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Do I have to believe everything the Catholic church believes to be Catholic? - Page 5

post #81 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluegoat View Post

Conservative isn't always the best word to use in this context though some do, and it's a somewhat of a subtle distinction that you can see in all of the small-c catholic groups. It is difficult to suss it out at first coming from a more fundamentalist background. But it doesn't mean conservative much like politically conservative - you would find such people vote a variety of ways for example.
I completely agree. Generally amongst Catholics, descriptive terms that include traditional, orthodox and conservative imply that the person/parish/group adheres to current Church teaching and dogma. Conservative in the mainstream media indicates an alliance with the Republican party and while many Catholics I know do tend to sway more Republican simply due to life issues that doesn't mean the conservative political party in anyway fully represents the beliefs of orthodox Catholics.

The US College of Catholics Bishops recently released a statement regarding their beliefs about the need for health care reform, for instance.

http://www.usccb.org/healthcare/

You may also want to take a peek inside a site that contains most of the social justice teachings:

http://www.osjspm.org/
post #82 of 92
Religious who are less traditional still share many of the traditions that people say they want. They still live communally, only maybe in a house of just a few women integrated into a neighbourhood instead of with dozens or hundreds of women in a convent that is separate from the neighbourhood. These communities still engage in common prayer, praying the liturgy of the hours together every day.

As for the habit, the garments that we now refer to as religious habits were not something that set religious women apart from society when they were first worn. Nuns wore the common garb of the day and went into the community, caring for the poor and sick, wearing what the widows of the day would wear so they could be left alone to travel in the streets and not be bothered. For some reason the tradition became to wear the same garments as the founding members of religious communities wore, not to dress with the same purpose in mind. That is why some religious congregations stopped wearing habits. They looked into the histories of their founders and changed some customs to be more faithful to what their founders intended.
post #83 of 92
[QUOTE=chfriend;14366304]That's really interesting. I'm not aware of any women's religious orders that are growing rapidly right now. Could you post some links about this?
QUOTE]

The monastery down the street from me (Our Lady of the Angels... Franciscan)) is always receiving new women/girls. Not all of them stay, because they are not all called to stay. However, it is full and the many of the novices are young.

A convent about an hour from me, Casa Maria, is full of some of the nicest, happiest women I have ever met. They belong to the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word. Many of the postulant and novices are under 30.

Mother Teresa's order, Missionaries of Charity have over 4000 nuns- and that is one HARD order to live in. I am reading Mother Teresa's writing right now and WOW. She was amazing!

The Heralds of the Gospel include consecrated men and women, as well as lay people. They have over 30,000 members, although most of those are lay people.

I think the Dominican orders are also thriving, but there are so many of their convents around the world that I couldn't get a "number."

I would be curious to know if there are any orthodox orders that do not wear traditional habits that are thriving. I am willing to bet that there are not many. I just went to an auction yesterday at a Benedictine convent and it was the saddest thing. The nuns are all older, at least over 40, and their convent is dying out. They were selling off so many of their beautiful things because they needed money. I found it ironic that they had an old sewing table that belonged to the order before they even settled here (it was old). IT was used for sewing habits... but they no longer wear habits.

I realize that clothing doesn't make a person. However, people who wear uniforms generally draw respect. Plus, uniforms set people apart from other people- they distinguish. I know that in the beginning nuns habits weren't really different from everyday garb (I wrote an article on this once), but as time went on, they kept the habit.

In todays "age" not many girls even consider becoming a nun. Those that do are usually traditional Catholics and they desire to wear a trad. habit. It is kind of like a symbol that they are set aside for Christ and no one else.

Choosing to abandon the habit may have been out of a good intention (though I have read some other reasons that were not so good), but the "experiment" pretty much failed.

As for why the Vatican is looking into US religious orders of nuns... it isn't a criminal investigation!!!! They are doing a study to see why so many convents are dying out and why so few (when compared to the number of Catholic women in the US) women are considering a religious vocation. That's all. I would not be surprised if the Vatican eventaully did that for the men's orders too. Heck, I wish they would! THey would probably find a very similar trend- traditional (especailly Latin) orders are growing much faster than the "regular" orders.
post #84 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post
They looked into the histories of their founders and changed some customs to be more faithful to what their founders intended.
How would changing your clothes make you more or less faithful to the founders intentions?
post #85 of 92
To piggy-back onto Cagnew's list, here is another story about a rapidly growing order in MI. There is a short vid attached to the article too.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=16940
post #86 of 92
Speaking of tradition, here's an interesting article that was published yesterday in our local newspaper (The Kansas City Star) titled "My spirit came alive through Latin Mass" --

http://www.kansascity.com/656/story/1454965.html
post #87 of 92
Great link! Thank you!
post #88 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post
Religious who are less traditional still share many of the traditions that people say they want. They still live communally, only maybe in a house of just a few women integrated into a neighbourhood instead of with dozens or hundreds of women in a convent that is separate from the neighbourhood. These communities still engage in common prayer, praying the liturgy of the hours together every day.

