In response to Jim Wallis' post, "Having the Sisters' Back"
Thank you so much for bringing this issue to the attention of your readers. I am a Catholic woman and mother of three. My husband is a Methodist and we have raised our children in the two traditions we hold dear. I have become a recent friend to a sister who is very concerned with what is happening. We have recently begun to work on social justice issues in our parish. We are small, but I believe, with the help of the Spirit, we will one day be mighty.
My sister friend shared with me that most of the American bishops and priests (a huge majority) believe in and support the work of the sisters. It is the voice of the small and powerful that is being heard and felt in this process. It is my belief that the Church is in need of a conversation; perhaps this will be the catalyst to make that come about.
Unfortunately, quite a few that I know that consider themselves to be conservative Catholics seem to cherry pick the teachings of the church that agree with their politics and disregard the Church's teaching on the death penatly, war, social justice, poverty, and even capitalism.
Although we are steeped in tradition and ritual that are so meaningful to us, we have made changes over the years. Indeed, how could we call a body of Christ spirit-filled if it is not continually being transformed and renewed? Change is a slow and thoughtful process in the Catholic church, and I am actually grateful for that. I believe it is time for change again, and I am hopeful that something positive can come from this. It will take people like you, organizations like yours, to help that occur.
Thank you again for writing so eloquently about this issue!
~ Elizabeth Cleary-Bewley
I offer a suggestion to help solve the religious education problem. I ask all concerned to consider what is being done in Modesto,Calif., schools concerning the teaching of religion. The program is now in its 10th year and is considered successful in solving the problem the city had having a diverse citizenry. It is constitutional because the teachers can only teach about the six major religions and use a statement to explain they are not preaching any one religion. If this were done nationwide and preferably worldwide, I foresee the Vatican acceding to letting the nuns teach in Catholic schools. I believe that the teaching of religion to all students is imperative.
~ Stephen Borkowski
Thank you, thank you Jim Wallis. I am not Roman Catholic, but I think that Roman Catholic women religious are among those who offer the most effective gospel witness today. I am SO grateful for your remarks. I would love to know of an evangelical church in the DC area that witnesses these views. Again, Thank You.
~ Martin de Nys
I have long been a fan of Sojourners and while I believe it is Evangelical Christian in identity I appreciate what I usually see as the ecumenical and inter-denominational tone. As such I was surprised and deeply saddened to receive this article in my inbox today. I feel you have misunderstood many of the issues here, and I say that as a Catholic who cares deeply about these issues and has taken pains to inform myself about them. I also cannot tell if you read the Vatican document, which has not been accurately portrayed by the media. As a Catholic who loves the women religious and the bishops, and recognizes that neither the sisters nor the bishops are perfect, I think we would do well to give both sides the benefit of the doubt and to pray for all involved parties, rather then rushing to judgment. I am deeply saddened and concerned about the division in the Catholic church, as are many Catholics, and articles like this that over simplify the issues and are not based in an accurate understanding of them only make things worse. If you take the time to fully understand what the Church teaches and why and what the church is saying in this instance and why and you still disagree that's completely fine, but until you do so I do not think it's fair to publish an article like this. I bear you no ill will and am not angry, I just think you should know that articles like this are hurtful to your fellow Christians and contribute to disunity among Christians.
You are sadly misinformed with respect to the nature and structure of Catholicism: It is the biships who stand as the authentic teaching authority of the Church. All Catholic individuals and religious orders are subordinate to this authority. Any other arrangement may be your preference, but it is not Catholic.
Now you know.
~ R.S. Lehman
Your comments about the nuns/Vatican are the best i have read. The Vatican's recent decree reflects the institutional Church’s deeply entrapped patriarchal and androcentric culture. While the Church praises and celebrates the “feminine," it remains deeply resistant to the "female." There are about 56.000 religious women in the U.S. and, more are over the age of 90 than under 60. The hierarchy in my opinon, is too male, too pale, too stale. This is an abuse of power and it is a shameful act ! I will use some of your points in my Sunday homilies- thank you.
~ The Rev. Rich Broderick
(Typewriter image via tadija/Shutterstock.)