Nuns Gone Wild: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Those of you who wonder why the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the American Bishops initiated a reform of the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), should take a little trip down memory lane.

Vast sectors of women religious in the USA have for decades been infested with a radical feminism so poisonous that many of them, especially in leadership, have even come to defend the killing of babies.

The problems in many communities of some are deeply rooted and, like all weeds, are hard to extirpate.

The following is a review of some key figures in this history of dissent and defiance.  Some of these nuns have faded from view and others are still quite visible.

These are, as it were, the “church Mothers” on which their alternative Magisterium of Nuns was founded.

They all have a lot to answer for.

When you hear some of the radical nuns and their liberal journalist buddies griping about oppression, feigning not to understand what “the Vatican” is doing to them, hiding being words like “freedom” and “respect”, lying about the facts, keep the following list in mind.  Remember that the CDF and USCCB project of reform has been long in coming.

Nuns Gone Wild: A Trip Down Memory Lane

Theresa Kane: as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) in 1979, she greeted Pope John Paul II at the National Shrine in Washington, D.C. In her address she urged him to open all ministries of Church life to women. Her remarks made headlines around the world. Shortly after her address, she stated that “as a result of the greeting, a few congregations withdrew from the conference. Through that experience LCWR became more public; the membership gained new responsibilities.”  Today she supports women in deciding to undergo fake ordinations of women in the Catholic Church as if they were real. “The Roman Catholic women priesthood is small, highly criticized, and not going away,” she went on. “No one controls our future but ourselves.”

Agnes Mary Mansour, now deceased, was a Catholic nun who in 1983 left her religious order so she could retain her position as the director of the Michigan Department of Social Services. The controversy involved her refusal to make a public statement against abortion. She thought that as long as abortion was legal and available to the wealthy, the procedure should be equally available to women who needed government assistance.

24 Nuns who signed A Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion, alternatively referred to by its pull quote “A Diversity of Opinions Regarding Abortion Exists Among Committed Catholics” or simply “The New York Times ad”, a full-page advertisement placed on 7 October 1984 in The New York Times by Catholics for a Free Choice (CFFC): “Statements of recent Popes and of the Catholic hierarchy have condemned the direct termination of pre-natal life as morally wrong in all instances. There is a mistaken belief in American society that this is the only legitimate Catholic position.” Many signers put their names on the ad because they viewed it as a partial response to the highly publicized anti-abortion statements of Archbishop John J. Card. O’Connor of New York. His insistence that a Catholic could not in good conscience vote for a pro-choice candidate was clearly aimed at Geraldine Ferraro, the Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate, a Catholic, a member of O’Connor’s archdiocese, and a consistent pro-choice advocate.

Kathryn Bissell
Mary Byles
Anne Carr
Mary Louise Denny
Margaret Farley
Barbara Ferraro
Maureen Fiedler
Jeanine Grammick
Kathleen Hebbeler
Patricia Hussey
Caridad Inda
Pat Kenoyer
Agnes Mary Mansour (at the time an ex-nun)
Roseanne Mazzeo
Margaret Nulty
Margaret O’Neill
Donna Quinn
Ellen Shanahan
Marilyn Thie
Rose Dominic Trapasso
Margaret Ellen Traxler
Marjorie Tuite
Judith Vaughan
Ann Patrick Ware
Virginia Williams

Barbara Ferraro and Patricia Hussey: in 1984, along with 22 other nuns, they co-signed an ad in The New York Times by Catholics for Free Choice challenging Catholic teaching on procured abortion. Both refused to recant their statements when ordered to do so by the Holy See and their religious order. They both signed a second pro-abortion statement, published in the National Catholic Reporter, and participated in a pro-abortion rally organized by the National Organization of Women (NOW) in Washington on 6 March 1986.  

Margaret Traxler: now deceased, was a supporter of activism among homosexual Catholics, who once carried a banner into the Vatican to protest the church’s stand on abortion. In 1982 the National Conference of Catholic Bishops endorsed a Constitutional amendment proposed by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah. It would have allowed state legislatures to restrict or ban abortions. In an appearance on the Phil Donahue show at that time, Traxler said, “I believe every human being has a free will, God respects our free will even though it is sometimes used against God’s will. I believe women must have the right to use their free will in making decisions about their own bodies.” She signed the New York Times ad in 1984 stating that abortion could sometimes be “a moral choice.” “I don’t think church leaders are living on the same planet. They are unrealistic and out of touch with the people,”. . . she said then. She was one of the first to call for women’s ordination in 1971.

Jeanine Gramick: co-foundress of the homosexual, lesbian activist organization New Ways Ministry. After a review of her public activities on behalf of the Church that concluded in a finding of grave doctrinal error, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) declared in 1999 that she should no longer be engaged in pastoral work with homosexual persons. In 2000, her congregation, in an attempt to thwart further conflict with the Vatican, commanded her not to speak publicly about homosexuality. She responded by saying, “I choose not to collaborate in my own oppression by restricting a basic human right [to speak]. To me this is a matter of conscience.” In 2001, Gramick transferred to the Sisters of Loretto, another congregation of Catholic Sisters, one which supports her in her advocacy on behalf of homosexuals. 

Marjorie Tuite: now deceased, was among the key organizers of the first International Women’s Ordination Conference (WOC). Tuite was also one of the “Vatican 24”, religious sisters who had signed the Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion published in the New York Times on 7 October 1984. Tuite appeared on The Phil Donahue Show on 28 January 1985 (along with fellow signers Patricia Hussey and Barbara Ferraro) to defend their refusal to recant their support of that statement. 

Margaret Farley: over the years, she has taken positions favorable to abortion, same-sex “marriage,” sterilization of women, divorce and the “ordination” of women to the priesthood. Farley, who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School, is well known for her radical feminist ideas and open dissent from Church teaching. In 1982, when the Sisters of Mercy sent a letter to all their hospitals recommending that tubal ligations be performed in violation of Church teaching against sterilization, Pope John Paul II gave the Sisters an ultimatum, causing them to withdraw their letter. Farley justified their “capitulation” on the ground that “material cooperation in evil for the sake of a ‘proportionate good’” was morally permissible. In other words, she declared that obedience to the Pope was tantamount to cooperation in evil, and that the Sisters were justified in doing it only because their obedience prevented “greater harm, namely the loss of the institutions that expressed the Mercy ministry.” In her presidential address to the Catholic Theological Society of America in 2000 she attacked the Vatican for its “overwhelming preoccupation” with abortion, calling its defense of babies “scandalous” and asking for an end to its “opposition to abortion” until the “credibility gap regarding women and the church” has been closed. In her book Just Love she offers a full-throated defense of homosexual relationships, including a defense of their right to marry. She admits that the Church “officially” endorses the morality of “the past,” but rejoices that moral theologians like Charles Curran and Richard McCormick embrace “pluralism” on the issues of premarital sex and homosexual acts. She says that sex and gender are “unstable, debatable categories,” which feminists like her see as “socially constructed.” She has nothing but disdain for traditional morality, as when she remarks that we already know the “dangers” and “ineffectiveness of moralism” and of “narrowly construed moral systems.” 

Mary Ann Cunningham: wrote an “open letter to Catholic voters”  in 2006 as an alternative to the church hierarchy’s voter education efforts in Colorado and nationwide. “We encourage respect for the moral adulthood of women and will choose legislators who will recognize the right of women to make reproductive decisions and receive medical treatment according to the rights of privacy and conscience.” Cunningham said many Catholics disagree with the church’s opposition to legalized abortion for “compassionate, faithful reasons.” “I do value the voice of the church hierarchy,” Cunningham said. “But I don’t find anything in the Gospels about abortion or gay marriage.”

Louise Lears: banned from church ministries and from receiving the sacraments in 2008 by then-St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke for 1) the obstinate rejection, after written admonition, of the truth of the faith that it is impossible for a woman to receive ordination to the Sacred Priesthood (cann.750, §2; and 1371, 1º); 2) the public incitement of the faithful to animosity or hatred toward the Apostolic See or an Ordinary because of an act of ecclesiastical power or ministry (can. 1373); 3) the grave external violation of Divine or Canon Law, with the urgent need to prevent and repair the scandal involved (can. 1399); and 4) prohibited participation in sacred rites (can. 1365).

Donna Quinn an advocate for legalized abortion. As late as 2009 she was engaged in escorting women to abortion clinics in the Chicago area so they could abort their babies safe from pro-life protesters. She is now a coordinator of the radically liberal National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), which stands in opposition against the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, homosexuality, contraception, and the exclusively male priesthood. In a 2002 address to the Women’s Studies in Religion Program at Harvard Divinity School, Quinn described how she came to view the teachings of her Church as “immoral”: “I used to say: ‘This is my Church, and I will work to change it, because I love it,’” she said.  “Then later I said, ‘This church is immoral, and if I am to identify with it I’d better work to change it.’  More recently, I am saying, ‘All organized religions are immoral in their gender discriminations.’” Quinn called gender discrimination “the root cause of evil in the Church, and thus in the world,” and said she remained in the Dominican community simply for “the sisterhood.”

Margaret Mary McBride: an administrator and member of the ethics committee at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, in Phoenix, Arizona, who incurred automatic excommunication following her sanctioning of an abortion at the hospital in November 2009. The controversy that ensued resulted in the diocesan bishop declaring that the hospital could no longer call itself Catholic.

