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.”

Roman Catholic Cardinal Speaks Honestly; Church Fails to Collapse

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

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)CHICAGO, IL (TPF) — As the terminator crossed from east to west and Monday morning dawned in Catholic America, early Masses were offered, young Catholic girls and boys trotted off to school, monasteries chanted Lauds, Catholic hospitals changed shifts, Catholic social service organizations opened their doors, and Catholic high schools, colleges, and universities continued to educate their students. The fabric of the Catholic Church in America remained intact, despite the fact that on the previous day, on national television, a Cardinal Prince of the Church reprimanded the powerful Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley of Boston, interviewed on “60 Minutes,” said that the CDF’s investigation into the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United States, was “a disaster.” He also allowed that if he founded a church, he would ordain women.

St. Francis of Assisi Church, Chicago

Yet the Church has not caved in, crumpled, or otherwise collapsed. Belief in the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the sacraments remains intact, such as it is. The only sound that could be heard was the deep, rumbling wail of the episcopal groupthink slowly beginning to crack open.

CDF Condemns LCWR for Thomas Aquinas Invitation

By The Pope’s Fool News Service
August 22, 2014

The Popes Fool News Service (We Make Stuff Up)VATICAN CITY (TPF) — The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has issued a condemnation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious for inviting St. Thomas Aquinas to speak at their upcoming leadership conference. Although Thomas Aquinas is a highly regarded theologian and a saint to boot, the CDF has found his work marred with errors. Specifically, the CDF objects to his concept of providence, claiming it is nothing but Conscious Evolution in disguise.  Cardinal Müller, prefect of the CDR, argued that since Conscious Evolution assumes that human beings are positioned at the crest of the ongoing evolution of the universe, any theology that mimics such an idea is flawed.

“The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation,” observed Cardinal Müller, “and providence is just another name for it.” Cardinal Müller argued that the concept of providence is dangerous because it sees the universe in the process of a constant unfolding, with lifeforms in the physical universe gradually evolving in distinct ways in space-time, driving themselves towards greater complexity and greater consciousness. Even though Aquinas claims that this evolutionary flourishing is aimed at a Trinity-like love of God and fellow creatures in charity, Cardinal Müller feels such thought is unorthodox.

“Listen to this,” he said, “and I’m quoting here right from the Summa Theologica, Part One, Article 22. Aquinas argues that since God has provision over ‘spiritual things, and thus over the whole world as regards genus, species, and universal causes,’ so ‘to providence it belongs to order things towards an end. Now after the divine goodness, which is an extrinsic end to all things, the principal good in things themselves is the perfection of the universe.’”

“Perfection of the universe?” Mueller asked. “What kind of talk is that? And get this, from Article 47. ‘Divinity is better represented by the whole universe than by any single thing. … Not only are individual creatures images of God but so too is the whole cosmos.’ The cosmos as an image of God? Really? And don’t even get me started on Teilhard de Chardin,” he said. “I don’t know what got into Benedict,” he continued, referring to a 2009 homily in which Pope Benedict XVI referenced the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: “in the end, we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.”

Müller told TPF that he wanted to make it clear he doesn’t want to gobble up particular theologians or otherwise stifle their exercise of intellectual freedom; his intention was merely to help them recover their true religious identity.

To avoid such mishaps in the future, and in keeping with the Church’s initiative of increasing transparency and accountability, Archbishop J. Peter (Why Me) Sartain will discuss future invitations with the leadership of the LCWR in meetings behind closed doors.