Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Dissident US nuns falling into schism?

Reports in the press, including the BBC seem to confirm that the recent review of the activities of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW) by the Roman authorities, rather than bringing the  nuns into humble obedience, seems to have goaded these angry women in a hardening of their position; even to threats of "reconsidering" their position. Could this mean an open break? Possibly.

The situation is truly sad. This dissidence has been going on for decades. Bishops, unfortunately, must take much of the responsibility for the present situation. The local Ordinary, though not the religious order's superior, does have a wide avenue of action given him by canon law. Religious orders operate within a diocese at the local bishop's permission. Bishop's have the right to investigate and to take corrective measures, up to, and suppressing the religious community's activities within the diocese.

A local Toronto example, would be the continued activity of the Sisters of Notre Dame, which have a number of dissenters (e.g. Sister Caroline Dawson, a speaker and supporter of Catholic Network for Women's Equality (CNWE). Though the Archdiocese is aware of her activity and her community's connection with the CNWE, nothing has been done. In fact, I attempted - unsuccessfully it would seem - to contact my Local Ordinary, Thomas Cardinal Collins, but with no results; except for a evasive note from a layman (presumably drawing a good salary out of the widow's mite).

Such inactivity on the part of the local Ordinary only emboldens and strengthens the push of dissidence, until a breaking point is reached. At such a time, the Roman Authorities (as in the US) may intervene - with great difficulty - due to, in large part, the failure of the local bishop and hierarchy to deal with the problem.

1 comment:

Freyr said...

The seeds of rebellion are so entrenched in the Catholic Church that no bishop can be assured of support from any quarter. The bishop may well have canon law on his side but the likelihood of enforcing that is precisely nil. It is quite possible that any effort to reign in dissenting groups and individuals may even spill over into civil courts. The thinking on this seems to be that so long as groups and individuals are within the fold it may be possible to deal with them. An open break is seen to be far more damaging to souls than the current situation. You cannot have it both ways. Both conservative and liberal groups enjoy this situation.