Carol Keehan: as head of the Catholic Health Association, she sparred with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the question of health care reform, which the bishops criticized for funding abortion. Some observers have noted the critical role that she played, along with a social justice lobby of sisters called Network, in the bill’s eventual passage. In his farewell address before resigning the presidency of the U.S. Bishops’ conference last year, Cardinal Francis George – who directly opposed the health care bill, for its abortion funding – spoke of unnamed groups he said wanted to “remake the Church according to their own designs or discredit her as a voice in … public discussions” such as the debate over abortion and health care reform. As for who truly “speaks for the Catholic Church,” the cardinal left no room for doubt: “The bishops in apostolic communion and in union with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, speak for the Church in matters of faith and in moral issues and the laws surrounding them.” In another matter, less than 24 hours after the bishop of Phoenix stripped St. Joseph’s Hospital of its Catholic affiliation for performing abortions, Keehan declared that “Catholic Healthcare West (to which St Joseph’s belongs) and its system hospitals are valued members of the Catholic Health Association.” Keehan also defended the decision of Sr. Margaret Mary McBride to authorize the abortion. “They had been confronted with a heartbreaking situation,” she stated. “They carefully evaluated the patient’s situation and correctly applied the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services to it, saving the only life that was possible to save.” However, two obstetrician-gynecologists from the Diocese of Phoenix’s Medical Ethics Department said Keehan was misrepresenting both the facts of the St. Joseph’s Hospital case, and the ethical principles of Catholic health care.  “It goes back to the basic issue that you can never do an evil, to achieve a good,” said Dr. William Chavira. “The act is inherently evil.” Dr. Chavira is a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist who also serves on the Phoenix Diocese’s medical ethics committee.   

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Good summary of the MofN’s heresies of morals, Father. An equally long dossier could be compiled on their heresies of faith. Christology, sin, the Atonement, etc. They aren’t Catholic period, and many not even recognizably Christian as historically understood.

    Think of the damage done by Mary Daly types in Catholic universities and seminaries! Does “Sinsinawa” ring a bell?

  2. rtjl says:

    As the saying goes. “With friends like these, who needs enemies?”. In almost every case mentioned here, excommunication seems to be in order and entirely justifiable. These people are not Catholic. Why bother with the pretense?

  3. jflare says:

    Given the time-frame of some of these efforts, 1982-1986, I now better understand why we had very few in-depth discussions regarding sexuality in Catholic high school. ..And why such discussions tended to be fraught with “gender equality” and other issues.

    Maybe it’s as well I DIDN’T know about these things as a teen; knowing my temper, a few discussions might have been–not pretty.

    Curious: Did ANY of these women pay an ounce of attention to JP II’s Wednesday audiences regarding the Theology of the Body? Seems to me that many of the views expressed by these women would’ve been addressed, though not the way they would’ve wished.

  4. Scott W. says:

    I would like to nominate Sr. Helen Timothy for dishonorable mention. She ran the Loretto High School in Sacramento CA. There a student blew the whistle on a drama teacher who was moonlighting for Planned Parenthood. When it was obvious the administration was going to twiddle its thumbs, the student contacted the bishop who had to step in and order that the school fire her. Sr. Helen did it, but in retaliation expelled the student on some flimsy charges. Later the school enrollment bottomed out (gee, I wonder if the fact that they had a theology teacher proclaiming “the Christ and the Buddha have shown us the way” had anyting to do with it), they asked for donations to save the school, then sold the school without any diocesan oversight, and skeedaddle with the money into retirement. Last I heard, a lawsuit is pending. Read about it here:

  5. lizaanne says:

    Wow! This is like a Vortex episode! Good job Father – however sad it is that there is that much material out there to write such a post.

  6. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    To think that is only the tip of the iceberg. Those are just the most well known, national stories.

    I’ve known plenty of sound, non-habited sisters, whose orders belong to the LCWR who are sound, and the Assessment states it is not a judgment on individual sisters and the work they do that is in harmony with Church teaching.

    But, the example that I keep giving, if someone who spends 25 hours a day feeding the poor teaches others that there are four persons in the Trinity, we can’t seriously expect the Holy See to not correct the doctrinal error because of charitable works.

    Father Z – I had not seen this video yet, but it is a Notre Dame historian saying the “Vatican’s crackdown was inappropriate and humiliating”

  7. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Oops – sorry about the redundancy there.

  8. Tricia says:

    A read a book re this subject: “Women of Rage” by Donna Steichen. [You may mean “Ungodly Rage”.]
    Here is the link.

    It was in my library. It may be hard to get through before your head explodes; but I found it quite interesting and upsetting And this book was written in 1991!

  9. acardnal says:

    EXCELLENT summary! I will be using this elsewhere – giving due credit, of course.

    Sad thing is that these religious sisters have influenced many a parish priest down the wrong path over the decades ergo the parish school children and the lay Catholics in the pew suffered from poor catechesis.

  10. Peter in Canberra says:

    Unbelievable, simply unbelievable.

    The action in US will have ramifications around the world – see the support from Australian nuns for their recalcitrant US sisters in the combox on the Australian CathNews

    What will unite them is not, sadly, faith in Christ.

  11. anilwang says:

    BaedaBenedictus, once a Catholic always a Catholic by virtue of their baptisms.

    It’s more accurate to say they are apostates, and as such they will be judged far more harshly, especially the ones in leadership positions and the ones who are responsible for leading one of the little ones astray (i.e. involved in education).

    Let us pray that the reform of the LCWR happens quickly and all repent for their own sakes.

  12. albizzi says:

    The Vatican has spent so much time without reacting that the fish’s head is already rotten.
    In a not so remote time no nun would have dared nor even imagined to show herself before the Pope in civil clothes like on the picture. Even the Pope himself doesn’t look that amazed.
    They began giving up their religious dress without shame, no wonder that they would give up their faith shortly after. Right now they are in the open rebellion’s stage. Next step: The schism.

  13. disco says:

    Fr. Z – you are just a black-hat roman-collar wearing meanie! Keep up the good work!

  14. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    Fr Z, you should be ashamed of yourself. Grandstanding like this is far beneath you. Big deal about your summary, it’s like kicking a dead horse or shooting fish in a barrel. The tough thing would be to identify some causes as to WHY these nuns acted the way they did. What was it about their formation that lead them to take up these positions? Their generation was formed during the same time as all the bishops and periti of Vatican II – care to dig deep and ask why that entire generation, male and female, went so easily off the deep end?????

  15. frjim4321 says:

    If but only for the sake of the argument some of these two dozen women are imperfect exemplars of religious life I would respond that I could easily cherry pick two dozen priests who have gone off the rails over the past forty years in rather embarrassing and scandalous ways and use that as an indictment of all priests over the past forty years. [This is misdirection. The post isn’t about priests.] Clearly there are some that won’t be happy until all women religious are back in cloister wearing head-to-toe burka-like clothing surrendering all discretion over their life choices to the bishops. Doing non-threatening things like making soap. [That’s intellectually dishonest and offensive.] It’s not likely to happen as far as I can see.

  16. TNCath says:

    Since when did Sister Jeanine Grammick start wearing a VEIL? Wow! Are these sisters who gave up the religious habit years ago going to start using the religious habit to support their causes? Talk about the Devil in disguise! Mercy!

  17. Scott W. says:

    @Cheesesteak: I’m not sure why this bothers you. The fact is that all around the news arena we encounter people trying to portray the LCWR as poor innocents who were minding their own business and suddenly got blindsided by the Vatican. It is good to have a short compendium of the history to refer to in order to refute such falsehoods. Perhaps you haven’t been around here for very long, but Fr. Z has frequently delved into the root causes as it were. So, I’m sure Fr. Z wouldn’t mind if you commented here on what those causes were as long as it wasn’t overly hostile.

  18. Scott W. says:

    I would respond that I could easily cherry pick two dozen priests who have gone off the rails over the past forty years in rather embarrassing and scandalous ways and use that as an indictment of all priests over the past forty years.

    Yes, but you shouldn’t because it would be tu quoque and changing the subject. Characterizing Fr. Z’s position as one where religious women should just make soap? That’s a new low for you frjim.

  19. TNCath says:

    Father Z., permit me to add at the beginning of your chronology the Grand Mother of all dissenting nuns, Mother (later Sister) Mary Luke Tobin, S.L., the Mother General of the Loretto Sisters and one of the first LCWR presidents, who was the first to advocate the abandonment of the religious habit; and Mother Humiliata, I.H.M. (later Sister, later Ms. Anita Caspary), the last Mother General of the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of Los Angeles, who publicly defied Cardinal MacIntrye and the Holy See and led an exodus of 3/4 of her community from their vows.

    The list could go on and on: Sister Barbara Thomas, S.C.N., who led the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth astray in the early 1970’s as Superior General and later President of the LCWR; Sister Joan Chittster, O.S.B. and Sister Sandra Schneiders, I.H.M., who continue to this day their assault on the Church.


  20. AnAmericanMother says:

    . . . the usual apologies for the indefensible in 4, 3, 2, 1 . . . .
    (once again, patiently . . . .)
    frjim, that’s irrelevant here, but your comparison is worthless anyhow because these women are not acting as sisters but as leaders, spokes”persons”, and the public face and voice of their groups. In effect, they have set themselves up as bishop-wannabes.
    Now, if some priest somewhere had set himself up as an authority superior to the Magisterium, and ran around loudly proclaiming positions contrary to those of the bishops and the Church . . . .

