26 June 2008

Sister Lears Found Guilty of Pertinacious Rejection of Church Teaching and Scandal: Punished with Interdict and Barred from Archdiocese

In a Decree issued this afternoon by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Sister Louise Lears, SC, has been found guilty of the following canonical delicts:

Pertinacious rejection of doctrine, obstinately rejecting a doctrine de Fide tenenda under can. 750, para. 2 ;

Publicly inciting the subjects of the Apostolic See or of an Ordinary to animosity or hatred of, and provoking disobedience to, the Apostolic See or Ordinary under can. 1373. This finding includes scandalizing the faithful in the exercise of her 'pastoral leadership' at St. Cronan, and by her position as religious sister and coordinator of religious education, which led the faithful to participate in sacred rites that the Ordinary has reproved as immoral and unlawful;

Violation of Divine or Canon Law which, because of its special gravity demands punishment, and which is coupled with the urgent need to prevent and correct scandal under can. 1399; the Decree also states that this canon is further implicated by Sr. Lears' commission of an act which per se is capable of leading a soul to commit mortal sin, and which directly entices a number of Catholic Faithful to lose membership in and full communion with the Roman Catholic Church and thus imperil their eternal salvation;

Finally, the Archbishop finds that Sister Lears has committed prohibited communio in sacris by participating in the simulation of a sacrament under can. 1365; however, because of possible jurisdiction issues this matter is denounced to the Holy See for determination of guilt.

The decree notes that Sister Lears was given several summonses and admonitions, and several other official notices with time to repent; she exercised her right to defense on several occasions. The Decree notes, as an aside, that the submissions and materials from her and her procurator were "insufficiently demonstrated, fallaciously argued, and, at times, most disrespectful". In spite of the full and lengthy process, Sr. Lears "has not withdrawn from contumacy in her objective delictual conduct" and is thus "subjectively pertinacious and contumacious in her violations".

The Archbishop has therefore decreed the following penalties:

1. Ferendae sententiae interdict for the crimes of public and pertinacious rejection of a teaching de fide tenenda, and for incitement of the subjects of the Holy See and the Ordinary unto strong discord and disobedience.

2. Ferendae sententiae prohibition of reception of a mission in the territory of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, effective immediately, for her having repeatedly and very gravely scandalized two women unto their final commission of the most grievous sin of schism and the simulation of priestly ordination, by which "they have been thrown off the path to eternal salvation, and in so doing, have given grave scandal to all of the faithful" of the Archdiocese.


Wow. Though this was expected, there are some items that I did not anticipate. First, the Archbishop addresses the grave matter of Sr. Lears' role in the "guidance" of Hudson and McGrath, and penalizes Lears for counseling them into schism, mortal sin and scandalous conduct.

Next, now we know why Sr. Lears is leaving for Baltimore to take care of her mother. She isn't allowed here anymore, effective right now.

The Decree seems to indicate that Sister may have laid hands on the two pretend priestesses at the infamous fake ordination in November.

Finally, the damage done by Sister Lears in her role as member of the St. Cronan's "Pastoral Team" is acknowledged and punished.

Because she is under interdict, Sr. Lears is prohibited from receiving the sacraments until such time as she repents and is reconciled with the Church. She, all those at St. Cronan's who have been led astray by her, and those who continue to reject the infallible teachings of the Church, need our prayers.

Speculum Iustitiae, ora pro nobis!

The Decree of Extra-Judicial Adjudication can be found here.


Anonymous said...

How sad. Sr. Louise Lears is a courageous woman. Most St. Louis Catholics I know through my work and personal contacts would like to see Burke run out of town on a rail. He certainly doesn't represent the Catholicism I knew and loved in my youth in Kentucky.

Father G said...

May God bless this holy Archbishop...
Let us pray for him and that he remain in St. Louis for a long time.
St. Charles Borromeo, pray for him.
St. Michael, defend him.
Our Lady, Queen of Clergy and Mother of Priests, protect him...

Anonymous said...


I didn't realize that she had attempted to "ordain" these women.

But she is a product of the religious environment that she was brought up in. Her community is more responsible for this action that the archbishop. If her community would have reminded her of her commitments and responibilities as a woman religious she wouldn't be in this mess.

For too many years, these people kept on pushing the boundaries of the church; more so they said to themselves "the archbishop won't impose penalities against a nun," well, they tested him in St. Louis, and the good Archbishop did what the rest of our bishops should do.

These "ordinations" in St. Louis was really the unsuccessful attempt of progressives to say, well, if Archbishop Burke doesn't do anything, then we must be right.

Well, it seems to me that the good archbishop went another step: he went to Rome, got the CDF to issue their unviersal degree on women's ordinations, and now he has done everything but excommunicate Sister Lears from the church.

While many of us are happy that finally the church's leaders are taking action, let us keep Sister Lears in our prayers: that she will return to the heart of the church and stop this idiodic politicing about something that can never be within our sacred tradition: women priests.

Anonymous said...

Sister Louise Lears made no attempt to ordain anyone. That is a flat out LIE.

Anonymous said...

God Bless Archbishop Burke for his courageous witness in defending the Truth!

StGuyFawkes said...

To the Anon. who protests the LIE about Sr. Lears,

Here is my take on her alleged prohibited participation in sacred rites: she either attended the fake ordination or held up her hands in a symbol of blessing at the end of it as you often see at Mass now on Father's day, or Mother's day. IN any case I suspect the charge is that she attended the fake ordination and approved of it in a public gesture.

Remember, we don't know the specific evidence. That was between His Excellancy and Sr. Lears. Also remember that there was rumored to be an eyewitness for the archdiocese at this event.

We don't know what her participation was but it has been turned over to the CDF for further study.

Anyway, St. Cronan's each Sunday for a while used to host "women led liturgies". The presiders may have been Hudson and McGrath. (My source for this is Fr. Kleba's published notes on his meeting with the ARchbishop.)

It's possible that Sr. LEars participated in those liturgies which if they were fake Masses would in fact also qualify as a crime under the same canon. No?

Again, we don't really know nor should we know.

thetimman said...

Bottom line-- Lears was placed in charge of the guidance of souls at this parish (not allowed). She used this position (made more "legit" by the fact that she is a religious sister) to lead souls astray-- homosexual "lifestyle" ok, womenpriests ok, disobedience to authority ok, liturgical abuse ok, dabbling in non-Catholic spirituality ok, etc. (not allowed). Then she specifically counsels the two deluded ladies that it is ok to get "ordained" despite Archiepiscopal warning and the clear teaching of the Church, which she also undermines by her public dissent (not allowed). She thus leads these people into mortal sin, and compounds it by attending the farcical sorta-nations (not allowed).

The good Archbishop tries to get her to see the light, and has many communications with her and also sees her in person at least once. But, see, this isn't dialog-y enough. Then, the inevitable medicinal punishment of interdict.

And her supporters maintain Burke is unfair and unpastoral.

He isn't leading souls to hell-- can she say the same?

Anonymous said...

Sister Louise is the kindest, bravest person I have ever known. She lived the true message of Christ in her care of the poor. My husband and I have been life-long Catholics and have sought to be faithful to the teachings of Jesus. I have known men who were molested by priests and those very priests are still cared for by the church. I have seen the pictures of the male leaders of the church at the debutante balls and other social events catering to the wealthy Catholics of St. Louis. The hypocrisy of punishing this wonderful woman because she believes women should be ordained is beyond me. My family is leaving the church and will seek those who follow the true and complete message of Jesus outside of the Catholic Church.

Anonymous said...

I get a real kick out of all you traditional Catholics who have the nerve to proclaim who's going to hell.Perhaps it's Archbishop Burke who's going to hell for moving abusers around with no thought for the victims. Isn't that leading souls to hell by giving them more opportunity to act upon their obscene urges?
As far as Sister Louise is concerned, I think it would have been nice if the Archbishop had the decency to sit down and have a conversation with her before sending a process server to her home. For the record, I do not believe that Sister Louise should have attended the "ordination".

thetimman said...

To the two anons since my last post:

#1-- You are not leaving the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, to the extent you have rejected its infallible teachings given by Christ Himself, you have already left it. And not by anyone's choice but your own. Christ calls you back, there is nothing to keep you from Him but your own will. Research and read about the nature of the Catholic priesthood before buying into the load being sold to you by the womenpriest gang.

#2-- Thank you for parroting the SNAP press statement. It is not accurate, of course, but your comment points out why it is always necessary to refute such garbage. There are some unsuspecting and unfortunate souls who will always believe it.

Anonymous said...

There are also some unfortunate souls who will always believe the Archbishop's side of anything without any corroborating evidence for the Archbishop's side.

Anonymous said...

by the way you mentioned nothing about the fact that you seem to take great joy in deciding who's going to hell. Even the Archbishop admits that's not his purview.

thetimman said...

If all things were equal, I would give the Archbishop the benefit of the doubt, true. Of course, in this case, the evidence, direct and circumstantial, greatly favors the Archbishop.

I take no joy in anyone going to hell, and I certainly don't decide who is going there, thank the Lord. I do know that rejecting the authority of the Church and her teachings is NOT a reason one goes to heaven.

Anonymous said...

Now I would very much appreciate you thoughts on the fact that the Archbishop never took the time to sit down and talk with Sister Louise before he sent the process server to her house.

Anonymous said...

Do you plan to answer my question or has this just gone down the June hole?

Anonymous said...

okay, go back and stick your head in the sand.

thetimman said...

Sorry, I had trouble placing the last two with which post they belonged to.

The answer to your question is twofold: one, His Grace did meet with her, and gave her all the rights and warnings consistent with the gravity of the situation. There were several communications between them.

Two: the issue is a red herring, in that Sr. Lears could have recanted her rejection of infallible church teaching, and THEN sought a dialogued aimed at enabling her to make this assent of faith willingly and not just becasue she must as a Catholic hold to the teachings of Christ.

How about some humility the other way, and not just blast the Archbishop for what you perceive to be his lack?

Why not just obey Christ's Church?

Anonymous said...

As far as I'm concerned, real communication should always come before the verdict. The first time Sister Louise saw the Archbishop was when the verdict was read. Then, she was to defend herself, but neither she nor her Canon lawyer were allowed to remove or make copies of the evidence against her. What kind of an opportunity to defend oneself is that? If in fact her guilt was already decided, why bother having a pretense of a justice system? Is that how Canon Law is supposed to operate?

thetimman said...

I take issue with your characterization of events-- the reading of the "finding of guilt" is an admonition that she is entitle to refute. Questions of style aside, all she had to do is say,"I fully support the infallible teaching of the church on the impossibility of women's ordination." If she had, then asked Abp. to let her know what specifically she should not be doing, then promising to refrain, I bet the Archbishop would have been happy to engage in the dialog you mention. After all, he did correspond on several occasions with that CAN "holy families" group.

Anonymous said...

You never address the fact that she and her Canon lawyer were not allowed to take any information with them. Is that standard procedure? Also, when she was called to the chancery for what turned out to be the last time to see further evidence against her, she never was given the opportunity to add to her defense before the final decree against her. The Archbishop was in a mad rush to squeeze it all in , because he knew he was leaving St. Louis. Once again, I find the whole procedure to be a mockery of justice. If this is how Canon Law always works, then I'll question everything I hear come from it in the future.

Anonymous said...

Have I lost your attention again?

Anonymous said...

Apparently, you seem to have no words of refutation on my comments about the lack of justice in the process against Sister Louise. Of course, June has gone down the hole. So no one is going to read this anyway. No need to respond is there?