08 January 2008

Sister Louise Lears of St. Cronan Summoned to Appear Before Archbishop Burke on January 15

St. Louis Catholic has learned that Sr. Louise Lears, a member of the "Pastoral Team" at St. Cronan Parish has been issued a summons and canonical admonition by His Grace, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke. Sr. Lears has been summoned to appear to answer the charges of rejection of a truth of faith under canon 750, and of causing grave scandal, thus implicating the penalties for a scandalous external violation of canon law under canon 1399.

Canon 750 states as follows:

Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firmly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Canon 1399 states as follows:

Can. 1399 In addition to the cases established here or in other laws, the external violation of a divine or canonical law can be punished by a just penalty only when the special gravity of the violation demands punishment and there is an urgent need to prevent or repair scandals.

I am unable to ascertain the exact factual allegations underlying the charges at this time, but readers of this blog will remember that Sr. Lears was present at the Advent vespers protest outside of St. Cronan's last month. This event occurred, and was presided over by Sr. Lears, despite the request of the Archbishop that St. Cronan's rescind its invitation to Rabbi Susan Talve to lead this event. Rabbi Talve and her congregation hosted the infamous pretend ordination of would-be priestesses Rose Hudson and Elsie McGrath. As an aside, both Hudson and McGrath were also present at the vespers protest.

The knowing participation in this event with Talve, Hudson, and McGrath following so soon after the schismatic "ordinations" was indeed scandalous.

It is possible that Sr. Lears is being held accountable for her public support of women's ordination, which support denies a definitive truth, an infallible teaching of the Holy Catholic Church. The teaching that only men can be ordained has been constantly maintained, and most recently confirmed as an infallible teaching in John Paul II's encyclical Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

Perhaps when the mainstream media pick up the story (as they almost certainly will, as the standard textbook for dissenters is to bring along the cameras), we may discover more information on the factual allegations and also about whether Sr. Lears will break ranks with Hudson and McGrath and actually appear as directed.

When trying to find information about the summons and admonition, I came across this on one dissenter site forum (page down to message 416):

Dear friends,

A friend of mine, Sister Louise Lears SC, who is a pastoral minister at St. Cronan's parish in St. Louis, [Missouri, USA] is being confronted by Archbishop Burke.

On the Saturday between Christmas and New Year's, Louise was served (at home) with a "summons to appear and canonical admonition" at the Catholic Center of the Archdiocese. The letter was signed by Archbishop Burke. The hearing is set for January 15 at 10 am. She is to appear to "take cognizance of the accusation and proofs concerning your apparent commission of the delicts of 1) the rejection of a truth /de Fide/tenenda/ (canon 750) and 2) grave scandal (canon 1399)."

She does not know what the the issue is that has prompted this, but she imagines it is her support of women's ordination. The two women who were ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood in October were from St. Cronan's parish. Rabbi Susan Talve, the rabbi who offered her synagogue for the ordinations of the women, was invited to be the guest preacher at one of St. Cronan's Advent Vesper services. Archbishop Raymond Burke asked St. Cronan's to cancel the invitation to Rabbi Talve. Instead, the vesper service took place on the public sidewalk outside the church. Louise presided at the service. This may be what has stirred up the Archbishop, although his summons is mute on its motivation.

The President of Louise's community, Barbara Hagedorn, has been in touch with Dan Ward, the LCWR canon lawyer in Washington DC, who referred her to a local canon lawyer in St. Louis with whom she is meeting. She has spoken with the Parish Council at St. Cronan's and they are standing firm behind her.

Louise asks for prayers in this situation and ideas that anyone may have. Louise also wants transparency and has said this information can be shared as widely as possible.

Courage and peace as the hierarchy sinks further into secrecy and repression, (signed)

If you need further proof of the scandalously disrespectful and disobedient attitude of the supporters of the idea of women's ordination, just read some of the posts there that contain insult and calumnies about Archbishop Burke.

I will try to stay abreast of events as they come. Stay tuned, folks.

In December this space declared, "It's Time to do Something about St. Cronan's." It now seems that something has been, and is being, done.

All parties involved need our prayers, but pray especially for Archbishop Burke.


wolftracker said...

