National Catholic Reporter

The Independent News Source

Taking steps to calm down the sisters

 |  NCR Today

The "pain" and "hurt" words are being used again, this time by Archbishop Joseph Tobin, to distract attention away from the real problems.

This time the language of empathy is aimed at American sisters, assuring them that Rome feels their anger and resentment over the investigation of their beliefs and lifestyles. As if "identifying" changes anything substantial.

Archbishop Tobin was brought into the Vatican to be the "good cop" in the face of a wholesale effort to root out Vatican II based practices that reflect too much feminism to suit the hierarchy. That probe stirred anger by many sisters and their communities. Rome was widely seen as a bully. So Archbishop Tobin, known as a friend of sisters, was summoned to do damage control.

But his admission that Rome must respond to the obvious protest has nothing to do with the motives that prompted the investigation nor the anti-renewal purposes it serves. The aim is to calm hurt feelings and to passify sisters who have raised fundamental objections to the exercise of church authority.

09-12-2014_health.jpgTake a sneak peak inside our Health & Well-Being special section. These articles only available in the print newspaper and Kindle edition, so subscribe today!

Sisters generally applaud Archbishop Tobin as a good guy. But his job, as indicated in the interview for NCR, is to conform to whatever the investigation team decides while making it more palatable to sisters who don't want to substitute "feeling good" for enlightened policy. This looks suspiciously like another attempt to appease women in a way that patronizes them by "hearing" what they say without any intention of translating their cititicisms into concrete change, except on a superficial basis.

Listening to angry sisters without including them as serious partners in formulating policies and procedures is a sham by any other name. I don't expect astute sisters whose lives are committed to a vision deeply rooted in Vatican II renewal will be fooled for a moment.

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at Disqus.com/verify.
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

 

Feature-flag_GSR_start-reading.jpg

NCR Email Alerts

 

In This Issue

September 12-25, 2014

09-12-2014.jpg

Not all of our content is online. Subscribe to receive all the news and features you won't find anywhere else.