Sally Quinn of WaPo: a lesson in getting it wrong.

Sally Quinn of WaPo offers her stunningly shallow take on the reforming efforts by the Holy See and USCCB now being applied to the LCWR (a subsidiary of the Magisterium of Nuns).

Aside from the risible claims Quinn makes, I found this part amusing:

While the “radical feminist” nuns were taking care of the poor and the sick, what were the priests and bishops doing? More than a few were being accused of sexually abusing children and covering up for each other.


This is worthy of special attention not because of the increasingly cliché liberal tactic of throwing out the child abuse issue every single time the Catholic Church acts like the Catholic Church ought to act, but because the very LCWR Quinn is defending has itself cooperated in the cover-up of sexual abuse of children by women religious.

Don’t take my word for it.

It seems that even SNAP (and I am no great fan) protested at a meeting of the LCWR in 2010 because the leaders of the LCWR (the darlings of Sally Quinn’s defense) were resisting and squelching every effort to get them to come clean about the sexual abuse of children inflicted by women religious.

Even the National catholic Fishwrap… er… Reporter wrote about this.

To quote the Fishwrap:

[SNAP director David Clohessy] said that in coming forward and sharing the pain, healing can finally take place. The second reason for the conference, he said, was to send a message to the women religious leadership that it should do more to “come clean” about abusive nuns. He called for LCWR to develop a national abuse policy that could be a model for the bishops and for the entire world. Sadly, he said, efforts to work with LCWR have been rebuffed for the past six years.

During these past six years, Clohessy said, SNAP has repeatedly asked to address LCWR at its annual national gathering, a request that has been denied. He said SNAP has also asked LCWR to allow a SNAP link on the LCWR website and to give SNAP the names of regional women religious sex abuse victim coordinators, requests that have also been denied, he said.

Maybe Sally Quinn could do some real reporting and write an article about women religious who abused children.

There is a lot of material out there on the internet… if you look for it.

And WDTPRS has looked for it.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Biased Media Coverage, Clerical Sexual Abuse, Dogs and Fleas, Magisterium of Nuns, The Drill, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Throwing a Nutty and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Alas, Father, the Fishwrap is full of puerile articles this week using the same tactic. The LCWR’s coverups are all forgotten!

  2. ContraMundum says:

    I think the bit about “nuns were taking care of the poor and the sick” overstates the case, too. Frankly, there are not very many nuns in the US, they are quite unevenly distributed, some of them are in contemplative orders (for which, one supposes, Sally Quinn would also have contempt?), and many of them are reaching an age where they cannot get around as well as they once could. I have lived most of my life in the rural South, “flyover states” and counties that the Sally Quinns of the world do indeed treat with contempt, and in much of that region there are simply no nuns. But there are always priests, who give the greatest comfort to the sick and dying.

  3. oldcanon2257 says:

    Obvious liberal biases aside, I guess we can’t expect much from an article by somebody who obviously doesn’t even know the difference between a nun and a sister. [Wellll… I wouldn’t go there. In popular parlance the terms are interchangeable.]

    In addition:

    In a Washington Post article by Michelle Boorstein and Elizabeth Tenety, Sister Julie Vieria, a member of the Michigan-based Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate heart of Mary 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.”

    I wonder which/whose “spirit” that is she’s listening to? Perhaps it’s the same spirit whose smoke Pope Paul VI said had entered the temple of God. In any event, if such statement reflects the current state of IHM, then it should be suppressed for good.

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  5. Ryan M says:

    There is something that I don’t understand about all these opinion pieces (some of which masquerade as “journalism”) that assert that this is in response to their support of Obamacare. “The Vatican™”, we are told, is full of old men that live in the past. You have pointed out before that technology is updated every 30 years or so whether it needs to be or not. The abuse crisis and the delays in fixing things point to its, umm, stolidness in addressing things. In its “policies” on things like women’s ordination and nontraditional marriage, “The Vatican™” is living, oh, 2000 years in the past. In other words, “The Vatican™” makes decisions about things on a geologic scale, not a daily, weekly, yearly, or even decadely scale. So how is it, then, that this is an example of “The Vatican™” responding to something that happened just a few years ago? The people they are castigating just can’t work that fast!

  6. Supertradmum says:

    What always never ceases to shock me is the low level of journalism allowed in these national newspapers and mags. I took journalism classes in both high school and university, and the strictness of our teachers on getting the facts straight made us responsible reporters. I have written for three newspapers, including being a features editor. What comes out of the fishwrap varities, including the old Pill on this side of the pond would not have passed musted under my journalism gurus. The lack of accountablity and the lack of clear thinking, rather than emotional outbursts, is simply horrid journalism.

  7. Supertradmum says:

    please, please excuse typos and I am using a ten year old lap-top with a sticky key-board and an internet connection which goes off and on every six minutes or so….but I am stubborn. I someone wants to buy me a new lap-top, I would greatly appreciate it. And, I need a place other than the countryside in England or France to go online. Americans are so spoiled.

    Waste of paper and electricity re. Sally Quinn in my estimation. How does she get published?

  8. Traductora says:

    Henry VIII also used claims of “immorality” to allow him to take over and destroy the monasteries in England. IIRC, he initially used the results of one of the regular Church visitations, aimed precisely at identifying problems with different communities or even individual religious and correcting them, and then went on to make it seem as if all or most of them were wildly immoral. So it hasn’t changed much.

