Infuriorated. Befuddled. Disbelief. Utter disgust. Some of the thoughts (feelings?) that crossed my mind last night when I read several articles on the Vatican’s decision to appoint a Bishop to “reform” the workings of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious)…before I begin my thoughts on this…let me help set some context:
NunSpeak 101: LCWR–Conference of most of the Head Honcho Nuns in the US. Offer support, education, retreats, and social justice activism for most of the congregations in the country. Organization was originally set up by the Vatican. They do great work especially in helping congregations living out their charism (Nun word for “spirit/flavor” of each individual group) and responding to the needs of the time.
I was a member of a religious community (whose Provincials [Nun for: Boss Ladies] belonged to LCWR) for 6 years; vowed for 3. Religious life is a huge part of me and despite the fact that my “legal/canonical” status has changed, I still have very much spirit and commitment in me as a woman religious.
I don’t even know what to say. My first reaction was all of this rage-y energy flowing and I posted my fury on FB immediately. I couldn’t sleep last night…I was so distrubed. This is MY church…the faith tradition in which I believe, was raised, and continue to put energy into…what are these guys, and I mean GUYS, thinking? Why the attack on women religious? Do they forget who has established and maintained most schools and hospitals in this country? Do they forget teachings of the church like, hmmm…I don’t know…CATHOLIC SOCIAL TEACHING? Do we ignore the messages of JESUS? I feel like I’m in an episode of the twilight zone! Obviously, I’m a bit riled up.
This morning…I decided to look at today’s readings and was immediately struck with the 1st Reading: Acts 5:27-33–AMAZING! The Spirit speaks to me again. I guess my rage turned to anticipatory hope. Knowing I struggle with the hierarchy of the church prioritizing an attack on women religious’ conference speakers when we have real, human, social issues to deal with in the world, this reading reminding me that this is the work of Jesus…no matter how unfortunate it seems.
So using my ragey energy…I pray for our chuch, especially the hierarchy, today. That we be reminded of the God-ness in our faith and not the “man-ness” of power. That we see our church as a living organism…changing, adapting, mutating as necessary with the signs and needs of the time.
I pray for my girls–my woman religious family…that you have the courage and strength to continue to “fill Jerusalem with your teachings” and “obey God not man” in just and ways in which benefit humankind…sometimes at a great price.