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The Nuns of Vatican II

by Christopher A. Ferrara

That Vatican II has turned the Catholic Church upside down is a conclusion that only the willfully obtuse continue to resist. Evidence on this score abounds. The vigilant Bob Banaugh of Montana has uncovered one small, but very striking, example of what I mean.

In an article entitled "Cloistered Nuns on Mt. Carmel Pray For Jews to be Jews," by AP reporter Julia Lieblich (March 22, 2002), we learn of a community of 17 cloistered nuns on Mount Carmel who "quietly pray for their Jewish neighbors. Not to win souls for Christendom. These nuns want Jews to be Jewish."

As the mother superior of this convent, one Sister Angelo del Bono, puts it: "How can you be a servant in Israel if you speak about conversion? Imagine someone coming in here and telling me to become an Adventist or a Muslim."

Imagine. So, for Sister Angelo and her fellow cloistered nuns, a Catholic seeking the conversion of a Jew is just as outlandish as a Muslim seeking the conversion of a Catholic. There is no difference in her mind between the religion established by God Incarnate and the one established by Mohammad.

And, like Cardinal Kasper in the Vatican, and the USSCB in its "Reflections" on Catholic-Jewish relations, these nuns have abandoned any effort to pray for the conversion of the Jews, even though Catholics have prayed for their conversion since Our Lord Himself called upon His people to turn to Him.

How did this happen? The answer, of course, is Vatican II. As Cardinal Kasper declared in his address to the International Catholic-Jewish Liason Committee on May 21, 2002: "the old theory of substitution is gone since the Second Vatican Council. For us Christians today, the covenant with the Jewish people is a living heritage, a living reality…. Therefore, the Church believes that Judaism, i.e., the faithful response of the Jewish people to God’s irrevocable covenant, is salvific for them, because God is faithful to His promises."

Of course, Vatican II did not actually teach this, but its ambiguous approach to the Jews and the Old Covenant in Nostra Aetate allows everyone to claim that it does. And there is no sign that the Pope, who appointed Kasper to his post as President of the Pontifical Council for Religious Relations with the Jews, has reproved Kasper for his remarks.

The nuns on Mt. Carmel likewise cite Vatican II for their abandonment of prayers for Jewish conversion, while admitting that this is a departure from their order’s traditional mission. As the article notes, the "community was founded in 1892 by two nuns from the Carmelite monastery in Avignon, France, with the help of twin brothers, Joseph and Augustin Lemann, Jewish converts who had become priests…. A former mother superior told del Bono that she thought the early sisters on Mount Carmel prayed for the conversion of Jews. ‘It’s incredible to think of this,’ del Bono says. She is not sure when the mission changed." But as the article further notes: "Nostra Aetate, a 1965 papal declaration of a new theological approach to Jews and Judaism that rejected anti-Semitism, had a strong impact on Catholics. And by the time del Bono arrived in 1968, there was no talk of winning converts."

Mark this well: a cloistered nun thinks it is "incredible" that nuns ever prayed for the conversion of the Jews, even though her own order was founded with the help of two Jewish converts who became priests. Here is yet more evidence of the diabolical disorientation of the Church spoken of by Sister Lucia of Fatima. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.