Friday February 12, 2010

Dissident Nun Set to Address Canada’s Televised Catholic Lenten Mission

By Patrick B. Craine

TORONTO, Ontario, February 12, 2010 ( – The National Catholic Broadcasting Council (NCBC), which airs the daily Mass on Vision TV, has announced that they will be hosting a religious sister on their annual televised Lenten mission. But the nun in question, Sr. Joan Chittister, is renowned for promoting positions contrary to Christian teaching, including on the issues of abortion, contraception and women’s “ordination.”

Sr. Joan Chittister will address this year’s mission, which is set for March 29-30 on Vision TV with the theme “A God for All Seasons.” Sr. Chittister told (LSN) that her talk focuses on the “spirituality of aging,” but, she said, she is “more inclined to call it a lifestyle for the 21st century.”

Sr. Chittister also admitted to LSN that she holds positions diverging from Catholic teaching. “It’s not an opposition position,” she explained. “It is a position of query, of theological and scriptural commitment and search.”

For example, she said, “I felt that the question of the role and place of women in the Church was a necessary discussion, and that it stood on strong theological concerns.”

“We argue that [women] are not – not only are they not fit matter to be ordained, as if Jesus came to earth to be male instead of flesh, but we don’t even see women as fit matter to have their feet washed in a church on Holy Thursday,” she offered as one example of the Church’s ‘sexism’. “Now, we have a double standard, and we have had it for a long long time. It needs to be reviewed.”

In addition to her advocacy of women’s ordination, Sr. Chittister has also taken positions contrary to Church teaching on life and family issues, such as those regarding abortion, contraception, and homosexuality.

In her interview with LSN, she insisted that she opposes abortion “as a birth control method of choice.”

However, “my problem lies in the fact that we make it an absolute,” she added. “We say that we can never, under any circumstances whatsoever, allow abortion, and yet we allow death.

“Men, men can kill for a number of reasons,” she continued. “Men can kill to defend themselves, men can kill to defend the country, men can kill to punish the people that they believe should be killed. And we never call those deaths absolute. … But in abortion, we allow no discussion whatsoever of possible times when it would not be a matter.”

Several bishops have taken action to prevent the dissemination of Sr. Chittister’s views in the past.

In 2007, Bishop Barry Jones of Christchurch, New Zealand, decried her speaking engagement in his diocese, making it clear that she was neither welcome nor authorized to speak. “The point is that silence generates the misunderstanding that this is all approved, when it’s not. I have made my position clear to the priests,” Bishop Jones said. “I don’t see how I, as a bishop, can advance the teachings of the Catholic Church by appearing to condone other views.”

In 2001, the dioceses of Pittsburgh and Peoria opted out of the National Catholic Education Association convocation, citing Sr. Chittister’s presence there as a speaker.

The National Catholic Broadcasting Council (NCBC) has come under scrutiny in the past because of its relationship with Vision TV, which has manifested a strong and enduring anti-Catholic bias, and has even given abortionist Henry Morgentaler a platform. LSN reported in 2005 that NCBC was paying Vision TV over $700,000 per year to air its programming.

LSN spoke with the National Catholic Broadcasting Council on Thursday and was told a spokesperson would return the call. After that, repeated calls over two days were not returned.

The Archdiocese of Toronto, where NCBC is based and which lists NCBC as a “media partner” on its website, did not wish to comment.

Contact Information:

National Catholic Broadcasting Council

21 Dunlop Street

Richmond Hill, Ontario, L4C 2M6

Toll Free: 1-888-383-6277

Local: 905-884-6899

Fax: 905-884-5164

E-mail: [email protected]

Archbishop Thomas Collins

Archdiocese of Toronto Catholic Pastoral Centre

1155 Yonge Street

Toronto, Ontario, M4T 1W2

Telephone: (416) 934-0606, ext. 609

Fax: (416) 934-3452

E-mail: [email protected]

See related coverage:

New Zealand Bishop Speaks Out Against Visit of Pro-Abortion Nun


Catholic-Supported Canadian TV Station Attacking Church Yet Again

Vision TV Moving toward More Openly Anti-Catholic Bias

Over $700,000 Catholic Church Funds to Canadian Anti-Catholic TV Network Questioned