Sr. Fiedler’s spittle-flecked nutty over Mr. Bourgeois

Sr. Fiedler with an ERA button

Sr. Maureen Fiedler is one of our favorites at National catholic Fishwrap.

This could be an great exercise for a fundamental theology class: count the errors.

No… there may be too many to cover in a class period.

Only someone like Maureen could present something so deeply tangled and confused.

Roy Bourgeois: a man of conscience
Maureen Fiedler

Last night, I was stunned [shocked!] — but not totally surprised — to hear the news that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had dismissed Fr. Roy Bourgeois from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers.

My first reaction was a prayer of solidarity with Roy, whom I have long admired as a man of conscience and whom I count as a friend. [And thus reason goes out the door.]

But I also exhaled a loud sigh of dismay. This is the latest sign that the Catholic church is moving backward into the 19th century with all deliberate speed. [LOL!  Right.  I am not sure that many sane people think this is happening.  I look around at the Church and still see the 1970’s.] It is another move by the Vatican that puts its actions at odds with the core message of the Gospel [LOL!] and with the document on the Church in the Modern World from Vatican II: “Every type of discrimination … based on sex … is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent” (No. 29). [Dopey. The prohibition of women’s ordination is not discrimination.  It also isn’t just a “policy”.]

[Get this! Swallow your Mystic Monk Coffee and put down the mug.] It is a sign that Vatican officials refuse to read or understand the extensive scholarship on the question of women’s ordination, scholarship that has so thoroughly refuted their arguments that any intelligent opponent of women’s ordination would have given up long ago. [HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!]

It is yet another action that suggests that Rome’s desire to shore up its all-male power structure comes before anything else. [This is is, isn’t it.  For people like Fiedler, the ordination of women is about power/oppression.  She is, no doubt, incapable of seeing the theological issues through any other lens that that of the civil rights/anti-war protests of the 1960’s.] The Vatican’s fear of women, women’s gifts and women’s powers is on display yet again for all to see. [HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!]

My real sadness in all this: The Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers cooperated in the process. [They did? When did they do that? If Maryknoll cooperated why did the CDF have to get involved and override their vote about Roy?] I don’t know if, in the end, their leadership voted to dismiss Roy (the press release is unclear on that), but they did ask Roy to recant his stand. [They would have to do that, wouldn’t they.] To Roy’s credit, he refused. He refused to give in to the medieval and oppressive process [LOL!] that asked recantations and threatened dismissal for his stand of conscience. That process — in this instance and in other settings — flies in the face of all that is good and holy and respectful of persons. [This is total melt-down, isn’t it.  Kinda fun.] It is not Catholic in the deepest sense of that word. True Catholicism respects conscience.

One day, when the Catholic church finally decides to ordain women, Roy will be recognized as a prophet and a saint. In many quarters of the church, he already is.

She is unhinged.

Forget Maureen’s spitttle-flecked rant for a moment.

What get’s my goat in this is how the once magnificent Maryknoll has been destroyed.  They have sunk so low that Roy Bourgeois is now their poster child?  They have sunk so low that the CDF had to clean their house?  Think about how amazing Maryknoll was once upon a time.

Corruptio optimi pessima!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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

    Can we go back to the Middle Ages? Do we have to go back to the 19th century? I like the Middle Ages better.

  2. pmullane says:

    “He refused to give in to the medieval and oppressive process ”

    This part gets me. I can think of no rebuke milder (in the worldly sense) than that received by the Church. You dont lose your house or your car, you may lose your job but you are far more likely to sell books and become a poster child (if only briefly) and if done correctly you will likely benefit financially from it. You wont be racked and tortured, you wont be hung. You wont lose your freedom. You’ll be treated like a star by your peers. Basically being ‘opressed’ by the Church amounts to getting a letter from a man in Italy asking you to stop what your doing. If that is medieval and oppressive, what form of rebuke, by society, workplace, peers, parents is not ‘oppresive’.

    “It is a sign that Vatican officials refuse to read or understand the extensive scholarship on the question of women’s ordination, scholarship that has so thoroughly refuted their arguments that any intelligent opponent of women’s ordination would have given up long ago.”

