NCFishwrap reacts to the LCWR’s news

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In another entry I posted about the doctrinal investigation and oversight by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the USCCB of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (a subsidiary of the Magisterium of Nuns).

Just about everyone had posted about this, except for the LCWR‘s great ally the National catholic Fishwrap…. Reporter.

They have finally begun their spin. It is really too good.

This truly qualifies as a staging a nutty.

Bishop against gay marriage tapped to reform LCWR
by Jamie L Manson on Apr. 18, 2012

NCR Today

The Vatican investigation into U.S. women religious, which began in 2009, is finally bearing its first toxic fruit. [Let the hysteria begin!]

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced Wednesday it has named Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to lead a five-year reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). The reforms include a revision of the LCWR’s statutes, a review of its programs (including, in all likelihood, Vatican approval of topics and speakers at their annual general assembly) and reviews of their liturgical norms and relationship with NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby.

Sartain has made headlines in recent months for his recommendation that parishes in his diocese collect signatures for petitions supporting Washington state’s referendum against same-sex marriage. [Which some of the priests of the Archd. Seattle have resisted.]

This “doctrinal assessment” has been initiated by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Their greatest concern about LCWR’s programming? You guessed it: They’re not explicitly anti-gay and anti-women’s ordination.  [She equates being in harmony with both natural law and the Church’s divinely inspired teaching as being “anti-gay”, even though the CDF clearly teaches about the charity that must be shown to homosexuals.  And this is a very different issue than that of the impossibility of the ordination of women.  Still, this comment shows why I was looking forward to NCF’s comments!] The USCCB’s press release states:

“CDF said that the documentation ‘reveals that, while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States. Further, issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching. Moreover, occasional public statements by the LCWR that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.'”

LCWR representatives have not yet commented publicly on what is undoubtedly an unprecedented moment of crisis for the conference. [Unquestionably an unequivocal assault on fans of alliteration.]

This raises a question, of course.

Is there such a strong connection of the LCWR and… how to say… certain lifestyle choices?


The NCR reactions keep coming.  In am article by Joshua J. McElwee we read, with my emphases:


[Sr. Joan] Chittister said she was deeply distraught at news of Sartain’s appointment and the order for LCWR to revise itself. [What a surprise!]

“When you set out to reform a people, a group, who have done nothing wrong, [You mean, other than purposely embrace heresies and all sorts of strange things, criticize and defy the Holy See and bishops, abandon their habits and the charisms of their communities… ] you have to have an intention, a motivation that is not only not morally based, but actually immoral,” she said.  [Keeping in mind that this new project comes from the CDF and that this is approved by the Holy Father, I rest my case.]

“Because you are attempting to control people [Note the word “attempt”.  I look forward to many more statements of defiance from women religious, speeches at conferences, articles in NCR.] for one thing and one thing only — and that is for thinking, for being willing to discuss the issues of the age … If we stop thinking, if we stop demanding the divine right to think, [She pretty much side-steps the problems, no?  This “think” thing is misdirection.] and to see that as a Catholic gift, then we are betraying the church no matter what [NB] the powers of the church see as an inconvenient truth in their own times.”  [Sr. Joan must be for the Magisterium of Nuns what Al Gore is to the climate change crowd.]

In attempting to take such control of people’s thinking, [She must think most of her readers are pretty stupid, since she keeps repeating the point.] she said, “You make a mockery of the search for God, of the whole notion of keeping eyes on the signs of the times and of providing the people with the best possible spiritual guidance and presence you can give.  [More Enneagrams, please!]

“When I was a child in this town, I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.

In my lifetime, the church, to its eternal credit, admitted that it was wrong. [!?!  About entering Protestant churches?  – Would that some of them would… but I digress. ] The scandal and the sin is that it took 400 years to do that.”

Chittister said women religious have been trying since Vatican II “to help the church avoid that kind of darkness and control … they have been a gift to the church in their leadership [1 Cor 11:5] and their love and their continuing fidelity.

“When you set out to reform that kind of witness, remember when it’s over who doomed the church to another 400 years of darkness. It won’t the people of the church who did it.”  [Thus, the Pope and CDF and USCCB are not “people of the church”.  Okay!  I can live with that.]

Sr. Joan also offer this:

“Within the canonical framework, there is only one way I can see to deal with this,” said Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister, who has served as president of the group as well as in various leadership positions. (Chittister also writes a column for NCR.) “They would have to disband canonically and regroup as an unofficial interest group.

Niiiice.  Show your true colors, Sister!

Keeping watching for more of the same.



About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Brick by Brick, Dogs and Fleas, Throwing a Nutty and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. frjosh says:

    Just the title for this article made me smile. Bishop against gay marriage. Isn’t that every single ordinary in the United States? Just the title — as if he’s the only one, or as if this had anything to do with why they chose him — makes me chuckle.

    Please remember to keep Archbishop Sartain in your prayers. My ordaining bishop, he’s a wonderful man, and undoubtedly his life just got a whole lot more complicated than it was.

  2. JohnE says:

    Oh, the “L” stands for Leadership?

  3. frjim4321 says:

    Is there such a strong connection of the LCWR and… how to say… certain lifestyle choices?

    Reverend and Dear Blogmaster, is that really fair?

    I’ve been edited (perhaps justly) for equating certain “lifestyle choices” with certain liturgical proclivities. So, we know that’s not fair game. So, seriously, in the interest of fairness, the above-quoted question of your is really not all that much different.

  4. frjim4321 says:

    also, want to disclaim that “lifestyle choice” would not be my term for what is intended here

  5. ghp95134 says:

    I wonder if Archbishop Sartain’s writ could be expanded to the NcFishwrap? After all, it fits the penultimate paragraph, p.3 of the Doctrinal Assessment, “…Moreover, occasional public statements by the [NcFishwrap] that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.…”


  6. Nicole says:

    Wow…just wow… I’m still waiting for the day when these female religious will be taught how to be women, though.

  7. Timbones says:

    I think all this really means is LCWR will now officially leave the Church they in fact left years ago and their orders will continue to die a slow, agonizing death. For years they have idolized the secular world but that world continues to ignore their “me too!” dance to its every whim. What a sad and pathetic end for those consecrated to Christ. What will it take for them to see the light?

  8. Dave N. says:

    One prays this position will also spur Apb. Sartain to do some clean-up in his own backyard regarding the “lifestyle choices” among (for example) Seattle U “Campus Ministers.”

  9. cblanch says:

    If the Church keeps trying to “control the thinking” of the women religious in America, we’re going to see a SHARP decrease in vocations. Uh, wait a minute…

  10. Athelstan says:

    “…remember when it’s over who doomed the church to another 400 years of darkness.”

    What? Only 400?

  11. Rev. Fr. Jim: “So, seriously, in the interest of fairness, the above-quoted question of your is really not all that much different.”

    Um … The difference between True and False is really not all that much?

  12. frjim4321 says:

    Um … The difference between True and False is really not all that much?

    Actually you are presuming quite a bit.

  13. frjim4321 says:

    One prays this position will also spur Apb. Sartain to do some clean-up in his own backyard regarding the “lifestyle choices” among (for example) Seattle U “Campus Ministers.”

    Wow! Where is the moderation here! Rev. and Dear Blogmaster, are you on an airplane or something? Gimmeabreak!

  14. mariadevotee says:

    Archbishop Sartain’s sister is a Dominican Sister of St Cecilia (Nashville Dominican) so you can be sure that all 270 (yes, you read that correctly, 270) of those sisters will be praying for him. I have often said that when those Nashville Dominicans start praying for something, you might as well give it up.

  15. Joe in Canada says:

    Abortion is an abomination: the fact that the leadership of religious women in the States (and elsewhere) supports pro-abortion nuns would be even worse, if possible.

  16. digdigby says:

    Lance a big, big boil and a lot of pus will come out.

  17. benedetta says:

    If I had to choose, I think I like this statement of Sr. Joan Chittister best of all: “for being willing to discuss the issues of the age”. Just as babies aren’t mere clumps of tissue, and as their heinous deaths do in fact matter very much in the eyes of God, one cannot say that this organization has been demonstrably at all willing to discuss this “issue of the age” as one never sees them involved in prolife work and advocacy. It’s been all about being silent in order to give death its due and precisely being reticent and unwilling to be a voice for the poorest and those with the least amount of power.

  18. Philangelus says:

    Please enlighten the ignorant reader: Who comprises the LCWR? Is it individual nuns, or entire orders?

    In other words, do individual nuns have a choice whether they belong to this, or could some women religious have been roped into it without any chance to back out, and they’re quietly hiding in the background trying to ignore what’s going on…and could be in some way censured because of this?

  19. Peggy R says:

    This would seem to be the point at which some women religious or whole orders may become honest women and leave the Church.

    It is interesting that their discussions of “issues of the age” never conclude with the affirmation that the Catholic teaching is correct on those issues. They don’t come down on the side of the Church ever.

    The AP coverage is out. We have a classic “Vatican crackdown” here!

  20. catholicmidwest says:

    The LCWR is composed of elected representatives, usually the leaders, of about 75% of the women’s orders in the United States. I believe that contemplatives have their own organization and there’s also another organization set up as more conservative group, the CMSWR.