  21. heway says:

    Thank you Father Jim. I won’t cast the first stone, as I believe some of these communities were at fault long before the 70’s. Having 3 women religious in the family and working for religious in hospitals for many years, I saw many an unhappy woman. The stigma of leaving the life was to great for some and they continued to try and live in a community not suited to them. This happened to women who have been declared saints.
    I also believe that many a man (priest) may have ‘lorded’ his gender over these women, in his male capacity as a leader…….lots of problems here. Pray rather than condem….

  22. Father Bartoloma says:

    Thanks, Father for this concise and useful “wikicrazia” of nuns. It’s smart to have some concrete examples at our fingertips when we have to respond to criticism of the Vatican’s (long overdue) admonitions of the LCWR.

  23. digdigby says:

    My ex wife was from a Catholic family. Her aunt was a cloistered nun who was shoved into the middle of the world by ‘the spirit of VII’. This is something she did not ‘sign on for’. No matter. For twenty years, in East St. Louis, she gave herself completely to help the most wretched in a world of appalling violence, drugs and moral decay. Totally burnt out and in a church grotesquely profaned by mincing, woman-hating heretic priests (whom she would mock deliciously) she drifted into channeling, New Age gibberish and Liberation Theology. She stayed in the church for there was no place left for her to go and she needed the health benefits of the order. May God remember all the good she things she did in faith. Many stumble in the dark, but woe to them who turned out the lights.

  24. Granny says:

    HA! Finally found the right place so I could post this link. I’m not used to blogs =)
    read this and watch the little video.

    check it out It’s your faith!
    “The heart of the wise inclines to the right , but the heart of the fool to the left .” Ecclesiastes 10:2

  25. SKAY says:

    I have wonderful memories of the nuns that taught me(a little Baptict girl at the time) in a Catholic grade school many years ago. Thank goodness they were quite different than those mentioned in this post.

    “When you hear some of the radical nuns and their liberal journalist buddies griping about oppression, feigning not to understand what “the Vatican” is doing to them, hiding being words like “freedom” and “respect”, lying about the facts, keep the following list in mind. Remember that the CDF and USCCB project of reform has been long in coming.”

    Unfortunately -on a Sunday afternoon news show on Fox-there is a panel of three women and a host commenting on the news of the week. It was not clear to me if any of them are Catholic-much less have any actual knowledge about the Catholic faith and it’s teachings. Nevertheless,on this subject, one said with a knowing look and smile that “the Vatican had overstepped it’s bounds” while the Democrat said “you go nuns” several times.
    The host was the only one who said that since she is not Catholic she did not feel comfortable telling the Catholic Church what it should do.
    Their comments last week concerning the Hillary Rosen “working moms vs stay at home moms” arguement were not much better. Needless to say they all work–so you can imagine their bias on that one.
    Fox needs to do better on it’s “fair and balanced” idea with this panel. This group, so far, is not much better than “The View” .

  26. Y2Y says:

    frjim, your “thinking” is truly offensive. Living proof that liberalism rots the brain. There is clearly no point in debating with a talking ape.

  27. Y2Y says:

    One of the most exquisite delights of the present papacy is listening to the wails of decrepit, liberal half-wits as they watch everything they hold dear head straight down the crapper. These liberal “nuns” will all be worm food within a decade or two, alleluia!
    They and everything they stand for are utter failures. What a waste of DNA.

  28. frjim4321 says:

    It really was not a misdirection, it was an analogy or a comparison.

    So, there are a couple dozen religious women out there whose representation of religious life is being questioned. It does not necessarily follow that 67,000 women religious are corrupt.

    Also, I just fine with the idea of women and men religious making soap, caskets, liquor, cheese or whatever, even fruitcake, but in fact that does make them less threatening to hierarchs who don’t want to be accountable or don’t want to be challenged. [More of the same. You can do better.]

  29. Supertradmum says:

    frjim, There is an entire generation or two of women who had vocations but could not find local or even regional orders which were obedient to the Church either in matters of Faith and Morals or in matters of wearing the habit. I lived with sisters at Notre Dame and they lived like rich lay women. When I challenged them to be signs of contradiction in the world, they became angry. One came back after a discussion and admitted that women had left her order, the Dominicans, because the order went too liberal and too lay. Women who love Christ want to give Him there all. Several years ago, a friend of mine, who belongs to the same order as some listed on the list above, asked me why I did not become a nun. The head of the order said that it was a great career and a group of these sisters, all older than myself, told me that they were happy as career women. In an hour of conversation, not one sister said anything about loving Christ or serving the Church. It was all about me. At the beginning of the conversation, the head of the order was wondering why the order did not have new vocations. Surprise, who would want to join a group of women who only cared about their degrees, their careers and their ideas of the Church, which were not in keeping with the Teaching Magisterium. Sad, but true, the best and the brightest did not become sisters or nuns. Why? For all the reasons listed here and those notes from Father Z. Humility and obedience are gone from the hearts of these ladies.

  30. ReginaMarie says:

    A few years back, the “Womyn’s” Studies Dept. here at WVU invited Barbara Ferraro & Patricia Hussey to speak at the University. My husband, children & I (as well as another family from our parish) protested their presence with signs & prayers. Fortunately, there was a small audience turn-out to hear their anti-Catholic blathering. Still, I was disappointed that we were the only ones protesting their presence.

  31. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    So, there are a couple dozen religious women out there whose representation of religious life is being questioned. It does not necessarily follow that 67,000 women religious are corrupt.

    Now that is just plain intellectually dishonest. No where in Father Z’s post is he saying that 67,000 women religious are corrupt. He is talking about the LCWR and countering the claims out there that the sisters are being “picked on” by “the Vatican” and “the Bishops”.

    There are plenty of sisters in communities attached to the LCWR who don’t buy the crap they’re peddling as Catholicism. Here is one sister giving her own testimony that the LCWR doesn’t speak for her:

  32. ContraMundum says:

    In conclusion, the Vatican’s recent decision wrt the LCWR clearly could have no motives other personal animosity towards Barack Obama, being otherwise manifestly without foundation.

  33. Supertradmum says:

    Apologies for spelling errors in above post. I have had trouble on the Internet for a week and such interruptions make me a bit nervous. Also, for many people in Europe, skype has been acting up. Very odd. Anyway, I think that the fall out in education from the list of errors and horrible examples listed above has created a split Church. More than the sexual scandals, which are hard enough to bear, and as those of you who read this blog, you know this effected my family personally, I believe the scandal of nuns in open disobedience to the Church in hundreds of school, colleges, university, chancery offices, social services, hospitals, and religious education departments of parishes all have done more damage to the Church. The scandal of bad example and teaching which is false is the scandal of corrupting children, just as the sexual scandals have done. I am not making a false dichotomy by saying that there are similarities in sin, but did not Christ Himself state “And fear ye not them that kill the body, and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can destroy both soul and body in hell.” Matthew 10:28

    How many souls have been destroyed by these false sisters?

  34. Y2Y says:

    The unifying characteristic of these women is treachery and betrayal; ultimate crimes. Servants of Satan, every last one of them.

  35. jaymcnally says:

    There is nothing new here about the nuns, nothing whatsoever. The LCWR horrors have been well-documented for 30 years, and at least in my corner of the world (Michigan, Archdiocese of Detroit), those who complain are even today declared by the bishops of being “divisive,” “angry,” “uncharitable,” etc.
    The only thing new is that the Vatican is claiming to have noticed that there’s a problem and is hinting that they MIGHT do something, but certainly nothing will be done after FIVE YEARS of consultation. Anyone remember Ex Corde Ecclesiae?
    The real story is that each and every one of those “nuns gone wild” has been sponsored, supported and encouraged by bishops who give them permission to destroy — in their names — Catholic schools, parishes, and by extension untold numbers of Catholic families.
    In the archdiocese of the Detroit 14 short months ago Bishop Thomas Gumbleton was brought into an IHM high school, Marian (where Lee Iacocca sent his daughters) and the whole student body sat through presentations by a self-acknowledged communist (Grace Lee Boggs), several socialists and at least one nun who trashed Church teaching on sexuality. As always, there was an outcry from a small number of conservative Catholics to the chancery, to no good effect. Archbishop Vigernon’s priest-spokesman told a parent who complained that since the nuns were wealthy and officially run the school therefore Vigneron would do nothing. Meanwhile Vigneron is waging war against Michael Voris, and has demanded that Voris not call his operation Catholic!

    The problem is not these crazy nuns, but our cowardly, duplicitous bishops who INSIST that these nuns run our universities and parishes. The vast majority of bishop — including in Michigan, I am sure — are delighted that they have to do nothing — not a single thing — about the “nuns gone wild” they for at least five more years. And since I’ve been watching this sorry spectacle in Detroit since 1976, I’ll bet $50 bucks, crackpot nuns will STILL be running half of the Archdiocese of Detroit’s schools and universities in 10 years.
    Fr. John Hardon who is up for sainthood and spent the last 10 years of his life in Detroit (and was never invited to speak/teach/preach at the Vigneron-run Sacred Heart Seminary or any archdiocesan event) used to say that the hierarchy is the “most corrupt” in history.