    What do these people think the Church is? How can ‘scholarship’ refute ‘arguments’ about womens ordination? This is not an argument about heliocentrism here, there is no authority outwith the Church that can deny what the Church says about the ordination of women. The Church does not teach that truth is what is handed to us by self styled theological experts in ivory tower University faculties, the Church teaches us what is true is what is handed to us by Christ.

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Father, sadly it is not just Maryknoll priests who have fallen into egotistical error. It is interesting to me that the very people who should be saints, that is, showing us holiness and obedience to the Church because of all the privileges of their vows and rules, should be the ones who are heresiarchs. They all have squandered the insights which God has given them for disobedience and narcissism. They want to avoid suffering and challenge the Holy Spirit. These are serious sins and error of thinking. As you correctly point out, the heretic is unreasonable.

    Women who want power are not following the example of the New Eve, Mary, but the old Eve, who allowed her own ideas to change the course of salvation history. So too, this nun and others have, sadly, impacted the Church, led the ignorant and weak astray and hated the Bride of Christ, His Church.

    I would rather be a martyr for papal teachings, such as Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, and other documents of the Teaching Magisterium, than follow these supposedly intelligent, but very wrong, religious and priests.

  4. benedetta says:

    It’s not that they “haven’t read and understood” this “scholarship”…it’s that it’s been understood and totally rejected. She is trying to make the case to her loyal following that if they just keep up with the “scholarship” (and their other numerous pro death activities) that somehow someone invincibly ignorant will one day just take a look at one of their dissertations and smack themselves in the head and say “Oh, I get it! How come I never thought of this before? Not like fishwrap and others have been ranting and raving and carrying on in numerous ways for years”…Not going to happen, because the Church can not ordain women, period. And this highly educated professional wife and mother is pleased with that. Not every woman thinks that women’s dignity hinges on the interpretation of an emanation of a penumbra that we can happily slaughter our innocents in the womb and therefore have an entitlement to preside over the sacraments…She is trying to create a future niche for herself and her following to continue to agitate. I’m hoping the CDF opens a process with her order next.

  5. BaedaBenedictus says:

    Poor Sr. Fiedler doesn’t realize that we are not in the least impressed by the “scholarship” she invokes:

  6. Adam Welp says:

    And when exactly will the Vatican begin dispensing heretical Nuns from their vows?

  7. Jim says:

    “This is not an argument about heliocentrism here”
    There really is no human authority that can either prove or disprove heliocentrism or geocentrim for that matter.
    We cannot know what is in the center of the universe, unless we know it’s spatial dimension and our relative position in that space. Neither of these can possibly be known now or ever by human beings (as per what goes for scientific theories today).

  8. iPadre says:

    Do you think a rabies shot would help her?

  9. pmullane says:


    Yes, I understand your point and you are correct, of course. My (admittedly inelegantly phrased)point was that this was not the Church making claims on something that was outwith her competance and being proved wrong by the proper authority, but the Church is the authority. ‘Scholars’ can no more prove the reality of the possibility of womens ordination than they can make my cake a biscuit.

  10. Adam Welp says:

    They could throw everything they have at her (rabies, distemper, shingles, Tdap…) and I don’t think it would help her with her spittle flecked nuttys!

  11. benedetta says:

    “Oh the Process is gonna get you…”

    To be sung to Gloria Estefan’s the Rythym is Gonna Get You…

  12. Midwest St. Michael says:

    “And when exactly will the Vatican begin dispensing heretical Nuns from their vows?”

    Adam, do you think there are enough years left in the millenium to start that process? ;)


  13. JKnott says:

    “The Vatican’s fear of women, women’s gifts and women’s powers is on display yet again for all to see.”
    What ever do they mean? Fear of women? LOL The Blessed Virgin Mary is a women with many gifts and the perfect role model for every woman. Gee, the Litany of Loreto even calls her “most powerful.” WOW