Dude, you get results!

Anonymous said...

Well, you said it! Archbishop Burke NEEDS OUR PRAYERS! These people who support St. Cronan's need to remember too "Jesus is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow" the teachings of the church have not changed since Jesus walked on this Earth. Okay, I've got to just stop there because I could go on and on. . .I best step off my soapbox now. . . .

Anonymous said...

If you DARE check out www.catholicsforchoice.org. They actually have an ad on the left side of the page as you scroll down "Good Catholics use condoms". ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ? ? I did a google on Sister Louise Lears and I came across this site. . . .why did I do that?

PMKD said...

It seems Providential that the summons day, 15 January, is the last day of the Novena for our beloved archbishop.

thetimman said...

Providential is the right word. These people will come after him with their long knives in the press. Look for a benefit concert by Sheryl Crow.

Gregor Kollmorgen said...

You are so graced to have Abp. Burke as your ordinary. I admire him so much. He demonstrates what it means to be a Bishop. He shows that the law of the Church is not dead letter, but can and should be acted upon. He is a pious and zealous priest, a learned man of the Church, friendly but firm. He is a model for his brother Bishops everywhere. Here in Germany we do not have a man of his caliber since Abp. Dyba died in 2000. We should let the Hierarchy know that the faithful support such a Shepherd after the Lord's Heart. Is there still no Abp. Burke Fan Club?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful news! It's about time. These unhabited nuns need to hit the road! GO Archbishop go! It's a shame we can't burn them at the stake anymore. Now that was to far. sorry! But you get my point. Hippies and their stick religion with the huggie kissie Masslike service, GET OUT! WE DON"T WANT YOU NOR DO WE NEED YOU! ok ok...

Lets now move on to "The Rock" and their dissenting from the Church.

This is a great time to be alive. The hippies are kicking a dead dog. Young people will save the Church yet again.

thetimman said...

Anon, I appreciate that your comment is intended as tongue-in-cheek (on the burning at the stake thing) with a serious point that things are slowly turning towards orthodoxy. But remember that these people's souls are at stake, too. The tone might cause the message to be lost.

God bless.

YoungCatholicSTL said...

Thank God for Archbishop Burke and let us pray for both him and Sr. Lears! God can change hearts and minds, so we must hope that through Archbishop Burke, God changes Sr. Lears!

Anonymous said...

It is worth noting that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is not an encyclical but an apostolic letter.

Anonymous said...

Once again, Hooray for Archbishop Burke!

He has shown the integrity it takes, time and time again, to really LEAD.

After this, I pray that he cleans up the fraud being perpetrated by a small number of followers of the Our Lady of America devotion and their "Sr." Joseph Therese, aka Patricia Fuller, in Fostoria, Ohio.

Please pray for the continued success of OLTIV and the official OLA website in Indianapolis. Both have worked tirelessly to bring the truth of this devotion to thousands more believers this past year.

Thank you to the people in Rome City, IN (oltiv.org) who are standing strong in the face of false accusations of trying to "steal" OLA. It is simply preposterous talk coming from a small group of people from Fostoria trying to "own" the messages of Our Lady of America

Anonymous said...

...and we did not have a trial for Boston's previous cardinal? talk about repairing of grave scandal!

Anonymous said...

The public ignoring of Church teachings by those who are not only paid by the Church but also representative of it in some manner--particularly those in religious life--must stop somewhere. Decades of such scandal has caused a shipwreck of faith for many thousands of souls. Hundreds of thousands.

Yes, we pray for the conversion of such souls but the time for them to continue with impunity needs to end.

Time will take care of some of these very UNreligious orders who are no longer faithful to their charism. Some will ask why these modernist 'nuns' do not leave the church--well they are getting paid for one thing, often they have a soapbox for another. What fun would it be to go to the episcopal or other church or start their own. No the effort, whether they are conscious of it or not, is always to tear down the Roman Catholic Church. They have been doing a good job. The virtues of humility and of the evangelical councils are missing.

Anonymous said...

