There is an interesting piece in Amerika, the Jesuit weekly, about a liberated woman religious.
Much in the same way the book that came out under the name of Archbp. Marini in all sincerity explained the project to overturn Catholic theology through liturigical reform… as a good thing… so this American Sister in all sincerity gives insight as to why most orders of women religious are dying.
The sister in question is Ilia Delio, O.S.F., of the Franciscan Sisters of Washington, D.C., professor and chair of the department of spirituality studies at Washington Theological Union.
You can see in her narrative about how she and her sisters in religion became free of their chains of oppression, they – now liberated – have killed their communities.
It is a common tale: Sister starts down the path of self-liberation and self-realization, and … presto chango… you need a new model of "religious life" to justify your new ways.
Her guiding lights seem to be Timothy Radcliffe, O.P. and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.
This is a bit long, but read it in full… it is fascinating:
It’s like reading the account of a person performing an autopsy… on herself.
Confessions of a Modern Nun
The Vatican visitation prompts reflection on a religious divide.
Ilia Delio | OCTOBER 12, 2009
Religious life among women is undergoing a massive evolutionary change that can only be described as cataclysmic. The Vatican’s apostolic visitation of congregations of women religious in the United States and the recent investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious indicate that Rome is unhappy with so-called post-Vatican II nuns who have donned secular clothes and abandoned traditional community life. The current statistics show a trend. The number of religious sisters and cloistered nuns in the United States was almost 180,000 in 1965. In 2009 there are just over 59,000, according to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University. A steady decline in the number of women religious, together with the fact that their median age is 75, is a sign that religious life in the United States is a dying institution. Yet new communities have sprouted up in which women religious don a traditional habit and follow a daily schedule of prayer and service. These communities are attracting youthful, vibrant vocations. On the surface, the future of religious life seems to be on their side.
Those who have taken off the habit and those who are putting on the habit mark two distinct paths in religious life today. What is happening? Did most women religious misinterpret the documents of the Second Vatican Council? Is what some see as a rebellious streak taking its toll? Have women defied the church? Some interpret empty novitiates and an aging membership as evidence that women religious have made the wrong choice—for secularization. Others maintain that their intent was to live more authentically as women religious in a world of change. [Lemme see… some are growing… others are dying. Those that are growing are traditional… those shrinking are secularized. Hmmm…]
The chasm between traditional and progressive religious life was made evident in 1992 with the publication of The Transformation of the American Catholic Sisterhood by Lora Ann Quiñonez, C.D.P., and Mary Daniel Turner, S.N.D.deN. The book impelled Cardinal James Hickey, bishop of Washington, D.C., at the time, to travel to Rome to fight for the establishment of a congregation of women religious that would be more faithful to the church. [Good info here:] Hence the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious was formed with membership based on wearing the habit, communal prayer, eucharistic adoration and fidelity to the church. Meanwhile, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious continued in the spirit of Vatican II to be open to the world, exploring avenues of liberation theology, feminist theology and the plight of the poor, among others. Although dialogue was sought between L.C.W.R. (to which the majority of women religious communities still belong) and C.M.S.W.R., that desire for dialogue was not mutual. Rome has thrown its weight on the side of C.M.S.W.R., giving its members top ecclesiastical positions.
While the two groups of women religious seem to oppose each other, they form what Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., the former master general of the Dominicans, calls in What Is the Point of Christian Life? two different theologies based on different interpretations of Vatican II. [Interesting distinction coming about Communio and Concilium poles… this is helpful.] Members of the Leadership Conference embrace modernity and the work of the council as the Holy Spirit breathing new life in the church. They fall under what Father Radcliffe identifies as the Concilium group, who focus on the Incarnation as the central point of renewal. Members of the Conference of Major Superiors, by contrast, are Communio Catholics, who emphasize communion through proclamation of the faith, a clear Catholic identity and the centrality of the cross. Members of the Conference of Major Superiors, by contrast, are Communio Catholics, who emphasize communion through proclamation of the faith, a clear Catholic identity and the centrality of the cross. (Concilium and Communio are the names of two periodicals founded in the postconciliar era. The first stressed conciliar reforms; the second stressed the continuity of the council documents with the community of the faithful through past centuries.) Thus, one group focuses on doxology and adoration (Communio), the other on practice and experience (Concilium). One sees Christ as gathering people into community (Communio); the other sees Christ as traversing boundaries (Concilium). The C.M.S.W.R. recently held its eucharistic congress under the title “Sacrifice of Enduring Love,” while the L.C.W.R. continues to work on systemic change. The former sees religious life as divine espousal with Christ; the latter sees Christ in solidarity with the poor and justice for the oppressed. [So… CMSWR is into adoration and divine espousal while the LCWR sounds like, what, …. adherents of Liberation theology?]
As Father Radcliffe states, this is not a conflict between those who are faithful to the council and those who would return to a preconciliar church. Nor is it between those who are faithful to the tradition and those who have succumbed to the modern world. Rather, the conflict is about two different understandings of the council and how to carry its work forward. [Indeed yes. This is what Pope Benedict described in his 2005 Christmas address to the Curia. This is about a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture against a hermeneutic of reform in continuity. The writer was on target with that Communio/Concilium comparison. You have the Rahner/Kung faction and their adherents (LCWR) and the John Paul/Benedict faction (CMSWR). There is a conflict between the two. This is not just a matter of hermeneutics which we haven’t yet figured out how to harmonize.] While I appreciate Father Radcliffe’s thoughtful distinctions, my own experience of women religious tells me that the root of the differences between the two associations [NB:] is fear of change. I say this not by way of judgment but from personal experience.
[I think she is suggesting that the new liberation theology – Communio – Rahner/Kung – feministic – Chardin sisters are the courageous prophets gazing with hope into the future (while their communities age and dwindle) while the other, traditional sisters are mired in the old ways because of fear of change. Is that it? Let’s keep reading!]
My Journey to a New Theology
When I entered religious life in 1984, [okay… so she never had the old formation sisters had or had the traditional habit? Read on…] I had a newly minted Ph.D. in pharmacology and an opportunity for a postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Yet I had discovered Thomas Merton’s The Seven Storey Mountain and could not let go my desire to renounce the world and live for Christ. [Why couldn’t one live for Christ as a pharmacologist? Or as a traditional sister?] My understanding of theology, church and religious life then was rudimentary. I flourished in the 1970s as a budding scientist, [wait for it…] writing manifestos of liberation. [So, you can see her starting points.] Though I attended Mass weekly, I did not appreciate the liturgical changes of Vatican II. Instead I longed for the mystical ritual of the Latin Mass I knew as a child, even though I had never understood a word the priest said. [You mean… you were smart enough to get a PhD in Pharmacology but not smart enough to follow the book?] When I made the decision to enter religious life, I sought an austere community where I could make a lifetime sacrifice to live for God alone. Wearing a habit was important to me because it represented holiness and religious identity. I entered a Carmelite cloister of nuns who wore a long, traditional habit and followed a set schedule of daily prayer, silence, adoration and the rosary. [So… she did have the traditional experience.]
My idealized view of religious life began to collapse in the cloister. Day in and day out I recognized how far I was from any noble aspiration of sanctity. I lived with women who suffered manic-depression, came from alcoholic families or were widowed early in life. [So, you are saying,… they were human beings?] There was little personal sharing and little contact with the world. [What did you expect in a cloistered Carmelite monastery?] The God to whom I had once felt so drawn began to melt into the darkness. I wondered whether I had chosen solitary confinement. I asked for a leave to discern my path and was sent to a Franciscan community near a university where I could resume my research. This community also wore a habit and followed a similar daily schedule, but the sisters’ openness to the world was liberating. I studied theology at Fordham University, wearing a full habit and feeling separate from my classmates. On weekdays, I lived in the Bronx with Ursuline sisters.
[Interesting description follows…] My first conversion in religious life centered around the final examination in a New Testament course. I had no computer or place to work until an Ursuline sister offered me her office and computer—and a cooked dinner. Sister Jeanne’s attentiveness to my needs, which included waiting up with me until after midnight, opened my eyes to the meaning of Incarnation. [?] For the first time I saw God humbly present in jeans and a sweatshirt. Next I saw God in frail Sister Catherine, who carried out an extensive outreach to the local poor, and in Sister Lucy, whose 40 years as a missionary in Alaska gave me more than just the entertainment of her fascinating dinnertime stories. In the simple common life of the Ursuline sisters, I saw God fully alive. I saw the same God among the Allegany Franciscans who provided me a home where I could write my doctoral dissertation. They drew me out of my study cell, took me to the park and out to eat and listened to my woes. By graduation, I had resided at three different motherhouses among sisters whose congregations were all members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. [See?]
Through the study of theology I began to reflect on the Incarnation and the two different ways of religious life I had experienced. [And now we get to the conclusions.. the insights…] I realized that Jesus practiced Jewish customs and rituals, lived the humble life of a carpenter and felt called to public ministry around age 30, but he did not separate himself from others by dress or occupation. Engaging in the sociopolitical and economic struggles of his day, [We need a better theology of Christ as Liberator than this, folks…] he reached out to the poor and showed compassion for the sick and dying. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God and gave his life as witness to the fidelity of God’s love. For that he died the public death of a criminal, without honor or glory. The early Christians who experienced the risen Lord were empowered to proclaim it. They had to be: until the conversion of Constantine, living as a Christian was a recipe for martyrdom. Today, too, Gospel life means giving witness to God’s goodness in Christ. In 2005 Dorothy Stang, of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, gave her life as a martyr for the impoverished people of the Amazon.
Both contemporary groups of women religious—the Conference of Major Superiors of Women Religious and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious—witness to the Gospel revealed in Jesus Christ, but their trajectories differ. The former primarily seeks to be espoused to Christ; their focus is a heavenly nuptial union. The latter group primarily follows Christ the liberator, [just as I said…] witnessing to Christ amid the struggles of history. [A little tinge of a marxist view there?] In both groups one can find idols, secrets and dysfunction as well as saints, prophets and mystics. Both groups are sinful and redeemed. Both follow canon law; both maintain health insurance, car insurance, retirement funds and plots for burial. [And one group is growing and the other is dying off.]
Teilhard’s Evolutionary Vision [You knew he had to come in here somewhere.]
What difference does religious life make to the world? Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., brought light to this question by understanding Christianity in an evolutionary universe. What we do and the decisions we make in history, Teilhard said, influence the genesis of Christ. [… the genesis of Christ… ] Christ is the goal of the universe, the new creation, the future of what we are coming to be. We who are baptized into Christ must let go in love and descend into solidarity with the earth. Teilhard noted that there is nothing profane on earth for those who know how to see. Adoration means seeing the depths of divine love in ordinary reality and loving what we see. [Adoration of the Eucharist? Maybe not so much… McBrien would be pleased.] This universe is holy because it is grounded in the Word of God. [Wait for it…] It [the universe] is Christ, the living one, who is coming to be. [The universe is Christ. Sound right to you? The universe is evolving and therefore Christ is evolving… ]
For many years I wondered whether women religious had misread the signs of the time. [Are they missing their shrinking numbers?] Yet as I have pondered the mystery of God, I have come to believe that the evolutionary universe is moving forward in part because women religious are working in the trenches of humanity among those who are poor, oppressed and forgotten. [This is some pretty amazing navel gazing.] Today world religions are playing a greater role in the synthesis of a new religious consciousness. [Let’s read that again: "world religions are playing a greater role in the synthesis of a new religious consciousness."] The women of L.C.W.R. have risked their lives [Oh brother….] in the pursuit of authentic Incarnation and have proclaimed prophetically that the love of God cannot be exterminated or suppressed. They continue to fight for systemic change on behalf of oppressed people. [Liberation theology fused with Chardin.] Congregations may die out, [and they are!… but we are going to hear now how that is really a good thing! It is probably even more liberating!] but the paths inscribed in history by the women religious of Vatican II are nothing less than the evolutionary shoots of a new future. [Another step toward a new synthesis of religious consciousness with other world religions, as a matter of fact! How liberating!]
[Watch now the incredible multiplication of buzz words.]
As Teilhard noted, suffering and sacrifice are part of the evolutionary process. Isolated structures must give way to more complex unions. [Here is a nice way of spinning the dying of religious orders and justify that dying…] To live with an evolutionary spirit is to let go of old structures and to engage new structures when the right time comes. The new heaven and earth promised by God will not come about by cutting ourselves off from the world or [get this…] forming Catholic ghettos. [Like those other women, locked up in fear as brides of Christ (and not an evolving Christ either!) as they refuses to evolve into liberated… synthetic… um… you know… maybe … Cylons?] It will not unfold through the triumph of ecclesiastical power. It will come about as we follow the footprints of the crucified one, descending into the darkness of humanity and rising in the power of love. This is the path to a new creation symbolized by Christ. [I need to go wash after this.]