  21. catholicmidwest says:

    The story of the teaching congregations in this country is a long and difficult one, with many complicated and painful twists and turns. It’s sad that it had to turn out this way. The religious congregation picture in Europe didn’t turn out much better. I hope that we have learned some lessons here as we go into Africa and Asia, but I’m not particularly optimistic about that.

  22. PhilipNeri says:

    Yawn. Utterly predictable. I could write a NCR editorial in my sleep.

    Rending, gnashing, stomping, kicking of little feet. . .[insert defense of fav sin here]. . .patriarchy, oppression, Dark Ages, turning back the clock on Vatican Two. . .[insert reference to sex scandals here]. . .more rending, more gnashing, more stomping. . .[insert predictions of doom for the Church]. . .ignore rise in the number of seminarians, rise in the number of young orthodox religious. . .end with dramatic prophetic flourish. . .aaaannnnnndddd. . .we’re done.

    Fr. Philip Neri, OP

  23. cdnpriest says:

    Interesting that “Chittister” (as the article calls her) always speaks about the church (small “c”) and never the Church (large “C”). I wonder whether she is thinking about the same reality that we mean when we say “the Church” (i.e. the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the Mystical Body and Bride of Christ).

    Maybe we should refer to her reality as “an ecclesial community” and not as the Church in the proper sense?

    It never ceases to amaze me how much hatred against the Church (capital “C”) liberal priests and nuns have, and how they constantly seek to impose the “magisterium” of their ecclesial community against the authentic Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church. Love for the Church, on the other hand, is, in my opinion, a very strong sign that one is being faithful to one’s vocation. Hatred towards the Church is always a red flag. Yes, the Church does have a human component to it, and that human component is made up of sinners as well as of saints. However, it is not the human elements that define the Church in her essence. Far too many, including many “Catholics”, are in confusion on this point. The Church is essentially holy. Holiness is one of the four marks of Christ’s Mystical Body.

  24. oakdiocesegirl says:

    I like APs headline Vatican Orders Crackdown on US Nun Assn. Who knew nuns were unionized, too? Nuns should never have been allowed to own their last names! It was the beginning of the end…

  25. TNCath says:

    I can solemnly assure you, Fr. Z: Archbishop Peter Sartain is going to do a fine job with this.

  26. Allan S. says:

    Looks like a big job; perhaps His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX, would be available to assist? Holy Mother Church’s imminent, newest Bishop ( you know, someone who’s actually allowed to authoritively teach the Catholic faith? A shepherd to whom, at some point, these sisters swore fidelity and obedience?)

    Orthodox nuns in habits = Many vocations, full convents, joy

    LCWR Sisters = Aging and empty convents, very limited vocations, angry heretics

    Don’t hate the math people….

  27. anilwang says:

    Peggy R,

    Thanks for the link. I think the picture is most telling. They choose to represent the LCWR via a traditional nun receiving communion on the tongue, when such a nun would likely not be part of the LCWR and if she were would cheer on the news. Why? Because if they showed a typical member of the LCWR you wouldn’t be able to tell that she was a nun, either by her dress or by her doctrine.

  28. Peggy R says:


    Happy to oblige!

    I am noticing the indignity these feminist nuns feel about having to be under the “control” of a meanie male (!) bishop. Well, the Church did let them self-govern largely, and that experiment has appeared to fail.

  29. trad catholic mom says:

    I read the articles title “Bishop against gay marriage tapped to reform LCWR” and thought, what does “gay” marriage have to do with this. And then I saw the source. ahhhh.

    The investigation bearing toxic fruit? He is kidding right? If they hadn’t been peddling heterodoxy in the first place there wouldn’t have been a need for investigation.

  30. plemmen says:

    @frjim4321 Heretics?
    As a lad we had a joke that whent thusly: What are the three things even The Holy Ghost doesn’t know the answer to?
    1: What’s on the mind of a Jesuit
    2: How a Franciscan keeps his vow of poverty
    And lastly
    3: How many independent congregations of nuns there are.

    MY answers are:
    1: 42
    2:offshore accounts
    3: all of them

  31. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    The timing of the SSPX news, and the LCWR news is impeccable. And, here we find in Cardinal Levada’s accompanying letter something that jumped out at me…

    <<<The overarching aim of the doctrinal Assessment is, therefore, to assist the LCWR in
    the United States in implementing an ecclesiology of communion, confident that “the
    joyous rediscovery of faith can also contribute to consolidate the unity and communion among the different bodies that make up the wider family of the Church.” 2


    Footnote 2 attributes that quote, as follow: CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, Note with pastoral recommendations for the Year of Faith

    When you really think about it, the SSPX rejects certain teachings as written in respective documents and they are held on the “outside”, all the while other groups reject other teachings and they are allowed to remain “inside”. It really is visible, to me, that the SSPX has been treated much more harshly than other groups.

