Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Sisters Surveyed

There is a Vatican-ordered review of American Catholic women religious going on now. Catholic News Service reports that a questionnaire has been given to religious orders to describe their activities. One general question concerns the doctrine and teaching of women religious.

One factor in this questioning is the demand of women to be ordained. There are some outspoken nuns who speak about ordination. The clash is inevitable for those women who think it is wrong that there is no ordination of women in the Catholic Church. But clouding this subject is whether women religious are staying on track with other doctrine.

Unfortunately in my experience, in writings and teachings, many religious women are drifting off, often to universalism where it doesn't matter in their opinion what people believe. To them, God loves everyone, and everyone will get to heaven. How we would get along with those who never repented, I don't know. (Though I can't know their hearts at their ends, I give Hitler and Stalin as possible examples.) However, I find this mindset to be true with writings of male religious also. And I'm sure there are many religious women who are deeply committed to orthodox Christianity. I don't want to go onto details of this now, but I write of these themes in my book, Unto Others. (My book is a mystery and so I hope entertaining, but takes on themes of today's Catholic Church and life in general.)

In the frustration of being treated as second-hand Church members, some women may get off the track altogether. However, being treated unfairly is not an excuse to leave the Christian faith. For one, we expect hardships in this life.

Even more importantly, we find dignity for women emanating from the Scripture. For example, there is "neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female" (Galatians 3:28, NIV). We are all equal in Christ.

Concerning the issue of "Jew or Gentile," the original Apostles already knew (after some discussion and visions) that Christ's sacrifice was made for all, and that any person can accept the salvation He gives.

The slavery issue took longer to sort out. Even Popes were divided. While some condemned it, others didn't. Among the facts given in Wikipedia under Christianity and Slavery:

The papacy itself increasingly hardened its attitude. The 7th century Pope Martin I condemned unjust slavery, but in doing so implicitly suggested that he believed a just slavery to exist. In the early thirteenth century, official support for slavery and the slave trade was incorporated into Canon Law, by Pope Gregory IX[80][81], who had also introduced the Inquisition, trials for witchcraft, and the judicial presumption of guilt (rather than presumption of innocence). Roughly a century later, Gregory's namesake, Pope Gregory XI, excommunicated the Florentines and ordered them to be enslaved if captured[82].

In 1917, one hundred and ten years after the official abolition of the slave trade in most of the rest of the world, the Papacy finally abolished the Canon Law support for the slave trade.
Today we finally know how wrong slavery is. Why is the "male-female" problem so stubborn?

I have written about prejudice in the last few posts. Prejudice is subtle and though I think it is a temptation, it is often one we are not even aware we have given into. There are all kinds of reasons not to be fair. A person needs prayer and deep soul-searching to come to the right place.

Yes, Christ chose 12 Apostles, but He also had many women helping him. Women were with Christ at the cross and He first appeared to women when He arose from the dead. Would Jesus deny women the dignity of being ordained Deacons? I really doubt it. Would He ask that any other sacrament of the church be given to men and not women? No.

Slaves and others fought for the end of slavery. Though it may be a divisive issue with the Church, we must do what is right. Women are speaking out because we must, but we must not stray from the Truth. We pray for all eyes and hearts to be opened.


Nod said...

You're a book writer? How very fascinating, that must be fun to be published!

Kay said...

Well, it's a little different than published, because I'm self-published. My husband and I also self-published my previous book called Mission: Faithful and his historical novel about the lumbering era in our area of Michigan, Sawdust Fires.

There are some reasons I haven't pursued publishing houses as much as I could have. One is that in the past I put more energy and effort into Intelligent Design Theory than writing fiction and therefore wanted no time restraints and deadlines. I also enjoy doing the cover myself. But, I'm starting on another book and who knows what will happen in the future. I may eventually submit my manuscripts somewhere.

PS--Though many self-published books are not star quality, some can be very good!