Francis Throws Down the Gauntlet to Religious
Pope Francis has begun his assault against the secularization of religious life, attacking the late-20th century tendency to separate religious commitment from the Church in order to serve the spirit of the world. We have seen this tendency in the shift to purely secular service among women religious, accompanied by New Age spirituality and feminist careerism.
[. . .]
Although Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI all attempted to foster a spirit of true renewal in communities of consecrated life around the world, progress among the badly infected orders has been like the proverbial pulling of teeth—with excuses for delay and, if delay fails, then kicking and screaming. The latest evidence of the widespread rebellion against the Church was found in the effort of Sister Mary Lou Wirtz, President of the International Union of Superiors General, to derail the reform of the Leadership Conference for Women Religious last Tuesday. Sister Mary Lou claimed that the nature of authority and obedience had changed since Vatican II, that the LCWR wanted to focus on what “Gospel leadership” means today, and that the Vatican was clearly not interested in that topic.
[. . .]
But Pope Francis cannot be fooled in this. He has experienced the rot in religious life first-hand; he was marginalized by his Jesuit Superiors as a young priest, just as true men and women of the Church in so many religious orders have been for the past two generations [. . .] Will he shift from words to discipline?
We don’t know yet, but it has not taken him long to respond to Sister Mary Lou or to go on the offensive verbally in a tone which sounds suspiciously like he is ready to lay down the law. The Pope received the plenary assembly of the International Union of Superiors General in audience the day after its president gave her ill-conceived interview to Vatican Radio. The complete text is available under a striking title, Careerists and Climbers Doing “Great Harm” to the Church. Francis struck at the very heart of the religious malaise today, while responding pointedly to the leader of the IUSG. . .
Follow HancAquam or Subscribe and DONATE! ---->