Action Alert!

taking sides

By Diogenes (articles) | Oct 18, 2007

Via Thomas Peters, we learn that the cross-dressing Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, two of whom received communion from the hand of Archbishop George Niederauer on October 7th, have posted a facetious press release concerning the incident, headlined "Sisters Upset Communion Being Turned into Political Issue." The press release quotes the "abbess" of the gay agit-prop group, who calls herself Sister Edith Myflesh.

The moniker "Edith Myflesh," it goes without saying, makes reference to John 6:54 (in its King James Version), "Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life." The disdain conveyed by the flip allusion to Jesus' Eucharistic teaching, compounded by the lewdness of the sexual double entendre, points to a hatred of Christianity that borders on frenzy.

The intensity of the gay-activist antipathy as well as its target of choice is displayed with exceptional clarity in the Drag Nuns Communion incident, and the reactions to the incident highlight the fault-lines along which the U.S. Church is split. One might think gay-friendly moderates would cringe at the flamboyance of the drag-queen activism and the belligerence of the Sister Edith sacrilege, but in fact the reproaches come exclusively from the conservative side of the aisle, while the progressivists seem unable to grasp what all the fuss is about. Some have hesitantly conceded that the Sister Act was "inappropriate" -- as if the dispute hinged on the etiquette of church-going -- but the general liberal consensus seems to be that anything that antagonizes the Catholic League must be on the right track and worthy of defense.

Deplorable though their stuntmanship was, the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence may, contrary to their intent, perform a signal service for orthodox Catholics and for the Church at large. Think back to 2005, and the in-fighting surrounding the upcoming Doomsday Doc, eventually issued as the Vatican Instruction on "Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies." The controversial point was the Holy See's contention that homosexual men lack the "affective maturity" necessary to the spiritual paternity in which the priesthood is authentically lived out. Remember the delegation sent ahead of time by the U.S. bishops begging that the Instruction be shelved? Remember the squeals when it was issued all the same? Remember the gasps of indignation at its statement that homosexuality was a "disturbance of a sexual nature ... incompatible with the priesthood"?

So picture a priest or bishop working in the Vatican curia who lived through the Doomsday Doc warfare and the arguments back-and-forth. And now on his office computer he's got a video-link to the Mass at Most Holy Redeemer. "Deep-seated homosexual tendencies are objectively disordered," he recites to himself, watching adult men in mascara and nun-drag given communion by a U.S. archbishop, "Got that right." No screed, no treatise, no series of lectures could make the point more memorably.

Will it make a difference, concretely? Not in the short term. The majority of U.S. bishops, remember, was trained in a theological culture that views the Sister's principal lapse as "over-accessorizing." Blasphemy (little different from heresy in this respect) is treated as a quaint, 19th-century sort of sin, the censure of which would be as comically obsolete as a treatment for dropsy or St. Vitus Dance, and few churchmen speak ill of the objective disorder in whose service the blasphemy is uttered. We can expect few efforts to tackle the current scandal. But the post-Conciliar ecclesiastics are passing away, and their successors are bolder where they're wrong and bolder where they're right. By putting their real motives on open display, Sister Edith and her pals have helped shape the terms of the conflict for the next generation.

Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 19 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: sparch - Dec. 21, 2009 2:18 PM ET USA

    I will take the steel pipe with nails on the end. It would be like those during the mideviel years where people flogged themselves, they were flogging themselves for penance for the state of the world they lived in. The penance involved here is watching the play acting trying to beleive it is relevent

  • Posted by: rpp - Dec. 20, 2009 4:12 AM ET USA

    You are so cruel to make us watch this. What is next with them, pentagrams? I am certain that the "In the name of the creator, redeemer and sanctifier" (lower case intentional) crowd will not see the problem. However, I can take comfort that nearly all of them are elderly.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 19, 2009 9:51 PM ET USA

    It reminds me of the scene in Titanic at the end when the ship was sinking you had people playing music to keep the others getting off the boat distracted; well keep singing sisters while others avoid the sinking ships that are your congregations!

  • Posted by: Japheth - Dec. 19, 2009 8:26 PM ET USA

    The video is a heck of an argument against women priests.

  • Posted by: bugbyte1243319 - Dec. 19, 2009 7:37 PM ET USA

    Okay, I'll take the pipe. Maybe I'll stuff it with shredded wimples and smoke it! I kept waiting for a giant spider to drop from the ceiling, or the crocheted mothership to land.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 19, 2009 1:59 PM ET USA

    I couldn't stand it all through. And yet, I would prefer not to be beaten with a steel pipe either. Go figure.

  • Posted by: Miss Cathy - Dec. 19, 2009 4:05 AM ET USA

    They don't need an Apostolic Visitation, they got silly string!!!!!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 18, 2009 11:06 PM ET USA

    At the end -- at around 8 min 15 sec or so -- the sisters did something different. They sang a pair of songs in French and Latin, from the community's original heritage. Now, the fact that this international gathering could sing these together is a more believable expression of unity than some contrived "ritual".

  • Posted by: - Dec. 18, 2009 10:15 PM ET USA

    Why, oh why, didn't I just take the pipe?

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Dec. 18, 2009 9:11 PM ET USA

    Oh glory, I've seen this used in bad Confirmation programs and lame retreats. It's supposed to be a 'bonding' exercise--sort of like the Geico ad where the exec wants to fall backward and have the gecko catch him. It's all about building trust and community. (Gack!) These ladies are definitely stuck in the 70's--and edging toward 70 as an average age, since this won't help them recruit new blood.

  • Posted by: adamah - Dec. 18, 2009 8:23 PM ET USA

    The pipe! Hit me with the steel pipe! Oh, PLEASE HIT ME WITH THE STEEL PIPE.....REALLY HARD!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 18, 2009 8:20 PM ET USA

    They look pathetically undignified, and glum besides. If it's neither reverent, nor beautiful, nor fun, why are they doing it at all? I fear it's because they are docile, and someone told them they should. OTOH, they don't seem to be worshipping the goddess Sophia. Honestly, I have seen far worse.

  • Posted by: islandpastries1867 - Dec. 18, 2009 7:41 PM ET USA

    Okay, okay, I'll send a check, but please, no mas!! :)

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Dec. 18, 2009 7:40 PM ET USA

    Lord, have mercy on us. How can these women participate in such drivel without bursting into laughter at the absurdity?

  • Posted by: Paladin - Dec. 18, 2009 6:35 PM ET USA

    I watched to the conclusion. I have no idea what they were doing.

  • Posted by: jmoore20082145 - Dec. 18, 2009 5:35 PM ET USA

    Yech! Definitely, the steel pipe for me! How low can they go?????

  • Posted by: Gil125 - Dec. 18, 2009 5:25 PM ET USA

    Now, what intelligent young woman, fervent in her love of Christ and the Blessed Virgin, wouldn't be irresistably attracted to these people and their ancient ritual? How can there be any shortage of vocations to the religious life? It must be the work of Satan.

  • Posted by: phil L - Dec. 18, 2009 5:00 PM ET USA

    Steel pipe for me, too, thanks. And you wonder why the Vatican is investigating the health of American women's religious communities?

  • Posted by: DrJazz - Dec. 18, 2009 4:54 PM ET USA

    I watched the first 45 seconds or so . . . mark down one for the steel pipe beating. In fact, I might just grab the nearest piece of metal and start self-inflicting right now . . . Any chance we can get the Church to impose a drug-testing model similar to MLB? You know, first positive test result = 50 Mother Angelica reruns; second positive test result = 100 laps around the convent; third positive test result = excommunication. These sisters just _have_ to be smoking a lot of _something_.