There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her. Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me.
One more thought about the decline of the Protestant Churches and the National Council of Churches.
Like Andrew Breitbart when I was a kid I devoured news. While other kids ran out to play I sat transfixed before the Watergate Hearings and as both a news consumer and a kid in Catholic Schools I noticed something.
It was very rare that anyone talked about the Catholic Church on the news. If a Pope or Bishop died (Paul VI) it might make the news but you were much more likely to see Billy Graham on a newscast than a local bishop or even a Cardinal.
The Dynamic Changed in the 80’s. As mainline protestants became more irrelevant the evangelical wing continued to both grow and become more politically active. Their fear arose when Ronald Reagan was elected (the milquetoast Baptist version of Jimmy Carter didn’t faze the MSM one bit) and the liberal media always had a club to throw at a Jerry Falwell.
At the same time John Paul II was not only fighting his own battle against Godless communism he was globe-trotting urging the young around the world to “Follow Christ” from Boston to Brazil electrified the world and planted the seeds of the growing Orthodox Catholic Church worldwide.
Meanwhile liberal wings of the church objected but were overshadowed by the dynamic leader in the Vatican. Groups like the LCWR objected emphasizing “social justice” over faith and were backed by the Media. Looking at the media coverage you would think they were invincible.
But as generations passed a funny thing happened. As people of faith continued to be “fruitful and multiply” and as the public school continued to fail their students and people sent their children to religious schools where they were taught an orthodox faith. Denominations without faith started to die, and Catholic splinter groups and liberal organizations like the LCWR found themselves marginalized as young people of faith found nothing in them to inspire them to join until finally they fell under the scrutiny of a Vatican no longer ignoring those who decided to stray.
“But DaTechGuy” you might ask, “Isn’t the Church afraid these people will leave? The media keeps hinting they will.”
First of all job one of the church is this: SAVE SOULS! It’s the Church’s job to lead people on the narrow path, not widen the road.
Second of all where would they go as Father Z pointed out: (emphasis mine)
At one point Sr. Joan was at one point asked, according to the linked article, “whether women religious should live outside formal church structures.”
In summary, it looks to me as if these women really don’t want to be women religious in any sense that Holy Church recognizes. However, they are afraid to quit because the instant they do, they will be irrelevant.
A group of rebellious nuns fighting against the Church, that’s a story the media will bite on, a group of rapidly aging women of some new denomination railing against the church? YAWN!
As the Motley Monk put it:
Withdrawing from the LCWR as the official U.S. representative organization for women religious and forming a distinct, non-canonical organization free of Vatican control would represent a self-inflicted death sentence. Looking at the ages of these women, the new group will not survive very long and “the Vatican” will prevail. All the dissenters will have accomplished is to “get up and die.”
Dissident Catholics have very little impact and only get press because on occasion it suits the secular media’s purpose. As for the multitude of protestant denominations, tell me other than my post and the one at Juicy ecumenism how many stories have you seen on the downsizing of the National Council of Churches?
Meanwhile you have Anglicans clergy becoming Catholic, the Church rising in Africa and South America and people after bouncing from one cookie cutter Protestantism to another finding their way back home to mother church. Turn on the TV and when issues are discussed you will see a prince of the Church giving comment. When do you see a protestant Bishop on the set? You don’t. Oh a denomination might get a quick blip when they allow gay marriage or transgender clergy, then after that they are never heard from again.
It only took two generations for Mainline Protestants to make themselves irrelevant in America. One generation to abandon faith and a second to not have anyone to pass it down to. To be sure faithful remnants exist but they have as much relevance on the national dialogue as the Fitchburg City Counsel has on Congress.
Ronald Reagan once said
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
The same is true of faith as our protestant brothers have learned to their regret.