Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Saga Continues: More Troubles in the Modern American Catholic Church

Today's headline reads, "Nun Accused of Embezzling $850,000 from College, Then Gambling It Away in Atlantic City".

The Fox News story states that the nun is

cloistered at the Sisters for St. Joseph Order near Philadelphia. Part of its mission statement is "to raise consciousness about all forms of poverty."

Looking at the picture in the article, one could ask, where is her veil and why isn't she truly cloistered with her Order or raising consciousness about poverty? With this headline, she certainly is raising that consciousness now. The only good that might come from this story is that it shines a light on modernism and all its misguided expectations. So I'm taking yet another easy opportunity to expose just one of the countless failures of modernism.

One of modernism's victims was the traditional religious habit. Nuns wear a habit and a veil. It sets them apart from the world which the religious person has publicly renounced. The habit is a reminder to the religious and to the world that their mission is not the world, but the spiritual salvation of souls for a supernatural world in Heaven. Their mission is spiritual, other worldly, in the world but not of this world. Anything otherwise suggests worldliness which endangers the mission, confuses the world, and confuses the religious. So much so, that it leads to nuns embezzling money meant to promote this spiritual mission and gamble it away in the very environment the religious initially dedicated themselves to counter against.

The religious completely give their lives to Christ, both within and without. The habit does not just represent a symbolic giving of oneself to God. It is the physical shedding of the world and putting on the garment of Christ. Once a nun ditches her habit for secular garb she is no longer publicly identifying herself to the world as Christ's very own. The world won't recognize her as a religious. So if the world won't recognize the commitment a nun declared in her vows, why should the nun?

Over time ditching the habit or the veil would erode the religious person's spiritual fabric of being Christ's exclusive lover. Bishop Fulton Sheen would agree that what is expressed outwardly represents what is stirring inwardly. Seeing American nuns without veils or habits represents a larger scale tug of war within the modern American Catholic Church. The American Church can't decide which lover to choose. Christ or the world. This seems to be the issue in practically all of the Church's modern-day controversies. We need to reflect inwardly and ask ourselves this Advent, is Christ our focus or is the world winning the tug of war? St. John Vianney reminds us:

"You either belong wholly to the world, or wholly to God."

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