Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bishop Morlino Bans New Age Nuns From Operating In Diocese

Today the Wisconsin State Journal printed a article based on a leaked letter to the priests of the Diocese of Madison dated 27 November 2012. The letter to the priests informed them that there were grave concerns about what Wisdom’s Well Interfaith Spirituality Center (aka “Wisdom’s Well”) taught, as well the "animating spirit of the center, namely that the center and its members may espouse certain views flowing from New Ageism, panentheism, and indifferentism, and may not share anauthentic view of the Catholic Church’s approach to interreligious dialogue. These views are often associated with a spirit of relativism that can be an extreme result emanating from the “hermeneutic of rupture” as a misinterpretation of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council."
Because of these concerns, on behalf of Bishop Morlino,  Msgr. James Bartylla, Vicar General, issued this statement "Until further notice, based upon ongoing investigation into this matter of grave concern, any past, present, or future staff or members of Wisdom’s Well Interfaith Spirituality Center, including at this time, Paula Hirschboeck, Ph.D., Sr. Maureen McDonnell, O.P., Sr. Lynn Lisbeth, O.P. and Ms. Beth O’Brien, Oblate of Holy Wisdom Monastery, are not to be invited or allowed to preach, catechize, lead spiritual or prayer instructions or exercises, or to provide spiritual direction or guidance at churches, oratories, or chapels within the Diocese of Madison, whether as individuals or as official representatives of Wisdom’s Well Interfaith Spirituality Center." (emphasis in original)
The Diocese has been monitoring the situtation of the speakers from Wisdom's Well for several years. So, it clearly is not a sudden slap down on the group, including the 2 Sinsinawa Dominicans.
The article focused on the Nuns, which is no surprize. Of course the article brought up the Vatican crackdown as well. That is no surprize either as it subtly paints this crackdown as a part of what the main stream media has painted as a persecution of nuns just trying to live out their faith rather than the dissidents they really are.
After the story broke today Msgr Bartylla replied with a statement that pointed out how the article was misleading. In it he said "The headline provocatively attempts to sensationalize the ordinary operations of the Catholic Church. The real issue is about the permissibility of members of Wisdom’s Well to speak at parishes, not about religious sisters. Contrary to the impression of the article’s headline, the prohibited group at this specific time is Wisdom’s Well, which includes not only religious sisters, but also others, and the “group” not being corrected at this time is religious sisters in general in the Diocese of Madison, including the Dominican Sisters of Sinsinawa. The Diocese of Madison is aware of and grateful for the charitable work of many religious sisters over the years.
The article also fails to address sufficiently the risk that materials and methods of the members of Wisdom’s Well may appear to promote opinions that are contrary to the Church faith. The Diocese of Madison pursued this matter with utmost confidentiality to protect the reputations of all parties. The specific limitation of this issue to members of Wisdom’s Well and the confidential documents sent to the priests were also communicated personally, confidentially, and directly by me to the Prioress of the Sinsinawa Dominican Congregation at the time of the confidential communication to the priests in the Diocese of Madison."
It was at this time the diocese also put up the confidential letter on their website so that what was actually said would be available to all, not just the way the WSJ wanted to present it.
This is not the 1st time a confidential letter sent to priests has been leaked by dissident priests attempting to undermine the Bishop. A few years ago the Bishop sent out a confidential letter warning priests that if they said anything from the pulpit to undermine his teaching, they would face serious consequences. Bishop Morlino has also come under attack many other times for his attempts to clean things up in the Diocese.
As I pointed out, 2 of those banned are Dominicans from Sinsinawa. You may remember that this is the same group of Dominicans that produced the infamous Sr. Donna Quinn, who was outed as an escort at an abortion facility. This was in part due to a letter to the editor of the TH I wrote After my letter appeared, I got a call from 1 of her fellow Sinsinawa Dominicans trying to justify her actions. The motherhouse also issued a weak statement about how they were pro-life & would work with Sr. Donna to resolve the matter.
Additionally I pointed out how Sinsinawa wasn't exactly supporting authentic Catholic teaching in many other areas.
So it comes as no surprize to me that rather than admitting these nuns were wrong the spokesperson issued a statement in support of them. In it Tricia Buxtonsaid that McDonnell & Lisbeth are "respected and valued members" of the order. Also it said that both women "have been dedicated to religious life and preaching and teaching Gospel values for nearly 50 years." It went on to say that the Sinsinawa Dominicans "wholeheartedly support our sisters and hold them in prayer as we continue our mission of participating in the building of a holy and just church and society."
As I said, that they support them is no surprize. But in doing so, they are admitting they support dissent from authentic Catholic teaching as well as giving more evidence that the Vatican was right in saying that things need to be cleaned up at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious & their member religious orders.
I applaud Bishop Morlino for his efforts & boo the Wisconsin State Journal in their efforts to create a huge scandal & undemine the Bishop.

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