Friday, July 03, 2009

The Relentless Damage of Pope Benedict XVI

It’s not enough that he has set Catholicism back several decades (you should have known that was his objective when he chose the name of the last pope he could actually respect, Benedict XV, 1914-1922, who invented canon law). Having torched seminaries with his witch hunt for homosexual candidates for the priesthood, he has now turned his bloody eye on that weakest and most endangered workforce of the Roman Catholic Church, the nuns.

As reported in The New York Times, B16 has initiated what he is calling a “visitation”, but let’s call it what it really is, an inquisition. He’s gotten wind of the fact that some nuns don’t wear habits, some nuns have secular work (gotta pay the bills on those vast and empty convents) and some nuns have supposedly developed an interest in Reiki. B16 in usual Vatican fashion lumps Reiki in with voodoo and sees it as opposed to Catholic faith. (This is a subject for another day, but Reiki actually talks about the flow of healing energy from and within the human body. Substitute grace for energy and you’re on safe Catholic ground. Plus, the “laying on of hands” is part of ancient Catholic tradition and ritual. Reiki just does it more intently.)

Because B16 can’t ride his dark horse up to the gate of each and every American convent, he has deputized an American nun as his grand inquisitor visitator. The New York Times calls her “apple-cheeked” and with “smiling eyes” but make no mistake. She is B16 in a dress. Oh wait. A different dress (supply any reverse drag joke you like). Mother Mary Clare Millea has a degree in canon law from the Lateran University in Rome. She’s a well-connected Vatican tool. Beneath her sweet words of overture to the nuns of America is the obvious disciplinary intent. Don’t believe me? Read the letter she wrote to the Superiors General of orders of American nuns, encouraging cooperation in this Apostolic Visitation. Did you miss the part where she, unable to ride her own dark horse up to the gates of those dusty convents, asks for a supply of deputies to do the inquisition visitation for her?

Please note that all those who take part in the work of the Apostolic Visitation will be acting in the name of the Apostolic See. For this reason, they must be willing to make a public profession of faith and take an oath of fidelity to the Apostolic See.

I guess the vows that nuns take and the creed that all Catholics recite at Mass are not enough for grinning Sister Cheeky. She’s demanding a special allegiance to B16 that will assure her of a compliant army of like-minded tools.

Any nun who participates in this nonsense should have her head examined. Already treated like second-class–wannabe-priests-without-dicks, nuns have in recent decades had to fend for themselves in designing their role in the church. In that process and with no chance to actually administer the sacraments they are taught to revere, they have become educated and ministerially effective in non-traditional ways. I would venture to say that in many communities, nuns are more respected than priests because they obviously lack institutional clout but still do the drudge work of mercy that is closer to the intention of the authentic Jesus rather than that of the sock puppet Jesus into which B16 daily shoves his fist.

To be sure, I’ve got some bad memories of working with some miserable nuns, but I also knew and respected an equal number of really good ones. As you would guess, there were many lesbians among both the good and bad lots. They get a doubly raw deal from the Catholic Church and I always wondered why they didn’t all walk away from it.

I have one thing to say to all the nuns that remain. Ladies, this is your chance to grow some big ones. With one voice, you need to send a resounding “F__K You” to B16 when Mother Mary Clare Millea and her minions come to inspect your skirts. I am rather sure that is what Miss Jesus would do.



Blogger ewe said...

The nuns should just strike and watch the whole empire fall to to dust.

11:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As if the departure of a bunch of angry Lesbian practioners of Wicca is going to hurt the real Church!

Good fucking riddance, say I!

12:15 PM  
Blogger Birdie said...

I thought their allegiance is to God, not the Pope.

And Anon, the real Church is buried so deep beneath the politics of power that it is almost invisible. That's true of a number of denominations; the RCC has no exclusivity.

1:40 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

There are dark days coming. Those who are spiritual, not religious, must prepare for all that will bring and not give in to fear. This life is just a stopping point on the journey. Take it away and the bud will continue to unfold to a beautiful flower of light and love in the next bend of the road.

2:40 PM  
Blogger Марко Фризия said...

When I was a little boy, I wanted to be a nun, not a priest. Nuns were much better examples than priests. These good women, American nuns, sacrifice so much. I think right-wing, nut-case fanatics like Mother Angelica of EWTN do more damage. I doubt they will investigate that operation. I wish the Vatican would go after pedophile priests and bishops instead of nuns. The Catholic Church in the USA has become the Republican Party at Prayer.

2:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When I was a boy I wanted to become a nun"

After that opening line, were we supposed to take anything else you said seriously, Princess?

7:24 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Anonymous,
May I remind you that the comments are supposed to refer to the subject. Insulting other commenters is cheap and just stupid. Any more of it and I'll block you. In case you haven't noticed, we don't do that kind of garbage on this blog.

7:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for telling it like it is. I suspected as much when I heard about the "visitation" and also about the nuns having to cease using Reiki.
Even though Pope John Paul II was conservative, Benedict XVI is making him look liberal.

10:25 PM  
Blogger Марко Фризия said...

Yeah, I really wanted to be a nun when I was a little boy. What could possibly be wrong with a small child wanting to imitate and emulate an adult female who is holy, generous, gentle, good, and kind? Kids are remarkably perceptive about spiritual matters. I was five or six-yeas-old then. Little kids don't have a complete grasp of adult gender roles or full understanding about adult vocations. I also wanted to be a cowboy at some point from watching "Gunsmoke" and a cool, glamorous vampire like Barnabas Collins from watching "Dark Shadows." I ended up serving 20 years in the U.S. Army (is that butch enough for everyone?). Nuns like Sally Field in "The Flying Nun," and the nuns on "The Sound of Music" were warm, funny, and kind. The nuns I knew from school were great. They also felt safe to me. I was deathly afraid of male clergy (probably because I was molested/raped by one in a church bathroom) so women at church felt safer and I wanted to emulate them, not clergymen. No nun ever hurt me or assaulted me. And I have nothing but affection and respect for Benedictine activist Sr. Joan Chittister, theologian Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, activist Sr. Helen Prejean, lgbtq advocate Sister Jeannine Gramick, etc. Of course, I don't hate male clergy. I don't have anything against "anonymous." It doesn't bother me if that person doesn't take me seriously. I was describing my perspective as a small child. I love you very much Father Tony!

11:27 PM  
Blogger ewe said...

I totally got what you meant Mapko and thought your statement was a very nice complement to nuns. I would not doubt if Anonymous is an ex gay ministry member. No one should assume all nuns are angry lesbian practitioners of Wicca. I happen to know two sisters who are wonderful nuns. They are truly remarkable loving human beings. Even with them though, i absolutely doubt they would go against any commands from any sitting pope. That is just the way they are. I guess they feel it is obedience. They also happen to wear habits everywhere i have ever seen them.

11:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In that process and with no chance to actually administer the sacraments they are taught to revere..."

So, why should they want to administer the sacraments??? They are nuns, not priests. If they want to become "priests", or nun-priests , shouldn't they leave the Church for one of the 50,000 Protestant "communities"/denominations where they can at least "administer" a form of Eucharist and baptism? Hmmm?

If you guys think this visit to the nuns is about Reiki, you're mistaken. I'm a Protestant and I am on the Pope's side in this case. Or rather on the side of people who have smelled a rat in this case. Anyone who has read some of the flaky stuff that comes from some of these "nuns" can understand why a little investigation is not a bad idea at all. Remember, they need not stay in the RCC. They are free to leave at any moment.
And by the way: Benedict is not the fool you are trying to paint here. Nor is he at all an inquisitor. Shame on you. Are you Catholics?

3:15 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Yes, Anonymous, we are (many of us) catholics who feel that B16 obstructs God rather than discloses God. We know where the door is, and many of us have used it, but we obviously saw and felt the beauty of the true church or we'd never bother arguing these matters. We'd just let it go to hell, if we did not think that it could and should be saved. Isn't that what real prophets do? They tell the inconvenient truths? Go ahead. Tell me I am preposterous in calling myself a prophet. I respond that it is my right and my obligation to say what I have said. I don't know if I'm right any more than you do, but I am quite reconciled to my conscience in this matter, and my conscience is well informed by decades spent in the very church I hope survives this misguided and uninspired administration.

4:01 PM  
Blogger Марко Фризия said...

Hilarious! A "protestant on the pope's side" doesn't appear to have a grasp of or much respect for either Catholicism or Protestantism. And using obscenities and insults to make a point about ecclesial praxis does not promote the theological or cardinal virtues (or the common good). But it's easy for you to say such things and wallow in cowardice behind Internet anonymity. Anonymous, I feel profoundly sad for you because your anger, bitterness, and paranoia seem to be prohibiting you from having more joy, peace, and delight in this good life. I certainly have no anger or malice towards you, only pity.
Pax vobiscum,

4:10 PM  
Anonymous RawForReal said...

