Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sisters of Perpetual Victimhood

Roger Kimball, editor of The New Criterion, argued in 1990 that politics had corrupted higher education. His book Tenured Radicals describes how professional academics are for the most part untouchable. Prof. Daphne Patai argued from within the academy in 1994 that professing feminism on campus was about indoctrination rather than scholarship. Prof. John M. Ellis pointed out in 1997 that literature was being lost as social agendas started corrupting the proper teaching of the humanities. While it is a stretch for some to think of Catholic nuns as agents of destruction, corruption, or politically correct jargon about class, sex, and race, many religious sisters too are “tenured radicals,” not in universities but in modern convents.

One picks up Spiritual Leadership for Challenging Times, a collection of addresses delivered between 1977 and 2012 by past Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) leaders, with a certain amount of trepidation. Annmarie Sanders, I.H.M., states in the preface that after the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment of her group, one hundred thousand “Catholics and persons of other faiths expressed through letters, emails, petitions, and phone calls, as well as through prayer vigils around the country, a profound resonance” with the LCWR’s “vision, mission, and works,” and “declared their hunger for a strong spiritual leadership” that is “keenly attuned to the signs of the times and willing to adapt to new knowledge and insights.” The book’s introduction describes the sisters as “evolving their leadership into a process of inclusion, contemplation, and decision. Vision and mission driven, this leadership encourages the art of listening, sharing, disagreeing, searching, praying, navigating the tension between consensus and prophecy, and finding common ground.” While the terminology is often vague, the content of the speeches comes across loud and clear.  (more...)

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