Monday, July 6, 2009

Carol Marin: You're Wrong

I just read this morning an astonishing piece from The Chicago Times about the Vatican's investigations of American convents. Written by Carol Marin, it drips with superiority toward Catholicism, as though this age is the first that has directly collided with truth.

An excerpt:

Rome, according to the New York Times, is "quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition."

Just when you thought Catholic bishops couldn't find another way to infuriate the flock, darn it, they've done it again.

Both probes were reportedly initiated by Conservative prelates unhappy that American nuns are not sufficiently toeing the line of Catholic orthodoxy, not wearing habits, not living in convents and not keeping their mouths shut about the concerns of women in a modern world.

Don't these sisters know their place?

Carol Marin is only one of many who erroneously believe that the life of a woman religious is primarily about bringing "peace and justice" to the world. It's not. It's about a woman hearing the call of God upon her life to separate herself even more from the world in order to serve Him. Serving their Spouse, Jesus Christ, requires trust and obedience. But what are they to obey? The ever-changing whims of the world, determined to live in darkness while denying God? Or are women religious to obey the call to a higher spiritual life, continuing to extend the light that will draw the world to Him?

The snark of Marin with her smug "don't they know their place" only exposes her outdated style of feminism. In her world, it's evident that women who follow the Magisterium are nothing more than dumb cows, lumbering toward whatever direction they're herded. Conversely, with that short judgement she also presumes that if you are a "thinking women," then of course you must dissent with the Magisterium. To which I say, baloney.

Marin doesn't realize that Christians are called to a life of sacrifice and self-denial. In case she missed it, I'll make it clear: It isn't about 'my' needs, Carol Marin. It isn't about whether I should be ordained as a priest, have the 'right' to have an abortion if I want, or pursue a deviant life of sexuality. It's. Not. About. Me. In fact, the day I committed my life to Christ was the day when I handed over the keys to Him and said, "You drive." My job from then on was to trust that God knew the best routes to take me to the destinations He planned for me.

I get so weary of these types of articles because they deliberately obfuscate the true meaning of being a Christian. Feminists, and God help us, "Christian" feminists - continue to get it wrong again and again but yet rarely are they engaged in the public arena. And when they are, the media delights in painting a woman's opposing view as being "backward" and ignorant of today's societal needs.

Marin goes on. (My responses are in red):

There can be good reasons for the church to conduct a study of its nuns. Their numbers are declining fast. Their communities are shrinking. And we all could, in whatever work we do, profit from studying how well we're performing. (Marin failed to do due diligence. Convents such as Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, showed 36 in the picture, 8 of them looked to be novices. Why is it the more orthodox orders don't seem to be struggling as much with their communities? Ever ask that question, Carol?)

But frankly, these investigations are really about dissent in the Catholic Church and how to stop it. You know, women's ordination, homosexuality, birth control, abortion and celibacy. (So what if it is? If someone is a Catholic, let alone a religious, and not only do they not agree with the Magisterium but seek to lead others into dissension - you don't think the Vatican should be concerned? The Vatican has the responsibility for teaching the truth. If these nuns who are in such dissent do not or cannot agree with the Magisterium, they're in the wrong place. They should have left the Catholic Church long ago and joined the Unitarians.)

And this process is nothing more than an assertion of control. (Wrong. It's the promotion and fidelity to truth. Only someone who is hardheaded and unrepentant would mistakenly believe this is an issue of control. It is an attempt to reconcile those who are in error with the Church.) Because the conclusions of the studies will stay confidential, the sisters may never know the outcome. But just by conducting the probes, the bishops are warning the sisters to sit a little straighter in their chairs. (Poke, poke.)

Am I missing something here? Were the recent, awful church scandals about nuns? Don't think so. (Sigh. Now Marin completes a neat twist with her rusty pen and stabs it into a completely different topic. By comparing a justifiable examination by the Vatican into the lives of convents with the sexual abuse cases of the past, Marin childishly tries to shift blame. Which is ridiculous. Pope Benedict XVI has continuously addressed the tragic situation and the Catholic Church is working to remedy the situation. And again - do due diligence, Marin. Ever heard of sexual abuse of women by nuns? Didn't think so.)

Too bad that Marin only had an 84-year old nun to consult for this story. Maybe she was running behind on her deadline but I suspect she went into the story with her mind made up. Little things like centuries of tradition and the Scripture don't fit her narrative. Only by framing the conversation by placing women (once again) as victims of the Big Bad Church in Rome would she be able to vent her misplaced irritations. Sad.