    In the back of my mind, I’m wondering if we need to thank Bishop Fellay for getting some action here. If I were in his shoes, I would point out the duplicity of doing absolutely nothing about the public scandal LCWR has caused in it’s disharmony with Church teaching. Furthermore, I was glad to see some acknowledgement that there is concern about the errors spreading to other communities in the world. That was a given. Thank God they finally acted on that aspect.

  32. josephx23 says:

    All of that business about “the divine right to think” puts me in the mind of the outcry over the USCCB’s Committee on Doctrine taking a close look at Sr. Elizabeth Johnson’s writings. It’s as though the bishops didn’t have a “divine right” to think about or question anything a woman religious might be doing. There’s not a whole lot of transparency there (something NCReporter scribes are always complaining about with Vatican affairs). I don’t see a whole lot of thinking in her inflammatory diatribe.

  33. catholicmidwest says:


    “nuns should never have been allowed to own their last names”? What?

    What some catholics want is not sisters or nuns, but slaves who wear romantic costumes to make them feel good and don’t complain no matter what, and this is a good part of what got us into this mess in the first place.

    I’m not in agreement with where the women’s religious congregations have gone in the last 40 years or so, far from it, but I don’t think depriving them of their “last names” is preventative or even cure. I think it’s about as outlandish as wanting slaves.

  34. frjim4321 says:

    plemmen, I have no idea what that had to do with what I said.

  35. Pingback: lcwr women religious cdf vatican catholic church reform |

  36. Centristian says:

    Allan S. said: “perhaps His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay, SSPX, would be available to assist? Holy Mother Church’s imminent, newest Bishop ( you know, someone who’s actually allowed to authoritively teach the Catholic faith?”


  37. Y2Y says:

    Liberals have no right to exist.

  38. cathgrl says:


    “They choose to represent the LCWR via a traditional nun receiving communion on the tongue, when such a nun would likely not be part of the LCWR and if she were would cheer on the news.”

    I think that traditional nun is who we use to know as Rosalind Moss. Isn’t it?

  39. Titus says:

    I once didn’t really believe that you could burst blood vessels just by being angry.

    Then I went to a Joan Chittister talk.

    Yeah, you really can get sufficiently angry to burst capillaries.

  40. PostCatholic says:

    Y2Y, that’s the spirit behind a lot of very ugly ecclesiastic history.

  41. thomas tucker says:

    I’ll tell ya. I would much rather have my mind controlled by
    Pope Benedict than by the LCWR.

  42. Pray for our archbishop (Sartain)! With his support of Referendum 74 here in Washington and this new appointment, I’m afraid that he is in the queue for some real personal suffering.

    Anyone who has had the opportunity to meet Archbishop Sartain will know that he is pastoral in the genuine sense. He cares for the salvation of his flock enough to stand for the truth and has the compassion to do it with real care.

  43. Pingback: Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei Hurray. « Unholy Nation

  44. Martial Artist says:

    @Fr. Z,

    You quote:

    Sartain has made headlines in recent months for his recommendation that parishes in his diocese collect signatures for petitions supporting Washington state’s referendum against same-sex marriage.

    And add your comment [bold in original]:

    [Which some of the priests of the Archd. Seattle have resisted.]

    According to a fellow parishioner at my parish in the University District here, Seattle’s St. James Cathedral parish (whose Pastor is Fr. Michael Ryan, of Why Can’t We Just Say “Wait?” fame) has decided not to permit anyone to sign the petition on Cathedral property. Of course, that was probably predictable, considering the players involved.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  45. Supertradmum says:

    The situation in the State of Washington now involves several parishes which are disobeying Church doctrine. That a bishop who is strong in the area of morals has been given this position is fantastic.

    God never abandons His Church.

    As to Sr. Joan, why is she even given press? She states the same, liberal tripe over and over…As to why these women stay in the Church, as some have wondered, they have power and will not give it up.

  46. Clinton R. says:

    It seems like the time is rapidly approaching and is now here that the Church Militant is ready to dig in knee deep in the morass the Church finds herself. The fight is going to be intense, as will be the backlash. Pray for Abp. Sartain and those who hold the Catholic faith near and dear. And a prayer for dissidents that their hearts may be softened and that they come to their senses. We can only serve one master. Let that master be God. +JMJ+

  47. RomRom says:

    I have had the honor of serving as Archbishop Sartain’s MC at several masses in the past, and spent time talking with him on those occasions. I cannot imagine a more pleasant, reverent, self-effacing and dedicated pastor of souls to serve in this role. My regret is that Seattle may eventually lose him to a larger see.