Apostolic letter or encyclical...regardless, the infallibility of the Pope's statement stands. When questioned about Ordinatio Sacerdotalis' status as an exercise of Extraordinary Magisterium, the Vatican's CDF stated that the teaching on women's ordination was infallible teaching of the Ordinary Magisterium, reiterated by John Paul. Additionally, in 1998's Ad Tuendam Fidem, this teaching on women's ordination was specifically cited as an example of infallible teaching. Those who reject it are not in communion with the Church.

Anonymous said...

"It is worth noting that Ordinatio Sacerdotalis is not an encyclical but an apostolic letter."

To the contrary, this means nothing other than being reflective of the length of the document and extent of the presentation. Note Pius XII's definition of the Dogma of the Assumption of Mary and Pius IX's of the Immaculate Conception were contained in Apostolic Constitutions (Munificentissimus Deus and Ineffabilis Deus respectively) and not encyclicals.

The words that do matter in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis are: "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32)I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful."

"Pertains to Church's divine constitution" - matter of faith and morals; Papal universal jurisdiction ("confirming the brethren"); and "to be definitively held" give this document all of the Magisterial and immutable character it needs irrespective of the genre of papal document used to express it.

Richard Chonak said...

If I remember right, OS presented the doctrine (that the Church does not have authority to confer the sacrament of priestly ordination on women) not as divinely revealed itself, but as a truth ancillary to revealed doctrines and necessary to their right exposition and safeguarding. For this reason cases of dissent have to be addressed under section 2 of canon 750.

Anonymous said...

We need to pray for their souls and the continued wisdom, courage and strength for Archbishop Burke.

Unknown said...

Archbishop Burke is a true Shepherd to the people of God always teaching and preaching the Truth. Jesus is the Truth. He is a true representative of the Apostles. Jesus was persecuted, the Apostles were persecuted, and today good faithful orthodox Bishops are persecuted. This tells you that Bishop Burke is a Shepherd after our Lord's heart.

Anonymous said...

We need more Bishops like Archbishop Burke to publicly address the abuses of these disident so called catholics. I ony wish that Archbishop Flynn of Minneapolis would address some of the same abuses at St Joan of Arc Parish in Minneapolis. We need to pray for our Bishops to take the stance that Archbishop Burke is doing. He is a true Shepherd of his Diocese.

Lavona said...

Praise the Lord for good Bishops like archbishop Burke. Would that they were the norm. Yes, pray for all our clergy.

Anonymous said...

It is a sure thing that Archbishop Burke, on Judgement Day, will hear the words from Jesus, "Well done My good and faithful servant, enter into My Father's House". Lord,Bless him and continue to guide and strengthen him to do Your work.

Anonymous said...

Bravo Archbishop Burke! I never thought the Church would gather up the guts to confront these heretics.

Anonymous said...

It seems from my reading of the majority of these replies there is an air of fear behind them all. A fear of individuals who may have a difference of opinion than what is considered church teaching. What is so harmful of someone having a differing opinion than what is church teaching? What is scandulous about that? As a Roman Catholic I feel that differing thoughts are healthy for dialogue. If we simply followed what is church law without questioning then we are no different than a communistic state. Since comments to this website have to be approved by the moderator I'll wait and see if my comments are worthy of being posted.

A Roman Catholic in Iowa.

thetimman said...


Did you learn the Act of Faith? "O my God, I believe that Thou art one God in three divine Persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost; I believe that Thy divine Son became Man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be deceived."

This isn't a question of a "difference of opinion", unless there can be two opinions as to whether 2+2=4. This is a matter of applying medicinal discipline to one who endangers their own soul and the souls of others by obstinately sowing dissention and confusion.

The truths of the faith taught by the Church are taught because God revealed them, either by Sacred Scripture or Sacred Tradition. If Christ founded the Church, and gave the Holy Ghost as the Guarantor of truth, you may rely upon the Church's authority. If you don't believe Christ founded the Catholic Church, or that He did not guarantee the Holy Ghost to it, then you do not hold the Catholic position.

Anonymous said...


An individual can be a person of faith and still sees things differently. Jesus as a Jewish believer saw faith differently. If he hadn't he would have lived simply as a person of the Old Testament. But he knew that a life of faith did not mean simply following all 600 plus rules of the Old Testament. He did not believe in pouring new wine in old wineskins.

