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Sr. Brigid calls it like she sees it
May 5, 2012 9:26 AM   Subscribe

I still call him Ratzinger. That fits him better. But that is just a personal bias ... The nuns that I talk to aren't really afraid, because they can't see or they can't imagine what he would do to change us. I mean, like, excommunication? That is a thing of the past. You can't excommunicate hundreds of nuns. Wouldn't that be kind of funny? Excommunicate the whole order! It is irrational. Sr. Brigid McDonald, of the Sisters of St. Joseph, speaks the truth to power (single link interview, but delightful).
posted by TheShadowKnows (86 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nuns, the investigation also concluded, spend too much energy on poverty and economic injustice and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage.

Yes, because as we all know, Jesus was much more concerned with teh gayz than the poor.

"too much energy on poverty." Seriously, what the fuck?
posted by FfejL at 9:37 AM on May 5, 2012 [36 favorites]


MP: Somebody suggested to me that nuns in the past had enjoyed some latitude because you were thought to be powerless, and that in a strange way, this might be recognition that your ministry is powerful.

SBM: That is good insight. Because [before] we were just school teachers and we just had nice little kids in front of us, you know, and we just emptied bed pans in the nursing homes and in the hospitals. But now they are right, we are out there in the different movements. We help with the Occupy movement and the right-to-choice movements.

It is giving us more credibility in the public. Lots of times people will call and seek out our opinions about certain issues, where it never was that way when I entered the convent. After we taught school, we went home, and said our prayers and ate supper and did our lesson plans and went to bed. Now we are out there.



Sorry, what the hell? When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?
posted by lazaruslong at 9:39 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


This woman is fantastic; smart, articulate, and brave. Bravo! If I was a member of her order, I would let her speak on my behalf in a heartbeat. My great aunt is a retired nun; I really need to ask her what she thinks about this.
posted by Brocktoon at 9:40 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Nuns, the investigation also concluded, spend too much energy on poverty and economic injustice and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage.

What would Mother Teresa do?
posted by infini at 9:48 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


think they are overstepping their jurisdiction to expect that nuns are going to think as they tell us to think. To me those issues are not spiritual issues; many of them are political issues and some, of course, are social justice issues. I think that our personal spiritual life, it is another matter and that is our private belief.

I can't even begin to imagine what he could say or do that would change religious women's beliefs. I don't know how he plans to change that. That is of concern. That could be scary — what will he do to change our beliefs. You know, that scares me.


Err, isn't exactly that his job? Vicar of Chirst, infallible spokesman of God on Earth, or something?

It doesn't sounds like she has a problem with this pronouncement...she has a problem with hierarchical organized religon.

Or if he is really trying to get us to make statements that are opposite of our beliefs, I don't know what his motivation is for this. Other than control, I don't know what his motivation is.

Well, there's your answer, Sister.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:51 AM on May 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


What would Mother Teresa do?

Promote suffering, blind obedience to Church authority and overbreeding as positive things?
posted by delfin at 9:53 AM on May 5, 2012 [64 favorites]


Sorry, what the hell? When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?

The nuns I had for teachers were not all conservative. Two of the (younger @ the time) sisters were fairly openminded & deeply involved in the antiwar movement.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:54 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm completely opposed to what the Catholic Church is doing here, but I am "sympathetic" to the problem they face, in the same way that I'm "sympathetic" to the problems that enemy generals are facing when I read about WWII.

They perceive that they are between a rock and a hard place - that the only way the Church provides cohesion and justifies the entrenched central power structure is if they keep exactly the same moral rules over the centuries.

The trouble is that by doing so, they are alienating a whole generation of people in first world countries, even though they are cementing the loyalty of their third-world worshippers. The role of "nun" is headed for extinction in America, and the one thing that might attract a young woman to the calling, which would be a fight for social justice, is the one thing the Church believes they can't ever allow.

There's a separate issue with priests in first world countries, and that's "the love that dare not speak its name". Again, the rate of young people entering the priesthood is so small that it would seem almost certain that there won't be nearly enough priests within one generation. It has been candidly claimed to me by a couple of Catholic friends that if they threw out all the practicing homosexual priests the entire system would collapse (and that's ignoring the fact that there are also quite a lot of practicing heterosexual priests with long-term "housekeepers" who are really their committed life-partners).

My personal thinking is that there needs to be a Vatican III where they make a large, one-time change under the helm of an inspired, iconoclastic pope - embrace homosexuality and birth control. Unfortunately, Ratzinger is not that man, and he seems quite healthy for a man his age, so we're not likely to get another pope for quite a long time, and even then it's doubtful that the old guard would ever allow it.

John Paul I could quite likely have been that man, given his extremely liberal views on birth control at least, but he suddenly and surprisingly died only a few weeks after the beginning of his reign. I have read a couple of "conspiracy theory" books on that subject and I'm not sure what to think. I certainly don't think either of them proved that he was killed at all - but it is an undeniable and legally proven fact that there were huge and active crimes and conspiracies going on in the Vatican during that time, not just the Banco Ambrosiano scandal but also P2.

Since I'm not particularly fond of religions in general nor Catholicism in particular, I think this self-destructive rigidity is a Good Thing as it will lead to the collapse of the Church in a couple of generations - I'm just sad for all the people who will be temporally and spiritually damaged while it collapses.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:59 AM on May 5, 2012 [16 favorites]


Today's Boston Globe reports that Bernard Cardinal Law is linked to the order that censured the nuns. This would be the same Cardinal Law that shielded pedophile priests over several decades.

(I'd link to the article, but the Globe's asinine paywall prevents me from even linking to an abstract. Fie.)
posted by pxe2000 at 9:59 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]



Promote suffering, blind obedience to Church authority and overbreeding as positive things?


Would she really have? Can one have lived in Calcutta and righteously promote the first and third things...? I'd ask then, what kind of God is this...
posted by infini at 10:01 AM on May 5, 2012


I think the Church's powers that be are well aware of the global demographic facts that face them. The growth sector is in the third world. Those people are pretty conservative in these areas.

Has there ever been a Philippino candidate for pope? I'd watch for that.
posted by Trochanter at 10:03 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, what the hell? When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?
posted by lazaruslong at 12:39 PM on May 5 [1 favorite +] [!]


I've worked alongside a fair number of nuns in my time. At times I've found them frustratingly rigid and bound by dogma. But more frequently, I've found them to be pretty damn progressive and willing to work around church doctrine when it just doesn't make sense.

In short, I think the basic answer to your question is "in the sixties and seventies."

Bravo Sr. Brigid.
posted by Ahab at 10:08 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, I've only read a few things about this whole issue. And I'm not Catholic, so I'm looking at all this from an outsider's point of view. And I have no idea what I'm talking about. But I'm finding this all fascinating. I'd like to have a better idea what's going on. Here's what I understand about this whole issue, from the few things I've managed to read:

It seems like, for a long time, American women in the church were kind of ignored. Catholicism in America wasn't as big a deal as it was in other parts of the world, and the church's biggest political system was over in Europe, and, on top of all that, women in general weren't considered to be that important, so those women in the US who became nuns got to kind of just do what they want. No one was paying attention to them, so they were free to turn more progressive, re-assess basic church teachings and, quite significantly, grow skeptical of the submissiveness they were meant to personify. It's almost like (quietly, not secretly but not outspokenly) a split formed within the Catholic church -- on one hand, you have the priests and church leaders, on the other hand, you have these nuns. Since no one ever paid attention to what they were doing or saying or thinking, no one higher up in the church realized what had happened. Until recently. And now there's this huge "WOAH WHAT THE--NO, WAIT, STOP IT. STOP IT NOW." response. The tightening of control is an attempt to undo the 'damage' that came from decades (centuries?) of neglectful indifference, but it seems like that 'damage' can't be undone.

....

Am I right? Am I understanding this right? I'd love to be better informed about this. Please help me understand if I'm just totally wrong. I don't even know where I should go to read more on the topic. Again, from my outsider's perspective, this seems like an amazing power struggle, sociologically and geopolitically. I really want to understand it better.
posted by meese at 10:09 AM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Has there ever been a Philippino candidate for pope? I'd watch for that.

He's gone now, but I would have paid a dollar to see Cardinal Sin elevated to Pope, just for the lulz.
posted by briank at 10:10 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


They need to break out the rulers, dammit.
posted by jonmc at 10:11 AM on May 5, 2012


There was a mixed group back in 2005, iirc, but I misremembered, Cardinal Sin was one of the electors not one of the candidates. Have not heard of anyone of his calibre since then.

[on preview]
posted by infini at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2012


Wow, I really like this quote:

I always say, Jesus never said worship me, he said follow me, so that is what I am trying to do.

SHE should be the one in charge of the Catholic Church.
posted by Malor at 10:14 AM on May 5, 2012 [32 favorites]


This one, pxe2000?
posted by merelyglib at 10:19 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sorry, what the hell? When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?

For a long time now? Not all nuns all the time in all places, but many nuns in many places for a really long time. (Also, technically - as I learned from the radio yesterday - nuns are cloistered, and sisters are not, so the women religious who are staffing soup kitchens and whatnot are sisters.)
posted by rtha at 10:28 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


I shouldn't have said "my understanding is" above, I should have said "my impression is".. Important distinction, that.
posted by meese at 10:33 AM on May 5, 2012


Sorry, what the hell? When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?

The 1960s? The Maryknoll nuns were on the vanguard of the liberation theology movement, for instance.

Different orders of nuns have had different political stances, but most of the nuns I knew in my childhood were feeding the poor and protesting the Vietnam War and running shelters for the victims of domestic violence. (And playing folk hymns on the guitar, but I'll overlook that given all the good things they did.)

It will probably be no surprise to anyone who has issues with the RCC's current hierarchy that Bernard, Cardinal Law was one of the big proponents of the crackdown on nuns being too Jesusy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:38 AM on May 5, 2012 [9 favorites]


Sorry, what the hell? When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?

My time in Catholic grade school and high school in the 80s and 90s is a big part of why I ended up as a left-winger (much to my parents' chagrin).
posted by TrialByMedia at 10:41 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Hard to believe anyone would think there's still use for a medieval king. Even harder to believe that so many of his peasants agree.
posted by braksandwich at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is the institution that took over 350 years to pardon Galileo?
posted by Slothrup at 10:42 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


:: realizes that "Sr." probably is not an abbreviation for "Señorita" ::
posted by foursentences at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meese, the historical background is much broader than simply gender issues within the US catholic church. It extends back into (egs) liberation theology, Vatican II, changing roles for women in secular society, the multitude of internal and adaptations of some arms of the Church to the changing realities of the twentieth century (particularly at a time when the US congregation was one of the largest and richest in the world), and the various Vatican reactions against that. The wikipedia sidebar links to social christianity pages on the liberation theology page might be a good place to start for reading. Then follow the references.

(From a personal point of view, I think it no coincidence that Ratzinger's name comes up over and over again from the early sixties onwards. He's a extreme right wing conservative (indeed a Nazi youth conscript during the war), he's a bigot, he hates women, he hates the idea of the worldwide Church population eventually leading to a non-European dominated Vatican. And he has fought at every level he possibly can to keep the Church conservative on those issues - and many others - for nearly fifty years.)
posted by Ahab at 10:43 AM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


Brought up twice before in this very thread, Sidhedevil.
posted by merelyglib at 10:44 AM on May 5, 2012


When the post-mortem of the twentieth-century Catholic church is written, it will become a case study in how institutions that isolate themselves from their rank-and-file constituencies become defensive, dogmatic and ultimately rotten from the inside out (see also, Goldman Sachs).

Ratzinger's legacy, even prior to his bizarrely combative papacy, was to enforce a rigid code of doctrinal obedience from the top downward. This has nothing to do with theology and everything to do with power. In the post-Vatican II backlash, it was decided that the laity could not be allowed to exercise the oversight functions that Vatican II carved out for them. As a consequence, the laity have been voting with their feet, in ever increasing numbers, over the past 30 years. Those who are left are a mixed bag of hardcore conservative first-world ignoramuses and third-world climbers who recognize quite rationally that a financially powerful and numerically weakened Rome is ripe for a takeover. In a weird and sadly ironic way, it's 406 all over again.

It used to be in the US that the only people in the church who were connected with the day-to-day experiences of the laity were the bishops, priests and nuns who served at the diocesan and arch-diocesan levels. Through a coordinated policy of selective ordination of arch-conservatives to the episcopacy, the American bishops have been brought to heel. The idea that a Cardinal Bernardin could emerge and restore ethical dignity to the institution is unimaginable.

These old nuns are literally the only ones left who remember what the church once was: an integrated network of social and spiritual services for the Catholic community rather than an activist movement in constant conflict with modernity and liberalism in all their forms. These women have given their lives to humble service. They've sacrificed family, ambition, comfort and security in order to devote their lives to service. With the rest of the table cleared, Rome is ready to yank them back into line as well.

The writing was on the wall last year when they went after Elizabeth Johnson hammer and tongs. For anyone watching, this was an advance effort to silence a thoughtful and sophisticated defender of an open, egalitarian church. What we're seeing here is phase two. I don't share Sr. Brigid's confidence that mass excommunication is an impossibility. I think that sort of theatrical bloodletting would appeal to the Bishops very much. They hate these nuns because they remind them what real ministry looks like. Publicly humiliating them would be tremendously gratifying and after the dust settled, the core that remained would be ideologically purer and politically more committed.

As an ex-Catholic, I find the present moment both strangely gratifying and sad. I've never agreed with the Church's teachings on abortion and euthanasia, but I used to concede that there was a core of intellectual integrity behind them. It was about not treating people as things, a bedrock commitment to the principle that every human life had an essential dignity and that it was morally wrong to instrumentalize life. That principle could have evolved into a robust criticism of the excesses of our era: a seamless garment theology could have mounted a strong attack on totalitarianism in its various forms. It could have spoken out for the dignity of the worker over the bureaucratic rationality of the corporation. It might have had a sober and healthy response to biomedical experimentation, and it could have spoken out with gravitas against the economic exploitation of the human genome.

Alas, instead we've been given a cadre of foppish queens drunk on the argot of pastoral power and hell-bent on refighting the 17th Century.
posted by R. Schlock at 10:47 AM on May 5, 2012 [77 favorites]


Women always seem to be cleaning up the messes men make. Probably because they have a more direct confrontation with some painful realities.
posted by srboisvert at 11:16 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


There is an interesting resonance here with recent events in Ireland. Two issues are unfolding at the same time.

On the one hand, Cardinal Sean Brady, the most senior member of the church in the country, has been found to have been appallingly negligent in his capacity as a "notetaker" in the 1970's, during the church's "investigation" into the actions of the serial pedophile and child rapist, Brendan Smith. His defense is that there existed, in the 1970's an unfortunate culture of deference within the church that, thank the Lord, no longer exists today.

At the same time, Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith have been issuing cease-and-desist notices to a bunch of priests around the country, insisting that they shut up talking about social issues, ordination of women, etc, and that the CDF should approve anything they choose to write in the future.

The Irish state has been having difficult relations with the vatican for a while now. Most of the leading figures in government have either said, or hinted, that Brady should resign. And the church, despite being clearly exposed as a ruthless, authoritarian, institution that will crawl over the abused bodies of small children to protect its turf, is digging its heels in. It beggars belief. Part of me wants them to stick to their guns until the last of the faithful abandons them in disgust. It seems that a new protestant revolution may be at hand from within the RC church.
posted by stonepharisee at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?

Vatican II changed a hell of a lot.

All that "no meat on Friday/nuns whacking people with rulers" crap? That was back in the 50's and early 60's.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Plus, I just think by definition almost, the whole celibacy thing is just going to lead to the Church attracting the kind of people who are running from their sexuality.

And that's got to screw you up in other areas of your thinking as well.

I believe there are biological reasons why women might not get so fucked up by being chaste. (dicey area I know)
posted by Trochanter at 11:20 AM on May 5, 2012


I thought, after a good Pope, you were supposed to have a "skinny" one, not an "evil" one.
posted by Malor at 11:21 AM on May 5, 2012


The last pope wasn't even that good. His entire legacy is marred by his knowing inaction in response to a massive amount of child abuse.

But individual priests, nuns, and orders of priests and nuns? They can be extraordinary forces for good.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:29 AM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


If more religious leaders in Catholic Church acted like these nuns,
then the Church might actually be relevant in the lives of more Americans again.
posted by Flood at 11:35 AM on May 5, 2012


My wife is a lay member of the Adrian Dominican order. She serves on the Mission Council and does much of the local work around peace and justice. This has taken her around the world a number of times and put her in harms way more than once.

The Adrian's mission and vision statement is powerful. I've been honored to participate in some of the events my wife has attended, these are good, compassionate, wise, and tenacious women. The Pope will be hard put to convince these people to stand down in terms of their efforts and passions.
posted by HuronBob at 11:36 AM on May 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I am the penis-haver, I will say.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:42 AM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Sorry, what the hell? When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies? posted by lazaruslong

At least since the 1910s. Dorothy Day immediately came to mind, although she didn't wholeheartedly embrace everything we now think of as positive social policies.
posted by faineant at 11:51 AM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, Bunny, Ratzinger handled most of that stuff anyway, right? So all that crap might be his fault?

I don't pay much attention to the Church, but even I knew Ratzinger's name, largely through exposure to a Fatima cultist I used to work with. They seemed to think he was just about the most evil thing in cleric's robes, not too far from an actual Antichrist. They were batshit crazy, a doom cult, but they might have been right about that part.

My coworker was actually a rather nice guy. Shame he got mixed up with those nutcases. Hope he came to his senses after the Eeeeevvvilll Empire, the Soviet Union, collapsed, which made the early Fatima "prophecies" look pretty darn silly.
posted by Malor at 11:55 AM on May 5, 2012


infini: "What would Mother Teresa do?"