  36. mysticalrose says:

    As someone already said above, that is only the tip of the iceberg. Were you to include the flagrant doctrinal errors including the denial of the divinity of Jesus, the turn to New Age practices and Wicca “spirituality,” the worship of the self, the antipathy towards the Holy Mass . . . well the list would be long indeed. I am praying that the sisters will have the humility to hear in the Vatican’s reprimand the call of the Lord back to fidelity.

  37. anilwang says:

    Sin is sin. Just because there’s sin in one area of the Church does not mean that another area of the Church can get away with it. And for the record, there has been a crackdown on liturgical abuse and other abuse among priests and priests faithful to the Magisterium have praised that those actions. That crackdown has been long in coming on the parts of the nuns of the LCWR and all nuns who are faithful Magisterium but under the oppression of these pretenders to the thrown of Christ are also praising the crackdown.

    You this this as rubbing salt into open wounds, but if you forget history you will repeat it. The Church is full of many embarrassing episodes, back to the earliest Councils. We cannot afford to shy from them any more that we can shy away from the embarrassing parts of the Bible. They are there to instruct us. Catholicism is not for “wishing will make is so” new age wimps.

    And if the common refrain in the press is by the LCWR is “I’m shocked at the Vatican, we’ve never does anything wrong!”, well then Fr Z has said, “Here’s your answer.”

  38. robtbrown says:


    I agree that it would be easy to find two dozen priests (also bishops) in the same category. Fr Z, however, has at times also criticized priests. As you know, priests have to be careful about criticism of bishops.

    Your comments about sisters, however, are another matter:

    1. Most sisters are in institutes of pontifical right, meaning the bishop has no say over their dress. Their public behavior within his diocese, however, is in some way subject to his jurisdiction.

    2. The LCWR is often portrayed as representing thousands of sisters, but I doubt that all those sisters favor women’s ordination or abortion on demand.

    3. You imply that sisters in habits are passive, submissive types. I suggest you get to know the Dominican sisters of Nashville.

  39. Scott W. says:

    The whole “not ALL LCWR are corrupt” isn’t an argument. It’s an exercise in protective stupidity. But tell ya what, the LCWR can make all this go away. All any LCWR affiliated order needs do is publically and explicitly affirm that abortion, contraception, and homosexual acts are mallum in se, affirm that women can not receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and reject all this prostituting with Reiki and other spurious glitter of non-Christian Eastern mysticism and New Age practices. Do that and I’ll cut them some slack and ask that Church leaders do so as well.

  40. Jacob says:

    Father Z, I would have thrown in Anita Caspary myself. I can’t think of another single person who so publicly got the ball rolling in blazing the trail for all the women religious to follow.

  41. FrCharles says:

    My father, who is Jewish, was on a professional committee with one of the sisters pictured above and told me that he had no idea that she was a sister, and was shocked when he was told.

  42. Scarltherr says:

    Thanks, Father Z. Many women who have felt a call to religious life have stayed away from convents because of these heretics. Maybe we can’t bring the bloom back to the rose, but we can certainly prune the bush and encourage new growth.

  43. Gus Barbarigo says:


    We’re not really comparing a nun’s habit to a burka, are we? Isn’t the Blessed Mother usually described as wearing a veil?

    Hopefully we will not compare a uniform of Christian service and humility (where the face is still visible, by the way) to a symbol of dhimmitude. Women have always played a vital role throughout salvation history, with the Blessed Mother as the example par excellence, as well as many famous women saints, and all the unsung Catholic moms who have passed down the faith over the centuries. The challenge for all of us, male or female, is to bend our wills to Christ, and not petulantly demand the other way around.

  44. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Jay McNally said: The real story is that each and every one of those “nuns gone wild” has been sponsored, supported and encouraged by bishops who give them permission to destroy — in their names — Catholic schools, parishes, and by extension untold numbers of Catholic families.

    This made me think back to a line in the 8-page PDF of the actual Doctrinal Assessment on the LCWR. Recall that it took issue with Sr. Laurie Brinkman’s, “moving beyond the Church, and Jesus”. Later in the paragraph it says:

    Such unacceptable positions routinely go unchallenged by the LCWR, which should provide resources for member Congregations to foster an ecclesial vision of religious life, thus helping to correct an erroneous vision of the Catholic faith as an important exercise of charity. Some might see in Sr. Brink’s analysis a phenomenological snapshot of religious life today. But Pastors of the Church should also see in it a cry for help.

    That, to me, is a nice shot across the bow of the USCCB and individual bishops.

  45. Dan says:

    A little bit of prudence would go a long way for some commentators here…

    Fr. Z has done a good job of refuting the media hype surrounding this issue by pointing out, with reference to specific facts, the doctrinal and moral problems plauging the LCWR today. In the past, Fr. Z has done the same with less-than-orthodox priests like Notre Dame’s Fr. McBrien. I don’t believe it is a fair characterization to say that this is supposed to be an indictement of all religious sisters, and it goes without saying that the Church has been blessed with so many extraordinary women who have remained faithful to the magisterium during these difficult times (i.e., Mother Angelica and her order).

    On the other hand, referring to another reader, even if you disagree with him, as a “talking ape” is, in my humble opinion, extremely juvinile and immature. If you think that you’re ideas are so much better, than follow Fr. Z’s lead and support your beliefs with EVIDENCE and FACTS rather than relying on invective to make your point. And I don’t think it’s too far of a stretch to say that it is the height of hypocrisy to accuse another reader of being “offensive” and then proceed to describe souls created in the image and likeness of God as “decrepit, liberal half-wits,” “worm food,” and “a waste of DNA.”

    That does nothing to elevate the discussion and would likely give a new reader a very bad taste of this blog, which is unfortunate given the manifest graces and benefits so many of us receive from it every day.

  46. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Oh! Oh! Yahoo News is now displaying this: “US nun group rejects Vatican condemnation”

    Here’s a snippet: The leader of a group of US Catholic nuns on Saturday rejected condemnation from a Vatican report that said it defied Church doctrine.

    “We haven’t violated any teaching,” Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, told AFP, insisting the group would not stop “caring for the least among us on the margins of society.”

    She is her own “magisterium”

  47. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    That last comment got away from me before I could add the link. Here it is:

  48. wmeyer says:

    Am I correct in my impression that those who do not wear habits also ceased to take new names? If I understand correctly, the new name of a nun is a symbol that her life has changed. Perhaps in the sense of dying to her former ways. Those who retain their Christian names and wear street clothes certainly do not seem to have abandoned their former ways. It seems all of a parcel, to me.

  49. SKAY says:

    Thank you for the link, Granny. The story about how Wim Coulson and psychologist Carl Rogers in 1966-67 set out to change the Catholic Church gives more insite to how and why some things happened. It is also interesting that Coulson later regretted the result.

    One of the comments following the post also included this —

    “Many of our religious orders were destroyed on the altar of “obedience” Do keep in mind the effect of active infiltration by Communists in the seminaries and colleges. Dr. Bella Dodd testified that she herself put a thousand men in seminaries as per orders from Moscow.
    Stalin, himself, testified that there were 2 obstacles standing in the way of a complete world-wide take over by Communism: The Catholic Church and the moral strength of the American people! Put it in perspective and it is easier to understand what has happened to the Church today.

  50. Margaret says:

    Anyone who could mistake a woman wearing a burqa with a nun wearing a habit hasn’t spent enough time around either… :) I live in a town with the odd confluence of a convent of habit-wearing, non-cloistered IVE nuns and a mosque, attracting a higher-than-average concentration of hijab-wearing Moslem women (the burqa is a truly unusual sight, at least in my corner of the US. I can only think of one example at my children’s elementary school.)

    The nuns show more skin, and very distinct personalities. And for what it’s worth, the hijab-wearing Moslem women I know don’t seem particularly repressed or unhappy. Perhaps we could retire the whole faux-burqa comparison? It’s becoming the reductio-ad-Hitlerum of on-line discussions pertaining to women’s attire.

  51. Ray says:

    In the long distant past, circa 1950’s, I seem to remember learning that all those joining religious orders took three vows. The were poverty, chastity and obedience. Those nuns straying from what the Church teaches have forgotten their vows of OBEDIENCE. Being in direct opposition to directives from the Vatican is not being obedient. This is the bottom line, case closed.

  52. robtbrown says:

    frjim4321 says:

    Also, I just fine with the idea of women and men religious making soap, caskets, liquor, cheese or whatever, even fruitcake, but in fact that does make them less threatening to hierarchs who don’t want to be accountable or don’t want to be challenged.

    Your fallacy is that you imply that sisters who are not dissenters are uneducated and dumb. I knew American sisters in Rome who were not dissenters, wore the habit, and had advanced degrees (e.g., PhD and Law). A few years ago I was present in Nashville when a woman with a PhD in Science (biochemistry, I think) took the habit.

  53. plemmen says:

    True, a Religious sister or brother make the three vows (some even more). I once was numbered among them. In every instance I can think of, it’s not the vow obedience that is broken first, it is the vow of chastity. To be chaste is to not allow another to have access to the love, respect and duty accorded in the vow to Christ. To allow another person, thing or belief to take precedence BEFORE Christ is a violation of the vow of chastity. That is is often also a violation of one of the other vows just complicates it more. Poverty is not only financial status, but is also a vow to poverty of self, the self-abnegation that fosters the increase in the individual Religious’ life of the Will of God instead of their own will, to be obedient unto death to the Word of God as well as those appointed as superiors, without willfulness!