    Holy Virgin of Virgins, [etc.]
    Mother of Christ,
    Mother of divine grace,
    Mother most pure,
    Mother most chaste,
    Mother inviolate,
    Mother undefiled,
    Mother most amiable,
    Mother most admirable,
    Mother of good Counsel,
    Mother of our Creator,
    Mother of our Savior,
    Virgin most prudent,
    Virgin most venerable,
    Virgin most renowned,
    Virgin most powerful,
    Virgin most merciful,
    Virgin most faithful,
    Mirror of justice,
    Seat of wisdom,
    Cause of our joy,
    Spiritual vessel,
    Vessel of honor,
    Singular vessel of devotion,
    Mystical rose,
    Tower of David,
    Tower of ivory,
    House of gold,
    Ark of the covenant,
    Gate of heaven,
    Morning star,
    Health of the sick,
    Refuge of sinners,
    Comforter of the afflicted,
    Help of Christians,
    Queen of Angels,
    Queen of Patriarchs,
    Queen of Prophets,
    Queen of Apostles,
    Queen of Martyrs,
    Queen of Confessors,
    Queen of Virgins,
    Queen of all Saints,
    Queen conceived without original sin,
    Queen assumed into heaven,
    Queen of the most holy Rosary,
    Queen of families,
    Queen of peace,

  14. veritas76 says:

    Dare I ask why Ms. Fiedler is not excommunicated yet?

  15. Theodore says:

    Sr Fiedler seems to have forgotten the British Admiralty’s response to the loss of the
    Battle of Mincora. Adm Byng was court martialed and executed leading Voltaire to comment “Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres.” I’m sure that she doesn’t think that she may be next.

    BTW, our host has the best solution, let Mr Bourgeois be admitted to her nunnery.

  16. cdet1997 says:

    The good sister sounds like an undergrad who criticizes her professor’s understanding of a quantum mechanics class while not realizing she failed physics 101.

  17. Jerry says:

    What is the purpose here: to play to the fan club or to convert the misguided? Does this type of ridicule and derision change anyone’s mind? Where is the charity?

  18. The Astronomer says:

    I think a well-reasoned case may be made that for certain institutional Church structures (I’m lookin’ at YOU, Maryknoll, LCWR…etc.), the Lord Jesus has withdrawn His sanctifying grace. How else does one justify the chorus of “Non Serviam” from all across what used to be Christendom?

  19. wmeyer says:

    [And thus reason goes out the door.]

    A necessary precondition to her arguments.

  20. jilly4ski says:

    “To Roy’s credit, he refused. He refused to give in to the medieval and oppressive process.”

    I thought “process” is what the LCWR types wanted. Transparent processes and all that jazz. I guess when the appropriate processes are use to remove one of their own from “power” then process is bad.

    Anyways, sad day when it has to come to that and he could not recant/repent. I will pray for his soul.

  21. Bea says:

    It’d be laughable, if it wasn’t so pitiable.
    It’d be pitiable if it wasn’t so dangerous for those who actually listen to her.

    Yes, Jerry, where is HER charity :
    When she accuses: “The Vatican of moving full speed into the 19th century”? (The First Century would be far enough for me).
    When she accuses the Vatican of putting its actions at odds with the core message of the Gospel?
    When she accuses the Vatican officials of refusing to read or understand (when it seems it is she who refuses to understand).
    When she accuses the Vatican of lack of intelligence for refusing ordination of women.
    I could go on and on about her lack of Charity (not to mention humility, obedience and adherence to the teachings of the Church).
    God knew what He was doing when He did not give the Keys of the Kingdom into the hands of power-hungry women, but to men with the humility (not power) to protect His Teachings.

    Kudos to Fr. Z. for protecting his “internet flock” from being dangerously misled and showing all readers the folly of this poor misguided nun.

  22. Ralph says:

    Although I am overjoyed that the Church actually showed some backbone in this matter, I caution myself and others who read this blog to not take pleasure in the fall of another. Bourgeois, Fielder and the others like them are in real trouble.

    As much as we want to rejoice in the Church getting tough on descent, we need to remember that there are souls in jeopardy.

    We MUST PRAY for these people. I believe that their eternal souls are in danger for spreading heresy. Pray that they repent and return to the communion of the Church.

  23. tgarcia2 says:

    Her arguments are based on the same flawed premise that the CoE backers of women Bishops (notably David Cameron today); modernity.

    Doctrine, theology, dogma, etc have withstood what has been and was deemed “modern”. Once you go down that subjective slippery slope, there is no end towards “being modern”.

    Can nuns be excommunicated? If so, why the wait? Should have been done in the 1980’s

  24. catholicmidwest says:

    Got a better idea, tgarcia2: Everyone should stop financing it. That’s what keeps this stuff going.

