So everyone and their dog (who is not going to heaven) Rollo, has been emailing me the story of the excommunicated nuns. It's such a sad embarrassing tale of woe, I hardly know where to begin.
I'll begin with, no one gets excommunicated anymore. You would think people would be excommunicated left and right, considering the amazing number of cafeteria Catholics. You don't get to pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe. If you have, you are not in communion with the Church and are ex-communioned by definition. But you are not excommunicated.
Excommunication means you are barred from the sacraments, and although there is a lot of talk about excommunicating people, I really can't remember it happening. There is a list as long as my arm of people that have been threatened with excommunication: stem cell researchers (that takes the list almost to my shoulder) and Madonna. I have a vague recollection of some South American cardinal who got married and flaunted his wife, who was hauled in front of Pope John Paul II and was shortly thereafter dumping his wife and crying on the Vatican steps. