The Washington Post certainly had a piece worth examining today on the LCWR smackdown. Click here to read the story.
I found a couple of things worth noting in the piece.
1) There were three examples of nuns getting "love" from society. Two of the nuns were fictional, and the third, the Oscar-nominated Sr. Dolores Hart, belongs to a group of cloistered sisters who are absolutely NOT in the LCWR. You can visit Sr. Dolores' Convent's website by clicking here, and then tell me if you think they are LCWR material. So all three examples in the article are of nuns not in the LCWR - an important distinction that is not made in the article itself.
2) It is true that the nuns had just as much as to do with the establishment of hospitals and schools as the priests and bishops (I love how the article creates the dichotomy - precisely what the LCWR wants), however, I'm fairly confident the nuns that taught and worked in the hospitals in the 50's and 60's would punch the leadership of the LCWR in the face. Okay, maybe that's a bit strong, but to suggest that there is anything but a nominal connection between the nuns who slugged away in our hospitals and schools and the shenanigans that we see by the LCWR today is a farce. In fact the nuns who now do a lot of the teaching are those NOT in the LCWR; are schools are being led more and more by the orthodox sisters NOT in the LCWR because it is the orders of orthodox non-LCWR sisters that are bursting at the seams with novices.
3) I find the suggestion that priests live the good life repulsive (I guess that would be suspected given my vocation). Are there priests who do more golfing than praying, absolutely. Is that disgusting - yes. But the majority of priests are out slugging it away in parishes where they are living alone, without the inestimable gift of communal living. Not even Vatican II imagined the situation we have now in the U.S. where priests are actually living alone, and it is a tough task at times, but most do it. Priests are out saying 5 Masses on the weekend despite Canon Law saying that 5 Masses should be the exception for a weekend. Before you scoff and say "how hard can it be to say a Mass" know that I think of myself as a pretty tough guy, and it is VERY draining to be "on" and essentially emceeing Saturday afternoon through Sunday afternoon with the stress of trying to preach well thrown in. Despite what the kindergartners and first graders often say when I visit them - we don't have the week off between Masses either! :)
I'm not complaining at all, I love being a priest, but when articles like this make it sound like the LCWR is slaving away in our schools and hospitals while ALL priests today are drinking martinis at the country club, my blood gets boiling. I'm not asking for compliments here, just thank your parish priest or, more importantly, say a prayer for him, and pray for all the sisters out there who see their job as being in opposition to the mission of the Church and Christ's bishops.