16 April 2009

Feminism + New Cosmology = Jesus Doesn't Save

This is why the Vatican is performing a "theological assessment" of women's religious congregations in the U.S. . .

In the keynote address to the Leadership Conference of Religious Women, Sr. Laurie Brink, OP lays out four options for the future of religious women in the U.S. In one of these options, she reports (in part):

The dynamic option for Religious Life, which I am calling, Sojourning, is much more difficult to discuss, since it involves moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus. A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical. It has grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion. Its search for the Holy may have begun rooted in Jesus as the Christ, but deep reflection, study and prayer have opened it up to the spirit of the Holy in all of creation. Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian.

When religious communities embraced the spirit of renewal in the 1970s, they took seriously that the world was no longer the enemy, that a sense of ecumenism required encountering the holy “other,” and that the God of Jesus might well be the God of Moses and the God of Mohammed. The works of Thomas Merton encouraged an exploration of the nexus between Eastern and Western religious practices. The emergence of the women’s movement with is concomitant critique of religion invited women everywhere to use a hermeneutical lens of suspicion when reading the androcentric Scriptures and the texts of the Tradition. With a new lens, women also began to see the divine within nature, the value and importance of the cosmos, and that the emerging new cosmology encouraged their spirituality and fed their souls.

As one sister described it, “I was rooted in the story of Jesus, and it remains at my core, but I’ve also moved beyond Jesus.” The Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative for these women. They still hold up and reverence the values of the Gospel, but they also recognize that these same values are not solely the property of Christianity. Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Judaism, Islam and others hold similar tenets for right behavior within the community, right relationship with the earth and right relationship with the Divine. With these insights come a shattering or freeing realization—depending on where you stand. Jesus is not the only son of God. Salvation is not limited to Christians. Wisdom is found in the traditions of the Church as well as beyond it.

[. . .]

There you have it, brothers and sisters, the rotted core of "Post-Christian" theology among the detritus of religious feminism in the U.S.

It's not entirely clear from the address which of the four options Sr. Laurie prefers. The address is difficult to read b/c of its overall tone and protest-rally placard sloganeering. Sr. Laurie can't seem to decide if the Church spends most of its time and energy oppressing women or ignoring them. Or perhaps the Church is oppressing them by ignoring them? This indecision is revealed, for the most part, in the pervasive rhetoric of victimization and her choice to the repeat anti-Catholic stereotypes most often found on the pages of the NYT.


UPDATE: For those wondering why the so-called "Sojourning Sisters" refuse to do the obvious and honest thing and just leave the Church that has allegedly made their spiritual lives so unbearable, here's my semi-professional diagnosis: "Rebels Without a Clue."

H/T to Mark Shea


  1. I love this!!! They are etching out their own tombstones. The Inquisitors are coming, they know they will be convicted, so they hammering out the terms of surrender, suicide or retreat. With the game up, they have decided their is nothing left to lose in pulling back the curtain to their Wizard of Oz (or priestess, Bel, Earth Mother, etc...).

    I hope they repent after figuring out that Vatican II 'promises' were conjured in their heads; that they learn Merton went off the reservation. Some will accept their passing into the night. Some will fight tooth and claw to the bitter end. Others will fly to the open arms of Bishop Shori and her kind.

    Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us sinners; thank you for sending us the next generation of nuns to carry on the torch for your glory. Amen.

  2. Sister Laurie OP(!) certainly starts as she means to carry on. In the very first paragraph, after a politically correct swipe at "imperialism" she concludes: "The theological justification in the 1800s was the salvation of heathen souls — a theology that we no longer hold."

    If this is one of the "Dogs of God" speaking, I don't want to meet any hyænas ...

  3. I knew there was a reason I twitch every time I hear the word "journey" mentioned around theology...

    The world might be round, but you can fall off the edge of sense.

  4. All I ask of these "sojourning congregations" is that they cease to present themselves as Catholic. But they seem to hold fast to the Church. Is that because it gives them something to rebel against? Because that way they can feel more self-righteously victimized? Maybe it gives them an audience they wouldn't otherwise have, fed-up authority figures who give them a thrill by paying attention to them. Maybe reporters would ignore them if they were just a bunch of older women making up their religion as they go, but it's a more interesting story if they call themselves Catholic. Maybe they're (unconsciously) motivated by the devil who keeps them nominally Catholic so they can keep attacking the Body of Christ. Maybe it has something to do with the donations or payments or publishers they can get if they pretend to be Catholic.

    I'm not just trying to be snarky; I really would like to get to the bottom of why these women who hate the Church refuse to sever ties.

