Each is a big story and each in its way (presuming the former pans turns out to be more than a rumor) is the happy news of reconciliation with the Church -- although the processes are distinct.
There's been unseemly hand-wringing on the Left about letting the Traditionalists back in and equally unseemly crowing on the Right about the nutty sisters getting slapped down. Both responses are predictable and neither is completely wrong. Reconciliation is hard. Repentance and change are hard.
I've been most edified, however, by The Anchoress' response. She offers an eloquent defense of the "hippie" nuns -- not denying problems with their leadership, but pointing out the immense love and fidelity that shouldn't be overlooked either. At the heart of both matters I think, is really the Catholic version of "Die, Boomers, Die." People attached to the Way Things Were need a little goosing to move it along.
These new interactions between the “liberal hippie nuns” and the ubertraditionalists and Rome, emotions aside, are simply means to an end – God’s end. He makes all things new, continually. Nothing can be made new while in stasis. Movement is required, and intention. When we worship a Being whose ways and thoughts are not ours, it’s easy to get emotional. But we know all things work for God’s glory, and we know that all things have their times and seasons toward that end. 40 years ago, it was the season for religious sisters reach out with new vibrancy, even as others said, “but I liked it the other way!” Now, their petals are waning and new growth is having its day, who knows for how long? And when what is new today fades, someone will wring the hands and stomp the foot and say, “but I liked them that way!”
To an extent I am glad for these busy waters. They tell me the church is full of life, and not safe-but-dead. The Barque of Peter has always traveled rough waters and her skippers will shift right, then left, correct and over-correct as we sail her toward Eternity.(Read what she says about obedience to boot.)
Then she links to an essay at Happy Catholic that itself links to something amazing and beautiful. One Joanne McPortland, a "liberal" Catholic revert whose sensibilities are clearly 180 degrees from my own rants about the "smackdown" of the nuns. But then the next day, after she's had a chance to pray and think about it, she has a different and highly edifying reaction.
The torch of the Church has been passed to a new generation, and it ain't mine. Hard as it is to admit, God did not call me back to the Church to relive the glory days of Corita Kent and Dan Berrigan, but to put the energy of those days to use in the service of raising up the next generation and preparing it for the joys and dangers that will inevitably arise. The lesson of these late years is the lesson we all must come to in the end, the curriculum of the Baptist: "I must decrease, that He may increase."RTWT but lo, I believe we have found a Boomer who need not die!
There's suffering in that letting go. There's humiliation--the emptying out of pride, the returning of ego to the dust, which will be done to us by others if we cannot do it ourselves. To expect otherwise is to mistake the mission. And to expect praise for what is past, or even acknowledgment, is foolish. "When you have done all you have been commanded, say, 'We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do'" (Luke 17:10).
But there is joy in this acceptance, too. I realized this morning, after hearing the phrase applied over and over to the late Dick Clark, that I don't want to be remembered as "the world's oldest teenager." In my Italian literature class this afternoon, we read Petrarch's note-to-self, scribbled in the margins of his copy of Virgil, after the death of his muse, Laura. In his grief, Petrarch experienced conversion, an awakening to the brevity of time and the need to turn his energies toward the Love that is eternal. "It is high time to flee from Babylon," he wrote--to let go of the gratification of the self, the quest for fame, the need to be right and to be loved that can tempt all of us, poets and nuns and bloggers alike.