Use the poor as props ("pain is good for them") to get money which is sent to enrich the Vatican?
posted by notsnot at 12:08 PM on May 5, 2012 [8 favorites]


All that "no meat on Friday/nuns whacking people with rulers" crap? That was back in the 50's and early 60's.

Not in Ireland. I know from personal experience they were beating the living daylights out of people well, well into the 80s. Well, they did switch to making people wash floors, and there was that one time I and some other girls had to sleep on a floor in a study hall without blankets and heating. (Ah, the joys of boarding school!) So I have reflexive horror of nuns, as awesome as this one seems.

stonepharisee is right on the money about the situation in Ireland, and it's become far more obvious since the mealy mouthed and frankly revolting excuses for Cardinal Brady's actions or, rather, inaction over Fr Smyth's abuses are being poured out weeks after they've been reining in priests for mild comments on homosexuality, etc. (The most appalling thing about the Brady situation is that the only people who seem to feel guilty that they didn't do more are the 14 year old boy that reported Smyth and his father, both of whom thought they'd saved other children from his abuse by going through the investigation.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:18 PM on May 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


If you want a good example about the priorities of the Catholic church, just compare their response to this to their response this - nuns being too liberal - to endemic child sex abuse scandals.

Anyway, my feeling is that the Catholic church is seeing the Zeal of southern evangelicals in the U.S. and has decided they would prefer followers like that to the liberal "cultural Catholics" (i.e. Steven Colbert) who go to church once in a while, mainly out of family tradition and completely ignore the pope.
Use the poor as props ("pain is good for them") to get money which is sent to enrich the Vatican?
I've always kind of heard that, but the fact that Hitchens was so adamant about it she was almost makes me wonder if she wasn't actually a good person. Unfortunately whenever anything even remotely subjective (i.e. "was Mother Teresa a good person") gets' politicized it becomes impossible - or at least very difficult - to figure out the truth.

But Hitchens tended toward the hyperbolic and, ironically for someone bashing western and Islamic monotheism - very black and white.
posted by delmoi at 12:18 PM on May 5, 2012


This is the continuation of an old policy. In 1984 the Vatican was attacking the Brazilian Church's overwhelming endorsement and adoption of liberation theology. Ratzinger, the Cardinal in charge of questioning Leonardo Boff, who was the influential exponent of the new thinking was invited to Brazil to see for himself the slums and the misery. Ratzinger declined, claiming his obligation was to the universal church not a local one.
As Boff pointed out: Jesus was a political prisoner, who died on the Cross, not an old man who died in bed.
posted by adamvasco at 12:36 PM on May 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


I know you were talking about the culture in general, but Colbert is pretty devout. He teaches Sunday School.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:44 PM on May 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


"...a cadre of foppish queens drunk on the argot of pastoral power and hell-bent on refighting the 17th Century."
posted by growabrain at 12:44 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This woman would make a fantastic Episcopalian.

Her answers to those questions drive back to the heart of what the catholic (with a little c, as in universal) church really is. Jesus left very little in the way of instructions as to what the Church should do after his death, but he seemed to give the keys to Peter. Until the Protestant Reformation there was a great deal of consensus that matters of doctrine must be settled by Peter, and then when he died the guy he intended to succeed him. There ended up being a variety of disagreements as to who exactly that was, but to be Catholic (with a big C) was at its heart to believe that God was divinely intercessing to make sure that the Church and the traditions of the Church did not stray to far from God's plans.

A lot of what the Reformation was, was a movement away from seeing the traditions of the church as infallible to seeing the written records contained in the bible as such. If she really feels that the Pope is as fundamentally wrong on doctrinal issues as she seems to, is she really Catholic (with a big C) anyhow? I sincerely hope that the church does not renege on any financial commitments that it has made to support her and her sisters in old age, but aside from that possibility, I'm not really feeling the outrage.

The recent crackdown on the old orders of nuns is the Catholic Church remaining catholic in the same way it has for millennia. Part of being a church that maintains a single message about doctrinal issues is making sure there is only one message being put out by the church about doctrinal issues.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:45 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Colbert is pretty devout. He teaches Sunday School.

That class must be amazing.
posted by R. Schlock at 12:45 PM on May 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "I know you were talking about the culture in general, but Colbert is pretty devout. He teaches Sunday School."

Holy fuck would Colbert make the most awesome Sunday school teacher EVER.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:46 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, Bunny, Ratzinger handled most of that stuff anyway, right? So all that crap might be his fault?

Say huh?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 12:49 PM on May 5, 2012


Just to add to the idea of women's changing roles in the church: my father was an Anglican (Episcopalian) priest in rural Alberta 40 years ago. I remember being kind of shocked to find out over the years that my mother and the Lady's Auxiliary actually did all of the work around the diocese. At minimum, they did all the cleaning, organized most of the functions and the feast day events, and cooked all the meals. For free.

What finished my desire to have any part of Christianity was an older friend of my dad's, a priest from England, ranting at me one about how women could never be priests because they really are inferior. In 1994. Frankly, I think these organizations are tax-supported cults, and the sooner they implode the better.
posted by sneebler at 12:51 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nuns, the investigation also concluded, spend too much energy on poverty and economic injustice and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage.

This line sent chills through me. "Hey, nuns! Stop doing good things and start helping the GOP into power!" is how I read that.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:58 PM on May 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


Bunny, wasn't Ratzinger ultimately in charge of the investigations into the pedophilia? Am I just misremembering?
posted by Malor at 12:59 PM on May 5, 2012


Ah, Sneebler, but the Church of England does now have women priests, so your ranty old bugger isn't really a fair test for what the C of E (at least) is. Not that there aren't plenty of other problems with the Anglican communion.

It is quite engaging to think what would happen if there was a radical, reforming, activist Pope, who told his (let's not go too far) flock to fight inequality, poverty, hunger, injustice, and all those other things that Jesus actually commanded, and not to worry about teh ghey, like Jesus didn't worry about teh ghey.

