Something curious is happening at the National Schismatic Reporter (aka Fishwrap).
Our pal Michael Sean Winters wrote about the Holy See’s hostile takeover of the LCWR in light of the keynote address to the LCWR given by Sr. Laurie Brinks. Sr. Laurie, it was reported, spoke about “moving beyond the Church”. As it turns out, Winters has interesting things to say about that and you can read them there. Effectively, he says that Brinks was misquoted and he has a point! Winters defends Brinks on that charge, but he takes her apart on something more serious.
Winters does some surprising things. For example, he gives support to more traditional sisters and goes after the LCWR for marginalizing them. HERE
Perhaps alert to the danger, [Brink] next paragraph includes some condescending remarks about more traditional religious communities, writing that “these groups are recognizing the changing atmosphere in the institutional Church, the reneging on the promises of Vatican II….They are taking seriously Pope John Paul II’s call to pursue holiness above all else.” I know some women in traditional religious communities and I do not think they would characterize their apostolate as “reneging on the promises of Vatican II.” They most certainly would agree that a central theme of Vatican II was the universal call to holiness and that, yes, they pursue such holiness above all else. Isn’t that a good thing? Or are these more traditional women mere dupes of a pre-modern worldview?
And then, even as he repeats how wonderful the LCWR is, he blasts them for giving their podium to Brinks:
When Sr. Brink does consider the “moving beyond Jesus” direction, the condescension disappears. These women who have abandoned their tradition are “courageous” and – here comes the post-modernism – “who’s to say that the movement beyond Christ is not, in reality, a movement into the very heart of God?” Well, as Sr. Brink learned, within the Catholic communion, it is the CDF that says the movement beyond Christ is not a movement to the very heart of God. It is a shame, a damned shame, that the leadership of the LCWR gave a lectern to this post-modern nonsense.
Clearly he has a beef with post-Modernism, which he sees as an enemy. There are other enemies as well, but this is a start.
Here is the money-quote from Winters:
It is true that Brinks did not advocate moving beyond Jesus. It is also true that the speech, in its entirety, is not only the kind of theological talk that is likely to catch the attention of the CDF, it is the kind of theological talk that deserves to catch the attention of the CDF.
Winters doesn’t give full endorsement to the CDF here, but he doesn’t think that what the CDF is doing is only about power or politics.
Moving on, a nanosecond after Winters posts his partial defense of what the CDF did… and that this is about doctrine, the editors of the Fishwrap issue something that seems to throw Winters under the nun-bus. It’s a long and boring editorial too! HERE
The takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the result of an extended “doctrinal assessment,” knowledgeable Catholics understand has much less to do with core beliefs than with episcopal obedience. Our women religious are among those who understand this firsthand. We have all come to see too many of our prelates feel uncomfortable around women. The result is they stay away from them.
And the editorial’s money-quote:
Our women are the most theologically educated in the history of the church. The differences between their thinking and our bishops’ thinking has less to do with faith and doctrine than church structure, and more to do with applications of church teachings and mission.
The very point Tom Fox and the editorial staff are defending, is precisely what Michael Sean Winters rightly took apart.
Basically the NSR says that the CDF is involved in a powerplay of men against women.
This is about doctrine and not politics or male-power games.
Winters sees that and I, for one, agree with him.