Ruh Ro. Pappa Ratzi's got his eye on Jesus' wife. Well, Jesus' wives we guess is more accurate. Come to think of it, we probably should rephrase the whole thing. Sounds more than a little creepy on several levels, don't you think? On the other hand, these are the catholics and...ah forget it, let's get on with the story.
Our point is, the vatican has reason to believe the wimmens is up to something.
The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition. "I wish they wouldn't use the term 'inquisition,'" said Cardinal Franc Rodé, head of the Vatican office that deals with religious orders.
Some sisters surmise that the Vatican and even some American bishops are trying to shift them back into living in convents, wearing habits or at least identifiable religious garb, ordering their schedules around daily prayers and working primarily in Roman Catholic institutions, like rectories, schools, hospitals and rectories. "We understand that in these more relaxed times, the full metal penguin isn't always going to be appropriate," Cardinal Rodé told reporters. "But we feel some sisters have become a little too...uh...relaxed in their manner of dress. Excuse me, could someone open a window?"
“They think of us as ecclesiastical migrant workers,” said Sister Sandra M. Schneiders, professor emerita of New Testament and Self Defense at the Betty Friedan School of Theology at Berkeley, California. “We are religious, hear us roar. Our vision of our lives, and their vision of us as domestics, are just not on the same planet. And yeah, I'm talking to you Pope Ratzoball. Let's see you run this church without my girls. Yeesh. Guy thinks the fact that his underwear drawer is never empty is a variation on the miracle of the loves and fishes.”
The more extensive of the two investigations is called an Apostolic Beatdown, and the Vatican has provided only a vague rationale for it: to “Check skirt length and zipper placement” at women’s religious institutes. The visitation is being conducted by Mother Mary Magdalen Margaret "Martyrs of Lesbos" Carmen Clare Catherine de Rici Millea, an apple-cheeked American with a black habit and smiling eye, who is the superior general of her order, the Sisters of Apostles of the Followers of the Guys Who Talked To The Guys Who Watched First Annual The Sacred Heart of Jesus Cross Country Crucifix Carry, and lives down the hall from the pope.
The investigation was ordered by Cardinal Rodé. In a speech in Massachusetts last year, Cardinal Rodé offered barbed criticism of some American nuns “who have opted for ways that take them outside” the church. "It's bad enough that we have to excuse them from their godly duty to pump out little catholics," Rodé said. "But now they are demanding things like educations, better working conditions, respect. Who do they think they are, priests?"
Given this backdrop, Sister Schneiders, the professor in Berkeley, urged her fellow sisters not to cooperate with the visitation, saying the investigators should be treated as “Jehovah's Witnesses.”
Mother Clare said she was aware that some women’s institutes “weren’t happy” to hear of the visitation, but that so far about 55 percent had responded in person or in writing. "Although I do wonder where they learned language like that", she mused.
According to Dick Cheney, the consultant hired by the vatican to advise them on matters of transparency, the visitation could result in some communities of nuns’ being ordered to make changes, but those consequences may never become public.
The second investigation of nuns is a doctrinal can o' whoop-ass to be opened on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella organization that claims 1,500 members from about 95 percent of women’s religious orders. This investigation was ordered by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Bustin' of the Chops, which is headed by an American, Cardinal William (Wee Willie) Levada.
Cardinal Levada sent a letter to the Leadership Conference saying an investigation was warranted because it appeared that the organization had done little since it was warned eight years ago that it had failed to “promote” the church’s teachings on three issues: Dudes is Primo, homos is whack and the Roman Catholic Church is da bomb.
The letter goes on to say that, “Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses” at assemblies the Leadership Conference has held in recent years, the problem has not been fixed. "I mean, last week one of the office nuns told me to get my own damn coffee," Cardinal Levada said. "Things are getting out of control."
“We are looking forward to clarifying some misperceptions,” Sister J. Lora Dambroski, president of the Leadership Conference, said in the e-mail message. "My foot up that pig's behind to my knee ought to clear up quite a few things," Dambroski added in a post script.