LifeSiteNews.com

News

Dissident U.S. Nuns Unlikely to Change, Even in Face of Vatican Inquiry and Shrinking Numbers: Exper

LifeSiteNews.com

By Hilary White

ROME, April 22, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The leadership of a prominent left-leaning group of Catholic sisters is scheduled to meet today with Vatican officials to explain some "doctrinal content" of speeches given at its annual assemblies.

In February, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) launched a "doctrinal assessment" of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the largest umbrella organisation for sisters in the US, after "concerns" were raised about the "tenor and doctrinal content" of some addresses at the group’s annual meetings since 2001.

As reported last week by the National Catholic Reporter, in his letter to LCWR dated February 20, William Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the CDF, said that among the issues of interest to the Vatican is the group’s understanding of Catholic teaching on homosexuality, as well as other central doctrinal issues.

The Vatican announced that it has appointed Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio to supervise the probe into what long-time observers have identified as one of the most prominent dissident and "liberal" Catholic organisations in the US.

Cardinal Levada noted that LCWR leaders had met with the CDF in 2001 to address members’ reception of Church teaching on the restriction of ordination to men, Catholic teaching on the nature of the Church, other religions and Christian denominations and "the problem of homosexuality." Levada said it is clear that, given the content of recent meetings of LCWR, "the problems which had motivated its request in 2001 continue to be present." 

One keynote address delivered at the LCWR 2007 meeting is representative of the problematic ideas embraced by many of the LCWR communities. In the address Dominican Sister Laurie Brink said that the more liberal or "sojourning" congregations were leaving behind "institutional religion" and "moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus."

"A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical," she said. "Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian."

She added, "Jesus is not the only son of God. Salvation is not limited to Christians."

Fr. Philip Powell, a priest of the Dominican order and an author and popular Catholic blogger, told LSN in an interview that he believes that the investigation is long overdue. He added, however, that he has doubts as to what it could accomplish after so many years. The LCWR "culture of opposition" is entrenched, he said. "From some of the things I’ve read about LCWR and from my own personal experiences as a seminarian and in religious life, there’s a real tendency of these women to form their identity around their opposition."

"The LCWR has worked to undermine the Church’s ancient teachings," he said, "particularly those about nature of Christ and the Church and sexuality." Fr. Powell said that the group’s keynote addresses and speeches "have been uniformly anti-hierarchy, anti-clerical, anti-magisterium. They tend to push an eco-feminist ‘new cosmology’ ideology over and against basic Christian beliefs.

"They aren’t simply tinkering with the packaging here. They are gutting the gift."

An umbrella organisation, LCWR, founded in 1956, has more than 1,500 members representing about 95 per cent of the 59,000 women religious in the U.S. While LCWR is the largest organisation for women religious in the US, its member communities are uniformly aging with few new recruits and an increasing amount of their resources devoted to caring for elderly sisters. Nevertheless, LCWR remains one of the leading voices in the US on the extreme left of "social justice" issues, such as immigration, the Iraq war and environmental concerns.

In 1991, author Donna Steichen published the landmark exposé study of US women’s religious orders, "Ungodly Rage: the hidden face of Catholic feminism," in which she recounts her own first-hand experiences with groups of "progressive" Catholic sisters in the US, including LCWR.

The book is regarded as the definitive account of a movement that began in women’s religious orders in the 1960s that focused on their systemic revolt against the authority of the Church. It detailed the openly anti-Catholic preaching of "Catholic" feminist theologians, particularly the movement’s defence of abortion, homosexuality and its connections with witchcraft and New Age rituals.

Steichen told (LSN) in an interview that she welcomes the Vatican intervention, but added that "it is at least 30 years behind the need."

Steichen pointed that in the last several decades, "The communities involved [in the LCWR] have almost completed their suicides, and they know it, and it gives them pause."

She pointed out that, in her opinion, "The future clearly lies with the new and reformed young orders of, one might say, ‘primitive’ [traditional Catholic] observance."

Many of these "new and reformed" orders belong to a smaller, counter-organisation to LCWR that was set up in the United States in 1992, for those religious orders who had rejected the revolt of the LCWR communities against the teachings of the Church. Its growing list of communities is characterised by the sisters’ youth, adherence to Catholic teaching and their retention of the traditional observances of the religious life such as the wearing of a habit.

Fr. Powell agreed with Streichen’s analysis of the current state of affairs, particularly concerning the dismal future for many of the LCWR communities. "Any kind of positive sense they [LCWR communities] have of themselves is a result of their opposition to the Church," he said.

"In LCWR keynote speeches you’ll see they see themselves as persecuted, misunderstood and ignored prophets. It seems important to them to continue playing this role."