We believe that what happened between God and the world in Christ points to the future of the cosmos. That future involves a radical transformation of created reality through the unitive power of God’s love. To be a Christbearer is to focus on the inner depth of love. [And the sure sign of Christbearing is the wearing of jeans, I think.] It is love that puts flesh on the face of God, love that makes Christ alive; love is the power of the future and the unfolding of Christ. History will not remember what we wore, where we lived or how we prayed, whether as Concilium or Communio Catholics. In the evening of life we all shall be judged on love alone. [True.]
Ilia Delio, O.S.F., of the Franciscan Sisters of Washington, D.C., is professor and chair of the department of spirituality studies at Washington Theological Union.
This is a smart woman, obviously. She offers some very interesting categories to help us understand what is going on.
But this was like reading an autopsy after an avoidable train wreck. Throw the wrong switch at the wrong time – go onto the wrong track – and wham… you are ever after writing autopsy reports…
.. on your friends and yourself.
A lost pilgrim wandering in the realm of Teilhard’s Noosphere.
More than just a touch of the pantheistic? of the neo-pagan? Soon to be the High Priestess in the Temple of Gaia?
Oh, s***. Pardon my French.
Communion vs. Consilium? How about Catholic vs. secularism?
This is just absolute nonsense.
The tradition of the consecrated religious life is based upon a regulated following of Christ, whether within the cloister or in the world. There are other forms for those who do not want to live such a life.
Gimme a break, Sister. Join a secular institute or just live in the world.
Consecrated religious life is a particular following of Christ. Radical feminism is another religion.
If I may return to an utterance of my youth – a youth mired in the mirthful ether of the Spirit of Vatican 2…
Are we to expect a comedy segment EVERY Friday now? [Comedy? Not in any modern sense of comedy. It is a sad long read, I am afraid.]
It is sad to note that during what seems to be a Dark Night of the Soul she bailed instead of persevering. Had she stayed in the cloister, she could have overcome the darkness and exponentially progressed in the spiritual life.
Dr. Eric: We don’t know that. I hope that would have been the case.
“And the sure sign of Christbearing is the wearing of jeans”
Thank you for giving me a laugh after such a sad article.
iudicame, the expression “bullfeathers” came to my mind…
Teilhard denied the supernatural according to a conversation he had with Dietrich von Hildebrand. In the conversation, Dietrich brought up St. Augustine and was cut short by Teilhard saying “Oh No, not Augustine–he ruined everything for the Church!” Rather he believed in a synthesized reality where evolution was deified. He wrote that Christianity has created a gap between humanness and Christian perfection. He very clearly missed the truth of reality as a plenitude and therefore its depth. Only by becoming a link in the chain of the evolutionary process does man become anything for Teilhard de Chardin. When this [ah hum…] SISTER talks about “love that puts on the face of God” she is referring to this very idea. There is no link between this false notion and the vibrant, generous love we will be judged on in the twilight of our life. This weaving of truth with deceptive “other realities’ [my own phrase] is extremely diabolical.
I often wondered about Henri de Lubac because of his friendship with Teilhard de Chardin. Yet an interest I have in patristics led me to purchase one of his books “History and Spirit” and I’ve found it to be quite solid and well written so far. It’s about the understanding of Scripture according to Origen. YES: I’m trying to change the subject because I’m rather frightened by people who conceive reality in a way other than that which is apparent to the large majority of people…
Luke: Even our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and Hans Urs von Balthasar deal with P.de Chardin, but critique his ideas, and try to find what is true from what is false. I am no expert on this but if they are willing to attempt this, there must be something, even remote, there…
Furthermore: to say that suffering is somehow a growth pain toward the evolutionary process is to deny the Genesis story altogether. Teilhard wanted to create a new religion. These motives led him to create an ulterior reality.
‘I saw God humbly present in jeans and a sweatshirt’. In England we would say to this ‘the mind boggles!’
Fr. John Mary: I’m aware of what you’re speaking of, but is the grain of truth existing where Teilhard departs worth digging for? I think it’s more important to study him in an effort to critique his ideas. Otherwise there’s a stronger possibility that his ideas will take hold without a reasonable barrier in place to explain where he went wrong and why.
“But this was like reading an autopsy after an avoidable train wreck.”
Ah, but as Teilhard has explained for our benefit, the wreck is only part of a process! Becoming a heap of twisted metal is part of the inevitable becoming of a better and more efficient vehicle.
Sorry Fr. John Mary, but Teilhard was a fraud from beginning to end, and no-one can turn his idolatrous drivel into anything other than idolatrous drivel.
Does anybody remember his prayer to matter?
As a student at a Jesuit university in the late 60s, I ran into a couple of Teilhard’s disciples who spent their days raging against both the dark forces in The Vatican who silenced their hero, and their hero himself for refusing to defy them. He had the bad taste to remind a group that urged him defiance that “we have all taken vows of obedience, not of obedience only to those orders we like”.
I don’t think he would have agreed with Sr Delio.
Sister Delio has obviously read a lot, but I think she missed Matthew 6.
I agree with you, Sr. Delio: Teilhard would not have agreed with the very confused sister who wrote the above article. On the other hand this doesn’t justify his own theological irresponsibility. It would be difficult to explain his efforts to reshape reality as we know it and as it’s been known by many for a very long time any other way than irresponsible. To flatly deny the supernatural and then redefine everything as a synthesis dependent on the evolutionary process is irresponsible. Yes he did make an idol out of things that are not God and claimed that he saw God in those things. That’s backwards in plain English in my book at least. It might be good to insert here that the natural law and evolution can exist together quite nicely. One does not replace the other.
Bringing this back to the good sister’s autopsy report I would say further that she is the one who misread the signs of the times. How easily we can forget that the Source and Summit of our Faith is the sign for all times, humbly calling us to the Father’s Love. The natural changes–God does not. We change in order to become like unto our unchangeable God. This has little to do with evolution, and the only real barrier being broken down is self-seeking.
