Kudos to the National Catholic Reporter for publishing this article by David Gibson of the Religion News Service. Gibson gives a peek into one of the more traditional religious orders and the young women who are entering them. Sadly, you can’t avoid noticing the judgmental attitude among some of the women interviewed; an ‘us-them’ attitude.
Ideological differences among Catholics are usually divided into the old left-right, progressive-conservative dichotomy. The differences are apparent whenever a discussion takes place on modern day religious life. Interestingly, it seems to focus more on women’s religious orders rather than their male counter-parts.
Young women who embrace the habit and cloistered life are the standard bearers for Catholic conservatives. The women of more active, apostolic orders such as those of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) are the inspirational heroes of the progressives. The former focus on faithfulness to prayer, doctrine and traditions of the past. The latter focuses on gospel action through works of social justice.
Catholicism has always offered many paths towards holiness. The diversity of spiritualities and charisms found in our religious orders is one of our greatest gifts. It reflects our human reality. One person might find deep peace in a life structured around hours of prayer in a chapel. Another might find the same peace in the midst of the inner city. If a woman or man is called to religious life, there is a smorgasbord of life-styles to choose from.
Different is good. Why can’t we see difference side by side….different but equal. Why do we always have to place one above the other? Why do we always have to rationalize our own choice by demeaning and criticizing the choice of another?
This blog is almost a year old. It`s purpose is to promote dialogue and not debate in an increasingly polarized church and society. Except for a lively discussion in the early weeks around liturgical music, the comments have come mostly from kindred spirits. I have not heard from too many voices who think differently than I. Until yesterday.
The discussion board settings require me to approve the first comment made by a new reader before it is published. If approved, subsequent comments will be automatically published to the site. Comments can be deleted by the blog owner at any time.
For some unknown reason, the January 15 post titled nuns`veils, simply a habit? continues to get several clicks a week. Yesterday, the following comment on this post showed up in my mail-box, awaiting approval,
The baseball team the Yankees is not to identify with the crowd and wear “civies”; I find it ironically superficial for nuns to take off a habit and veil and break the symbolic union with nuns who have passed on—this symbolic clothing points towards mystery and, therefore, is an immediate reminder of God. Instead, you wear what points towards the secular.
It is incredibly stupid to dedicate a life towards God and not mirror it in your clothing. Padre Pio in the hours before his death refused to take off his habit in order to breathe better. To me, nuns without habits or veils are like the pride of the Yankees dismissed by removing your baseball uniform and telling Babe Ruth to go take a walk. Modern spirituality continues to reveal a symbolic walk away from mystery, tradition, and union with all those who went before. Yuk!
Ah, a voice that doesn`t agree with me! A voice that I don`t agree with! I clicked the approve comment button. It would be hypocritical of me not to. I believe that our church and world is big enough to allow a diversity of views. The key to dialogue and not debate is to discuss those views in a reasonable and respectful manner. While I don`t agree with the reasoning of this gentleman, he has the right to express his opinion.