Thursday, April 2, 2009

Clarifying 'Why I'm not a nun'

There is a real danger in journalists sending private messages through articles. And as I've found out, that extends to blog posts.

I learned the lesson on the former while editor of Catholic San Francisco. Then-Archbishop William Levada expressed his displeasure once with an article I had written for the paper.

The University of San Francisco had been quickly evolving into a center of homosexual agitprop under the direction of still-President Father Stephen Privett. Diocesan politics being what they were, the paper was in no position to openly challenge the university. So instead, I decided to cover one of their gender-bending conferences at which the Church and its doctrine was condemned for its sins of homophobia by an out-and-proud Jesuit priest who was/is the director of campus ministry.

The problem is, I covered it straight. Instead of getting a few key people to act on the silliness at USF as I'd hoped, readers including the archbishop thought I was joining in the agitprop by not giving any space to authentic church teaching.

Something similar has happened with a post I made here a couple days ago titled "'Why I'm not a nun' and other observations". No, the bishop hasn't complained, but enough readers came away with the wrong impression that the post merits a clarification.

Essentially, I posted without comment some recent items that appeared in NCR's Young Voices column. I then questioned what it said about the values of the Catholic Press Association that they award NCR its highest honor every year. The intention was to highlight the paper's descent into unalloyed heresy and get fellow CPA members to think about the integrity (and value) of their award process.

Instead, some readers from both ends of the spectrum, since no commentary was offered, took it as an endorsement of NCR's views. Some liberal-leaning friends thanked me for, finally, a thoughtful post, and more conservative friends wondered whether I'd gone off my meds.

So for the record, I do not think religious congregations can be reformed and revitalized by opening the doors to sexually-active, partnered, pro-abortion, ordained lesbians. Neither do I think the Body and Blood of Christ is suitably employed as a publicity stunt for an interdicted heretical nun. The original post is below followed by new comments:

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?

New commentary: The 'Young Voices' column at the NCR is the paper's attempt to appeal to a younger audience as its base approaches senescence and death. The views are nothing new to NCR, but they are more direct - lacking the tortured quality of the genre's older mainstays who've mastered the art of incorporating plausible deniability into their heresy.

The fact that the NCR now openly advocates against the Church's settled teaching on life and human sexuality and directly against legitimate Apostolic authority offers a challenge to the Catholic Press Association. The CPA no longer enjoys plausible deniability in making the NCR its perrennial darling if it is to have any meaning as a Catholic organization and not merely a press association.

As a side note, I do not think the youth strategy will benefit NCR's circulation. Nor will it benefit the vitality of the Women's Ordination Conference or Call to Action which have also started youth divisions (comprised of the very same people). The vast majority of people my age and younger who find the Church's teaching "flawed and destructive" are honest enough not to label their views Catholic. They know where the Church stands and they have no interest in wasting their lives trying to change it. Often, when they do decide they want reconnection to the Church, they are honest enough to know it is they themselves who must change.