Guy Fawkes…

We gathered to celebrate the failed terrorist plot to blow up the houses of Parliament today.

(Or from a different perspective…)

They gathered today to burn another Catholic freedom fighter in effigy.

The photo above freaked me a little- it looked like a man being burnt on a cross- which would be slightly appropriate I suppose.

So I chose to engage with the bonfire and fireworks (both of which I love) as a means to remember a time when Protestant and Catholic were set against one another, and truth tribalism was let loose on the land like a pack of raging wolves.

The radical nun’s habit…

There is a rather astonishing row being played out in the media between the Vatican and a group of Catholic nuns in America, called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. This is no fringe movement, but rather is the largest organisation of Catholic nuns in the US. The LCWR is a social justice lobby and has been active in promoting civil rights (including Obama’s controversial health care bill.)

The current swing towards conservatism in the Catholic church, which has undoubtedly led to a move towards much greater central control on all sorts of matters of faith and liturgy appears to have found a visible battleground.

What then are the concerns of the Vatican about these dangerous nuns? This from the BBC;

…issues of “crucial importance” to the church, such as abortion and euthanasia, had been ignored.

Vatican officials also castigated the group for making some public statements that “disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops”, who are the church’s “authentic teachers of faith and morals.”…

…It says the group is undermining Roman Catholic teaching on homosexuality and is promoting “feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith”.

The radical nuns do not concur. Sister Simone Campbell, head of of the Leadership Network has been reported here as making some of the following statements;

“I’ve no idea what they’re talking about,” Sister Simone Campbell, head of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, told the BBC.

“Our role is to live the gospel with those who live on the margins of society. That’s all we do.”

Sister Campbell suggested a difficult time ahead: “It’s totally a top-down process and I don’t think the bishops have any idea of what they’re in for.”

Who is this radical dangerous firebrand? See for yourself;

I fear for this woman, and for the Catholic church. May they find a path towards a generous, open orthodoxy.

And may this kind of radicalism increase exponentially!