I posted a video of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious assembly’s keynote speaker, Barbara Marx Hubbard, HERE. If you were able to get through even part of it, you have an idea of what NunThink involves and why the CDF undertook their doctrinal assessment of the LCWR.
How did it go?
At the National Catholic Register, an expert on women religious in the USA, Ann Carey (see her good book), wrote a piece about what happened at the opening of the LCWR assembly.
Futurist Addresses LCWR Assembly [Perhaps “futurist” is too neutral a term. Watch the video I linked and make up your own mind.]
by ANN CAREY
Just to be sure everyone knows who we media are, [I wasn’t invited.] we were issued bright neon green name tags with matching ribbons emblazoned with “MEDIA.” (For this former English teacher, the badge reminds me of Hester Prynne’s “Scarlet Letter.”) And, to make us all feel welcome, we were told, we media were asked to stand up and be recognized at the first open session so that LCWR members could thank us for our good work covering their story this year. [Ha! They did that so that the media would be more easily recognized, not so that they would be welcome.]
The LCWR members, on the other hand, have white name tags that are their tickets into the “executive sessions” where the CDF mandate will be discussed. But even the members were warned this afternoon before the first executive session about the need for confidentiality. LCWR president, Franciscan Sister Pat Farrell, told the assembly that the LCWR style was “transparent,” but since this was a “critical moment” for the organization, confidentiality was necessary: [So much for transparency.]
“If in your own conscience you cannot understand or perceive confidentiality as anything other than total transparency, we ask you to think about not coming to the executive sessions, not in the interest of ever excluding anyone, but in creating the kind of environment we need to really discern with each other in freedom and openness.” [They usually only accuse men of creating an unsafe environment. Perhaps this is a tacit acknowledgement of SNAP’s concerns?]
In the first open session, the featured speaker, futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, was led through the assembly hall at the Millennium Hotel by several sisters who were waving orange scarves draped over their arms. [?!?]
Once on the stage, the sisters moved in a circle around Hubbard as they raised and lowered the scarves and the assembly was asked to extend their hands in blessing while singing, “Spirit of vision, Spirit of life! Spirit of courage, be with her now! Wisdom and Truth be on her lips!”
[“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”]
Hubbard is an engaging speaker, and she knew how to connect with her audience, though the futurist terminology she used left this journalist reaching for a dictionary to look up “noosphere,” “cosmo genesis,” synergistic convergence” and “Christification.”
Hubbard believes that we are at a critical time in humanity, a “tipping point” that will lead to either breakdown or evolutionary [?!?] breakthrough. She made vague references throughout her talk to the “crisis” the LCWR was facing and encouraged the members by saying that breakthroughs often happen only after chaos or crisis. Furthermore, she proclaimed, the LCWR members were just the kind of people to lead humanity to this breakthrough because of their “evolutionary capacities” that had guided the organization over the past 40 years. [So, she pandered.]
“So my conclusion is that you are the best seedbed I know for evolving the Church and the world in the 21st century,” [Without seed.] Hubbard said.
“Almost all structures are top down,” Hubbard continued, giving the examples of nations, states, organized religions and corporations. “So what is needed today,” she continued, “is a radical reform of existing institutions from their top-down version.”
I might be wrong, but I believe she was talking about that elephant in the room, and if so, I have to think that is not what Jesus had in mind when he said “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church.”
Maybe I’ll find out tomorrow, for Hubbard will offer her response to a panel on the topic of “Religious Life in the Future: What Might It Look Like?” with Tom Fox, publisher of National Catholic Reporter, Jamie Manson, a columnist for the Reporter, and Sister of Charity of Leavenworth Sister Jennifer Gordon, who is active in Giving Voice, an organization of younger sisters.