As a Carmelite (third order) and a WTU grad student currently studying the history of religious orders, this is a fascinating albeit disturbing read. From the Medieval age until now the question remains: “what is religious life?” Eremitical? Cenobitical? Evangelical? Some hybrid of these, or something else entirely … Many models may be inferred from scripture that are not easily synthesized, let alone address where women figure into the idea of vocation.
Current theories suggest that Orders evolve to meet the needs of the societies they occupy. If this is true, it would appear that the modern idea of liberated-women-religious has run its course and that what the world needs most at this time, is the public witness of traditional orders, women set apart, consecrated for God alone. In a culture where women have perhaps never been so degraded in every way, I welcome this trend.
In my stint as a social worker I saw the amazing ability we humans have to rationalize the most self-destructive decisions. I learned
that I could do a good reality check with most clients by asking them “So, how’s that working out for you?”. Sr. Delio and her fellow-
travelers in the LCWR, after reflecting on the truth that they neither invented concern for the poor nor own the patent, need to take a
look at the sorry state of the orders that had been entrusted to them.
“So, Sister, how’s that working out for you?”
The women of L.C.W.R. have risked their lives [Oh brother….] in the pursuit of authentic Incarnation and have proclaimed prophetically that the love of God cannot be exterminated or suppressed.
That comment should be “Oh Sister,” Father!
LaudemGloriae: You are both right and wrong. Exactly right in that religious should be religious and wrong in that this should ever change. What society always needs is Christian witness. What more Christ-like witness could there be beyond the men and women who live solely for him in the consecrated life?
“I studied theology at Fordham University, wearing a full habit and feeling separate from my classmates.”
Isn’t that the point of wearing a habit?
I really have only one thing to say to this: Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
To clear the record: I am no T. de Chardin apologist.
I was merely making the comment that even the Holy Father and H.U. von Balthasar critiqued his theology. This is beyond my ability to discurse upon. I stand with the Magisterium.
Having only seen her as the “authority on religion” on the History Channel (among other things), I have never really known that she has had this long history of infidelity to Church teaching (although I have had my suspicions). Now, it makes me really wonder: why did those guys decide to pick her as the authority on Christian — especially Catholic — religion when she herself doesn’t even follow it?
Come on, even I would expect to have somebody other than her saying what Catholics think about certain events in history — and especially modern history with her “Vatican-II-reform” generation of religious dying off at a fast rate. In all seriousness, I agree that she may be smart, but doing this article was probably not the smartest decision she ever made. For this is not her being an “objective expert” in modern Catholic history — she’s being an advocate for the unorthodox side of the Faith!
(Which leads me to wonder whether I can really believe her on the History Channel due to her possible insertion of liberal views, but that’s another matter for another day. . . .)
My 84-year-old aunt is in a convent where the few remaining sisters have been living a secular life for years. She has managed to still pray her rosaries and her office each day, but the habit was dismissed years ago. She was the archivist for her order in the U.S., a position which won’t last much longer. These women do some social ministry, but mainly they care for the elderly and dying among their own ranks.
They wear modern clothes, use make-up, have their hair styled, wear jewelry, go to current immoral movies, drink quite freely, take cruises, etc. They have little regard for the current pope or the previous one. I have always been uncomfortable at their Masses when I have visited….especially when I have to endure “Gather Us In.”
Fr. John Mary: I never took your comments to imply your position was otherwise.
Catherine: I’m sorry to hear about your aunt’s situation. Her sisters might be interested to know that Canon law dictates the wearing of habits.
I’ll take Mother Angelica’s, straight talk, no drivel, no babel, no nonsense, no doublespeak. I’m with judicome….sheesh.
Some questions for the Sister:
Why is the Second Vatican Council authoritative for her? Where did it get this authority? And why does she apparently deny authority to Trent, or Pope Benedict XVI?
What is her theology of the Holy Spirit? How can she perceive the “movements of the spirit”? Why does she trust these perceived movements?
What is justice? What philosophical foundations guide her understanding of justice? How does her concept of justice square with the other virtues and moral theology? Why does she think she ought to pursue justice?
“While I appreciate Father Radcliffe’s thoughtful distinctions, my own experience of women religious tells me that the root of the differences between the two associations [NB:] is fear of change. I say this not by way of judgment but from personal experience.”
Some women religious seem to liken their cause to be priestesses is synonymous to the women’s suffrage movement.
It is absurd in this sense: Almighty God obviously created men and women with different bodies, why couldn’t He also have created us with different faculties? That is, different roles, even based on gender? A man cannot give birth, yet the natural feelings for a newly birthed child has to be among the most amazing things felt on earth to a new mother.
Men do not demand that they give birth just because they cannot. So too, women should not demand that they become Priests.
Men and women are created equally, but differently. The Mother of God wouldn’t demand that she also be Christ the Savior, for instance, even though she is “Blessed among women.”
Women, like I said, are equal, but different from men. It is not an accident that all of the apostles were men. But, if you read the Bible, the women played an equal, or greater, role.
But so many “nuns” out there are such militant feminists, that they want to confuse a proper understanding of gender-roles.
Women need to be women, and men, men.
I wonder if there’s a way we could recommend some of the good books to the left of the screen to the good sister. Hmmm…Could we send one to the History Channel in her name? We should take up a collection. My suggestion would be to begin with the Compendium to the Catechism. Then we could on to Benjamin Wikers book toward the bottom of the list and she could find out how ideas have consequences. Please don’t confuse this statement with Karl Marx notion that ideas are consequences (confusing I know).
De Chardin promoted an evolutionary Christ, Christ ‘becoming’ some future realization not yet attained.
Whereas the Church is here. Present. Founded solidly by Christ, Who knew He was. Present and in infinite eternity at the same time. The same Truth then as now.
One type of nun is ‘becoming’ and changing, morphing like this de Chardin version of Christ. The other type of nun lives as the Church we already know.
“It will not unfold through the triumph of ecclesiastical power.” I’m not sure sister sees the correlation of the Church with Christ. Is she aware that Christ founded the Church? And that we achieve sanctity in obedience to this unchanging Body of Christ that is the Church?
Is it any surprise that poor sister has fallen prey to the ‘do it yourself’ nun? Don’t we have the ‘do it yourself’ Masses with variable options today and all the other ambivalent observances we see in the Church? This de Chardin-style Christ is dangerous because it leads us to make Him up as we go along. And thus, make up the Church, the Faith, and everything else as we ‘evolve’ and ‘discover’ the changeable truth.
I don’t know about all the jargon about spirituality, but I do know that she has wasted her much needed training as a pharmacist.
Reminds me of our cook, Sister Agnetis, who read about a doctor who went into the cloister to find God, and essentially said if she wanted to find God, we needed a doc or two to help the only doc(me) at our mission hospital.
If they wanted to be liberated why did they become sisters in the first place??? I’m pretty sure they could’ve said no to all those apparently horrible, opressive and wretched vows. Why don’t they just leave the order, and stop spreading poision.
Amerika should be criticized for publishing this article. From a theological perspective this article doesn’t hold water and it seems precipitous on the part of Amerika to say the least. I for one am going to write to both parties (Amerika and Sr. Delio) to express my concerns. Intellectual responsibility involves adherence to “what is.” This is another reflection of the decay in our universities. One of the most esteemed people in our local Catholic U is trying to recreate the wheel of theology also. Interesting is that both this sister and this other prof. deny the supernatural while at the same time referring to it. Inconsistency is the first sign something is wrong. I’m tempted here to reflect on St. John’s Gospel, chapter six. After speaking, Jesus gave no explanation. He didn’t refer to some alternate reality or suggest that we can’t become a “new creation” in Him as St. Paul expresses it. Our “becoming” is bound up in the image we were destined to reflect (2 Cor 3:18; Rm 8:29) And Christ is changeless… This naecessiates adherence to the first and greatest commandment of Charity, which, as Father Lagrange once put it, “is commanded not as something to be realized immediately, but rather the end toward which everyone should tend according to his condition.” Charity is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets and brings about the Gospel revolution–not a recreating of the world as we know it. In medieval times there was a saying that “we stand on the shoulders of giants.” The giants are the ones who laid down the first principles and we’re only unfolding–explaining if you will–the same truths. What Sr. Delio does is recreate truth based on a lack of knowing the Indwelling God she at first sought to find within her person. We can never sell short and buy into the anonymous CHristian sequence whereby our only need is to see Christ in others. Our primary duty is to Charity directed toward God, and only then can we love our neighbor aright. I would point out that her words “descending into the darkness of humanity and rising in the power of love” are empty and do not reflect the fulness of life God offers to those who exercise the will in a real active loving. I’m referring to an act of the will and not a sort of intellectual “assent” to being a link in the chain of evolution.
A man who posts obsessively about Pere Teilhard on an Australian discussion board said that Rome has never said why Teilhard was banned. Is this true? If not, why was he banned?
I read that the last members of some religious orders are selling the properties and taking the money to found communities which have nothing to do with the Catholic Church – all apparently legally. Can anything be done to stop this?
I don’t know why religious such as the one who wrote this article seem to think that a religious who wears a habit, lives in a community and is faithful to the Magisterium can’t also help the poor, educate the young, care for the elderly etc It’s not an either or, it’s a both and.
Chardin? Talk about being ossified in amber and unwilling to look towards the future. When you’re facing a “massive evolutionary change that can only be described as cataclysmic” you’ve got to change tack before letting it all be destroyed.
The greenshoots of VII are in evidence; Sisters of Life, Mother Angelica’s Order; Dominicans of Nashville, etc
Polski wrote: Why don’t they just leave the order, and stop spreading poision.
I’ve often thought it is b/c they want control over the assets. Easier to undertake a coup than start something new (like Bishop Hodur who started the PNCC 100 years ago)
Interestingly enough, the picture on this posting is not Sister Ilia Delio. I don’t know who it is. Here is a link to Sister Ilia’s picture:
Also, what Sister Ilia doesn’t say is that she eventually has now “founded” the Franciscan Sisters of Washington, DC, a community of two. Hmmm. So, even after leaving the Carmelites, joining another order, and living with the Ursulines who wore jeans, she STILL hadn’t found what she was looking for. Needless to say, she has found it now: complete autonomy over what she thinks is religious life. Apparently that was what she was looking for in the first place.
Did anyone else spot the problem, that as a budding scientist she was writing “manifestos of liberation”…? should they not have been ‘person-i-festos’ of liberation…? Curious also the liberated photo is arms up, in the ‘look at me posture’. One greatly prefers the ‘lying face down, about to be ordained’ posture.
If one looks closely at the “strange Catholics” in the USA, often but not always Religious, one will find popularized ideas of Teilhard de Chardin in there somewhere.
Teilhard’s conflation of all fields of thought, not just Revelation and science, but even of all sciences themselves, is not only anti-intellectual, but dilutes the distinction between matter and spirit, God and Creation, and natural and supernatural realities.
Some, such as Flannery O’Connor, thought of his writing as poetic, and liked some of it; others, like the “strange Catholics” have taken it for the “inside story” of cosmology and the History of Salvation. It was very “popular” among some sorts of Catholic intellectuals in the 50’s and 60’s. His writings were never “published” with ecclesiastical approval, they were leaked to the secular press, and then read. They were often used in college classrooms while I was in college (1968-1972), especially our wonderful Catholic colleges, and especially those in the “Jesuit tradition”.
The encyclical Humani generis of Pius XII was written partly to clarify what the Church’s teachings are with regard to the scientific theory of evolution, and the dogmas of God’s direct creation of every human (immortal) soul, the unity of the human race as taught by Genesis, and the dogma of original sin. It was written to some extent as a correction to what Teilhard was writing. And Teilhard was silenced by his own religious superiors.
As Julian Huxley explained Teilhard’s main idea, “Evolution is nothing but matter become conscious of itself.” Thus mind and matter are a continuum. Not a problem for a founder of “Secular Humanism”, but something of a difficulty for one of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.
N.B. Why would anyone wonder why the History Channel would use such an “expert”? Well, an even more general question is why would a “history” channel put so much emphasis on non-historical matters:
My sense of the History Channel approach is that they develop some sort of “antithesis” based on people they can interview in their shows, versus the “thesis” of what normal people think, and then ask questions about what effects this “new understanding” will have on the matter in the future. Probably a good way to get ratings.
Another point about the effect of Teilhardianism as I summarized it:
MORALITY IS SUPERFLUOUS.
Since cosmic evolution is a necessary and ineluctable process, we are merely caught up in its sweep. There is nothing for which we must answer to anyone (although details will vary).