As for the habit, the garments that we now refer to as religious habits were not something that set religious women apart from society when they were first worn. Nuns wore the common garb of the day and went into the community, caring for the poor and sick, wearing what the widows of the day would wear so they could be left alone to travel in the streets and not be bothered. For some reason the tradition became to wear the same garments as the founding members of religious communities wore, not to dress with the same purpose in mind. That is why some religious congregations stopped wearing habits. They looked into the histories of their founders and changed some customs to be more faithful to what their founders intended.
I'm not sure this is a totally true picture. As far as clothes for various monastic and other orders, it is the case that they usually reflected the clothing of the day. But they weren't just random assortments - they were a uniform that identified the members as belonging to a certain group. And they continued to wear them even when they began to be "uncommon" clothing as such.

Groups that decided to abandon that dress did so for a variety of reasons, and some went to a modified habit that was less difficult to maintain, less expensive, and more practical for certain activities. As far as I can see this has worked well. Or there are newer orders like the Sisters of Charity who took a similar POV, and chose readily available, inexpensive fabric, appropriate to the climate, and wore it in the local style. But, it is definitely a habit, and you can see they are sisters of a particular order right away.

Now some other groups decided to do away with uniforms, except for something like a cross. This seems to have had somewhat mixed success - in some types of work it was probably sensible. But it also reduced the visibility of the orders to a large extent - wearing a cross, even prominently, does not tell many people that this person has a special vocation. And I think for some it has tended to cut off one possible link to the past, and to their own history - especially when other changes happened that also tended to have the same effect. And any kind of uniform has a psychological effect that can be quite profound.

And there were other changes that didn't always have great effect. For example, many sisters and brothers had restrictions lifted on the amount of time that could be spent among the laity working, on what were acceptable reasons to be away from the daily prayers and meals of the group, or for traveling away, and they were often given more responsibilities in the world. This was seen as a good thing, strengthening their missions.

But it has actually not been entirely positive - what many groups have found is that they have ceased to be a group or community to the same degree, that the prayer life which anchored their work is undermined, and then the work itself is undermined.

A lot of groups are having a look again at their purpose, their way of life, and are seeing that some of the rules they thought were outmoded actually had a very well thought out rational. It's probably a very healthy activity I think, and perhaps in some ways a lesson in humility.
post #89 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post
Speaking of tradition, here's an interesting article that was published yesterday in our local newspaper (The Kansas City Star) titled "My spirit came alive through Latin Mass" --

http://www.kansascity.com/656/story/1454965.html
I just moved out of that area of the country. You are located in one of the fastest growing Traditional/Latin-Rite Catholic communities in the country. I never tried a Latin Mass when I lived there, though.
post #90 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by cagnew View Post
How would changing your clothes make you more or less faithful to the founders intentions?
Well, it seems that today the orders that choose to wear a habit are doing it (among other reasons) in order to visibly set themselves apart. That is fine for orders that always did that. There are also orders that began with the call to serve the poor and in the time and place where they began, the best way for them to do that was to blend in and appear as the widows of the community. They chose the dress they did so as to be free to go about the work to which they felt called.

If the founders felt the community was to blend in and not be visibly set apart, then clearly the habit is not faithful to that intention. Getting caught up in traditions which may be lovely but are not in clear accordance with the particular charism and original mission of the community would be something that religious would want to correct in time - just as other religious congregations might feel it was important to return to wearing the habit or some other traditions of their order.

I am not saying I believe one way is better than another, but all can have validity. Sometimes we get caught up in numbers and believe that wherever the greatest numbers are must be the place being most faithful to God and the 'best' way to go. While that can be true, I do not believe there is always a direct correlation between numbers and God's blessing and approval. God can choose the small, quiet and hidden people and communities as easily as the thriving, popular and well known. God may have a different mission for the communities that appear to be dying out that we do not understand, one that may be vital and precious in God's sight.
post #91 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shantimama View Post
God can choose the small, quiet and hidden people and communities as easily as the thriving, popular and well known. God may have a different mission for the communities that appear to be dying out that we do not understand, one that may be vital and precious in God's sight.

What a beautiful and exciting way of looking at it!
post #92 of 92
While it is great that there are communities that are thriving, I do not see it is a bad thing or judgment that some appear to be dying. Isn't there that idea that unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it cannot bring new life? And how the voice of God was in the stillness instead of the great wind, and that Jesus said wherever even only two or three were gathered in his name, he would be there? God can work in great and visible ways, but I do not underestimate the power of God to only be at work in those ways that appear successful to us. God often uses what is small, weak, or apparently insignificant, useless, or meaningless in the world to bring about the kingdom.

Every religious community has its own charism and mission, and its own unique history as well. They do not all need to "look" the same in order to be faithful to the call of God. While some orders have lost valuable parts of their communal life with some of the changes they have embraced, there are also communities that have kept the traditions and strayed from their true calling and purpose.
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