  54. Ray says:


    Thanks for your experiential observations. They seemed right on to me. Just as marriage is on the decline due to couples not taking their wedding vows seriously, religious who don’t take their vows seriously are in decline. A vow, as I learned about what they mean, is to be taken very seriously. That is why I am still married after over 40 years. I took a vow to God and my wife.

  55. Dan says:


    Good call! I suppose I should have taken my own advice about prudence…now I’ll have that hilarious image in my mind every time I come across a “troll” comment here!


  56. chcrix says:

    Why is there even such a beast as the LCWR?

    These ‘national’ platforms seem to be breeding grounds for those out of touch with the church.

    Do these organizations serve as anything other than a kind of megaphone? And over the long run who seizes these megaphones, if not people of an Alinsky-ish mindset? The real workers are too busy doing good.

    Dare I say that sometimes I feel the same way about the USCCB? An organization that, at least at times in its history, seems to have promoted an almost schismatic vision of a North American church?

  57. GregH says:

    Something doesn’t make sense. I looked up a few of the biographies of these nuns and most of them have done some very great works like starting shelters, helping the poor, etc. How does their theology get so detached from their good works? It seemed like the same thing that happened to Bishop Gumbleton. He has done some very good works and has lived a life of poverty I remember reading but his beliefs are so far removed from the true faith. How does this happen?

  58. AnAmericanMother says:


    I fed the little monster too before I realized what he was up to (my daughter sent me that hilarious meme. She keeps up with such things.)


    I made almost the same observation on another thread. In my experience, whether it’s a homeowner’s association, a girl scout troop, or a dance club, the people who are actually doing the work (whatever it is) are far too busy to take on a leadership role. So leadership falls by default to the only people who want to do it — and they usually have their own reasons, unrelated to whatever the purpose of the organization is supposed to be.
    And if the organization gets big enough, you have unknown, entrenched bureaucrats who are actually running the show and are hard to find or identify.
    But the membership has to keep an eye on these people and boot them when they get out of hand. Unpleasant work, but it has to be done or you wind up with a horrorshow like LCWR.

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  60. Dan says:


    That is a very good question. Ideally, the two (true faith + good works) should go hand in hand. But all too often we see an extreme emphasis on either one or the other, but not both (although noteable execptions exist, like Mother Theresa’s order).

    My opinion? I think it has to do with a perceived disconnect between the body and the soul. Liberals tend to focus on material needs while ignoring key spiritual realities, and some conservatives tend to focus exclusivly on doctrine while ignoring Christ’s command to feed the hungary, cloth the naked, visit the imprisoned, etc. All the Latin Masses in the world won’t do you any good unless, by receiving Christ in the Eucharist, you are becoming more and more like Him and manifesting that in your works of charity. On the other hand, you can open all the shelters you want, but if you ignore the spiritual needs of the people you are reducing the Church to a mere social service organization.

    I had a great experience working with a group in law school that went out on Monday nights to feed the poor where they were; off-roading to homeless campsites, searching under bridges, and traversing the streets to deliver hot meals to the homeless. The work always began with a group prayer to St. Joseph Labre, and the group leader would always ask the homeless men who we served if they had any special prayer requests. It seemed to be a perfect synthesis of Catholic faith and good works, living both without minimizing either.

    I have never felt as connected to my faith as when I did that work. I should be doing more of it.

  61. Andy Milam says:

    I think that sometimes it is necessary to know the enemy so that we may effectively combat him. There are times in life where one should take a stand, objecting to the Church is not one of them. There is great freedom in living within the boundaries of the Church, if one simply embraces it. There is great freedom in living with in the boundaries of the Church, if one simply allows for it. There is great freedom in living with in the boundaries of the Church, if one realizes that he will gain salvation only in that way.

    When religious rebel, they don’t understand that it will change nothing. They are proponents of change, for the perceived betterment of humanism. The Church is not founded on humanism. The Church is founded on Jesus Christ. And that Church stands not in spite of obedience, but because of it. Obedience is never found FIRST in one’s conscience. It is FIRST found in the truth. And from there, the conscience is formed. That is the second big lie of the progressives today.

  62. lydia says:

    GregH it happens when you replace Church doctrine with moral relativism and marxist/socialist left wing ideology. It happens when your quest for power replaces your desire to do God’s work.

  63. irishgirl says:

    Wow-that’s a regular ‘rogues’ gallery’ you’ve got there, Father Z.
    I once thought of being a nun-a cloistered Carmelite, in fact-but ended up not going in. And down through the years I’ve had people think that I was a Sister because of how I looked (short hair, no makeup, religious jewelry, dark-colored clothing). And I forever had to tell them, ‘No, I’m not a nun; but if I were, I’d be wearing a habit and a veil.’ But even if I still wanted to be one at my present time in life, none of the newer ‘good’ Orders will look at me because I’m considered ‘too old’. So I empathize with you, Supertradmum! I know you’ve mentioned more than once about us older faithful Catholic women not getting a ‘fair shake’ regarding religious life (when did this term ‘consecrated life’ become commonplace?).
    In my Upstate NY diocese, the only religious communities we have are the old tired ones that have mostly ditched the habit, espoused radical feminism (‘inclusive language’ in the Mass and Office-which I totally despise) instead of their true Spouse (Our Lord), and are on the whole gray-haired and dying off like crazy. Not to mention looking more like men than women… evidenced by the pictures of the ‘rogues gallery’ here….
    I once asked our previous Bishop and the then-vocation director why the diocese couldn’t get any of the newer, more flourishing communities; never got a straight answer.
    This thing with the LCWR was a long time coming. Let the ‘purging and cleansing’ begin!

  64. Scott W. says:

    Something doesn’t make sense. I looked up a few of the biographies of these nuns and most of them have done some very great works like starting shelters, helping the poor, etc. How does their theology get so detached from their good works? It seemed like the same thing that happened to Bishop Gumbleton. He has done some very good works and has lived a life of poverty I remember reading but his beliefs are so far removed from the true faith. How does this happen?

    It’s a problem called Regnocentrism. Our Holy Father recognized this problem in his book Jesus of Nazereth:

    But the main thing that leaps out [from regnocentrism] is that God has disappeared; man is the only actor left on the stage. The respect for religious “traditions” claimed by this way of thinking is only apparent. The truth is that they are regarded as so many sets of customs, which people should be allowed to keep, even though they ultimately count for nothing. Faith and religions are now directed toward political goals. Only the organization of the world counts. Religion matters insofar as it can serve that objective. This post-Christian vision of faith and religion is disturbingly close to Jesus’ third temptation.

    Read a fuller quote here:

    Also, from my experience, there is the attitude that if one piles up a bunch of good works on one end of the scale, one can fudge on sound doctrine and practice on the other and it all balances out. T’ain’t so. It’s bad enough we have anti-Catholics accusing us of believing in salvation by works. These guys are pushing works with the salvation being neither here nor there. Faugh.

    [This has to do with the modernist dedication to immanentism.]

  65. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    Scott W, Fr Z does a good job of reporting – telling us what is going on, giving us updates. Lotsa blogs do that. I’ve found very few that are willing to explore why. Why did the nuns of this generation, along with the vast majority of bishops of that same generation, kinda go haywire? There were all formed in the pre-Vatican II era, which would lead one to think that it was something in their formation at THAT time that allowed them to produce the stuff Fr.Z reports on. But nowhere does Fr. Z or most other bloggers dive into that. And to be fair, even Michael Davies admitted to being stumped on this point. [If you have it worked out, do it yourself! Post it on your blog!]

  66. Ray says:

    Catholics have to be Christocentric. I think you’ll find that each of the examples mentioned by Father Z strayed from the aforementioned imperative. Once you begin that slide there is no return to holiness until you once again revert to being Christocentric. SELF sometimes gets in our way. We all need to pray that an extraordinary dose of the Holy Spirit comes over the leaders of our American religious to be compliant to the Church’s teachings.

  67. plemmen says:

    Scott W.
    Well stated! Salvation is only through the salviv act of Christ on the cross, not works. The salvation afforded by Christ as well as the conscious decision to perform corporal works of mercy is a driving force of most Religious communities (and truly what we are called to do as followers of Christ), recognizing that good works without belief is antithetical to both Religious life as well as the life and charism of every Catholic.

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  69. plemmen says:

    Salvific even! Sheesh! I guess my eyesight HAS gone away more than I realized! My apologies to the reader for misspellings, they are not intentional!

  70. Scott W. says:

    Scott W, Fr Z does a good job of reporting – telling us what is going on, giving us updates. Lotsa blogs do that. I’ve found very few that are willing to explore why.

    Perhaps because it is more important to put out the fire and then figure out what started it. Ok, that was kinda cheeky, but I think you are being a bit unfair. It’s almost as if you want to say that the pre-Vatican II Church was not as healthy as us EF-lovin’ reactionaries think it was, so when something glittery in exciting like the 60’s upheavals came along, sound doctrine and practice disintegrated on contact with the enemy, but for some reason won’t say it. Go ahead and say it if that is what you think. It is a theory I am aware of as well as books like Hitchcock’s What is Secular Humanism? that deals with the rise of this. There is also some profit I think to be had in looking at the letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, who commented in a few places about VII when it was going on. If you have some ideas, please share them. If you don’t have any, fine. But as it is it seems like you are good at smelling rotten eggs, but unable to lay a good one.

