How the LCWR, Magisterium of Nuns, get around the Church’s teaching and hierarchy

I missed this the other day. On review, it is important enough to post about.

Over at Fishwrap, the National Schismatic Reporter, there is an interview with the head of the LCWR, Sr. Florence Deacon, from 7 May, while she was at the international meeting in Rome of leaders of women religious. Sr. Deacon’s interview was after João Card. Braz de Aviz from the Congregation for Religious spoke to the meeting of the UISG, but before Pope Francis came and explained that “sentire cum Ecclesia” cannot be thought of apart from the Church and her hierarchy.

The first part of Sister’s odd interview is less important. Along the way, however, something emerges that needs attention. Let’s dive in in medias res.

Q: This meeting has really focused on servant leadership. In many of the speeches, there has been mention of questions of obedience, power, and authority. Bruna Costacurta spoke of how Esther used her power; this morning we heard about the “authority of the suffering.” Is that raising any new thoughts for you about obedience, or about authority, or about structures of church power?
DEACON: They’re explaining them in a different focus, but I don’t know that they’re raising any new questions in my mind. But the imagery is beautiful. It’s a way that I have perceived power an authority my whole life.
Vatican II was 50 years ago. These are Vatican II concepts. To me, they’re not particularly new.
Q: This morning, Sr. Martha Zechmeister mentioned that the final authority for religious rests with God.
DEACON: And listening to God — since Vatican II, we’ve looked at authority as listening and obedience as listening to God. They’re putting it in the context of listening to God through the voice of the poor.
I have to go back and reread Esther, because that was an eye-opener for me, in the sense of how she [Bruna Costacurta, a professor of biblical theology at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University] used Esther as a symbol of scriptural authority.
The imagery has been new to me, and I do want to go back and look at that. But the Vatican Council talked about the Spirit among all of us. If the Spirit speaks among all of us or is in all of us, then authority is listening to others too.
You listen to the voice of God as expressed in the community, as well as the will of God expressed through life situations, as well as the will of God expressed through scripture.
So you listen to the will of God in a whole lot of ways. And listening to God through established authority. You look at it all those ways.
Q: There’s different aspects?
DEACON: Yes, right. And then if you’re hearing some different things from them there has to be some real discernment as to what does the Spirit seem to be calling you to — what does God seem to be calling me to at this point, at this time? And then you make the best decision you can and you just leave it in God’s hands.

This is complete subterfuge.

You’re initial reaction is that this is gobbledygook. You would be right. But, once you get past the word salad, you find something very bad at the heart of her responses.

What does this mean? It is NOT sentire cum Ecclesia, that’s for sure.

Why is Florence Deacon saying this? She is manifesting yet another dimension of the Magisterium of Nuns.

She is using the “poor”, and the poor can be translated loosely, as a hermeneutic for just about everything they want to justify doing. La Voz de los Pobres, The Voice of the Poor (it’s just better in Spanish), is a cover for setting aside Magisterial teaching.

This is how this works.

First, I take the “experience” of the person I am talking to. That person, who has some sort of conflict or problem, is in the category of “the poor”, or “the marginalized”, no matter what their income is. When that “poor” person speaks, I am listening to the voice of God, because the voice of God is heard in La Voz de los Pobres. So, the “poor” person’s experience, and then my “experience” of listening, become the grounding of interpretation of God’s will. See?

Then, after this listening, I interpret what the person wants to do. For example, the “poor” person wants to have sex with someone of the same sex, or wants to simulate ordination to the priesthood, or wants to vote for pro-abortion politicians who support certain social justice programs, or even wants to have an abortion.

Then, because the “poor” person told me what they want, and because I, the interpreter of La Voz de los Pobres have listened, I give the “poor” permission to do what they want. I have effectively bypassed the Church and the authentic Magisterium. I, wielding the Holy Spirit, have listened to God in La Voz de los Pobres and that listening has given me all the authority I need no matter what the “official” Church says.

Say for the sake of this exercise I am a LCWR nun. I encounter another “gay” person. I listen. I can now affirm her in her “gayness”. I can affirm her because I listened to the voice of God in La Voz de los Pobres.

This blah blah from Sr. Deacon, reveals what these nuns are after: they seek to set aside the defined teaching of the Church and simply affirm their own desires. They are seeking to supersede the Magisterium of the Pope and bishops with their own Magisterium of Nuns, rooted in whatever the hell they want to do.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Priam1184 says:

    Yup Father, that sounds about right. I think that a summary of her (and many others in the clerical realm) belief would be this: God is the final authority, and He tells me whatever I want to hear, so His Church which was founded by His Incarnate Word and commissioned to preach that Word to the nations knows nothing can go hang. Just take a bite of that apple Sister and “ye shall be as gods.”

  2. McCall1981 says:

    From Pope Francis’ homily today:
    “Let us think of that moment with the Magdalene, when she washed the feet of Jesus with nard, which was so expensive: it is a religious moment, a moment of gratitude, a moment of love. And he [Judas] stands apart and criticizes her bitterly: ‘But … this could be used for the poor!’. This is the first reference that I personally found in the Gospel of poverty as an ideology. The ideologue does not know what love is, because they do not know how to gift themselves”.
    Sounds pretty timely to me.

  3. Midwest St. Michael says:

    Good grief.

    After wading through Sr. Deacon’s gobbledygook, I’m up for a rousing rendition of Ray Stevens’ “I’m my own Granpa!” :)


  4. Modernism: the heresy of obfuscation.

  5. Father:

    I think you have this exactly right.

    What many folks won’t get is that you–and me, and many of us–are using “linear thinking”; and that won’t do! Basically, in the world of such non-linear thinking, X can be non-X and X at the same time!

    Hence, there will never be a point at which the gobbledygook-talkers will concede being pinned down as advocating anything contrary to the teaching or discipline of the Church. Nothing they ever say is ever about that–just “questioning” and offering “dialogue.”

    My sense of our holy father is that if he were to invite Sister Deacon and her confreres for some “listening” and “dialogue,” it wouldn’t be long before our “to the point” pope stands up and says, “well, that’s all very nice, but let’s cut to the chase Sisters…”

    I’d pay real money to witness that.

  6. Meanwhile, I’m wondering just where Sister and her confreres? Oops, patriarchal word! Her sisters-in-dialogue-and-listening…

    I wonder just where they are going with this Esther business?

    Who is Esther? Who is Mordecai? Who is the king? Who is Haman?

    I’d love to see Pope Francis say, “Sisters, it’s time to stop feeling sorry for yourselves.”

  7. OrthodoxChick says:

    Sr. Deacon does an excellent job of explaining Protestantism.

    If the Holy Spirit speaks to each of us directly, then who needs a Pope and a Church with a Magisterium? The first clue that Sister Deacon’s logic is wrong: Jesus Himself instituted a Church whose foundation was a man named Peter. Assuming that the good sister still at least believes that Jesus is God, doesn’t she think that God Among Us knew what He was doing? If He knew we wouldn’t need a Church or a Pope to tell us what to do because He (God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) would be telling each soul directly and individually anyway, then why would He institute the Catholic Church in the first place?

    It doesn’t take a theologian to figure this stuff out. Catholicism DOES come with an instruction manual. It’s called THE WORD!

  8. Cathy says:

    I’ve been Catholic for quite a few years, don’t we normally refer to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity as the Holy Spirit?

  9. Cathy:

    Yes, there is this odd tic in how some folks–who, I’m sure, purely coincidentally tend to be “progressive”–refer to certain realities of our Faith:

    –“The Spirit”–for “Holy Spirit.”
    –“Eucharist” for “Holy Eucharist” and for “Mass”/”Holy Mass”/”Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.”
    (Note: this also includes curious verbal forms: i.e., “doing Eucharist” as opposed to “attending Mass” or “celebrating the Eucharistic Sacrifice,” etc.)
    –“Church”: i.e., omitting the “The”–and with this comes, again, curious expressions like, “doing Church” and “being Church.”
    –“Presbyter” for “priest.” (Not that I mind being called a “presbyter”; I rather like it, just for a change–but that’s because I know it means priest. There are lots of now-archaic terms that are fun to dust off and use again, such as “Prester”; but that’s another story.)

