If anyone asks, no, negotiating Nun Wars was not on my 2021 bingo card. But here we are.
I published the Archbishop’s defense of the Fairfield and Valparaiso Carmelites last week. Last night I posted the video of Fr. Max explaining what is really happening in their persecution, and much, much more. Please watch that video if you really want to understand the depth of what is going on.
Now the other side is fighting back. After you read this, go ahead and click on the link. Peruse their website. Ask yourself, why is a supposedly cloistered community running a public website, interacting with the public, writing public posts, commenting in comboxes, even posting pictures of themselves on the internet? Why do they even have the internet? Does something seem a bit, off?
“The Carmel of Mary Immaculate and St. Mary Magdalen holds the copyright for everything published on this website. However, we give permission for anyone to copy and share this Letter in any format as long as the Letter is shared in its entirety, with no changes made to it.”
Open Letter to
Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò
Concerning Cloistered Contemplative Nuns
Praised be Jesus Christ!
On October 1st, 2021, the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, a Discalced Carmelite Nun and Doctor of the Church, you published a statement denouncing the treatment of cloistered contemplatives by Pope Francis. Your statement has so far appeared on Stilum Curiae, https://www.marcotosatti.com/2021/10/01/vigano-in-defense-of-womens-monasteries-of-contemplative-life/, and Non Veni Pacem, https://nonvenipacem.com/2021/10/01/fairfield-carmelite-interrogations-concluded-archbishop-vigano-issues-statement-in-defense-of-womens-monasteries-of-contemplative-life/#comments. In your statement, you inveigh against the visitation of cloistered contemplative nuns ordered by Cardinal João Braz de Aviz and Archbishop José Rodriguez Carballo. The statement appeared on Non Veni Pacem under the heading Fairfield Carmelite Interrogations Concluded, Archbishop Viganò Issues Statement in Defense of Women’s Monasteries of Contemplative Life, and in it your refer to “the Apostolic Visitations that the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life is carrying out in various Convents of contemplative women religious in the United States.” Articles concerning the Fairfield Visitation have appeared on various websites including Non Veni Pacem, LifeSiteNews, Gloria.tv, Fr. Z, FreeRepublic.com and CatholicCulture.org among others.
In your statement, you wrote: “Behind this purging operation, like everything that distinguishes the work of the Bergoglian church, there is a hatred and an iconoclastic fury towards the Communities of Contemplative Life, and in a particular way against those tied to Tradition and the Ancient Rite. This hatred has become commonplace with the infamous Instruction Cor Orans and its cruel and merciless application.” You also write: “I understand well how difficult it is, in the face of the perversion of ecclesiastical authority, to combine one’s solemn Vow of Obedience to one’s Superiors with the evidence of the evil purposes they pursue, and how painful it is to have to resist those who should be exercising authority in the name of Our Lord.”
Monsignore, you are obviously not familiar with the writings of St. Teresa of Jesus, who founded the Order of Discalced Carmelites in 1562. In the “Book of Her Life” she writes: “Some persons came to me with great fear to tell me we were in trouble and that it could happen that others might accuse me of something and report me to the Inquisitors. This amused me and made me laugh, for I never had any fear of such a possibility. If anyone were to see that I went against the slightest ceremony of the Church in a matter of faith, I myself knew well that I would die a thousand deaths for the faith or for any truth of Sacred Scripture. And I said they shouldn’t be afraid about these possible accusations; that it would be pretty bad for my soul if there were something in it of the sort that I should have to fear the Inquisition; that I thought that if I did have something to fear I’d go myself to seek out the Inquisitors; and that if I were accused, the Lord would free me.” (“Life”, 33, 5) If St. Teresa laughed at the thought of being investigated by the Inquisition, who were not known for their respect towards the persons they investigated, then her Daughters can have no reason to fear an investigation by the Church. “But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.” (Jn. 3, 21)
You also denounced Cor orans, the Instruction issued by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life to establish the norms for applying Pope Francis’s Apostolic Constitution, Vultum Dei quaere. In the March and July 2021, editions of “Amigas”, the newsletter of the St. Joseph’s Association of American Carmels, there appeared several articles written by various Carmelite Nuns concerning Cor orans, and especially the norms presently regulating canonical visitations. The opinions expressed by the Carmelite nuns are overwhelmingly positive. You can read these articles on my Community’s website: https://flemingtoncarmel.org/posts.
On the Home page of that website, you will also find the link to our Statement of Support for Pope Francis: https://flemingtoncarmel.org/.
In your statement, you write, about the persecution of traditional, cloistered nuns. However, as someone wrote, when people speak of “tradition”, they mean how things were 75 years ago. But Tradition goes back millenia! Vatican II said to return to the sources. That is what we have tried to do in my Order, the Discalced Carmelites. We returned to what St. Teresa wrote and how she intended her sons and daughters to live. In my Carmel, we wear the full habit, sandals included, we keep the full enclosure and only go out for doctor’s visits and absolutely necessary business, and we have the full monastic schedule with 2 hours of prayer and 2 hours of recreation. We consider ourselves totally traditional, even if we don’t have the Liturgy in Latin or the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, except when we have a visit from a FSSP priest or a priest of the Institute of Christ the King. We are glad to be fully traditional and fully faithful to the Holy Father and to the prescriptions of Vatican II.
You deplore the treatment meted out to cloistered contemplative nuns by the present Holy Father and his delegates. But there are some 6,000 cloistered contemplative nuns around the world, in various Congregations and Orders. How many of these nuns share your opinions about the way they are treated? I do not know for how many nuns you speak for, but here in Flemington, New Jersey, there is one Community which does not share your views. We are all weak and we are all sinners who have been blessed by God’s mercy and grace, but we here in Flemington rejoice to give this witness to our gratitude to God for the blessings and graces we have received through Pope Francis and his delegates.
Reverend Monsignore, though I do not share your opinions, I gladly assure you of the prayers of my Community for you and your ministry. May Our Lord bless you and draw you ever closer to Himself.
In Jesus and Mary,
Sr. Gabriela of the Incarnation, O.C.D.
Carmel of Mary Immaculate and St. Mary Magdalen
October 4th, 2021
Feast of St. Francis and Anniversary of the
Death of St. Teresa of Jesus