Aug 17, 2008

Corruptio Optima Pessima (of an Ex-Nun)

Stories that teach well can be either positive or negative. A negative learning story is embedded in the recent obituary of an ex-Catholic nun who appears to illustrate the Latin phrase--Corruptio Optima Pessima ("corruption of the best is the worst"). [I've heard this phrase used to indicate the primacy of the Catholic Church because when you see members of the Church fall--they fall much further downward into a pit of errors.]

The obituary states that the woman was a nun for 25 years before marrying and joining a Unitarian Universalist "church". I've checked the blog of the "pastor" to see a blasphemous post on "God of Queer, Transgressive Spaces." Not surprisingly, "Pastor Sean" has a "partner" and a substance-abusing son.

Why do I focus on the ugly, the blasphemous, and the loss of faith of a particular ex-nun? Because this falling away is only one example of so many other losses of Catholic religious and laity that occurred within twenty years of the significant destruction of Catholic liturgy and practice following Vatican II.

We often talk about "loss statistics" in the Church, but we can't forget each one of these losses is the sad story of an individual person who lost their way. Back in the 1970's, losses became so common that people just accepted it. The local parish lost at least three assistant priests who abandoned their vocations over a less than five year period. It became a joke.

I remember making Legion of Mary visits to fallen-away Catholics in the 1970s when it was common to hear "The Catholic Church has changed and I don't recognize or believe in it anymore." Then the person would say they weren't attending Church. It didn't seem to matter to them what they believed, which church they attended, or if they attended at all.

This particularly affected children who grew up in the 1970's and 1980's, and the result is that the Catholic Church is now trying to convert (not re-convert) an entire lost generation. The beliefs of older Catholics were also thrown into doubt. One example was a practicing Catholic who accompanied me and another fellow to a Catholic chapel where the Indian god of destruction, Shiva, was being honored. When the priest said his ecumenical gesture was not a problem, my friend abandoned the Catholic Church to join Full Faith Church of Love, a fast-growing evangelical church in Kansas City that became approximately half full of ex-Catholics who rejected the "new catholic church." Terrible, terrible times!

One lady approaching death during the 1970's told me that nothing mattered anymore. Because the Church had changed everything, she no longer believed in the Catholic Church or God's laws or Jesus' resurrection. I talked animatedly with her in her hospital room and insisted that enemies inside the Church were trying to obscure the Church's teachings and destroy Her, and that she should remain constant with what her parents had taught her and what she had learned as a child in Catholic school. I read her obituary about a month later and noted she had been buried at a Catholic Mass, but I never really knew whether she had resumed her beliefs in the Catholic faith.

What should be done about the ex-nun described in this post? I will ask Mary to intercede with Jesus for His mercy on this poor soul who descended into such grave errors. Her life is a chilling example of the many great falls that occurred in the unfortunate years following Vatican II.