Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Backhanded compliments are still compliments.

Here is a fun little something I ran across as I tried to get a better handle on the whole "LCWR visitation thing."

To my mind, the answer to the question as to "Why is the Vatican investigating women religious in the USA?" can be best expressed thus: "Because there is no certainty they are espousing unwavering fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church." Throwing around ostensibly pithy phrases such as "creative fidelity" ain't helping, people. (You married folks, try and tell your spouse that you're living a life of creative fidelity to them and then let me know how it went after the paramedics leave.)

Anyway.

Where was I? Ah...yes. Rummaging.

It was in the process of this rummagingness that I ran across some interesting comments by Sr. Laurie Brink, who delivered the keynote address at the 2007 LCWR assembly. Sister was assessing the options available to communities, and she summarized them as follows:
1. Death with Dignity and Grace
2. Acquiescence to Others’ Expectations
3. Sojourning in a New Land not yet Known
4. Reconciliation for the Sake of the Mission
I'll leave to your imagination (or reading, should you feel diligent) what 1, 3 and 4 mean. I want to address Sister's rather, um, opinionatedly titled Option #2.

Here's Sister (starting on pg. 13 of the text of her remarks), with my emphases and comments:
Not every congregation is giving up the ghost sort to speak. Some have attended to their reality and are making choices that a generation ago would have been anathema to their members. These groups are recognizing the changing atmosphere in the institutional Church, the reneging on the promises of Vatican II what those promises might be or, more importantly where they are to be found, and the seemingly conservative because they couldn't possibly be actually conservative young adults interested in pursing a life of holiness through the profession of the evangelical counsels. They are taking seriously Pope John Paul II’s call to pursue holiness first above all else and the problem with that is...what, exactly?. They are putting on the habit, or continuing to wear the habit with zest. They are renewing pious practices such as adoration (!) and the Rosary (!!). They are returning to the classroom.

Some would critique that they are the nostalgic portrait of a time now passed. But they are flourishing...and why?. Young adults are finding in these communities a living image of their romantic view it couldn't possibly be something deeper, right? of Religious Life. They are entering. And they are staying.
It would not be charitable to characterize Sister's comments. But, I think it's fair to highlight these comments note -- begrudgingly and with some editorializing, it seems -- the blossoming of vocations in the more, er, traditional communities.

What strikes me as illuminating are the reasons Sister gives for the current flourishing of these communities.

Just a thought.

AMDG,

-J.

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