Monday, February 02, 2009

Hey, ummm...has anyone else noticed there aren't any nuns anymore?

Vatican orders review of women's religious orders
By ERIC GORSKI – 2 days ago
The Vatican has begun a first-ever comprehensive study of women's religious orders in the United States, four decades into a steep decline in the number of Roman Catholic sisters and nuns in the country.

40 years. FORTY YEARS since the nuns decided to commit mass religious suicide and they've just noticed. Well. Isn't. That. Wonderful.
The study, ordered by a Vatican congregation

[way to do the research, bro. It's the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life under Cardinal Rodé.]
in December and announced Friday in Washington, will examine "the quality of the life" of 59,000 members in more than 400 Catholic women's religious institutes, said Sister Eva-Maria Ackerman,

a nun who wears a habit and works for the Archdiocese of St. Louis, appointed to the job by Archbishop Burke and so unlikely to be a stooge of the feminists
a spokeswoman for the study, which is called an apostolic visitation."The study is really to encourage the communities, to strengthen them, to help them grow in their vitality,"

with the age of Religious in the US averaging about 70 years, it's going to take a lot of revitalizing
she said, adding that "women's religious communities have played such a significant part in building up the church and society in this country."

The Vatican released results of a similar canvass of U.S. seminaries earlier this month in light of the clergy sexual abuse crisis. That review gave special attention to chastity and celibacy, and the Vatican found seminaries had largely been successful in rooting out "homosexual behavior."

Umm. No. Actually, that's not what they said.

The reasoning behind the Vatican's focus on women's religious orders is less clear. A Web site on the visitation said the church wanted "to safeguard and promote consecrated life in the United States."

It also said "many new congregations have emerged in the United States, while many others have decreased in membership or have an increased median age."

The number of Catholic sisters in the U.S. declined from 173,865 in 1965 to 79,876 in 2000, according to Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The average age of a member of a women's religious community was between 65 and 70 in 1999, the center says.

"The numbers tell you everything one needs to know why they're undertaking an effort like this," said Russell Shaw, a former spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who called the church's interest "very late in the game."

"For many of these communities, the handwriting is on the wall. They're disappearing," he said.

Historically, Catholic sisters concentrated on teaching and health care. Since the modernizing reforms of the Second Vatican Council of the 1960s, many sisters have become activists of social causes ranging from protesting nuclear weapons to marching with migrant farmworkers. Some also advocate for women to be ordained as priests or challenge church teaching against abortion rights or gay marriage.

In recent years, newly formed traditional orders — whose members dress in habits, show fidelity to Rome and focus on education, health care and social work — have reported growth. More established orders that tend to take more progressive social stances have seen their members' ages and numbers of vocations dwindle.

"The Vatican may be asking the question, 'Why is this happening, and is there something these more traditional orders offer that the more progressive orders can learn from?'" said the Rev. Jim Martin, editor of the Jesuit magazine America.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the nation's largest association of Catholic women religious communities, said it was informed of the study in a bulletin Friday.

"We hope that the results of the apostolic visitation will demonstrate the vitality and depth of the life and service of women religious in the United States," the conference said in a statement.

Bwaaa ha haha hahahahahaaaa...

ooop! Sorry. Fell off my chair for a second.


M. Alexander said...

Yeah, that.

I suppose there is no talk about actual NUMBERS. That would be so gauche.

And damning.

Did they mention what Susan Sarandon in "Dead Man Walking" had done for women religious?

Made me more pro death penalty than I would have thought possible.

Excellent movie.

Anonymous said...

Won't matter what the eventual actual report says -- the orders that are fading will find in it affirmation for their life giving ways.

Maybe if we had nuns praying unceasingly lifting up the world (not to mention more focused on holiness and less on their professional life) we'd not be so far into the pit.

I wonder if this study will address the lack of care and support from Bishops.

Ecgbert said...

The most unintentionally revealing thing about that picture is the age of the sign-holders.

Now compare that to the age of the people running TNLM.