31 March 2009

Sr. Lears Returns to St. Louis to be Honored by NCAN

As her friend Susan Talve might say, this takes a lot of chutzpah.

The friends of dissent and heresy, the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), is awarding its Margaret Ellen Traxler Award to Sister Louise Lears.  Just to make sure we are aware that this public honor is not given in ignorance of her canonical censure, NCAN's announcement describes Sr. Lears as "placed under interdict by Archbishop Raymond Burke on June 26, 2008 for her support of the priestly ordination of two women".

Never mind that no priestly ordination of any woman took place in reality. Progressives are all about symbolism.  By giving this honor, they get to make a useless gesture that makes them feel good as they achieve actuarial nihilism.

You see, NCAN is effectually rewarding Lears for pertinacious rejection of Church teaching and scandal, not to mention inciting contumely towards the lawful Church authority.  NCAN is thus an aider and abettor of this activity.  I guess while the See is vacant, the mice will play.

Unconfirmed reports list that the vote of every member of NCAN was overwhelming-- 5 voted yes, 1 voted no, and 1 could not be channeled for comment.

Congratulations, Sisters, for sinking deeper into the well of irrelevance, at least as far as the Catholic Church is concerned.

Thanks to the reader who tipped me to this.


Anonymous said...

It would be important to post the names here of those NCAN members who are on the nominating committee for that award. In that way, they can be tracked relative to their employment, and if they work for a Catholic entity (or are applying for jobs with Catholic entities) communciation can be established with the employers involved.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that the Bishops get down to work and excommunicate ALL the Catholics who disagree with them. Then everyone will be happier. The people at the Oratory can be part of the 1% that's left, and all the excommunicated can start over again. Maybe this time we'll get it closer to what Jesus wanted. I know, I know. "If you don't like it the way it is, LEAVE." Nope. The Church is the people of God, not a bunch of Bishops. I can't leave.
By the way, here we go snitching again. mv

thetimman said...

The Catholic Church, mv, is precisely and exactly the Church Jesus wanted. You're not saying He was not able to found the Church He wanted, are you?

Or are you saying that His Church isn't what you would have wanted?

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear M.V.,

You wrote,

"By the way, here we go snitching again."

It's a very revealing comment.

Let me see if I get you right.

The Coalition of American Nuns goes to the effort to book and publicize a meeting. They put it on the internet and make sure everyone knows about it. And after it has been duly publicized, this blog brings it up in debate and somehow this blog is "snitching"?

I don't get it.

If you make advertisement of an award for apostasy don't be surprised if some people notice.

Anonymous said...

I'm saying that the hierarchy absconded with the Faith that Jesus wanted. The Faith is not static. It did not stop learning during the Middle Ages.
I know you'll say that the hierarchy are descended from the Apostles. I believe that was actually true when the Faith began. Unfortunately, that was lost when people started buying bishoprics for their sons, and Popes started aligning themselves with monarchs instead of Jesus. When I visited Salzburg, for example, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing the palace where the Bishop of Salzburg kept his mistress and his twelve or so children. Of course, all the while he's claiming celibacy is the way to go. THIS is a heir to the Apostles?
By the way, good April Fools joke. I actually thought it was possible it was true. That's the scary part for me. mv

thetimman said...

The faith teaches. We learn.

Pointing to the presence of sinners in need of redemption in a Church that teaches that we are all sinners in need of redemption as proof that the Church has gone astray is hardly proof of your point.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear M.V.

If you are saying that the heirarchy absconded with the Faith Jesus wanted you are for all intents and purposes an adherant of the Anglican movement. I'm not saying I want you to go there (I do not!) I'm just saying that if you truly believe this (and I trust your sincerity) both you and Sr. Lears need to honestly look at the real meaining of your intellectual position and study your options.

Read Newman.

Anonymous said...

I don't speak for Sr. Louise Lears.mv

Anonymous said...

As far as the snitching goes, I was referring to the comment about making a list of the sisters involved and making sure all the right people know what those big, bad sisters have done.

I won't continue to discuss the hierarchy here. I know I'm a fish out of water on this site. I only started questioning all this in the recent past. I grew up loving the Church but recent events have really shaken me. The Church I loved seems to be falling apart right in front of my eyes. I know you are looking for a restoration but for me that restoration is a disaster. Of course, someone is going to tell me that the Church is not about little old me or any individual. That is the saddest part of all to me. I think the People of God matter. mv

StGuyFawkes said...


The problem is not that you speak for Sr. Louise. The problem is that you keep saying you speak for Jesus.

I don't. I trust the Bishops to do that.

You wrote,

"I know you'll say that the hierarchy are descended from the Apostles. I believe that was actually true when the Faith began. Unfortunately, that was lost when people started buying bishoprics for their sons, and Popes started aligning themselves with monarchs instead of Jesus."

Here is my point.

M.V. you'd have to BE Jesus,or have him on your cell phone to know with such serene sureness that a break in apostolic succession did in fact take place during a certain epoch under certain political pressures.

And you'd have to be the Holy Spirit to know that His protections stopped at a certain point because of a failed episcopacy.

I'd like to know more about how this leaderless "people of God" ruddered only by their individual consciences manages to know so much about the will of God free of any teaching or disciplinary authority contained in bishops.

In the meantime I'll back Salzburg Bishops, (venereal) warts and all.

thetimman said...


Believe me, I am glad you read this blog, fish out of water or not. Of course, every person in the Church matters-- you, me and the people who think that April Fool's post I made was sinful.

You can understand how some people saw the Church they loved ripped from before their eyes in an instant in 1969. It causes hard feelings and misunderstandings. I wouldn't worry about the Church you love going away. Vernacular Masses in the Ordinary Form aren't being taken away, and if they ever were it appears to be at the pace of a glacier.

Truth is truth. It doesn't change. The governing structure of the Church changed over time as the logistical and prudential situation changed. This is all perfectly normal, the ancient oak tree looks different from the acorn, but the entirety of that oak was there in the acorn.

Changing doctrine is different. It is like cutting the oak down-- or if that is too dramatic, it is like grafting a foreign plant onto it. You may like it better, but it ceases to be the oak.

The constant Tradition of the Church affirms that only men can be priests. Christ did not choose women to be Apostles. Many popes have declared the constant teaching. Most recently John Paul II in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis. This cannot change. It is ontologically impossible for women to be priests.

To reject the Church's authority to define this teaching is to reject her ability to define any. If you do this, you deny the words of Christ Who said that the gates of hell would not prevail against her, and that he would send the Paraclete to lead her into all truth.

Keep reading, with an eye toward giving the Church the benefit of the doubt. Faith, seeking understanding.

If you can stand it, and come to de Sales, sit next to me at Donut hour and we can debate issues whenever you want.

God bless you.

StGuyFawkes said...

Dear M.V.

I also think you should keep commenting on this blog. Regard not our blunt attempts at humor.

I noticed that you have a very clear and lucid way of expressing the view of "progressive" Catholics (if I may put you there).

I particularly admired your candor in challenging Apostolic Succession.

I'm thinking a lot of trouble between Catholics comes out of that doctrine and if only for that reason I'd like to hear from you again.

I'll promise to tone down the volume.

(By the way please accept my apologies over the "snitching" part of our argument. I did't realize you were addressing the topmost comment.)


St. Guy

Anonymous said...

From the so-to-speak "Snitching" Comment Author: We have all seen the damage wreaked upon the Church in recent decades by wrong-minded Sisters (and others). Such people spread confusion and chaos with their heterdox ideas, especially when they hold Church-positions. If I can help prevent such people (i.e. such as those who have the audacity to award Sister Lears after her behavior and subsequent censure in St. Louis) from obtaining or retaining a position and title within the Church, then I am serving Holy Religion very well indeed and will wear the title "Snitch" with pride.

