LCWR Issues Apostolic Report on U.S. Bishops

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
December 17, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The day after the Vatican released the long-awaited “Final Report on the Apostolic Visitation of Institutes of Women Religious in the United States of America,” the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has released its own apostolic report, assessing the job performance of the U.S. Bishops.

Commenting on the report, LCWR chapter-head Sr. Mary Immaculata O’Finian O’Toole said that unlike the Vatican’s report, which took six years to prepare, cost 1.1 million dollars, and is only 12 pages long, the LCWR report only cost about $25 and was put together by volunteers in a day.

“As you will see, the contents of our report on the bishops reflect information that is patently obvious even to the most casual observer. We put it together last night after attending yesterday’s press conference on the Vatican report.” Sr. O’Toole also mentioned that while she was pleased with the generally gracious tone of the Vatican report, she was surprised by its lack of substance. “God knows what they were doing with all that time and all that money,” she said. “That 1.1 million dollars would have made a nice contribution to the Retirement Fund for Religious. But at least the hierarchy spared the Church yet another public relations disaster, which typically happens when they go after the nuns.”

Apostolic VisitationTurning to the contents of the LCWR’s apostolic report on the U.S. Bishops, Sr. O’Toole said that it “captures and summarizes what any reasonably sentient Catholic knows about the American bishops.” The report expresses gratefulness for the role that bishops play in the ongoing operation of the Church by keeping the wheels of bureaucracy turning. But it points out that bishops, unlike nuns, have not shaken off the structures of autocracy as the primary mechanism of governing the Church. “It has been almost fifty years since the close of Vatican II,” said Sr. O’Toole. “That’s almost two generations. In that time, orders of religious women have significantly evolved their governance structures, while the bishops still rule under the old model of the 18th century royal court. Of course,” she continued, “I expect that is what terrifies the bishops the most, and is what generated the visitation in the first place. The Church is still run as an autocracy, with a very distinct power structure,” she explained. “One is obsequious to one’s superiors and demanding of obedience from one’s subordinates. The thought of people actually having dialog, of letting the power of faith-based rational ideas shape the path forward, of admitting that the path forward might be unknown, of trusting the process rather than controlling the outcome—this presents an existential threat to autocrats that has got to send them screaming into the night. We send a frightening message by presenting a living model of how the Church could operate if it so desired.”

Sr. O’Toole says that she hopes the U.S. bishops will respond fully, honestly, and in a collaborative fashion to the LCWR report, even though she realizes it will be met with apprehension and suspicion by some bishops, which would be a painful disappointment. She thinks the report offers a great opportunity for respectful and fruitful dialogue going forward. “I hope they are willing,” she said, “But I am not holding my breath.”

Pope Announces New Congregation Charged with Noticing the Modern World

By The The Pope’s Fool News Service
December 1, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Vatican announced today that as part of the reorganization of the Roman Curia, Pope Francis is establishing a new congregation charged with the study the modern world. Called the Congregation for Modernity, it is to be headed by Archbishop Madre del Dio Obviamente.

“Ever since the Enlightenment,” said Archbishop Obviamente, “and especially since the First Vatican Council, the Church and the modern world have had a bit of a rocky relationship. The church is slowly starting to recognize, if not outright admit, that some teachings from that time, although considered ‘doctrine,’ may have in fact been slightly flawed. This includes the papacy’s longstanding condemnations of freedom of conscience, freedom of religion for other faiths, freedom of speech, participation in elections, democracy, historical analysis, ecumenism, literary criticism of the Bible, and the study of the early Church Fathers.”

“As it says in Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes,” he continued, “we must notice ‘the whole human family along with the sum of those realities in the midst of which it lives; that world which is the theater of man’s history, and the heir of his energies, his tragedies and his triumphs.’ Thus, it is time to consider the advancements the modern world has made, in accordance with the natural law, and in light of the actions of the Holy Spirit, who can choose to work outside the friendly confines of Holy Mother the Church.”

When asked the scope of the new Congregation’s inquiry, the Archbishop replied that it would delve into what the secular world considers “progress,” focusing in particular on issues of good governance, including democracy, fair representation, checks and balances, the rule of law, free speech, accountability, transparency, and modern standards of justice. When asked whether any lessons learned would be applied to the governance of the Church itself, Archbishop Obviamente had no comment. He also noted that while the modern world has made great progress concerning the rights of women, the question of gender equality in the Church will not be addressed, due to the special dignity in which women are held.

Other sources in the Vatican were quick to point out that while the Congregation for Modernity is studying the matter, it should not be inferred that any doctrine will ever change. Likewise, Vatican City State will continue to be governed as an absolute monarchy, with the Pope as the Head of State, holding full legislative, executive and judicial powers.