The future, he said, is not bright for these communities, given the rising median ages of the sisters and the very few applicants. Fr. Powell said it is amazing that they continue so doggedly on the path of "dissent."

"The prescriptions being offered in their addresses are only going to guarantee their continued decline," he said. "It seems extraordinarily odd that they can’t see that no one wants to buy what they’re offering." 


Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:

Denver Archbishop Recalls "Progressive" Nuns to Obedience to the Church
http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/aug/08080806.html



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Mike Mozart, CC
Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

News,

Texas AG to Target: Show me how you’ll protect women and kids from criminals

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien

AUSTIN, Texas, May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The latest backlash Target received as a result of its transgender bathroom policy was a letter from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asking the company to provide its safety policies to protect women and children from “those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes.” 

“Target, of course, is free to choose such a policy for its Texas stores,” Paxton wrote in a letter to Target CEO Brian Cornell. He noted the possibility of the Texas Legislature addressing the issue in the future, but said, “regardless of whether Texas legislates on this topic, it is possible that allowing men in women’s restrooms could lead to criminal and otherwise unwanted activity.”

“As chief lawyer and law enforcement officer for the State of Texas, I ask that you provide the full text of Target’s safety policies regarding the protection of women and children from those who would use the cover of Target’s restroom policy for nefarious purposes,” Paxton continued.

More than 1.1 million people have pledged to boycott Target over its new policy allowing men to access women’s bathrooms.  Opponents of the policy worry that it puts women and children at risk by emboldening predators, who may now freely enter women’s restrooms. 

Target’s new policy is “inclusive,” the company claims, and they say “everyone…deserves to be protected from discrimination, and treated equally.” 

“Texans statewide can no longer be silent on the issue of protecting the safety of women and children,” Texas Values President and Attorney Jonathan Saenz said in a statement Wednesday urging Texans to boycott Target.  This is the first time in its history the pro-family group has called for a boycott. 

“We need all Texans to understand that Target is using this radical change in their store policy to try convince people that our laws should be changed in this dangerous direction as well,” said Saena.  “Our goal with this boycott is for Target to change its dangerous new policy, to raise awareness of the real threats to safety that these policies bring and to help businesses and lawmakers understand the significant opposition to such measures that is growing daily… Texans all across our state must join this Boycott Target effort before someone gets hurt.”

On Tuesday a male allegedly filmed an underage girl at a Frisco, Texas, Target fitting room.  Police are searching for the man. 

There have been numerous incidents of male predators across North America accessing women’s facilities and citing transgender policies as allowing them to do so.  



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against a katz / Shutterstock.com
Albert Mohler

Opinion,

Christians, America has reached a crisis point. Are you ready to take up this challenge?

Albert Mohler

May 5, 2016 (Albert Mohler) -- For nearly two and a half centuries, Americans have enjoyed the enormous privilege and responsibility of forming our own government—a privilege rarely experienced throughout most of human history. For most of history, humanity has struggled with the question of how to respond to a government that was essentially forced upon them. But Americans have often struggled with a very different reality; how do we rightly respond to the government that we choose? 

To put all of this in historical perspective, the Framers of the American experiment understood that a representative democracy built on the principle of limited government would require certain virtues of its citizens. These would include a restraint of passions and an upholding of traditional moral virtues, without which democracy would not be possible. As the idea of limited government implies, the citizenry would be required to carry out the social responsibilities of the community without the intrusion of government and, thus, citizens would be expected to have the moral integrity necessary for such an arrangement. The Framers of the American Republic also agreed that it would be impossible to have a representative democracy and a limited government if the people did not elect leaders who embodied the virtues of the citizenry while also respecting and protecting society’s pre-political institutions: marriage and family, the church, and the local community.

Thus, the idea of a limited government requires that society uphold and pursue the health of its most basic institutions. When a civil society is weak, government becomes strong. When the family breaks down, government grows stronger. When the essential institutions of society are no longer respected, government demands that respect for itself. That is a recipe for tyranny.

Much of this was essentially affirmed until the early decades of the 20th century when progressivists began promoting an agenda that fundamentally redefined the role of the federal government in public life. By the middle of the 20th century, the Democratic Party had essentially embraced this progressivist agenda, becoming committed to an increasingly powerful government—a government whose powers exceeded those enumerated in the Constitution. At the same time, the Democratic Party also began advocating for a basic redefinition of the morality that shaped the common culture. By and large, however, the Republican Party continued to maintain a commitment to the vision of America’s founders, advocating for a traditional understanding of morality while also upholding the principle of limited government.

By the 1980s, the two parties represented two very different worldviews and two very different visions of American government. For decades, each party has acted rather predictably and in ways that accord with their fundamental principles. All of that, however, has now changed.

