Thursday, April 19, 2012
The Face of Darkness
American nuns are not talking enough against sexuality. Or women. Or health care. Or the superiority of canonic law over the bible. They are too busy serving.
The Vatican sees "serious doctrinal problems" with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (layman's speak "American nuns") not because they have stopped leading our children to Jesus (they haven't) or tending the sick in clinics and hospitals (they still do that) or because they won't work for ridiculously low wages far less than their lay counterparts would tolerate (they do) or because they have stopped going to Mass, or advocating for the poor, or caring for children that everyone else abandoned, or dedicating their daily lives to Jesus, or working in centers of poverty or trying to help stop human trafficking, or doing their best to be the face and hands of God in a hurting world.
The Vatican sees serious doctrinal problems because some nuns have advocated for public health care. Some of them, I suspect, voted for Obama. The Vatican sees serious doctrinal problems because nuns don't remember to verbally shame their AIDS patients by regularly reminding them of their sexual sinfulness. Sometimes these dangerous women have the radical notion that an AIDS patient might not have sinned at all.
Some nuns have openly questioned the possibility of women in priesthood. Some nuns wonder if women can be as filled with the Spirit as men, and maybe even with the same spiritual gifts.
Some nuns wonder why Catholic daughters can't use birth control pills, but Presbyterian daughters can. They wonder why a group of celibate men can tell a Catholic mother that it's acceptable to use the rhythm method for avoiding another pregnancy, but not a condom.
Some nuns embrace transgendered people. In public. With both arms, and not in that "A frame" hug that keeps your torsos separated. Some nuns pray with gays more often than they pray against them. Some of them teach our daughters that they might actually have a voice of leadership in a Catholic parish someday. Some nuns dare to suggest that the spirit of God may be expressed in ways other than male.
These women are the face of darkness in a dangerous, dangerous time.
Yet, despite its crackdown on these dangerous veiled women, these faces of darkness in our crumbling church, "The Holy See acknowledges with gratitude the great contribution of women Religious to the Church in the United States as seen particularly in the many schools, hospitals, and institutions of support for the poor which have been founded and staffed by Religious over the years."
This, I suppose, is the lip service of comfort. We may crush you, but we appreciate you as you lay beneath our feet.
So, Catholic women, here is your truth. As long as you listen more than you speak, follow more than you think, and obey more than you love, you will be granted peace.
But not the peace that passes understanding.
And certainly, not the peace of God.