A little more about Sr. Sandra Schneiders

More about Sr. Sandra Schneiders.

I wrote about her and her ideas HERE.

In the Sunday Times of Malta there is a piece about this divisive figure, whom the LCWR (a subsidiary of the Magisterium of Nuns) wants to honor at the same August assembly in which they will probably reject any remnant of fidelity and obedience to the Holy See.

The article that follows is panegyric, but informative. My emphases and comments.

This lady is not for turning
Former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher [It is offensive to see Margaret Thatcher’s name anywhere near that of Sandra Schneiders.] said this about herself during a particularly fraught time during her premiership: a well fitting attribute. But she is not the only iron lady deserving of this title.

I met another formidable woman last week at the retreat house the Carmelites have in Lunzjata, limits of Rabat. She is, I venture to guess, in her mid-seventies, a university professor by profession and a religious sister by vocation. Within her frail physical frame resides a spirit of steel: [I would call it: sklerokardía.] Sr Sandra Schneiders.

When I said she didn’t fit the ste­reotype of an obedient, subservient, nun she objected, saying that she is both obedient and subservient.

I am obedient and subservient to God, not to the bishops. Our constitution is the Gospels, not some edict written by a Vatican bureaucrat. [This is the sort of thing that she has pushed for a long time.  They owe no obedience to bishops or what bishops teach either.] Our task as Church is to make Jesus a reality to contemporary men and women. [And she thinks they can do that without bishops and, therefore, priests.] We have to resist the corrupting tendencies that affect institutions, even ecclesiastical ones. Like the Apostles in the Acts I declare my obedience to God and not to men.” [This is the attitude that she touts as “prophetic”.]

She buttresses her arguments by frequent references to the Gospels and Catholic theology. Schneiders is more than qualified to present such arguments. Her high theology qualifications were earned at the Istitut Catholique de Paris and the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. [Oooooo!]

About Scripture and spirituality she knows a thing or two. Sister Sandra is professor emerita of scripture spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, California, and gives courses in biblical spirituality, Christian spirituality and religious life. She is also a bestselling scholar who has followers even in Malta.

When I told her religious sisters in many countries, including ours, hard­ly play a leadership role in the life of the Church, [Okay, now we know that the writer is more than just sucking up for the sake of the interview.] she said: [And here is what I am talking about when I use the phrase “Magisterium of Nuns”, which is against and over that of bishops of the Holy Father.]

“Sisters in the US, on the contrary, play a very vital role… we are the US Church’s most credible body. We have more credibility than the bishops and the priests because we are closer to the people, particularly to those who are oppressed by society and are discriminated against by the institutional Church.”   [She sounds rather like a socialist community organizer, no?  And note the distinction she makes about the “institutional” Church.   Schneiders belongs to a different Church, a “ministerial” Church.]

We then speak of the Leadership Conference which incorporates more than 80 per cent of the 60,000 sisters of the US. [No, it doesn’t.  It represents the leaders of religious communities, not all the members of those communities.] This body has been for some time in a spot of trouble (a bit of an understatement) with the Vatican. The latter has embarked on both a visitation and a doctrinal evaluation of the Leadership Conference. Schneiders looks at these initiatives as a wholesale inquisitorial investigation aimed at undermining the credibility of the sisters. [So that’s what’s going on!]

Schneiders laments that the sabotage of Vatican II has now been going on for years by the appointment of bishops, described by her as both conservative and inefficient. Many Catholics don’t consider these bishops as their leaders, she adds.  [And the LCWR is going to honor her in August.  Unless they change the plan, that is.]

Some months ago a Maltese missionary had given me a similar negative appreciation while commenting on the episcopal ap­point­ment in Latin America, where he had served the Church for decades. [Imagine what sort of bishops would be acceptable to the writer… or Schneiders.]

[And now liturgical translation!] Another challenge to Vatican II, Schneider says, is the new translation of the English missal which has been mired in controversy: “This is a terrible translation not reflecting the language of the people. [Daft.  The “language of the people”.  What is that, exactly?] It is ushering in an unintelligible liturgy.  [Then she isn’t as bright as she thinks she is.] This is in total contrast to the simplicity Jesus taught and lived.” [Lemme get this straight.  Schneider’s things that what Jesus said and did was “simple”?]