But as the Pope does have unique access to God, and the Pope never says those things, we can only assume that God has changed his mind again.
posted by Devonian at 1:05 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bunny, wasn't Ratzinger ultimately in charge of the investigations into the pedophilia? Am I just misremembering?

Dunno. I wasn't arguing Ratzinger was a better pope than the last, just that the last left behind a decidedly questionable legacy.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 1:10 PM on May 5, 2012


Oh, I just meant that JP2 may have been almost completely insulated from any decision-making or even knowledge in that area... I'm not sure the scandal had gotten big enough yet during his tenure.

Still a stain, you're right, but I'm blaming it more on Ratzinger, then and now, than JP2.
posted by Malor at 1:30 PM on May 5, 2012


I still call him Ratzinger. That fits him better. But that is just a personal bias ... The nuns that I talk to aren't really afraid, because they can't see or they can't imagine what he would do to change us. I mean, like, excommunication? That is a thing of the past. You can't excommunicate hundreds of nuns. Wouldn't that be kind of funny? Excommunicate the whole order! It is irrational.

Sounds like she's already mentally left the Church and excommunication would just make it official.
posted by michaelh at 1:47 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


See this is why I've stopped caring about the shenanigans of Scientologists. They are such amateurs at this.
posted by humanfont at 2:09 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


When did nuns become awesome educators of positive social policies?

The nuns are the same as they ever were.

Its just that the other things around them have changed so now they are "awesome educators of positive social policies". Not by improvement, but by the others who used to be full of awesome now being full of suck.
posted by rough ashlar at 2:34 PM on May 5, 2012


Official Initial Findings, for those who like to check the sources.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:49 PM on May 5, 2012


Reforming off-piste orders of religious has been a constant theme in the history of the Church, not anything that Benedict invented. Moreover, he has been quite clear that he would much prefer a small orthodox Church to a large heterodox one. However, it's hardly sound logic to suggest that reforms of US women religious are likely to reduce numbers. Those orders have shrunk vastly over the 45 years that they have become more and more liberal and open to dissent; to judge from that you'd think a turn back to tradition might lead to more novices taking vows; it could hardly do worse than the current trend.
posted by MattD at 3:12 PM on May 5, 2012 [3 favorites]


Those orders have shrunk vastly over the 45 years that they have become more and more liberal and open to dissent; to judge from that you'd think a turn back to tradition might lead to more novices taking vows; it could hardly do worse than the current trend.

Sounds like a massive purge would be in order. It'd be interesting to see how first world congregations do with a wave of African and Latin American Fathers. And Sisters, apparently.

If Sister Brigid maintains her position, it'd be proof that the Catholic Church has lost the will to live.
posted by codswallop at 3:39 PM on May 5, 2012


Yes. I still call him Ratzinger. That fits him better. But that is just a personal bias.

That's gonna leave a mark...
posted by cybrcamper at 4:39 PM on May 5, 2012


Those orders have shrunk vastly over the 45 years that they have become more and more liberal and open to dissent; to judge from that you'd think a turn back to tradition might lead to more novices taking vows; it could hardly do worse than the current trend.

That would be an assumption. It's just as possible that any shrinking trend has been slowed dramatically by an influx of women drawn to Brigid McDonald-style social activist nunnery, and that the shrinking trend would have been much worse without the "liberal" appeal of her kind of nunning.

Just saying, as long as we're pontificating without data...
posted by mediareport at 4:43 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


The more you are with those in pain, the more radical you become to overcome that pain. I don't think it is possible to go backwards.

Tearing up a little, over here.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:06 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


but the Church of England does now have women priests

But they aren't happy about it, and they still are pissy about the concept of women bishops.

I also heard that when the American Episcopal Archbishop visited the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury she was treated very poorly- made to show her ordination papers every time she walked through the door sort of thing.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:10 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


So guess "do unto others" and "as you treat the least among you" stuff - aka "do not be shitbags to each other; remember that everyone needs a hug" - are just, what, only for the little people. Okay then.
posted by rtha at 5:19 PM on May 5, 2012


I remember when I was in third grade at Catholic School, and Mother Superior was reading the riot act to some poor kid. And the kid had the temerity to ask why, and Mother Superior wheeled on him and, shaking a huge, claw-like hand said "The Pope said it. You do it. That settles it!"

I don't even remember what the kid was asking about, but I do remember her response as clear as bell.

And ever since then, I've have thought this is the Catholic faith, boiled down to it's essence: "Just shut the fuck up and do what we say."
posted by Relay at 6:19 PM on May 5, 2012 [4 favorites]


["These people should be murdered" sentiments do not belong here. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:45 PM on May 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


If Sister Brigid were to go to the Episcopal Church, I don't think that she'd be that far away from the reaches of Rome, what with the Episcopal's own turmoil and the apparent Catholic accommodation of Anglican traditions. The same could be said for the Catholic laity who wish to go elsewhere due to their own disaffection with the Church, as joining up with the "Catholic-Lite" Episcopals may simply be trading an Oldsmobile with tranny problems for a Buick with engine problems. There still will be, IMO, migration toward Catholic-like denominations such as the Episcopals and Lutherans, but there will also be movement toward the Orthodox Church for those who want the "Catholic-plus" liturgies that start where the Catholic High Mass leaves off, as well as the opportunity to discuss marriage and child-rearing issues with priests who have first-hand experience of these life circumstances.
posted by stannate at 9:28 PM on May 5, 2012


Those orders have shrunk vastly over the 45 years that they have become more and more liberal and open to dissent; to judge from that you'd think a turn back to tradition might lead to more novices taking vows; it could hardly do worse than the current trend.

So, the decline in American women religious is actually quite well-studied! Two basic things have happened since the 1960s (did you know that, in 1960, 1 in 8 American school children went to a Catholic school? True facts.) to make entering an order less and less appealing to young American women, and a third, somewhat unrelated thing happened to make them openly super-progressive.

