Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Problem of Uppity Nuns

The Catholic Church is gonna fix that problem. It's the next important topic on their to-do list:
A Vatican investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing 80 percent of Catholic sisters and nuns in the United States, found serious theological errors in statements by members, widespread dissent on the church’s teaching on sexuality and “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” a church report released Wednesday stated.
The church appointed Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle to oversee “reform” of the women’s organization.
NETWORK, a Washington, DC lobbying group founded by Catholic sisters in 1971 was singled out as “silent on the right to life”; the organization’s head said the group was not consulted during the inquiry. She said that its focus on poverty, immigration and health care stems from its founding mission.
“I think we scare them,” Sr. Simone Campbell, a lawyer who serves as the executive director of the lobby said of the church’s male hierarchy.
No comment necessary, really.

But I'm adding one a bit later because the NYT article on the same topic has additional information:
The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”
The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care.

The bishop appointed to reign in the uppity women religious is a man because women cannot be priests. But note that one must also be male to be allowed to be "an authentic teacher of faith and morals."

It is most unfortunate that all this parallels traditional male authority as the only genuine one. Not a random coincidence, of course, but an intended one.

Indeed, the metaphoric value of all this is quite considerable, especially as it comes so soon after the statement by the church on birth control.