Barbara Marx Hubbard was the featured speaker at this week’s Missouri meeting of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The main focus of the meeting was drafting a response to the Vatican’s claims that American nuns are “radical feminists” out of step with the church’s teaching. Of course, the members of LCWR don’t see themselves in this light.
The response to Rome’s doctrinal assessment is more eastern, writes Thomas C Fox for The National Catholic Reporter.
The statement simply absorbs the misunderstanding, pain, violence and abuse the women who gathered here find within the doctrinal assessment. Not unlike a Japanese Jujutsu move that manipulates an opponent’s force rather than confronting it with one’s own, the statement asked Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, the apostolic delegate appointed by CDF to oversee LCWR, to move forward with the women in more conversation.
Reporting on the statement from our American nuns continues below.
First, a short fashion film ‘Sisterhood’ by Json Adriani, with styling by Federica Salto and featuring Masha @ 2morrow model and Malgosia @ Urban Management.
This little gem expresses this moment in history at which humanity stands. Simply stated, the world finds itself in a battle over the truth and validity of more feminine principles versus holding on to primarily patriarchal ones. Perhaps subconsciously, Json Adriani’s new short identifies the reflection and contemplation required about the future vision of America, and the type of planet we seek.
Mitt Romney’s announcement today that Wisconsin Rep Paul Ryan is his running mate crystallizes dramatically the coming dialogue around American values. In response to the Vatican’s condemnation, American nuns have placed themselves as leaders in the discussion about the future of our country.
French Roast News
Anne is reading …
American nuns have responded to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith with a request for more dialogue and a vision of Christianity in the future. Sister Pat Farrell’s address also captures a 21st century vision of women as leaders in creating a sustainable planet.
Continuing his explanation of the nuns’ mindset, National Catholic Reporter publisher Thomas C. Fox writes:
The U.S. women religious have slowly come to imagine the hand of God in the very doctrinal assessment that has caused them so much anguish. As misrepresenting as they feel it is in describing the nature, mission and values of LCWR, the women, after much processing, are now seeing it as a kind of “trigger” moment, one that is forcing a uniquely public look at what LCWR is and what it has come to represent. The women do not see themselves operating in opposition to the hierarchy, but rather as a timely, needed pastoral complementary, feminine voice within the church.
LCWR’s president Sister Farrell’s closing address focused on the message and vision of the Second Vatican Council, a vision that is repudiated in many ways by Pope Benedict, who argues that the 2nd Vatican Council has been misinterpreted with any suggestion that it opened the door to an acceptance of homosexuality, sacraments for the divorced and re-married, women priests, or birth control.
The Vatican is using the 50th anniversary of the 2nd Vatican Council to reeducate Catholics about the real messages in a Year of Faith. Bottom line, the Catholic Church is facing major dialogue among its members in the coming year, and the nuns seek an active voice.
The LCWR board meets for two hours today with Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, the head of a three-bishop team chosen by Rome to overhaul the LCWR over the next five years.
“There is an inherent existential tension between the complementary roles of hierarchy and religious (the nuns) which is not likely to change,” Farrell told the sisters. “In an ideal ecclesial world, the different roles are held in creative tension, with mutual respect and appreciation, in an environment of open dialogue, for the building up of the whole church.”
Stating the obvious, she said the Vatican’s mandate over the LCWR “suggests that we are not currently living in an ideal ecclesial world.”
The sisters say they will keep on talking with the Vatican “for as long as possible” but will reconsider if the sisters are “forced to compromise the integrity of (their) mission.
Sister Sandra M. Schneiders, professor emeritus of New Testament studies at the Jesuit School of Theology/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Ca, told Laurie Goodstein of the New York Times: “There is definitely a desire to de-escalate the conflict, because fight is not what we’re about.” But there are also non-negotiables, she continued, including the sisters’ belief that God speaks through many people, not just through the bishops.
Paul Ryan Budget
Huff Po’s Senior Religon Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush has already responded to Mitt Romney’s choice of Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential pick with the same thought that went through my mind on hearing the news.