    Also, one thing that infuriates me is to see these LCWR people capitalizing on the work done by their predecessors (before they destroyed their own orders) or by current sisters whose orders are no doubt all members of the other (older) organization of women religious. The LCWR is made up of people who ruined their orders, devalued and destroyed their charisms, and now are living in apartments with their girlfriends while the remaining handful of elderly sisters sit around in empty convents and wonder what happened to the lifefor which they had joined the order.

    Instead of teaching or caring for the sick, these sisters ran off to be social workers, political operatives, administrators of things they should never have been involved with, enneagram specialists, self-proclaimed “spiritual directors,” self-proclaimed artists, and a host of things that had nothing to do with their order’s charism and thus resulted in its destruction. If these ladies leave their orders and their orders went back to teaching, community prayer and community life, I bet some of them would revive.

  9. PostCatholic says:

    Maybe Sally Quinn could do some real reporting and write an article about women religious who abused children.

    The thing is, she wasn’t doing any reporting in the first place. She wrote a (yes, barely cogent and poorly researched) opinion piece on a Washington Post blog that wasn’t carried in the newspaper. And indeed it was a cliché, one not just confined to “liberals,” to mention the clergy sex abuse scandal to “advance” her argument on an unrelated topic, but at least that part was factual.

  10. SKAY says:

    Supertradmum–You do have a great point.

    “Waste of paper and electricity re. Sally Quinn in my estimation. How does she get published?”
    Supertradmum–You do have a great point.

  11. SKAY says:

    Opps-I’m sorry. I ment to erase one “great point” sentence.

  12. Athelstan says:

    Ms. Quinn can’t even get the basic facts right – not that facts matter in such a rant.

    To take one egregious example: It is not correct to say that there 55,000 members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. LCWR is comprised not of religious orders (or their members per se), but of major superiors of religious orders. This being the case, there are about 1,500 women major superiors who are the actual members of LCWR. The orders they lead do include thousands of religious sisters, but those sisters are not members of LCWR. The number of those sisters, in turn, is harder to determine, but it is considerably lower than 55,000, which is roughly the total number of women religious in the U.S. – and there are many whose leaders are not in the LCWR.

    The same is true of the LCWR’s more traditional counterpart, the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious (CMSWR), which is also headquartered in the DC area. The CMSWR includes more traditional orders like the Missionaries of Charity and the Nashville Dominicans.

    I’m not sure that Quinn gets that this action is not directed at “poor nuns,” undifferentiated. It’s directed at the leadership of a number of the most liberal, radicalized women religious orders. Those women lead orders which do account for a large, albeit rapidly declining, share of women religious in America, and not all of those orders (or major superiors!) work with “the poor.” There are many women religious, contemplative and active, that are as deeply troubled as the Vatican by the abandonment of even basic beliefs of Catholicism by many of these sisters. Does Sally Quinn know they exist?

  13. plemmen says:

    I stand by my evaluation of them:
    But what do I know? I was never a “Woman Religious” just a simple Religious Brother before my departure from my vocation, sinking into error and the years under which I lived that error. I returned to the bosom of Holy Mother Church, my conversion back to correct belief not a jail-house conversion to get sympathy and better conditions. I made my peace with our Church AFTER my release from prison and after more than a year of preparations to do so. No matter how far one has strayed, the Holy Spirit ever pours forth Grace so that you can return home to a state of Grace by confession and a Christocentric life with the Eucharist the center-point of your life.

  14. ARKloster says:

    Honestly, I have no sense of Schadenfreude here, only an immense sadness. I also want to defend the sisters for a moment, or at least point the finger elsewhere. It’s precisely the same gay child-abusing priests, the products of that culture, that have acted as the spiritual advisors of the wayward women’s religious.

    There has been serious formation going on here, formation aping the formation of authentic religious. In lieu of faithful admonition and spiritual direction we have had an echo chamber of politicized, Marxist thought, and sexual liberation. So while we can rail against these sisters (and by all means, go ahead), I think it’s important to realize that they are victims as surely as the abused children. Victims of the same infiltrators.

  15. CPT TOM says:

    Oh please, we’re talking about adults here…these sisters took part in their own destruction willingly. The fuse and bomb that got lit that helped lead to the problems with many of the religious orders came from outside, when these orders turned to secular methods like encounter groups and other psycho-babble of the 60s. These techniques turned many of these sisters inside themselves and away from the Lord. see this article for a synopsis

    This led to many of them abandoning their charisms that included orphanages, hospitals and schools that served the least of society. This also happened with men’s religious orders (eg the Jesuits) who had influence and far reaching charisms. I’m sad over what was lost to their turning inward and the willing sabotage of the youth of the Church.

    The path had been laid in the modernism of the 40s and 50s, the 60s just finished building the bomb and lighting the fuse.

  16. RichardC says:

    I think it would be neat if some of the thriving, traditional orders of nuns accepted into their fold some of the aging nuns in dying, schismatic/heretical (choose the best adjective yourself) who want true daughters/sisters of the Church.

  17. RichardC says:

    Whether or not the above idea I posted is a good idea, God help the nuns stuck in these schismatic/heretical (choose the best adjective yourself) who want to follow Jesus.

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