Us vs. Them

By | August 24, 2012

The National Catholic Reporter released an article about a women’s religious community with a fairly young “epochal footprint” (the word epochal is real, but I made up the phrase). They’ve taken down the page, but the unedited original article can still be read here.

There are (or rather were) many comments under the article that bemoan the “us vs. them” attitude of a young (age 26) religious sister.

But, wait a minute here, when I think of the National Catholic Reporter, I think of a paper that strongly (and I mean strongly) encourages an “us vs. them” attitude. Most articles down through the years seem to have this sort of attitude. Read any given article about Mother Angelica in the paper from years past and I think you will see an “us vs. them (or her)” sort of attitude.

So, now it is forbidden for young religious to have such an attitude? Isn’t that what the 60’s were all about? It was a time to rally against the ‘stablishment, man. Change, change, change.

Well, change is coming, but it’s not the sort the ‘stablished communities were hoping for. It is indeed a case of “us vs. them,” by virtue of “young vs. old.” I thought that was encouraged in the 1960s. The CMSWR came into existence because of some women’s religious communities complaining about the direction the LCWR was taking. The CMSWR, therefore, is the newer group. This seems to get lost in the rhetoric.

True, the ’60s were also about everybody getting along. The Beatles sang that all you need is love. They promptly broke up and held grudges for many years.

Somehow, I remember the Beatles breaking up and not being able to reunite better than what they sang about. Actions speak louder than words. Music can give one a false feeling that everything is fine, but, I hate to tell you, it isn’t. The young are seeking a better way, and they are finding it. They don’t have grudges about “them” but they also know they are quite different from “them.” The times they are a’changin’… (and this is a bad thing?)

Back in 1993, when Mother Angelica gave her famous “I’m so tired of you…” speech, which came about because of a young woman playing the part of Christ during the Stations of the Cross (the reason was obvious), she said something to the effect of, Go ahead and keep doing what you are doing. See how many vocations you get. See how many people follow you… (Not an exact quote.) She gave a challenge, and the young religious are going ahead… and siding with Mother Angelica.

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