As my last post suggests, I am very appreciative of the fine Catholic lay and religious whom I have had the privilege of knowing over the years.
Indeed, my introduction to Christianity as an adult was gained by regularly attending mass at Our Lady of Victories Church in Sockburn, Christchurch. The depth of community, scholarship and devotion that I have witnessed amongst Catholics is immense. My current spiritual director is a Catholic sister. The teaching of Alexander Shaia has greatly impacted me during the last year. We count amongst our closest friends a Catholic couple who have left the Church to join a protestant one; who are deeply disturbed by some of the hierarchical abuse issues they are witnessing in the Church.
I was prompted to make this post after one of this couple made a Facebook post referring to this article:
From the National Catholic Reporter, it begins:
Vatican's assessment of LCWR about fear, not doctrine
May. 29, 2012
By Fran Ferder
"The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's April 18 doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is not about doctrine. It is not primarily about protecting the faith or ensuring an ecclesiology of communion, no matter how many times these terms are woven through the report. It is fundamentally about fear -- fear of the loss of power -- and the willful use of dominative control to defend that power...."
Far be it for me as an Anglican priest to cast stones when at times our house is not in order! However, I find the tenor of the article profoundly disturbing, especially as it attributes the practice of 'abuse' to senior Catholic leaders. I am aware that women catholic religious in the US are at the theologically liberal end of the Catholic spectrum. I am also aware that they speak out on behalf of many Catholic lay and religious who cannot for fear of severe reprisal. That's not to say that these women do not have to count the cost, it is an issue of degree, perhaps.
Finally, if we feel repulsion at some of the things we read here, let's look at ourselves and our own church institutions and similarly resist abuse wherever we discern it. It is the nature of the church catholic (universal) in my experience that issues of power and abuse are never far away in an institution that is called to offer and experience the highest of virtues namely, 'LOVE.'
This is a place where we can discuss mentoring, ministry and what we have found helpful for sustaining our inner lives and good relationships.