Thursday, July 2, 2009

"AND THEN THERE WERE NUN..."

I read the New York Times this day and was not surprised. On the left side, all the way down the front page, they began a story about protesting Catholic Nuns. There are about sixty thousand of them left out there in the world. At one time there were many many more than that. They, apparently, do not wear the revealing (and respect demanding) habits of the past. I kind of knew that from somewhere, but it hit home with this article. The substance of the article was about how the leadership of the Catholic Church (read Pope Ratso) is opposing the Nuns because they have kind of gotten together to argue against a few idiotic things still supported by the Roman Catholics of Rome. They oppose, for example, the required celibacy of priests. The Pope is still big on this malformed and unsuccessful doctrine. And it is not, or at least I do not think so, that the sixty thousand remaining nuns are simply horny and want all those priests for their own. No, I am afraid that the nun's logic is more factually grounded (however fun it might be to think otherwise). It seems that, over time, the celibacy thing just has not worked at all. Priests have been out there screwing just about any human they could get their hands on for many many years. The Catholic Church is currently paying out billions in reparations because of the failure of celibacy among its priests. It seems that the pent up sexuality of these guys has led them to exploit young boys under their care. But the payouts have not fazed Ratso. He contends that celibacy works and must be kept in place. All priests must be male and they must not have sex. The male only thing is another piece of studied stupidity that the nuns oppose.

I was raised a Catholic and went to Catholic schools all the way up through my undergraduate degree in college. My elementary school nuns were the most noteworthy of my teachers. It was Hawaii right after the big war. The nuns at St. Augustine Elementary School, just off Waikiki, had just returned from surviving the entirety of WWII in Japanes prison camps. Those nuns were in no mood to take any garbage from elementary school children. Later, I was to train and then serve in the United States Marine Corps. The Corps had nothing on those nuns. My D.I., SSgt. Baines, could not have gone one round with Sister Michael Marie (a.k.a. Sister Joseph Louis), much less the dreaded Sister Gregoria (called the 'Flying Black Axe' for reasons unknown).

I am a writer today because of those nuns. I miss their disciplined learning techniques. Techniques no longer applied to school children anywhere. I learned the ABC's, how to decline a sentence, phonics, and the Chicago Style Manual of English. I learned them by trial and error, and the studied application of attentive pro-active pain. Those nuns did not have to strike often. They used a form of willful psychology and parental support no longer existent within the confines of our culture. I learned to speak in front of groups and to overcome embarrassment and failure. I got a C Plus in English at the end of 5th grade. And I still write very regularly to Sister Michael Marie and Sister Gregoria. In fact, when my book was recently published, I sent Sister Michael Marie a copy of the book (lovingly inscribed) and a copy of my fifth grade report card. I high-lighted the C Plus I received in English with a yellow marker, to point out the error of her conclusion. That was a month ago. I got a letter yesterday. She sent me the report card back with a note stuck to it. "You have improved" it said, and there was B Plus written in red over the crossed out C Plus. She also noted a few grammatical errors in the final production hard-cover novel! I suppose that is why I, and my publisher's editors, did not get an A.

The Catholic Church has not supported nuns in any way for fifty years. The older ones live in near poverty under poor conditions in run-down care facilities. The few younger ones do not even get habits to wear. They are allowed to work for the Church for free and get by as best they can. It is a shame. The value those women provided to millions of children across the world goes unrewarded and barely even thanked. Yes, they did it for the love of God, but come on! The Catholic Church is run by men. By White old men living in splendor inside stone chateaus. They are just like human leaders everywhere on earth. There is no difference, and there is about the same level of compassion exercised and exhibited toward those whom worked to put and keep them there, as exists in the civilian world outside.

I loved those nuns and tried my heart out for them. I did that because I knew, down inside, near the bottom of my little well of souls, they wanted the best for me. I really believed that they wanted me to succeed and enjoy life, and a good measure of bliss. They wanted me to be successful, simply because, well, in their prayerful and hallowed way, they loved me. They loved God above all, and then all the children in their charge. They still do. Their belief in me, and my belief in them, sustains me to this day.

