Should you ever confront a religious on a come-and-see?


#1

I am not a super traditionalist myself: I loved being an Altar Girl when I was young (still miss it sometimes....), I don't mind guitar at Mass, I always go to the Ordinary Form, and I have no problem with non-habited Sisters, the vast majority of which have always seemed devout and loving both. I grew up in Vatican II so that is all normal to me, and until this year I had no idea that other people felt differently (enough to cause schism in some cases...). When I heard people talk about "liberal nuns" I generally thought they meant someone like me. Maybe she is a little more the 'guitar-Mass' type, maybe the type of person who emphasizes love over judgement, but is still just as faithful as anyone else! Anything beyond that is just those super traditionalists overreacting. :p Pro-choice Sister? No way! How can you make such serious lifelong vows to a religion you don't even believe in?

:o

But recently I did meet that type of Sister (pro-gay marriage, and very aggressive too). I was not angry, just VERY confused and a little concerned about her faith in general (as I would be if any Catholic said those type of things), but I didn't know what to say to her. :( I still don't. When talking with family and friends I can usually keep things light and just say "well no this is what the church says and why", and so even if we don't come to an agreement I can at least comfort myself in the fact that I might have helped plant that seed of understanding....but I was a guest there, I didn't know her that well, so instead I just sort of stayed quiet. All the other Sisters were all very amazing and inspirational people, and I loved praying with them and their mission....but there was still a weird shadow on my heart. I felt uneasy and guilty for feeling uneasy. Hopefully I never have to face this type of situation again...but what is it that I should have done there? Anyone else?

Thank you.


#2

I am not sure what a come & see is; but it definitely seems the Holy Spirit was helping you to discern that this was not the right place for you. I have the same questions sometimes though. Like if you have a Catholic friend whom say you went through RCIA with and discover they are living with a boyfriend.
I am sure you will get some good answers on this thread & will follow it with interest :thumbsup:


#3

How did the other Sisters react when she stated that she was pro gay marriage(sic)? I think confronting her publicly would just set her in her ways. If you can muster the courage to talk to her one-on-one and gently bring to her attention that her views contradict Church teachings concerning marriage and homosexuality and perhaps that you'll be praying for her to align completely with everything the Church teaches, especially since she's consecrated to Christ. I can probably predict a negative reaction but you'll have fulfilled your obligation of "fraternal" correction and shown charity for this misguided Sister.


#4

[quote="Aizi, post:1, topic:243260"]
I felt uneasy and guilty for feeling uneasy. ...but what is it that I should have done there?

[/quote]

Heresy and apostasy will make a devout Catholic feel uneasy. No reason you should feel guilty! You're not in the wrong and you don't have to show how "tolerant" you are.

I have been dealing with these "progressives" (I won't name numerous specific organizations, or people, some very well known) for decades. The best thing to do is turn around and run like crazy in the other direction. I'm serious. To go against the Church deliberately and try to destroy her morals and teachings is evil. And pray for a return to orthodoxy in the Church.


#5

Stay away from Religious Orders who do not bring heretical or schismatic members into line with teachings of the Church.
Not only do Orders have the ability and responsibility to correct, but also can can also expel those who are obstinate against the teachings of the Church.
Report any such behavior to the head of the Order, but also cc your Diocese Bishop and copy the Vatican.

Remember that all Catholics (even Bishops) must adhere to the "CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition".
This was first published in the USA in March 2000, and has a dark green cover.

" The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved....and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's Faith and of Catholic Doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for the teaching the Faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. " - Pope John Paul II
(pg 5 of CCC).

Enemies within the Church (bad Catholics) who wish to destroy the Church and it's teachings absolutely hate the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition" which contains the Doctrine that we are all required to adhere to.

As the late Cardinal John O'Conner once stated: "The Catholic Church is not a salad bar. You can not pick and choose what you want to believe."

All literate Catholics over age 15 have a responsibility to read the "CCC 2nd Ed".
Know your Faith.


#6

There was one other Sister there, they were taking us through their museum. After it happened the other Sister looked a bit confused (and possibly a bit hurt/offended) and said "I don't know about that...." and she just went on to the next item in their collection, but she didn't seem as happy either after it happened. She must've been 80-90 years old though. :(

I talked about it later with one of the other discerners (there were 4 of us), and she also agreed it made her very uneasy.

I suppose that is true. Public confrontation is generally going to start a fight, plus she is much older than me and a religious and one of our hostesses, and that complicates things. :( Maybe I could try asking the Sister who organized it for the contact information of the other Sister, and try to write her about it. At the very least, it can plant that seed like I mentioned before. I remember resisting certain teachings in Catechism class because I did not understand them (Such as female ordination, I wanted to be a priest for the longest time when I was ~4-7 years old), but the Sister at my church still planted those seeds which grew into understanding. Her love and patience on that subject never wavered. So the least I could do to send an email to another one of the Sisters in her order.

Yes I also know of those types (they make up the MAJORITY of Catholics in my generation), I just never thought I see that in Religious life. I thought that was just an exaggeration of some super traditionalist types, since I had never seen real heresy coming from a religious. It still makes no sense why an apostate would make such lifelong, serious vows. I guess they are as human as every other Catholic. As much as I've resisted the idea. :p

To me real progressive is something like helping the poor and the homeless, that is how my Father is... I don't want to believe trashing on Bishops and ignoring the Church is progress at all.


#7

[quote="ANNE_2, post:5, topic:243260"]
Stay away from Religious Orders who do not bring heretical or schismatic members into line with teachings of the Church.
Not only do Orders have the ability and responsibility to correct, but also can can also expel those who are obstinate against the teachings of the Church.
Report any such behavior to the head of the Order, but also cc your Diocese Bishop and copy the Vatican.

Remember that all Catholics (even Bishops) must adhere to the "CATECHISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition".
This was first published in the USA in March 2000, and has a dark green cover.

" The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved....and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's Faith and of Catholic Doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for the teaching the Faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. " - Pope John Paul II
(pg 5 of CCC).

Enemies within the Church (bad Catholics) who wish to destroy the Church and it's teachings absolutely hate the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition" which contains the Doctrine that we are all required to adhere to.

As the late Cardinal John O'Conner once stated: "The Catholic Church is not a salad bar. You can not pick and choose what you want to believe."

All literate Catholics over age 15 have a responsibility to read the "CCC 2nd Ed".
Know your Faith.

[/quote]

Thank you for this practical post. :) She is technically a retired Sister, I'm not sure if that effects things but I will also do what you say. Perhaps it would be more appropriate and meaningful coming from the head of her order as opposed to some random young lady at one of the come-and-sees.


#8

[quote="Aizi, post:7, topic:243260"]
Thank you for this practical post. :) She is technically a retired Sister, I'm not sure if that effects things but I will also do what you say. Perhaps it would be more appropriate and meaningful coming from the head of her order as opposed to some random young lady at one of the come-and-sees.

[/quote]

Even though she may be retired, her pension comes from the Order.
She must conform to the "CCC 2nd Ed" in all her public statements.


#9

[quote="ANNE_2, post:8, topic:243260"]
Even though she may be retired, her pension comes from the Order.
She must conform to the "CCC 2nd Ed" in all her public statements.

[/quote]

Hi, Anne...

Sisters/nuns do not receive "pensions"...we are not secular or governmental employees. Even if a Sister had worked at some job that provided a pension, that money would go directly into the "common purse"...never to the individual Sister. What a Sister DOES receive in her later years, just like the rest of us on mission, is housing, food, needed medicines, access to the Holy Sacraments, basic necessities, and the love and companionship of her Sisters.

Though Sisters may eventually retire from performing a certain service (teaching, etc.), they NEVER retire from being Sisters and have all of the same responsibilities they have always had. Priests do not retire from being priests (though they, upon advanced age or ill health, may retire from active ministry) & Sisters/nuns do retire from their vocation & consecration.

Aizi, you should indeed be concerned about Religious who hold opinions contrary to Church teaching. However, don't let one "loose canon" color your view of all of her Sisters in that particular community. If all in my community were judged on the words/deeds of a few, our collective name would be mud...that saddens me that all "Sisters of St. Polycarp" (or whatever community) are often seen as "bad" due to one or a few "bad apples" (the angry, mean, bitter, anti-Church type). On the other hand, it ANGERS me greatly that those "bad apples" don't take the route of integrity and go some place in line with their radical views...it angers me that they degrade all of us by association.

