Sunday, September 9, 2012

US Nuns, Rebuked by Vatican, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight SOCIAL JUSTICE Issues - To Highlight Their Work With The Nation’s Poor And Disenfranchised – 6/5/12

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Nuns, Rebuked by Rome, Plan Road Trip to Spotlight Social Issues – 6/5/12
          In a spirited retort to the Vatican, a group of Roman Catholic nuns is planning a bus trip across nine states this month, stopping at homeless shelters, food pantries, schools and health care facilities run by nuns to highlight their work with the nation’s poor and disenfranchised.
          The bus tour is a response to a blistering critique of American nuns released in April by the Vatican’s doctrinal office, which included the accusation that the nuns are outspoken on issues of social justice, but silent on other issues the church considers crucial: abortion and gay marriage.
          The sisters plan to use the tour also to protest cuts in programs for the poor and working families in the federal budget that was passed by the House of Representatives and proposed by Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who cited his Catholic faith to justify the cuts…
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Vatican orders crackdown on U.S. nun group – 4/19/12 - CBS
…Nearly a half-century later, the church leadership's animus against nuns seems like a heavy-handed, reactionary response to the sexual scandals that have taken place, notably the priestly abuse of children and other minors. To this end, the Vatican last month issued a report rebuking what is regarded as the most influential group of Catholic nuns in the U.S. Specifically, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was accused of spreading information that had "promoted radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith," including views on contraception, gay rights and women's ordination.

Rather than confront evil within the clergy, in other words, Benedict appears to be trying to reinforce his authority by lashing out at one group within the church he thinks he can intimidate.

As The New York Times noted, the Vatican document also accused the nun's group off "focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping 'silent' on abortion and same-sex marriage."

"The church hierarchy never recoiled in horror from pedophilia, yet it recoils in horror from outspoken nuns," Times columnist Maureen Dowd subsequently wrote in a recent column. Added fellow NYT scribe Nicholas Kristof, "Even as bishops have disgraced the church by covering up the rape of children, the nuns have redeemed it with their humble work on behalf of the neediest."
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It appears the Catholic Church has things all turned around – 4/27/12
          Really? [Catholic] Women religious in America will now have a bishop grading their morals?
          Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Given the sex-abuse scandals – in which many Roman Catholic bishops looked the other way at best and moved child molesters from parish to parish, perpetrating evil, at worst – you would think that a ruler rap on the hierarchical knuckles would be in order.
          “Sister” should have stepped in years ago. Instead, the Vatican has assigned a bishop to crack down on the nuns...

          VATICAN CRACKDOWN ON NUNS – 5/7/12
           “…conservative American churchmen living in Rome — including disgraced former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law [Child Sexual-Abuse Crisis they created] — were key players in pushing the hostile takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious…for emphasizing social justice work over loyalty to the hierarchy and issues like abortion and Gay Marriage…

Vatican Scolds Nun for Book on Sexuality – 6/4/12
The Vatican’s doctrinal office on Monday denounced an American nun who taught Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School for a book that attempted to present a theological rationale for same-sex relationships, masturbation and remarriage after divorce.

The Vatican office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said that the book, “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” by Sister Margaret A. Farley, was “not consistent with authentic Catholic theology,” and should not be used by Roman Catholics
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Sister MARGARET FARLEY - in St. Louis, at the CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA - A "profoundly important" question for Catholic theologians, Farley said, is: "SHOULD POWER SETTLE QUESTIONS OF TRUTH?" her students [at Yale] asked…why she stayed in a church…Because the church "is still a source of real life for me," she would tell them. "It's worth the struggle. It's Worth Getting A Real Backbone That Has Compassion Tied To It." – Her book, "Just Love: A Framework for Christian Social Ethics" - 61112

SR. MARGARET A. FARLEY - emeritus professor of Christian ethics at Yale Divinity School – defends her book - “JUST LOVE: A FRAMEWORK FOR CHRISTIAN SEXUAL ETHICS” respecting and supporting GAY MARRIAGE - from Benedict XVI Approved Homophobic Attacks made by Vatican - 60412 Photo

Vatican Criticism Pushes Nun's Book Up Best-Seller List – 6/5/12 - What had been an obscure text on human sexuality now finds itself in Amazon's top 20 list after the church took issue with its teachings.