    I’m sure there are others but those come immediately to mind. In and of themselves, none of these terms is exactly wrong, but there’s something odd about it. Then, when you dig, you discover the ideological and theological company these odd terms tend to keep…

  10. Basher says:

    It’s a theology of silly syllogisms.

    When I serve the poor, I am serving Christ.
    Christ is the poor.
    When the poor speak, it is Christ speaking.

    The poor disagree with the Pope.
    The poor are speaking for Christ.
    Christ is disagreeing with the Pope.

    Christ disagrees with the Pope.
    Christ is my highest authority.
    I must disagree with the Pope.

    In 8th grade religion class, the students would easily see “When the poor speak, it is Christ speaking.” as a false premise leading to a false conclusion. The poor do not speak for Christ. The Church speaks for Christ.

  11. Nordic Breed says:

    Every time I read gobbledegook like this, I must conclude that the person is mentally ill in some way. An inability to think straight and express oneself clearly is a derangement of thought processes. And women like these have hijacked God’s purpose in calling women to the religious life. Very, very sad. The Father of Lies is hissing about in the shadows.

  12. VexillaRegis says:

    Cathy & Fr. Fox: Sr Deacon simply says that The Nuns On The Bus can’t distinguish between the spirits. Which is completely true.

  13. StWinefride says:

    Fr Martin Fox: –”The Spirit”–for “Holy Spirit.”

    What’s even worse is when Catholic nuns practise Reiki, (Rei = God’s wisdom and ki=life force energy). No, this life force energy is not the Holy Spirit:

  14. OrthodoxChick says:

    Fr. Fox,

    I was catechized by the Sisters of Mercy in the 70’s and 80’s. The terms you cite in the context that you cite them is how I and my classmates were catechized. I attended both a (c)Catholic school and parish CCD classes.

    As far as “doing Church”, I was born and raised in the Northeast, but I’ve heard Christians of other denominations, particularly from the South, use the term “doing Church” and I think it has somehow crept into the Catholic vernacular somehow. It’s a term that I hear pretty regularly these days among people in my N.O. parish (not the pastor). I haven’t been in my E.F. parish but a year yet, but so far, I have never heard these terms used so loosely. Not even close.

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  16. maryh says:

    @VexillaRegis Sr Deacon simply says that The Nuns On The Bus can’t distinguish between the spirits. Which is completely true.
    That’s exactly right.

    Notice that she says she listens to
    1. God through the voice of the poor
    2. the voice of God as expressed in the community
    3. the will of God expressed through life situations
    4. the will of God expressed through scripture.
    5. God through established authority

    And all of these various “voices” or “wills” of God can be contradictory (it may happen that “you’re hearing some different things from them”). Note, she doesn’t say anything about determining whether or not she’s hearing them correctly, or whether some of them may not actually be from God.

    So what do you do if these various “voices” are saying contradictory things? You try to discern what the “Spirit” seems to be calling you to do. It would be interesting to see how she determines that, but I’d guess it’s based primarily on what she “feels” to be what the “Spirit” is saying to her.

    So basically everyone has their own little “voice of God” which can say things that contradict what other “voices of God” say. And if that happens, your own personal “voice of God” wins. And how do you know what your own personal “voice of God” is telling you?

    You just know.

    Gnosticism. And Polytheism.

  17. Ray says:

    Obedience to the Pope and the Magisterium seem to be passé even for religious who have taken that vow. How did these once great pillars of our faith lose their vocations so completely? We all must reinvigorate our prayer life to include these misguided souls. Divisions like this can only come from the evil one. We now have a Pope who affirms the presence of the devil; might be nice for our Church to reintroduce the saying of the prayer to St. Michael at every Mass.

  18. Cathy says:

    Fr. Fox, thank you! I remember my sister reading the Letter of St. Paul to Timothy and hearing the words “eskimos” and “passerbyers”! After a good laugh, all I could think was, Dear Lord, don’t let our bishops be eskimos or our priests be passerbyers!

  19. catholicmidwest says:

    Individuals, and even some organizations, and I would even go so far as to identify this one as an example although it’s certainly not the only one, have all kinds of spurious and quasi-spurious ways that they claim to communicate with God. It never dawns on some of them to simply pray to him personally. That’s what Scripture says we’re supposed to do. Go figure.

