Saturday, June 16, 2012

With leadership like theirs...

The Leadership Council of Women Religious has been much in the news lately, being engaged in bitter resistance against even the hint of significant oversight of their sandbox. Apparently, the Vatican finally noticed that the "leaders" who populate the LCWR have undone two centuries of progress in building up women's religious orders in this country. The LCWR simply cannot understand how anyone could be so rude as to require an accounting of their stewardship.

Now, in my experience, leaders in other areas of life -- business, for example -- who fail so utterly in their duties; who trash the company "brand;" who abandon the company's main purpose (in this case, the saving of souls) in favor of their own pet projects; and who preside over the desertion of thousands of their employees and are unable to attract replacements; such "leaders" would find themselves abruptly frog-marched to the door by burly and unsmiling security guards. Only in the Church -- and in academia -- is failure so long condoned, it seems.

And yet this league of nincompoops (unfortunately, the more euphonious phrase "confederation of dunces" was already taken) dares to whine as it is finally called to account, after fifty years of mayhem.

Lots of Catholics of my age have stories to tell about what once was. When I graduated from my parish grammar school in 1964, almost every class was taught by a nun, every classroom had at least 45 students, and the convent across the street was overflowing with teaching nuns. Then the "Spirit of Vatican II" folks started having their way. The nuns' new leaders told them, in effect, that all that old emphasis on passing on the faith, on piety and morality, was obsolete. What mattered now was working for social justice and their own personal fulfillment.

Slowly at first, but with gathering speed, the convent went from overcrowded, to empty, to demolished.