  5. maryclare8:11 PM

    Dear Father P,
    Seems they too have moved well beyond finding their inner episcopalian... If they no longer have a personal relationship with Jesus they are no longer Catholic or even christian.
    Sad does not describe it... It reminds me of Jesus talking about folks who are suprised when they are rejected by Him, suggesting their service (qualified them for heaven) had healed the sick visited the prisoner, etc and He says 'away from me'. Jesus didn't die to qualify us as good social workers or health care professionals. Sr. Laurie et al have quite simply missed the point of their vows... if they are now 'beyond Jesus' to whom or what were/are they consecrated? I am tempted to ponder if they have ever experienced God in any way apart from an intellectual process, if this is the point they have arrived at in their 'sojourning'. When I pray, often the experience of the presence of God is so overwhelming it leaves me in profound awe, deepest joy, and with that peace that passes all understanding... this is what leaves me desparate for more of Him... deeply aware of my utter unworthiness, but held in His profound love. He knows me, and for me to be given this profound Love is a gift beyond all measure. I experience it also when I receive Him in the Eucharist...pray what do these sisters feel? This is what it means to have a spousal relationship with the Lord.
    Unless they can be made to see the error of their ways ( I pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy often because of/against this type of insidious heresy), there will be many who sadly may need to be made to leave their orders if not be excommunicated as they themselves have removed themselves from the Church. It is foretold that many would fall away in the latter days. Sadly, this is happening as we speak, and the need for solid preaching and adhereance to the Gospel has never been greater. I have been down the road they have travelled... it truly is the road to damnation... it is a desolate, dark and utterly empty way, and is absolutely NOT of God. It is full of intellectual pride, arrogance, disobediance, anarchy, self-centredness, pseudo-wisdom, vague spirituality with no intimate knowledge of God, syncretism, a-theo-logy (without God), and is the foundation upon which the global false religion of the anti-christ will be based. This sort of heresy is all the more dangerous when it is 'dressed' in supposedly 'spiritual clothes', and its adherants have a truly frightening capacity for self-deception in their delusion that their 'way' (they are now too clever to be Christians - its just soo last century darling) is the 'right'one.
    And please could someone explain to me how a Dominican sister be preaching this when the Dominican Charism is expressed by the word VERITAS ?! It may be the truth as experienced in the sort of reilgious orders to which Sr. Laurie refers, but it is NOT THE TRUTH of the Gospel.
    Repent and believe the Gospel, Sisters or did you sleep through Lent, particularly deeply it seems on Ash Wednesday?!
    Listen to what the Spirit is saying to the Churches.
    What do you think Father?
    With Love and prayers,
    Regards maryclare

  6. Rachael, check out the updated link at the bottom of the post...


    If I could explain the mess the sojourning sisters have made for themselves, I would win a medal. Check out the updated link at the bottom of the post and see what you think.

    There's a great book out there that does a decent job of explaining some of this nonsense, Unholy Rage by Donna Streichen.

  7. London,

    If you can bear it...read on...it gets worse. She drags out every anti-Catholic bumper sticker she can find.


  8. Anonymous1:11 AM

    It's not only women, and it's not only Americans. I heard a Dutch Dominican friar say (in translation):

    "My church is a wide, slow-moving river towards the sea we call GOD."
    "Who can take this great stream away from me? [...] If I have seen something of the Great Sea far away, all "forbiddings" in the world - well-meant though they might be - can not keep me from participating in the flowing of our river."
    "Peering at the See from afar I did see, that your opinion is not correct. Don't lock up our God in the golden cage of Catholicism. ALLAH HU AKBAR: God is Greater!"

    Dude, I WISH I was kidding.

    Here's the article in Dutch.

  9. "...they also recognize that these same values are not solely the property of Christianity. "

    Yes, it is called "Natural Law".

    Also, our Faith goes far beyond those values.

  10. templariidvm11:42 AM

    Wow! The depth of their theology is TRULY amazing! They have been able to move beyond the greatest minds of the Church and now know that there actually IS salvation without Jesus Christ.

    What happened to the truly wonderful, intelligent, holy woman who educated me for 12 years of school?????

  11. Templar,

    They were silenced by the feminist mob that grabbed leadership in the 70's. Many older sisters have told me how they lied to and manipulated by well-educated younger sisters into believing that VC2 was telling them to become feminist activists...there were a lot of dodgy elections, etc. Sad.

  12. Templar,

    They were silenced by the feminist mob that grabbed leadership in the 70's. Many older sisters have told me how they lied to and manipulated by well-educated younger sisters into believing that VC2 was telling them to become feminist activists...there were a lot of dodgy elections, etc. Sad.

  13. I guess we can't pick on the Jesuits too much, seeing that we have our share of kookburger elements in our own order.

    You gotta give them half a point for creativity, for coming up with a trendy new name for "heretics."