  20. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    My guess is that “the Spirit” is ultimately an echo of the Apocalypse (in translation), for example, 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22: “Qui habet aurem, audiet quid Spiritus dicat Ecclesiis.” How it got taken up as it seems to have done, is another matter – one it would be interesting to know more about!

    maryh mentions “Gnosticism”. One of my first thoughts was how people went on the haul with the writings of Joachim of Fiore and ‘the Third Age, the Age of the Spirit’ – in his own day, and variously since, not least in the past century or two. For which I was first indebted to Eric Voegelin’s Science, Politics, and Gnosticism and his ideas about Gnostic influence and the Gnostic character of much modern ideological thought.

  21. anilwang says:

    This is the problem of abandoning Aquinas and Aristotle from grade school. Her reasoning is a hodge podge of impressions from unrelated areas to support her hodge podge of prejudices. Not a hint of logic or unity. The impressions of Esther aren’t even accurate. Esther is not a model of scriptural authority, she’s a model of submission and penance for the persecuted people of God….something Sr. Deacon should learn more about.

    Unfortunately this is what passes for religious education is many quarters. No wonder so many youth have left the faith for either Protestantism, Spiritualism (a.k.a. New Age), or Atheism. They don’t even make good atheists and spiritualists. The old atheists and old spiritualists at least could put together a good argument and were willing to do some research. The new atheists and new spiritualists are just as scatter brained and unwilling to do even basic research as Sr. Deacon.

  22. PA mom says:

    This is a subject that is of particular interest to me right now. I have been insisting to my students that a relationship with God is their goal, and their response to me falls along the lines of “but God can’t answer”. I have firmly stated that God can and does answer, but the explanation of HOW He answers is really quite difficult for me. I see how Sr. Deacon has gone off the path with this ‘listening for the Spirit in everything’ angle, but how to properly explain where, when and how God might genuinely be answering has stumped me.
    Then again, I guess that listening to the voices of authority around them is an important step. How can the Pope’s guidance not be more central to her decisions than a random poor person? Mother Teresa was certainly a monumental force for the poor and a rock solid saint, but I cannot conceive of her changing her central beliefs based on any of their advice.

  23. The Drifter says:

    After reading the post, I came away with the impression that the spirit mentioned by this particular nun has a distinctive distilled quality; which could explain a few things.

  24. Bruce Wayne says:

    Everything old is new again, just more nuns “liberated” like Luther’s wife by his concupiscent ideology of voluntarism (modern philosophers call it “autonomy”).

  25. yatzer says:

    Wow, thank you Fr.Z for getting something like a train of thought from Sr. Deacon’s ramblings. I can see how similar stuff I’ve been subjected to over the years winds up about the same as that in the end. Fr. Fox, thank you also for a good explanation of the odd words I have likewise heard for a long time and which just irritated me because they do not come out as proper English. You guys are really good code breakers; I suppose it comes from extensive experience.

  26. Gaetano says:

    Beyond the ME-gesterium presented in the article, I often believe that these renegades believe they are being faithful to the Spirit of the Third Vatican Council.
    I’ve worked with such people for years. If they only had an idea of how many “spiritual geldings” they have produced that are singularly incapable to transmitting the Faith to others.

  27. yatzer says:

    Oh, oh, I get it. The way they are doing English irritates me.

  28. Darren says:

    The last sentence from Fr. Z: “ They are seeking to supersede the Magisterium of the Pope and bishops with their own Magisterium of Nuns, rooted in whatever the hell they want to do.

    The bold part… …they are doing what hell wants them to do.

  29. ACS67 says:

    Reading the above interview from Sr. Deacon I am reminded of a sermon given by Bishop Weisenberger (before he was the Bishop of Salina) on the Feast of the Epiphany. He said (and I paraphrase) that we should ask ourselves, what are we truly seeking in our Catholic Faith? Are we truly seeking God or are we merely seeking ourselves? I’ve never forgotten those words.

  30. The Masked Chicken says:

    “DEACON: They’re explaining them in a different focus, but I don’t know that they’re raising any new questions in my mind. But the imagery is beautiful. It’s a way that I have perceived power an authority my whole life.
    Vatican II was 50 years ago. These are Vatican II concepts. To me, they’re not particularly new.”