That’s at the bottom of the “social justice wing” of the Catholic Church (as they like to call themselves). And it’s why Confession is not “popular” anymore. Since I cannot sin, I have nothing to confess.
Relevant to this blog: What difference does it make how the Church “celebrates” the Liturgy, if It is all just a natural, physical process? Evolution is messy.
The answer to this question (and the others) is that Vat II represents for her (and the other “progessives”) the most recent “dot” on the evolutionary path of church teaching: a status quaestionis. We have obviously all moved (evolutionarily) beyond that point at present (in a “better” direction), and some of these nuns are already talking about “having progressed beyond Jesus Christ”.
“Everything that rises must converge.”
I couldn’t even finish this drivel. Sheesh.
Every time I read “In The Spirit of Vatican II…” I reflexively roll my eyes. I’ve read most of the Conciliar documents…they’re beautiful and in continuity with Scripture and Tradition. It’s bozo’s like this in the pre-internet days that thought they could re-make the Church in their warped 1970’s view of the world.
Crikee. Haven’t we suffered these fools long enough? “Forty years I endured that generation, they are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know My ways…” (Ps 95)
Luke, I don’t advocate the evolution of Orders, I simple observe what is already known — that they do evolve and change. Nearly every Order has undergone an effort of reformation, many within a generation of their founding and/or as an ongoing project (Carthusians being a notable exception). That said, the “liberal” notions of women religious in particular point perhaps to an answer without a question, a response to which there was no need. It does seem to me that this Sister was searching for a lay life and not a religious one. Her uneasiness with religious life expressed itself in an to attempt to morph religious life into something other than its function or to revise that function to suit liberal religious. The results of which speak for themselves.
What I find interesting is the nagging doubt, her question — did we misread or misinterpret the documents of Vatican II? I hope the long overdue answer will come with the Papal visitations.
Fr. Z, thank you for posting this. I may need more information about cloistered communities, but the “Communio” and “Concilium” interpretations confused me. I thought the purpose of a cloistered community was to focus on prayer without the distractions of the world, that separation had a distinct purpose. If so, it seems conflicting to expect those within the order to follow “Christ as traversing boundaries.” Again, it would seem that those within a cloistered community would realize that their mission is not to transverse boundaries, but affect the spiritual realm by their devotion.
I also don’t get the “incarnation” aspect. There’s something off about this perspective. I noticed that Sr. Ilia was happy to be served by others. And this is incarnation? Recognizing someone serving in the name of Christ is a humbling experience, but what bothered me was the jump in logic (questionable) Sr. Ilia made between someone waiting upon her every need to God doing the same thing. That is not only a breathtaking moment of navel-gazing, but a gross misunderstanding of our relationship with our heavenly Father.
And doesn’t incarnation happen when we have died to our own needs, wants, and desires in order to embrace God’s will? What strikes me about this “modernity” is a focus on experience. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He doesn’t change. But focusing on experiences leaves someone wide open for abuse.
I don’t know if I’m expressing myself well, here. All I know is that the orders which have thrown their habits to the wind and pursued self-actualization (which is in direct opposition to Gal. 2:20) are not attracting vocations. Those who have kept their habits, are.
First — I agree that it’s likely she should have entered an order that encouraged her to use her pharmaceutical knowledge, and also had a strong community life and contemplative leanings. Some kind of discernment problem.
She obviously got lonely pretty easily, and that made her not like looking different (even if she looked the same as her sisters). She didn’t stay anywhere and learn to be rooted; she kept roaming about, looking for identity. Instead of learning to pray, she studied theology.
OTOH, she never did leave religious life entirely, which does seem to her credit.
Grabski makes an excellent point: running one’s order into the ground does have one upside for those who remain in that
control of the assets goes to the last ones standing. Attracting novices would be counterproductive to that end.
Norah commented: “I read that the last members of some religious orders are selling the properties and taking the money to found communities which have nothing to do with the Catholic Church – all apparently legally. Can anything be done to stop this?”
I’m afraid this is true; in Wisconsin we have an example of this of a former Benedictine community who is now “non-canonical” and out of the Church.
The Bishop of Madison has forbidden his priests to offer Holy Mass at this place.
Sad, very sad.
Sister Lucia of Fatima said that the devil concentrates his efforts on priests and consecrated souls; isn’t that the truth?
We’re all very pleased to see that you are very orthodox and in love with God and his Church. May God speed you on the rest of your journey Home.
I was referring to Fr. John Mary,of course…
A powerful and humbling experience some years ago taught me that to embrace a god of one’s own making and not the living God, the God of revelation, is entirely dangerous. I consider myself very fortunate to have been brought low.
As a once upon a time avid reader of T. de Chardin, I understand the allure of his writings. However, rather than proposing the God of revelation, de Chardin merely fabricates a new belief system that hardly has room for an authentic personal encounter with Jesus.
Unless I am projecting some baggage of my own into the article, Sr. Delio appears to fall into a trap of her own making. By her definition(s) of the two entities, she pits Martha (LCWR) against Mary (CMSWR) – and, we all know who Jesus said chose the better part.
Upon reading the article provided, I am questioning whether there is a fairly common misunderstanding present as an undercurrent. I am reminded of the false dichotomy that some people create between the terms spirituality and religion, only insert the words concilium and communio. Those who would have us worship their god and who encourage us to be “spiritual” attempt to bolster their version of the christian path by rejecting the word “religious” and everything for which it stands. One never hears rejections of “organized spirituality”, but we often hear condemnations of organized religion (if ever there was such a thing as a religion that is organized). The term spirituality, for many folk these days, appears to allow much more room for their personal meanderings than does the term religion. If only those same folk would spend some time getting over their puerile notions and seek out a wise confessor, they then might just overcome the obstacles of their own making, obstacles they are putting in the way of God Who would give them real peace. But no, the masquerade continues and then, sadly, others follow the blind into oblivion. The LCWR, whose membership is withering, should relearn the lesson which is being lived by the thriving membership of the CMSWR: be faithful to God and His Church and God will bless you abundantly.
I recall a story about Mother Teresa of Calcutta who, invited to attend a conference on hunger and poverty, stopped to help a person suffering on the steps of the building wherein the conference was taking place. Other conference attendees merely passed by the individual. The Missionaries of Charity, for example, have overcome the false dichotomy that would pit concilium against communio, Martha against Mary, so-to-speak. And, it seems to me that it is the faithful religious orders who are getting their hands dirty, not the so-called social justice minded orders clad in their beige pant suits and who sit in their comfy offices frothing at the mouth while the poor go hungry on the steps of the LCWR’s ivory tower.