  25. Allan S. says:

    This is the key point being missed (except by Fr. Z who nailed it in the closing part of the post): what about his enablers in Maryknoll? Where is THEIR apology for the scandal caused by THEIR priest’s heresy and disobedience? Where are the Masses and public Acts of Reparation being offered by Maryknoll for the scandal caused, and the souls put in danger by a priest for whom THEY had oversight responsibilities? Has Maryknoll accepted ANY organizational responsibility for this scandal whatsoever, both its content and length? Exactly. This is the real problem.

  26. Supertradmum says:

    Allan S. I had heresy from the Marists a long time ago and the Jesuits. All the main orders have been guilty of feeding the heretical snakes in the grass for over fifty years-in fact, before Vatican II. I referred to this in my post. Why should they apologize when they have allowed weak seminary training since I was a child and allowed their priests to do their own thing liturgically and theologically? This is not a one-off incident. Any of us around priests and nuns in academia since the 1970s have seen this type of compromise and egotism. Why should you expect organizational responsibility, when the entire organization, as you call it, or order, as I call it, has been tainted for years and years, choosing heretical positions and such teachers. Marxist philosophy has been the basis of many Maryknoll articles and they were involved in Liberation Theology in the early 80s. Some of us saw this a long time ago. This priest is merely the most obvious of a long line of apostatized priests and nuns.

    If you think any of the older orders would apologize for heresy, you are out of touch with reality.

  27. Tim Ferguson says:

    Let us enter, for a moment, the world of make-believe (cue Mr. Rogers’ little train) and pretend that Sr. Maureen is correct, and women’s ordination is an inevitability…

    Here we are: women’s ordination is on the horizon – perhaps a distant horizon, but coming, nonetheless. Ray Bourgeois is a “prophet” for speaking out in favor of WO at a time when the horrible, rigid, androcentrict Vatican meanies are stopping the inevitable from happening.

    Wouldn’t it be logical (presuming, of course, that logic functions in this world of make believe) for Sr. Maureen to be over-the-moon with joy about this “Vatican slap-down”? I mean, it’s things like this that make martyrs and prophets and heroes. When the students at the English College in Rome heard news of a priest being executed by the Protestants in post-Reformation England, their response was to gather in the chapel and chant a “Te Deum.” Shouldn’t the Sr. Maureens and fishwrap writers be dancing and singing and shaking their ordination tambourines with joy that one of their own has “suffered” at the hands of the Vatican meanies?

    Or don’t they really believe that women’s ordination is an inevitability? Do they have deep-seated doubts about the “fact” that Ray Bourgeois will one day be heralded as a saint and prophet? Do they see, in their crumbling convents, their greying gatherings, their shrinking circulation numbers a sign that the “bright future” they envisioned will not come to pass? Is Sr. Maureen’s sadness engendered by a murmur of a doubt that they may have misinterpreted the whispers of the Spirit all these many years?

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  28. Cathy says:

    Father Z, you have a brick by brick tag, I’m wondering if you might consider a dead branch by dead branch tag for those who are publicly pruned. In charity, you could also have a regrafted tag for those who have been excommunicated but have repented and been restored to the Church.

  29. Adam Welp says:

    “And when exactly will the Vatican begin dispensing heretical Nuns from their vows?”

    Admittedly, this is not my area of expertise, but–I don’t think it works that way. The situations are less alike than perhaps you suppose.

    A priest is configured to Christ the high priest in a unique way. The vows of religious–who include priests of course–are of a different nature. A vowed religious remains a layperson.

    That’s not to say laypeople have no accountability for either denial of Catholic teaching, or sacrilegious actions, but something different is expected of clergy. Clergy speak and act for the Church in a special way; when they attack the Church’s teaching and commit sacrilege, it’s a graver harm.

  30. acardnal says:

    Fr. Martin Fox said, “A priest is configured to Christ the high priest in a unique way. The vows of religious–who include priests of course–are of a different nature. A vowed religious remains a layperson.”

    I’m no expert either in this area but I generally agree with you that vowed religious are considered lay persons. However, would a male religious who has received the sacrament of Holy Orders and is a priest still be considered a lay person? [No. All priests are clerics.]

  31. acardnal says:

    I LOVE that 1970s photo you posted of Sister Fiedler. Gave me a big smile just prior to “turkey day”.

