The BBC just called, an incident that in itself may well be a measure of the larger import of the situation. It’s a strange moment in history: Suddenly everyone in the world, it seems, wants to know what is happening to the nuns and what they can do next. “Next,” of course, means what they can do now that the Vatican is back to questioning both their intelligence and their faith.
In fact, what self-respecting journalist could possibly skip the story? After thousands of years of life-giving service to the church at poverty level — building its schools, its orphanages, its hospitals, its missionary outposts, its soup kitchens, its homes for the indigent, its catechetical centers — the nuns are told the problem with their work is that it has been “tainted by radical feminism”? And that by a group of men whose chance of knowing what the term “radical feminism” even means is obviously close to zero.
So what is going on? Especially at what seems to be a moment of the great change in the church of the autocrats and monarchs to the church of the Jesus who walked among the people and loved them?
Well, for one thing, what’s going on is the same thing that’s been going on for more than 1,500 years: Nuns everywhere are working with the people, hearing their stories, attempting to meet their needs, having a presence in their lives, simply intent on being the caring face of a merciful church — their ministers in the midst of confusion. Not their dogmatizers, not their judges, only witnesses to the Gospel of unconditional love.…