    What Vatican II actually said [from, Dei Verbum, 9, 10]:

    “9. Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence.(6)

    10. Sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church. Holding fast to this deposit the entire holy people united with their shepherds remain always steadfast in the teaching of the Apostles, in the common life, in the breaking of the bread and in prayers (see Acts 2, 42, Greek text), so that holding to, practicing and professing the heritage of the faith, it becomes on the part of the bishops and faithful a single common effort. (7)

    But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, (8) has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, (9) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

    It is clear, therefore, that sacred tradition, Sacred Scripture and the teaching authority of the Church, in accord with God’s most wise design, are so linked and joined together that one cannot stand without the others, and that all together and each in its own way under the action of the one Holy Spirit contribute effectively to the salvation of souls.”

    Sister is certainly deceiving herself if she thinks that she will hear the Holy Spirit’s will for either herself or the Church in the poor, for she has failed to do two things: understand what poverty really is in the light of God’s grace, and that she is not poor. If the Holy Spirit speaks to the truly poor, then it is clear that she cannot hear the Holy Spirit as the poor hear him unless she, herself, becomes truly poor. You can’t look at poverty from the outside and become its great interpreter. A woman going to an abortion mill is not poor in any Biblical sense (since true poverty seeks holiness), so, it is clear that Sister should shut up and try poverty for a change so that she will have even the vaguest notion of what the Holy Spirit sound like to the truly poor.

    My guess is that she can’t hear the Holy Spirit telling her to shut up. Sad.

    Oh, and she doesn’t seem to understand the difference between power and authority, either, but that’s for another comment.

    The Chicken

  31. MrTipsNZ says:

    The first question in the quoted passage mentioned obedience.

    Sr. Deacon never mentioned obedience once. She came out of the blocks with “power” twice though.

    These people seem to be the total embodiment of everything that is to be included in the new DSM V manual for psychiatrists.

  32. Moro says:

    Fr. Z,

    Shame on you. It La Voz de LAS Pobres. Using the masculine pronoun is racist, sexist, triumphalisticm, homophobic because it’s not INCLUSIVE. You must like people like Ronnie RAY-gun


    La Voz de LAS Pobres

    [My bad.]

  33. Jim R says:

    I am reminded of the old saw: “It’s not so much that Protestants don’t want a Pope as much as each Protestant wants to BE the Pope.” Now apply that to the nuns on the bus…

  34. Denise says:

    This is very interesting. Msgr Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (the Anglican Ordinariate in the US), was on EWTN’s The Journey Home in February. As he discussed his journey from Episcopal Bishop to Catholic priest, he was asked about the justification Episcopalians use for moving father and farther away from orthodox Christianity. His response was that the Episcopalians have elevate personal experience to the level of Scripture and Tradition and often experience trumps Scripture and Tradition. [It is time for the Anglicans to issue their own document: Romanorum coetibus] It seems the LCWR is taking the same approach. The result is that there is no acceptance of absolute truth. Scripture is reduced to an account of events in a particular historical time that offers no timeless principles since all principles are subject to the experiences of individuals at any given time. It is a faith built on the shifting sands of cultural norms instead of the Rock of Peter.

  35. It breaks my heart to see how some people abuse the vocation they have been granted by the goodness of God…

  36. LarryW2LJ says:

    Why is it, thateverytime I read about the LCWR, that I hear the faint refrains of “Michael, Row the Boat Ashore” and “Kumbayah” in my head? I’d rather hear Gregorian chant.

  37. Moro says:

    My prior post was intended to be sarcasm. I thought I’d clarify, as one doesn’t know what might actually come out of the mouths of these folks.

  38. HyacinthClare says:

    Got it, Moro. Laughed the first time, actually, after I winced.

  39. TomD says:

    What the LCWR is doing is classic Modernism.

    The principle element of Modernism is “. . . immanentism – the idea that religion expresses a human need rather than conveys divine revelation.” In this sense then, “[r]eligion is . . . the spontaneous result of irrepressible needs of man’s spirit, which find satisfaction in the inward and emotional experience of the presence of God within us.” [Russell Shaw, American Church, Ignatius Press, 2013, p.52].

