Sep 25, 2014
What does the Church want from her Religious Sisters? A response to Jo Piazza’s “Great Nunquistion.”
Every nun stands before a “Grand Inquisitor” when she makes her final promises. Why would she freely commit to obedience on that day? Let us return to that question and first respond to the claim: The Church is uncomfortable with women. Since this statement appears to be serious, let’s highlight that one church lady, known affectionately to Catholics as, “Our Lady,” who is more revered, respected, and followed than any Pope has ever been. In fact, most Popes attribute their spiritual lives to her guidance and have told us to do likewise. Yes, that would be Jesus’ own mother: Mary, the Mother of God.
There are hundreds who we could mention here, but I’ll note two: Saint Catherine of Siena, who famously told the pope how to “rule the world,” and Mother Teresa, whose alliance with Pope John Paul II is well known. The world is buoyed up by contemporary sisters – Little Sisters of the Poor, Conventional Franciscans of the Renewal, Dominicans, Sisters of Life, Servidoras, and Carmelites, just to name a small portion of the most incredible women revered and loved by the Church today. What is it about these nuns that doesn’t catch the attention of this author? Perhaps it is that they embrace their vow of obedience as a beautiful thing – something they equate with obeying Christ Himself.
Piazza’s complaint stems from a worldview (and ecclesiology) which views the Church in an over-politicized way. Everything seems to be judged on a progressive/conservative scale. Pope Francis, and those Catholics who enthusiastically call him, “Pastor,” recognize that the ultimate measure of the Church cannot be political. Instead, the question, “Is the Church as it should be?” can only be answered by the degree of her faithfulness to Christ. Instead of asking, “Is the Church progressive enough?” we must instead ask, “How faithful is the Church to her Head?”