I broadened the subject of our conversation to the current conflict between Barack Obama and the US bishops on what is being called the contraceptive mandate. [If it is being called that, then the people using that phrase don’t have a clue about what the real issue is.  The real issue is NOT contraception.] The bishops are accusing Obama of undermining religious liberty. The controversy has been going on for some time. I had addressed it in my commentary of April 29 titled ‘Politicians, good Catholics and dissenting opinions’.

Is it an issue of religious liberty as the bishops are saying? I asked.  [Gosh!  Do you think Schneiders will say that it is?]

Schneiders answers with a resounding No. She categorically states that Obama’s efforts to legislate universal healthcare should have been staunchly supported by all Catholics, particularly by the bishops, since 13 million US citizens were not covered by any health insurance – a great obscenity if there ever was one. “Such support was not always forthcoming,” she said. [BTW…  Schneiders dances around the gold calf which is the ultimate feminist sacrament (abortion).  After reading all the nuanced blather she says on the matter (e.g., HERE) it is hard to conclude that she isn’t pro-abortion.]

Turning to the current controversy on the contraceptive mandate, [No, that isn’t what it is…] Schneider thinks the compromise offered by Obama provided an acceptable basis for agreement. [What a surprise!  She supports the Obama Administration’s positions.  I’ll bet you didn’t see that one coming!]

I mentioned that 12 lawsuits were recently filed against the US government on behalf of 43 distinct Catholic organisations, charging that the Health and Human Services Department’s contraception edict violates statutory and constitutional law.

She is definitely not in agreement with such a strategy. [Say it ain’t so!]

I pointed out that Bishop Stephen Blaire of Stockton, chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, had expressed concern about the strategy of filing lawsuits, adding that “there is a concern among some bishops that there ought to have been more of a wider consultation”.

America Magazine reported that Mgr Blaire was worried that some groups “very far to the right” are trying to use the conflict as “an anti-Obama campaign”.  [And, even if we accept that premise about the “far right”, and we don’t, the ] (Since then Mgr Blaire has issued a clarification stating his solid support for the other bishops as he believes this is an issue of “unacceptable intrusion of government into the life of the Church by the Mandate”.)

Asked whether she would vote for Obama, Schneiders said she does not like everything about the Obama administration for it is too trigger happy, and some civil rights are being eroded because of security concerns. However, she declared without hesitation that she would vote for him as Obama’s vision and policies are much better when compared with Mitt Romney’s.  [More abortions and fewer jobs for everyone!]

“If the bishops defeat Obama it will be a very sad day. Romney is a greedy, selfish man. He is on the side of the rich,” she concluded. [I think she has probably slipped her trolley.]

The issue has deeply divided the Catholics in the United States and even some Obama supporters think he has not always treated the Catholic Church well.

Back to Sr Sandra Schneiders…

When I asked her about the possibility of the ordination of women, [Anyone want to guess in advance what she thinks?] Schneiders said that she believes this would eventually happen. She does not yearn for it, however.  [She would see priesthood as something “patriarchal”.  She hates anything having to do with men.  For Schneiders, “every aspect” of the Catholic faith “is not just tainted but perverted by the evil of patriarchy. It is not that the tradition has some problems; the tradition is the problem.” HERE.]

She then went on to make a striking point: “Sisters should remain sisters. This is our vocation and our strength. They can take nothing away from us, unlike the priest. [Which suggests that she should be defending priests and bishops as an oppressed class.]

“If a priest’s clerical state should ever be removed by the Church, he would lose his identity and raison d’être. As we are we would never lose our identity, prophetic charisma, and freedom.” [Yadda yadda… she still craves approval from the men in Rome.]

One may agree or disagree with her, but throughout our meeting I could not but notice that her comments were motivated by her love for the Church, as she perceives it. [Indeed.]

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Legisperitus says:

    Not to agree with her in any significant way, but we have seen a proliferation of “Vatican bureaucrats” in the last 50 years, along with the creation of national bishops’ conferences and countless committees, that unfortunately tends to make the Church an easy target for these accusations of being “bureaucratic” and “institutional” in a negative sense.