As for the kookiness found in the membership of the LCWR, would it not be reasonable and charitable to insist that, if unwilling to abandon a misguided agenda, then Sr. Delio and others like her should do the honest thing? I.e., go then, with your mind(s) made up. Leave. You worship your god in your way. Come back home when you’re done pursuing alien gods. Meanwhile, let the rest of us worship God in His way.
Thank you, Luke. I can use all the prayers I can get…and I mean it!!:<)
mpm: That’s the beauty of God’s plan: Eventually their guilt-driven consciences will bring them back to the mysterious God who loves us even when we turn away from him.
Can anybody else here picture the scene when we sneak into their next conference and play that 90’s song “Back to life, back to reality”?
“History will not remember what we wore, where we lived or how we prayed, ”
When her non-community follows its ideology of self-dissolution, history will not remember them at all.
I think Sr. Delio deserves our thanks. She has discovered a new
vocation … called “Christian laity.”
It’s got it all: all the dedication to Christ/His principles
(whatever they are) that you can manage, few regulations, unlimited
supply of poor folk to help, the world as your library, and no nasty
dress code or inhibiting liturgical practices!
I have never read any Teilhard de Chardin, my understanding of his works is that they are very speculative based on the possibilities of ideas of science and evolution, very brainy “what if” stuff. But when he was silenced he stayed silent, which is more than you can say for some people with unusual ideas today.
So I don’t know if TdC really meant what this lady says he did, but either way that’s just plain stupid. Evolution does NOT mean that anything steadily evolves toward some better state. That kind of wacky, “we are spiritually evolving” stuff has no place in any serious theology, it’s neither scientific nor theological. It’s just New Agey, gnostic stuff. The universe is Christ? Christ is coming to be? That’s not theology, that’s just drivel.
This lady sounds like she wasn’t really cut out for the contemplative life, she probably did not belong in a Carmelite convent. I think it’s important to note that when she met the LCWR sisters she was struck by their friendliness and compassion — certainly something we should ALL be striving for and, sadly, that is often lacking in Catholic parishes (I don’t know about convents). If she had met friendly and compassionate people who were also orthodox, would she have ended up believing that the universe is Christ coming into being because of women’s solidarity with the earth??? We’ll never know.
I would never have published this in a million years, but then again, if America had not published it we would not have gotten to read such a long and detailed look into how an LCWR sister thinks.
“Also, what Sister Ilia doesn’t say is that she eventually has now “founded” the Franciscan Sisters of Washington, DC, a community of two. Hmmm. So, even after leaving the Carmelites, joining another order, and living with the Ursulines who wore jeans, she STILL hadn’t found what she was looking for. Needless to say, she has found it now: complete autonomy over what she thinks is religious life. Apparently that was what she was looking for in the first place.”
Isn’t there a bit in “The Imitation of Christ” about the temptation to go from monastery to monastery, looking for the “perfect” one — instead of doing the hard work of really being a monk?
Gail F: Let me tell you from the school of “hard knocks”:
The LCRW group and dissident priests are very friendly to those who are open to their nonsense but are not interested and even hostile to someone who loves Holy Mother Church, the Blessed Sacrament, liturgical norms, and the Blessed Mother. Believe me, I’ve been there, done that.
The friendliness ends when you espouse something that does not fit with “their agenda”…which in my mind, after many years, is the undermining of the Holy Catholic Faith.
How odd that I just came from a conference with speakers from religious orders which are experiencing tremendous growth and attracting many faith filled young people. Non of them had any resemblance to Sister Ilia’s kooky order.
Gail F: Teilhard had the good fortune of having some very good and fairly solid friends who likely convinced him that he had run his intellectual course long enough–let it rest. We can only speculate. It seems that this sister keeps a company of a rather different sort, however. Her friends are all cheering.
I’m not sure at all about seeing that bit in the Imitation but you’re right on the money. If you’ve been to numerous convents and now have a theology completely divergent from that of the Church then you essentially have. Well we don’t use words like heresy and schism and the like today too often. Definitely something “other” though. Then again do any of the words I mentioned even begin to describe or define a completely divergent view of basic realities?
Fr. John Mary: I’m sorry to hear about your experience in a dissident religious life environment. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been.
Luke: Thank you for your comment. I have found in the past years that my experience has strenghthened me and enlightened me in ways I could not even begin to imagine without having first “been there”. I’ve lived on “both sides” and let me tell you, it’s a great blessing to live in the arms of “Holy Mother Church” even if it means persecution and rejection, than to be “comfortable” with evil and lies. God bless you!
@ suburbanbanshee: “Instead of learning to pray, she studied theology.”
Just about perfect. As a theology/philosophy of religion grad student, that’s the best thing I’ve ever heard.
Every day trying to make sure I learn to pray and not neglect it because of “theology”.
Well put. Thanks.
The good sister seems to know enough to confuse herself.
1. Her nexus between the evolution of new structures of religious life and engaging in contemporary economic struggles is false. It is well known that the lack of religious vocations, which she seems to endorse, has raised the price of Catholic education to the point that lower middle class Catholics can no longer afford to attend.
2. Her dreamy notion of a NEW religious consciousness is anthing but new. It hearkens back to Hegel, who died more than 300 years ago. It also seems to be tinged with ancient Gnosticism.
There is nothing new about the concept of a new religous consciousness.
3. Although some orders are more ascetic than others and emphasize the Crucifixion more, there are three aspects of Christ’s earthly existence that always must be kept in mind: His Incarnation, Passion and Death, and Resurrection.
“False dichotomy”–exactly! Thank you for expressing what I was thinking while reading the article. She sets up several false dichotomies throught her piece:
Incarnation vs the cross–each needs the other. The cross wouldn’t exist without the Incarnation, but the Incarnation wouldn’t have meaning without the cross.
Conciliar reforms vs continuity with the past–reform that breaks continuity isn’t actually reform, it’s revolution.
Doxology and adoration vs on practice and experience–Mother Teresa stressed the need for prayer and adoration to support the Sisters’ practical work with the poor.
Christ gathering people into community vs Christ traversing boundaries–Christ did indeed traverse boundaries, but it was in order to gather people into the community that would become His Church.
