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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Open note to all on the recent LCWR reactions and the virtue of obedience


Considering the problems in the States and in some parts of Europe concerning disobedient nuns and sisters (and priests and a few bishops and cardinals regarding civil unions), I thought a little journey into the virtue of obedience, in my perfection series, would be timely. I am grateful for the book Spiritual Theology, by Fr. Jordan Aumann OP,, who quotes a letter from St. Ignatius of Loyola, on obedience. The letter was written on March 16, 1553 in Rome to the brothers and priests in the Jesuits in Portugal. Here are the main points of the letter: obedience is the compendium of all the virtues, notes Fr. Aumann. "He states as the fundamental principle of obedience that one should see Chirst in the superior, without thinking of the superior as an individual person."  As I read these, I am thinking of the list of disobedient activities and statements Fr. Z. listed on his blog this week.

Two: obedience may be listed in grades, with the lowest of execution, and the second of the will; " which possesses the intrinsic value of the sacrifice of obedience, so that it is of great merit and it perfects man's free will." Sacrifice of the will is the key idea here. Willfulness is a huge sign of disobedience. One must recall that the recalcitrant nuns and sisters willing took vows. And, willingly, they should follow those vows.

Three: obedience of the intellect is the next level up. Aumann notes "it is possible because the will can control the intellect; it is just because it is reasonable to control one's judgment and to conform one's will to God's; it is necessary for the attainment of perfect subordination, for safeguarding oneself against the illusions of self-love, for preserving one's tranquility in obedience, and for preserving union with God; and it is perfect obedience, because in this grade of obedience a man immolates that which is most excellent, which implies a marvelous victory over self."

This type of obedience is totally missing in some of the main leaders of religious orders in the States, and elsewhere, who have willingly departed from the teaching of the Catholic Church in matters of Faith and Morals, thus not only disobeying the Church, but their ultimate authorities in their orders. If the heads of the orders are in disobedience with regards to the intellect, they have led many others astray.

Four: meekness and humility allow for the growth and maintenance of obedience. Blind obedience includes a docility to superiors, implying an indifference to suggestions and a humility in trusting one's superiors.

Five: Aumann notes that St. Ignatius "says that the prosperity of religious institutes depends on obedience because of the principle of subordination" that applies to religious institutions.

Lastly, Aumann writes that obedience must be supernatural, in motives, underpinned by faith, conformity with the Will of God, love for God, promptness, spontaneity, simplicity, magnanimity, perseverance and to me, the most important, universality, that is obeying in all things great or small.

The supernatural element is key, as the sister or nun must see God in the superior, always believing because of her vows, that God is indeed working in and with that superior. One does not see the person, but God.

5 comments:

Nicole said...

I think that the main part of the problem manifested by the lacking in obedience is the heterodoxy present. If faithful orthodoxy were restored (or those unorthodox/heterodox members would accept correction toward that end) then there would be a foundation upon which to build obedience. The issues at hand (support of unchastity of a homosexual nature, murder of the unborn, and simulated ordinations of the female sex) which are used as banners by these female professed religious point to underlying perfidious heterodoxy. I am betting that the only way to restore actually religious female professed religious is to bring in a Roman body to extirpate heresy and any heretical notions present. (Possibly even to the point of breaking up these conventicles of female professed religious).

Females who were professed religious have always been seen as suspicious in the past due to the tendency of women to be deceived by Satan (as our first mother, Eve, was). I don't know why all of a sudden this view is no longer held, since the nature of women has not changed. Perhaps if the Church men started to open their eyes to the reality of human nature in the fallen world that these things can start to be fixed.

I, for one, support any sort of restructuring of the organization of these females who have thrown off their coverings which God has ordained (many dress as men and no longer wear the veil) as well as the covering which nature has ordained (having their hair shorn off). These females give all virtuous female professed religious a very bad name and should either be corrected or ousted.

I pray for their correction, but I don't have much confidence that it will happen. :(

Supertradmum said...

Wearing the habit would be a start, would it not?

Nicole said...

Wearing the habit of Our Lady would be an excellent start, certainly it would! I pray for the very day it becomes a reality for these wayward females.

Fr. Philip Powell, OP said...

As a habit-wearing religious, I feel compelled to point out that there are many disobedient, miserable, near scandalous religious wearing habits.

I realize that no one is suggesting that a habit will miraculously transformed a neo-pagan sister into an orthodox sister. . .but we need to be mindful of the fact that the habit doesn't make the religious.

I personally know many excellent sisters and nuns who do not wear habits. And I know a few real harpies who do. Same goes for the men!

The transformation of the LCWR will be a decades-long labor of love. Nothing significant will happen until the current generation of leaders goes to their reward. And even then, it's going to take years and years to change the feminist culture of outrage, protest, disobedience, and entitlement.

Pray. . .but don't hold your breath.

Fr. Philip Neri, OP

bill bannon said...

People should obey in clearly infallible judgements but Popes should work harder to move certain issues into the clearly infallible status...into the extraordinary magisterium.
John Paul II did exactly that on abortion and euthanasia in Evangelium Vitae ( see wording used on abortion in sect.62...it is an adaptation of the IC wording).
The reason many are skeptical about the non infallible area is that history shows that Catholics hurt others by obeying certain Popes. Here is Pope Nicholas V giving Portugal the right to enslave in 1455 in Romanus Pontifex which Pope Paul III tried to overcome in the quote under it in a 1537 bull:

Pope Nicholas V:
" -- We [therefore] weighing all and singular the premises with due meditation, and noting that since we had formerly by other letters of ours granted among other things free and ample faculty to the aforesaid King Alfonso -- to invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue all Saracens and pagans whatsoever, and other enemies of Christ wheresoever placed, and the kingdoms, dukedoms, principalities, dominions, possessions, and all movable and immovable goods whatsoever held and possessed by them and to reduce their persons to perpetual slavery."

Pope Paul III trying to undo the above in Sublimus Dei:
" We define and declare by these Our letters, or by any translation thereof signed by any notary public and sealed with the seal of any ecclesiastical dignitary, to which the same credit shall be given as to the originals, that, notwithstanding whatever may have been or may be said to the contrary, the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ."

Portugal in the long run obeyed the bad one because it contained this caveat to ward off future Popes:
" And if anyone, by whatever authority, shall, wittingly or unwittingly, attempt anything inconsistent with these orders we decree that his act shall be null and void."

The bad one by the way also had the written affirmation of three subsequent Popes. Thus Portugal enslaved hundreds of thousands by obeying four Popes against one later Pope.