April 23, 2012 6:53 AM

If Jesus had wanted you to think for yourself, you would have been issued a penis

For the past three years, Mother Mary Clare Millea has been scouring convents, on the lookout for deviant nuns. The matronly American, who has a doctorate in canon law from Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, was given this mandate as part of a Vatican-ordered investigation called Apostolic Visitation. She has had no trouble finding sisters on the edge, but the nuns’ main infractions weren’t sins of the flesh or succumbing to vices. Instead, the offending nuns were simply speaking their minds.

I suppose it’s not particularly surprising that the Catholic Church, based as it is on the primacy of the penis, would see those possessed of lady parts to be a threat to church doctrine/male dominance. Yes, once the hysterical distaff half of the flock begins to think for themselves…well, who’s going to be left to serve the interests of men?

This effort to ensure that women remember and confine themselves to their place as subservient to men it typical of a Church less concerned about the teachings of Jesus Christ than making certain that women hew to and heartily endorse and advance Catholic doctrine. What I find so interesting- and disturbing- is the Vatican’s refusal to recognize the right of women to respect their conscience. Women are not expected to think; they’re expected to obey. Millea’s “investigation” revealed that that an overwhelming majority of American nuns are advancing “radical-feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

So…nuns are burning bras during Communion??

[R]ather than preaching against church doctrine, the sisters are often just staying silent on the hot-button issues of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and the ordination of women. Their silence is interpreted as endorsement, so by not speaking out against such “evils,” the report says the sisters are effectively showing their approval.

That’s right; by not vocally supporting the Church’s Byzantine doctrine and by keeping their own counsel, women are ipso facto engaging in a brand of radical feminism intolerable to the Vatican. Evidently, Millea is most displeased that American nuns are thinking for themselves and pondering- if not questioning outright- the practicability of Church doctrine in the modern world.

Right; you know how dangerous those ladies can be when they begin to thinking for themselves. Hey, if God had meant for you to think independently, don’t you think you would’ve been born with a penis?

It’s not as if American nuns are openly revolting against Church doctrine, but how can the Vatican reasonably expect them to support teachings that are increasingly impractical in today’s world? Especially when those out-of-date teachings are out of step with both the teachings of Jesus Christ and modern life? This effort on the part of the Vatican to stifle even a hint of dissent seems to be about protecting the Church’s position of power and influence over Catholics.

The Vatican’s investigation was launched in 2009 as part of an overall study into the reason behind the dwindling number of American nuns. The number of Catholic women choosing religious life in the United States has declined steadily since 1965, down from 180,000 to fewer than 60,000 today. When the investigation was launched, many American nuns were skeptical that they were being targeted. Sister Beth Rindler of Detroit, who is part of the National Coalition of American Nuns as well as a member of the [Leadership Conference of Women Religious], says she is shocked by the report. She believes it is a gender issue between the Vatican men and the American nuns. “The church in Rome believes in the patrimony of God. But we believe that God created men and women equally,” she told The Daily Beast. “That’s where we clash.”

The Vatican seems more concerned with preserving the traditional dominance of the Church’s male hierarchy than with advancing the teachings of Jesus Christ. Millea’s study seems less an effort to inform the Vatican of why the population of American nuns is declining than an effort to place blame on nuns for not mutely acquiescing to their predefined second-class status. It’s not as if American nuns are in open revolt against the Church…unless you count their silent on hot-button social issues as rebellion and dissent.

Clearly, the Vatican expects and demands only rote, reflexive obedience from their nuns. Anything less, especially when combined with independent thought, is a threat to Church doctrine. Hey, if women were meant to think, then the good Lord would have issued them a penis, no?

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This page contains a single entry by Jack Cluth published on April 23, 2012 6:53 AM.

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