Saturday, April 05, 2014

Here's a thought: Sr. Jane Dominic, O. P. and the role of women in the Church.

In Sister's case, the O. P. could maybe stand for "Oh Please!"

The role of women in the Church.  We hear all the talk about giving women a greater role - beyond the traditional service roles they already have.
Pope Francis: "Women must have a greater presence in the decision-making areas of the church," he said.  
Hear, hear the episcopate says.  Yet in the case of Sr. Jane Dominic, is there no one to defend her?  What about her role as a woman religious in the Church?  As a teacher?

Where are the priests and bishops who either defend - or condemn - the Nuns on the Bus and the LWCR and its affiliates?  Where are the "bravas" for this woman?

Just sayin'.


  1. +JMJ+

    Now that you mention this angle, I'm surprised that no one has brought up 1 Corinthians 14:34 yet! =P

    On the other hand, I have heard some versions of 1 Timothy 2:12, but more along the lines of, "Nuns know nothing about male sexuality, so they should shut up about it."

    1. I know.

      Lay people think nuns and priests do not know anything about sexuality or domestic life. That's so nuts - especially today. Many healthy, well-balanced individuals come to religious life after living very full lives, good education, promising career, loving relationships - and all of them come from families - moms and dads, brothers and sisters, babies and marriage, gay and straight friends and colleagues. Lay people can be pretty stupid and bigoted about consecrated religious and clergy. They are the ones in the dark - at least in the United States. Here religion is compartmentalized - a completely separate realm - separation of church and state - separation of religion and pop-culture..

      Supposedly we are one of the most religious countries in the world - but I strongly suspect many simply retain the form of religion, while denying it's power. 2 Tim 3:5

      The commenter below reinforces that conviction for me.

  2. She's not being defended because she didn't speak truth - albeit she said what some want to hear - but used flawed and falsified studies to go way beyond Catholic moral teaching. If masturbation causes homosexuality, the human race would have disappeared long ago. This was more a lecture on 'old wives' tales' than anything else. She did more harm than good, unfortunately. We need trained teachers, especially those in healthy marriages, rather than consecrated theologians, to teach human sexuality to our teens.

    1. I replied to you at the other post. You are stating as fact what has been reported Sr. supposedly said. Her commentary was either grossly misunderstood or exaggerated and taken out of context. Repeated in sound bites, the comments take on a life of their own.

      I agree her stats may have been questionable, but I suspect she was using case studies in a general way to emphasize a point. She is so not a ditzy nun or spreading old wives tales. And as for the need of lay teachers in healthy marriages to teach human sexuality is to completely misunderstand consecrated life - what do you think - these women undergo labotomies at final profession, that their sexual organs are removed? These are intelligent, normal women who have dedicated their lives to the truth. As for trained teachers, they are far better equipped to teach than laity who are worried about their personal lives, livelihood, and leisure time.

      People - send your kids to public school if you do not accept Catholic teaching.

      If you want basic Catholic moral teaching? Read the Gospel. No divorce and remarriage. No adultery, Even looking at another with lust is a sin. Keep the commandments. It's not that complicated.

    2. Oh, get off it. Really? Several parents have very reasonably and calmly explained what their issues are with the entire situation, and this has nothing to do with what your online buddy, Kaching Fernandez, insists is the issue -- which is beside the point for her, because it's all just click-bait as far as she's concerned.

      Her talk was inappropriate for the audience, her talk was forced upon a captive audience that included teens as young as 13, parents who had a reasonable expectation to be informed of the content prior to the talk (as is the procedure at that school) were NOT informed, and her talk diverged from her usual script to include information no one was prepared to sensitively discuss based on the wide variety of ages in the audience and the wide variety of family situations of those in the audience.

      That is the issue.

      Stop painting this as liberal parents freaking out that Catholic teaching was taught in a Catholic school. What you're doing is dishonest. Period. So just cut it out. People like you are why good Catholics leave the Church every day.

    3. Your statement about family situations is a red herring; Church teaching is appropriate for all. If what you mean is that it should be sanitized so as not to inform people that the Church that homosexual sex is the sin that cries to heaven and practicing homosexuals are not in communion with the Church, then you should say so.

      You're projecting when you say Terry is dishonest. Why bring another blogger into it? Terry's posting on his own here.

    4. That is not what is meant. Church teaching is appropriate for all, but the way it was expressed is the issue. What is appropriate for a college classroom may not be appropriate for a mandatory high school assembly, and vice versa. It is not sanitization to leave disputed, though legitimate theories, to the college lecture hall, and not a high school. That was the original dispute before the PFLAG/Call to Action types got involved, aided and abetted by the Protestant media.

      And it isn't as if the people facilitating the sabbattical are exactly on PFLAG's side here.

  3. No, I believe consecrated women and men have a lot to teach about human sexuality, especially as it can be lived fully and joyously in relationship with God. But teens, I believe at least, need to see healthy human relationships modeled for them. Some consecrated, especially, theologians, teach at a level that kids can't access. I'm not quoting sound bytes, but understand from reading accounts from people who were there that Sr. Jane went way off script during this talk. Sometimes less is more.

    1. Rumor has it Sister Jane has given lectures at that very same school before and there was no uproar then. I believe and I give Sister the benefit of doubt that she spoke with charity and with the best of intentions, in truth. I believe too, like many of us do, that in this day and age, to speak the truth and to take a stand against the current tide of "anything goes" comes at a great well worth it I might add.

      Here's the link to the article that "says Sister Jane has spoken at the school in past years."

      "People - send your kids to public school if you do not accept Catholic teaching.
      If you want basic Catholic moral teaching? Read the Gospel. No divorce and remarriage. No adultery, Even looking at another with lust is a sin. Keep the commandments. It's not that complicated."


  4. It would be very helpful if we had a transcript of exactly what Sister said. All we can do is judge by the reactions of those who heard it. Sister does have a very good reputation and, as noted, has spoken before with no repercussions. But her message seems to have backfired this time. Whatever message she was trying to get across didn't work. Should we just be blaming all those who heard it? Is there anyone who was at the talk who has come forth and defended her?

    The subject of homosexuality has become a very sensitive one in our culture. As I have stated, our society no longer considers it abnormal, at least not officially. The Church, rightfully, considers it disordered behavior and condemns the behavior. Homosexuality is terribly destructive to the society, the family and the individual.

    But when we start using these terms and trying to assign blame, as apparently Sister did, society just turns away and refuses to hear. I know, Terry, that you think Sister is being treated very unfairly. You feel she did nothing wrong. But I think this is a situation that actually needs to be studied. Did people react so harshly against her just because she spoke the truth? Or did their reaction stem from how she presented the truth?

    Pointing fingers and assigning blame never works. People who are trapped in addictive behaviors such as this are not going to stop doing what they are doing just because someone says it is wrong. They have to be shown love and compassion. From what I can tell, Sister's talk was mostly condemnatory, not a lot of compassion involved, not for homosexuals or for their families.

    1. Agreed. IIRC something in the content of the talk changed, where disputed sociological findings were presented as fact. Which is what initially triggered this issue. But it has been hijacked by PFLAG, who used it to try to bait conservatives, who unfortunately seem to have swallowed it whole.

      I am not assigning moral blame on Sister. It is likely an inadvertent mistake. But to say this was originally simply something like the Seattle case does not seem to be the facts.

      Unfortunately, in todays climate, the outside activists have turned this into a proxy war. Everyone originally involved seems to have lost out because of PFLAG interference - the original petitioners, Sister, the diocese, and the parish priest. Everyone except Satan.

    2. Hum...good points, all. It clarifies things a bit more for me, thanks. I hope we will be made privy to the talk so that we can judge for ourselves as to the content. A recorded talk would be even better since the tone of the speaker would help us understand if in fact she was "condemnatory."

      I for one, hope not but that's just me.

      Anyway, this from a commentator who is a priest, on Rebecca Hamilton's site.

      I am going to Mass tonight, will pray for our beloved Church and for all of us who are her members, with special intentions for Sister Janet, her community, and all the folks over at the Charlotte Catholic High School.

      Lord of life and truth, have mercy on us!

  5. It is not Sister's fault that the parents were not notified of the talk. It is not her responsibility, but the school's.

    I don't have any problem with parents being informed of the content of a presentation to be delivered at a mandatory school assembly. I do have a problem with people blurring the distinction between Sister's responsibilities and those of a school to which she has been invited to speak, especially when the invitation is to give a talk that she has delivered over 80 times in 25 different states and has received god reviews.

    And on the one occasion in which an offended teenage audience creates controversy and takes to the internet to publicly denounce her presentation -- the wayward media decides to pick up the story and source itself in the sloppy sound-bite reporting of the angered students.

    And in regards to age appropriateness -- that has to be gauged by the cultural and social context in which we live. It would be nice if young teenagers were innocent as regards knowledge about human sexuality and if their knowledge was acquired after, not before, they have matured mentally. But that is not the case. They are bombarded with sexualizing influences from peers, TV, movies, the internet, magazines, books, advertisements, etc.

    We cannot afford for the Church's teaching on human sexuality to be delivered only reactively; it has to be given pro-actively as well. We shouldn't wait an adolescent boys has reached the age of 16 or 17, long after he has already become addicted to pornography and masturbation years ago, to introduce him to the Church's moral teachings on sexuality and how sacramental graces and the wisdom and example of the saints will assist him to lead a life that respects his God-given sexual integrity.

    The only way to counter aberrant cultural influences is to speak to the very same matters that the influences are all about.

    I can believe that there are parents who were genuinely concerned about the sensitive content of the talk, and how they were excluded from knowing about it in advance, while otherwise being supportive of Sister's talk.

    But I can just as easily believe that there are parents who use that as a pretext to oppose Sister's lecture on principle. We have to remember that it's not just Catholics students who attend the school or just Catholic parents who have students enrolled there. There are students and parents who are not leading faithfully Catholic lives.

    1. Ana - thanks for the most balanced comment in the thread. Excellent points.

    2. I would have wanted to strangle the head of school if my children had attended that lecture.

      The school event may have been mandatory, but that doesn't mean my children would have attended it because what is mandatory is what I say is mandatory.

      I don't want my children attending a lecture on deviant sex, even if it is told from a Catholic perspective.

    3. The students who aren't Catholic and those who don't practice Catholicism signed up for Catholic school. They can't expect the Church to water down its message on their behalf.

    4. LTG - Thanks for adding that. It helps me understand some of the other parents who protested - I thought their reactions were more or less a rejection of Catholic teaching - coming from you - a Catholic parent I sort of 'know' - I see it differently.

  6. We cannot afford for the Church's teaching on human sexuality to be delivered only reactively; it has to be given pro-actively as well. We shouldn't wait until an adolescent boy has reached the age of 16 or 17, long after ...

    Very well put. My youngest son is 13. I was dismayed to have to explain the context of Phil Robertson's assertion that it is best to prefer a woman to a man because, and here I quote Phil, "she's got so much more to offer."

    We run a really clean house; we are taking our parental responsibility seriously. We have been so careful with audiovisual content and yet we can't exclude every song lyric or newspaper article.

    I would have welcomed Sister Jane's talk. I would rather "react" to her talk than react to the lyrics of "Whistle", which I had to react to when my son was 11 and it became a distraction at school.


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