  2. Spaniard says:

    Love for the Church, indeed. Oozing from every word, hard not to notice it. Come soon, Lord!!

  3. Bryan Boyle says:

    Sister said: “They can take nothing away from us, unlike the priest. ”

    Ok…how about:
    Your provided for living space?
    Your meals?
    Your provided for stipend/salary/?
    Your health care?
    Dispensation from your promises?
    Your retirement?
    Your position in (should you still have one) a teaching slot?

    In other words, why should the money that comes from the pockets of an organization be used to support you if you are at odds with that organization? Do that in the real world, rather than the fantasy world of academia, and see how fast you enjoy the benefices of your position while spitting in the face of the provider of those advantages.

    Well, she IS in her 70s…so the biological solution will not be denied.

  4. Johnno says:

    “Well, she IS in her 70s…so the biological solution will not be denied.”

    It’s largely irrelevant, there is enough younger fodder out there to carry on her legacy. Not to mention big government, who find people like her useful idiots in their cause to transform society. You can bet they’ll fund her if the Church doesn’t. But the Church continues to, so it’s a win-win solution for the enemy. We’ve been funding our own auto-demolition for years now. Satan is rolling around in laughter before the Throne of God going, “See? See? I told You they were that stupid and unworthy of being considered above a being like me! But you wouldn’t listen to me, would you God? This is why I, Satan, am above You, for I knew better, and with their help I shall usurp Your Throne!”

  5. Maynardus says:

    Ha ha ha, you almost had me there, Father! An absolutely smashing piece of satire you’ve written, and you hit all of the notes just right: “Vatican bureaucrats”, “our task as Church”, “the institutional church”, “prophetic charisma”, etc. Brilliant! As bad as these addlepated members of the pantsuit sisterhood are, we can only thank Heaven that they’re all not as bad as this inspired “Sister Sandra” creation of yours…

    But seriously – isn’t it time that the “Vatican bureaucrats” of the “institutional church” stopped “dialoguing” with the likes of these moonbats and simply ordered their coven organization dissolved? Those who want to be Catholic can certainly do so without the L.C.W.R. and the ones who deny and defy the authority of the bishops do not appear to be Catholic in any meaningful sense of the word. Let’s see how well they do on their own, i.e. without the ability to use the resources of the Church for their own heterodox agenda…

  6. aviva meriam says:

    WOW….. never thought I’d read these words from a nun…..

    How much longer can the church tolerate this? Where is there room for dialogue with this woman?

    How many people are lead astray by her (and the LWCR) on a daily basis?

  7. BenFischer says:

    If she’s do bad, then why did Cardinal Lecada sign off on her being at the next conference? And if this is the kind of treatment the LCWR can expect why are they upset? Rorate calls it the “comfy chair” treatment and they are correct.

  8. wmeyer says:

    So given her statement about obedience to God, not to the bishops, one must conclude that she embraces sola scriptura and probably sola fidei, as well. When will they acknowledge that they left the Church long ago?

  9. Patti Day says:

    “the LCWR (a subsidiary of the Magisterium of Nuns) wants to honor at the same August assembly in which they will probably reject any remnant of fidelity and obedience to the Holy See.”

    Great! Then there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind where they stand, and they can go their own way.

  10. Bryan Boyle says:

    Patti: don’t you wish they would? But, they probably feel this need to torment us a little while longer.

  11. Diane at Te Deum Laudamus says:

    At what point does the Holy See become concerned with souls being led astray by this religious sister to actually make use of appropriate penalties?

    Bishops are good for not wanting to pull up the wheat with the weeds, unto letting one weed choke out the wheat.

  12. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Johnno says:

    “Satan is rolling around in laughter before the Throne of God going, “See? See? I told You they were that stupid and unworthy of being considered above a being like me! But you wouldn’t listen to me, would you God? This is why I, Satan, am above You, for I knew better, and with their help I shall usurp Your Throne!””

    To which our Omnipotent God replies:

    “Yes, well, I’ve read the end of the book. You lose!”


