Abandoning the habit is not a good habit!

      She was a pioneer for her time; she was a pioneer for women in the Church; she was the first who led the rights for women the way God wanted, not the way the world wanted. She was Catherine of Siena who would become not only a saint but a great Doctor of the Church - the first woman in history to be so accorded such an honor though she was named to this elite group along with another great saint Saint Teresa of Avila and, just last year Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus.

     St. Catherine was anything but a "woman's libber" yet she held her own in a world that was reserved strictly for men during the macho fourteenth century. Catherine was a woman who knew right from wrong and knew that the Popes residing in Avignon was wrong and did not hesitate to tell them. Her influence was so strong that she persuaded Pope Gregory XI to abandon his French exile to return to Rome where the pontiffs have continued to rule from ever since. Catherine, like Teresa, were firm and orthodox, not putting up with any liberal bunk, much the same as our modern Catherine and Teresa does today - Mother Angelica of EWTN. There are those, especially the liberal bishops, particularly Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles and other modernist spokespersons who think she has overstepped her boundaries. We suspect there were liberal bishops and laymen of Catherine's time who sought to put her in her place as well, but God had a special place for Catherine and that was to defend His Holy Church in the face of liberal reform that endeavored to force their own agenda on God's Will. Sound familiar? History has a way of repeating itself and it has in the last thirty years. That is why God has placed on this earth at this time in history such stalwarts as our great holy supreme pontiff John Paul II, Mother Angelica, and numerous loyal cardinals, bishops and priests as well as orthodox lay leaders to help guide the faithful remnant. Just as it was through Catherine's loyalty to Rome and her fidelity to God's Will, so also today those striving to fulfill the Almighty's Plan will be victorious for they also have another woman on their side - the Blessed Virgin Mary.

     Our Lady has to shudder when she sees the flower of womanhood reduced to weeds today through the hideous sin of abortion, sexual promiscuity where virginity is looked down upon, the rise of lesbianism, and the masculinity of the feminine through demanding equality in areas that were not meant to be by her Divine Son. Such is the question of women priests which, had Jesus intended for the female gender to be priests would have included some among His Apostles, primarily His very Own Mother and Mary Magdalene who were both more faithful than any of the twelve save for John. But Our Lord knew what He wanted and it is not up to us to change His Church, no matter what the norms of society and culture demand today. Think about it, what society and culture has lasted 2000 years? The Roman Empire didn't; the German Empire under the Holy Roman Empires didn't; the Chinese Dynasties didn't; the ancient Aztecs and Mayans didn't; the English, French and Spanish monarchs didn't; and neither will America - just a toddler at 222 years-old! Yet we are so vain and proud that we think America's society and culture will last forever and that society lambasts the only institution which has remained above water and successful over the last two millenniums: the Holy Catholic Church founded by Christ when He gave the keys of the Kingdom to Saint Peter as documented in Matthew 16: 17-19. Yet so many nuns - whoops, sorry, "sisters" because they don't want to be called "nuns" because they consider that so outmoded - are ashamed to wear the habit. Ever since Vatican II countless orders have allowed their members to shed the habit and take up the lay wardrobe so that you can't tell a nun from a lay woman today. In fact, many wear more makeup and jewelry than this editor's wife!!! Why have they shed their "armor of Christ?" Are they ashamed of Him? He has to be ashamed of them for their denial and abandonment. St. Catherine would never stand for such abrasive behavior. In her day everyone knew and respected a woman who was a nun. In this editor's school days everyone knew and respected the good, holy women of the cloth. Like Catherine, they were tough because they cared. I am a better man today because of their influence, prodding and praying! How many can say that about the nuns that have affected their lives today? Very few because female religious vocations have fallen so far. But there is hope because the cloistered, contemplative orders which still maintain the traditions of old with the habit and rule, are flourishing. That has to tell you something. As for the "modern orders" of religious women who are ashamed to identify that they are sisters by their clothing, only through introduction, well, this editor has a very difficult time addressing them as "Sister" for I have, over the years, come to so respect the nuns and the sacrifices they made by donning the stark habit of mortification - the wedding gown of the Brides of Christ, that when I see someone who is a nun in secular clothing it is like she has been defrocked and stands there naked to the world and to God - so vulnerable to society and modernists within the Church. They say clothes make the man. That is true to a degree, but it is even truer that the habit makes the nun! And that habit has been abandoned in favor of a more relaxed, liberal lifestyle that only opens the door wider for satan. That's not a good habit!

Michael Cain, editor

Daily CATHOLIC          April 29, 1998