Although I am a man with spiritual beliefs, I have little but contempt for religious institutions, given as they are to making rules and interpretations that serve only to inhibit inquiry and honest discussion about the true nature of reality as they desperately try to maintain their waning political power.
Particularly guilty of this is the Catholic Church, the mother church of Christianity, and the religion in which I was raised.
Even now, well into the twenty-first century, the Vatican tries to carry on as if the Middle Ages had never ended.
The latest in a myriad of insults to intelligence, progressive theology, and human equality comes in its battle with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the organization that represents 80 per cent of American nuns, all seeking dialogue with the intractable institution that they serve.
Last April, the group was ordered to put itself under the authority of Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain. Their crimes?
Officially, the Vatican’s criticism focuses on accusations that the nuns are too vocal on social justice issues and too silent on backing church doctrine opposing birth control, abortion and homosexuality. They are also accused of dissenting on all-male priesthood and taking positions with “radical feminist themes.”
Just imagine the audacity of these women who willingly and radically altered the course of their lives to pursue Christ's injunctions about justice, love, and acceptance. What were they thinking, confronting an institution that, through its historical and contemporary propensity for corruption, the concealing and condoning child abuse just one example, cares nothing about those ideals?
You can read the full story of these brave women confronting the wanton abuse of authority here.
UPDATE: For more information about theses nuns and the repressive reaction they have elicited from the male hierarchy of the Church, Alternet.org has a good article.