A Roman Catholic in Iowa

thetimman said...

OK, but I don't get your point. A person of Catholic faith cannot see the question of women's ordination differenty and still be Catholic. He could be a "person of (some other) faith". If that is the case, go right ahead and join whatever religion most suits you, or start your own. Don't have the nerve to call it Catholic.

Johnny Vino said...

This appeal to some higher right of dissent is getting obnoxious. What if I believe deep in my heart that the laity should get to read the prayers of consecration and this Holy Orders stuff is a control mechanism? What if I then acted on those beliefs by running up to the altar and swiping the sacramentary?

Anonymous from Iowa needs to watch "The Incredibles"? When everyone's special - nobody is special!

BTW - I am also a "Roman Catholic in Iowa" Represent!

Unknown said...

I too and getting tired of people trying to justify this behavior by believing that being a Catholic is like being an American. We can not pick and choose what we want to follow. Jesus is the Way, The Truth and The Life and we if we want to be His followers and be among those sheep on His right, we must be true to the Catholic faith and the teachings. Jesus says we abide in Him when we keep his Commandments and do the Will of the Father. Jesus told St. Peter that what he (Peter) binds on earth will be bound in heaven and what he loosens on earth will be loosened in heaven. I feel sorry for this misguided improperly catechized people and we must pray for them. They are losing their eternal souls. And those to whom more is given (priests, religious) more will be expended. And if they lead the children astray they will be held responsible. Let us all pray that we stay true to the true Catholic faith and let us pray that the lost sheep come home.

Anonymous said...

For discussion, in today's gospel reading from Mark (1/22/08) Jesus and his disciples pick grain and eat it on the Sabbath, a clear violation of Jewish Law which the Pharisees point out to him. Yet Jesus chooses to go against the religious law of his day. Is that any different than a believer today who sees church law differently?

A Roman Catholic in Iowa

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous,
Jesus is the Lord. Sister Louise Lears is not. To be a faithful Catholic all must follow the truths of our faith and accept all dogmas. Jesus gave the keys to Peter - the Pope is our Peter. The Apostles were the Bishops. They teach the truths of our faith. Jesus was the Way, the Truth, and the Life and He came to save us and tell us what we need to do to have eternal life. How can you compare Jesus to Sister not obeying the truths of our faith? Lastly, Sister can be Protestant because look at how many different demoninations and churches there are because they all see church law differently. When they disagree, they just form a new church. Thank God there is only one Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

Praying is good. Praying together is good. Praying for and with people with whom we disagree is good. God changes hearts, prayer changes hearts. Decrees from oh high rarely changes hearts.
I pray that one day we can ALL come together in prayer, lead by Archbishop Burke, and Sr. Lears, and Rabbi Talve, and a bunch more people who strive to do the will of God.
I pray that we, as Church, use out Time, Talent and Treasure to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the imprisoned, care for the sick, etc. (Matt 25:31ff) It seems our energies would be better spent doing the Works of Mercy than squabbling about who prayed with who.
Peace and All Good,
Fr. Tom

thetimman said...

Fr. Tom, with all due respect, the corporal works of mercy are not things to be separated from the truths of the faith. Pope Benedict made this point quite clearly in Deus Caritas Est.

The "decree from on high" that is the reaffirmation of the Church's infallible teaching on the impossibility of women's ordination is simply the Apostle's mandate to preach the word, in season and out of season, rebuke, entreat, etc. For we have indeed come to the time when many will not listen to sound doctrine but will turn away to fables. Reminding someone to hold fast to the truth and remain in communion with the Church Christ founded is better for them then giving them something to eat alone.

Anonymous said...

Come home?

I doubt it.

We'll leave you all to your sex abuse scandals and debt.

This isn't home, unless home is either a tyrannical abusive father figure or an orphanage.

You can have "your" Catholic Church.

For one, I want no part of your home.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I feel sorry that you are so angry and it seems that you have hate within you. I will pray that our Lord touches yours soul. It was Jesus that said that the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church who is His holy bride. Human beings sin. Hopefully they repent and make reparation. But the Church is the spotless bride of Christ. Please take Jesus at His word so that you will have eternal life. May God bless you.