  48. Traductora says:

    Thank you for posting all those ravings from the left-wing Catholic press…I lack the intestinal fortitude (or control over my blood pressure) to read them in their unmoderated form.

    That said, I think some of the orders that are part of the LCWR will actually be quite relieved by this. I know that one of our local diocesan orders has been trying to figure out where it went wrong, resulting in a situation where they have an average age of late 60 to possibly even early 70- something, and have had no vocations for decades.

    They drank the kool aid in the 1970s, got rid of their community life, habit, charism (teaching) and spiritual foundation. They know that this is the problem and I know some of them want to reel it back, but the problem is that the powerful influence of the LCWR really prevents them from addressing these matters. Cut off the head of the monster!

  49. Bryan Boyle says:

    You know…the reaction is almost predictable. And tiresome.

    It’s almost like reading all the pronouncements that came out of the Soviet system back in the day…where they ascribe all things to the insight of Lenin and the kindness of father Stalin. I swear, there’s a 6-column list of hackneyed phrases that have where they choose one from column a, 2 from column b, throw in a peace and justice and obligatory ‘clerical scandal’ mention, use the ‘patricarchal’ modifier…and sit there with their arms crossed and a smug look on their faces.

    Other thing I notice, almost reflexively…their focus, their tone, their stress is NEVER about conforming to the mind of the Church, but how the CHURCH is NOT conforming to the mind of the minority of its members (of which, it appears, they’ve appointed themselves as official spokesmen…). If they were actually honest with themselves, they’d leave. There’s plenty of other bodies that would, I’m sure, love to have them. But, I guess, it does make for good theater, and in some sort of sad way, you do feel sorry for them, since their time has long passed but they are desperately grasping at anything to make them seem relevant.

  50. Supertradmum says:

    By the way, in some areas of the Church, the nunnies like Sr. Joan have been allowed to carry on the political discussion without any criticisms. Here is a great link to another so-called Catholic, Barbara Boxer, who is going on about the war on women in the GOP, much like Sr. Joan’s victim-hood attitude of nuns toward the supposed horrible male hierarchy. Get over it….ladies.

  51. Trisagion says:

    I’ve just spent my lunch time reading the ‘Doctrinal Assessment’ prepared by the CDF. It would appear from her ‘nutty’ (such a lovely expression: thank you for coining it FrZ) that Sr Joan Chittister hasn’t. I offer the following selective quotations which would appear to answer both her general point and her specific criticisms. I have attempted to post it over on the Fishwrap.

    ‘On a doctrinal level, this crisis is characterized by a diminuition of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration which leads, in turn, to a loss of a “constant and lively sense of the Church” among some religious.’

    ‘Addresses given during LCWR annual Assemblies manifest problematic statements and serious theological, even doctrinal errors.’

    ‘…letters the CDF received from “Leadership Teams” of various Congregations, among them LCWR Officers, protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and a correct pastoral approach to homosexual persons…The terms of the letters suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.’

    ‘…a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith…that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world.’

    ‘…while there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death…’

    ‘Some speakers claqim that dissent from the doctrine of the Church is justified as an exercise of the prophetic office. But this is based upon a mistaken understanding of the dynamic of prophecy in the Church: it justifies dissent by positiing the possibility of divergence between thge Church’s magisterium and a “legitimate” theological intuition of some of the faithful.’

    ‘The analysis of the General Assemblies, Presidential Addresses, and Occassional Papers reveals…a a two-fold problem. The first consists in positive error…The second…the silence and inaction of the LCWR in the face of such error.’

    I know you’re a busy woman, Sr Joan, what with all those books and interviews and probably don’t have time to read a seven and a half page document but enquiring minds want to know how what you’ve said stands up to the critique offered by these few short sentences.

  52. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Mr. Boyle says (in part):

    “…their focus, their tone, their stress is NEVER about conforming to the mind of the Church, but how the CHURCH is NOT conforming to the mind of the minority of its members…”

    This is certainly ironic, don’t you think Mr. Boyle, that this is happening at the time when the readings from the OF of Holy Mass from the Acts of the Apostles focus on obedience to Christ and His teachings?

    Take the following, for instance.

    “And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.” (Acts 5:32)

    Yet, wait and see, the LCWR and their allies will turn this into what we read a few verses before and twist its true meaning.

