And We Wonder Why CDF Gets Worried?

by Michael Sean Winters

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My colleague Tom Fox has posted excerpts from an essay by Regina Schulte. There is much in the essay I find objectionable or foolish or both, but these lines especially jumped out at me:

They [the hierarchy] fuss about obedience, dogma, retro-liturgical maneuvers, the charade about religious freedom, women’s reproductive behaviors, and who marries whom. American nuns find such issues to be counterproductive to the works of the Gospel, at worst; and mere distractions at best.

I am not sure what reading of the Church's history, or the Christian Scriptures, or the documents of Vatican II, would permit one to think that obedience is not worth fussing about. Maybe I just have more sins than Ms. Schulte - I do not doubt it. For me, the desire to be obedient to Christ is something I fuss about a lot.

And, dogma, well, call me old-fashioned, but I think the Creed really matters, I think that if Christ is not risen from the dead than it is foolish to look to him for ethical guidance, and, last time I checked, the belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a dogma. So, is the holiness and apostolicity and oneness and catholicity of the Church.

Last time I checked, certain women's reproductive behaviors entail killing unborn children and I hope that Ms. Schulte finds it at least morally problematic to think that our current legal regime allows a woman to kill that unborn child for any reason whatsoever. I am willing to fuss about that.

Sometimes, the Catholic Left is its own worst enemy. If you want to know why the Vatican is worried, you need look no further than this essay. I may not agree with the way the investigation of the LCWR has been handled - and I think as much fault lies with the US bishops as with the LCWR - but I can say without fear of contradiction that if the LCWR and those who wish to defend them turn to essays like this, they are only confirming the fears of the CDF that, to paraphrase, Houston, we have a problem.

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