Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rebel Without a Clue

I covered these so called sisters earlier here
I thought these so called Sisters sounded like they had a problem, this confirms it for me, they have lost their way and are too spoiled to change, the best is that they are dying out and the orthodox are coming back

The Egyptian

thanks to: Domine, da mihi hanc auqam

Many of you have asked me to comment on the recent email from Sr. Sandra Schneiders concerning the upcoming apostolic visitation of U.S. religious sisters. The email is long and whiney and chocked full of delusional meanderings on the reality of women's religious life in the U.S. I don't intend to fisk the whole thing. This is Lent after all.

As I read the email though I was reminded of my years working in adolescent psych. Most of our teen patients were drug and alcohol abusers and most had been sexually molested. By far the most common diagnosis was ODD, "oppositional defiant disorder." Below you will find a description of this affective-mental disorder. Read it and then click over to Sandra's missive and see what you think.

In children with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), there is an ongoing pattern of uncooperative, defiant, and hostile behavior toward authority figures that seriously interferes with the youngster's day to day functioning. Symptoms of ODD may include:
  • frequent temper tantrums
  • excessive arguing with adults
  • active defiance and refusal to comply with adult requests and rules
  • deliberate attempts to annoy or upset people
  • blaming others for his or her mistakes or misbehavior
  • often being touchy or easily annoyed by others
  • frequent anger and resentment
  • mean and hateful talking when upset
  • seeking revenge
Check all the above.

Here's my take on the whole thing. . .most of the dissident women's orders in the U.S. have spent the last four decades destroying their history, dismantling their faith, and deluding themselves into believing that they are somehow leaders in the vanguard of
an ecclesial revolution. Well, they are leaders of a sort, leaders of a devolution into non-existence. We don't need to recount the stats that trace their rapid disappearance from the Church scene. As I have said many times before, "Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock. . ." Fr. Z. rightly calls this the "biological solution" to the problem of New-Agey priests and religious.

What's interesting to me about these groups is their oppositional-defiant relationship with Church authority. You see, when I worked with ODD teens in the hospital, it was often the case that the teens would act out when discipline on the unit grew lax. When staff and clinicians got a little lazy about the rules, the teens would let us know--through their bad behavior--that they felt unsafe and needed the boundaries to be enforced. When the staff got tough again, there was a little sassy lip and the occasional time-out, but most of the teens quickly dropped back into their polished disinterest in authority. . .all the while carefully crafting for themselves and for their peers attitudes that let them be safely contra staff.

Sandra and sisters like her have spent the last forty years establishing themselves as oppositional-defiant figures in the Church. Their entire identity as Catholics, religious, women, and human beings is so deeply entangled in being O-D to the Church that they no longer know how to exist outside their comfortable (i.e., well-funded, tenured) bubbles of oppositional nastiness.

If I had to bet this month's stipend on a sure thing, I would bet on this: Sandra and her sisters are thrilled to hear about this visitation! It gives them something to oppose, something to rally against, something TO DO that ratifies their already self-confirming identity as courageous ecclesial rebels. There will be workshops, conferences, websites, petitions, "calls-to-action," oh but the phone trees and email lists will be lit up, rallying opposition to the visitation.


Because in the absence of any identifibly Catholic characteristics in their "religious lives," Sandra, et al only have the reassuring warmth of their communal temper tantrums and the thin gruel of their rebellion to sustain them in the few winter years they have left. Without this Evil Vatican Visitation--heck, without the Evil Vatican!--Sandra and her goddess-worshipping sisters, would be rebels without a cause.

As it is, their whining is little more than adolescent snarking from the time-out room.

Here's my deadly serious challenge to Sr. Sandra and her ilk: Leave. Simply, leave. Go to another ecclesial communion that will celebrate your wingnut religiosity. If the Roman Catholic Church is so horribly oppressive, so unjustly bigoted, so irrecoverably patriarchal, and these features cause you so much distress and anguish, then leave! But see, you won't leave. Why? Because you have an ODD relationship with Church authority. If you join the Episcopalians, a group that will embrace you and all your moon-batness, if you join the Episco-pagans, you become the establishment. You become the norm, the regular. . .and since you are constitutionally incapable of forming a positive identity, you will cling for dear life to your oppositional-defiant identity in the RCC. You need the Pope. You need the hierarchy. You need the haunting spectre of an Evil Vatican Visitation. You need the orthodox sisters of the CMSWR. You need bloggers like me writing posts like this. . .ah well.

If that weren't so sad, it would be funny.

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