Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!
– Ezekiel 13:3
|"Sister" Barbara Reid|
That's where I learned that the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is currently holding its annual "assembly" in Southern California. The "hour-long keynote address" was given by Dominican Sr. Barbara Reid.
I should mention at this point that according to NCR, "LCWR has approximately 1,500 members who are the elected leaders of some 370 religious orders across America. They represent more than 50,000 women religious." I guess "women religious" is the politically correct word for "nun". Although you would have a hard time distinguishing one of these modern "nuns" if you passed one in the street since they don't wear habits. I wonder what kinds of vows they take and how they liberally interpret those vows. The usual vows are celibacy, poverty and obedience. Obedience seems to be considered old fashioned, along with poverty. That just leaves celibacy. Given liberal attitudes among Church dissenters towards homosexuality, and the pro-feminist ideologies of LCWR members...
Which brings us to Sister Barbara's keynote address. She is known for her feminist interpretations of the Bible and the theme of her talk seemed to be "God the mother". The talk centered around the theme of giving birth. Reid recalled the piercing of Jesus side from which flowed blood and water and remarked, "the birthing of a renewed people of God through Jesus’ death is symbolized by the breaking of the amniotic fluid, accompanied by uterine blood."
I suppose if Jesus was a woman, that might make sense. Given that Jesus was a man and therefore had no uterus from which to flow "uterine blood"... I have to question Reid's motivation. It seems to me that she is trying to impose her feminist agenda on the Church. She also referred to the creation account in Genesis and said, "the mystery of God goes beyond gender, embracing the equality of male and female."
Equality is a big theme for her. In one of her books she writes:
“It is my hope that this book will help both women and men, particularly those who preach and teach the Scriptures, to do so in a way that will promote a Church of equal disciples, where gender differences would no longer determine ministerial roles.”Is this a call for the ordination of women? Yes, of course it is. In fact Barbara Reid has associated in the past with groups like Call To Action and the FutureChurch which openly call for ordination of women.
So it's very troubling to me that she is a Dominican sister, and also that she teaches at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago (a rather dubious Catholic "seminary" in my opinion). She could at least wear a Crucifix around her neck if she wants to be called a "sister".
In 2009 it was revealed that, "The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is being investigated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith because of the 'tenor and doctrinal content' of various addresses at the organization’s annual assemblies since 2001." Hopefully, someone will inform the Vatican of this latest example of disobedience to the Church's teachings and some corrective action will be taken.
LCWR is struggling as their membership ages and decreases in number. As part of this annual "assembly" they are "meditating" on what lies in store in the future for them. Barbara Reid said "it is not too far-fetched to believe that the rebirthing of religious life can have transforming consequences that reach all realms of the cosmos."
That's fine, as long as the "realms of the cosmos" that they transform don't include the Catholic Church. Now maybe you can see why I keep putting quotes around "assembly". There is a definite neo-pagan, eco-feminist quality to these gatherings.
This is a lot like the story of Dorothy who gets lost "Somewhere, over the rainbow". But in this story the Wizard represents the patriarchal old bad guys, the Wicked Witch represents the good guys, and Dorothy never finds her way home.
Finally, I want to say that I have the greatest admiration and respect for our traditional Catholic nuns. They are a great source of strength for the Church whether they are engaged in quiet contemplation or helping the poor and sick; or however they choose to serve the Church and sacrifice their lives out of love for their Divine Spouse. Where would the Church be today without them? May God strengthen our sisters and protect them from all evil.
Here are some links that provide a broader view of the nature of the dissent by feminists within the Church. This dissent is often led by "sisters" within the Church like Barbara Reid:
- Which religion is promoted at Catholic congress? - This article links LCWR and Barbara Reid to Call to Action -- a "Catholic" group that promotes the ordination of women and other "reforms".
- The Witchcraft Feminist - This article talks about Professor Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza who is an inspiration for Barbara Reid. Fiorenza is described as supporting women's ordination and also having ties to witchcraft and neo-pagan organizations. In many ways Reid's mission can be seen as popularizing the work of Fiorenza, who is more academic and less accessible. The general impression one gets is that feminists like Reid and Fiorenza don't believe in Jesus or the Bible at all. They see it as an obstacle that must be overcome in order to implement their radical feminist agenda. The method they use is to "re-interpret" the Bible in order to make it meaningless and irrelevant.
- “Ungodly Rage, The hidden Face of Catholic Feminism” by Donna Steichen - This book is an exposé of the radical feminists attempts at taking over the Catholic Church. One reviewer writes: "Donna Steichen leaves no doubt that the 'Catholic' feminists, mostly nuns, who control much of what is presented to the laity as official episcopal teaching, now actually practice, in Cardinal Ratzinger's words, 'another religion'—goddess religion, witchcraft. Her documentation of what the Bishops' salaried feminists are up to, with the Bishops' knowledge, is so massive and firsthand that I am forced to accept the truth of her exposé."
- Cast of Characters at LA Catholic Education event - Contains a quote from Reid: "we have seen God: in the beauty and pain of her cosmos…. in the power of her Word, proclaimed by her preachers. For the Risen One is with us and in us, drawing us all into ONE."
- Women religious leadership conference faces investigation for continued ‘problems’ - This article is from 2009 and discusses the reasons for the investigation of LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here is a quote from a 2007 LCWR keynote address: "Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian.... all manner of seeking God is welcomed. They are certainly religious women, but they are no longer women religious as it is defined by the Roman Catholic Church."
- We are church a 'kindom' of priests - This is the text of a keynote address by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza at a women's ordination conference. It starts off: "We are here this weekend because we have heard the call of Divine Wisdom and have been sent out as her wo/men ministers to proclaim her invitation.... We hereby proclaim: wo/men are the image of God and the representatives of Christ--Sophia." This is the woman that Barbara Reid "leans heavily" on. Of course she is not going to repeat such neo-pagan blasphemy word for word in front of a group of Philippine nuns. Instead she hides the true message behind a facade of "pro-women" statements.
- A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in New Zealand - Here is a quote from the introduction of this report: "I write this report as I could not in good conscience keep quiet about the discovery of a most sinister and destructive movement that threatens our Church.... [this movement] is in fact a Neo-pagan movement, which has at its heart the “Goddess Cult”, the Goddess being a deity which is the end result of feminist theological thought." (Barbara Reid is mentioned as a speaker that is aligned with this movement.)
- Choosing the Better Part?: Women in the Gospel of Luke - This is one of Barbara Reid's books. You can "look inside" the first few pages on the Amazon link I provided. This is where the quote "gender differences would no longer determine ministerial roles" comes from. A quick search through the book (using Amazon) found 24 references to Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza. Is this someone that a nun of the Catholic Church should be relying on for her interpretation of the Bible? Reid says she approaches the Bible from a "feminist liberation perspective". And that from this perspective anything that " 'denies, diminishes or distorts the full humanity of women' is not of God." I assume that would be the "full humanity of women" from a feminist perspective, whatever that is. Reid is attempting to force God to conform to her worldview. This is not the God of Abraham and Moses and Jesus Christ, but a Divine Goddess as described by Schussler Fiorenza. And yet this is what is being taught to men and women in religious training at Catholic Theological Union!!!
traveled to the Philippines to teach about how the Scriptures "were written and interpreted by men in a patriarchal society".
The picture on the left is from a talk she gave at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila. In her talk she "leaned heavily" on Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza’s “Critical Feminist Hermeneutics of Liberation”. (See links above on Fiorenza.)