The numbers of nuns are dwindling rapidly, as the older ones die off and no new ones come aboard. This is part of the design of the Catholic Church. I do not know why. Maybe, like most male leaders everywhere, Ratso and his Italian Mafia fear women. I just don't know. But I lament their passing. They have been a force for good and love out here, across the surface of this troubled earth. Those nuns left now deserve honors and a great retirement. The young ones, the few, deserve our endearing support...financially and emotionally, because it is good for us all. I am not much of a Catholic anymore, but I know a good thing when I experience it. I love those nuns, and you should too.

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6 comments:

  1. Very nice post. I am with you as far as the nuns are concerned. The Vatican needs to broaden its horizons... step out of the box... and give the women the opportunity to become priests and both nuns and priests to get married.

    The issue of the marriage is in my belief totally ignorant that after all that has gone on that the Vatican does not agree to make changes. Tradition cannot possibly make then stupid can it? Yes it can!

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  2. St Paul said that he permitted no woman to have authority over men in the church, and I don't think the church is wrong for not permitting female ordination to the priesthood. It's not accurate to claim that the celibacy rule is causing pedophilia; statistics actually show that abuse cases are lower among priests than they are in the general population.

    The reason why the religious orders are losing new applicants is a mystery, although the pope would certainly want more to join. The priesthood is also losing new applicants and people talk about a priest shortage these days. Some think it has to do with the culture and that the priesthood as well as religious orders are not being treated as respectful or worthy vocations.

    God Bless,

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  3. I did not intend to do anything other than link our newly discovered pedophilia among Catholic priests with the concept of enforced celibacy. Yes, the general public has a higher rate of male pedophilia than that currently published by the Catholic Church. But the Catholic priests are, almost universally, in positions of public trust, whereas the general male population is not. And the Catholic Church has also been a whole lot less forthcoming about the incidence of these events among the members of its priesthood (over the figures put out by law enforcement).
    I am more of Maritain and Bergson, when it comes to interpretation of the foundations for what should or should not be the direction of discourse about women. Women have as significant a presence in 'being' as men. Women are as intuitively 'here' as men, and deserve equal status in all things...including Church leadership, which runs from the very foundations to the tip of command within organized religious structure. Catholic, or otherwise. Falling back on the damaged remnants of directed fragmentary thought, as displayed by recitations of Biblical quotation, is less than weak, when applied to modern causal reality. Would one not expect an ancient text (actually a dynamically changing slew of edited texts), put together by aged subsistence men, to reflect anything other than total male dominance of all human activity?
    The Catholic Church is dying in front of our eyes. It is going the way of Harley Davidsons and American Muscle cars, and even airlines as we know them. They are all dying because more and more people have grown weary of their inefficiencies and lack of useful logic.
    Catholicism is an interpretation. All organized religions are interpretations. Interpretations of what God is, what God wants, what God says, and what we must do to please Him...and the other members of whatever organized religion we might belong to.
    Catholicism needs to study itself, starting right in those hallowed offices of the Vatican, and find fault with itself. The changes that must come to the church should start with a manifesto of equality for all women, long overdue. What a shot in the Catholic Collective Repository of Faith that would be!
    Are you right, if you follow a hardline policy of inequality and end up alone? Is that what God really intends? I don't think so.

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  4. Your comparison of the elderly 'giving tree' celibate nuns with the new protestors of what they once embraced to me spells out the truth.

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  5. Excellent! I agree with you 100% and not able to express myself as you do so thank you for putting this in black and white!

    As a Catholic that had communion each and every day of her life, I can tell you that I learned about Goodness, Godliness outside of the Church. I learned to be spiritual rather than religious. This puts you in touch with your higher self and your inner instincts.

    Don't want to disrespect anyone who believes in a religion, but I do not, it is manmade.

    Again thank you.

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  6. Hand maid not manmadeJanuary 10, 2010 at 2:18 PM

    I wonder what your nuns who tried their heart out for you would say. Not the knuckle wrappers, but the real ones. Our roles here as women are not as attainers of what men esteem as worthy, but of what God esteems. God became man, divested of all things, that we might become God. So says St. Thomas Acquinas. Any other path is not ignoring rules made by a bunch of staid old men, but following the first one who did not serve. If we wish to be first, we must be last. That is the position of strength and if we wish to be 'gods' let us act as the One who descended to the dust for us. It is the o n l y way to heaven. "I am the Way."
    Follow your voices, Mr. Strauss. I follow my true spouse not your fans.

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