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HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has made a public plea in defense of the discalced Carmelite nuns of Fairfield, Pennsylvania, who are living the traditional Carmelite way of life.

Bishop Gainer is asking that “the Holy See would grant a dispensation.” In light of the new Vatican constitution Cor Orans, these nuns are under pressure to undergo certain changes, yet they wish to remain loyal to their traditional charism which goes back to St. Teresa of Avila. A documentary about the Fairfield nuns, published on March 2, is making just that plea to Rome – and asking others to pray for this intention or even to write letters to the nuns’ bishop –  that these nuns receive a dispensation from the new Vatican regulations.

As the producers of Lux Veritatis Media write:

This documentary is intended to show the countercultural, “off the grid,” daily life of these Carmelites of Fairfield, PA through their eyes, as well as the experiences of the many volunteers and supporters of their community. It also sheds light on the concerns Cor Orans brings to their community’s Constitutions and explains why they desire to obtain a dispensation from Cor Orans.

Bishop Gainer, who is interviewed in the documentary, shows how much he is impressed by the faith, joyfulness, and life of the nuns. The 25 nuns produce their own food and clothes and live without electricity and running water. They are secluded from the world, never seen by outsiders. Their self-sufficiency helps them to be separated from the world.

Nevertheless, the new 2018 instruction Cor Orans wants these autonomous monasteries to join larger federations, which would entail that these secluded nuns would occasionally have to leave their seclusion for meetings. The Mother Superior of the Fairfield nuns explained in the film that to join such a federation would be “an intrusion into the family spirit,” since one would mix with religious who “do not have the same formation.” This “can cause disturbance,” she added. In her view, such a federation could also “impede relationships with the hierarchy” and with the bishop, the Pope, and with the Prefect of the Congregation of Religious, with whom these nuns have their own independent contact. To join such a federation of religious orders, Mother Superior explained, “would complicate and muddle the waters a bit there.”

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PETITION UPDATE (3/7/22) - 

To his eternal shame, self-professed "Catholic" Joe Biden has done it again.

In the last 10 days, Biden directly acted to promote the evil of abortion. Twice.

And, to their shame, the bishops of the United States continue to tolerate this ongoing scandal as though it's business as usual.

But, let's not give up on our shepherds!

Please SIGN this petition and let's CONTACT our bishops again, and ask them to do the right thing (or, do something!), and excommunicate Joe Biden.

In the latest episode of this ongoing tragedy, Biden nominated abortion-friendly (and, Planned Parenthood supported) Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court.

Then, as if to underline his Supreme Court pick, Biden made the following statement promoting abortion during his State of the Union address:

"The constitutional right affirmed by Roe v. Wade — standing precedent for half a century — is under attack as never before. If you want to go forward — not backwards — we must protect access to health care. Preserve a woman’s right to choose..."

Of course, we know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

And now that Biden has left no doubt as to his intentions and actions - attempting to anchor the United States to the evil of abortion for generations to come - it is high time for the bishops to act to stop this grave scandal from continuing.

Public excommunication would be a suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of scandalously promoting abortion.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this important petition. Thank you!

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

'Biden announces Ketanji Brown Jackson to replace Stephen Breyer on Supreme Court' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-announces-ketanji-brown-jackson-to-replace-stephen-breyer-on-supreme-court/

'Pro-life groups warn about Biden’s Supreme Court nominee' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/pro-life-groups-warn-about-bidens-supreme-court-nominee/

'These Republicans could help Biden install his far-left Supreme Court pick' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/these-republicans-could-help-biden-his-left-wing-supreme-court-pick/

'Biden reiterates support for Roe v. Wade, radical LGBT policies during State of the Union' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-again-vows-supports-for-roe-v-wade-radical-pro-lgbt-law/

'Biden says he won’t debate ‘theology’ when asked on Ash Wednesday why he supports abortion' - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-says-he-wont-debate-theology-when-asked-on-ash-wednesday-why-he-supports-abortion/

____________________________________________________________________

PETITION UPDATE (9/3/21) - 

Following the US Supreme Court's decision to allow Texas' Heartbeat Law to go into effect, Joe Biden made the announcement that he would initiate a "whole-of-government" response against the new pro-life statute which could ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

This is yet another, outright confirmation of Biden's openly pro-abortion policies, policies which have the main objective of ensuring that women will continue to be able to kill their own children without impediment.

This anti-life, anti-Catholic stance needs to be urgently addressed and condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

For the good of the Church, for the good of pre-born babies, for the good of the faithful, and, indeed, for his own good, Joe Biden needs to be publicly rebuked by the bishops and excommunicated until such time as he repents from his pro-abortion policies.

