Monday, March 30, 2009

'Why I'm not a nun' and other observations

Herewith, the latest wisdom from the National Catholic Reporter in their Young Voices column by Kate Childs Graham. In an open letter to Mother Mary Clare Millea, ACSJ, head of the Apostolic Visitation to U.S. Women Religious, Childs Graham writes:

. . .Women religious welcomed me with open arms, and I yearned to join them in their service to God. However, my decision not to join a community of women religious had little to do with their impact or welcome. In fact, had it just been their influence today you could probably call me Sister Kate. Rather, my decision not to become a woman religious was due to institutional church teaching on sexuality and gender.

You see, my discernment to religious life was inextricably linked with my guilt and self-reproach in discovering my identity as a lesbian woman. . .As I began to listen to my conscience, the voice of God within me, I discovered that church teaching against homosexuality is both flawed and destructive. . .

. . .I have listened to women whose true vocation was to the priesthood and becoming a woman religious was the closest they could get to fulfill their vocation.

In the spirit of full disclosure, you will be glad to know that while I still try to heed my call to lead a religious life, God has guided me toward my call to married life. My partner, Ariana, and I have now been married just shy of six months. I do wish that one day both women and men religious who feel a call to religious life but not to celibate life will be able to fully heed their call.

My hope is that the Holy Spirit will be able to work through the Apostolic Visitation, revealing and healing the homophobia and sexism that is prevalent at all levels of our church. My story is just one of many; however, I truly believe that until these wounds are healed, our church will see a decline, not only in vocations to religious life but also in the laity.

Childs Graham's last piece for NCR was titled, "I am a prochoice Catholic."

Just previous, Jamie L. Manson wrote an article titled "The church of magical thinking" which gave this approving vignette of group sacrilege in St. Louis:
In my recent travels, I had the powerful opportunity to listen to a member of Sr. Louise Lears’ parish tell the story of the nun’s attending Mass on the first Sunday after she was placed under interdict. Her 85-year old mother was at her side. Not wanting to jeopardize the parish any further, Sr. Louise followed behind her mother as she went up to receive Communion. Her mother took Communion, broke it, turned around and gave it to her daughter. After witnessing this, Sr. Louise’s sister, Kate, and many other parishioners went and did the same. By the end of communion, Sr. Louise’s hands were filled with fragments of the Eucharist. After the Mass was over, as the family was standing in the back, Louise’s mother said to her daughter, “I was the first person to feed you, and I will feed you now.”

O, Church, where is your victory? O, Hierarchy, where is your sting?

If history is any guide, the National Catholic Reporter will be given the top award for a national paper by the Catholic Press Association at its convention in May - They have won for as long as memory serves.

The Key is not a competitor in this category with NCR, so the complaint is not sour grapes. I just wonder what this consistency in awarding its highest honor to NCR each year says about the values of the association?