Lift up your voice

Via Sullivan and John Gehring at the Faith in Public Life blog comes this link (pdf) to the weekly bulletin of the Blessed Trinity Catholic church in Cleveland, Ohio.

On page 2, Father Doug Koesel takes aim at the Vatican and its attack on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in a column which can truly be described as righteous.

I think it’s important to highlight this, first as a counter to those who, whenever the Catholic church is so much as mentioned on here, screech that anyone who remains in the church is a criminal co-conspirator, and also because it provides a fine counterpoint to the reports that Cardinal Timmy Dolan is a bare-faced, shit-pants liar who paid pedophiles to retire and then lied through his pointy teeth about it.

However, the most important reason is because, in the current environment in the Catholic church, this is a fine example of a brave man standing up to be counted on the side of the angels and bugger the consequences.

You should go and read the whole thing, but this will give you the flavour.

This is what annoys American Catholics. The Vatican is hypocritical and duplicitous. Their belief is always that someone else needs to clean up their act; the divorced, the gays, the media, the US nuns, the Americans who were using the wrong words to pray, the seminaries, etc. It never occurs to the powers that be that the source of the problem is the structure itself. We can say that now with certainty as regards the sex abuse crisis. It was largely the structure of the church itself, the way men were trained and isolated, made loyal to the system at all costs and not to the person, that gave us the scandalous cover-up.

US nuns work side by side with the person on the street. They are involved in their everyday lives. Most cardinals spent less than five years in a parish, were never pastors, are frequently career diplomats.

Religious women in the US refuse to be controlled by abusive authority that seeks to control out of fear. They realize that Jesus taught no doctrines, but that the church, over time, developed what Jesus taught in a systematic way. Nuns have always tried to work within the system. This time their prophetic voices may take them out of the system. They may take a lot of Catholics and a lot of their hospitals, schools, colleges, orphanages, prison ministries, convents, women’s shelters, food pantries and, of course, the good will they have earned over the centuries with them.

This investigation is not about wayward US nuns. It is the last gasp for control by a dying breed, wrapped in its own self-importance. It is a struggle for the very nature of the church; who we are, how we pray, where we live, who belongs, why we believe. The early church endured a similar struggle. The old order died. The Holy Spirit won. Happy Pentecost Sunday!

I think the Vatican has bitten off more than it can chew attacking the nuns. There’s nothing scarier than a nun in a bad mood, and I imagine those rosary beads hurt like hell if they get you in the nuts.

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