Saturday, April 21, 2012

Radical Feminist Nuns!!

Why did I want to add a few extra words to that title?  Like "Radical Feminist Vampire Biker Nuns"?

There has to be something going on here that I don't understand.  For the second day in a row the Washington Post has run, on page 2 below the fold, a story about the "Vatican crackdown on what it calls 'radical feminism' among" American nuns.  According to the story, the Vatican regards these women as radical feminists because of "their purported failure to sufficiently condemn such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage."

Seriously?  Radical feminists?  Because of a "failure to sufficiently condemn"??  Holy Tea Party!

In yesterday's paper, the story said that the nuns were being reprimanded "for spending too much time on poverty and social-justice concerns and not enough on condemning abortion and gay marriage".

Wow.  The Sisters of Mercy and the Little Sisters of the Poor are spending too much time on poverty and social justice? 

If this is really what the Vatican said, they need to do some deeper research into the meaning of all of those words, because a failure to sufficiently condemn anything, even abortion or same-sex marriage, is neither radical nor particularly feminist.   Nothing in the story claimed that the nuns in question were pro-choice, or advocated same sex marriage, or anything of that sort.  I assume they support the positions of their church on those issues.  Their transgression was that they were too distracted by the altruistic work they had joined their orders to do, and which they thought their faith required them to do, to be adequately livid in their condemnation of those whose lives or opinions are different from theirs.

It's not my religion, and not my personal power struggle.  I have no real stake in this.  But I don't really understand the Vatican's complaint here, and I certainly don't understand their choice of words.   And I think it may be a little rash on the Vatican's part to pick a fight with a group of nuns.  

Particularly radical feminist vampire biker nuns.


  1. Saturday's Post (April 21) has a story with this headline: "American nuns stunned by Vatican accusation of ‘radical feminism,’ crackdown" accompanied by a photo of an elderly nun at prayer, a far cry from what most would picture as a radical feminist.

    Reuters reports that this is a fight 40 years in the making, stemming from Pope John Paul II visit to the United States in 1979,at which time the president of the nation’s most powerful organization of nuns, Sister Theresa Kane, met him with a challenge calling on the Pope to include women “in all ministries of our church,” including the priesthood. This, apparently, didn't sit well with John Paul who, "sat silent, his expression stony."

    Reuters reports, "The conflict would continue to mount for the next three decades, until this week the Vatican finally moved to reassert control over the aging but still ferociously independent conference of Catholic sisters."

    This story reveals, once again, the inability of Catholicism to adjust to a changing world. Catholicism, according to the "Index of Leading Catholic Indicators: The Church Since Vatican II," is in serious decline in America, and there may soon be no nuns in the U.S.: "The tragedy of the convents has been perhaps even more startling. A host of 138,000 sisters ran the Catholic education and health systems in 1945; their numbers swelled to 180,000 by 1965. In 2002, there were 75,000 sisters, with an average age of 68. By 2020, the number of sisters will drop to 40,000--and of these, only 21,000 will be age 70 or under. One does not have to be Chicken Little to predict that within a generation there will be no nuns" (Catholic World News).

    So, if the Church had only waited a bit longer the problem would disappear without all of the bad publicity. Lord, what fools these mortals be!

  2. At the risk of continuing to stray from the subject at hand, economics, the Los Angeles Times has a story today titled, "Sisters of mercy, devotion — and dismay" that begins:

    "In Philadelphia last week, a child sexual abuse trial involving Catholic clergy led to a bombshell — a bishop from West Virginia was accused of abuse.

    "In Kansas City, a Catholic bishop goes on trial in September, accused of failing to report suspected child abuse.

    "Last year church officials paid $144 million to settle abuse allegations and cover legal bills, and although many of the cases went back decades, church auditors have warned of 'growing complacency' about protecting children today.

    "So who's in trouble with the Vatican?


    "You know, the thousands of women who took vows of poverty to work with the poor, the sick and disabled."

    According to the author, the complaint against nuns is as Stuart outlined it in his original post - they aren't toeing the doctrinal line, proving once again that Jefferson was correct when he wrote, "In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty."

    1. Stray anywhere you decide it's appropriate to stray. The subtitle above says "occasional comments on pretty much anything"...we aren't constrained to just economics.

      Yes, the Vatican view is mystifying to me in this. The fact that they expressed a desire for equal treatment by the church, equal opportunity to be church leaders and priests, strikes me a fairly ordinary feminism---I mean what kind of feminist are you if you don't even ask for equality for women? But hardly "radical", unless you're using the original meaning of the word, "from the root", rather than the common understanding of it as meaning "extreme".

      And the failure to adequately condemn others?? How does that qualify as radical feminism, or radical anything except radically decent? I seriously don't get it.