StGuyFawkes said...

One last comment.

Although the story has not been verified, The National Catholic Reporter has a blog wherein it is passed on, second hand, that Sr. Louise has received Communion in defiance of the interdict.

The account, which I stress has not been verified, can be found at


One point: If this story is true, and I stress IF it is true, and if Sr. Louise is willing to come here in September to be honored for her participation in the fake ordinations then there is only one conclusion to be reached.

The lady is begging for full tilt excommunication.

When she left our archdiocese she was still under the shadow of a charge of "communio in sacris" which Archb. Burke sent on to the Vatican to resolve since it was a delict more properly dealt with there.

NOw when you add that to this coming award and the story of her blasphemously taking communion what other result can there be but her complete excommunication.

I speak withour rancor to all Catholics of good will.

There is a "perfect storm" brewing. If Sr. Louise is excommunicated before the time of her receiving that award I don't even want to guess at the charges that will be leveled at American Nuns who openly choose to honor an excommunicate.

Folks, I'm not even arguing the right or wrong of the case. I'm only saying that anyone with common sense knows that more and more legal action will have to come out of this should Sr. Lears appear here and take the award all the while standing under the shadow of anathema.

Law is law.

I'm betting someone will call her on this.

Anonymous said...

By the way, do take note of the fact that the National Coalition of Catholic Nuns (NCAN) is not an official group that Rome has established to represent American nuns (funny that this group keeps the name "nuns" in their title since this type of woman religious will always insist "I am not a nun; I am a Sister!). This is rather, a volunteer sort of "club" which Sisters (and others, I believe) can join if they wish, and it usually can be found supporting leftist ideas rather than Vatican-inspired programs.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I do believe that the behavior of much of the hierarchy and many priests has a lot to do with many people losing their faith or moving to the progressive side. Yes, we are all sinners and that of course includes the hierarchy and priests. However, I know many average,everyday people who lead more moral lives than many in the priesthood. The fact that these religious men have chosen to so clearly state that they are followers of Jesus to the point that they supposedly gave up many worldly things ,and then to find that, in fact, they are more worldly than many people who are not in the religious state has led to my questioning their moral authority. I know many non- religious who have much more moral authority. I only need to look to my own husband who has been true to me for 29 years of marriage and through many heartaches, and who is a good man by any standard. I do not find someone's knowledge of Canon Law to be particularly helpful in my pursuit of Jesus' will for me. It's hard for me to follow those who talk the talk but don't walk the walk.
Also , it seems to me you'd have to be Jesus or have him on the cell phone to know there WASN'T a break in Apostolic Succession. The behavior of these individuals and many since calls the whole thing into question for me.
Also, I have no intention of becoming a Protestant. I love the Eucharist, and you don't need Bishops for that.mv

thetimman said...


With respect, your position is like sitting on a tree branch, cutting it off behind you, and then expecting the tree to fall while you remain in the air. Other than Bugs Bunny cartoons, it doesn't work that way.

Addressing your points:

You put a lot of stock that many laymen live "more moral" lives than many priests, and that this makes you question priests' moral authority. OK, many priests live "more moral" lives than many laymen-- will you also doubt lay authority? Will your knowledge about the infidelity of a huge percentage of spouses make you no longer believe in marriage?

And how can you judge the moral state of so many so well? You seem to automatically equate those who "talk the talk" with those who "don't walk the walk". What if some do both? Isn't that the best combination?

As far as the standard of proof you set up to know there wasn't a break in apostolic succession, you of course require your opponent to prove a negative. The burden would be on you to prove a break, if we go by rules of argument. But no matter. We have Jesus' own words that the Church was founded on Peter, that he was charged to strengthen his brethren, that the apostles had the authority to bind and loose in heaven, and that the Church would never fail. Not good enough for you?

