punchy line

...and he (Simon Peter) saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the face-cloth ... not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself. - Jn 20: 6-7
-Jn 20: 6-7

Friday, May 4, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole with the LCWR, A Montage

The Leadership Conference for Women Religious recently proclaimed itself "stunned' by the eight page document released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith asserting the need for the doctrinally problematic organization to reform.

Hm.  Stunned, eh? I don't know, considering some of the sisters' more seething reactions to the Vatican, it's is clear that tensions between the two groups has been brewing for a long time.

And yet, what troubles me more is the great disparity that emerges when you compare the LCWR's claims about its role in the world, and reality.  Things start to become a too 'down the rabbit hole' once you juxtapose a few LCWR sound bytes with factual information. 

I created this montage of quotes and pictures of from some of the LCWR power players to illustrate what I mean. 

"Our role is to live the gospel with those who live on the margins of society. That's all we do."-Sr. Simone Campbell, head of Network,
 As we can see, the very margins of society.
How much is Sr. Carol Keehan worth to the pro-Obamacare Catholic Health Association? Answer: $962,467 a year salary. (Source)

Sister Campbell suggested that her organization's vocal support for President Barack Obama's healthcare bill was behind the slap-down...
The Vatican "clearly got upset that we were effective at communicating our views politically," she said.

(a quick search for "Obama" in the doctrinal assessment issued by the CDF yields a result of: 0 and...

Sr. Campbell expressing confusion over the matter
George Weigel points out that if the Vatican was trying to oppose any sort of nationalized health care system in the United States, it would be "the first European-style welfare-state initiative to which 'the Vatican' has objected in living memory.")

"They haven't talked to us, " Sister Campbell (Watch video here).

Reality (and it's presented in more detail in the actual assessment form):  "the CDF appointed Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, as its delegate to conduct the assessment, which was carried out in 2009 and 2010... While investigating the CDF’s concerns, Bishop Blair engaged in correspondence with the LCWR and reviewed publications prepared by the group as well as by other related organizations." Source.

Most sisters spend their lives immersed in the deepest sufferings of our world. They don't just stop by the soup kitchen on Ash Wednesday for a photo op. Some actually live in shelters with homeless women, orphans or the addicted. -Jamie L. Manson, National 'Catholic' Reporter (source)
 Reality: No doubt, the above statement is very true in many cases.  Unfortunately, the following pictures reveal a concurrent, sinister reality having nothing to do with living in solidarity with the homeless, orphans or the addicted:

At the surface level, Religious are being threatened because they have been “upsetting the (patriarchal) order” of the Church as institution in which the hierarchy has its position of power. -Sr. Sarah Schneider who has written a five part mini-essay defending and defining religious life as a prophetic life, not necessarily having anything to do with the Catholic Church .  

Scratching your head, yet?

Reality: (From the Doctrinal Assessment. Again, source.) "Some speakers claim that dissent from the doctrine of the Church is justified as an exercise of the prophetic office. But this is based upon a mistaken understanding of the dynamic of prophecy in the Church....true prophecy is a grace which accompanies the exercise of the responsibilities of the Christian life and ministries within the Church,  regulated and verified by the Church’s faith and teaching office."

Finally, let's look at some images from the LCWR's website:
Exhibit A:
First of all, I'm pretty sure that those sweeping arm motions and dancing moves in the image are not really feasible for a demographic for whom there are more members over ninety years old that there are younger than sixty.

This seems more realistic:

Exhibit B:
 What is wrong with the traditional ideas of religious life?  Sydney Poitier learned a thing or two from it:

It's all about The Lilies of the Fields, people.
 And lastly, what sort of gospel values do you espouse when this is one of the speakers for your major conference?
Exhibit E=mc squared, an LCWR keynote speaker