Friday, September 05, 2008

FYI: Why nuns stopped wearing the habit...

We've all heard lay people ask a thousand times: "Why did the nuns stop wearing their habits?"

Then there's always somebody in the group who answers: "It was Vatican II." But the truth is it was actually a "stretching" of Vatican II.

Be informed - this is the line the orders used to dump their religious garb:

"17. Since they are signs of a consecrated life, religious habits should be simple and modest, at once poor and becoming. They should meet the requirements of health and be suited to the circumstances of time and place as well as to the services required by those who wear them. Habits of men and women which do not correspond to those norms are to be changed."

-Vatican Council II, Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life (Perfectae Caritatis), 1965.

Insane, right? It was the sixties and they "stretched" this into meaning no habit or not much of one.


Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

In fact, the document from VII that actually pertains to the Religious Life, specifically says they are supposed to wear habits.

Later, JPII issued a statement of some kind telling them again that they had to wear habits.

But saying "It was Vatican II" is, in a broader sense, true. The Second Vatican Council as a whole, (ie: not just the documents or deliberations), ushered in an unprecedented era of laxity, disobedience and outright apostasy, most especially in the religious life. Whether this was a 'direct result' of the Council could be debated forever. What is incontrovertible is that it certainly would never have happened had John XXIII not got his inspiration.

I went to World Youth Day I had an amusing interaction with a group of "sisters", all overweight middle aged ladies in shorts and T-shirts. I went up to their vocations table, (strewn with New Age literature) and, since they looked lonely in the huge crowd of young Catholic women dilligently ignoring them, asked them a few questions about their community. T"Where do you stand on a woman's right to control her own fertility?" I asked. "What about women's ordination?"

There was a bit of stammering. "Our community upholds all the teachings of the Church".

"Well, that seems a little surprising to me, since it is one of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, specifically, that religious are obliged to wear 'recognisable religious dress'"

More stammering.

Lucky for both of us, a friend of mine rounded the corner and the conversation was over.

The real answer is that the communities (though not all the members thereof) heard from their Jesuit teachers in universities and retreats that the Second Vatican Council had abolished the need to be obedient to the Church, and that all the traditions of their forebears in religion were calculated measures to oppress and control them and that the Evil Male Patriarchal Church had tricked them into a subservient role in order to get free labour (in schools, hospitals, etc) out of them.

Because the good ladies had been taught from the beginnings of their religious lives never to question Father, they, rather paradoxically, swallowed the entire Marxo/feminist line, hook and all. And, long after the Marxist/Modernist movement has burned itself out in the real world, the sisters who bought into it are still living, forever caught in a kind of Star Trek Warp Bubble mini universe where it is perpetually 1972 and their imaginary grievances against the Church are ever green.

Anonymous said...

It is ashame that the sisters who gave up wearing habits and living in community are just a bunch of tottering olds ladies in depends waiting to go to Jesus.
at the canonization of Mother
Thedore a sister in a habit on the Borgo Pio was given a discount ....the other in lay clothes said hey I am a sister too.....the owner of the store simply said suora...sister you look like my italian mother....they sisters just dont get it....

humboldt said...

Yes, the streaching was done with the Pope's approval, after all the Pope is above an Ecumenical Council.

Anonymous said...

During the Second Vatican Council, Leon Joseph Cardinal Suenens of Belgium, author of "The Nun in the World," (Westminister, Maryland, Newman Press, l962)was the most outspoken advocate for the modernization of religious life.

It was he who suggested inviting a few women to attend the third session of the Council as auditors. The only American among them Sister Mary Luke Tobin, S.L., president of the Congregation of Major Superiors of Women (CNSW), was irreversibly radicalized by her Roman experiences.

In debate on Perfectae Caritatis (the "Decree on the Appropriate Renewal of the Religious Life"), Cardinal Suenesn said the naivete of women religious endangered their apostolates. (Indeed!). Nuns must become acquainted with the modern world, alter their "distinctive but ridiculous garb" and be given the freedom necessary to pursue apostolic action and to travel alone.

ON RELIGIOUS "Schema non placet," announced Cardinal Suenens, "The draft does not please me. We should give up the habit of treating nuns as minors, an attitude so typical of the nineteenth century, which is still found in many religious congregations today. Let us abandon these customs which perpetuate a feeling of inferiority among women religious." (From the Council floor during the Third Session of the Second Vatican Council)


Rev. Ralph M. Wiltgen, S.V.D., The Rhine Flows into the Tiber (Rockfor, ILL: Tan Books, 1985).

Ungodly Rage, Donna Steichien

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Suenens was a "dark force" during Vatican II, along with a handful of other radical liberals, all plotting to mold Vatican II in their image...which they did with the approval of the wimpish Paul VI.
Cardinal Suenens was pssibly not even really a Catholic. He allowed every kind of abuse in his Archdiocese of Brussels, encouraged nuns to abandon tradition and the habit, hated the Tridentine Latin Mass, pushed for radical ecumenism with Protestants, was the driving force to all ow the abuse of Communion in the Hand to become standard, and also pushed for union with Lutherans, was the champion of the "Charismatics", and was behind the scenes in favor of the idea of both married priests, and women priests.
His handpicked successor (1979) Cardinal Godfried Daneels (now 75), is exactly like Suenens.
It goes without saying that after 60 years being run by radical liberals, the Archdiocese of Brussels is completely ruined. No vocations, no Mass Faith.
Benedict XVI should quickly accept the resignation of Suenens, and appoint a Catholic traditionalist to the post.
That would be a novelty!