Friday, 15 June 2012

LCWR Needs Sense Of 'Product Identity'

Cardinal William Joseph Levada
Sister Janet Mock, executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

I note that Sr. Rakoczy, one of the Bloggers of The Southern Cross, is again disgruntled. This time it is because of the use of a “corporate culture[1] phrase. Sr. Rakoczy, as usual, provides no source in her Blog to confirm that the alleged phrase was indeed used. Just her say so! There are two points I want to make about this: (1) Sr. Rakoczy seems to be in a habit, excuse the pun, of nailing Church leaders; (2) I think that the use of the phrase is actually quite effective, despite what Sr. Rakoczy thinks.

Let's start with the chip on the shoulder about Church leaders. Sr. Rakoczy has a habit of making statements about Church leaders without providing any sources. You will recall that when she falsely accused the Pope of using the term “Lord Cardinals”, in February 2012, she also provided no source and despite requests has never provided a source. (See my Blog post “Who Said Lord Cardinals”.)

Despite my emails to the editor, Gunther Simmermacher, at the time, as well as comments on her Blog from me, and others, both she and the editor have still not corrected this blatantly false allegation. In frustration, I even went as far as posting the full text of the Pope’s address on my Blog – Pope Benedict XVI Address at Consistory – to show that the Pope never used the term. Nevertheless, Sr. Rakoczy’s post still stands on the newspapers website today, falsely accusing the Pope of a statement he didn’t make.

It seems that Sr. Rakoczy has an issue with “cardinals, who parade around in their new red attire.[2] Her latest Blog is also about a Cardinal! There is a plus in her recent Blog post because this time I was at least able to trace and confirm that Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, did in fact use the phrase “product identity”. He did so during an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, while he was explaining the essence of the problem that the Vatican has with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

So, moving on to my opinion about this corporate culture” phrase, which has annoyed the nun. I include below a fuller extract, than the one sentence provided by Sr. Rakoczy in her Blog, from the article in the National Catholic Reporter. It helps put the Cardinal’s phrase into context. (You can read the full article by John Allen there.)

In his NCR interview, Levada said he believes the breach between Rome and the LCWR can be repaired.

"I believe it can work," he said. "That's my hope and prayer." At the same time, Levada described the risk of a "dialogue of the deaf," saying the Vatican has been in talks with LCWR for four years, but along the way the group has made choices that, in Levada's eyes, signal it's not taking their concerns to heart.

Specifically, Levada cited publication of an interview with Fr. Charles Curran, a moral theologian censured by the Vatican in the 1980s for his views on sexual morality, in a recent issue of the group's Occasional Papers as well as decisions to invite Barbara Marx Hubbard, often described as a ‘New Age leader,’ to address the upcoming August assembly meeting and to bestow an award on Immaculate Heart Sr. Sandra Schneiders, another theologian sometimes critical of Vatican policy.

Levada acknowledged he had given LCWR the go-ahead to proceed with its August assembly, but said he wasn't aware at the time of the choice of speakers or honourees, and that "I wish they hadn't made these choices."

"Too many people crossing the LCWR screen, who are supposedly representing the Catholic Church, aren't representing the Church with any reasonable sense of product identity," Levada said.

Levada said while Church officials cannot force LCWR to change course, if things come to an impasse, they can withdraw official recognition.

"What we can do, and what we'd have to do, is to say to them, we will substitute a functioning group for yours" he said.[3]

Now, I don’t know about you, but I believe that the Cardinal’s use of the phrase “product identity” is actually quite effective. It may not be a theological phrase, but it makes the point, which the Vatican has been trying to make to the LCWR for some time now. The phrase helps to get right to the very heart of the issue with the LCWR.

The phrase eliminates, more effectively than any lengthy explanation, all of the noise. It keeps the focus on the core issue. The issue is not about suppressing women! The issue is not about power! The issue is: If you are a Catholic, your entire identity must be Catholic. You cannot claim to be Catholic and then portray non-Catholic traits!

It is now high time, in this “dialogue of the deaf”, to use Cardinal Levada’s phrase, for the LCWR to start facing the facts. You cannot support abortion, condone same sex marriage, demand the ordination of women as priests and generally pick and choose which, if any, of the teachings of the Magisterium, you would like to obey! If you want to be a Catholic nun, be a Catholic nun! If you don’t, don’t, but stop confusing yourselves and others. Stop causing scandal.

I have one final point about the use of the phrase “product identity”. It is apparent, from reports by the secular media, the LCWR has chosen to take its case beyond the framework of the Church. It is reaching out to the secular world, clearly in an attempt to muster greater support and increase the noise. The use of a secular phrase is therefore certainly extremely appropriate and in fact probably an excellent way of getting the message across in a way that non-Catholics will definitively understand it.

The secular world wouldn’t necessarily understand the concept and reasons for needing to obey the teaching of the Magisterium. The secular world does however understand, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the concept of loyalty to the “product identity”. The importance of brand identity will not be lost on the secular world!

[1] The Southern Cross, Product Identity, June 14, 2012
[2] The Southern Cross, Lord Cardinals, Feb 22, 2012
[3] National Catholic Reporter, Vatican official warns of 'dialogue of the deaf' with LCWR, June 12, 2012

1 comment:

  1. These nuns do not want to be subjected to any authority but their own. Rome is wasting its time trying to reform them. Appoint another group and be done with it.