This week's NCR editorial on the dilemma faced by American sisters defines the problem superbly and eloquently.
But I don't think its proposed solutions go far enough.
On the plus side, it asks for boldness by the Leadership Conference for Women Religious in standing up for its record and courage by bishops who support sisters them to step up and voice their advocacy in public.
Also, echoing a widespread effort, it encourages Catholic lay people to let Rome know how much the sisters have enriched Catholic life in America.
Two problems arise.
The first, and the more important, is that the editorial doesn't call for a protest against the sexism behind the crisis. Asking for character witnesses is fine, but inadequate, when the root of the crisis goes unmentioned.
What links the clerical sex abuse of children and the investigations of sister? I believe it is sex. A distorted view of sex that opens the door to both kinds of mistreatment.
Others more qualified than I am could trace the origins origins of this sexual development that has made both women and children into sexul objects who can be exploited in different, sometimes, overlapping ways.
The other snag in requesting character witnesses is that it seems to me most laity would be testifying to sisters' ministries that belong largely to the past and therefor can be both honored and dismissed as not quite pertinent.
Putting the onus on sexism might sound tiresome and worn out but it doesn't mean that it's lost its relevance.
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