          UPDATE: When the Vatican condemned an American nun's book on sexuality and faith on Monday, the holy authority forgot the first lesson of public relations: all press is good press.
The Washington Post points out that before news of the Vatican’s objections to the book spread online, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics sat at No. 142,982 on’s bestselling-books list. By Tuesday afternoon, it had soared to No. 16. Not bad for a book that's been in print for more than half a decade.
          The book, by Margaret Farley, a recently retired religious academic at Yale, was first published in 2006 but came under investigation from the Vatican four years later for its conciliatory views on masturbation, homosexuality and remarriage after divorce. The Vatican's official critique urged that the book not "be used as a valid expression of Catholic teaching, either in counseling and formation, or in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue…

Sister Farley’s revenge: Want to popularize a book? Ban it. 6/6/12
From papyrus to vellum to paper to e-books, two principles of publishing have not changed over the centuries:
1. Churches can’t resist the temptation to condemn books.
2. Nothing boosts book sales like condemnation by a church.
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Increase book sales: Get a Vatican denunciation – 6/7/12
After I heard about the Vatican's denunciation of Mercy Sr. Margaret Farley's book on sexuality, I was, first of all, dismayed. Yet another Vatican assault on a nun! For daring to think new thoughts, no less. But then came the headline in The Washington Post, telling a different story: The sales of her book soared since the denunciation…

Vatican dogma v Margaret Farley's Just Love – 6/18/12 - The Church's misguided attack on Farley's theology is not only authoritarian, but out of touch with American Catholic opinion
          On 5 June, the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), charged with monitoring doctrine, issued a "notification" against the work of an American sister of mercy, Margaret Farley. Farley's 2006 book, Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics, takes positions justifying divorce and remarriage, homosexuality, and, yes, masturbation, that are out of step with official Catholic teaching. The content of the Vatican reprisal can be fairly summed up as a series of declarations that Farley's proposals on these topics "are in direct contradiction with Catholic teaching".
          Surely, this fact will surprise no one.
          What may be news to some, however, is the extent to which US Catholic opinion supports Farley. While Catholics divorce at a rate much lower than the near 50% of the rest of the country, fewer than 10% of Catholics say divorce is never justified. A majority of Catholics (64%) favor legal recognition of gay unions, which is more than other Christian denominations and more than Americans overall…
          Just Love, formerly number 142,982 in Amazon's sales rankings, zoomed within a week up to 16 (No 1 in religious studies), and sold out in three days. What were Farley's reasons for writing the book? She believes that many Catholics and other Christians are suffering from stigma and exclusion due to teaching that may be observed in the breach, but is still part of the official self-definition of their faith traditions. Fear of nonacceptance by people in second marriages or gay relationships should decline quickly, if recent statistics tell the truth…
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The Nuns on the Bus tour promotes social justice — and turns a deaf ear to the Vatican – 6/27/12
          The two-week trip, which began June 18, is an attempt to motivate opposition to a House budget that would sharply reduce spending on social services. But it is also a response of sorts to a Vatican report in April raising alarm about “radical feminism” among top American nuns and singling out Network, the D.C.-based social-justice lobbying group Campbell heads.
          The report said many nun leaders are focusing too much on ­social-justice issues and too little on same-sex marriage and abortion. Further, the bishops said some of the ideas that liberal nuns such as Campbell are discussing publicly — among them, female priests — border on heresy…

An American Nun Responds To Vatican Criticism – 7/17/12 - “...the Vatican...said the leadership conference (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) is undermining Roman Catholic teachings on homosexuality and birth control and promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith…
…It also reprimanded the nuns for hosting speakers who "often contradict or ignore" church teachings and for making public statements that "disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals."