EVEN IN communities that seem to be completely composed of radical feminists, earth worship, and anti-male-anti-Catholic types...I assure you that NOT all of the Sisters are on board with that agenda...they suffer daily, love & serve the Lord, and are the best Sisters that they can possibly be.

Even when you find that many "mainstream" communities may seem to have been ruined by worldly opinions and agendas, many, if not most, Sisters in that community are going about the business of doing the Lord's work & remaining faithful to Him and to His Church.

SO, it seems to me that young people (or even older people!) considering religious vocations have two possible options: 1. Run as quickly as possible from the less-than-orthodox communities and pray, pray, & pray some more for all members...OR...2. Join them and work from within to restore sanity along with those who suffer on the inside...this may even be a quicker path to sanctity than option one (though very frustrating at times!).

God bless you!


#10

I have seen some articles about traditional orders growing. I was at a Cathedral the other day and was so comforted to see a young nun & postulate in full habits. It remind you that God is working in our world.
I would be wary of trying to change an order from within & think these incedents do warrant a report. I understand that changing something from within can be an effective strategy in many instances, but if you are young and looking for proper guidance in your vocation, I think the wise choice is to find a place that follows the churches teachings.
Just my opinion.
We pray for vocations each week in our parish, I am praying for you now
:wave:


#11

Thank you SisterSnowflake for your post! What community are you from?

I KNOW the community isn't all bad at all, because the Sister from my parish is from this community, and she is a huge inspiration to me. All of the Sisters I met before were very good as well with such charity and wisdom, if they had ugly ideas they kept them to themself at least.

But yeah, it doesn't make much sense to be a CATHOLIC Sister...yet not love the Catholic Church? I am not angry, I just don't understand this at all, why you would make those Vows instead of just..becoming a Presbyterian Minister, for example. :p (I think I already gave that one, but I always heard Presbyterian is what Catholics would be if we were governed by politics instead of the Magisterium...aka female ordination, gay marriage, etc.)

I don't think this community is for me, just because they are a bit on the bigger side, but I know they have at least 3 very faithful women as vocations right now, and hopefully if there is change from within needed (as in not just this one Sister but multiple)...those women will help it.

Thank you so much for your prayers!! :) I was leaning against this community anyway because it was so big, but I was still enjoying their words of wisdom and their stories.

Habits are nice at times, but that is not part of what makes you a good Sister, at least to me, its too sad to me when I see some Catholics trying to judge Sisters based on what is on the outside, all the Sisters I've ever known personally are non-habited and they were all very faithful (scolding me when I was younger and fell out of line :o) until this one. I guess my innocence got shattered a little bit...


#12

You did what the saints would have done. You were polite. Afterall, you are a guest in her house. You do not have to agree with her and in this case, the reason is obvious. She’s mistaken. Even if she were talking abou fabric swatches for new curtains, you don’t have to agree with her, but you must be polite to your host. St. Francis told his brothers that no matter where we go and no matter what anyone said, even if it were heresy, we were to be grateful for their charity and we were to preach the truth by responding with humility to their kindness, while avoiding conflict of all kinds.

That being said, I also agree with Sister. Every religious community, even the most traditional looking, with habits, long skirts, bald heads, beards or however they look is going to have unpleasant people and is going to have people who are not where they should be in the spiritual life or their journey of faith. It’s part of the human condition. Do not let people sell you false hopes that if you join this congregation that wears a habit and prays in Latin that everyone will be orthodox. That’s absolutely not true.

I belong to a community that has never given up the habit. We do everything but shower and sleep in it. We have had men who make you cringe. They may not be pro gay marriage, but they can be rude, arrogant, incosiderate, self-centered, lazy and a few other things too. The only difference beween this religious and the non-habited religious is that this one is a slob dressed as a peasant from the Middle Ages and that other one is a slob in a suit and tie. That’s the human condition.

My experience has been that even these folks have gifts to bring to the table. I know it can be hard to see them. Sometimes you have to search, but they have them. God in his eternal mercy never leaves anyone without some redeeming quality.

This is not true. There is only so much that a religious superior can do. There are some things that you may not know about religious life, especially women religious. Let’s break these down.

