Monday, August 17, 2009

"New Nuns and Priests Seen Opting for Tradition"

It's not news to me, but here's a New York Times article that says young people joining religious life today are drawn to the more traditional orders.

Many nuns gave up their habits, moved out of convents, earned higher educational degrees and went to work in the professions and in community service. The study confirms what has long been suspected: that these more modern religious orders are attracting the fewest new members....

"We’ve heard anecdotally that the youngest people coming to religious life are distinctive, and they really are," said Sister Mary Bendyna, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. "They’re more attracted to a traditional style of religious life, where there is community living, common prayer, having Mass together, praying the Liturgy of the Hours together. They are much more likely to say fidelity to the church is important to them. And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits."

My short explanation of this is that "modern" orders have conformed more to the world and lost their original purpose. If you mainly want to do community service or save the environment, you can do that without vowing celibacy. The point of a religious order is to give your whole life to God, not to any lesser cause.

A more difficult question is how the heck so many orders lost their focus in the first place. You could write a whole book about it and I'd probably still wonder, but here's a long interview about the shockingly swift collapse of one order of nuns.

We inundated that system with humanistic psychology.... There were some 615 nuns when we began. Within a year after our first interventions, 300 of them were petitioning Rome to get out of their vows. They did not want to be under anyone's authority, except the authority of their imperial inner selves.


JimAroo said...

Thanks for surfacing that interview with Dr. Coulson. I read it many years ago and it really clarifies what happened here in Los Angeles to the IHM Sisters.

The crucial thing is that people today have no clue how quickly these destructive forces worked.

In a matter of months a long established order could be destroyed- a parish could be divided - a school corrupted.

The forces of good were caught off guard and astonished at the speed of the collapses. Before they could muster the defense, the battle was over.

The revolution was fast, it was widespread, it was organized and it was well planned.

And ever since we have been fighting inch by inch to recover what was lost in a matter of days or months.

Seraphic Spouse said...

Yeah, and living with other people's Imperial Inner Selves is a total drag.

I love seeing young women joining old traditional and new traditional orders. They are soooo CUTE in their full habits. (I am older than your average traddie novice, so I can say that, and I mean it in all sincerity.)

Don't mention to someone who belongs to one of the libby-lefty diminishing/dying orders about the flourishing of vocations to the trad order or he or she will bite your head off.