The 2016 presidential campaign has developed in an entirely unpredictable manner and, in many respects, represents a crisis in American democracy. This crisis is not limited to either party. Bernie Sanders, the Independent senator from Vermont, has won several stunning victories in the primary season over presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. While it is still extremely likely that Clinton will become the Democratic nominee, Sanders support among voters represents a populist flirtation with Democratic Socialism. This pattern is something few Democrats could have imagined just one year ago. What this foray into Democratic Socialism represents, then, is a radical adjustment of the Democratic Party’s basic economic principles. Thus, even if Hillary Clinton becomes the nominee, the process will likely drag her even further to the left, eventually redefining the Democratic Party before our very eyes.

But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.

As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.

This fundamental redefinition of the American political landscape requires Christians to think carefully about their political responsibility. Make no mistake; we cannot avoid that responsibility. Even refusing to vote is itself a vote because it privileges those who do vote and increases the value of each ballot. In truth, we bear a political responsibility that cannot be dismissed or delegated to others. Every Christian must be ready to responsibly steward his or her vote at the polls.

To put the matter bluntly, we are now confronted with the reality that, in November, Hillary Clinton will likely be the Democratic nominee and Donald Trump the Republican nominee. This poses a significant problem for many Christians who believe they cannot, in good conscience, vote for either candidate. As a result, Christians are going to need a lot of careful political reflection in order to steward their vote and their political responsibility in this election cycle.

Headlines from around the world tell us that other representative democracies are at a similar moment of redefinition. Political turmoil now marks the United Kingdom and also nations like France and other key American allies. Perhaps democracy itself is now facing a crucial hour of decision and a crucial season of testing. It is no exaggeration to say that democracy is being tested around the world; it is certainly being tested here at home. Yet if this is a moment of testing for democracy, it is also a crucial moment for Christian witness. This election cycle is going to be a particular test for American Christians—and we are about to find out if Christians are up to this challenge.

Reprinted with permission from Albert Mohler.



Share this article

Advertisement
Featured Image
Shutterstock.com
Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

News

‘Sick and twisted’: Scientists keep embryos alive outside womb up to 13 days for experimentation

Ben Johnson Ben Johnson Follow Ben

May 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Two teams of scientists have announced that they have been able to keep human embryos alive outside the womb for 13 days for the purpose of conducting scientific experiments. Some call the announcement the onset of a “Brave New World,” while others are petitioning lawmakers to lift sanctions that would keep scientists from experimenting on newly conceived babies even longer.

Researchers from Cambridge University, King's College, and Rockefeller University said in two separate reports that they stopped at 13 days only to avoid violating an internationally accepted law. At least 12 nations restrict the amount of time a newly conceived child may be kept alive in a laboratory to 14 days, the point at which scientists believe “individuality” begins.

The newest development allows scientists to observe newly conceived human beings after the point at which implantation in the womb would have occurred.

Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz, one of the studies' lead researchers, said her team's breakthrough could advance embryonic stem cell research and “can improve IVF success.”

Some scientists have called on the international community to extend the amount of time such experimentation can take place.

“If restrictions such as the 14-day rule are viewed as moral truths, such cynicism would be warranted,” three experts – Insoo Hyun, Amy Wilkerson, and Josephine Johnston – wrote in a commentary published yesterday in Nature magazine. “But when they are understood to be tools designed to strike a balance between enabling research and maintaining public trust, it becomes clear that, as circumstances and attitudes evolve, limits can be legitimately recalibrated.”

Pro-life experts said the experimentation destroys human life and could lead to grave ethical dilemmas by extending the research.

“No human being should be used for lethal experimentation, no matter their age or stage of development,” said Dr. David Prentice, a professor of molecular genetics and an Advisory Board Member for the Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center. “The 14-day rule is itself arbitrary, and does not assuage those who believe life begins at the moment of sperm-egg fusion. Moreover, allowing experiments on human embryos beyond 14 days post-fertilization risks the lives of untold more human beings, because it further encourages creation and destruction for research purposes.”

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, called the experimentation “sick and twisted.”

“Science has undeniably proven that a new human life, with unrepeatable DNA, begins at conception,” she said. “There is no reason for experimentation on that human life and science itself should not be heralding thae fact that a tiny human being can survive now for two weeks outside of the womb, all for the sole purpose of experimentation.”

Dr. Prentice noted that embryonic stem cell research “has yielded no benefit thus far,” leading even its most vocal advocates, such as Michael J. Fox, to admit it has not lived up to its promise.

“If this research does not stop at 14 days, where does it stop?” asked Prentice. “This is a risky step which could encourage further eugenic attitudes and actions.”

Dr. Prentice encouraged Congress “to have a full and open debate on the issue of human embryo research before the research community moves further without oversight.”



Advertisement

Customize your experience.

Login with Facebook