Please continue to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

Thank you!

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"No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:24

In the lead-up to their meeting in mid-June, we call on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exclude Joe Biden and other “Catholic” politicians (like, Nancy Pelosi) from Holy Communion over their public, obstinate, and scandalous promotion of abortion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks the USCCB to act to stop the abuse of the reception of the Holy Eucharist by politicians who promote the murder of innocent pre-born babies.

We know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

Indeed, Canon Law (Canon 915) declares that those who persist in manifest, grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion

Beyond that, at this point, public excommunication appears as the only suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of promoting abortion.

In doing so, we do not hold ourselves up as judges over Joe Biden's eternal soul, but we encourage the bishops to make known one of the consequences of public and obstinate support of abortion by our 'Catholic' politicians.

The fact is, in terms of the manifest, grave sin of abortion, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be before the election.

Therefore, it is cold comfort that the USCCB is only preparing to discuss this issue only now.

But even now, if the USCCB publicly excommunicate Biden for his pro-abortion stance (as well as other pro-abortion politicians), the Conference could reclaim some of the moral authority which they lost by their largely silent assent to Biden's candidacy.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition, now.

Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing orders and bills which facilitate the destruction of unborn human life.

  • In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.
  • Biden also signed (instead of vetoing) the COVID relief bill, which, for the first time in 44 years, contained funding for abortions in America, using taxpayer dollars.
  • Biden said that he wouldn't defend Hyde, and he hasn't.

And, if he and the Democratic Party get their way, a lot more of the same regarding abortion is on the way.

Strong action must be taken lest anyone, especially young people, be confused by the scandal of a "Catholic" in Biden's position aggressively promoting abortion, enabling the killing of innocent human beings.

American rank-and-file Catholics don't want any more compromise and equivocation from the Bishops Conference on this "pre-eminent" life-and-death issue.

We want clear action, not twenty more years of dithering and "dialoguing."

50 million babies have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe!

So, we will NOT accept any more lives lost as a result of dithering and "dialoguing." [**Please see "Notes" below about how it has been reported that some senior U.S. clerics are trying to prevent this discussion from even taking place.]

And, we will especially NOT accept one life lost to abortion by politicians who claim the Catholic Faith, but who promote grave evil. God forbid!

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by not imposing public canonical penalties on a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

The bishops are now at a crossroads and must choose either God or mammon.

We call on them to choose God and choose Life!

And we also continue to encourage those brave, true and good bishops who have done well to warn Amercian Catholics about the perils to the unborn and the Faith resulting from Biden's promotion of abortion!

SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/joe-biden-i-support-abortion-under-any-circumstance

Biden administration has opened the way for ‘abortion by mail on a massive scale’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-administration-unleashed-by

‘Catholic’ Biden marks Roe v. Wade anniversary with pledge to make abortion available for ‘everyone’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-biden-marks-roe-v-wade-anniversary-with-pledge-to-make-abortion-available-for-everyone

BREAKING: DC archbishop affirms he will give Holy Communion to pro-abortion Joe Biden - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-dc-archbishop-affirms-he-will-give-holy-communion-to-pro-abortion-joe-biden

Vatican puts brakes on US bishops confronting problem of pro-abortion Biden receiving Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-puts-brakes-on-us-bishops-confronting-problem-of-pro-abortion-biden-receiving-holy-communion

Abp. Aquila backs call for pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Joe Biden to be denied Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abp-aquila-backs-call-for-pro-abortion-catholic-joe-biden-to-be-denied-holy-communion

Cardinal Burke floats ‘excommunication’ for Biden over his ‘aggressive’ abortion promotion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-floats-excommunication-for-biden-over-his-aggressive-promotion-of-abortion

Biden’s HHS is lying about Title X to push abortion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/bidens-hhs-is-lying-about-title-x-to-push-abortion

List of US bishops for and against denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians like Biden, Pelosi - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/list-of-us-bishops-for-and-against-denying-communion-to-pro-abortion-politicians-like-biden-pelosi

Notes about USCCB's June Meeting:

For nearly twenty years, the US bishops have been dithering about whether or not to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians by formally withholding Holy Communion from them.

Their indecision on this gravely scandalous matter is a scandal in itself, but one of the biggest obstacles has been internal opposition from senior U.S. bishops.

And, although the faces have changed in the last 20 years, their morally-and-intellectually-challenged arguments against excommunication have not changed.

Liberal bishops of the USCCB say that excommunicating Biden (for example) would divide the Church, divide the bishops, and would politicize the reception of Holy Communion.

