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"Double Standard" Update

Vatican Refuses to Punish Dissident Nuns

by Christopher A. Ferrara

In a recent column I discussed the case of Sister Jeanine Grammick, the dissident nun who spent more than 20 years undermining Church teaching on the intrinsic disorder of the homosexual condition before the Vatican finally slapped her wrist--after interminable proceedings and numerous opportunities to "explain" and "clarify" her "position." Despite being ordered to cease promulgating her heterodox views, Grammick vowed to go on promoting her errors against the Faith, and I predicted there would be no punishment by the Vatican.

Well, that very easy prediction has come to pass--but with an unexpected additional confirmation of the Vatican's refusal to impose any severe discipline on anyone who dissents from the doctrines of the Faith. While Grammick has (of course) received no punishment for her continued public dissent from Church teaching, the Vatican has announced that it will not punish two other dissident nuns, who have defied the Vatican's order not to attend a conference promoting women's "ordination" to the priesthood.

CNS news services reports that "The Vatican said it would not punish two nuns it had asked (my emphasis) not to attend a conference on women's ordination. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls confirmed July 6 that the Vatican had asked the nuns not to attend the June 29-July 1 Women's Ordination Worldwide Conference in Dublin, Ireland. A U.S. nun who spoke at the conference, Benedictine Sister Joan Chittister, said her participation was neither 'divisive or defiant,' but was 'rooted in the best history of the Church.'" Which history would that be, exactly? The history, perhaps, of Martin Luther, but certainly not the history of the Church. CNS reports London-based Notre Dame de Namur Sister Myra Poole also attended the conference, despite the Vatican's "request" that she not do so. Poole claims she "had the full support," of her congregation.

So, two nuns very loudly and very publicly dissent from Pope John Paul II's infallible pronouncement that women's ordination is impossible--a matter of revealed truth--and the Vatican expressly declines to punish them, limiting itself to a polite request that the nuns cut it out. But Father Nicholas Gruner, whose only "offense" is to present the simple truth about the Message of Fatima, inlcuding the proposition that a consecration of Russia ought to mention Russia, faces a publicly disseminated threat of excommunication from the Congregation for the Clergy.

There seems to me to be only one reasonable explanation for this disparity: the Vatican apparatus is more concerned about protecting the post-Fatima orientation of the Church (as implemented by the Vatican Secretariat of State) than it is about protecting the dogmas of the Faith from assault by public heretics. Thus, the same Vatican which coddles heretics and hosts Mikhail Gorbachev as a guest of honor at press conferences and dinners for "distinguished leaders," regards "the Fatima Priest as Public Enemy #1."

If anyone has a better explanation for the treatment of Father Gruner, I would like to hear it.