Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Kalamazooans Protest Vatican’s Treatment of Nuns

People across the nation have taken to the streets to protest the Vatican’s attack on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and show their support for the sisters, according to Nun Justice.

On Sunday, June 10, forty people from Kalamazoo, Michigan, gathered at St. Augustine Cathedral to join them.  Kim Franke and Marianne Houston organized the demonstration.

The Catholic Church charged the LCWR of “serious doctrinal problems” by being too tolerant with homosexuality, too silent in opposing abortion and contraception and too amenable to “radical feminist themes” regarded as incompatible with Church teaching. 

The LCWR represents 80 percent of the 57,000 nuns in the United States.  The Vatican ordered the group to place itself under the authority of Seattle’s archbishop, J. Peter Sartain.

Video:  Vigil to Support the Nuns -- Part I

Vigil participants asked Mass attendees to sign a "thank you" to support the sisters they have known and loved.  The video includes conversations with some of the parishioners.


Video:  Fr. Ted Discusses the Issue -- Part II

Here is a second video includes an exclusive conversation between Kim Franke and newly-ordained priest, Fr. Ted Martin.  He had just finished celebrating Mass when he discovered the demonstration outside the Cathedral. The conversation was joined by MLive reporter, Julie Mack, and various participants at the vigil. 

Video:  Nun Supporters Tell It All -- Part III

This video captures comments by some of the demonstrators.  See a bit of their background below.

Kim Franke is a former Mercy sister (Buffalo, NY) of 11 years with two theology degrees, including a master’s degree from Notre Dame where she studied with noted theologians and then taught theology at the collegiate level.  Although “Catholic to the core” and unwilling to give up on the Church, her love-hate relationship with the institution makes it too difficult for her to attend Mass since women are not fully incorporated into the liturgy or ministry.  Instead, she is part of a “home church” with a dozen friends who meet weekly, share homilies on the readings and support and participate in various local ministries. 

Jim and Marianne Houston, spoke about the sisters' courage to put themselves on line and speak truth to power, as Jim put it. 

Marianne said that the LCWR is well aware it is speaking for large numbers of American nuns and that it’s “challenged to carry forth the truth—and may have some things to lose.” 

Marianne was born and raised Catholic, went to Catholic schools and is a practicing member.  As a Loretto sister (St. Louis) for 13 years, she was highly educated and became a teacher, professor, spiritual and educational consultant, wife, mother, grandmother and poet.  However, she doesn’t feel “in communion with Rome.”  She is now a co-member with her former religious community. 

Jim calls himself a “universalist” when it comes to religion, which means that he honors all religions.  He grew up a Southern Baptist and converted to Catholicism when he married Marianne.  The Houstons have spent a lifetime “working toward the betterment of all humankind through the precepts of religion and good works to the community and world.”

Toni Perior Gross, a retired psychologist and former Mercy sister (Detroit) of 12 years, has been a Catholic all her life and continues to be.  She says the Church has been a source of great richness in terms of its spirituality and in helping her gain an understanding of social justice.  She thinks the Vatican’s action against the LCWR is not a matter of faith and morals, but a tool to keep the nuns in line. 

“When I see [the Church] doing bad things like this it makes me very sad—and angry,” she said.

Her spouse, Frank Gross, a former 20-year Jesuit (St. Louis) and retired professor of religious studies, sees the Vatican’s approach with the nuns as an exercise of its power.  Having lived through a liberal era in his younger years, he believes the present conservative era will swing back again—although it won’t be quick or soon.  He considers the Sunday rally “a sight of the Church I love.” 

Marie Stoline, a wife, mother, nurse and farmer, learned from her teachers, the Sisters of Mercy, to stand up for people being picked on.  She believes she must do this for the sisters now.  She thinks the Church is deflecting its troubles over the pedophilia priests by attacking the sisters.  Marie is a practicing Catholic, however, the Vatican’s strong-arm tactics against the nuns give her pause in continuing.

Former State Representative Mary Brown (1983-94) lent her support to the sisters after years of working with them on various social justice causes during her tenure in the Michigan legislature.  Although a Protestant, Brown regards the nuns as key contributors to making “the fabric of society stronger, more diverse and seeing the advantages of reaching out beyond the comfort zone.”

