Conservative Nuns rebel against the Holy See

Here’s a biased version of the story: Vatican all but wipes out conservative order of nuns for ‘too much prayer’. Essentially, the nuns violated their vows of obedience by utterly rejecting the authority of the Pope and the Holy See over them. They are committing the same mistake as and many other conservative organizations and persons.

Conservatism and their own understanding of the Catholic Faith is treated as dogma. The Church, the Magisterium, and the Holy See are assumed to be in a state of grievous error, whenever they refuse to submit to the ideas of the conservative Catholic subculture. The conservative understanding of the Faith is dogmatized and divinized, and anything to the contrary is assumed to be heresy and, as shown in the book ‘Infiltration’, even demonic.

The order all but perished because the nuns rejected the Catholic Faith and substituted their own understanding for whatever the Magisterium might teach. They further rejected obedience to the Holy See, refusing to make any changes that were contrary to their own understanding or preferences. Being disobedient in the extreme, of course they must relinquish their vows and be removed from their order.

The same process will happen will all conservatives who stand up against the Church Herself and claim to understand the Faith better than the Pope, who reject the authority of the Holy See, who have attributed to themselves divine authority over the Church, to judge Her, to decide all questions of doctrine and discipline, and even to condemn the Pope himself.

I have no sympathy for these rebellious nuns, who are assumed to be in the right by conservative publications, merely because they are conservative. This assumption reaches an extreme in certain cases. Cardinal Pell, a convicted child molester with a history of complaints from multiple across several decades, is assume to be innocent. The Pope is assumed to be guilty of heresy, because his teaching deviate from the understanding of the conservative Catholic subculture. The Pope is accused of heresy even when he repeatedly asserted that his understanding is the same as that of conservatives, that it is God’s permissive will that there be many religions. Yet they still accuse him of heresy for allegedly saying the opposite, something which is certainly not a heresy and not what he repeatedly said.

Rebellion against God is the first sin. It was the sin of Satan. It was the sin of Adam and Eve (not sexual sin). And it is the sin of the conservative Catholic subculture against the Pope and the Holy See. This prideful assumption that anyone who is conservative is fit to stand in judgment over the Pope, the Cardinals and Bishops, the Magisterium, and the Church Herself is a grave sin and contrary to reason and faith.

What happened to conservatives preaching the virtue of obedience? Now they preach rebellion. If the Holy See tells you to receive Communion in the hand, while standing, then that is what you do, out of obedience to Christ. If the Holy See tells your order to modernize, to make various changes, then that is what you do, out of love for Christ — or at least to avoid an actual mortal sin of disobedience. But the rebellion of the conservative Catholic subculture against the Pope is undoubtedly a factor in this order’s similar rebellion. Conservatives feel they have a large crowd of fellow conservatives supporting them, so they more readily reject the authority of the Church.

If you are protesting, alone, and a police officer tells you to do something, you probably would be inclined to obey. But if you are protesting with a thousand persons at your back, and a lone officer tells you what to do, you might be more included to say No. Similarly, conservatives know they have thousands of like-minded conservatives online who will support them, even if they side with a convicted child molester, even if they rebel against their own Bishop, or Bishop’s Conference, or the Roman Pontiff himself.

There is now talk among conservatives of rejecting the new Code of Canon Law, which was not rejected when it was signed into effect in January of 1983 by Pope Saint John Paul II. It is an effect of the internet and the massing together of conservative rebels that has now caused many conservatives to think that they can stand in judgment over everything in the Church. Once you accuse the Roman Pontiff of heresy, and receive much support from persons online, you can easily go on to judge everything else in the Church: other Popes, the Second Vatican Council, other Councils, Canon Law, the Mass, etc.

Many conservatives have become no different from the Protestant Reformers, who rejected whatever they disagreed with in the Catholic Faith, in order to form their own version of Christianity.

However, not all conservatives and not all traditionalists have rebelled and fallen away. It is possible to remain a faithful conservative or traditionalist, while still accepting the decisions of the Roman Pontiff and the Ecumenical Councils. The conservative Catholic subculture claims to speak for all conservatives and all traditionalists, but they do not.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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5 Responses to Conservative Nuns rebel against the Holy See

  1. Rob says:

    Wouldn’t obeying an order you perceive as mortally sinful be an actual mortal sin?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Why would an order from the Holy See be seen as mortally sinful, unless the person had erred gravely in faith, putting their faith in conservatism or in their own understanding? Faith trusts the authority of the Church. Granted, some disagreement with Church authority can be faithful.

  2. erm6 says:

    Hi Ron,

    I have a minor disagreement with you, regarding the severity of this thing about the nuns. Granted, LifeSiteNews has taken this event about the nuns being relieved of their vows, and incorporated it into the chain of events that they report on, which has become the chain of events that you’re reacting to.

    But when I looked at the sisters’ own letter,, I feel it is not that different from a letter announcing the suppression of a religious order that could have taken place at various different time periods, under different popes and different circumstances.

    If some religious, who are facing agreement with some ecclesiastical authorities over some issue, end up agreeing to be relieved from their vows as a solution to the controversy, I don’t think this is in the same category as other rebellions that you have written about.

    If, as you often speculate, a future conservative Pope decides to formally excommunicate some conservative accusers of Pope Francis (to their surprise, as you like to say) it’s still possible that these sisters who meanwhile have been living together as a community of lay women might be able to get their order reorganized and re-approved under the conservative pope. They might have to apologize for some of their conduct and actions, but different popes may make different decisions about things like this.

    I’ve spent some time in the vicinity of traditional cloistered religious orders. Not surprisingly, I’ve had less direct contact with the cloistered religious themselves, and more contact with the nearby laypeople who support the religious order. But even so, I see the difference. More measured, prudent, more cautious and discreet way of thinking in the religious themselves (as one would expect, given their formation) which is different than the way that lay supporters may think or speak. So I would not necessarily expect the sisters to think of it the same way that LifeSiteNews describes it.

  3. Matt says:

    Not only do regular Catholics have to contend with the gravely sinful secular world, they have to deal with Anti-Pope Francis-Vatican 2, so called Catholics. I am appalled how conservative Catholics believe that only Catholics are saved. The rest of the World, 6 billion, will be condemned to Hellfire. Just this alone, with reason, is so false. An all loving powerful God would never allow Satan to have the upper hand. On the other hand, I know of liberal Catholics who support gay marriage, limited abortion, and have a belief system that nice people go to Heaven. This is also is wrong.

    We so need the tribulations. The World needs a correction. We live in such terrible sinful times.

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