“Hope in a Prison Of Despair”, a Public Domain Image c/o Wikimedia
I have been watching the crisis between the nuns or “women religious” (as they are known) and the Catholic Church in Rome I am confounded–and I am not easily made to confound. It seems as though the people who have made Catholicism more appealing and friendly in the last couple of decades are the people being denigrated for those appealing characteristics of loving and caring for others. I kept wondering what I wanted to write my first Tikkun Daily post on, as the Huffington Post crowded my overstuffed mailbox day after day with of headlines containing the words “nuns” and “Vatican.” So with a smile and a shrug I said, “Ok, God, I get it. I’ll write this blog post.”
I am a born and raised Catholic (currently practicing Episcopalian) carrying the spiritual heritage of my namesake St Teresa of Avila in my passion for contemplative prayer, and as an orphan in a Colombian orphanage I was given that name by the Grey nuns–an active caregiving order. Additionally, my aspirations for living missionally in the world came out of a childhood experience in the height of Mother Teresa’s influence in the Catholic world and the world at large. I have a great affinity for the communal lineage of caring done by these saints in habits; some recognized as such, and many others just quietly doing the good work of God without any hopes for recognition.
I am saddened by the kind of systemic breakdown that causes the tops of hierarchies to become so detached from the living, breathing essence of their community that they create edicts to shrink the size and shape of love into tiny boxes. This can happen in any system, and any religion, and seems to be happening in a huge way, presently, in Catholicism.
A lot has been said about the 1% of the world and the deep canyon of space between those at the top and those at the bottom. In this religious context there is a great gorge of darkness between those defining the rules of religion and those actively fighting to live as the Body of Jesus (and the workers of the Church) in the world.
I invite you to view the rest of my article “Nuns In America: Voices From the Margins” as the first in a weekly series of articles for Tikkun Magazine’s “Tikkun Daily Blog” HERE.