John Jalsevac

Bishop Morlino bans New Age nuns from speaking in his diocese

John Jalsevac
John Jalsevac
Image

MADISON, WI, December 14, 2012, (LifeSIteNews.com) – The Catholic bishop of Madison, Wisconsin, has banned employees with a local “spirituality center,” including two nuns, from speaking in his diocese over concerns that they are misrepresenting the Catholic faith and preaching the New Age religion.

Bishop Robert Morlino is well known to pro-life and pro-family activists for his strong defense of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings, particularly on life and family. He has earned praise from Catholics in the past for cracking down on dissent in his diocese.

A memo from Msgr. James Bartylla, the vicar general of the diocese of Madison, explains that staff from the Wisdom’s Well Interfaith Spirituality Center are no longer permitted “to preach, catechize, lead spiritual or prayer instructions or exercises, or to provide spiritual direction or guidance” at any Catholic institutions in the diocese.

The center is also banned from distributing any of its materials or advertising in the diocese.

The vicar general explained that an examination of the center’s website had raised “grave concerns” that “the center and its members may espouse certain views flowing from New Ageism, panentheism, and indifferentism, and may not share an authentic view of the Catholic Church’s approach to interreligious dialogue.”

Msgr. Bartylla said that these views are often associated with a “spirit of relativism.”

The center says it is “grounded in the Christian tradition,” but embraces “the wisdom found in other religious traditions” and seeks to help others reach contemplation as members of a “sacred Earth community.”

A mission statement on the center’s website says that it “serves to support those who desire to grow spiritually, seek inner wisdom, and yearn for a transformative spirituality.”

The vicar general’s letter named four women who are associated with the center who are banned from speaking in the diocese. One of these is a former employee who has been ordained as a Buddhist priest, but who still offers some of the center’s programs, according to the center’s website. Two of the others, Sr. Maureen McDonnell and Sr. Lynn Lisbeth, are nuns from the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation, a congregation of nuns based in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin.

In a press release, the communications director for the Sinsinawa Dominicans said that the two sisters named in Msgr. Bartylla’s memo “are respected and valued members of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation.”

“Both women have been dedicated to religious life and preaching and teaching Gospel values for nearly 50 years,” the release stated. “We wholeheartedly support our Sisters and hold them in prayer as we continue our mission of participating in the building of a holy and just Church and society.”

The Wisconsin State Journal reported that, at the time Msgr. Bartylla issued his memo, Sr Maureen McDonnell was co-facilitating a weekly class at a high school titled “Just Peace Initiative: The Challenge and Promise of Nonviolence for Our Time.”

LifeSiteNews readers will remember the Sinsinawa sisters on account of Sr. Donna Quinn, who for years volunteered as an abortion clinic escort near Chicago. After LifeSiteNews broke the story about Sr. Quinn’s involvement with the abortion clinic, the congregation had issued a statement saying that they accept the Church’s teachings on the sanctity of life, and that Sr. Quinn would be reprimanded.

Bishop Morlino’s order muzzling Wisdom Well comes in the wake of an investigation by the Vatican into the state of women’s religious in the United States. Earlier this year the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a doctrinal assessment which criticized the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella organization of Catholic nuns, for advocating positions contrary to Catholic teaching on a variety of issues, including on abortion and homosexuality.

The Sinsinawa sisters belong to the LCWR.

In his memo Msgr. Bartylla explained that concerns about Wisdom Well arose after applications were submitted to the diocese to have representatives of the center speak. A speaker’s policy put in place by the diocese in 2010 requires “any speaker under consideration to give a presentation on matters of faith and morals” to be approved by the diocese.

Initially the diocese had approved applications relating to Wisdom Well employees, but with “greater caveats” as “concerns grew,” says Msgr. Bartylla.

Eventually, said the vicar general, his office “directly and formally sought clarification from individuals associated with Wisdom’s Well.”

However, “The responses from these individuals proved insufficient and inconclusive to resolve the grave concerns,” prompting an investigation, and then the ban.

In 2009, Bishop Morlino earned praise as well as criticism for sacking a pastoral associate who advocated dissident liberation and feminist theology after she refused to recant her positions.

In 2006, after becoming aware that certain priests were contradicting Catholic teaching on life and family issues, the bishop instructed all the pastors in the diocese to play a recording of the bishop’s message condemning same-sex “marriage,” embryonic stem-cell research, and the death penalty in the U.S., or “face serious consequences.”

Truth. Delivered daily.

Get FREE pro-life, pro-family news delivered straight to your inbox. 

Select Your Edition:


Advertisement
Featured Image
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

Click "like" to support Catholics Restoring the Culture!

“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

Share this article

Advertisement
Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
Image

What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

,

New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook