Friday, November 19, 2021

To Quell the Error

Carmel of Mary Immaculate and St. Mary Magdalen

The mystery of the contemplative vocation in Cor Orans.

I have been following the controversy over the supposed threat by the Holy See against contemplative nuns, orchestrated by Tridentinist Catholics and Archbishop Vigano.  Vigano fuels the fire with erroneous interpretations of every document, teaching and comments made by Pope Francis.

Mike Lewis, editor of Where Peter Is has published a series of rebuttals against the scare mongering regarding the new instructions for contemplative nuns.  I've linked to the series on FB and Twitter and I think I've done so on this blog as well.  

The fourth in the series was published today.  It contains an open letter by a Carmelite nun to Archbishop Vigano.  Sr. Gabriella, OCD of the Flemington New Jersey Carmel received permission from her prioress to counter the misinformation regarding the contemplative vocation in the light of Cor Orans.  I don't need to editorialize, except to say the articles have been extremely helpful to me, reassuring may be a more accurate term.  I encounter so much conspiracy based posts online, it can be disturbing.  The propaganda generating by Vigano and sites like The Remnant, Church Militant, Fr. Z and those who follow them is surreal - something I expressed in my fantasy post highlighting Buñuel's cinematography in "La voie lactée".

I will post an excerpt from the Where Peter Is, highlighting Sr. Gabrielle's excellent letter to Vigano.  To read the entire article and the other articles, go here.

Open Letter to

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò

Concerning Cloistered Contemplative Nuns

Reverend Monsignore,

Praised be Jesus Christ!

On October 1st, 2021, the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, a Discalced Carmelite Nun and Doctor of the Church, you published a statement denouncing the treatment of cloistered contemplatives by Pope Francis. Your statement has so far appeared on Stilum Curiae, and Non Veni Pacem. In your statement, you inveigh against the visitation of cloistered contemplative nuns ordered by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo. The statement appeared on Non Veni Pacem under the heading Fairfield Carmelite Interrogations Concluded, Archbishop Viganò Issues Statement in Defense of Women’s Monasteries of Contemplative Life, and in it your refer to “the Apostolic Visitations that the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life is carrying out in various Convents of contemplative women religious in the United States.” Articles concerning the Fairfield Visitation have appeared on various websites including Non Veni Pacem, LifeSiteNews,, Fr. Z, and among others.

In your statement, you wrote: “Behind this purging operation, like everything that distinguishes the work of the Bergoglian church, there is a hatred and an iconoclastic fury towards the Communities of Contemplative Life, and in a particular way against those tied to Tradition and the Ancient Rite. This hatred has become commonplace with the infamous Instruction Cor Orans and its cruel and merciless application.” You also write: “I understand well how difficult it is, in the face of the perversion of ecclesiastical authority, to combine one’s solemn Vow of Obedience to one’s Superiors with the evidence of the evil purposes they pursue, and how painful it is to have to resist those who should be exercising authority in the name of Our Lord.”

Monsignore, you are obviously not familiar with the writings of St. Teresa of Jesus, who founded the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1562. In the “Book of Her Life” she writes: “Some persons came to me with great fear to tell me we were in trouble and that it could happen that others might accuse me of something and report me to the Inquisitors. This amused me and made me laugh, for I never had any fear of such a possibility. If anyone were to see that I went against the slightest ceremony of the Church in a matter of faith, I myself knew well that I would die a thousand deaths for the faith or for any truth of Sacred Scripture. And I said they shouldn’t be afraid about these possible accusations; that it would be pretty bad for my soul if there were something in it of the sort that I should have to fear the Inquisition; that I thought that if I did have something to fear I’d go myself to seek out the Inquisitors; and that if I were accused, the Lord would free me.” (“Life”, 33, 5) If St. Teresa laughed at the thought of being investigated by the Inquisition, who were not known for their respect towards the persons they investigated, then her Daughters can have no reason to fear an investigation by the Church. “But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (Jn. 3, 21)

You also denounced Cor Orans, the Instruction issued by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to establish the norms for applying Pope Francis’s Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei quaere. In the March and July 2021, editions of “Amigas”, the newsletter of the St. Joseph’s Association of American Carmels, there appeared several articles written by various Carmelite Nuns concerning Cor Orans, and especially the norms presently regulating canonical visitations. The opinions expressed by the Carmelite nuns are overwhelmingly positive. You can read these articles on my Community’s website:

On the Home page of that website, you will also find the link to our Statement of Support for Pope Francis:

In your statement, you write, about the persecution of traditional, cloistered nuns. However, as someone wrote, when people speak of “tradition”, they mean how things were 75 years ago. But Tradition goes back millenia! Vatican II said to return to the sources. That is what we have tried to do in my Order, the Discalced Carmelites. We returned to what St. Teresa wrote and how she intended her sons and daughters to live. In my Carmel, we wear the full habit, sandals included, we keep the full enclosure and only go out for doctor’s visits and absolutely necessary business, and we have the full monastic schedule with 2 hours of prayer and 2 hours of recreation. We consider ourselves totally traditional, even if we don’t have the Liturgy in Latin or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, except when we have a visit from a FSSP priest or a priest of the Institute of Christ the King. We are glad to be fully traditional and fully faithful to the Holy Father and to the prescriptions of Vatican II.

You deplore the treatment meted out to cloistered contemplative nuns by the present Holy Father and his delegates. But there are some 6,000 cloistered contemplative nuns around the world, in various Congregations and Orders. How many of these nuns share your opinions about the way they are treated? I do not know for how many nuns you speak, but here in Flemington, New Jersey, there is one Community which does not share your views. We are all weak and we are all sinners who have been blessed by God’s mercy and grace, but we here in Flemington rejoice to give this witness to our gratitude to God for the blessings and graces we have received through Pope Francis and his delegates.

Reverend Monsignore, though I do not share your opinions, I gladly assure you of the prayers of my Community for you and your ministry. May Our Lord bless you and draw you ever closer to Himself.

In Jesus and Mary,

Sr. Gabriela of the Incarnation, O.C.D.
Carmel of Mary Immaculate and St. Mary Magdalen

October 4th, 2021
Feast of St. Francis and Anniversary of the
Death of St. Teresa of Jesus

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Something from St. Teresa of Avila

"A long time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I've mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell. I understood that the Lord wanted me to see the place the devils had prepared there for me and which I merited because of my sins. This experience took place within the shortest space of time, but even were I to live for many years I think it would be impossible for me to forget it. The entrance it seems to me was similar to a very long and narrow alleyway, like an oven, low and dark and confined; the floor seemed to me to consist of dirty, muddy water emitting foul stench and swarming with putrid vermin. At the end of the alleyway a hole that looked like a small cupboard was hollowed out in the wall; there I found I was placed in a cramped condition. All of this was delightful to see in comparison with what I felt there. What I have described can hardly be exaggerated. 

"What I felt, it seems to me, cannot even begin to be exaggerated; nor can it be understood. I experienced a fire in the soul that I don't know how I could describe. The bodily pains were so unbearable that though I had suffered excruciating ones in this life and according to what doctors say, the worst that can be suffered on earth for all my nerves were shrunken when I was paralyzed, plus many other sufferings of many kinds that I endured and even some as I said, caused by the devil, these were all nothing in comparison with the ones I experienced there. I saw furthermore that they would go on without end and without ever ceasing. This, however, was nothing next to the soul's agonizing: a constriction, a suffocation, an affliction so keenly felt and with such a despairing and tormenting unhappiness that I don't know how to word it strongly enough. To say the experience is as though the soul were continually being wrested from the body would be insufficient, for it would make you think somebody else is taking away the life, whereas here it is the soul itself that tears itself in pieces. The fact is that I don't know how to give a sufficiently powerful description of that interior fire and that despair, coming in addition to such extreme torments and pains. I didn't see who inflicted them on me, but, as it seemed to me, I felt myself burning and crumbling; and I repeat the worst was that interior fire and despair.
"Being in such an unwholesome place, so unable to hope for any consolation, I found it impossible either to sit down or to lie down, nor was there any room, even though they put me in this kind of hole made in the wall. Those walls, which were terrifying to see, closed in on themselves and suffocated everything. There was no light, but all was enveloped in the blackest darkness. I don't understand how this could be, that everything painful to see was visible." (St. Teresa of Avila)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Something Prophetic About "La voie lactée " (The Milky Way).

Filmmaker Luis Buñuel

He, along with Fellini and others, were consider filmmakers hostile to the faith.  Yet they displayed a marvelous insight into the Church and its flawed clericalist ideals.  I often wonder if Pope Francis is a fan of the late 1950 through the 1970's foreign cinema - especially as it concerns the Church?  I know he loves La Strada, but I wonder about the films of Buñuel?

As a visual artist, the scenes of these films speak louder than plot or dialogue.  Especially the Buñuel cinematography.  "La voie lactée"  is especially surreal for its time, yet it makes so much sense today, in so many ways, especially since the Camino Santiago is so trendy these days.

For myself, I've gained some insights into popular rad-trad ecclesiology and politics, pondering some of the images in the film.  I may be way off base, but we live in really bizarre times.  Sensationalist conspirators like Vigano, Coffin, Taylor Marshall, Fr. Altman, Michael Voris and others have attained great influence over the devout and pious who fear Pope Francis.

One scene, of Jansenist nuns reminded me of the suppression of a couple Italian monasteries which from all reports was more or less because the nuns preferred the Tridentine rite over the NO.  (I can't find that story at this time.)  Yet it never occurred to me that their strict observance may have been tainted with Jansenist spirituality.  Perhaps Cor Orans and Traditionis Custodes were necessary safeguards against a growing rigorous backlash against the apostolate of mercy and accompaniment so encouraged by the Pope?  Not a few critics of the Pope wish him dead, hence the firing squad scene in the film seems to reflect that sentiment as well.

I may be way off on this, but for all those who follow QAnon crap, this just might explain their existence.  I don't mind being wrong about things I have no control over.


Religious studies for homeschoolers.

( La Voie lactée)