The Vatican and Pope Benedict have a tough task. That is incorporating various movements into the Church that often to be blunt don't like each other at times. For this thankless jobs they get little credit , and much grief. That is I believe because everyone complaining is focused on just a tiny part of the Church , and not seeing the big picture of these actions. These different factions are numerous.
A related problem that has reared it's head lately is getting two polar opposite extremes to accept the full teachings of Vatican II. On the "right" we have Society of St Pius the X that is pretty much in formal Schism. On the "left" we have some LEADERSHIP of a group of American nuns and sisters.
Depending on who is aligned with who , both these groups ( and their supporters ) gives the Vatican a lot of headaches , not much kudos , and mostly grief from many people.
Depending on where you stand many people in the Pews including Laity and Religious would just like to ignore them. Better yet perhaps have them just go away. However this Pope seems to think the sin of schism is still a pretty serious sin on the Body of Christ. This is balanced with Unity just for sake of Unity is outweighed by Catholic Teaching.
Not a easy balance.
On the St Pius the X side we have this interesting report from John Allen today. See Even pope’s friends a bit leery on Lefebvrites . That feeling is one that I share by the way. However Schism is not good. So a risk needs to be taken here. However again Vatican II and accepting it are at play.
On the flip side we have this article Religion: Tensions building between women, Vatican leaders. A good article though I go into why I hate that headline here.
I saw a well known Catholic blogger note an irony. That the Society of St Pius the X disagrees with 5 percent of Vatican II so they are horrible. Certain elements of American nun / sister ( and many others )on a practical level disagree with 95 perecent of Vatican II but they are the Vatican II watchdogs.
That is perhaps a tad exaggerated , but I saw his point.
The American nun / sister leadership issue show this dynamic. Carl Olsen looks at recent article at NPR and the Nuns . He has I think some legitimate criticism of some views expressed. Including remarks that were given by Fr. James Martin, S.J.:
...But the most silly remarks—embarrassing, really—come from Fr. James Martin, S.J.:
If Fr. Martin is being quoted accurately, I'm saddened that an intelligent Jesuit priest could make such ridiculous comments. Does he mean to suggest that the reforms of the Council included denying the divinity and uniqueness of Christ, the nature and mission of the Church, the sanctity of marriage, the sinfullness of homosexual acts, and the proper role of Church authority? Because those are the main issues detailed in the CDF report (which can be accessed from this page)—and yet none of the documents of Vatican II ever encouraged or promoted such beliefs (I say so because I've actually read them. I assume Fr. Martin has as well).
Fr. Martin is, like so many others, not facing squarely the actual contents of the CDF document, the forty years of history leading up to it, and the very real and significant problems with the LCWR leadership.....
I have to say I agree. From the Holy See Document referenced, I found this part oh so interesting:
One of the principal means by which the LCWR promotes its particular vision of
religious life is through the annual Assemblies it sponsors. During the Assessment process,
Bishop Blair, in his letter of May 11, 2009, presented the LCWR Presidency with a study and
doctrinal evaluation of keynote addresses, presidential addresses, and Leadership Award
addresses over a 10 year period. This study found that the talks, while not scholarly
theological discourses per se, do have significant doctrinal and moral content and implications
which often contradict or ignore magisterial teaching.
In its response, the Presidency of the LCWR maintained that it does not knowingly
invite speakers who take a stand against a teaching of the Church “when it has been declared
as authoritative teaching.” Further, the Presidency maintains that the assertions made by
speakers are their own and do not imply intent on the part of the LCWR. Given the facts
examined, however, this response is inadequate. The Second Vatican Council clearly
indicates that an authentic teaching of the Church calls for the religious submission of
intellect and will, and is not limited to defined dogmas or ex cathedra statements (cf. Lumen
gentium, 25). For example, the LCWR publicly expressed in 1977 its refusal to assent to the
teaching of Inter insigniores on the reservation of priestly ordination to men. This public
refusal has never been corrected. Beyond this, the CDF understands that speakers at
conferences or general assemblies do not submit their texts for prior review by the LCWR.
Presidency. But, as the Assessment demonstrated, the sum of those talks over the years is a
matter of serious concern.
In my neck of the woods we call what the leadership of the sisters are doing here DECEPTION. Oh we just had people come talk we are not making formal endorsements!!
It strikes me that no political group , or any other religious group would get a pass using that justification. Let us say that St Pius the X has a meeting a bunch of people say some questionable things about Jewish Folks. I don't think a statement of theirs oh we just invite people to talk , don't know what they are going to say would pass the smell test.
In fact this different standard seems a tad anti woman to me.
This Catholic Priest in New Orleans took a exhaustive review of the Keynote speaches that have been given over the years.
See 8 Themes of the LCWR Worldview
With all due respect to Father Martin, what in the heck does that have to do with the reforms of Vatican II. It seems very anti Vatican II to me.
So we learn at the end of the day that both the leadership of the Sisters , and St Pius the X are two peas in a pod really. Both have something to that the Church really needs , but there are some problems to be resolved.
Here is praying it happens.