Last night, I came across John Powers' article "She's At It Again: Ms. Marin at the Ministry of Media Manipulaton." Powers is the President of the Chicago Daily Observer. I think he nailed it by noting the commenters were better informed than a journalist working for a major newspaper.

An added thought:

Carol Marin presumes much when she says:

Just when you thought Catholic bishops couldn't find another way to infuriate the flock, darn it, they've done it again.

In this instance, she believes her own press. Assuming that Catholics are "irritated" by their bishops, she again shows her bias toward church leadership. (And this, yet, during the "Year For Priests" which was recently announced by Pope Benedict XVI.) Perhaps from Marin's view she thinks Catholics are "infuriated," but from my vantage point - they are relieved. From the conversations at my parish and Catholic communities online, I continue to hear "Thank God the Vatican is finally stepping in." These Catholics for many years have seen their faith continue to be ridiculed, minimized, and mocked at times by those who supposedly took vows to uphold the continuity of it. Mixing Eastern Mysticism with Christianity doesn't work. The two do not dance well together and unfortunately, it is taking the strong arm of the Vatican to separate them.

If I ever spoke to Carol Marin, I would gladly explain why I feel so strongly on this subject. My weak spiritual formation was the direct result of Nuns Gone Wild. I know they meant well at the time, but the effects of their experimentation with pop-psychology, wrongheaded attempts at ecumenism, and dabbling with Eastern mysticism (and for some - a sympathy toward witchcraft) - together failed to educate at least two generations of Catholics about their Catholic identity. Many left the Catholic Church as a result. As for me, I couldn't toss a peanut in a non-denominational church without hitting at least three "ex-Catholics." So, yes. I feel very strongly about this topic.

Today I will deliberately stop any nun who is wearing her habit and thank her for her service. The wearing of the habit is now a sign to me that a nun understands her vows. To me, it is a beautiful sign and one the world sorely needs. Enough with the frustrated nuns who have turned sweet wine into vinegar. For all of their insistence that the Vatican allow them their games, they have ended up with the smaller team and quite frankly, fewer want to play in their league.

Meanwhile, those who are faithful to the Magisterium are realizing that at the bottom of the ninth, with all bases loaded - they've got a major player at the plate who will rock the house for them. Plus, there is a small but growing number of women waiting to join the team with their eyes on the prize - Jesus Christ.

I couldn't have returned to the Church at a better time.


Janny said...

Mary Rose-

PLEASE send this to Carol Marin. You said these things a lot more charitably than I would have, and quite an ex-Chicagoan who until very recently had a pretty high level of respect for Carol Marin, she owes her employer better than this nonsense. This sounds like it was written by a 17-year-old throwing a tantrum, not by a woman who's been considered for years and years to be a professional journalist. Clearly, she failed this be a true journalist and instead became a mouthpiece for the same tired, worn arguments.

But like I said, you say this MUCH more charitably than I wanted to say it when I read this outrageous piece of flap. DO send it to her. (In other words, I can't trust myself to get beyond "ignorant cow" at the moment myself. :-) Encourage her to read your blog. The woman needs an education, and who better than orthodox Catholic women to give it to her?


Michelle Marciniak said...

If one could stand up and cheer a blog entry, I would be doing it right now. Very well written, well said. As a young girl I remember the sisters having us sing "Blowin In the Wind" and "The Sounds of Silence" at Mass. Even at the tender age of eight, I always felt a little uncomfortable singing, "Hello darkness my old friend" in church. Just didn't seem right. I will be joining you in thanking all nuns I see in habit this week, maybe even indefinately. Thank you for a blog well written.

Mary Rose said...

Thank you both for your kind words. Janny, I did go to the newspaper's site and posted a few comments there along with a link to my blog. I'm not sure if she reads the comment section, but hoping she does.

Michelle, isn't that wild? You'd think the nuns then would be thinking, "Gee, are these good lyrics for our children and how do they build Catholic identity?" Evidently not. :-\

God bless you both!

X said...

Marin should go visit Ann Arbor where the Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist are bursting out of their convent. And they are youngyoungyoung!!!! And smart! I think there are Dominicans in Tennessee that are also experiencing huge growth. Also the Sisters of Life in New York. And guess what - they ALL wear the habit!

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