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  72. GordonB says:

    Sort of echoing what Andy said, but it seems we need to have a catechesis on conscience and what it really means, and what it means for it to be properly formed. We can rationalize almost any sin as an act in concert with a good conscience (not unlike how Raskolnikov had convinced himself that his murder was justified). It seems all types use it as a buzz word to support their disobedience to the Church.
    PSALM 36
    Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in their hearts; there is no fear of God before their eyes.
    For they flatter themselves in their own eyes that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
    The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit; they have ceased to act wisely and do good.
    They plot mischief while on their beds; they are set on a way that is not good; they do not reject evil.

  73. plemmen says:

    In honor of speak like Shakespeare day, I would surmise the conversation amongst the LCWR rulers to be thus (upon being informed of the CDF findings and appointment of Abp. Sartain):
    First LCWR Nun: When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?

    Second LCWR Nun: When the hurlyburly’s done, When the battle’s lost and won.

    (With apologies to Mr. Shakespeare and Fr. Z!)

  74. Cantor says:

    Nature abhors a vacuum. In the absence of true leadership, people will generally follow anybody who stands up and gives the appearance of knowing what to do. Those who disagree will often do so silently and just stand aside.

    The leadership of the nuns took its present form when those men who had the responsibility for actual leadership of the Church — the true Magisterium — said nothing coherent for nearly half a century. Sure there have been Vatican documents a-plenty, but the USCCB and Rome have backed away from taking command of the RC Titanic. How many of the nuns on the list have paid any Church-imposed price for their behavior?

    Parents know this syndrome. If you withdraw all discipline from the family, you have no reasonable expectation that the kids will turn out okay. You have a little hope, perhaps, but that’s not a responsible way to lead the development of those who’ve been entrusted to your care.

    Our convents did not empty overnight. It took a long time to get here. And it will take a long time to fix. There will be pain and most likely casualties along the way. But the Church leadership must first and foremost accept the responsibility for failure, remove the log from its own eye, and then help those nuns who want it to remove the mote from theirs.

  75. Warren says:

    Of the dozens who were received into the Church in the 1980s during the tenure of Sister Pantsuit and Fr. Liturgical-Abuse at the parish of S’Ain’t We Fabulous, there are perhaps two or three of us, by the grace of God, who have remained Catholic. The damage done to the Church by these people is a damning testament to a generation mired in a mindless rejection of authority. In a word or more: their kind need to repent or simply disappear. Quite frankly, I tire of their theological and liturgical manipulations and condemnations of the supposedly bad ol’ days prior to the Second Vatican Council as well as their neurotic fixation on blaming prior generations for all their woes.

    Having said that, I’ll quit before I become the thing I detest.

    CMSWR – yay!

  76. jflare says:

    Two thoughts come to mind:
    1. jaymcnally, I’m quite displeased about Bp. Vigneron’s attitude regarding Michael Voris too. However, with regard to the schools in the area, unless I’m gravely mistaken, he does NOT, as bishop, have the authority to discipline members of a religious order. That role belongs to their superior, per Church law. Seems to me that His Excellency might well share your displeasure, but his hands may be tied because he hasn’t had anyone else step forward to take over from the order. Care to collaborate with others to volunteer?

    2. Cheesesteak Expert, many problems DID begin well before Vatican II. I’m not sure though, of what you’d have Fr Z discuss. Or what you’d have him or anyone discuss that hasn’t been highlighted a dozen times by another discussion of some other subject matter. If you aren’t aware, many of SSPX tend TOWARD thinking that His Holiness has become a figurehead leader of heresy.
    I would contend that Fr Z and others HAVE discussed the background of these issues under a few thousand different headings.
    I would think the title, “What Does the Prayer REALLY Say?” makes plain that addressing these what the blog as ABOUT.

  77. Springkeeper says:

    There are more than a few fiery stalwarts of the faith that just so happen(ed) to be habited Sisters, some of whom tended the sick and quite possibly made soap now and again.

    I once worked for a Sister who was principal of an excellent Catholic school. She wore a conservative habit (what you to as a “burka” as if those holy women who have chosen , of their own free will , to join conservative religious communities, are nothing more than mindless and fearful chattel who aren’t smart enough to choose what you seem to consider a much better outfit- polyester pant/shortsuits) and she was a highly intelligent woman and a force to be reckoned with.

  78. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    frjim4321 says: Also, I just fine with the idea of women and men religious making soap, caskets, liquor, cheese or whatever, even fruitcake, but in fact that does make them less threatening to hierarchs who don’t want to be accountable or don’t want to be challenged.

    You will want to visit the religious sisters attached to Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s order. They are out in the worst parts of New York, every day, working with the poorest of the poor, and the dying. There are many religious communities, growing rapidly I might add, with very young women who are giving up lucrative careers to do these things. They don’t dissent from Catholic teaching.

    You’ll want to visit the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist who, in August added 18 new novices to an already huge pool. They aren’t playing tiddlywinks all day long; many are involved with teaching and other works.

    Further, with all due respect, Father, it takes a lot of gall to speak condescendingly of the work done by women in contemplative orders and monasteries. You know full well that there are active and contemplative orders. Do you reject the good these sisters do for the Church through prayer and sacrifice? Surely, such an attitude is not in harmony with Vita Consecrata.


  79. Sandy says:

    This article reminds me of the eye-opening experience years ago of reading “Ungodly Rage”. I can’t help but wonder of those on the list who are deceased, what happened at the moment of death when they faced the Lord. How on earth could these women have gone so far off track?! I prefer to remember the beautiful nuns who taught me, even through college when they still wore habits, rosaries rattling by their sides. Thank you, Lord, for those wonderful women who shaped our lives in a positive way.

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  81. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    Cheesteak Expert,

    Study what’s in this link and you will find part of the answer.

  82. Scott W. says:

    But the Church leadership must first and foremost accept the responsibility for failure, remove the log from its own eye, and then help those nuns who want it to remove the mote from theirs.

    I agree and I think they are starting to do that. However that brings me to a question: no one denies that these orders are aging, not being replaced, and are on their way to the dustbin of history. So why kick the hornet’s nest now and not just let the tick-tock solution get rid of the heresiarchs? The cynics among us might assert that the mean ol’ boys club just wants to throw their weight around, but in fairness it must be because they think these orders are salvageable. And they are salvageable now. So asserting the Vatican needs to heal thyself first is a bit like telling a cop that because his department was corrupt for forty-odd years, that he has no business pulling me over for doing 7o in a school zone.

  83. Supertradmum says:

    Plemmen what a beautiful explanation of both chastity and poverty. Thank you for your insights.

  84. Luke Whittaker says:

    Father Jim, At it’s heart I believe that this is more about Blessed John Paul II’s statement that “the dignity and balance of human life depend at every moment in history and at every point on the globe on who woman will be for man and who man will be for woman” (TOB 43:7). And as Aristotle famously wrote, “If then, there is some end of the things we do, which we desire for its own sake, and if we do not choose something for the sake of something else, clearly this must be the good and the chief good. Will not the knowledge of [that chief good], then, have a great influence on life? Shall we not, like archers who have a mark to aim at, be more likely to hit upon what is right”

    Coming to understand what our vocation means as women, men, and then religious—along with every other state in life—will be the only way that we can chose aright what shape we should give to our lives by the choices that we make. Obedience is important for each and every one of us, but even more so to those who have made vows before God. Our obedience is owed to Christ, certainly, but through the Church, who alone can teach us what true love is: Love is the common vocation of every man.

    Love begins in a way with obedience. Love is always “for another” and therefore any selfishness on our part lessens our love. We are obedient to the needs of others, but our understanding of what those overarching needs are should, as Catholics, be rooted in the big picture as it comes clear to us in the gospel accounts and through the Tradition of Holy Church. When we arbitrarily decide what others needs are (i.e.: when we challenge the perennial teaching of the Church) we stray far from transmitting the love of God to others. Our common vocation is to love. That will look different for a man or a woman or a religious. But it should never take the form of making choices that are radically opposed to the truths handed to us by Christ through the Apostles and today through their successors.

    It is a mistake to make the generalization that Church “hierarchs…don’t want to be accountable or don’t want to be challenged.” It is an even greater mistake to challenge their authority as successors of the Apostles because it is to them that we owe our obedience as the men who are responsible for transmitting the truths of the gospel to us—no matter how well or poorly they perform that task.

  85. ContraMundum says:

    Those who retain their Christian names and wear street clothes certainly do not seem to have abandoned their former ways.

    I know what you mean, but the idea of nuns who do not “retain their Christian names” makes me think, “I’d like to introduce Sisters Dancing Fawn and Passionfruit Mystery. They’ll be leading you on this retreat. Our Mother Superior, Ineffable Moonbeam, could not come because she is helping the bishop improve the feng shui of the cathedral.”

  86. Bea says:

    Anybody here remember “sister Corita”? and her modernized “habit”?
    Go-go boots, mini-skirt?
    She disappeared from view, Thanks be to God and her “habit” never caught on.