Indeed, in the name of “unity,” it is reported that some senior U.S. clerics, including Cardinal Blase Cupich (Chicago), Cardinal Wilton Gregory (Washington, DC) and Cardinal O’Malley (Boston), have been working overtime to prevent any substantial discussion of so-called “Eucharist coherence” (that is, what qualifies as worthy reception of Holy Communion).

It is also reported that at least 57 other American bishops allegedly joined these Cardinals in a recent letter to the Head of the Bishops Conference, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, to try to pressure him to drop the planned discussion at the full meeting of bishops in June.

And now, even the Vatican is getting involved, with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggesting that even more “dialogue” is needed.

These same clerics may mistakenly believe that any attempt to suppress the objective connection between a politician’s promotion of abortion and his unworthy reception of Holy Communion will fool anyone.

But, it will not.

Rank-and-file Catholics are not stupid and can smell compromise a mile away, and we’ve had enough.

With all due respect to the Cardinal, bishops, and the Vatican…those who fail to act diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by “dialoguing” with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging the bishops Conference to take action at their June meeting to exclude pro-abortion Joe Biden and other abortion-promoting “Catholic” politicians from Holy Communion.

**Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts / Getty Images

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Bishop Gainer echoed Mother Superior’s concerns. Speaking about the request that these monasteries now join federations and attend meetings, he explained that this change could have an “influence on the internal life” of the monastery. He described how, as part of the ceremony of the solemn vows of a Carmelite nun, a black veil is placed over her face.

“It is the idea that she is not visible to the world,” the prelate expounded. “She has made a solemn vow to stably remain there in that monastery, in that life of hiddenness.”

The way these nuns are living seems to be very attractive.

“Their track record shows they are a magnet to draw women from all over,” he added.

Speaking about Cor Orans, the bishop continued: “Recently there has been a document, from the Holy See, that suggests that all monastic communities, especially female monastic communities, should belong to a federation, a larger grouping, which would require meetings and a certain amount of consensus among the members of the federation which would then have an influence upon the internal life of the member monasteries.”

Bishop Gainer added that “it has never been the tradition of the discalced Carmelites to have that kind of a membership in a larger consultative body.”

Father John Szada, an exorcist of the Diocese of Harrisonburg, was also interviewed for the documentary. He stressed that one of the things St. Teresa of Avila was very insistent upon was “that every one of her foundations were independent and able to live their life in their own local community. And I think that’s what is so important.”

“They should be allowed to be who they are, and follow the spirit and charism of St. Teresa, that is all.”

“We are hoping,” stated Bishop Gainer, “that, from this document Cor Orans, the Holy See would grant a dispensation so that it wouldn’t be obligatory for our Carmel and any others that would make a similar request because following the law would be too burdensome.” That, he added, is “why we have dispensations.” In his eyes, such a dispensation would be “the mercy of Christ at work in the Church.” Gainer also reminded us that the law “is meant to bring us closer to Christ, not to be an obstacle that keeps us from following Christ.”

LifeSite reported in September of last year that the Fairfield nuns had just received an apostolic visitation from Rome. In November of 2022, Catherine Bauer, the lay spokeswoman of the monastery made a comment in an interview that these nuns – together with their motherhouse in Valparaiso, Nebraska – will “stand up and fight” for their charism and way of life. “We believe there are those in leadership in Rome who believe that contemplative orders don’t have a place in the Church any longer,” Bauer added.

Father Maxilian Mary Dean, the chaplain of the Fairfield nuns and a hermit, gave LifeSite’s Jim Hale an interview in October last year, in which he, too, determined that the apostolic visitation aimed at undermining the charism of the traditional nuns. He called then this move, organized by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, the head of the Congregation for Religious Life, a plan to “overhaul” contemplative orders. Fr. Dean then also posted a comment under the LifeSite report where he stated that during the apostolic visitation of last September, “the co-visitators actually sent spies. They discussed the need to stop me from bringing the sacraments and to switch the nuns over to the Novus Ordo Mass; they discussed strategies for turning the benefactors away from these traditional communities.”

“I am not permitted to write here what they actually did during the visitation itself,” he continued, “but let’s just say that I was 100% correct in my assessment and that the nuns pulling [away] from Philadelphia was used as a pretext by the Congregation to go after these traditional monasteries.”

Beside this more painful aspect of the story of the Fairfield nuns, the aforementioned documentary on their life and charism is a very touching testimony of God’s Grace on earth. The nuns’ lives and prayers will deeply touch everyone who watches.

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Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.

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