This is my first time reading your blog. Glad I stopped by. It won't be the last time I'm reading your blog. I thought I was the only one who was annoyed when I read the NY Times article. These women have dedicated their entire lives to the Church. Novitiates' ranks are rapidly dropping, several Orders are down to their last surviving member, and soon Sisters may very well be leaving the Church en masse because B16 wants a "Visitation" (read: Persecution)? Apparently B16 doesn't he see anything alarming about this. What's next? Revocation of the Second Vatican Council and the return to the Tridentine Mass in Latin?

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I await further news of this with much eagerness. I hope that the many communities of women who have developed vital ministries outside of the norms decide that their alliegance to Jesus is more important than the political power structure, and therefore kick ass!

-- Fr. Tim of South Philly, yo.

5:28 PM  
Blogger ewe said...

FT- i was reading your post to someone who is religious and older and she said " i do not know why he is persecuting the church before the visit has even occurred". So i read the letter from the Mother Superior you linked us to and again she said " i hear nothing in the letter that insinuates an inquisition". I told her you used to be a priest and perhaps you know something we don't. I then resorted to saying "well we will have to wait and see". My question to you is why do you foresee this the way you do? I ask so that i can give this person an answer. Thank you.

9:50 PM  
Blogger kitchenbeard said...

Dear FT - Do you think this is just a precursor to more virulent actions by Bennie? While I see so much progress in the world, I also see the potential for the far right to take drastic steps to reassert their power, not just in terms of Catholicism, but also in the secular world as well. - KB

10:03 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Ewe,
How do I know? My impulse is to say "It's obvious", but obviously it's not obvious to your friend. It will be difficult to explain all the signals because they are very much bound to standard operating procedure for the Vatican. Their overall agenda. Their way of dealing with what they perceive as modern menaces in liberal behavior. Their choice of words. Their needlessly fearful, calculated and finally blatantly authoritarian approach to this sweet "visitation".The way they felt the need to package and sell it. You sort of have to know the players and the dialect. Once you do, that letter will make you laugh out loud. One good thing about B16's approach: he is quite clear about what he expects from his flock in terms of adherence. No ambivalence. Either you sing his song or you're out the door. Let's let this play out for a generation or two and then, with no revenue, the catholic church will implode and a new pope will claim that God has spoken to him and said gay is OK, married priests are OK, women priests are OK etc. Nothing like hunger to make you love plain bread.

11:30 PM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Kitchenbeard,
Oh yes. B16 has had this map in his head since the first day of his papacy. He will not waiver. He will not weaken. To his credit, he doesn't care if millions turn away. Numbers don't mean much to him. Orthodoxy and binding one's will to the magisterial authority of the church are his elixir. Once the church is impoverished and he is feeble and older, he will be murdered (health neglected) by Vatican insiders who will have convinced themselves that they are acting for the good of he church. But it won't matter by then. I think this is inevitable.

11:40 PM  
Blogger David said...

This Mother Mary Clare reminds of the Dolores Umbridge character, played by Imelda Staunton, from the Harry Potter series

12:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say in your opening comment that Benedict XV invented canon law. You know better. Canon law was codified by Benedict XV, but the Church has had canon law for more than a millennium.

If you are willing to play this fast and lose with facts, why should we assume the credibility of the rest of your rant?

8:21 AM  
Blogger Father Tony of the Farmboyz said...

Dear Recent Anonymous,
For the purposes of this ephemeral post, my use of invent rather than codify has acceptable level of detail and serves the point.

Regarding my credibility, hold onto your grains of salt, and use them here and elsewhere in the blogosphere where I am but a vox clamantis in deserto. Your question is humorous. No one talks any more about credibility. In this format, everyone is incredible until proven otherwise. But if I were to answer your question seriously, I think some would say that my credibility is based on persistence and durability and the fact that I appear places and am reported to be what I put forth. If your doubts trouble you, change the channel. I am only some pulses on a flat screen. Press certain keys at your fingertips and I evaporate.

I love your question. It is so biblical. Prophets are repeatedly asked "Why should we believe you?" It is very comforting to know that your suspicions are intact and focused on me. I must be doing something right.

9:03 AM  
Blogger Stash said...

I read that letter and article and thought "the apple sure doesn't fall far from the tree".

2:41 PM  

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