Monday, May 14, 2012

Fr. Patrick Howell, S.J. "Particularly Inquisitional"

Fr. Patrick Howell, S.J.
In the seven years I have been writing this column, I have rarely dealt with issues specific to the Catholic Church. Rather I have tried to focus on contemplative walks in the Arboretum, the spirituality of gardening, the gift of family, strengthening Christian unity through ecumenical relationships, the importance of prayer, the wealth of spiritual resources in Catholic tradition and so forth. Two exceptions would be the sexual-abuse crisis, "Jesuits reflect on abuse scandal" (Seattle Times, April 30, 2010), and the election of the new pope in April 2005. But now the Catholic faithful have been rocked by another incredible initiative from the Holy See, and I cannot pass over in silence. (Note of explanation: "Holy See" refers to the central church leadership. "Vatican" refers to the city-state or political entity.) In this instance, the Holy See through the Congregation on Doctrine and Faith has mandated a reining in of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). It calls into question the leadership of the American Catholic sisters and hence their generous, intelligent, compassionate contributions, and their prophetic voice within the church. Many are shocked, even scandalized, by this intervention. The reasons given are even more problematic. The ones that leap out are that Women Religious has been silent on issues of sexual ethics, such as contraception and gay marriage, and that some of their invited keynote speakers at their national conferences have raised up significant issues the church still needs to deal with. By implication, they have focused too much on social-justice issues such as homelessness, oppressive political structures, capital punishment, and so forth without sufficient attention to the doctrinal teaching of the church. And they should never have raised questions about the ordination of women. Being called on the carpet for maintaining a respectful silence on controversial issues related to sexual ethics seems particularly inquisitional.
Link (here) to The Seattle Times and the full opinion piece by Fr. Patrick Howell, S.J.


Maria said...

I highly recommend She has several interesting posts up. Her latest is short.It reads:

Apparently this is National Offend a Feminist Week. In the spirit of the season, I would like to dedicate this to all of those horrible lesbian-pagan-Marxist nuns out there. Heh.

Defintely go check to video that appends this brief post @

She has some thoughts on the homosexual, Marxist, infiltrators in our midst.

Anonymous said...

Maria--I challenge you to visit a group of nuns and, to their face, call them "horrible lesbian-pagan-Marxist nuns."

You're losing your dignity.

Maria said...

No thanks. I'll pass. I challenge you to sign your name.

Maria said...

I found this over at NEW WAYS MINISTRY:

atty Smith says:
April 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

I have a more personal reason for wanting to support women religious. I went to an all-girl Catholic high school. In 1976, on a bus ride home from a field trip near the end of my junior year, my homeroom teacher, a Roman Catholic Sister, asked us if anyone thought about becoming a Nun. Although I never entered a convent, her question was always in the back of mind and left me wondering whether I was called to be a Sister. My doubts came from the fact that I am gay. I found love, had a wonderful Holy Union Ceremony at a Dignity Fort Lauderdale Mass. But my partner and I were not meant to grow old together and she died a little less than four and one half years after she moved in with me. After losing my partner and still dealing with the grief, I found myself once again wondering whether I was called to be a Sister. On August 15, 2008, the Feast of the Assumption of Mary,*** I made my Solemn Profession of Vows at Holy Angels Catholic Community.***


On October 19, 2009, I was able to contact that Roman Catholic Sister and let her know that I had finally found my own way to say “Yes!” to her question. I told her I am gay. I told her I had a partner and we had a Holy Union Ceremony. I also told her that my partner was deceased. Then I told her about deciding to become an Independent Catholic Sister. After I finished speaking, I paused and waited for her reaction. She was and still remains very supportive and encouraging. She said I had to be true to who I am. I am grateful for her courage. I am grateful for her guidance. I am grateful for the gift of her continuing presence in my life."

These are the nuns that "Fr. Jim" defends. Heaven help us.

Anonymous said...

Actually the nuns sound quite humane and reasonable.

I don't understand why you spend so much time on these blogs but haven't engaged one of these supposedly evil nuns? Have a little spine!


Maria said...

When all of priests look and behave like girls and all our Sisters look behave and look like men, one has to concede: something demonic is afoot.

Maria said...

When all of priests look and behave like girls, and all our Sisters look and behave like men, one has to concede: something demonic is afoot.

Julianna Gulden said...

Dear Mr. Fromm,

I find it odd that Maria's comments and repeats of others' comments labeling nuns as homosexual, Marxist, pagan, lesbian, etc. are not removed by you.

I guess your idea of 'respectful and thoughtful comments' differ from mine...but not from many of those who read your blog, perhaps.