  13. Supertradmum says:

    I used to write letters to the editor at the Times of Malta, but now they charge for online subscriptions. What is not surprising is the support for this nun there, as the culture is one of contraception (note the birthrate), divorce now, and tending towards acceptance of civil marriages. That this nun is the poster child for revolt makes her attractive to a certain type of Catholic. I am glad that the press is so obviously liberal, and we do not need any deceit with regard to Schneiders and her pro-abortion priests friends. Sadly, the Church is split everywhere, and the liberals are angry with the change, the turn back to real orthodoxy. God forgive them.

  14. NescioQuid says:

    I honestly don’t know how the reporter can conclude that she has “a love for the Church”. From what I can see, she doesn’t believe in the concept of church. How can you have a church if you believe only in obedience to God and not to men. Why then should anyone follow her? Or does she mean ‘men’ as in males, not ‘man’? In which case, she simply sounds like an Amazonian drama queen.

  15. jbas says:

    I’ve long believed that Malta, Poland and the Philippines were the last popularly Catholic nations left. I hope this journalist isn’t representative of Maltese Catholics.

  16. Theodore says:

    Those of us in the pews need to know who funds these organizations. Without funding they will wither and die. I have no idea if the monies I give to my parish ultimately end up in the coffers of the LCRW or other similar groups. If they do, and I knew about it, I could direct them somewhere else and let my parish financial committee know the reason why.

  17. Sister H. says:

    Hello, friends!
    First, I must say that I do NOT by any stretch of the imagination have an ounce of sympathy for Sandra, LCWR, or the trash that many Sisters have come to embrace.
    However, to be able to argue effectively, we must have correct facts. There is a common misconception that the local parish or the Church in general provides for the material needs of the nuns…not so (except in the cases of the Retirement Fund for Religous or some unique case of which I am unaware).
    Bryan Boyle, regarding your questions –
    Ok…how about:
    Your provided for living space? Funded by the nuns…in fact, we pay significant rent money per Sister to live at the local parish convent where I am…no handouts here! The diocese, the Vatican, the local parishes – none of these give money for the costs or upkeep of our Motherhouse, either (nor should they be expected to…we are big girls!).
    Your meals? see above…same thing.
    Your provided for stipend/salary/? Your place of employment.
    Your health care? Some Sisters from their employer, some are insured/self-insured through their particular order or congregation.
    Dispensation from your promises? Make that vows! That WOULD be the Church…the Bishop in the case of Diocesan Sisters, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated life and Societies of Apostolic Life in the case of Sisters belonging to Pontifical Right institutions (why have they let so many people like Sandra spread lies, hate, and heresy? Those of her ilk should have been asked to leave years ago).
    Your retirement? Depends on the situation…since about 1970, most Sisters (most of ours, anyway) receive this from their employer.
    Your position in (should you still have one) a teaching slot? I would have to shout out a resounding NO…I don’t believe that she should have such a position. However, teaching jobs are not just given to Sisters…believe me! Most of us have had experiences of people being suspicious of us because of people like Sandra (they think that we are all heretics) AND we also have the “Lay Power Movement” with which to deal…principals, etc. who don’t want to/won’t hire Sisters because they (the lay person with “power”) want to build a Church by and for the laity, “run by” them and entirely staffed by them (no room for priests, sisters, or brothers in that world).
    SO, now that we have the correct information, we should be able to argue more effectively. I 100% agree that the Sandras of the world are FAR too common and something needs to be done about the situation, but, most nuns are not being funded by the Church (though they do owe obedience to the Church and adherence to Her doctrines).

  18. acardnal says:

    Unfortunately, when I see a Sister wearing lay clothing instead of a traditional habit, I do think less of her and her Order. Where is the Sign value in wearing a suit?

  19. jflare says:

    As much as I’m inclined to dispute almost everything she says, I think there are a few points where I (sort of) agree:
    1. We’ll need to fight the legal battle from a religious freedom view, but we’ll ALSO need to make the case against contraception MUCH stronger in the pews and in the wider culture. If we don’t do that, our religious freedom concern will become merely a cracked viewpoint offered by a “small” religiously fanatic mob of idiots, at least in the public eye. We could all too easily win the legal battle, but still lose the overall war regarding sexuality.
    2. I must reluctantly agree with her regarding the clout the bishops have with many of the lay faithful, myself included. I felt deeply betrayed a few years ago when Congress considered health care reform. I hadn’t heard even the barest hint of a teaching from the pulpit with regard to our obligations to care for each other, nor had I heard even a hint of a discussion about the best approach to solving health care difficulties. Even so, the USCCB purported to represent ME and millions of others regarding the best Catholic approach to health care.
    If the bishops wish to be involved in changing this country for the better, they need to spend a great deal of time educating us regarding the Church’s actual teachings, then issue a call to action to help cause the most important ideals to be enacted, THEN they ought to consider negotiating with politicians.

    I didn’t take kindly(and don’t) to this attitude that my input doesn’t matter, even for concerns that’ll DEFINITELY have an impact on my life!

  20. NescioQuid says:

    Thanks for you informative input Sr H! It is really heartening to hear from faithful sisters. In one phase of my childhood, I went to a Catholic convent boarding school in India (as well as to Catholic schools run by lay folk in England) and always remember the Sisters being very faithful, and raising the spiritual temperature. I hold very fond memories of those Sisters, and no doubt that experience was formative. I have also done some voluntary work with Mother Teresa’s order in Calcutta (when she was alive), and the care and commitment I saw both in spiritual devotion as well as in the order’s ministry with the poor, left a very deep impression on me. That’s why I hate the way these other orders are clouding the fidelity of so many good Sisters.

  21. Bryan Boyle says:

    Sister H: God bless you for your service.

    Obviously, if you are doing what the mind of the Church wants, you should be taken care of and assisted in every way possible. It’s only fair.

    My comment was directed, specifically, at the above mentioned Sister’s comment that smacked of ‘you can’t touch us, so there!’

    Yes, we can, and yes we should.

    Evil like this exists because those who ARE faithful to the Church, probably struggle the same as all faithful people do, to conform to the teaching authority, have not necessarily been just as audacious in speaking real truth to their evil power as they have in spreading their dreck. The tide is changing, and if you’re in the Barque with the rest of the faithful trying to plug the holes these miscreants are poking in the bottom trying to sink it, then you deserve, nay, require our undivided support.

    Unfortunately, there are too many examples of them, and not enough of you. If you took offense, I do beg your forgiveness. But as a lay person, I have seen too many of the subject of this posting, and not many of your compatriots in the 40 years since I graduated from a school taught by the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth…who are all but extinct since they threw off their habits and took the road of ‘social action and relevance’.

    God bless.

  22. Kathleen10 says:

    Sister H., indeed, thank you for your lifetime sacrifice and service to Jesus, His Church, and His people….

    Can I please ask for a clarification? I am curious. Do you mean that most religious sisters receive no financial support of any kind, from any part of the Catholic church, diocese, etc?
    You mean that most monasteries or mother houses are self-sufficient in that the nuns pay for all expenses plus the upkeep themselves?
    Religious sisters are generally all employed and pay all of their own expenses?

    These are very odd days. As our culture deteriorated, I bet most people on this blog saw it coming over the years, but I doubt many anticipated how bad it would get to be, and how fast. To find ourselves on the other side of the fence at times, from our own clergy, Bishops, religious sisters, is stunning for most of us. Given the radical nature of these problems, it requires thinking outside the box at times, trying to problem solve. Dissidents outside the church are a problem. Dissidents inside the church are a disaster. We can’t afford to tolerate them. In my humble opinion, everything possible should be “on the table” as far as ways to encourage the sisters to either return to the fold, or get out, and no nonsense. Feet have been dragged, time has gone by, souls have been lost, and will be lost, by the heresy these nuns teach, and/or the fearsome fatigue of battling ever-increasing hostile social forces. Many are no doubt watching the Bishops for the example of correction for the LCWR. The bringing back or the kicking out, as it were. To some, myself included, it will be seen as perhaps the first sign of the return to the “smaller church” that our Holy Father spoke about, when he was first called to the papacy.
    Smaller may mean no hospitals to run. Smaller may mean no dissidents to support in any way, including financially. Smaller may even mean Holy Communion refused for some public officials who scandalously self-identify as Catholics and then support policies that are anything but!
    Let’s watch our Bishops, and see what results. I hope they do not let us down.

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