You love the Eucharist. I am compelled therefore to break this news to you-- if not for apostolic succession, there is no more Eucharist. No bishops=no priests= no valid consecrations=no Body, Blood, Soul or Divinity of Christ in the Eucharist.

Stop sawing that branch for your own good.

Anonymous said...

I was trying to continue my discussion with St. Guy. Of course, you got in the way. I don' t know you personally, but the tone of your blogs gives the impression that you are a "smarty pants". Not everyone enjoys being treated like an idiot just because they don't agree with you. That's a sure way to lose people. mv

Anonymous said...

mv, dear Sister, as I was reading thetimman's responses to your points, I (a communications expert by education and trade) was thinking to myself, "what a respectful and logical point-by-point pastoral response thetimman is giving to her." I was pleased that he behaved well, because we all know that thetimman, our friend, can be acerbic. Accordingly, your response surprised me somewhat. May I say that in my discipline, your type of response (perhaps you are the exception to it) usually indicates that the first speaker (yourself) was speaking more out of their affective level than the cognitive domain (you were speaking from your feelings rather than from your head or logically) and that your responder (thetimman) came uncomfortably close to the truth, although that may be difficult (or even impossible) to recognize at the present moment. Perhaps this is helpful?

On another note, as you are despairing of all of our priests because the smallest fraction of that group has produced incalculable filth in our midst, can you not also try to include in your recollections the many holy priests we know about like Father Flanagan of Boys Town, Father Damian the apostle to the lepers of Molokai; Good Pope John; St. Padre Pio; St. Vincent de Paul who is the originator of many countless efforts to serve the poor in the world; Father John Washington, the Catholic priest in World War II who gave his life for his men (with three non-Catholic fellow chaplains) aboard the USAT Dorchester; Father St. Maximilian Kolbe whose story I presume you know; Father Solanus Casey, friend of the poor and suffering in Detroit; Father Benedict Groeschel, just to name a few. Are they and ALL of their priest-brothers to be regarded as sources of scandal and disgrace to us because of the "filth" (Pope Benedict's word) of a such a small number? Have not the many self-sacrificing and heroic deeds of Catholic priests of past and present earned their trobe the elast bit of mercy in this sad time? (Imagine how deeply and devastatingly painful posts like yours can be to the faithful, loving and self-sacrificing clergy around us.) And not to forget that the percentage of priests who have abused within the number of all priests is identical to the percentage of men who have abused in EVERY population group that has been studied (i.e. family men; public school teachers and coaches; etc. By NO means is this uniquely a Catholic problem; it is only the deep-rooted anti-catholicism in our country that has achieved the goal of successfully identifying this problem as one unique to the Church. That sounds like a victory for somebody in the other world, but I don't think someone who is enjoying the Beatific Vision right now (or ever). Think this over, please, and pray even more, and be free with that wonderful compassion that your messages reveal you have within you.

StGuyFawkes said...


From your post of 4/3 14:50 I can't tell if you think I'm the "smarty pants" or Tim is the "smarty pants". Either way let me say St. Guy is a real bomb thrower and causes good people grief. Sorry for my tone.

I do share your grief in finding the average clergyman often less holy than the longsuffering father or mother of three.

The hard nub of your argument is one that is not doubt shared by millions of Catholics. However what's harder to accept is that Apostolic Succession and claims to moral standing through time are only indirectly connected.

What you have in Apostolic Succession is the promise of the Holy Spirit (Paraclete) to be with the Church always and protect it from doctrinal error, or errors in teaching. YOu also have in it the line of sacramental authority which touches back to Jesus.

In fact legitimate authority frequently comes in the shape of someone hard to love, like or even respect. But a belief in the Church as eternal and true makes sense of the apparent contradition that CHrist survives all and can even work with the poor weak flesh of the Bishop of Salzburg.

I sympathize with your moral views. My humble point is that your moral take on the Roman Heirarchy, and their claims to legitimate leadership are two different things. Apples and oranges.

Of course in a democratic culture legitiamacy comes from the people and rulers who shame the morals of the people may lose their right to rule.

The plain fact is that the rule of Christ is that of Christ the King and Apostolic Succession is based on a Royalist model not a democratic model.

Protestant ecclesiology is closer to the modern model of democratic regimes. Orthodox and Catholic ecclesiology is royalist.

In saying this I insist that one is free to pursue democratic socialism if it were a non-athiest variety as long as one's religion acknowleged the right of the CHurch to rule absolutely (and heirarchically) in faith and morals.

That's how I see it.

I realize that there every reader of the National Cathlic Reporter sees it exactly in reverse.

Good talking to you m.v.

Hope to hear from you again.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

"Smarty Pants" was directed towards Timman. Thanks for your response. I will ponder it. My husband is sitting right here, and his response is that there is no evidence that Christ established a Royalist model. There is no evidence that Christ or his Apostles pursued the wealth and power that is part and parcel of Royalty. Yet, the hierarchy has made wealth and power a central part of their lives. mv

Anonymous said...

I missed the listing of the good priests. I couldn't agree more. If you are referring to John XXIII,isn't he the on whose anathema to conservative Catholics? Isn't he the one who was trying to make the Church more collegial? The frightened Curia got in his way, and the move toward collegiality was stopped in its tracks. So much for the Curia believing that John was the Successor to Peter.mv

thetimman said...

mv, your blanket statements about the Church and her bishops have nothing to support them. If you are unwilling to even try to have a reasoned discussion, then unfortunately we will just have to let your sloganeering be the last word in this "debate".

StGuyFawkes said...


Okay, maybe I shouldn't have said
"royalist". As I mentioned, when
describing the Church, the "royalist" model of authority can be misleading. The model of apostolic succession doesn't refer
to or prefer any particular form of government. You could just as well call the heirarchy of the Church a "centralized" or more properly "authoritarian" government.

Authoritarian, by the way, has a positive as well as negative meaning.

My point is that the passing of authority almost as soon as Christ died was understood to pass from apostles to their successors. In the West the primacy of one apostle, Peter, was recognized very early.

The passing of authority and the sacramental validity contained within it isn't contingent on the moral stature of the ones handing the power down.

That's shocking but it's a good thing. I think Christ knew that for his truth to be maintained in time it would have to be passed on in a way that would survive the frail human vessals charged with repeating the truth.

That is apostolic succession. Apostolic Succession is the promise of the Holy Spirit that the truth will survive human events and human nature.

The nearest equivalent in human terms we have to this is "legitamacy" as it applies to royal government.

Yes,there is no evidence that Christ installed a "royal" government. However he did say, "Thou are Peter and upon this Rock I will build my Church..."

It was very personal and individually chosen. And the apostles were individually chosen.
It may have not been royalist, or aristocratic, but it was certainly a consecration of the few for the good of the many.

And the few had to survive in this drear and dirty world.

Now, to address one of your complaints: I don't think it's fair to say that the heirarchy has made wealth and power a central part of their lives. Some bishops have been corrupt and eager for benefices and fealties.

Still, the truth of the matter is that the Church would not ever have been able to function had it not decided to take a place among the other powers.

The whole warp and woof (and you may want to say it's very warped)still the whole warp and woof of Western Civilization began when Charlemagne decided to establish the Papal States so that the Church would have a place at the table of warring monarchs.

The CHurch needs to be powerful. If you don't believe it ask Corozon Aquino who she is grateful to for overthrowing the government of Ferdinando Marcos.

If you don't think the Church needs to be powerful ask Lech Walesa where his Polish democracy would have gone without John Paul's private threat to Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Church has to have a place at the table among the great powers. It's always been that way. Don't be ashamed of it.

And again, if your model of the Church requires that it be as impoverished and persecuted and simple as were the first apostles then you must face one uncontrovertable conclusion.

You must conclude that the
Roman Catholic Church for
being powerful has been illegitimate since about 60 A.D.

That is the view of Martin Luther.

I'm not asking you to leave but you need to understand that you are saying that since about 60 A.D. no baptism has been valid, no confession truly heard, no wedding blessed by grace and no priest anything but a poseur.

Or you must appeal to a whole new model of salvation which doesn't need sacraments, priests or baptisms by water.

You need a theory of salvation based on baptism in faith, preachers and no priests, and
a grace that comes not in the fleshly touch of the Church but
which comes in one's personal encounter with Christ in the Bible.

You may not want to leave the R.C. Church but my point is that you may be leaving it intellectually without knowing it.

This is not a taunt. I'd rather have you in than out. But you may be already out and you just don't know it.

Let's keep talking.

St. Guy

Anonymous said...

Go right ahead.mv

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Oh, m.v., really! I thought you were a genuinely sincere but frustrated Catholic over the various storms the Church has weathered lately. But when you write, "Yet, the hierarchy has made wealth and power a central part of their lives." and "The frightened Curia got in his [John XXIII] way, and the move toward collegiality was stopped in its tracks. So much for the Curia believing that John was the Successor to Peter," I find myself suspecting that you must either be twelve years old, an eneny of the Church or just stupid! I'm finished responding to your comments.

Anonymous said...

As far as the Timman is concerned I'm out,and so I am. Goodbye.mv

thetimman said...

mv, as the anon immediately before your post observed, your statements belie your attitude. I tried to engage you in charity, you rejected it. You throw word bombs, then complain if people respond. I will pray for you because you have been turned against the Church by those who hate her, yet claim to be for her. But you also need to take responsibility for your own destiny.

StGuyFawkes said...

I want to stick up for m.v. and keep her posting on this site. You guys are being too damn sensitive.

M.V. has been honest enough and lucid enough to push the debate about "progressive Catholics" into actual topics we can get our hands on and grapple in debate.

Let me summarize m.v.'s views. And m.v., if I have grasped you wrong please correct me. But I have taken your remarks seriously enough to see them as a coherant system.

M.V.'s position:

1. The Church is "The People of God". That being true the actual Truth and grace of the Catholic Church lies not in her administrative organs, otherwise known as the heirarchy, but in herself as the whole Body of Christ unified horizontally by shared activities and experiences.

2. Given 1.) above the Sense of the Faithful is a better means of grasping the intent of the Holy Spirit than the traditions and laws of the Church as expressed by our annointed bishops.

3. Such being the case the role of the Bishops are to live and pray in a dynamic relationship with the whole body of the Faithful understanding that this body may dissent from tradition and canon law but in doing so be a better teacher than the annointed Bishops.

I get all of this out of M.v.s complaints. Tell me m.v. do I read you right?

If this is your view or something like it tell us because I have absolutely no doubt that about a zillion Catholics feel the same way and that they have completely misconstrued Catholic theology although they mean well.

Talk to me.

Anonymous said...

StGuy, I appreciate your taking the time to give some thought to my comments. Frankly, I have even corresponded with the Vatican to express my grave concern that the vast chasm that is developing between the so-called progressive and conservative Catholics is quickly becoming a "disastrophe"(a word my son coined when he was younger) for the Catholic Church in the United States. If we don't start to talk to each other, things are going to be a real mess. I know that many feel a smaller, in-line Church is the way to go. That may be fine, but I guarantee that you will have an in-line Church with no money. I assure you that the Bishops are very worried about that outcome. Why do you think they hesitate to support the Pope, as Laura Schlessinger did? Again, in this way, they open themselves to question as the moral authority. I believe you have summed up the feelings of "zillions" of Catholics well. I have more to say about why I feel this way, if the Timman will allow, but I must run now. mv