Monday, March 2, 2009

"Non-violent" Resistance Against Visitation Urged

A private email from IHM Sister Sandra M. Schneiders has been posted with her permission at NCReporter. In it, she urges "non-violent resistance" to the Vatican's Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious in the United States, excerpt:
We cannot, of course, keep them from investigating. But we can receive them, politely and kindly, for what they are, uninvited guests who should be received in the parlor, not given the run of the house. When people ask questions they shouldn't ask, the questions should be answered accordingly. I just hope we will not, as we American Religious so often do, think that by total "openness" and efforts to "dialogue" we are going to bring about mutual understanding and acceptance. This is not mutual and it is not a dialogue. The investigators are not coming to understand -- believe me, we found that out in the seminary investigation. So let's be honest but reserved, supply no ammunition that can be aimed at us, be non-violent even in the face of violence, but not be naive. Non-violent resistance is what finally works as we've found out in so many arenas. . .

. . .We are really no longer "Congregations dedicated to works of the apostolate" - that is, monastic communities whose members "go out" to do institutionalized works basically assigned by the hierarchy as an extension of their agendas, e.g., in Catholic schools and hospitals, etc. . . .

. . .This is a fake war being stirred up by the Vatican at the instigation of the frightened. . . .

Meanwhile, Mother Clare Millea, appointed by the Vatican to conduct the visitation, sounds a more pacific tone in a Feb. 20 letter to Superiors (pdf), excerpt:
As this Visitation continues, I become more convinced that it is a wonderful expression of the Church’s concern and support for religious life in America. I have received many communications from clergy, religious and laity who, grateful for the outstanding and sometimes hidden contributions religious women have made and continue to make, have pledged their prayerful support of the Visitation. Let us all continue to pray that it may promote the vitality of our communities, that we may be ever more faithful witnesses to the Word and instruments of true communion in the Church.

It seems a very good idea to pray for Mother Clare and all involved in the Apostolic Visitation. In fact, Sister Eva-Maria Ackerman has set up an "Apostolic Visitation Prayer Support" group on Facebook. Click here to join if you're a member