US nuns consider response to Vatican censure – 8/02/12
American nuns accused of straying far from Roman Catholic doctrine will decide at a national meeting next week whether they should accept or resist a Vatican-ordered overhaul.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 U.S. sisters, will gather for the first time since the Vatican said the sisters have been promoting "radical feminist themes" about the priesthood, artificial contraception and homosexuality. The report, issued in April, prompted an outpouring of support for the sisters nationwide, including parish vigils, protests outside the Vatican embassy in Washington and a resolution in Congress commending the sisters for their service to the country.

The nuns will discuss their next steps in private sessions at the assembly, which starts Tuesday in St. Louis.

"One of our concerns is that questioning is seen as defiance. It's not healthy as a church," Sister Pat Farrell, president of the Leadership Conference, said in a phone interview with reporters. "Our intention, our sense of our own fidelity, is that we continue raising and responding to questions according to our own consciences and according to new information arising."
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Vatican Crackdown: Vatican II At Heart Of Dispute Between American Nuns And Catholic Church – 8/07/12
AMITYVILLE, N.Y. (RNS) Fifty years after Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council to modernize the Roman Catholic Church, the legacy of that watershed summit that revolutionized Catholic life is at the core of a dispute between the Vatican and American nuns.

In April, the Vatican accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the umbrella group that represents the majority of American nuns, of "doctrinal confusion." As LCWR leaders meet this week (Aug. 7-11) to plot their response to the Vatican, many of the sisters say they are just following the spirit of Vatican II.

"This is not just about the Vatican versus the nuns. This really is about the future of how we interpret the message of the Second Vatican Council," Sister Maureen Fiedler told the PBS program "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly."
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Colbert vs. Radical Feminist Nuns: Social Justice, Gay Agenda Angers Vatican (VIDEO)

Nuns group: We are not leaving the church - 8/16/12
WASHINGTON — A leader of the group of Catholic nuns who are facing a crackdown from the Vatican said Thursday (Aug. 16) that her members have no plans or desire to leave the church, or reconstitute their group beyond Vatican control…
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Actress SUSAN SARANDON - as a mother and a Catholic - is UNAPOLOGETIC about branding Pope Benedict XVI a “Nazi” – 7/20/12 - “I find institutionalized religion very difficult, and for the most part non-productive. Jesus was amazing and a lot of what he talked about has been warped and used by many people to exclude others and be unloving. I consider myself a spiritual person. *** What I said about this pope was somewhat hostile because as a mother and a Catholic I’ve been very disappointed at the way that he has harbored pedophiles within the church. The church is so powerful that they have a responsibility and an opportunity to heal so many wrong and instead they’re so exclusive.”

Importance of SOCIAL JUSTICE to PEACEBUILDING *** Peace psychologists are not only developing theories and practices aimed at the prevention of DIRECT VIOLENCE, but are also working to mitigate STRUCTURAL VIOLENCE, which means the reduction of hierarchical relations within and between societies. Hierarchical relations privilege those on the top while oppressing, exploiting, and dominating those on the bottom. Framed positively, we can conceptualize PEACEBUILDING as movement toward SOCIAL JUSTICE which occurs when political structures become more inclusive by giving voice to those who have been marginalized in decisions that affect their well-being, and economic structures become transformed so that those who have been exploited gain greater access to material resources that satisfy their basic needs… - Christie, D. J., Wagner, R. V., & Winter, D. A. (Eds.). (2001). “Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century”   

     PEACEBUILDING…informed approaches to SOCIAL JUSTICE that are designed to reduce structural violence. Structural PEACEBUILDING matters… because the roots of direct violence can often be traced to structure-based inequalities. - "Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology for the 21st Century" edited by D. Christie, R. Wagner, and D. Winter (2001)

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