    “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

    Many of the LCWR and their allies – unfortunately – will never conform their minds to the Church. So much for St. John’s words in his first letter.

    “Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:6)

  53. TMKent says:

    Oh please, let this signal the end!

    Is there a Survivors Network for those of us who were morally abused by Sr. Joan and her ilk? Is there any recourse for the many students who were scared and damaged in our formation of conscience due to the years of “teaching” by these women? I would not hesitate to use the “L” word in their regard as I was indoctrinated and recruited to join them for years and it was my realization of their proclivities that finally caused me to examine their motive sand false teaching. I am so grateful divine intervention because there but for the Grace of God go I!

  54. Amyjo says:

    “When you set out to reform that kind of witness, remember when it’s over who doomed the church to another 400 years of darkness. It won’t the people of the church who did it.”

    Welcome to the United Catholic Church of America – led by none other than Sister Joan Chichester.

  55. Glen M says:

    Two weeks ago Pope Benedict XVI rebuked dissident priests in Austria. Yesterday the hammer came down on dissident nuns in America. Dare we hope more corrective action is coming? Would it be too much to ask the USCCB to rebuke the Fishwrap or even instruct them to remove the word “Catholic” from its title? Silence gives consent. For too long this dissident publication has been attacking the Church and leading people astray.

  56. mariadevotee says:

    Has anyone looked into how much money/property these dying orders of religious have/control?
    What happens to their assets when they die out? Maybe they stay in the Church for financial reasons. Of course no one knows their hearts and I am sure that some of the sisters in these orders have disagreed with the modernizations and have been living a white martyrdom all these years. But about their assets, what regulates what they do with them and the money if they sell those buildings, etc just wondering….

  57. irishgirl says:

    Oy….the same old tiresome tripe by ‘sister’ Joan Chittister and others of her ilk.
    It’s ‘Hammer Time’: swing away, Archbishop Sartain!

  58. kiwiinamerica says:

    Music to my ears. The squeals of the dissenters, modernists and heretics, that is. For 50 years we’ve suffered under their persecution. They’ve flooded the church with their “toxic” (word used deliberately) heresies and utterly poisoned the catechesis of 3 generations of Catholics. The decline in vocations, the loss of millions to the faith is due entirely to their insipid, agnostic humanism, utterly devoid of authentic Catholic spirituality.

    Thankfully, time is not on their side and their toxic “spirit (small “s”) of Vatican II” is dieing with them. It can’t happen soon enough.

  59. Thom says:

    Please join us in praying for Archbishop Sartain.

  60. plemmen says:

    frjim4321 Sorry, I should have been more clear. I regard a majority of those belonging to or admiring the LCWR as heretics. For an expansion of that please read the article I published this morning “A Disturbance in the Church” available here:

  61. Cosmos says:

    This is a quote from a book on the Jesuits during a period in the 1970s when they were being investigated:

    “When you have people [the Jesuits] who do not think they have made errors either in content or procedure, and they are suspected, resisted or reproved by the very man [the Pope] they are attempting to serve…you have…a very serious religious problem.”

    Its alsmost as if they have the same play book.

  62. acardnal says:

    I might add to Midwest St. Michael’s above comment, the verse from today’s Gospel: “Whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but will endure the wrath of God.” John 3:36

  63. PA mom says:

    Regarding Bp Sartain and his sister, I think Pope Benedict is reproducing solutions from history again. St Benedict and his sister St Scholastica both had monastic houses and are said to have conferred and compared with each other. A very promising start!

  64. Kathleen10 says:

    Oh, the coming shrieks of the beast, that has awoken! Hell hath no fury like a feminist scorned, so we are all in for quite a ride. The poor Bishop.
    I am surprised by the lack of subtlety and finesse on the part of the writer of this first response. This is not a measured response, with the use of strategy such as words that reassure of obedience, fidelity, etc. I guess those concepts have so long been abandoned there is not even a thought to resurrect them now. I won’t belay the point, but, I don’t see this as a very intelligent response, or one full of cautious guile. But, the unfortunate part, besides the damage they do to the faith, the scandalizing that has been done to the faithful, the errant teaching, is that the fallout will be messy and public. It will fall right in with the unfair public perception of the “male-dominated” church, blah blah blah.
    Too bad, this is GREAT for the rest of us!

  65. lydia says:

    Finally someone is taking names and kicking butt. Let them join what’s left of the Episcopal church. Let them risk their immortal souls but don’t allow them to lead astray any more generations of Catholics. There’s still more to be done but this is a great start.

