Sunday, June 3, 2012

LCWR Should Learn From Miriam and Korah

The following words from scripture could not be more true concerning the Vatican's assessment of the  LCWR in the United States:

Ecclesiastes 1:9
What has been will be again,
    what has been done will be done again;
    there is nothing new under the sun.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious(LCWR) seem to think of themselves as being on the forefront of some sort of divine movement to wrest control and authority from the Pope and the Magisterium for their communities of women religious. The leaders see themselves as 'equals' in determining doctrine taught by the Catholic Church and that the Pope and clergy should not have the only and final say in the matter. They see nothing wrong in dissenting from Church teachings in contraception, abortion, homosexuality, women's ordinations, etc...since in their view, the very fact they are fighting for social justice, the poor, and the downtrodden in the real world, they are accomplishing the Church's mission and that trumps everything, including straying from Catholic doctrine.  They do not see their dissension as heretical but as a right denied to them by the Pope; a right denied simply because they are women and as we all know, the Church has always been at war with women.

Now that the boom has fallen on these leaders of the women religious in our country, women that I believe for the most part are faithful to the Church and feel helpless to do anything against those that have taken over their communities, the LCWR are shocked by the Vatican's scolding as they see it. They should consider themselves fortunate that they were not dealt the punishment that Miriam, Moses' sister, had been given for her own dissension against Moses, in the Old Testament.

Not satisfied with being a prophetess, Miriam enticed their brother Aaron, the High Priest, to confront Moses together for the sole purpose of questioning Moses qualifications and position as leader of the Hebrews and being the ONLY spokesman for God. She wanted what Moses had, the privilege of speaking to God face to face. She wanted power. Aaron, who should have known better, went along with her. 

Numbers 12

1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 "Has the LORD spoken only through Moses?" they asked. "Hasn't he also spoken through us?" And the LORD heard this. 3 (Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.) 4 At once the LORD said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, "Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you." So the three of them came out. 5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam. When both of them stepped forward, 6 he said, "Listen to my words: "When a prophet of the LORD is among you, I reveal myself to him in visions, I speak to him in dreams. 7 But this is not true of my servant Moses; he is faithful in all my house. 8 With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" 9 The anger of the LORD burned against them, and he left them. 10 When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam--leprous, like snow. Aaron turned toward her and saw that she had leprosy; 11 and he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed. 12 Do not let her be like a stillborn infant coming from its mother's womb with its flesh half eaten away." 13 So Moses cried out to the LORD, "O God, please heal her!" 14 The LORD replied to Moses, "If her father had spit in her face, would she not have been in disgrace for seven days? Confine her outside the camp for seven days; after that she can be brought back." 15 So Miriam was confined outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on till she was brought back. 16 After that, the people left Hazeroth and encamped in the Desert of Paran.

It was God's choice that Moses should lead his people, just as Peter was chosen by Christ to be the leader upon whom the Church was built. God chooses whomever he pleases to lead his Church and be His spokesman and in our case, that person is the Pope, Peter's successor.

As it was with Miriam dissenting against Moses, who is it exactly is the LCWR dissenting against? A man named Mr. Ratzinger who has no authority, or by virtue of the office as Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict, on earth, the one the Holy Spirit Himself chose to lead the Church, the very body of Christ? 

What of those in the clergy that have clearly aligned themselves in support of the LCWR and their dissension against the Church? How do they justify their authority to defy the Church in her two thousand years of teaching? 

Numbers 16:
1 Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and certain Reubenites—Dathan and Abiram , sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth—became insolent[a] and rose up against Moses. With them were 250 Israelite men, well-known community leaders who had been appointed members of the council. They came as a group to oppose Moses and Aaron and said to them, “You have gone too far! The whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is with them. Why then do you set yourselves above the Lord’s assembly?”
When Moses heard this, he fell facedown. Then he said to Korah and all his followers: “In the morning the Lord will show who belongs to him and who is holy, and he will have that person come near him. The man he chooses he will cause to come near him. You, Korah, and all your followers are to do this: Take censers and tomorrow put burning coals and incense in them before the Lord. The man the Lord chooses will be the one who is holy. You Levites have gone too far!”
Moses also said to Korah, “Now listen, you Levites! Isn’t it enough for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the rest of the Israelite community and brought you near himself to do the work at the Lord’s tabernacle and to stand before the community and minister to them? 10 He has brought you and all your fellow Levites near himself, but now you are trying to get the priesthood too. 11 It is against the Lord that you and all your followers have banded together. Who is Aaron that you should grumble against him? ”

Then in verse 31 Korah and his followers are punished:

31 As soon as he finished saying all this, the ground under them split apart 32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and their households, and all those associated with Korah, together with their possessions. 33 They went down alive into the realm of the dead, with everything they owned; the earth closed over them, and they perished and were gone from the community. 34 At their cries, all the Israelites around them fled, shouting, “The earth is going to swallow us too!”
35 And fire came out from the Lord and consumed the 250 men who were offering the incense.

Perhaps the LCWR and their supporters who likewise dissent against Church doctrine should familiarize themselves with these scripture passages. Though God may not deal with dissension in the manner of Miriam and Korah, it is clear enough that those opposed to Truth as revealed by Christ through his Church are not doing themselves and others any favors. Jealousy, pride, hunger for power and outright disobedience do not belong on the path to holiness. There is a lesson to be learned for all of us in Miriam and Korah. The LCWR and the clergy who support them need to be careful where they tread, for indeed there is nothing new under the sun.

    1 comment:

    1. I like how you pointed out Numbers 16:3. It sounds exactly like modern jargon. The more things change, the more they stay the same.


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