1. White flight. What's this, you say? Urban racial politics have something to do with badass nuns? Indeed! For roughly a century, religious orders for women were somewhat local (SJCs are Northeastern/upper Midwestern) and fairly ethnically homogeneous (SJCS
were known for being Italian and Irish). Convents tended to be centered around large, urban parishes with an associated school, often a K-8 with a "neighborhood" Catholic high school. It was entirely possible to get nine or ten years of education from one order, then go to a nearby high school with other kids from religious families, while still attending church with loads and loads of nuns. This formed a pretty direct pipeline from Catholic school to the convent for young women. The pipeline broke down in the 1960s, when white/European Catholic families began to move to the suburbs in droves, where their children often to went public school with other white children (at least part of the appeal of mid-century urban Catholic schools was that they were unofficially segregated, at least on the East Coast) and belonged to much smaller Catholic parishes. More non-Catholic families began using parochial schools as prep schools, making the pool of possible women religious in Catholic schools even smaller.

After 1968, a number of orders entered into what was basically a death spiral- schools closed and sisters left the order, so more schools closed, so fewer postulates entered the order, so there was less peer pressure to stay, so more postulates left, which meant more schools closed...this is also the genesis of the retirement crisis facing American nuns. For most orders, postulates were the retirement plan; orders expected enough incoming young women to care for the women in the baby boom who joined between 1958 and 1962. That never happened, and it's sadly possible that many orders will die out in the coming decades.

2. Women's lib, as it was called back in the day. A young Catholic woman in the mid-20th century did not have a huge amount of options for continuing her education and living outside family life. The median age at first marriage for women between 1950 and 1970 was 20 years old. In 1960, just under half of adults between 18 and 24 were married; in the cohort of 25-29 year old adults, 84% either had been or were currently married in 1960. In 1970, less than 10% of women over 25 had a bachelor's degree. If you were a young woman who was a) moderately to seriously devout (and many more people were much more religious 40-50 years ago than they are today, so this was not a tough bar to meet) who was b) slightly more interested in education/work and slightly less interested in marriage/domestic life than average and c) not particularly chuffed about the idea of sex with a dude, which pre-sexual revolution might not have been especially appealing, then becoming a nun or sister was a pretty good deal. You got some education, you got in the workplace in some form, if you were smart you often got into positions of power like being a school principal or director of a hospital, and you were not subject to the whims and whimsies of a husband nor were you going to get pregnant halfway through your degree.

Now, let's review. Joining an order let women go to college, work, advance in the workplace, and not be beholden to their reproductive systems. What does this sound like? It sounds almost exactly like the world envisioned by second wave feminists! Once women started entering college and the work force, using birth control, and delaying marriage, a lot of the appeal of becoming a woman religious just faded away. You could get all the good stuff of being a nun with none of the hard stuff- chastity, wimple, curfew, bishop telling you what the fuck to do periodically, etc. It became much more about answering a call at exactly the time when fewer and fewer Americans even attended church, much less felt called to devote their lives to it.

3. But how did they get so liberal? The same way everyone in the Catholic Church got so liberal: Vatican II! You know this story: a bunch of old dudes get together in Rome and fret about their declining power in the world and decide it won't kill them to celebrate the Mass in the vernacular, and also acoustic guitars are nice. Did you know the American nuns went there, too? They did! Well, I mispoke. One American nun got to go, too! The American nuns- she represented all ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THOUSAND (!) of them- were hoping that Vat II would let them a, have more control within their own orders, and b, have a greater voice in the Church as a whole, particularly theologically (nuns were a-ok to teach theology to every American Catholic, but they weren't able to get advanced degrees in theology at any American Catholic university, because none of them accepted woman in their post-graduate theology programs at that point. Also, they were women, and you know how the Church feels about that.). Sister Mary Luke Tobin, the nun delegate, asked the American bishops to convey that message to the council. They declined.

Instead, the Council issued a deliberately-vague document on religious life, the Perfectae Caritatis, that basically said, "Religious life, it's good, keep doing it...help some poor people, that's fine...keep it up." It was supposed to be a complete dodge of the complex issues facing religious orders, a deliberate evasion. The nuns, not being stupid, just shrugged and said, "Well, there aren't any specific recommendations, and it says to think about new ways to serve poor people, soo...." The floodgates opened!

In some ways, this did contribute to the "broken pipeline" that decimated American religious orders in the next decade. In some cases, entire orders would splinter into more conservative and more liberal factions- sometimes it was the original order that stayed conservative, sometimes it was the other way around, but it was primarily theological conservatism, particularly around prayer, that drove the splits.

Would you like to read books about bad-ass nun ladies? OF COURSE YOU WOULD, WHO WOULDN'T! I recommend the following:
Poverty, Chastity, and Change: Lives of Contemporary American Nuns, by Carole G Rogers
Women in the Vanishing Cloister, by Helen Ebaugh
For the Love of God, by Lucy Kaylin
annnnd Catholic Sisters in Transition, by Marie Augusta Neal, SND de Namur, who seems to not exist on Amazon anymore (sad face), but a Catholic university near you probably has all her books in the library!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:18 PM on May 5, 2012 [237 favorites]


Snarl, that's some pretty excellent dropping of history. Whoa.
posted by effugas at 11:04 PM on May 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a PR disaster largely of the Vatican's own making. For years the Catholic hierarchy has tried to exclude women from any involvement in defining and promulgating doctrine. The female religious orders have therefore been encouraged to develop an 'active' ministry in schools, hospitals, charities, social work and so forth. The result is that they have been free to develop in a more liberal direction without the restraints that are applied to priests and theologians who step out of line. Now the hierarchy has belatedly woken up to this and has decided, surprise! that the nuns do have a doctrinal role after all and have been failing in their 'responsibility for the promotion of the faith'.

The nuns will win, of course, because the nuns always do win in the end. Mary Ward, in the seventeenth century, fought a ferocious battle with the hierarchy over her attempts to found an independent, self-governing religious order for women. Guess who won? There should be a motto carved in foot-high letters on the desk of every Vatican bureaucrat: DON'T MESS WITH THE NUNS. Unfortunately the Catholic authorities know very little about their own history and are largely unaware of the long tradition of tough, independent women in the church. (Even Sr Brigid, peace be upon her, seems to have bought into the myth that all nuns were powerless and downtrodden until Vatican II.) As the historian Mary Henold has pointed out, in a withering critique, the authorities are so hopelessly out of touch that even the mildest expression of liberalism appears to them to be an example of 'radical feminism'.

