I was born and raised a Catholic. Part of my education was in Catholic schools taught by nuns. Both my children were educated in Catholic schools. After reading the following newspaper article, I could not shake the topic from my mind. It compelled me to write this week’s blog entry.
The Vatican has declared war on America’s 55,000 nuns. The Vatican took four years to come up with a “doctrinal assessment” that found the nuns sadly lacking in the preferred decorum and doctrinal attitude.
The Vatican has a beef with the nuns because they spend too much time “promoting issues of social justice” and espousing political views that differ from those expressed by the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops, “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”
This sentence says it all. What is at stake is power and control. The Vatican and the American bishops will brook no discussion about what constitutes appropriate “political views” in the Catholic Church. Please show me in the Bible where God said that the nuns need to retreat into their wimples and shut up.
The bishops assert they are the “authentic teachers of faith and morals.” Say what? The authentic teachers of faith and morals in the Catholic Church have always been the nuns. The nuns taught me that I had a responsibility to the wider community. The nuns taught me to help the poor, the sick, and the needy. The nuns were teachers and health care workers. Their ministries lifted the downtrodden without judgment. Most importantly, the nuns didn’t just tell us what to do, they lived their words.
Please show me one picture of the Pope or his bishops in the classroom teaching inner city kids. One picture showing the Pope or his bishops serving hot soup to the homeless. One picture of the Pope or his bishops in a slum tending to the sick. I could go on and on.
Those in the Vatican reside in a world divorced from the real world. They have lost touch with people’s daily concerns: jobs, clothing, shelter, health care, education. You know, the things the nuns care about.
Sister Joan Chittiser says in the Reuters article that “difficult questions must be asked if the church is to remain vibrant, relevant and respected.” Suppression of discussion is “immoral…a mistake for the church…and despair for its people.”
Amen, Sister, amen.