Apr 22, 2006

Chittister's dissent

Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister, who willfully defies Catholic Church teaching on abortion, women priests, homosexual marriage, inclusive pronouns in scripture, and obedience and authority, has this to say about Voice of the Faithful and their supposed independence from an agenda. Basically Chittister is saying VOTF is helping to de-clericalize the Roman Catholic Church. The following is from National Catholic Reporter, January 31, 2003:

But, admire them [VOTF] as I do, that's exactly where they confuse me.
Do they really believe that they are agenda-free? Do they really think that they are independent of issues? Or is such a statement simply a kind of ecclesiastical guarantee of quality: We don't stand for any particular issue -- like those other people do -- so you don't need to be afraid that joining us will compromise your faith.

I can't help asking myself if these people are this disingenuous or this holy? How can anyone possibly think that what Voice of the Faithful asserts they are about to do -- give a voice to the faithful in the machinations of the Roman Catholic Church -- is not the single major determining issue in thechurch today?

The truth is that to aspire to give lay people a "voice" in the ongoing development and direction of the church stands for the biggest issue of them all: It stands for declericalization. And declericalization is the foundation for the renewal of the church. If the church is declericalized -- if the laity really begins to be included in the theological debates, the canonical processes, the synodal decisions of the Roman Catholic Church -- every issue on the planet will become grist for its mill.

Do they not realize that by concentrating on lay participation rather than on specific theological issues, they are really striking at the core of church development and power? They are targeting the biggest issue of them all, authority.

Clearly, whether they know it or not, Voice of the Faithful is definitely not issue-free. And, whether they realize it or not, their audacity is shaking the foundations of an imperial church that, until this time, has seldom felt the need to explain anything, let alone ask questions of anyone other than those in their own inner circles. Sensus fidelium or no sensus fidelium.

Before this is over, thanks to Voice of the Faithful, issues like a married priesthood, the ordination of women, the use of inclusive pronouns in scripture and the choice of postures during the canon of the Mass will seem to be exactly what they are -- very, very minor. That's why I admire them: They are into the biggest issue of them all.

"In 1985, she rejected the Church's strictures against the 23 nuns who in an advertisement in the New York Times, together with 5,000 other Catholics, had attacked the Church's teaching against abortion, on the grounds that this was taking away their freedom. It was, she thought, a false use of authority, contrary to the ‘theology of tolerance'." - Fr. Alphonse de Valk, c.s.b, Catholic Insight, January/February 2002

No comments :