  32. Matt R says:

    Fr Z, it really is sad that the Maryknoll Fathers have gone so far downhill. Fr Capodanno was such a good priest, but Maryknoll would not be able to form priests of such caliber today IMHO.

  33. Allan S. says:

    Supertradmum opined:

    “If you think any of the older orders would apologize for heresy, you are out of touch with reality.”

    Well, I didn’t say I think they would – I said I think they should. As for being out of touch with reality, truly I wish it were so. “Reality” is that the whole world has gone crazy, and I am one of the very few sane ones left (present company excepted, of course). I truly do wish I could somehow become “out of touch” with it. Oh, I do….

    While I am here: Thanks and prayers to Fr. Z who in his charity offered prayers for me and an intention at a Roman venue of his selection. Thank you Father. That meant quite a lot. Probably more than you can guess.

  34. Allan S. says:

    Matt – what about the biological solution? What if traditional young men all showed up and announced a desire to become admitted to the Maryknoll order? Is it possible they may decide to surrender their order, seeing the inevitable demise ahead should they turn the vocations away?

  35. acardnal says:

    “The Vatican’s fear of women, women’s gifts and women’s powers is on display yet again for all to see.”

    If Sister Fiedler doesn’t believe the Church values women, I suggest she have a sit-down discussion with Mary Anne Glendon (Harvard Law Prof., former US Amb. to the Holy See) on how much the Holy See values faithful Catholic women: she is the current President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, member Pontifical Council for the Laity, consultant to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on International Policy. In 1995, she was named to the Holy See’s Central Committee for the Great Jubilee 2000, and headed the 22-member delegation of the Holy See to the Fourth U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing.

    [What, I wonder, would they talk about?]

  36. Acardnal:

    Sorry, I could have worded my comment more clearly. I meant that a vowed lay religious remains a layperson. A priest who is religious is not.

  37. acardnal says:

    Roger that!

  38. acardnal says:

    Fr. Fox, above was not meant to be sarcastic. Just an acknowledgement.

    Texting, emails…..They are not good for relaying emotions, intentions, etc. (I just rolled my eyes in exasperation. Did you see that?) Thus we have “LOL” and emoticons like :-(. All is well on Thanksgiving Eve.

  39. historyb says:

    With all charity..She’s a nut! :)

  40. Son of Trypho says:

    The irony of this is that Sr F, although raging against the machine, is actually a part of that same very machine that she condemns.

    Her genuine commitment would be best tested by her leaving her order in protest, but still living a Catholic life and supporting herself rather than continuing in her unhealthy dependency on, what she argues, is a broken institution.

    I doubt it will happen though.

  41. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Tim Ferguson’s post – Fr Zs “Gold Star for the Day” – is, IMHO, a prooftext(post?) that many (most? all?) dissenters are *not* happy unless they are unhappy! (Well said, Sir Tim)

    Does anyone who posts here *really believe* that if, please God no, dissidents would suddenly get their way in whatever silly “cause for the little guy” they may be agitating for, be satisfied with that?

    If you believe that I’ve got oceanfront property in southern Indiana to sell you!

    Oh no, until *they* are in charge and calling the shots they will never be happy. The spirit of disobedience in many dissidents is, oftentimes, diabolic.

    May God have mercy on them.


  42. pmullane says:

    Midwest St. Michael , are you suggesting that ‘progressives’ are merely interested in permanent revolution, tearing down what is and incapable of building anything up? That they are agents of a power who, having rejected God and his goodness, are dedicated to spending eternity trying to deface and destroy that which has been built up in his goodness?

    I think you might be on to something…

  43. Midwest St. Michael says:

    What you said, pmullane!

    “Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh; such is the deceitful one and the antichrist. Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for but may receive a full recompense. Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God; whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him in your house or even greet him; for whoever greets him shares in his evil works. (2 John 7-11, NAB)


  44. This will probably never be read as it’s a trifle late but my thought when I read the article was “liberal nun throws a nutty – how very bourgeois!”

    They come across to me (we have them here in Ireland too) as spoilt middle class spinsters raging as life and the Spirit pass them by. They need our prayers.

    Fr. Z – what would ‘spittle-flecked nutty’ be in Latin? I love the phrase by the way!

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