Although there were a handful of sisters present at the rally, they refrained from speaking about the situation with the Vatican.


  1. I want to thank you so much for this wonderful reporting on the LCWR and their supporters. I am significantly moved by all these brave individuals.

  2. It's quite telling how women with Theology degrees have to admit to being unprepared when discussing Scripture and the documents of Vatican II. It makes one wonder what she studied during her many years obtaining said "degrees". The fruit of such unpreparedness is heresy as is evident in Kim Franke's confused and cafeteria Catholicism. No worries, though. The biological solution will soon put these problems to rest.

  3. Angie (my name)

    I left the Church when I kept hearing such anti-intellectual, emotional, and disrespectful garbage taught as if it were Catholic teaching. These women are no better than Mormons: they are unwilling to look at scripture and so want to make God into their own image.

    I came back when I encountered faithful Catholics, faithful priests, and faithful nuns. The young women becoming nuns and sisters are loyal, devoted, and obedient. As it turns out the Church is not a hideous monstrosity made up of "dissenters" who pick on the priests for respectfully handling Christ while they drive not one, but two cars.

    As I get closer to my wedding date, I hope I can be as loyal, devoted, and yes! OBEDIENT to my husband as those sisters, nuns, priests, and lay people are to the True Church.

    Signed Angie, 24 years old, marrying a wonderful Mexican man, and avoiding condoms and birthcontrol like the social and physical plagues they are.

    (PS if God grants me daughters, we shall all wear our veils in front of the most Holy Body and Blood of Jesus.)

    1. God bless you and your future husband and family.

    2. Angie your comment is pure gold.

  4. These protesters are all so....old!
    Who's going to be on the frontlines in ten years when they're all dead?
    No one, probably.

  5. It is not love to confirm someone in their sin.
    I pray that all the sisters and nuns continue their good works with the poor and sick. I also pray their hearts are not hardened to the Vicar of Christ who wants to save their soul.

    God Bless our faithful young priests like Fr. Martin and our faithful Bishops.
    They need our support against the proponents of the "Spirit of Vatican II"

  6. Sisters of St. Joseph in Kalamazoo run a retreat center. They call the center Transformations Spirituality Cenrter. I just tossed out my bi-annual schedule of their summer & fall programs. They have 22 programs on 16 pages with detailed descriptions. As I re-read it now (I had to retrieve it from the garbage) I am looking for the word "Catholic" in the literature....page 8, still nothing "Catholic" (but there is a program entitled "We the People" Healing the heart of Democracy (oh my, is this a "how to bolster the fledging liberal arguments")....page 11, still nothing "Catholic" but they do offer "Yoga & Centering Prayer Retreat"...

    Ah Ha! on bottom of page 11, under the "Retreat with Rev. John Bell, a traveling Church of Scotland pastor and musician" is a "Wisdom Scripture" retreat taught by a professor who teaches at the "Catholic" Theological Union.

    These nuns, God love them all, run this retreat center to make money, which is good because need funds to survive. But let us not pretend that what they are doing is bringing people to Christ. They are making a living off of providing space for various pastors and "spiritualists" to help people become more self-absorbed.

    See, the thing is, they do need someone from the "outside" looking into their works. Many good sisters from this order, including the infirm and those who have already been born into eternal life did not "sign on" for the direction these members of the LCWR have taken it in and they have very little opportunity to voice objection.

  7. The average age of women in the LCWR is over 70. Soon these irrelevant heretics will die out and be replaced with faithful sisters like the Dominican Sisters in Ann Arbor.

  8. Fr. Martin exemplifies the young men of today who are answering the call to holy orders: holy, educated, pastoral, faithful to the Magisterium. Bravo Fr. Martin! My prayers are with you!

    1. My hope for the church is in these new young priests.

  9. In 1995 the HHS Dept moved into old Nazareth College Dorms, leasing that building from the Congregation of the Sisters of St Joseph, under the HHS Dept affiliate: Kalamazoo County Health Dept.

    From 1995-2003 Family Planning Clinic gave Contraceptives, Morning-After Abortion Pill, and Abortion Referrals to Planned Parenthood.

