was not much more than a suggestion (my introduction to Catholicism was rather defective) so Church teaching was not much of a factor in my thinking. But I was so creeped out by the idea of messing my body up with hormones that I went with the Natural Family Planning approved by the Church.

    And it was great. It was one of the most empowering things I have ever done. I experienced self-knowledge and a sense of connection with myself and nature. This supposedly oppressive teaching was remarkably positive. My personal experience totally confirmed a teaching that I had heard the Church was wrong about ever since I understood such issues. I figured that if the Church could be right about this, it could be right about anything. And so I began to take the teaching authority of the Church seriously.

  46. shoofoolatte says:

    JayneK – I admit that when Cardinal Ratzinger became Pope Benedict, I was a bit disappointed, thinking that he would not be able to assume the “fatherly” role that that the leader of the Catholic Church needs. But I have been gradually surprised with his wisdom and understanding, his reaching out to Jews and Muslims. I am especially pleased with his hands on involvement in global economics and the plight of the world’s many poor. THat latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritates, is stunning.

  47. jennywren says:

    shoofoolatte – If you want to read a great book by Ratzinger/Pope Benedict, you should read Spirit of the Liturgy.

Comments are closed.