    By replacing the transcendent God with the God within, this upside down and backwards relationship of man to God represents classic Modernism.

  40. iPadre says:

    Most of these girls need to meet Pope Clement XIV – simple, but effective. [Ahhhh…. Papa Ganganelli! A fav.]

  41. Traductora says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t stand “the poor” – of Vatican II. This is a condescending fantasy in the minds of the left that has been used to justify every wacky thing they want to do. This is a bunch of now elderly, middle-class ladies who are little different from the Protestant or Unitarian “reformers” of the 19th and early 20th centuries, such as Margaret Sanger and the others who thought that people who had less money or darker skin than they did weren’t quite the same on the scale of being.

    And it’s been incorporated into our horrible “Prayer of the People” now, where the USCCB churns out condescending prayers for “the poor,” who evidently could never be among the Catholic faithful but must be some other species altogether. After all, the American Catholic Church is the church of the comfy. No spiritual challenges, no suffering, no prayer, no afterlife, no strange devotions or odd calls from God; just “niceness,” which apparently seems to permit abortion, voting for “gay marriage” and the view that only feminist screeches are true women.

    It is not the Christian, much less Catholic, attitude towards the poor, who really do exist and who will always be with us. We need to help their material circumstances as much as possible, but we need most of all to give them spiritual riches, morality, and the autonomy and dignity of a believer grounded in the faith. In other words, we need to start preaching the Gospel to the poor, which I am sure is the last thing that would cross the minds of the LCWR members.

  42. ghp95134 says:

    StWinifred: …What’s even worse is when Catholic nuns practise Reiki, (Rei = God’s wisdom and ki=life force energy)….

    I know you found this “dynamic-equivalent translation” on line, because I saw it also. However, the CORRECT translation of rei (minus agenda) is: “…(n) soul; spirit; departed soul; ghost; …”

    Nothing about “God’s wisdom” at all. “God’s Wisdom” would be “Kami no Chie.”

    Reiki REALLY means “Ghost/Spirit/Spectre Energy” … but you won’t hear that from its proponents.


  43. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Clement XIV? But iPadre and Father, but iPadre and Father…! Wasn’t he more accommodating to the absolute-statist ambitions of the various monarchs (and/or their ‘Enlightened’ dictatorial bureaucratic (so-called) ministers) than even the Jesuit confessors at the royal courts had ever been?

  44. Maria says:

    Book: On Conscience by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

    Cardinal John Henry Newman’s: “… I shall drink – to the Pope, if you please, – still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”

    On the occasion of his elevation to Cardinal, Newman declared that most of his life was a struggle against the spirit of liberalism in religion …

    Newman’s conversion to Catholicism was not for him a matter of personal taste or subjective, spiritual need. He expressed himself on this even in 1844, on the threshold, so to speak, of his conversion: “No one can have a more favorable view than I of the present state of the Roman Catholics.” Newman was much more taken by the necessity to obey recognized truth than his own preferences, that is to say, even against his own sensitivity and bonds of friendship and ties due to similar backgrounds. It seems to me characteristics of Newman that he emphasized truth’s priority over goodness in the order of virtues. Or, to put it in a way that is more understandable for us, he emphasized truth’s priority over consensus, over the accommodation of groups.
    I hope the LCWR sisters will have same journey as Bl John Henry Newman.

    God’s blessing of peace and joy to all!


  45. CharlesG says:

    @Denise: “…Episcopalians have elevate personal experience to the level of Scripture and Tradition and often experience trumps Scripture and Tradition.”

    I have heard this appeal to “experience” as justifying the modern sexual and moral heresies before, but I don’t understand why it is simply assumed that “experience” would dictate acceptance of the fashionable left-wing ideologies of the day. Just maybe, somebody might, through experience, find the modern glorification of promiscuity, the slavery to sexual sin, the treatment of other people as sexual objects, the casualness to the value of human life and the family, as perhaps shallow and wrongful rather than something to be promoted and celebrated. Sure the average modern, lazy, self-indulgent person will likely initially be attracted to a sexually free lifestyle, but they may grow to question the modern dogmas as a result. And even if one were to fully embrace the “experience”, does that make it right? Can “experience” not be evaluated by other moral, philosophic and theological criteria?

