Spiritual Power is arguably the most dangerous power of all. In the wrong hands, it gives the power to make judgments even about the eternal fate of another person. It needs a sign on it at all times saying, ‘Handle with extreme care.’ The greater the power a person exercises, the more need there is for checks and balances before it is used and accountability after it is used.” – – Bishop Geoffrey Robinson
May 6th, I addressed the issue of abuse of power in the Catholic Church and how we seem to be unraveling any kind of progress made since Vatican II. Since writing that article, the Leadership of the LCWR met with Vatican Officials and expressed their concerns openly. A dialogue occurred and left no resolution, just information that the leadership will discuss with the community at their August meeting. That meeting will reveal their next step in this controversy – concede and follow the conditions and rules sets forth by the CDF or disband and form a new religious community or maybe there will be another option revealed.
I have to ask though – Was this a meaningful meeting or was it meant to pacify the Sisters and their supporters? Will the Vatican change its stance? Certainly, the U. S. Catholic Sisters have not been
pacified, nor have their supporters. For example, there is a “Nuns on the Bus” tour traveling around the United States, prayer services for the Sisters, #nunjustice and #whatthesistersmeantome campaigns on Twitter. Even the Women’s Ordination Conference delivered a petition containing over 57,000 signatures to the Vatican in support of the Sisters. Certainly, the support for the sisters and their mission is not dwindling, but growing stronger every day.
As for the Vatican, a change in their position is doubtful, but we can continue to pray. I am, however, very discouraged by a statement attributed to Pope Benedict that indicates a desire to have a smaller more faithful Church of Catholics then a large Church of people who do not adhere to Church Teaching – seeking out a small, strong, holy community.
Obviously, it is my hope that this statement was taken out of context, but I have to be honest and say
that my hope is filled with doubt. This is not the first time I have heard clergy make this statement. Priests have made this statement in my presence – wanting a more faithful flock and dismissing those that do not adhere to their interpretation of Church teaching. This stance does not bear fruit, but is rather a power play – a play that can be called many things – misogynist, arrogant, non-pastoral, cold-hearted, and frankly un-Christian. It also plays with a person’s spiritual fate and in many cases their soul. The psychological impact of something like this is dangerous for some. Some ordained will go so far as to withhold sacraments or even compromise the person’s status in the Church, including their role in ministry, for the sole purpose of inducing compliance – a tactic that dates to the medieval period.
Continue reading “Abuse of Power in the Catholic Church Part II – WE are the Church! By Michele Stopera Freyhauf”