  87. joanofarcfan says:

    I’d like to add to the list the Sister of St. Casimir that told my little sister at the all-girl Maria High School in Chicago back in the ’70s about “candles, novenas, rosaries, if you believe in all that garbage…” But where did this nun get that from? What is the root of all this?

    My sister also has tales of candle meditating at retreats, dancing priests, tie-dyed altar cloths and some embarrassing co-ed sex education. My mother pulled her out of that school and sent her to public school. Saved money and probably also saved my sister’s soul.

  88. AnnAsher says:

    Is it wrong for me to illustrate how not a one pictured possesses a feminin appearance?

  89. AnnAsher says:

    S’aint We Fabulous – love it !

  90. Kitchenwitch says:

    Fr., can you tell us some “safe” orders of sisters and brothers that play by the rules? And not just the cloistered contemplatives in monasteries. Children who have vocations may be called to active apostolic orders, too. we should direct them to the best convents or monasteries, abbeys, etc. Esp teachers or ccd teachers need to know–Thanks, Fr.Z. And keep it up!

    @AnnAsher–yes, it is sort of wrong. “Feminine” usually means things that even good catholic nuns don’t have or shouldn’t have like makeup, trendy hairstyles, etc. Some look OK, most look like grandmas (most nuns do) and one looks a little “angry.” Just being devils advocate. no harm intended.

  91. Captain Peabody says:


    That article was completely eye-opening and disturbing in ways I can’t even begin to describe. The only reaction I can offer is to quote the prophet Jeremiah and be silent:

    “Thus says the Lord: Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from the Lord. For he shall be like tamaric in the desert, and he shall not see when good shall come: but he shall dwell in dryness in the desert in a salt land, and not inhabited….

    The heart is perverse above all things, and unsearchable, who can know it? I am the Lord who search the heart, and prove the reins: who give to every one according to his way, and according to the fruit of his devices….

    O Lord, the hope of Israel: all that forsake you shall be confounded: they that depart from you, shall be written in the earth: because they have forsaken the Lord, the vein of living waters. Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed: save me, and I shall be saved: for you are my praise. Behold they say to me: Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come. And I am not troubled, following you for my pastor, and I have not desired the day of man, you know. That which went out of my lips, has been right in your sight. Be not a terror unto me, you are my hope in the day of affliction. Let them be confounded that persecute me, and let not me be confounded: let them be afraid, and let not me be afraid: bring upon them the day of affliction, and with a double destruction, destroy them.”

  92. catholicmidwest says:

    Cheesesteak Expert,

    It’s all about history. That’s how these things happen.
    Women’s congregations formed in the 16th-19th centuries constitute most of the women religious in the US. Most of these congregations aren’t orders where the emphasis is on living out a contemplative life in light of faith; rather, they were founded to address particular apostolates, sometimes as specific as a certain school, or a certain hospital or a certain town. Many of these congregations either don’t have a founder, or the founder was replaced by someone else in power plays or the founder was a non-consecrated person. Some of them were founded in France and imported to the US when manpower needs were acute in new areas of the country; some of them were founded here; some of them were brought here and then re-founded here. The differences between them were slight. They really didn’t have “ancient & great histories” like older forms of religious life and they didn’t really have discrete charisms. Sometimes the difference between them was only the habit that had developed over time to enhance their visibility among the laity (thus contributions & respect), or some cultural detail like how to turn the corner in the hall, or how to ask for a pencil in obedience, or how to crack a soft-boiled egg at the community table. That was it.

    Then came Vatican II and aside from any problems, people weren’t ready for it. Vatican II asked rather forcefully that religious orders return to their foundations and discover their sources and be true to them. When the ancient forms of life undertook that task, they had something to work with; when these women’s congregations undertook that task, they found themselves staring at a blank wall. So they punted. They “created” something. For instance, the IHM Sisters in California worked with a psychologist using transactional analysis to determine who they were as a congregation. The story is rather famous. The psychologist was named William Coulson and he was a disciple of Carl Rogers. The technique was called “non-directive therapy.” This method was used with many orders. It appears that it was considered by many congregations to be easier to do this than to actually do the historical work and settle for what little was honestly found and deal with that. The result was disastrous. Religion fell completely out of the picture and the congregation took on an entirely different purpose than anything any founder could ever have imagined. This has been going on for many years now in many congregations. This is what happened.

    If you’d like to read more about it, you can read:
    1. A short interview with William Coulson:
    2. “The Rise and Fall of Catholic Religious Orders,” a well-done account on the sociological phenomenon that took place, author = Wittberg, publisher = SUNY
    3. “Ungodly Rage,” a trade paperback classic on the topic, author = Steichen, publisher = Ignatius

  93. catholicmidwest says:

    PS. Founding congregations without sound spiritual lives is a bad idea. Favoring a congregation just because you like the way they look, habits and all that, is a bad idea. Founding a congregation without a firm founder and a good history is a bad idea. Nothing but ill comes from these things.

    If you are looking for a religious organization, choose a sound basic one or choose something strict and austere with a great prayer life, like Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. That way you should stay out of trouble. Remember a religious life lasts a lifetime! Read the fine print.

  94. I had to read No Turning Back in grad school for a journalism class. Only daily rosaries and copious amounts of beer kept me sane.

  95. tealady24 says:

    Let the purging and cleansing begin, yes. But here’s the thing . . .

    give all these heathen, heretic, atheist poor souls a little room , because give them a few more years and these honeys will be history, along with all their ‘congregations’, becuz nobody joinin’ insanity!

  96. Indulgentiam says:

    Wow! to be chosen to ascend to the very pinnacle of womanhood that is to be a Bride of Christ The King of Kings! to be given the honor of wearing garments that distinguish them as a Royal Bride and to turn around and throw that away for mere money or the more insane reason of some lesser earthly title deifies all reason. Every word out of those women’s mouths screams loud and clear “I will not serve!” as do your words– frjim4321– and if they die in their adultery to The King of Kings they should expect to hear from the mouth of satan “declare them to be mine who refused to be yours!” My heart trembles at the thought of what punishment such perfidy deserves.

  97. As a new member of the stimulating community here at Father Z’s blog I thought this might be a good time to make my first comment.

    My baptism is “pending” at the moment but I am expecting to become a 51-year-old baby Catholic before the end of the Easter season. I found out during RCIA that I was a “Traditionalist” and didn’t even know it. The nun leading RCIA once referred longingly to the possibility that women might someday be ordained and I blurted out that I didn’t think that was possible since I’d been reading that troublesome book Catechism of the Catholic Church and it had said specifically that only baptized men could be ordained, and that it was Jesus’s choice. Some words to that effect. She took it pretty well, mumbling something I didn’t quite catch and moved on to the next person.

    The best class in RCIA though, was “Catholic Social Teaching.” After the earnest young man they brought in had finished his presentation I said, “You’ve talked a lot about Solidarity but what about Subsidiarity? I heard about that in a Rick Santorum speech.”

    I thought it was on point but he made a face like someone has passed gas in the room. I bit my lip so hard I thought it would bleed.

  98. inIpso says:

    How heartbreaking it is that those who are called to the sublime vocation of being a bride of Christ are so drastically far from Him.

    Their sense of obedience has been perverted through pride. Just read what one of the conference’s members was quoted as saying in a Washington post article a few days ago:

    “However, she said, “our vow of obedience applies to God .?.?. it doesn’t reside in a bishop, a body of bishops or even the pope. For us, that sense of obedience has to do with listening deeply to the call of the spirit.”

    This reeks of the devil. May God have mercy on these women. They need our prayers!

  99. Francisfaustina says:

    It’s about time that the Vatican did something about these nuns! I still don’t get why if they are out there preaching and teaching things against the faith that they have not been aproached before this and then excommunicated if they do not change their tune! You don’t like the Catholic Church? Then become a Episcopalian or Anglican!!! It’s time to CLEAN HOUSE!

  100. cblanch says:

    @Cheesesteak Expert

    When I think about how many members of the clergy and religious life have gone so far off the rails, the vision of Leo XIII always comes to mind. Especially with regard to the time frame in that prophecy. Coincidence?

  101. frjosh says:

    One thing I think we need to remember here: this whole problem has an expiration date on it.

    The problem with many comments here is that general sense that this kind of religious life has any… life left in it. When was the last time you saw a young religious involved in these kind of activities? Time is running out for this generation of women whose presuppositions regarding gender and sexuality are so radically skewed. And they aren’t being replaced.

    That’s also the problen with frjim’s comment. He seems not to understand that the women of my generation who are interested in something so radical as the religious life couldn’t care less about challenging men for being men, or for power dynamics, or for anything so remotely silly. Likewise, the men of my generation could care less about flouting these things in a negative manner.

    Look at the religious orders that are growing, and see the things they have in common. At the top of the list is commitment to a charism which has as its goal a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ, and you’ll begin to get the radical lifestyle and the habit. They’re accidents of depth, rather than ends in themselves.

  102. jflare says:

    Robert Pearson,
    I find myself chuckling a bit at your comments regarding the nun and the young man. In my experience, many Catholics who’re involved with education have a certain ..distaste.. for acknowledging the documented teachings of the Church. It’s an unfortunate fact of life and I’ve never precisely understood why the “academic world” here in the US doesn’t like to discuss what the Church actually teaches.

    I DO have some serious suspicions about why that happens, but I think I’d best leave that be. I don’t precisely expect to see any change in that arena anytime soon.