On googling Sr Brigid, it turns out that not only is she one of four sisters who all became nuns (that fact alone tells you all you need to know about the collapse in religious vocations since the Second World War), she also has a brother who is a Republican Party activist and as far to the right as his sisters are to the left:

He loves his sisters, he said, but feels as if they've fallen for "liberal propaganda" -- in other words, that the way to help the underprivileged and the poor is through government. Still, he said, "I know (my sisters') hearts are in the right place because they want to advance their causes."

Go Sr Brigid!
posted by verstegan at 7:01 AM on May 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


So I took my mom to church this morning, and during the homily the priest felt compelled to comment on this recent incident. Beyond the existing stuff I know about this case, he claimed that the nuns' groups had been using "pagan prayers". Does anyone know what the hell he was referring to? The internets are not helping me.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:17 PM on May 6, 2012


Riki tiki: "So I took my mom to church this morning, and during the homily the priest felt compelled to comment on this recent incident. Beyond the existing stuff I know about this case, he claimed that the nuns' groups had been using "pagan prayers". Does anyone know what the hell he was referring to? The internets are not helping me."

I have no idea, but it does sound familiar. I grew up in a Methodist church in Washington DC that has been a beating heart of the gay community there since before 1995 when it became one of the first large reconciling congregations. It pretty quickly gained a reputation among more conservative groups within Methodism for its advocacy, which has attracted some pretty bizarre attention over the years.

At one point our Minister of Education led the older women's group she was a part of in a 'croning ritual' where, I understand, they did nothing more heterodox than talk about the role of the 'crone' in literature, walk through a labyrinth, and use female pronouns for God. Someone crazy ended up getting wind of it, and there was a brief attempt to bring her up on charges of witchcraft. Apparently in the Methodist book of discipline, which governs the Methodist church like a constitution and was written by Wesley in the 18th century, there is indeed still a procedure for a witchcraft trial, which caries a potential penalty of banishment from the community. This was very quickly and efficiently nipped in the bud, particularly since President Clinton was attending at the time, it could have turned into a giant mess.

My understanding is that the Catholic Church no longer has procedures specific to witchcraft, but there are a bunch of ways in Cannon Law where "pagan prayers" by a person religious would result in anything up to excommunication.
posted by Blasdelb at 2:15 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Pagan" is a nice euphemism for "without official approval." Which is, after all, what this is all about.

Moreover, [Benedict] has been quite clear that he would much prefer a small orthodox Church to a large heterodox one.

This crackdown on uncooperative penguins is a means to that end. This is not about control of the faith itself; this is about control of the Catholic BRAND. The Catholic Church didn't survive for nearly two millennia by accepting that anyone OTHER than their hierarchy has true moral authority or qualifications to explain What God Wants.

This means rolling back Vatican II, purging and discrediting those who don't recognize that absolute authority, insisting that the times change to fit the Church rather the other way around. Pedophile priests aren't a matter for secular authorities to punish; they're a PR problem undermining the idea that men in funny hats and robes are above questioning from those with mundane wardrobes.

And if the sergeants-in-nun-habits are questioning the generals? That's where the whole system breaks down.
posted by delfin at 2:32 PM on May 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I am also not a Catholic, but I was really impressed by this book (from the early 1980's!) about some brave and bad-ass nun ladies who opposed the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion. More info here. The two nuns did eventually left their order.
posted by easilyamused at 4:59 PM on May 6, 2012


An anthropologist friend once told me that excavations of convents going all the way back through the middle ages very often showed clear evidence that abortions were performed there. It seems possible that nuns have been quietly defying doctrine in favor of womens' health and freedoms for perhaps a little longer than official histories might report.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:25 PM on May 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Firstly: Snarl Furillo is awesome. I wish to expand on one line a bit, which could possibly illuminate what the hey may be up with the current pope:

But how did they get so liberal? The same way everyone in the Catholic Church got so liberal: Vatican II!

....Well, almost everyone in the Catholic Church became that liberal. There were, at the time, a few people who really didn't like the changes that Vatican II wrought; some groups just dealt with it by saying, "hmph - I know priests are free to say mass in the local vernacular, but I prefer hearing it in Latin, and I'm gonna find me a church where they still do, thank you." And there were a few churches who did, and a few people who still kept to the old traditions for themselves. And some people went even further into conservativism (exhibit A - Mel Gibson's dad), and a handful even splintered away from the church into weird fringe groups that have refused to acknowledge any of the Popes since Vatican II.

But: that conservative element has always been there, and may have been an influence on selecting Ratzinger as pope in the first place. Because he was one of the cardinals who took part in Vatican II, and actually was one of the people who was speaking against the scope of change the church was about to make. He didn't argue against it altogether, but he did argue against some of it. In a weird way, Ratzinger was kind of like Mitt Romney -- further right than Obama, but not all the way over into Newt Gingrich or Santorum or Herman Cain territory. So Ratzinger's election as Pope may have been a subtle way to try to settle some feathers that have been ruffled since 1963.

(The previous brought to you by an article I had to write for a theater's program notes for a production of the play Doubt.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:50 PM on May 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


....Well, almost everyone in the Catholic Church became that liberal. There were, at the time, a few people who really didn't like the changes that Vatican II wrought; some groups just dealt with it by saying, "hmph - I know priests are free to say mass in the local vernacular, but I prefer hearing it in Latin, and I'm gonna find me a church where they still do, thank you." And there were a few churches who did, and a few people who still kept to the old traditions for themselves.

Oh my Gosh, yes! Vatican II is sort of like, when I was growing up I always thought of the Church's history in the twentieth century as basically The Forward March of Progress- like, the Church started out conservative, moved towards liberalism, got to Vatican II, got liberal, and then, boom! Modern Church. (I was raised by Democrats, can you tell?)

