dr. james kottoor
This is a mostly about the excommunication and dismissal of Sr. Letitia “Tish” Rawles of Sisters of the Precious Blood (see report in CCV) who was serving as a “catacomb” priest (Fake, fraud or innocent, you decide) in order to not cause trouble for her religious order. Instances like this are propping up too often. So the malaise is deep rooted and needs extermination before it becomes mortal.
First it was the fraud of a Polish Monsignor Krysztof Olaf Charamsa 43, serving Vatican's doctrinal arm who announced his homosexuality on the eve of the Rome Synod and got himself sacked from his office. The possibility of two birds at one shot: to become a martyr or hero for honesty and to jerk the Synod to propose a radical remedy, must have prompted his timing. We hate to call him a “Fraud”. Then what else to call him? Don’t we call one who steals a thief?
We can’t go in here what makes one a thief, his/her free will, circumstances, extreme poverty, necessity to survive etc. In the present case it is the unreasonable or inhuman rules and regulations now ruling the roost in the Catholic Church which makes it nearly impossible for one 1, to be honest before God, 2. honest to oneself and 3. honest to others? These are the three Honesties required of any human being to be considered as a man approved. How many of our highly placed Eminences, Beatitudes, Excellences, His Graces, nay any one of us lowly placed can publicly claim to posses threes three traits?
Is it not the main reason why many of our bishops turn a blind eye to colleagues who turn extortioners, misappropriators, exploiters (they all should come under the names “thieves” or wolves in sheep’s clothing) and sex abusers and pedophile Reverends? It could also be, these guys approve of this kind of misbehavior in the heart of their hearts, or do those things themselves very secretly, or even talk about it and admit the wrong in private conversation. If they don’t come out publicly, it may be for the sake of giving lip service at least to the Lord’s command: “Let him who has not sinned throw the first stone.” Then who is more at fault: one who comes out of his double life like Chramsa or those who knew about it for a long time but kept their mouth shut in the name of protecting the “Happy-go-lucky-life” of comrades?
Thus when we go searching from one or two known frauds who have come out openly to put an end their hypocritical double life we have to finally go through a long hidden path to reach the ultimate authority which sanctions and enforces such a rotten system of law which makes its nearly impossible for humans to be honest. That authority in the Catholic Church at present is Pope Francis.
But it is now everybody’s knowledge that he is the first one in the forefront of us all like Jesus saying: “Sabbath is for man, not man for Sabbath, Let the perfect come forward to cast the first stone, Don’t exclude anyone from the all embracing mercy and God’s pardon, Keep the doors of the church always open like that of the prodigal Father etc. Then what is needed is either radical reform, or taking fast steps to abolish these man-made laws which force people to become frauds, thieves and hypocrites. It was precisely for this Francis called this two-year long synod. Yet it is very doubtful if the majority of bishops who attended the synod understood this one great truth and purpose.
Precisely the same or almost same is the case of the Cincinnati nun, Sr. Letitia “Tish” Rawles, serving as a “catacomb” priest for long. I am, not for or against priesthood for women or even for men. For many honest knowledgeable scholars. the existing system of priesthood itself has no rational, philosophical, scriptural or theological basis. For some it is like asking: will any stray dog with a golden plate bearing the inscription LION, hanging from its neck become a lion for that matter? As for women, many among them who call themselves theologians say that the centre of dispute here is not Priesthood, but denial of equal opportunism for women in the Church.
That is quite understandable. If the Church, in this day and age of reason, dialogue, democracy, fraternity, equality and enlightenment, still continues to deny equal opportunities to women in all ministries in the Church, she (Yes Francis says, Church is She, not He, feminine not masculine) should forthwith stop teaching that God created man in his own image and likeness as man and woman. Otherwise, no reasonable person is going to be convinced of the justification for the present practice of inequality. She can of course go on talking that the Sun is circling earth or the Vatican. Who can close the mouth of another in a democracy? We have to live and let live. That is why there are any number of atheists, agnostics, rationalists and any number of divided churches today claiming hotlines to God almighty or to Father, Son and Spirit separately.
So I don’t call Cincinnati nun a fraud either. She is exactly on the same footing of Kim Davis who refused to issue a marriage certificate for same sex people. When Francis met her privately he asked her to stay firm in her conviction. I don’t know what he meant by that since he had also met his former homosexual student whom he embraced and kissed without saying anything. In any case he had expressed himself earlier that he was not in favour of sacramental marriages for same sex people. But he fully supports those who live according to his/her conscience, which is most inviolable. So by excommunicating Sr.Rawles publicly the Church may have made herself a laughing stock and gave undue publicity to the Sister instead of allowing her to live according to her considered conviction.
The fact is that all the divided churches, especially the Catholic Church, is full of stinking dirty linen which should be washed clean or burned down. Better if they do it privately. Will they do that? The strong signals coming from the Synod just over shows they won’t do it in the near future. The only alternative is to shame them in public and force them to do it. If that attempt also fails, the general public affected by the suffocating stink may have to barge into their citadel and clean up all the dirty linen publically once and for all. Final option would be to join those who are doing a private or public mass exodus to prevent being stigmatized as a counter witness to Jesus. Let better sense prevail in the Catholic Church and prevent any such thing happening.
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