Nuns on the Bus, and the voice of American Nuns just got a big boost. It is the American nuns — far more than American bishops and priests as a group — who have challenged Ryan and the Ryan budget. I listened to Sister Simone Campbell here in Philadelphia a few weeks ago in a Nuns on the Bus stop.
Sister Simone Campbell argues that Ryan’s budget “rejects church teaching about solidarity, inequality, the choice for the poor, and the common good. That’s wrong.”
In a tearful moment between Sister Simone and myself, she fiercely pronounced: “We must get our country back.”
Catholic leaders who are more focused on social policy and the poor than the Vatican’s priority of contraception, homosexuality, no women priests and abortion have been aggressive in criticizing Paul Ryan. When scheduled to speak at Georgetown University, more than 90 faculty members including over a dozen Jesuit priests signed a letter about the Paul Ryan budget:
“Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Her call to selfishness and her antagonism toward religion are antithetical to the Gospel values of compassion and love.”
Nuns Challenge Romney
Earlier this week, Sister Simone’s social justice lobby NETWORK openly invited Republican candidate Mitt Romney to spend a day with them, learning about the needs of struggling families and low-income communities. The official press release from NETWORK said:
“Recent advertisements and statements from the campaign of Governor Romney demonize families in poverty and reflect woeful ignorance about the challenges faced by tens of millions of American families in these tough economic times,” stated Sister Simone Campbell. “We are all God’s children and equal in God’s eyes. Efforts to divide us by class or score political points at the expense of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters reveal the worst side of our country’s politics.”
As NETWORK demonstrated in their recent “Nuns on the Bus” tour, budget cuts proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan and endorsed by Mitt Romney will hurt struggling families throughout the nation. The Romney-Ryan budget would devastate services such as nutrition assistance, childhood education and job training that provide pathways out of poverty for millions of families.
Anne of Carversville
Thinking about Sister Simone and the message of the American nuns, I discovered the delightful and artistic English tent company Field Candy. (See images bottom of page). The tent Animal Farm immediately made me think of my beloved Baby Doll sheep on Cuttaloosa Road and the memorable moment I experienced one day watching the animals came marching out of the small barn as a band of merry revelers. Looking now, I see that Cuttalossa Farm is for sale.
Next up was the tent 10,000,000 Fireflies. They, too, are deeply rooted in my imagination and private identity. A video from the cancelled FOX show ‘Fireflies’ deeply captured my imagination and always inspires me in the fight for social justice.
The second essay shares a dream I had years ago — a dream about risk, fear of failure and ascending into the light. Thinking of all the people who have stood up for the Catholic nuns — and it’s a huge number — I just have to share the always inspiring video ‘Firefly and Serenity: Defying Gravity’.
Whenever my spirit needs a boost, I go for it. Today I share the video in honor of America’s nuns.
Slowly, consciousness returned to my sleeping brain functions. “This is impossible,” I whispered in my dream, as I floated now in a state of total awe. “I’m defying the law of gravity. I should be dead, a crumpled, bloody mess of a corpse in the cactus garden.”
My shocked, dreamstate mind regained control. Awareness and a plan of action returned to my sleeping mind. I was still in charge on my skyward journey, if I faced my fears. Looking at myself from the corner of my dream, I saw tears streaming down my face.
“Look up, Anne,” a voice told me.
Out of nowhere, the formation appeared … a simple, bucolic scene unfolded before my eyes that I will never forget. I don’t remember who led the parade … probably one of the dogs, but they came two by two.
Unlike Noah’s Ark, they were not matched pairs. The dog ambled along with the rooster; one of my precious Babydolls was frolicking with a duck…
The scene polarized me for several minutes, burning a vision of hope in my mind. It sounds so trite and overly simplistic to say this, but I remember thinking to myself: “If they can get along and have such a good time together … well, why can’t we humans do the same thing?”
These animals couldn’t be more different, but they had surmounted their differences to create unimaginable delight.
J’Adore: Field Candy classic design limited edition tents. Made in England.
Firefly and Serenity: Defying Gravity