  66. Mark R says:

    I might add that petition signing was optional in Seattle Archdiocese parishes. One of the three where there was no petition signing was the Cathedral, which with the other two parishes I know of border a gay neighborhood and are not much for sticking out their necks for traditional social causes. One of these parishes does fine work with the poor, though.

  67. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Re: last names —

    It is traditional for both men and women to leave their family names behind when entering a monastery, as a sign that one has taken on a new name and role, and that therefore certain family obligations and ties are left behind in the world. For example, order priests and brothers were usually known by names like Fr. Mary Aloysius, Don Fredogildo, and Br. Donatus, whereas diocesan priests just tacked on their title to all their birth/baptismal names: Fr. Michael Robert Francis X. Donnelly.

    When it comes to orders of nuns and sisters, there are similar customs, according to the order’s history, rule, and purpose. Generally, most contemplative orders wanted nuns to change their names to religious names and leave their family names behind; most active orders of sisters had various schools of thought on the matter. During the Sixties and Seventies, many orders that previously had included name changes made their members go back to birth names, which was often pretty draconic.

    It should be added that, traditionally, name changes (a la Abraham and Sarah) were seen by most religious of both sexes as a feature, not a bug. Much wit was used upon such changes, as with the young Irish prince whose birthname meant “Fox” and who was renamed (with a hope that took a while to materialize) “Columba”, Dove. (And who at first failed to renounce his family ties sufficiently, to the point that he led his clan in a bloody war set off by copyright differences. He ended up having to renounce his homeland’s soil and become a missionary, to save his soul and live up to his name.)

    Young women contemplating vocations were known to particularly enjoy wondering what kind of religious name they might be given (whereas Catholic girls my age were stuck with wondering why our parents didn’t name us something cooler, like Cassandra, and plotting legal name changes as soon as we hit 18). St. Therese’s book The Story of a Soul talks about the fun of religious names, while Poulenc’s opera “The Dialogues of the Carmelites” has some wonderful scenes dealing with religious names.

    A sudden policy change, reneging on naming practices at least 1700 years old — how was that _not_ going to rip a hole in the fabric of religious life for hundreds of thousands of men and women? And how on earth is it controversial to express worry about that hole’s effects?

  68. lydia says:

    Mark R W hat does their deafening silence for traditional social causes lead their parishioners to believe? Filling the bellies of the poor is right and just but allowing souls to be starved of the truth is unjustifiable.

  69. AA Cunningham says:

    Looking forward to the day when Chittister, Grammick, Keehan, Prejean, et al finally pack their bags and hit the heresy highway. Enough of their sappers in the wire act.

    One of the finest moments in broadcast television history occurred on Easter Sunday 2006 when the late Father Richard Neuhaus took protestant Joan Chittister to the woodshed on Meet the Press.

    Requiescat in Pace, Father.

  70. frjim4321 says:

    I think part of the impasse with respect to the LCWR and the CDF is due in part to differences of ecclesiologies, with the Women Religious operating from the ecclesiology of communion that is central to the both the letter and spirit of VCII whereas the CDF is operating from a Counter-Reformation institutional model (Credit to Dallen).

    The gloating and vemon directed here against thousands of faithful women is a sad commentary on contemporary catholic fundamentalism.

    This new pogrom of the USCCB and CDF can only result in much greater polarization in the Church.

  71. Martial Artist says:


    I don’t know who is gloating and who is relieved that something is finally being done about those groups of women’s religious who have been an ongoing source of dissension against the magisterium of the Church approximately since the latter 1960s, when my wife was attending Webster College and the Sisters there had their habits taken away, not a few of them against their wishes and expectations. What I do know is the following:

    • The Catholic Church is the Body of Christ.
    • The Holy Father is the Vicar of Christ on earth.
    • My understanding is that all Catholic religious take a vow of obedience to their superiors, and further, I understand that leads hierarchically to obedience to the Holy Father.
    • Christ, our Lord, taught his disciples that “he that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth … For by the fruit the tree is known.”

    And, finally, those who publicly and obstinately contradict the long-standing teaching of the ordinary and special magisteria of the Church directly damage the body of our Lord and lead souls astray. If, by their behavior in failing to keep their vows of obedience, they likewise require correction and refuse it and thereby provoke discipline, it is they, not their superior, who bear the greater responsibility for the resulting polarization.

