Sunday, June 10, 2012

An Open Letter to My Brothers of the Franciscan First Order and to My Sisters in the Third Order Regular

I am scandalized by the presumptiveness of the leaders of the various First Order American Provinces in their recent press release of their support for the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religions (LCWR) in light of the recent Doctrinal Assessment. I must ask, have you read the assessment? Had you, I cannot fathom how you could privately, let alone publicly, support these wayward ladies. Your support denigrates your own Order.

I approach you with as much humility as I can notwithstanding the extreme agitation and anxiety I am feeling over your leaders support contrary to the assessment. My own formation has taught me that when a brother or sister errors to approach them, in my love for you, so that you may amend yourselves.

In so an elementary foundation of our charism, the very teaching of Francis himself and by his example, by an expression of our humility and obedience and love, we are to be in union with the Magisterium of the Church. From where, in your vowed humility did this elitistism come? You put yourself before the Magisterium in support for the LCWR. Having the least compunction in scandalizing your brothers and sisters in the Orders, I must question your ability to properly lead them. You have fallen prey to the culture in which you live; one of hedonism and individualism.

We are called to be in conformity and give allegiance to the soul and heart of the Magisterium, as the assessment indicates.

Before I go further I extend my heartfelt appreciation for the instruction the nuns provided me, in concert with my parents, in establishing within me a love for God and my Faith. I would probably be a candidate for hell if it were not for them. I also extend my thanks to all the religious who have worked so tirelessly to bring to the world peace, charity, and social justice.

But Franciscanism, Father Francis, was not only about creation and peace and love – important as they are – but he was Christocentric and faithful to the Church and its teachings. Should we be anything less?

The assessment’s reports on the addresses given at the LCWR assemblies present a pattern of obstinacy to Church teaching. They dismiss their responsibility by saying they did not know the content of the presentations, but the pattern indicates their – if not spoken, their hidden – agenda. In addition, even if they were ill-informed as to the content of the talks, they remained unchallenged as brought to light in the assessment.

Their policies prove a corporate dissent of Church teaching: they protest the inability of the Church to ordain women; they embrace homosexuality, they continually take positions against the Church’s teachings on human sexuality. They present radical feminism and undermine our doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ and the inspiration of Holy Scripture. They’re silent on right to life and natural death; they challenge positions taken by our Bishops who are our authentic teachers of faith and morals. To grant their wishes would mean to discard the essence of the Catholic Church’s Tradition. These are all serious concerns and I can only wonder and pray for the friars and religious who support the LCRW.

I understand on all our Orders there appear individuals with unorthodox ideas, opinions and agendas. But it seems these errors are pervasive. Part of the failure is in the formation process, the weeding out in the inquiry process. The infiltration of the radical liberalism in the Orders is an extremely dangerous situation. Rather than turning to Scripture and Teachings, our Rule, they are led by dissident voices who are not happy with the Church, the Order, or themselves. We are called to build the Church, not destroy it. If you are short of vocations ask yourself, why? Have you not seen the communities that are in-line with Church teaching, wear traditional values as well as their habit are thriving, while the others are dying?

My brothers and sisters need to turn back to our basic tenants of humility, obedience, and discipline. My love and prayers for them continues.

If you would like to read for yourself the Dogmatic Assessment, please go here.

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