Divine espousal with Christ vs seeing Christ in the poor and oppressed–see Mother Teresa, above.
Cloistered orders vs active orders–the Church, the Body of Christ, needs both.
Aside from that, it sounds like she truly had/has a love for God, a need to live for Him, a desire for holiness. I can’t help but think that some good spiritual direction during her first struggles in the Carmelite monastery would have helped her. Perhaps she didn’t belong in a contemplative order; perhaps some guidance and discernment would have led her to a more active (yet orthodox) order, maybe working in a hospital and using her pharmacology degree. And she might have been told that “God melting into the darkness” is a common experience, and doesn’t mean that something is wrong.
She IS a smart woman, and I believe she is a good woman also. But she has been seriously misled by some of the currents in the world, and (unfortunately) in the Church. (Especially T de C.)
“And the sure sign of Christbearing is the wearing of jeans, I think.”
Ah yes, the Levi-tes.
When I used to work in a Catholic bookstore-owner is an ND grad but a ‘Call to Action’ liberal-I saw books written by this ‘sister’ on the shelves.
Oy vey….another one ‘stuck in the Sixties’…don’t need to read it to be nauseated…
What this ‘sister’ should do is look at the faithful communities of REAL SISTERS, some of which have already been listed. But in her foolishness and her pride, she will NOT!
I like your sense of humor, Random Friar! LOL! :D
Thank you for the pick-me-up.
I have one final question: Why does Thomas Merton get blamed for
leading these folks off the straight path? While I haven’t read him widely
what I have read seems fairly solid. I’ve met others who say, “I’ve read
all of Merton” and then wind up kind of making up their own faith as they
go along. It a shame for both parties as far as I can tell.
After living with sisters of various orders at Notre Dame in the grad dorms, I challenged them on these topics and the fact that they were living like “yuppies”, with bank accounts, cars, entertainment expenses, etc. Some of us would have joined orders if we could have found such in our dioceses in the 1980s. But, faced with such liberation theology, modern dress, lack of obedience to Rome, etc., we felt that the Holy Spirit had abandoned these sad women. Thank God for the new orders springing up such as in St. Louis and in Kansas City; orders going back to their roots in Christ’s Gospel and the Tradition of the Church.
I swear, the last couple of paragraphs read like she’s having an orgasm while writing, or something.
A couple of cultural notes for the benefit of those who are not acquainted with “life in the 1950s”.
a) Pere Teilhard de Chardin. In justice, one must distinguish the man and the books. The man was a Jesuit, and obeyed his religious superiors. He died in NYC in 1955, in communion with his order and the Catholic Church, as far as I am aware. The man, as far as I am concerned, is not the issue.
The books, although they were “condemned” by his religious superiors (they would not give them the Imprimatur or Nihil obstat), were like soviet samisdat publications: although presumably written by Teilhard, they were clandestinely printed, and distributed, by the secular media, and very much feted by leading scientists such as Julian Huxley, who was instrumental in getting the works published. Huxley was a vocal “secular humanist” and “eugenicist”.
This is what should be understood under the brand-name “Teilhard de Chardin”, not the man personally. The chief errors regarding his, and others’, evolutionary presuppostions were addressed by Pius XII in Humani generis in 1950, along with a number of other modernist doctrinal errors and fads.
b) Concilium is a scholarly theological review, founded in 1965 by Marie-Dominique Chenu OP, Yves Congar OP, Karl Rahner SJ, Edward Schillebeeckx OP, and Hans Küng. It used the “spirit of the times”, and the “signs of the times”, to give an intellectual, though in my opinion, mostly wrong, spin to the “event” of Vatican II, a term of art in Teilhardian books and evolution. The “event” was like what caused the dinosaurs to disappear: something disruptive. Vatican II was an evolutionary “event” in the life of the world and the Church.
The National Catholic Reporter is to Concilium what Popular Mechanics is to Physics.
d) Communio is a scholarly review, founded in 1972 by modern theologians critical of what they considered Concilium’s overly reformist and modernist bent. These included Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper and Joseph Ratzinger. They fostered an interpretation of the Council documents, and Church life, in continuity with the Church’s whole Tradition (“life”), as we have come to hear Pope Benedict speak about it regularly these days. Most, or all, of these founders were originally contributors to Concilium, and friendly with its founders, but came to see its rather propagandistic bent negatively, and parted ways with it.
If you wish to find out about Telihard de Chardin from a devotee go to CathPews http://members7.boardhost.com/CathPews/index.html?1214212565 and read just about any post by Grahame.
Okay, folks. Here’s an
Fr. Philip Powell, a priest of the Dominican order and an author and popular Catholic blogger, told LSN in an interview that he believes that the investigation is long overdue. He added, however, that he has doubts as to what it could accomplish after so many years. The LCWR “culture of opposition” is entrenched, he said. “From some of the things I’ve read about LCWR and from my own personal experiences as a seminarian and in religious life, there’s a real tendency of these women to form their identity around their opposition.”
has workeimportant point made in a LifeSites article:
“The LCWR d to undermine the Church’s ancient teachings,” he said, “particularly those about nature of Christ and the Church and sexuality.” Fr. Powell said that the group’s keynote addresses and speeches “have been uniformly anti-hierarchy, anti-clerical, anti-magisterium. They tend to push an eco-feminist ‘new cosmology’ ideology over and against basic Christian beliefs.
“They aren’t simply tinkering with the packaging here. They are gutting the gift.”
Sorry. Hit the wrong button. It should read:
Fr. Philip Powell, a priest of the Dominican order and an author and popular Catholic blogger, told LSN in an interview that he believes that the investigation is long overdue. He added, however, that he has doubts as to what it could accomplish after so many years. The LCWR “culture of opposition” is entrenched, he said. “From some of the things I’ve read about LCWR and from my own personal experiences as a seminarian and in religious life, there’s a real tendency of these women to form their identity around their opposition.”
“The LCWR has worked to undermine the Church’s ancient teachings,” he said, “particularly those about nature of Christ and the Church and sexuality.” Fr. Powell said that the group’s keynote addresses and speeches “have been uniformly anti-hierarchy, anti-clerical, anti-magisterium. They tend to push an eco-feminist ‘new cosmology’ ideology over and against basic Christian beliefs.
“They aren’t simply tinkering with the packaging here. They are gutting the gift.”