    From 1995-Present STD Clinic gave Condoms to 12 Yr Old Kids. W/O Parental Consent. Need an 18 Yr Old Peer or Pimp to accompany that child to get his/her box of condoms. Only need a MI ID, MI Drivers License, Green Card, or Proof the Adult was in a MI Prison. SEX TRAFFICKING IN ALL HHS Dept's County Health Dept Affliliates.

    You are breaking Civil, Criminal and Church Law Sisters of St Joseph. SHAME ON U. I will sue you for everything you have, you Liberal, Snarky, Anti-Catholic, Anti-Poor People Witches! I will pray for you and fight your insanity, until the day I die. You're screwed up and giving Public Scandal and so are the Bishops or Priests or People who support your evils!

  10. You all do realize that you aren't Catholic anymore, right 'sisters'. You are really a bunch of pathetic old hags with no clue as to who God is. You think you are god, and you really should be embarrassed at how dumb you prove yourselves to be in these videos. You are all a dying breed (literally, since you are all so old). In a few years you will all have gone to meet the one, true God, Jesus Christ, who is the way, the truth and the life. Then we can all sit back and watch these videos and laugh some more. I pray God (the real one, not your made up one)will have mercy on all of you for leading so many souls astray.

  11. i find it interesting that there are so many interruptions when the Father was trying to make a point. If you are going to brag about your Theology degrees, then you SHOULD be able to back it up with some form of documentation in the form of Scripture and/or decisions by the Magesterium.

  12. I was taught by the Buffalo Sisters of Mercy, and learned many good things that have served me well as a Jesuit priest and teacher. One of those things was, "Always do your homework." Fr. Martin clearly has done his. It doesn't seem Ms. Franke did hers. At times the exchange was embarrassing to watch. I'm glad I wasn't there to disrupt the conversation with my laugh at the leather car seat exchange. Once again, humor, kindness, and intelligence won the day.

  13. As I watched the videos, my heart broke for the "sisters", but even more so for all the young souls that listened to this and were affected by it. Please, the Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, it is not a political party. We do Christ's body a disservice when we treat it like every other institution of fallen man.

    Please remember the true definition of Charity - "The third and greatest of the Divine virtues enumerated by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 13:13), usually called charity, defined: a divinely infused habit, inclining the human will to cherish God for his own sake above all things, and man for the sake of God." (The Catholic Encyclopedia). Please, for the sake of Charity and for the love of souls, limit your political emotions and discourse to fallen-man venues, like politics.

    To Toni Perior Gross in the 3rd video, please contemplate what you're saying; this is not like "quitting" the Democratic party because it is not liberal enough for your tastes. This is the Mystical Body of Christ.
    Please remember Lucifer's famous words (and their impact) - Non serviam (I will not serve).

    My prayers and acts of reparation for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

  14. Sadly, these videos confirm why the Holy See directed the Apostolic Visitation and the Doctrinal Assessment to begin with.

    This type of theological thinking within the membership of the LCWR has been going on for 40+ years. It should come as no surprise that the membership of LCWR organizations is tanking.

    Pray for all Religious!

  15. Wow, I am most impressed by this Fr. Ted. He's a good example on how to disagree without being disagreeable (as some commenters are here).

    I presume he was responding flat-footed, that is, without any preparation? In that it is especially evident to me that the Spirit was speaking though his patience, wisdom, and pastoral zeal for those he was chatting with. Please do follow up with him. Thanks for the vid.

  16. Sounded like the Spirit was truly speaking through Fr. Ted! That video really illustrates how flawed unorthodox Catholicism is...when you change premises, understand their logical conclusions; it looks like Kim has a very adolescent understanding of logic.

  17. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=J3PRRTIE-L8#!

  18. God bless Fr. Martin. He truly has the patience of a saint. One just gets so sick and tired of these bitter old hippies — I'm afraid I'd have said something very uncharitable to them.

  19. I am very embarrassed for Miss Kim Franke. I hope she will get the time to review what she said in the Part II of the video and actually research the definition of terms and the facts that she supposedly claimed to know. It's very easy to check on these things... you can even just google them. It will also help for her to read the actual documents of Vatican II and stop listening to hearsay or popular opinion. If she wants to be taken seriously and intelligently, she cannot remain ignorant. I hope she doesn't teach religion anymore. Choose a different career path please.