TIME for some media "nun-sense"! | Carl E. Olson | CWR blog
"Over the past five years, Roman Catholic communities around the country have experienced a curious phenomenon: more women, most in their 20s and 30s, are trying on that veil. Convents in Nashville, Tenn.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; and New York City all admitted at least 15 entrants over the past year and fielded hundreds of inquiries." — "Today's Nun Has A Veil--And A Blog" (Nov 13, 2006) by Lisa Takeuchi Cullen and Tracy Samantha Schmidt
"Nuns are an endangered species. They are dying and not being replaced." — "The Great Nunquisition: Why the Vatican Is Cracking Down on Sisters" (Aug 31, 2014) by Jo Piazza
The quotes above have something interesting in common: they were both published in TIME magazine. The 2006 article did not try to hide the puzzlement caused by the surge of young, orthodox-minded women entering orders that emphasize the traditional features of the religious life: "Over the past five years, Roman Catholic communities around the country have experienced a curious phenomenon: more women, most in their 20s and 30s, are trying on that veil."
The article published yesterday, however, doesn't have time for young, orthodox-minded sisters: "Today’s nuns are simply too progressive for the Vatican. The Vatican chooses not to celebrate nuns and it chooses not to empower them." The author recounts talking to a young woman who had been "discerning to be a Catholic sister, but changed her mind before she took perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience."
I asked her why and the answer was very simple and yet disheartening.
“I want to work for an employer that values what I do.”
She plans to work for an NGO. She wanted to be of service to the world, but she also wanted to feel empowered in her job.
The young lady might want to use some of that dubious empowerment to pull up Pope Francis' remark that the Church needs to be a Mother, not a “well-organized NGO with a bunch of pastoral plans..." Not that the author has much use for Francis: "Pope Francis has been hailed as a progressive icon. Yet on the subject of women in the Church, he remains loyal to a long-held and antiquated stance: he doesn’t think women should become priests." (Shocking: the pope is Catholic and holds true to Catholic teaching. Go figure. The faith that secular media outlets place in their ability to change and correct the mind of popes is truly tremendous—and frighteningly absurd.)
Ah, antiquated. Without any sense of the ironic juxtiposition, the TIME piece then states: "Nuns are dying out because their population is aging and young women are not joining their ranks in the numbers they once did." Funny how the Faith continues but people die. That's something to ponder, isn't it? Perhaps the author should have spent more time trying to connect the dots rather than score cheap and superficial political points.
In a May 2011 CWR piece, Ann Carey, author of Sisters in Crisis: Revisited—From Unraveling to Reform and Renewal (Ignatius Press, 2013), wrote: