While Briggs blames the Vatican and the bishops, Carey blames the change-oriented leaders of most women’s orders, who misinterpreted Vatican II and, in doing so, plunged their institutes into a downward spiral from which many may not recover. The transference of power from centralized leaders to a more conversational, individual approach within convents also allowed the sisters to think for themselves more than they had previously. In the end, though, it would be a mistake to lay all the blame for the great unraveling at the door of change-oriented leaders of religious institutes or timid bishops. In other words, Vatican2 was a council of Roman Catholic Church Bishops, Cardinals Leaders and theologians who met for a series of conferences during which they discussed and made decisions about issues important to the Roman Catholic faith Not by a long shot. The following passages from Perfectae Caritatis suggest its general tone and approach: The up-to-date renewal of the religious life comprises both a constant return to the sources of the whole of the Christian life and to the primitive inspiration of the institutes and their adaptation to the changed conditions of our time. were addressed by proclaiming what the orthodox (“right teaching”) teaching of the Church was. Your email address will not be published. . According to Carey, the nuns who’ve suffered most from polarization among and within women’s communities have been the elderly members of change-oriented orders: A sizable number . “This decree called religious men and women to open the windows of their convents and monasteries to a changing world,” Catholic Studies Program Director Ilia Delio said. The announcement of Vatican II was life-altering for many nuns who felt a news sense of empowerment as they were allowed to adopt the leadership roles previously reserved for men in hospitals, housing projects, and schools … . Whether you are old enough to remember pre-Vatican II Catholicism or not, looking back through the Church’s old “family” pictures can still be a lot of fun! One of the few instances, and the most highly publicized, in which an American bishop stood up to nuns bent on change occurred soon after Vatican II in Los Angeles. These women religious had evidently become freelancers who sought to engage in good works congenial to them, in the manner of committed lay people. . They were the nuns who were out in the streets, working with the women who didn’t seem to have an ounce of self-restraint. Then there are the nuns who support abortion. 2 Cor.11:3-4 So, to get back with the question, "What has happened to the Church since Vatican II", here is what I explained to him. Vatican II was called by Pope John XXIII in 1962 and resulted in the release of a decree called the Perfectae Caritatis, or the Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life, which aimed to change the relationship of the Church with the world. The falloff in sisters is a grave blow—to church-related institutions and programs, especially schools and hospitals; to their patrons, now denied the ministrations of dedicated religious women such as those who served American Catholics in the past; and to those who entered religious life with high hopes five or six decades ago only to see their hopes dashed as their orders changed beyond all recognition. It frequently is the source of (sometimes heated) debate among non-liberal Catholics.Whatever one may think of it, Vatican II is a reality that isn't going to be repudiated by the Church hierarchy in the foreseeable future, if ever. The spirit and aims of each founder should be faithfully accepted and retained, as indeed should each institute’s sound traditions. But instead of encouraging and supporting them, the Vatican and the bishops, frightened by what Vatican II had wrought, threw obstacles in their way. Before all else, religious life is ordered to the following of Christ by its members and to their becoming united with God by the profession of the evangelical counsels. During the Civil War, nuns of twelve different orders served as volunteer nurses in army general hospitals and on the fields of battle both North and South. The second Vatican Council was a monumental event in the history of the Catholic Church. It was impersonal at … “Many change-oriented religious used the Quinn Commission study as an opportunity to instruct Rome on how American religious were creating their own democratic version of religious life.” The chief practical result of the study was to increase the polarization within religious life. 83. This is but one of thousands of similar examples of the actual, as opposed to the fantasy, fruits of Vatican II. That is to say: Vatican II had barely ended when nuns began streaming out of religious life. For instance, many heresies (Arianism, Gnosticism, etc.) cdv by Uhlman, St. Joseph, Missouri, circa 1867. “I think we see the move of the Church from an inward-looking church to a church that is deeply engaged in the world,” Delio said. Lee was also surprised by how the sisters’ engagement in the world included advocacy on hot-button issues. Religious life in its traditional form remains a valid, valuable option for living a committed Christian life. In fact, everyone is touched by the situation of these elderly women, whose retirement needs were badly underfunded for years in the belief that there’d always be enough newcomers to support the older sisters. As information director of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops for eighteen years from the late 1960s to the late 1980s, I repeatedly observed a nervous, hands-off mentality among the bishops, not a will to obstruct. Directed by Maggie Betts. The conflict ended only when the IHMs split into two groups: 315 who announced that they would seek dispensation from their vows and become a lay organization, and approximately fifty who accepted Church discipline and remained canonical religious. The goal for the sisters was to achieve perfection and holiness, and the best way to do this was to remove oneself from the world to the furthest extent possible. After the council, the feel of the mass changed drastically. First of all, of course, the pope can make many administrative changes. Carey is similarly hard on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the national umbrella group of women’s religious superiors, which she accuses of laboring to “distance itself from the authority structures of the Church” while taking up “causes that were more socio-political than religious.” Dissatisfaction with LCWR among tradition-minded nuns led to the creation, under Vatican auspices, of an “alternate” superiors’ organization called the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. On page 100 of Mr. Jones' book there is a graph revealing that the number of Carmelite seminarians in the United States has decreased from 545 in 1965 to 46 in 2000 ----- a decline of 92 percent. The film, written and directed by Margaret Betts, links this attitude directly to the departure of tens of thousands of nuns after Vatican II. They no longer felt they were needed nor respected nor that their vocation was a special calling from God. It’s easy to understand the Vatican’s consternation when faced with sisters radical enough to think their own thoughts and write them down. Why such a disastrous turnaround in so short a time? BRENNAN | The Thunder Have Everyone’s Draft Picks — Now What? Nun abuse is that other dirty little secret of the Catholic Church—and it’s a secret that affected, and crushed, the spirits of scores of young women. Not long into the renewal, the Vatican got into the act by raising objections to some actions taken by American nuns, and blocking others. This nun is a Daughter of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul. Directed by Maggie Betts. “But you can see that [with] centralized authority, we didn’t do much thinking on our own, we did what we were told to do,” Sister Camilla Burns said. 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