The Fishwrap (aka the ultra-liberal dissenting National Catholic Reporter) has published a prayer written by a woman religious in advance of responding to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the upcoming annual meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).
The LCWR (a subsidiary of the Magisterium of Nuns) is in the process of being retooled by the CDF.
Have a look:
A prayer for discernment as LCWR begins deliberations
by Thomas C. Fox on May. 29, 2012
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious begins several days of deliberations today in preparations to offer a response to the April 18th Vatican doctrinal asssessment. Leaders of 13 regions of women religious will begin to decide this week on a course of action and will take the ideas which come from this week’s discussions to the full LCWR assembly, set to meet in August in St. Louis.
Meanwhile, LCWR as asked for prayers and has posted on its website a prayer written by Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Chris Koellhoffer.
A Prayer for our Sisters
In this time of pain and promise,
we call on God’s Spirit to bless
the leadership of LCWR, of our
Congregation, and all women religious
who strive to live the gospel in these
We call on the Spirit of God to reveal
the way forward that is faithful to God’s
dream for us and our lives together.
May all who are called to engage
in prayer and conversation come to
the table with hearts that are open,
transparent, and faith-filled. May their
reflection be marked by a deep listening
to the voice of the Spirit at work in
May the holy ones who have gone
before us inspire us by their courage
and wisdom and affirm that we are
May we continue to faithfully live the
questions of our time and witness to
the people of God that we are women
at home with mystery and filled with
fierce hope for our shared future.
by Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Chris Koellhoffer
Okay… all in all it isn’t a horrible prayer, considering the …. unusual… environment it comes out of.
Yes, this is a time of pain and promise. Yes, it is good to pray to “the Spirit”, “the Spirit of God”, “God’s Spirit”, so long as we are praying to the Holy Spirit, Third Person of the Most Holy Trinity.
No, Sister, God doesn’t have a “dream” for you.
I am not sure what being “women at home with mystery” means, or what might be involved in a “fierce hope” for a “shared future” means, especially when you see the list of the speakers for that Assembly.
However, I suggest that, as part of the their “conversation” and “listening”, they ought to do a great deal more listening than talking. And in their listening, sure, listen to the Holy Spirit, but especially as manifested through Holy Church’s duly appointed shepherds. Their LCWR’s listening should be offered to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and those whom the CDF have appointed to oversee their renewal. They must not attempt to pit the Holy Spirit against Holy Church’s shepherds. The Holy Spirit is talking to the sisters already, through Holy Church’s shepherds.
Therefore, sisters, listen a great deal more than you talk and pray for the courage to be docile.
In the meantime, try this prayer. And I ask all the readers here prayerfully to read this through, in this special time of the Octave of Pentecost, asking the Third Person of the Trinity to help these women attain a great victory and give a profound witness by openly and joyfully offering obedience to the Holy See.
|Latin text||English version|
As someone doing a lot of praying right now because of a serious family problem, let me just say that the ACTUAL prayer (Veni Sancte Spiritus) has so much more to offer, and helps one ask for so much more, than the stupid new prayer. It is vapid and shallow, like so many modern prayers. “May we be good stewards of the gifts you offer us from the bounty of the Earth and share what we have with all those who ask of us” blah blah blah. That prayer doesn’t mention Jesus Christ. It doesn’t say “him” or “he.” I’m sorry to be blunt, but when you have a real crisis going on, it’s hard to have sympathy for people who have so much and throw it all away. I’m sure they are hurting, I’m sure they are lost, I’m sure they need grace and love and salvation. But you muck around and wreck things for yourselves, stop thinking about yourselves so much and think about other people who have things happen to them for no reason — illnesses, accidents, disasters. I bet the families of the people who died in earthquakes in Italy yesterday would LOVE to have nothing more to deal with than being told to pray more by the pope.
I wonder if God gets tired of listening to jargon – like ‘God’s dream, prayer and conversation, deep listening, come to the table with hearts that are open, transparent, and faith-filled’ – etc. I have a hunch the the deep listening is meant to be on the CDF’s side of the table
how exactly does one “live questions”? I’m having an amusing vision of ladies’ pantsuits made from Matthew Lesko fabric…
I’ve had a long standing pet peeve about prayers that anybody writes with the intention of having other people pray them. Whenever I go to a meeting, workshop or some other gathering and we are all asked to read aloud one of these homemade prayers I almost always refused to join in. Why would I want to pray in someone else’s words something that I might not agree with?
What’s wrong with the psalms? Prayers that everyone can agree with.
Inara: I’m wondering the same thing. How does one live a question?
I am reminded of the Guardian of Forever:
Since before your sun burned hot in space and before your race was born, I have awaited a question…
Sister Pantsuit Code:
1. “… God’s dream for us.” Our demands, God’s compliance.
2. “… live the questions…”. Answers are not wanted. There is no such thing as certainty.
3. “… we are women at home with mystery…”. “Mystery” = whatever we want it to mean. “Mystery”, as defined by us, allows us wiggle room = license = a will to dissent.
4. “… fierce hope for our shared future…”. Fierce: “having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness”. We demand that others share our dissent. We are about power and politics not prayer.
The LCWR speech is not prayer. It is propaganda.
Well, if nothing else, the prayer tends to prove that the Doctrinal Assessment was right on the money.
1. “God’s dream for us”:
his plan for our lives.
2. “May all who are called to engage in prayer and conversation come to the table with hearts that are open, transparent, and faith-filled”:
let’s all be open-minded and get along.
3. “May the holy ones who have gone before us inspire us by their courage
and wisdom and affirm that we are not alone.”:
at least those holy ones who agree with us and have fought against unjust authority.
4. “questions of our time”:
hey, don’t we need to update that old Bible? It’s like 2000-some years old!
