Omigosh! I feel so bad. All these years I have been picking on Fr. Richard “Little Dicky” McBrien for the absolute nonsense that regularly follows his pen. What I did not know, which I now feel terrible about, is that Little Dicky is blind. How could he possibly know what he is writing given that he is blind?
In his latest column Fr. McBrien rails against the coming visitation of religious communities of women in the United States. Its a witch hunt (pun intended) based upon a false premise. The premise: That since Vatican II some female religious communities have operated within a hermeneutic of rupture resulting in the devastation of their communities. Ridiculous says Fr. McBrien.
I know of no religious community, of women or of men, that interpreted the changes brought about by Vatican II as a “rupture” from the Tradition of the Church. Nor did the cardinal name any. We are dealing here with a classic case of setting up a “straw man” (or, in this instance, a “straw woman”) and then easily knocking it over.
The poor man! I had no idea he was so blind. Of course, he is not blind in the “non-functioning retina sort of way” but blind he obviously is. He has not seen one religious community who view Vatican II as a departure or “rupture” of much that came before it? There are none so blind as those who will not see. Your average Presbyterian would look at some of the dizzy dames the visitation is interested in and come to the conclusion “Those ladies aren’t very Catholic!” He must be blind.
But this is not my only evidence. Fr. McBrien attributes the dearth of vocations in some of these communities of rupture to the fact that there are simply no women left in the United States!
She also described as a red herring the Vatican’s concern for a decline in religious vocations as a major reason for the visitation. She insisted that the decline in the number of women religious follows the demographic trends for the greater female population.
Tragedy! Fr. McBrien admits that women are invisible to him. That’s right – he says simply cannot see as much as 52% of the population.
Wait a second! I think I may have solved this problem. Little Dicky may not be blind after all. He thinks there are no more women left in the U.S. because they have all joined the Dominicans in Nashville and Ann Arbor! You know, one of those communities not under investigation for operating under a “hermeneutic of rupture” and not experiencing the crisis in vocations.
Let’s all chip in and buy Fr. McBrien a bus ticket from South Bend to Ann Arbor. It is not very far. This way he can see what everybody else has already seen and perhaps the scales will fall from his eyes. Or not.