PONTIFICAL RIGHTS

If an institute is of Pontifical Right, no one may be dismissed from the institute by the Major Superior. Only the Holy See can dismiss. In order to dismiss, the Holy See has set conditions. The person must have committed a crime such as sex abuse. The person must have committed apostasy. The person must have attempted marriage. The person must have abandoned the religious institute with no itention of returning. The person must have physically assaulted the pope. There are not other conditions for which a religious of pontifical right can be dismissed.

The Major Superior has a duty to correct and to impose discipline only within the boundaries allowed by the constitutions of the congregation. She may not go beyond those or she will be in serious trouble with the Holy See.

If the congregation is of pontifical right, the bishop has nothing to do with the sister’s comment. Sisters answer to bishops only in matters pertaining to their work in his diocese on diocesan projects. If you remember the case of the sister at St. Joseph’s Hospital, the bishop said that she had excommunicated HERSELF. He did not excommunicate her. Nor did he penalize her or ask her to move out of her convent. Those things he is never allowed to do to a sister who is under the protection of the Holy Father, that’s what Pontifical Right means.


#13

DIOCESAN RIGHT

There are many congregations of diocesan right. The most famous of all is the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Each group of the Sisters of St. Joseph, either SSJ or CSJ is attached to a particular diocese. The ultimate superior is the bishop of that diocese. However, even in those congregations, Canon Law grants certain autonomy to the General Council to govern the sisters. The constitutions grant the sisters a great deal of autonomy. Unlike their counterparts who belong to congregations of Pontifical Right and are governed by a Mother General, the sisters in diocesan congregations usually do not have a Mother General. Government is cooperative. The sisters work together to keep their community going and there are sisters responsible for different aspects of the community's life. Then there are things that are not under the jurisdiction of the governing body. If something is not under the jurisdiction of the government of the congregation, then they cannot interfere or penalize.

Bishops do not get involved in the internal affairs of congregations of diocesan right, even if they are rooted in their diocese. That's why they have a constitution and a council. They would have to do something outlandish for the bishop to get involved.

The Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life does not get involved in the affairs of diocesan congregations. They do not answer to the Vatican. They answer to their bishop. The Vatican only gets involved if the problem is a systemic one, not an individual.

[quote="ANNE_2, post:8, topic:243260"]
Even though she may be retired, her pension comes from the Order.
She must conform to the "CCC 2nd Ed" in all her public statements.

[/quote]

We, religious do not get pensions. We're not a corporation and we never retire. We retire from whatever work we did, such as teaching. But we do not retire from religious life. I for one have terminal cancer. I still go to five pregnancy centers in the diocese to work with fathers. I have less duties and a shorter day than my brothers, that's retirement for us. I'm bound to the rule, to the horarium, to the life in community to the best of my ability. I still do laundry, cook, preach and teach. That's a retirement schedule. As I get closer to death, I will be able to do less activities, so I will be excused little by little. The only pension that I get is from the diocese, because I taught theology at the seminary most of my life. As a diocesan employee, I got a pension. But I never see it. It goes to the community. It's probably not much. I don't even have health insurance, because my community takes poverty very seriously. So we use Medicaid and Medicare like everyone else or we beg for healthcare.

To the young lady, I'll give you this bit of advice. Think about the charism of the community. Make your choice based on that. You're joining them. They are not joining you. They do not have to change to fit you. You have to bring your gifts to the table and be open to try to see their gifts. Only when you fall in love with their charism will you be able to look past the weakness of individuals. Find a community whose charism feels like a fit for you. Listen for the voice of Christ. He will call you, even if it's into a community of heretics. If he calls, respond with great generosity and humility. If it's a community of heretics, there is a mission for you, follow his voice and he will let you know what to do when the time comes. Just look at women like Mother Teresa. They had no clue where God was leading. They listened and they followed.

I knew I belonged in our community, because when I saw our brothers my one thought was how much I wanted to be like them. This does not mean that I liked all of them. However, I liked the charism of St. Francis, the poverty, the obedience, the silence, the penance, the humility and the spirit of minority (I'm lower and less than they are), all those aspects of the life of our brothers excited me. Then I knew that I had arrived home.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#14

Thank you to the Sisters who wrote. My term pensions and retirement are as close to the appropriate words as I could find and were used by the USCCB when they took up a collection several months ago.
No matter what you call the benefits received, the head of the Order must correct those who stray from the Church teachings, and if the Sister (or Priest) remains obstinate, the head of the Order can expell them as a last resort. No Order must put up with heretics or schismatics.

