Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sisters 1, bishops 0



Bishop Lawrence Brandt has suppressed any vocation recruitment efforts by the sisters in his diocese, because the good sisters had the “presumption” to actually speak out as citizens on a piece of civil legislation. In effect, they had a different political opinion than His Excellency Lawrence Brandt.

If you want to understand why the sisters spoke out on behalf of Health Care Reform legislation you need to understand that the sisters operate Catholic Health Care, a vast network of hospitals. Unlike most bishops who live in immaculately manicured Episcopal Residences and work in equally impressive office complexes. The sisters actually work in hospitals. Unlike bishops, the sisters are not served by doting staffs and surrounded by cadres of sycophants. The sisters actually serve the sick and the poor. They teach children, they don’t cover-up sex abuse violations of children.

Get into your car and take a short drive to your nearest hospital. Walk into the Emergency Room, sit down and spend a few hours there. You will usually find the ER waiting room is full. People with wounds of varying severity. Something else you’ll notice is parents with children. These people are dressed in humble attire and often have to wait many hours before they, or their children are taken care of by the staff. They are there because they are poor and uninsured. They have no where else to turn.

When I worked at a Catholic hospital, patients who were being wheeled in were asked: Do you have health care insurance? If the answer was no, the patient was given necessary immediate care and promptly shipped off to County Hospital. Catholic hospitals are permitted only a specified number of “pro-bono” patients per year. The nursing staff referred to County as “the butcher shop.” One nurse told me, if you graduated bottom of your class in Medical School, you work at County.

The sisters know all of this. They know it first hand. The bishops know that most women will not go through the pains of childbirth to save $400.00 for an abortion. They know that the legislation in question did not authorize federal payments for abortions. The bishops almost succeeded in sacrificing laws which protect the poor. What stood in their way were the sisters. The sisters were a voice for the poor, the marginalized while the bishops were busy being choir boys for the Republican Party and for an insurance industry that racked up multi-billion dollars worth of profits.

The bishops lost this one. The fact that the sisters stood up for the poor and did not bow down to the bishops is too much for them to stomach. I suspect that the sisters will do well with recruitment. People will be inspired by their charity and want to imitate it. Sadly, the bishops will also do well recruiting new bishops, there have always been those who have seen “much profit” in religion.

7 comments:

Apsalted by the Lord said...

Thank you for this post. It is most needed now. At this time when the bishops are trying to be "victims" of the media and rally around the Pope in his "time of persecution" they are deflecting their own injustice by allowing the visitation of certain American orders of sisters. It makes me more than a little angry--which is a hard thing to do to me--that these women who are doing the work of Christ for the People of God are being so persecuted because they don't always agree with the bishops on political matters.

Sebastian said...

Once, to be a good Catholic, one needed to know the Catechism, profess the Creed, and receive the sacraments. Now, one must also add some things to the list: agree with the archbishop's actions toward the DC City Council, favor or oppose particular amendments to civil legislation, oppose some newspapers, believe that it is wrong to say the Church is mistaken, etc. etc. etc. The bishops, and many self-styled "conservative" Catholics are demanding something radical and new: the evisceration of the individual Catholic conscience, the lockstep agreement with episcopal political judgments, and all manner of silliness.

Pity the priests. We are pawns, in every sense of the term. When Bishop Brandt came to the diocese of Greeensburg, he made clergy assignments without consulting the priests involved. "Pick up your mat and walk" to some other part of the diocese, was the message, with no questions asked, and no options possible. It is not only the good sisters whom he imperiously treats. It is all of us.

TheraP said...

Definitely these sisters will come out the victors! They are aligned with the Sermon on the Mount, whereas the bishops seem aligned with Pharisees and moneychangers.

matt n said...

no matter what this bihsop or any other ones say, nuns have much more credibility than the hierarchy these days because they are tapped into the needs of regular people. whereas, bishops (and priests who want to rise in the organization) are more concerned with how they'll be viewed by their higher-ups. unfortunately, this is a self perpetuating situation as the raft of new bishops are more concerned with via della conciliazione than main street. thanks for standing up for the nuns.

FDeF said...

You don't mess with the nuns. These self-righteous bishops should expect some righteous backlash from all who hold the sisters in high regard.

Michael Dodd said...

As you and I both know, the good sisters are not having much success with recruiting anywhere these day, but that is because they are busier doing what they are called to do, whether that be active hands-on service of the least of the sisters and brothers of Christ or devoting themselves to intercession for a world and Church increasingly in need of God. I know of communities that have shut down their vocation offices (although they will talke to anyone who expresses interest in joining) so that they can devote all of their resources to helping those in need rather than on their own institutional survival.

Religious life came into being, has changed many times and will no doubt change again. The forms we now know may even disappear, not because they have failed but because they have met their goals and something new will emerge. Sadly, bishops will probably always be with us because they are nowhere near meeting their goals of shepherding the flock entrusted to their case. Instead, too much time is given to institutional survival.

Just saying ...

Sandy, csj said...

Thanks...if you want to express your support directly to the sisters, the website is <a href="http://www.stjoseph-baden.org>www.stjoseph-baden.org</a>.