Thursday, August 30, 2012

Real Radical Feminists Wanted

In Praise of Radical Feminists

American women religious and the call to service
the cover of America, the Catholic magazine
I n an interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter, Cardinal William Levada, the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expresses the opinion that the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is “effusive in its praise” of American women religious. All Catholics should join Cardinal Levada in this effusion.
I was fortunate to be taught in elementary school by Franciscan Sisters and in high school by Benedictines, Sisters of St. Joseph, School Sisters of Notre Dame, and Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. My children have been taught by Sisters of St. Joseph and by Daughters of Mary and Joseph. I owe much to these women.
One point of contention in the Doctrinal Assessment, and one for which the L.C.W.R. receives a reprimand, is the prevalence of “radical feminist” themes in some programs sponsored by the L.C.W.R. An alternative view, however, is that it is exactly their radical feminist nature for which American Catholic women religious should be praised.
A radical is someone who maintains strong principles and acts on them. What makes Catholic women religious so radical? Nothing more than the fact that they gave up their former lives and followed Christ.

Called Forth

Reading from the charter or mission of a congregation gives a sense of the charism that calls those women forth. These statements are Christ-centered. Consider for example, the following mission statement taken from the Web site of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph:
We, the Daughters of Mary and Joseph, are an international community of vowed women religious. We are committed to deepening our relationship with Jesus Christ. This relationship manifests itself as an individual and corporate response to the needs of today's world.
Our mission is to be a compassionate, joyful presence which enables each person to recognize his/her value and dignity. We are dedicated to sharing the merciful love of God with all who experience brokenness and poverty in any form.
Observe that they are not just interested in doing good but in being “instruments of mercy in the hands of God.” They are explicit about this difference:
To be a D.M.J. in California is not about personal enhancement or individual fulfillment, but about mission. It is about "growing in all ways into Christ" (Eph. 4:16) so that the compassion of God might be more fully manifest—through our work and our presence.

Or consider the mission statement of the Sisters of St. Francis, the order to which Pat Farrell, O.S.F., the past president of L.C.W.R., belongs:
We, the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, choose to live the Gospel in the prophetic spirit of Francis of Assisi and our foundress Mother Francis Bachmann. With Jesus Christ as Brother, we live as sister with one another, with the entire human family, and with all creation. Calling ourselves and one another to continuous conversion of heart we commit ourselves to a life of contemplation, poverty, and humility.
Notice the radical nature of the call in both the D.M.J and O.S.F. mission statements and their clarity that it is a religious call, not one of personal fulfillment. It is a call to community, prayer and action. It is not a call to power and glory, but to service in the name of Christ and his church.
Let us now turn to the second aspect of the Doctrinal Assessment’s expressed concern: feminism. A feminist advocates rights for women equal to those for men. Feminism also provides a proactive approach to women’s place in society and church. Historically, women have been shut out from meaningful participation in the magisterium of the Catholic Church, much as until recently they were shut out of political and economic leadership in civil society. In the Catholic Church, women cannot be ordained to the priesthood nor to the diaconate. Feminist Catholic women religious therefore face a choice: leave the church or adapt. By and large, the religious communities in the United States have adapted. Some of these congregations were feminist before the term was even coined.
Janet Mock, a Sister of St. Joseph and the executive director of L.C.W.R., has also been in the media spotlight recently. The founding documents of her order exhort the sisters to do “all of which women are capable” to care for the “dear neighbor, without distinction.” (Their founding charter was also radical in that the sisters were not to live in cloister but in small apostolic communities; and they were not to wear habits, but to dress in the style of a widow of their station.)
The phrase “all of which women are capable” does not set arbitrary limits on service, does not acknowledge restricted abilities, does not set up a lesser comparison of women to men. “All of which women are capable” is a call to a sister’s full actualization of self in Christ. “All of which women are capable” is a positive feminist call to service. “Without distinction” treats the poor equally with the wealthy, the disenfranchised equally with royalty, the laity equally with the clergy, women equally with men. “Without distinction” is a democratic feminist ideal. The Sisters of St. Joseph have not wavered from this ideal in over 350 years.
Of what, then, are these religious women whose congregations are represented in L.C.W.R. capable? They have been and are C.E.O.s and board chairs of some of the country’s largest hospital systems. They have been and are presidents of universities, deans of colleges and principals of schools. They have founded and run service centers for the homeless, counseling and retreat centers, food pantries and thrift stores. They manage parishes without a resident priest.
Note that many of these roles were ones that were not open to women in their non-Catholic counterpart organizations at the time. It is small wonder, then, that American Catholic women religious have a feminist view that equates the roles of women and men.
By their very charism, professed Catholic women religious are both radical and feminist: radical in their response to Christ’s call; feminist in their carving out a role for themselves in the Catholic Church. For the L.CW.R. to deny the radical feminist nature of its existence, or worse yet, as the Doctrinal Assessment seems to demand, to renounce the radical feminist nature of its existence would be, I think, a dishonor to the hundreds of thousands of Catholic women religious who have served the U.S. church. It would also be a disservice to the Roman Catholic Church, its laity and its magisterium. For wherever the American Catholic Church presents an organized response to Christ’s call in Matthew 25: 35-40, there you will find member congregations of L.C.W.R. at the forefront. These are the exact roles that the Doctrinal Assessment “effusively” praises.
Let us all pray for a speedy resolution of the assessment of the L.C.W.R. so that the sisters can go back to the work to which Christ and their church have called them. Let us pray that these women who have committed their lives to the Lord, who trusted in Him, will see Him act, so that their justice will break forth like the light, their cause like the noon-day sun (Psalm 37).

Kevin McCardle is a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles, Calif

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

source of graph from previous post

You want to see this graph

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Let's get serious people.



Pell Grant cuts would spell strife for Catholic students

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fitzsimmons "By My Side" from tonight's "Rookie Blues"

William Fitzsimmons "By My Side" from a good scene of "Rookie Blues."    

Catholic Bishops tell the truth on their "Poverty USA" website!


Poverty USA is a must website!!  Catholic Bishops tell the truth!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Yo Paul Ryan: Jesus or Ayn Rand?

Jesus tells us to love one another, to help one another, to transcend ourselves in forming a civilization of love

Here's Paul Ryan's favorite philosopher Ayn Rand: "Rand wholly rejected religion. She called it a weakness, even a parasite — one that convinces people their purpose is to work for the betterment of others. In fact, she says, for man, the truth is just the opposite."

On Capitol Hill, Rand's 'Atlas' Can't Be Shrugged Off

Monday, August 06, 2012

AJAN. Jesuits respond to AIDS epidemic in Africa

Great work by Jesuits in Africa.

New Jesuit "Ap"

Try this out.   The Society of Jesus goes boldy where few Jesuits have gone before... into the worlds of Social Media!