July - August

Notes from Across the Atlantic


David Mills is Executive Editor of First Things magazine. We thank them for this syndicated piece.

THE FUTURE OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS

Two views of the Vatican's correction of the Leadership Council for Women Religious, rather different.

Writing on the weblog of the New York Review of Books, Garry Wills: "Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has taken control of the Conference, writing new laws for it, supplanting its leadership, and banning...

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Magisterial Development Concerning the Incarnation

Verbum Domini' [1] is the 2010 Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Benedict XVI following the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of October 2008. This synod had as its...

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Synthesis July-August 2012

FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

In his column in this issue William Oddie presents a strong case for the objective injustice of the widely supported call for Cardinal Brady of Ireland to...

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Pell Versus Dawkins: the Answers We Would Give

Editorial FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

“New wine is for fresh skins" (Mark 2:22)

Staged debates between prominent secular and religious figures have become a fashionable format...

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The Theology of the Body and the Healing of Concupiscence

The constant reference point for married life and vocation which Pope John Paul presented throughout his 1979-1984 catechesis was "marriage constituted in the beginning, in the state of original...

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The Struggle for Meaning and an Uncertain Church

Niall Gooch FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

Some years ago, I was in a Catholic school whose RE department was plastered with posters posing questions about various hot-button...

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The Truth will set you Free.

Doctrine in the Pastoral Context: 
Resurrection and Transubstatiation

FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

During the Q&A debate on Australian TV between Cardinal Pell and Richard Dawkins...

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Comment on the Comments

Comment on the Comments

William Oddie FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

Two recent and contemporaneous news stories, though from different worlds, nevertheless ought, I suggest, to have been considered together. In...

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The Road from Regensburg

FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

I would repeat the heartfelt plea that I made to America's Catholics during my Pastoral Visit: We can only move forward if we turn our gaze together to...

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Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

Dear Father Editor,

Both the comments in your May issue on Father Jack Mahoney's recent book, Christianity in Evolution: An Exploration, in your Cutting...

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Cutting Edge

Cutting Edge

FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

Simon Conway Morris, professor of evolutionary palaeobiology in the Department of Earth Sciences at Cambridge is featured in the Cambridge alumni magazine...

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Book Reviews

Book Reviews

FAITH Magazine July – August 2012

Christianity in Evolution: an Exploration
by Jack Mahoney, Georgetown University Press, 2011, 192pp.

In Christianity in Evolution Jack Mahoney, Jesuit priest...

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  • Notes from Across the Atlantic

    David Mills FAITH Magazine July – August 2012


    David Mills is Executive Editor of First Things magazine. We thank them for this syndicated piece.

    THE FUTURE OF WOMEN RELIGIOUS

    Two views of the Vatican's correction of the Leadership Council for Women Religious, rather different.

    Writing on the weblog of the New York Review of Books, Garry Wills: "Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has taken control of the Conference, writing new laws for it, supplanting its leadership, and banning 'political' activity (which is what Rome calls social work). Women are not capable, in the Vatican's mind, of governing others or even themselves. Is it any wonder so many nuns have left the orders or avoided joining them? Who wants to be bullied?"

    Writing on the website of National Review, George Weigel: The congregations are "dying. The years immediately following the Second Vatican Council saw a mass exodus from American convents; and in the four and a half decades since the Council concluded, American Catholic women's religious life in the LCWR congregations has suffered various forms of theological, spiritual, and behavioural meltdown." This being the case, he continues,

    "young Catholic women have quite sensibly decided that, if they wish to do good works or be political activists while dressing like middle-class professionals and living in apartments, there is little reason to bind themselves, even in an attenuated way, to the classic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience - each of which has undergone a radical reinterpretation in the LCWR congregations. So the LCWR orders are becoming greyer and greyer, to the point where their demise is, from a demographic point of view, merely a matter of time: perhaps a few decades down the road, absent truly radical renewal. (Meanwhile, the congregations of religious women that have retained the habit, a regular prayer life, and a commitment to Catholic orthodoxy are growing.)"

    EVOLUTION AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS

    When the Vatican announced the expected results of its investigation of women's religious orders in the United States, the sisters of the LCWR and their supporters (Garry Wills clearly among them) reacted with shock - shock that anyone would think the sisters and the conference had any problems at all. It was all the Vatican's imagination.

    We would like to think they were right, having as much affection and respect for nuns as anyone, but this set of nuns gives us reason to wonder. Their annual assembly, for example.

    This year's, scheduled for August, and titled "Mystery Unfolding: Leading in the Evolutionary Now", features as the keynote speaker a Barbara Marx Hubbard. As unknown to you as she was to us, Hubbard runs the Foundation for Conscious Evolution and offers courses for those who want to be "Agents of Conscious Evolution". Her website features a poster of "the sacred story of creation", in which man moves from human life as it now is through "the wheel of co-creation" in which we "enter the cosmic mystery together" to something called "universal humanity" and on from there to "infinite potential."

    What exactly this means is, as so often with such enterprises, a little vague, though breathlessly described. And admittedly, the long description of "conscious evolution" on her website invokes Jesus and St Paul in its defence.

    This will give you an idea: "Although we may never know what really happened, we do know that the story told in the Gospels is that Jesus' resurrection was a:  demonstration of what I call the post-human universal person." The story tells us Jesus didn't die.

    He made his transition, released his animal body, and reappeared in a new body at the next level of physicality to tell all of us that we would do what he did. The new person that he became had continuity of consciousness with his life as Jesus of Nazareth, an earthly life in which he had become fully human and fully divine. Jesus' life stands as a model of the transition from Homo sapiens to Homo universalis.

    One feels, reading this kind of cosmic dingbattery, that rather than evolving with these people one would rather hang out with the unevolving Yankees fans at the pub. (And I say that as a Red Sox fan.)

    Anyway, this is the person our supposedly faithful Catholic nuns who only, according to Garry Wills, want to do good things like caring for the poor, if only that bullying, brutish, bad ol' Vatican would let them, have invited to lead them in their annual meeting.