Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

gathered for spiritual change

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Mar 20, 2006

Rich Leonardi calls our attention to a notice on the website of Cincinnati's Sisters of Charity -- not to be confused with Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity -- announcing March 25th as the World Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination.

Can't help but think there's a problem here somewhere.

What does it mean for professed women religious -- whose vows only make sense in, and only have validity in virtue of, the structures of authority of the Roman Catholic Church -- to pray for a change in that which the same Church has definitively declared to be unchangeable? The mental act required to make this prayer obliges them to hop outside the Church long enough to express the intention, and then hop back inside again when (as they conceive) the prayer would be granted. It can't be done. Yet we all know this continual flip-flopping of spiritual allegiance is the norm, not the exception, for a certain generation of religious sisterhoods.

Sisters of Charity photo: un-renewed pre-conciliar religious life

Notwithstanding the doctrinal incoherence, it's plain that these gals have come a long way from the sponge-on-the-fevered-brow model of the corporal works of mercy. Their structural justice page informs us that they're playing at the Big Table. The Sisters of Charity feel themselves challenged

  • To design methods of non-violent challenges to patriarchy
  • To empower the prophetic voices of those advocating alternative world views
  • To collaborate with other groups promoting transformation of dominant structures
  • To create alternative ways of being church e.g. alternative forms of liturgy

OK, one might find a residuum of good will in the midst of the progressivist cant, but it's so pointlessly squandered. Theological considerations aside, who would deliver more of a shock -- a needed shock -- to the complacencies of the materialist culture in which we live: the emancipated anti-patriarchal woman religious of 2006, or the low-profile, 1956-model Bride of Christ?

Sisters of Charity photo: fully renewed post-conciliar religious life

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