  46. pmullane says:

    Traductora – I am more and more coming to the conclusion that we who are the Church need to reclaim the concept of ‘the poor’. Everything that the Church does is for ‘the poor’, but the definition of the poor used by the heterodox religious orders is a very narrow (and marxist) one of relative material poverty, and sometimes allied lack of political power. Thus they contort themselves into thinking thata girl to phone up an abortion clinic on her mobile phone and make an appointment, drive there in a car, stop at a McDonalds on the way home and fill her belly, and this can be justified because she is ‘poor’ relative to the Queen and the Governor of the Bank of England (even though she is fantastically materially rich compared to the overwhelming majority of people that have lived). All good moral actions help the poor, in the broad (and true) sense of poverty, and the worst poverty is to be without God. Therefore you do not alleviate poverty by taking people away from God, that is by encouraging them in or justifying their sin, you only deepen their true poverty. We must alleviate physical suffering (including material suffering, and the physical sufferings of our brothers and sisters who are materially poor are a scandal that we must respond to) but we must tie that to alleviating all kinds of poverty. The kind of poverty experienced by the mother without a child, the kind of poverty experienced by the disjointed man with unnatural attractions, the kind of poverty experienced by the washed up starlet with the empty life, etc etc.

    Charles G – Amen!! Of course they do not base their attitudes and opinions on their experiences, but their ‘feelings’ towards the experiences of others. ‘Oh you are pregnant unexpectedly, ooh how horrid, of course you can kill the baby’, ‘oh you are attracted to someone of the same sex, well you must be allowed to indulge your passions’. What they dont want to do is say ‘your sittuation is sad and I have sympathy for you, but I love you and I want you to do the right thing, and that might be hard in the short term, but it will be better in the long term.”

  47. yatzer says:

    Yes, that “poor” reference. We almost wound up being truly poor once, and I had the thought that it was so sad that I would no longer belong at church–the church being those who help the poor, not the poor themselves. Then I realized how odd that thought was. Nevertheless, it was there.

  48. Angie Mcs says:

    Who are the “Poor”? Does Sister have a certain amount in mind that they earn, or a certain neighborhood, or lifestyle? Does their need give them clearer voices to hear God with than those people with more material things or money? Do “Unpoor” (for lack of a better word) have no valid need for compassion? Does a woman with money who has been beaten by her husband or raped, deserve to be turned away? Does a man with more wealth who has been abandoned by his wife or been badly hurt physically, have no valid need to be nurtured and comforted? These are just random examples but I don’t think that dividing people off as the Poor and therefore more in touch with the “Spirit” makes any Christian sense. We are all Gods children, and the voice of God can be heard in any of us. Of course, if any of us can help each other, then we should, we are called to do that, and poor people often don’t have resources to turn to. But Sister’s words seem more like a cover up to look good in the eyes of the public, and therefore justify any actions that the “Poor” inspire. It’s very disingenuous and arrogant.

  49. Reading her words induced me to recall the following, from a very wise English convert, now a Blessed:

    “The most obvious answer, then, to the question, why we yield to the authority of the Church in the questions and developments of faith, is, that some authority there must be if there is a revelation given, and other authority there is none but she. A revelation is not given if there be no authority to decide what it is that is given. . . . If Christianity is both social and dogmatic, and intended for all ages, it must humanly speaking have an infallible expounder. Else you will secure unity of form at the loss of unity of doctrine, or unity of doctrine at the loss of unity of form; you will have to choose between a comprehension of opinions and a resolution into parties, between latitudinarian and sectarian error. You may be tolerant or intolerant of contrarieties of thought, but contrarieties you will have. By the Church of England a hollow uniformity is preferred to an infallible chair; and by the sects of England an interminable division. Germany and Geneva began with persecution and have ended in scepticism. The doctrine of infallibility is a less violent hypothesis than this sacrifice either of faith or of charity. It secures the object, while it gives definiteness and force to the matter, of Revelation.”

    ‘Tis a source of sadness that the sister has not a smidgen of the wisdom of the cited convert.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

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