    I have these understandings as a relatively recent convert to the Church. I also have it from my formation both in RCIA and when I was younger, as a member of our nation’s Naval service, having served in both enlisted and commissioned capacities before retiring. How is it that those sisters, some of whom have been named further up on this comment thread by my Catholic sisters and brothers, now find themselves yet again making rebellious comments and assertions? Is the reason a lack of proper formation? Is it a lack of discipline by which they have come to believe that they are no longer bound by their vows, or else believe that there will be no consequences for rank disobedience? I do not know the reason why, because I do not know them. Nevertheless, I can recognize contrary and rebellious conduct and speech, and it is evident to many of us. At some point, if they find themselves unable to keep their vows, perhaps it is time they have the personal moral integrity to ask to be released from those vows.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  72. josephx23 says:

    Father Jim, I usually welcome commentators like you and PostCatholic who have the guts and the patience to come and contribute here, even though you’re not on the same wavelength as our Reverend host and many who comment here. Nonetheless, your comparison of the investigation of the USCCB and the CDF to a “pogrom” is just as overblown and paranoid as any “fundamentalist” comment I’ve read on this blog. Are you familiar with Godwin’s Law?

  73. catholicmidwest says:

    Martial Artist,

    Not excusing the behavior of the LCWR which is frankly pretty flaky, but this is a long, long story and many long-standing Catholics aren’t even aware of the facts of the matter, since Catholics aren’t often very literal about how these things work, not having been informed, and preferring a romantic view of sisters and so on to real history.

    Needless to say, the sisters are indeed, despite their fine university educations, running afoul of classical Christianity because of ignorance, misunderstandings and anger. It’s a long story, and I hope that Catholics someday figure out what really happened before we go and make the same mistake someplace else, like Asia and Africa where it could really bit us in the rump.

  74. AnAmericanMother says:

    Fr. Jim,
    To compare a mere investigation to the mass murder, mutilation, and torture of Jews by the Russian Empire is offensive, and you should be ashamed.
    Aside from the fact that the promotion of frankly pagan and New Age practices, not to mention very outspoken defiance towards those to whom these sisters have sworn obedience, is something that warrants some sort of investigation.
    If I spoke to or about my boss publicly in the way Sr. Chittester, et al., have done, I would be severely disciplined, and what’s more I would deserve it. But I would never compare even what I perceived as an unjust inquiry in terms of a holy scholar having his tongue cut out by a Cossack.

  75. catholicmidwest says:

    Not to mention what somebody up-thread wrote: “Liberals have no right to exist.”

    WHAT? Think about what that really says. Liberal conservative or anywhere in between, that’s a strong and violent statement. And it’s NOT CHRISTIAN. Not even remotely.

    Both the extreme you cited above and this one, are bad, bad, bad and I can’t think of anything that justifies them, even just schadenfreude.

  76. AnAmericanMother says:

    I don’t recall having ever seen Y2Y before, and (especially given the silly screenname) suspect a drive-by troll/provocateur.
    frjim on the other hand is a regular poster and a real person, and should know better.

  77. AA Cunningham says:

    “The gloating and vemon directed here against thousands of faithful women …” frjim4321

    I wasn’t aware that dissent and faithful are synonyms, Father. Apparently that announcement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Relativist flew way under the RADAR.

    “And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6

  78. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    I think part of the impasse with respect to the LCWR and the CDF is due in part to differences of ecclesiologies, with the Women Religious operating from the ecclesiology of communion that is central to the both the letter and spirit of VCII whereas the CDF is operating from a Counter-Reformation institutional model (Credit to Dallen).

    I’m no fan of Counter Reformation Ecclesiology, and I’m also comfortable with the Church understood as Communion. I don’t think, however, I would have much in common with the LCWR. Do you think that the LCWR is in Communion with the Dominican Sisters of Nashville or the Monks of Clear Creek?

    In fact, I would wonder just who the LCWR is in Communion with–except other liberals and Protestants. If they’re in favor of women’s ordination, they’re certainly not in Communion with the Orthodox Churches. One of the fallacies these people live by is that doctrine is a Roman invention.

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  80. SrMarieAugustinFCR says:

    Thank you Heavenly Father for Archbishop Sartain, may You bless his work. I pray for all my sisters in holy religion that they return to orthodoxy, wear their holy habits and choose the one True God for their Master. Somewhere about 40+ years ago many thought they could serve two gods. We all know, you can’t serve two gods. Something happens when you put on the coif and veil….. you disappear. Wasn’t that the point?

  81. plemmen says:

    Thank you! The self is gone, Religious life is a self less life, wherein the Religious subverts their will to God’s Will, where the Mass, the Holy Eucharist, the Liturgy of the Hours and communal life subsume the I into the we and through the Sacraments, the Magisterium of the Church, the good works of the communities charism and deliberaate, constant running prayer that is the conversation with God, the we becomes HE, our individual will is subsumed and we disappear to earthly view.
    A bit poetic, I know, but that is the ideal! I wrote about it earlier today:

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