The reason for cc-ing the Diocese Bishop and the Vatican, is so they know what is going on. And can follow the situation if they choose to.
The heretical or schismatic action may be a few persons or systemic within the entire Order.

(Let us remember that several hundred years ago the Jesuit Order was excommunicated for a time until they were reinstated. And more recently the same with the SSPX. A Catholic Order can not exist without permission from the Pope. And let us not forget the recent investigation of some Nun's Orders regarding support for abortion under Obamacare against most American Bishops.)

All Catholics are required to adhere to the "Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition" - Bishops, Priests, Nuns, Brothers and the rest of us Laity.
All abuses that are heretical or schismatic should be reported to the Head of the Order, with cc's to the Diocese Bishop and the Vatican.

CCC - " 2089
Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it.
Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same.
Apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith.
Schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."


#15

For those who are interested, this link is to the Vatican web site regarding "Substantive Norms" in enitrety with links to Canon Law.
vatican.va/resources/resources_norme_en.html

" 1. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, according to art. 52 of the Apostolic Constitution Pastor Bonus[1], judges delicts against the faith, as well as the more grave delicts committed against morals and in the celebration of the sacraments and, whenever necessary, proceeds to declare or impose canonical sanctions according to the norm of both common and proper law, with due regard for the competence of the Apostolic Penitentiary[2] and in keeping with Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine.[3] "

Public heresy and schism from Religious causes SCANDAL.


Different topic
To Br JR OSF, I will pray for you.
I am a stage 3B cancer survivor myself.


#16

Anne . . . your heart is in the right place and the document that you linked is good, but you're missing some of the finer points of religious life, which may be giving you the misimpression that religious superiors are more powerful than they are.

Not every religious community is an order. In fact, all communities of sisters are congregations, not orders. Only enclosed communities of women are orders. The two are governed by different sets of rules and different theology concerning the vows, even though they overlap.

The Holy Father does not approve the founding of religious communities, though he can do so. Religious communities come in two wrappers: diocesan and pontifical. Pontifical communities answer to the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life. Diocesan communities answer to the bishop where they are rooted.

Not every religious congregation of women has a superior. Many do not. Many have a governing body such a council of equals, with each member of the council responsible for a specific part of the life of the community.

Whether a religious congregation has a council or a superior, the highest authority in the community can only act within the confines allowed by the constitutions. A superior can never step outside of those boundaries.

As the link that you have provided so properly names them, these are high crimes against the faith. Someone blowing off some erroroneous statement is not considered a high crime against the faith by the Holy See. Therefore, the Holy See is not going expel or get involved. At most the Sacred Congregation for the Faith may write someone a letter telling them to clean up their act. Even they do not have the power to expel.

The case of the SSPX is very different. They are not religious. They are secular priests. No one was expelled. The bishops were excommunicated because they committed a schismatic act., which is in the document that you linked.

The case of the Society of Jesus was also different. They were never excommunicated. They were suppressed. The Council of Trent declared them an exempt order to avoid that ever happening again to them and to any other male order of exempt religious. This exemption only applies to certain male orders, this is true. Even there, no one is expelled. The Holy Father still reserves the right to suppress any religious community. That is not done lightly.

The investigation of women religious in the USA is not being executed with the intent of expelling anyone or suppressing anyone. It's intent is to help the communities become more cohesive and correct their problems. Examine the story of the Legionaires of Christ. They were investigated for child sexual abuse. No one was expelled or excommunicated, not even the founder, who was the most culpable person. He was sent to do penance. May God rest his soul. After investigation, the Legionaires have been assigned an apostolic overseer and hopefully, with his help, they will be able to fix up whatever internal problems they have and keep going.

Excommunications and expulsions of religious is not a very common thing, because it's not lawful except in cases of very grave crimes. Even there, the superior cannot do it. It must be executed by a much higher authority, that would be the Holy See. The Holy See only acts in the cases named in the document that you linked, not in cases of individuals with big mouths and erroneous thinking. As far as they're concerned, that's a local problem that has to be dealt with locally, because they realize that one bad apple is not the entire lot. They also realize that even in the case of an individual who is speaking error, there is something redeemable. They always look for that.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

PS. Thank you for your prayers. Keep them coming.


#17

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