It’s a Mystery, but here are six clues. We’re trying to figure out “What happened?” What do you think?
Clue #1: Check out the list of dissenters from the teaching of the Catholic Church, and notice a Sister Joan Chittister on http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/dissent/disspeop.htm marked as a dissenting speaker for her support of the ordination of women, feminist theology, Call to Action, and as a frequent contributor to the National Catholic Reporter dissident periodical. On the dissidents’ list she keeps company with Frs. Charles Curran and Richard McBrien, retired Bishop Weakland, Cardinal Mahoney, and VP Biden…..among many others.
Clue #2: LifeSite News Interview (LSN) with the Dissident nun Sister Joan Chittister (JC) contains such gems as the following exchange on Feb. 15, 2010 when she was in Canada to deliver a Lenten mission for Canada’s National Catholic Broadcasting Council (NCBC):
- LSN: Okay. So you don’t have a stand on contraception?
- JC: Well, I’m a nun. And I, I mean, I believe that – in the first place, the Church is not opposed to birth control. The Church is great on arithmetic, they just have a problem with chemistry…..
- LSN: Okay. Where do you stand on something like the woman’s right to choose?
- JC: I believe that that’s – let’s put it this way. I’m opposed to abortion. I have no problem with that whatsoever. I would never see abortion as a birth control method of choice. But having said that, I would never condemn a woman who finds herself in the position where she believes that, or her doctor believes that, abortion is the only answer for her at that moment. My problem lies in the fact that we make it an absolute.
- LSN: Would …you think that the fact that you are questioning Church teaching on these things, would that present a problem for you presenting on a Catholic program?
- JC: Well, you see, I’m more concerned about your questions than I am about my presentation. Because you’re obviously not – you aren’t even interested in the program. What you’re trying to do is to create some situation where a program on spiritual development in the 21st century is questionable. And I’m not happy about that at this moment. I consider it bad journalism in the first place, because you didn’t call about the program. So I don’t know how to answer you….. I just think it’s irresponsible. If I said to you, now you’re a journalist … The reason I want to know that is you’re a journalist, and can you really present those questions objectively if you’re writing a story? More at: http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/feb/100215
Clue #3: LifeSiteNews carried the story of the Detroit Archbishop issuing a warning against a dissident conference in Detroit. … On June 7, 2011 Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit sent out a second warning to clergy and Catholics in his flock against participating in an upcoming conference in his diocese, organized by a group of dissident Catholics, including groups that promote the normalization of homosexuality, abortion, and other liberal issues.
“All of the invited keynote speakers have manifested dissent from Catholic teachings or support for dissenters,” says a question/answer statement from the diocese posted on its website. “Keynote speakers include: Hans Kung, a dissenting theologian priest who had his authority to teach rescinded by the Church; Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez, a board member of the group Catholics for Choice which rejects Church teaching on the immorality of abortion; Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, who as Former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland publicly opposed Church teaching on abortion and chastised American bishops for pushing to make abortion illegal; and Sr. Joan Chittister, an open advocate of women’s ordination…” More can be found at http://catholicwideweb.wordpress.com/2011/06/07/lifesitenews-detroit-archbishop-issues-warning-against-dissident-conference-this-weekend/
Clue #4: Stella Maris Retreat and Renewal Center sponsored a retreat July 3-9, 2011 called: “In Search of Belief” Retreat Presented by Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski, OSB based on the Book by Sister Joan Chittester [sic], OSB…. Presenter, Sister Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski, OSB, is the director of spirituality program for the Erie Benedictines. For $435 you could have participated. The Stella Maris literature states that Sr. Carolyn has facilitated many retreats and days of reflection since 1983, and has served on the leadership team of the Erie Unit of Church Women United, an ecumenical international organization for 12 years. See more information at: http://www.stellamarisretreat.org/july_retreats.html
Clue #5: Recent announcements in some DoR parish bulletins: MERCY PRAYER CENTER RETREAT EVENT: The Center at 65 Highland Avenue in Rochester will be offering a Guided Retreat titled “In Her Own Words” on Monday, August 15th, at 7 p.m. through Saturday, August 20th after Brunch. The Facilitator will be Sr. Carolyn Gorny-Kopkowski, OSB, and the retreat will be based on the book of Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, titled “In Her Own Words.” Come to learn how ordinary life can become an extraordinary adventure! ….The resident fee is $375/commuter fee $300. See more online at www.mercyprayercenter.org.
Clue #6: This above program has disappeared from the MercyPrayer Center offerings. Was it cancelled? Oversubscribed? Why? Is there more here than meets the eye? Or just another run-of the mill dissenter on stage in the Diocese of Rochester? But we rest assured that like an unwanted dandelion in the front lawn each spring, that Sr. Chittister will pop up again soon, and hopefully get blown off.