Monday, July 03, 2017

Does Anyone Know For Sure?

Are contemplative nuns becoming embroiled in Vatican controversies?

I read a comment by a priest who happens to be a chaplain to Carmelite nuns.  A Carmel in the hinterlands.  I have to wonder ... Are contemplative nuns (and monks for that matter) obsessed and distracted by all of this anti-Papist garbage spewed online, especially from 1P5 where said priest, Fr. RP* is a contributor?  Do these communities listen to all the garbage said against the pope, the cardinals, the dicasteries?  Are chaplains who claim the laity is stupefied by all that is going on really advising contemplative nuns?

I hope not.

 It seems to me sites like Canon 212 and 1P5 are the ones which literally stupefy and confuse online Catholics.  The Catholic League wastes its time and donor money by going after petty 'anti-Catholic' films and pop-culture MSM.  The anti-Catholics are all over Catholic social media, influenced by anti-Vatican II and anti-papist Catholics who are on the precipice of sedevacantistism.

I exaggerate a bit there, but I can't imagine a monastic community would involve themselves in all the gossip and calumny which absorbs online Catholics these days - or even listen to reports about it.  I hope it is not true - talk about the smoke of Satan infiltrating the Church.

Although St. Teresa of Avila was certainly aware of those awful Lutherans, depriving souls of sacred images and the real presence of Christ and so on.  So I guess enclosed religious know a great deal more of what is going on in the Church and the world than one might expect.

Just thinking out loud here.

Although, separation from the world is why monasteries are built - over time, some have even resembled fortifications - traditionally iron grills were set in place, with spikes.  Today, big priories and abbeys are under construction for souls to flee the world and enclose themselves in hermitages, only to let the world in, opening to the internet and those who fill in the blanks at the turn or in the parlour with the latest gossip on what prelate said this, or what the pope didn't say by way of correction for something the media claimed he said.

Maybe that doesn't happen?  Maybe.

Some remedies and reminders.

Religious controllers, correctors, and castigators are not found only in the cloister. Very often they lurk in sacristies, piously fussing about, and, like the devil, "seeking someone to devour." - Vultus Christi 
Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.- St. Teresa of Avila

A story from the life of St. Therese.

"The thought that there were some religious communities who were submitting to unjust laws against the Church promulgated by the anti-Catholic secular power, filled me (Celine) with indignation. One day in Therese's presence I exclaimed, 'My entire being rises up in in rebellion when I witness such a spirit of cowardice. I would be cut into a thousand pieces rather than belong to any of these communities or to assist them in any way.'

The Saint answered: 
'We should not be concerned about such matters at all. It is true that I would be of your opinion and act perhaps in the same way had I any responsibility in the matter. But I have no obligation whatsoever. Moreover, our only duty is to become united to God. Even if we were members of those communities which are being publicly criticized for their defections, we would be greatly at fault in becoming disquieted on that account.'" - "My Sister, St. Therese" - Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face

Catherine of Siena was a lay-woman, contemplative in the world, but even she counseled against gossip.
"What the devil can't do himself he does by using other people. He takes up his position on the tongues and in the hearts of his servants and before their mind's eye. He makes them see what doesn't exist. So they conceive within their hearts all sorts of evil thoughts and resentments regarding their neighbors - often regarding those they most love." - S. Catherine of Siena
Remember Lot's wife:
Take warning from the example of Lot's wife who, because she was disturbed at the destruction of Sodom, turned back to look at it. God punished her for this, and she was 'turned into a pillar of salt' (Genesis 19.26). This teaches you that it is the will of God, even if you were living among devils, you should so live as not to turn back in thought to consider what they are doing, but forget them utterly. You are to keep your soul wholly to God, and not to suffer the thought of this or that to disturb you. - John of the Cross

"Gru's Minions are nothing but gateway
images to get kids hooked on
prescription drugs
and contraceptives.
It's anti-Catholic.  
I'm against it."

*Father RP

Father RP is the Pastor of two small town Catholic Parishes in the hinterland. He has served in parish ministry since ordination, and also as a priest confessor/spiritual director for a Carmelite Monastery for seven years. Prior to answering the call to the priesthood of Jesus Christ he did all kinds of things, including turning away from atheism and agnosticism.  - Profile from 1P5

Note: He's not from here - that is, part of the Archdiocese of St.P/MPLS.


  1. I am very close with a community of Discalced Carmelite nuns, and a community of cloistered Poor Clare nuns. I know the superiors well and speak with them frequently - and not just small talk. They are well aware of what is going on in the Church and with Francis. Not because they read these blogs, because they don't. It's because they read what Francis says/writes, and they are quite disturbed. They, being the brides of Christ, know more than any of us, the mind of the Lord, and from what they tell me, the Lord is not pleased with the way things are going in the Church and with Francis. They exhort me often to pray and do penance in reparation and that God will deliver us soon from the situation.

    1. Thanks Aloysius. I was wondering about that. I probably shouldn't have posted this then - but for your comment now, I would remove it. I must be wrong about these things. I've been wrong about so much. Thanks for letting me know this.

  2. T.N.: I read your blog precisely for your take on contemporary Catholicism and Pope Francis, even though I am in the "traditionalist camp," and not comfortable with the current pope, nor today's Church in general. This post is well stated! Keep up the good work!

    1. Please pray for me Donald - I will pray for you too. Thanks.

  3. I could do an update on this post - came across a couple of priests I knew who are close to contemplative nuns - both are very traditional, both have 'ssa' and seem to suspect the orthodoxy of Pope Francis. The plot thickens.


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