Thursday, May 10, 2012

Quote of the Day

We must be honest and admit that there are only two remaining large systems in the world that are totally patriarchal in their style and in their leadership: Communist states and the Roman Catholic Church. Ours never looked quite as bad since we at least used the language of Jesus, the symbols of communion, humility, and service, and we men even dress in rather feminine robes. The Communist states make no display of humility themselves or respect for the feminine side of anything. But the real bottom lines in the Roman Church are becoming more and more apparent to thinking and spiritual people in the last decade or so. Despite the very clear reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's, the Roman patriarchy, a closed system that allows no prophetic critique, and their branch appointed officers (bishops) are step by step rolling back both the spirit and the letter of the Vatican II reforms – while pretending and saying they are not. (Remember, if you can reject this Council, then you have the basis for rejecting the other 20 Councils of the Church too! The Pope and bishops had better be very careful!)

Deceit and supposed magnanimity are at the heart of all patriarchies, or otherwise their subjects would see what they are actually doing. North Koreans also believe their "Great Father" is protecting them, as did many Filipinos under Marcos, and Russians under their Tsars and Tsaritsas.

No group accepted the reforms and tried to renew itself following the Council like the American Sisters. Yes, they made their mistakes, and also enjoyed certain matriarchal benefits over the laity. Nevertheless, this cruel, humiliating, and intimidating attempt by the Roman Curia ("the place that cares for") to punish and control the American sisters is being seen for what it is, and what it is not: It IS male patriarchal control, hurt feelings because they are not that much in control any more, and it is certainly NOT anything like Jesus or the Gospel. Patriarchal systems normally engineer their own demise by such gross misuse of power. We all need to sincerely pray – and speak much needed Gospel to very worldly power.

– Richard Rohr, OFM
May 10, 2012

See also the previous PCV posts:
The Vatican's Latest Target in the War on Women: Nuns
LCWR: Why Are We Not Surprised?


  1. Good for Richard Rohr. I commented on another site that if Richard Rohr had written Sr. Lauri Brinks speech, no Catholic, and certainly not the Vatican, would have ever known about it or cared about it. But a sister wrote it, and oh my Jesus, can't be havin' any of that nonsense from women.

  2. Let not the bishops be the determiner of the fate of the LCWR. Let young women and age be the determiner.

    The average age of LCWR religious orders is over 70. Young women want nothing to do with them. Those orders will all be gone in 20 or 30 years and it will have nothing to do with bishops.

    The small number of orders that are not members of the LCWR, who retain the religious habit, are growing by leaps and bounds. Because there are so many opportunities for women these days, and there are so few Catholic schools, the numbers of women religious will never be as large as it was in 1970.

    But what there will be will be very orthodox, and they will be wearing full religious habits, and no doubt will be attending the Mass in Latin while the priest faces the crucifix [ad orientem, to the east], not entertaining the congregation while they sing "Gather Us In."

  3. Ray's an aging bully. Maybe he needs a good old-fashioned ruler smacking by an aging nun.

  4. @"Those orders will all be gone in 20 or 30 years and it will have nothing to do with bishops."

    I'm afraid what's vanishing is the church itself, Ray.

    Did you not read the Pew data released several years ago, which shows that one in three adults raised Catholic in the U.S. have now walked away, and one in ten American adults is a former Catholic?

    Our bleeding of members at the level of lay Catholics is a far, far greater problem than the graying of both the priesthood and religious life. What base will sustain those young "orthodox" communities you imagine are coming along, as more and more Catholics walk away?

    Or, to be more precise, are shoved away by the smaller-purer crowd that have held such power under the last two papacies--which have produced this very exodus.

  5. " We all need to sincerely pray – and speak much needed Gospel to very worldly power." We need to learn, i.e. read, think and act. The answers are out there that negate that power.