The awesome Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review writes today in the Wall Street Journal about the nonsensical Womenpriests and their mock ordinations. After providing some background, she then contrasts these unhappy women with other happy and apparently very busy women in the Church.
The same weekend as the “ordinations,” I joined 30 fellow lay Catholics gathered in Birmingham, Ala., for a sold-out retreat at the Casa Maria convent. The retreat is run by a group of Dominican-Franciscan (they follow both saintly models) religious sisters. Now in their 18th year as an order, the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word are as far away as one can imagine from that scene in Boston.
“As an active woman religious working in the field of retreats and catechesis in the Bible Belt South, I have to say that I am far too busy . . . to feel slighted by the fact that the priesthood is not open to women,” insists Sister Louise Marie, a member of the order. She suggests that if Catholics and non-Catholics understood what a “powerful role women religious have,” they would never “feel sorry for [us].”
The Sister Servants, like many relatively new orders, are filled with young, orthodox enthusiasts. The nearby cloistered Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration, seen on the Catholic Eternal Word Television Network, have a waiting list of young women wanting to join. Whenever they get more space, “there’s always someone right around the corner waiting to move in,” says Sister Marie St. John, speaking for the group. Most of the new orders are members not of the notoriously liberal Leadership Conference of Women Religious but of the newer, more strict Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious. Their energy appears a personification of “the New Pentecost” that Pope Benedict XVI talks about, calling on faithful Catholics to be apostles in the modern world.
She then goes on to say why she thinks the Womenpriests movement is already on its own death march.
A 2007 study found that 66% of those considering religious vocations were drawn to them most by a “desire to live a life of faithfulness to the Church and its teaching.” The young women in this majority don’t feel the need to remake Catholicism in their own image. Christ’s is more than good enough for them.
I would like to point out that for women not considering a religious vocations, Kathryn Lopez is wonderful example of what the Catholic life of lay women can be. She is successful (Editor of NRO), educated, charming, witty, and thoroughly Catholic. Contrast this to the bitterness of the women always lamenting the perceived short end of the stick that is always stuck in their eyes, blinding them to reality.
Don’t worry, be happy, be a woman, and be Catholic. God knows what he is doing. If you don’t believe me, ask the Dominicans in Ann Arbor or just ask Kathryn Jean Lopez.