5. “women at home with mystery”:
as wimyn, we have intuition to know better than those old men in Rome.
6. “filled with fierce hope for our shared future”:
we’re devastated at that cruel report from Rome, but we will fiercely persevere to bring the true spirit of God to the people, despite what the Roman despots may dictate. We really hope to be able to work together with them, if they’ll let us express ourselves.
Unless I missed a pronoun, this seems carefully crafted to avoid any mention of gender — Father or Son.
I am struck by the “calling on” language. “We call on the Spirit of God” sounds like a spell or incantation, a way of trying to exercise control over God, rather than humbly beseeching the Holy Spirit for desired graces. This smacks more of the Witch of Endor than consecrated souls crying out to God.
Some explanations might come from this group:
“And we roared to release those fierce feelings in order to create space within ourselves for the Spirit’s presence.”
“Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man, speaking by the Spirit of God, saith Anathema to Jesus. And no man can say the Lord Jesus, but by the Holy Ghost”
The LCWR and those ‘women priest’ groups sure have a hard time with calling the three persons of the Trinity Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; they also have a hard time calling Jesus Lord.
Veni Sancte Spiritus. The ‘Golden Sequence’, believed to have been written by Stephen Langton, who was also responsible for Magna Carta. It even survived the Bugnini reforms. Given the median age of the sisters, they can probably remember how to chant it. I don’t think they will, though.
“And we roared to release those fierce feelings in order to create space within ourselves for the Spirit’s presence.”
Golly I don’t have to roar to release feeling to create a space…
I just need to remain in the state of grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit remains with me.
The faithful and obedient nuns have been praying for years their prayers are being answered. The pantsuits are the ones having a problem. May they respond to God’s grace, bend their wills to obedience.
I remember but a few years back a ferevent Pentecost sermon; Fervent? , well, which touched me , and the congregation woke up and listened, most certainly.
Approximately: Parish Priest:
We Have been singing and saying Come Holy Spirit, etc.
Slowly and quietly and emphatically: We are lying. Pause. (this was when I and the rest of the congregation woke up and stopped thinking about Sunday dinner)
We do not actually WANT the Holy Spirit in our lives,
Because he changes things.With the holy Spirit, things are different, and we are different .
What our hearts are saying in fact is, “come holy spirit in small letters, enough to give me a warm feeling for half a moment, but don’t touch my work, my family, my kids, my comfort, my car, my belief system, my relationship with my wife… etc, quite tailored to the Parish.
Pop by a minute but DON’T CHANGE ME and MY life..
And so forth.
Me, I have no charism , discernment, nor writ to counsel any good sisters of another continent.
But reading the above post I was reminded of the way this priest presented part of the Deposit of Holy Mother Church one Whitsun.
And the answer to their ‘prayer’ will be St. Louis in August…? (At night it ‘cools off’, to 89 degrees, from daytime highs of 97. My wife tells me she awoke at midnight to a temperature of 100 degrees, with 100% humidity.)
I entered the Church in 1996–a typical progressive Episcopalian fleeing the suicidal decline of the CoE.
Since 1996, I’ve heard over and over and over again that these sisters long for, ache for, deeply need dialogue with the Power That Be. Great! Let’s dialogue. Yet, the CDF sent several requests for just such a dialogue, starting sometime in 2001 (I think?). Every single request was ignored.
As a former prog Episcopalian who sat on a couple of diocesan cmtes during the early fights over sexuality, I can tell you that “dialogue” is a euphemism for “keep the enemy talking while you change things to your liking.” If the sisters really want to dialogue, then they need to come to the table with the same open hearts and minds that they expect of the CDF. Are they ready and willing to be open about all their dissenting opinions? Are they ready and willing to accept the possibility that they are wrong and the CDF is right? If not, then there can be no dialogue.
Fr. Philip Neri, OP
Fr Philip has it exactly right. They don’t want dialogue. They want what they want; nothing less, but more if they can!
Right on, Father Philip Neri, OP! As always, you hit the nail right on the head!
This ‘prayer’ which the LCWR has composed is stupid, not to mention empty and ridiculous.
Same ol’, same ol’ Sixties / Seventies blather, blah, blah, blah.
What’s wrong with OBEDIENCE, ladies? Remember that was one of your three vows!
What’s wrong with HUMILITY?
I hope that the CDF gives them a real slap-down! It’s a long time comin’, and it serves them right!
[mad] >: (
As an addendum to the discussion (I don’t think coda is quite right — we’re not done discussin’ yet), permit me to share the local news item I saw early this morning.
FutureChurch was the organizer, as mentioned (as briefly and minimally as possible) in the report. I recommend one watch the whole thing, if one can stomach it. It appears to explain much…or perhaps that’s just me. (Perhaps coincidentally, I note that the diocese of Cleveland doesn’t appear to have anything laid on for the Fortnight of Freedom yet, or at least haven’t shared with usccb.org yet. I’m going to inquire at my own parish before drawing conclusions.)
You warned us. And, yes, I could not stomach the video for even a minute. Same thing on reading the “prayer” that practically demands that God do things their way. I think this quote from Macbeth is appropriate, “…. it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
Father Z, the prayer to the Holy Spirit was beautiful, both in Latin and English. Thank you.
“And we roared to release those fierce feelings in order to create space within ourselves for the Spirit’s presence.” Wow! There’s jargon…
30 May 2012 at 10:12 pm
‘The faithful and obedient nuns have been praying for years their prayers are being answered. The pantsuits are the ones having a problem. May they respond to God’s grace, bend their wills to obedience.’
You are right! May God continue to bless you and those with your insight! Your comment is a true beacon of Christian hope – something people of my vintage can easily forget while fighting lice in the trenches- ; -)