But, yeah, in actuality, it's a much more uneven march than that, with a lot of splinter groups, factions of various ideologies, different things happening in different ways in different parts of the world, various rollbacks of some reforms and the Church entrenching its positions in other areas, etc.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:15 PM on May 6, 2012


I went to a Catholic school that still was partially staffed by the Poor School Sisters of Notre Dame until 1984. I graduated in 1986. Because my Dad was a teacher there (and maintenance guy in the summers), I got to interact with the Sisters both in and out of class.

For a bit of background, my Dad's family was Catholic, but Dad refers to himself as apostate. He still played guitar and led the choir for the mandatory Friday Mass until well after I'd graduated, though. My Mom's family was nominally Methodist. The only thing I ever thought was special about Sundays before I went to 1st grade was that Dad would go out and get doughnuts for breakfast and bring home what I called "the Peanuts paper" since Peanuts was on the first page of my beloved comics section. So, I've never been baptized or taken communion, but I had the religion classes for 12 years and the weekly Mass during school hours.

I never had the best opinion of the few priests and the one bishop (who my Dad called "Padre" to his face) I interacted with. They seemed angry, resentful, and/or fake to me. Luckily, we never had any scandal during my time there.

The Sisters and the occasional visiting Brothers were more real to me. The Sisters had a garden, and if I was there with Dad on the weekend or in the summer while Mom was at her job, I'd help out with it. I was shocked the first time I saw them without veils. They all had short, practical haircuts and never had to bother with makeup. One of them had a large German shepherd named Pacer, who was one of the best dogs I've ever met. She was also an excellent art and algebra teacher when I was in 7th and 8th grade.

When I was in about 5th or 6th grade, I was learning to play the recorder, and my Mom got me this music book of gregorian chants. The acoustics in the old church were great, and I was a misfit, so I'd sneak into the church at recess to practice. One day, one of the high school nuns, who were known to be no-nonsense ladies, had been upstairs in the loft. She came down and I thought I was SO in trouble. Her face, initially stern, softened while she said, "That was lovely, but you know you aren't supposed to be in here right now, yes?" "Yes, Ma'am," I said. There was a brief pause before she said, "I know you aren't hurting anything and music is a form of prayer, but there are rules." Then, she walked with me to the door and made sure I didn't get caught leaving.

There was the time I apparently had the stomach flu and we were going to a wedding. I threw up in front of the church. My Mom, horrified, took me to the convent where cool wash cloths and sips of ginger ale appeared. Mom got to go to the wedding, while I lounged on a couch with a book and a bucket nearby.

The sisters were also great for excellent candy on Halloween, but you had to sing a song on the porch before they'd share.

For practical, day-to-day, learning about life stuff, those ladies were amazing to the growing girl I was. They showed me that a woman could be strong, feminine without the usual cosmetic trappings, and content without a guy. Even in the communal style of living in the convent, they each had their own room. As an only child, I could appreciate how this small privacy was kind of a luxury to people who I knew came from large families. I can still appreciate the sparseness and simplicity of their rooms. Their convent smelled of Murphy's oil soap and incense, a combination I still find soothing and use in my own home.

I mean, they weren't all perfect. We had the one who I'm told spoke in tongues (she was an incredible librarian who kept a liberal library and never judged my book choices), and there was the one that implied she was a lesbian to a couple of senior girls on a road trip (to this day, I think she was trying in a sideways way to prevent them from an accidental pregnancy; even from their reports that I heard in person, she wasn't hitting on them). I had a problem with the elementary principal, because she was just a bitch (at her job, but oddly enough, not at home).

But really, when you look at a couple dozen of those women over the years, my personal experiences were surprisingly very good, and I was a little heathen who would occasionally ask them hard theological questions at probably inconvenient times.

So, yeah, Sr. Brigid, give Ratzinger the bird. If those ladies could get this amount of bragging from me, fuck that guy if he thinks they aren't doing real GOOD out there in the world.
posted by lilywing13 at 11:58 PM on May 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Thanks for all of the background on Vatican II. All I knew of it previously was that my mother's mother (who died before I was born) stopped going to church because the only Catholic church in the area stopped doing sermons in Latin. "That's not church!" she said.

My dad, on the other hand, went to Catholic school up through 8th grade (as far as it went in that town) and has been an Easter and Christmas Christian (if my mom insists enough) ever since. "I've been to more than enough church already!" he says.
posted by jillithd at 7:21 AM on May 7, 2012


All that "no meat on Friday/nuns whacking people with rulers" crap? That was back in the 50's and early 60's.

EmpressCallipygos, in that case I must have gone to (Catholic, nun-run) grade school a decade before I was born.

Meat wasn't forbidden, but was never served on Fridays. Whacking with rulers happened.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:39 AM on May 7, 2012


BTW, although no one could ever reasonably call me sympathetic to the Roman Catholic Church, this quote from the article:
Nuns, the investigation also concluded, spend too much energy on poverty and economic injustice and not enough on abortion and same-sex marriage.
... is, AFAICT, hyperbole and horseshit. It took me a while to track down the actual document from the Vatican, but this appears to be it.

Nuns' focus on the poor is only mentioned once, and approvingly. Their focus on economic injustice is never challenged.

It's true that the Vat is attacking them for not hating on the homos "enough"... but the quote above is a pretty glurged-up version of the actual statements.
posted by IAmBroom at 10:54 AM on May 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


EmpressCallipygos, in that case I must have gone to (Catholic, nun-run) grade school a decade before I was born.

Because of course everything I say has 100% accuracy and there are never exceptions to anything ever.

(But seriously: I am aware that it still may have happened now and again, but such cases were exceptions rather than rules after Vatican II, was my point.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:55 AM on May 7, 2012


A Catholic school’s anti-gay snub: When a student wins the Matthew Shepard Scholarship, the bishop steps in -- and everybody loses
posted by homunculus at 6:03 PM on May 8, 2012


Reprimanded U.S. nuns reject critical Vatican report
posted by homunculus at 4:42 PM on June 1, 2012


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