    I would encourage you to keep learning all you can about the faith from Fr Z, from Catholic Answers, from Ave Maria Radio, from EWTN, and from your local diocese.

    As Marcus Grodi would probably say: Welcome home!

  103. Bea says:

    Cheesesteak Expert:
    Interesting question
    The tough thing would be to identify some causes as to WHY these nuns acted the way they did. What was it about their formation that lead them to take up these positions? Their generation was formed during the same time as all the bishops and periti of Vatican II – care to dig deep and ask why that entire generation, male and female, went so easily off the deep end?????

    I lived during those times and often think to myself “There for the grace of God go I”
    I don’t rightly “know” but in retrospect I see so many “little” things that nobody really paid any attention to. World War II was over and we (collective “we”/I just noticed the feelings of those around me/I was about 8 years old) felt that we were the “liberators” We were sitting on top of the world. “Free thinking” was the name of the game.

    We had Frank Sinatra (at the time I saw nothing wrong with his song/in retrospect I now see it as it was) Innocent sounding lyrics that everyone loved and everyone was singing: “I did it my way” was the popular song in those formative years. Music and lyrics can be such a subtle constant communicator in the psychic (sp?) of behavior and attitudes. Like repeating a lie SO often enough that it becomes a fact and a guide for life. We now wanted to “liberate” ourselves and “do it my way”

    We had the ever-so-popular Ed Sullivan show. Who searched for hidden talented people and groups of people. (something like American Idol today). There was even a Catholic Mariachi group headed by a priest that sang secular Mexican songs that appeared on his show. But the biggest hit of his show in those days were “The Beatles”. He brought them from England and were an immediate hit. They made so much money and brought fame to England that the queen knighted them. A number of knights, knighted for honorable reasons, returned and rejected their knighthood in protest.

    Then came “Woodstock” and morals and right-thinking became “flabby”
    “Make love, not war” I think this is when the only SIN we were accountable for was “not being nice” Our generation turned into “Hippies”
    Where do priests and nuns come in during these times?
    They didn’t go down the “Hippie” road but the “hippie” ideas were still there and had taken a certain degree of hold on the outlook of that generation.

    Sex education came into vogue. Even Bishop Fulton Sheen at first embraced it and then recanted.
    He then told somebody (I think it was his sister) “It’s better to go to a secular college where they have to defend their Faith than go to a Catholic college and have it taken away from you.” The only sex education I got at home was “Don’t do it” My mother refused to allow me to college. She looked at it as an evil place. In retrospect it probably was and our generation was so “flabby” then who knows how I would have turned out. It’s probably what saved me from moral decadence and rebellion against “the establishment” which at that time the most important “establishment” was THE CHURCH.

    These may sound like simplistic answers but from simple things comes the blossoming of greater things.
    Do you remember the old child’s poem “Because of a nail, the shoe was lost. Because of the shoe, the horse was lost. Because of the horse, the general was lost. Because of the general, the battle was lost. Because of the battle, the War was lost. And all because of a horseshoe nail” That’s why the saints have always taught to keep a close watch on our souls. Ultimately it’s really the little things that count and we have to watch the little things in us before they become BIG things. Like Fr. Z says “Go to Confession” and go often to keep the “little things” under control before they become BIG.

    And that, in my simple little mind, is where I think this whole generation of disobedience sprang from. We went along with “do it my way” mindset.

  104. ContraMundum says:


    Exactly. Maybe I’m too pessimistic on this, but I think it’s too late to reverse the death spiral of the larger orders that have gone off the reservation. Something could have been done 25 years ago, but now? At this point, probably the most effective thing to do would be to work with the orthodox orders that are actually growing so that they will be prepared to play a larger role.

  105. Cheesesteak Expert says:

    Scott W, thanks for the book reference, which I’ll pursue. What did Tolkein say? And yes, I was thinking along the lines you mentioned, but am not schooled in that history. I only thought it logical that everyone would consider that not everything was A-Ok pre-Vatican II, but not having lived then and not being a cleric, wonder what clerics have to say. Most of my family who themselves grew up deep in the Church pre-Vatican II broke into one of two camps. Camp 1: those still in the Church admit to a “pay, pray and obey” mentality, accepting all changes as the will of the Holy Father and the Bishops and not questioning anything (even though they are very articulate with four years of theology at pre-1960 Catholic colleges!). Camp 2: those who have left the Church after questioning, but don’t give a whit – or can’t remember – whose feast is actually celebrated on December 8th, Mary’s or Jesus’ Conception. And there is no Camp 3.

    So that is why I look especially to the clergy, Fr. Z, for some understanding of formation that by definition is beyond the knowledge of most laymen. The bishop in the diocese in which I grew up reigned from 1958 to 1977. He was trained in New York, ordained in St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the late 1930’s, and there he is in his late sixties handing out balloons to us kids at confirmation and presiding over liturgical dances with my cute classmates in tutus, then watching us all sing “Joy is Like the Rain”. And the pastors ordained in the 50’s were blowing up the balloons, while the nuns sewed the tutus. Could somebody please explain this sort of evolution in an entire generation across the whole world????

  106. Scott W. says:

    Cheesesteak, another book we might consider is Hilaire Belloc’s The Great Heresies written in 1939. When everyone was talking about fascism and communism, Belloc thought these movements would pass, and instead anticipated an unprecedented assault on the Church. Whereas earlier heresies turned on a few specific theological issues, Belloc said this last one was a full on assualt on faith, reason, virtue and goodness themselves with an eye not on reforming, but on annihilation. So another theory is not that the pre-Vat II church was particularly ill, but that the enemy was so strong, bent on destruction, and unexpected that only the most stalwart Catholics could resist it and it is only by a miracle that the Church survived with the Deposit of Faith intact.

  107. Cantor says:

    Scott W’s link to the excellent, if depressing, story about Loretto High School helps bring into focus one serious problem faced by today’s nuns, good and bad. Money. For decades, nuns taught or nursed or prayed without concern about retirement, 401K, or Social Security. Many are now elderly, suffering the same maladies as the rest of us, with limited resources. What can they do?

    There are convents, monasteries, schools, and valuable swaths of land out there that might be sold to finance their retirements, or for personal gain, or to fatten diocesan coffers, or hire swarms of lawyers … etc. Whose resources are those? If they belong to the Order and there is but one nun left, is it hers? The Sacramento Bishop is suing the nuns who sold Loretto High, but what did he offer them?

    When I visited my Carmelite cousin last year, and the retirement center for my Dominican elementary school teachers a year earlier, every one I saw was wearing a habit with veil. They were at prayer, and, I hope, at peace. These are good and holy women.

    Let’s not rush to criticize all, and forget their — and our — humanity. Instead of writing in the blogosphere, why not write a check to pay for a day’s milk for the congregation, or a week’s heating for the Mother House. Then come back and complain about giant puppets and guitars.

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  109. ghp95134 says:

    @Bea: “…“The Beatles”. … They made so much money and brought fame to England that the queen knighted them. A number of knights, knighted for honorable reasons, returned and rejected their knighthood in protest. …”

    Slight correction: In 1965 The Beatles were invested into the Order of the British Empire with the rank of Member (MBE); not knight (KBE). No knight returned or rejected his knighthood (that I know of); however, John Lennon returned his MBE in 1969 in protest. Of the “Fab Four,” only Sir Paul McCartney has been knighted; he was created a Knight Bachelor in 1997 for his “services to music.”

    Knights Bachelor are created outwith the established Orders of Chivalry (i.e., Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle, Royal Victorian Order, etc.). For example, one who is knighted within the Order of the British Empire would be a “Knight of the British Empire” (KBE).

    Image of Sir Paul holding his neck Badge:

    –Guy Power

  110. Bea says:

    Thanks for the correction in the title, but I do remember that in protest (don’t rightly remember if it was one or more) returned their titles. It was in the news at the time.

  111. Mrs Fitz says:

    I am new to this blog. Loving every word of it so far.
    As for heretical nuns et al, it might be worth giving the inquisition another opportunity. One would think that intellectual honesty would demand that they resign their posts to pursue their apostate leanings in other venues. But they remain. Their lack of humility condemns them. So call them all in. Line them up and give them a chance to recant. Those that don’t… them to the diocesan door. They did it to the Jesuits.
    In my diocese we have the unrepentant sisters that came up from SanFrancisco. They brought their dark doctrine with them. They were welcomed by a bishop (the youngest bishop at VaticanII- you should probabaly look it up for yourself)
    who shared their anticlerical /anti hierarchical vision of the Church. In my diocese they found fertile ground.
    The trouble with all this is that they all have enjoyed a generation of heterodoxy. To un do it will take much prayer and fasting. They have hidden their toxic creed in every aspect of Catholic life. They got away with it for the most part….largely due (IMHO) to the poor formation of Catholics at the time of Vatican II…. Until now that is. The new generation of Catholics look to be much more informed, better formed, and therefor more able to transform the culture. Please God.
    My Husband has two aunties who are nuns. Both wear the habit. Both are good women who have been led or allowed themselves to be led down the garden path. They give homilies, they teach the enneagram, and are okay with general absolution as a regular thing. One order boasts of having several Rekkei masters on their roster. The orthodox sisters amongst them do not stand a chance. They are outnumbered. Alas, the seeds of their destruction are sewn in their heterodoxy. And that’s a good thing!

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