Some people ask: What could you possibly need $30,000 a month for?
To which I respond: How can we possibly run a nationwide and worldwide movement to transform a well-funded, entrenched 2000-year-old institution with any less?
There is new evidence this month of the need for the Catholic laity to speak up and speak out about our Church. Two recent developments underscore that need:
* Experiencing the same trauma that U.S. Catholics suffered when the clergy sex abuse scandal was exposed in the U.S. in 2002, Catholics in Ireland are now realizing how much has been hidden away from their sight in parishes, schools and orphanages throughout that country; and
* The Vatican has recently launched two investigations in the U.S., not to further understand the sexual abuses by clergy, but to identify American nuns who do not have sufficient “fidelity” to the Vatican.
Everything is wrong here beginning with the notion that VOTF - composed of small groups of largely elderly folk who have always had a beef with the Church - are either called, qualified or relevant to reforming the Bride of Christ. Bad bishops, bad priests - sure, they should be called out. But it is the Church which exists with Christ as its head, guided by the Holy Spirit and led by Apostolic authority which exists to transform Her members.
Second, I have no clue from this letter what $30,000 a month sent to Massachusetts does for the Catholics in Ireland - more delusion of grandeur.
Finally though, this idea that the Church must concentrate its attention on a single problem at all times with all of its resources. The Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious has nothing to do with the sex abuse scandal and neither does the Doctrinal Review of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. And neither endeavor involves resources otherwise available to further understand sexual abuse by clergy.
How soon so many forget, and I'm not speaking here only of VOTF, that there was a very extensive visitation of U.S. seminaries and houses of formation for men. It was much more involved that anything proposed in the two women religious visitations. It also found that seminaries had greatly improved over their last visitation and were now generally healthy (with notable exceptions at some centers for male religious). That health itself was, in part, a fruit of the prior visitation.
There is a false idea furthered here and elsewhere that the visitations for women religious constitute a misogynistic diversion and witch hunt without precipitating cause. We'll look at that claim in a later post. In the meantime, check out Ann Carey's excellent post at pewsitter, "Many Sisters Have Prayed For and Welcome the Vatican’s Visitation."