Thursday, 26 April 2012

Looks like the Vatican has nun-o-phobia too.

When I was a kid I had a piano teacher who was an old Catholic nun.  She was (and probably still is) a simply delightful woman from Minnesota.  I, on the other hand, was not a very good student.  I would practice frantically just before the lesson neglecting any work during the rest of the week.  Pianos are loud instruments and I never felt comfortable practicing while anyone else was home.

 She was my only exposure to nuns, as I only attended Catholic kindergarten as a small child and do not remember most of it.  Thus I do not have the same kind of intense nun-o-phobia that many of the previous generations of Catholics seem to harbour.  I've been told stories of nuns that seemed to be really bitter old cows who despised any sort of fun and  practically became violent with children.

When I think of these nuns that hilarious scene from the Blues Brothers pops into my head.

But enough about me.  While listening to the Ask An Atheist (One Nation Indivisible) podcast, I heard that the Vatican is coming down hard on American nuns.

From National Post Vatican blasts U.S. nuns for pursuing ‘radical feminist themes’:
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican has issued a scathing condemnation of the main association of Catholic nuns in the United States for taking liberal stances on contraception, homosexuality and female priests. 
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) said in a statement on Thursday it was “stunned” by the Vatican report which pointed to “serious doctrinal problems” and “unacceptable positions” on a range of issues.
And later on...
Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby and members of LCWR, said on Twitter: “I think we scare them.”
“It’s painfully obvious that the leadership of the Church is not used to having educated women form thoughtful opinions and engage in dialogue.
Great statement! Dissent in the ranks!  I think I like Simone too. This is an interesting statement because I think she may be right on the mark - the Vatican has always feared women.  This seems prevalent in the Abrahamic religions.
Mel Gibson is a sympathizer with ultra-
conservative Society of St Pius X.

But these nuns have been questioning the Vatican for a long time now - since at least 1977.  Why so serious now, Joe Ben?

My parents were great sympathizers with the Society of Saint Pius the X (post: Was I a True Catholic?), soldiers for the cause.  I can remember them writing a letter to a certain Cardinal Ratzinger in the Vatican requesting that the Pope John Paul II reinstate the traditional Latin Catholic mass.  Joseph Ratzinger was then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - a fitting position for a theologically conservative scholar. They received a very positive reply from the future pope's office expressing heartfelt sympathy with their plight.  Now that he has his new pointy hat, it seems like Joseph Ratzinger Pope Benedict is trying to being conservatives like my parents back into the fold.
At the same time he has made overtures to ultra-conservative religious movements such as the Society of Saint Pius X, which this week said it was on its way to re-integrating with the Vatican after breaking away in the 1980s.
It's too bad all the comparatively good work of the previous (highly popular) pope is being undone by the current one.  In the end I agree with The Friendly Atheist (The Vatican Fears U.S. ‘Feminist’ Nuns):
Every dollar anyone gives to their Catholic parish helps contribute to their Vatican opinion, their atrocities, their vile teachings. How can anyone continue to support an organization that insists on attacking the women in their own ranks simply because they fear them becoming equal?
 What we can do is continue to point out the inequality and injustice and continue to do our own good work for humanity. When those who grow weary of the hate, who realize they are pawns in a power struggle, are ready to break free, we will be there as a vast and diverse community that welcomes reason with our Humanism.
He echoes some sentiments expressed in Annie Laurie Gaylor's excellent appeal to Catholics to leave the Church: Quit the Catholic Church

It's true.  Catholic nuns and Catholic's in general are better than their leaders.  Ghandi said:
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
Here's what I say. 

 I dislike your Pope, I do like your Catholics.  Your Catholics are so unlike your Pope.  

And the world is a better place for it.

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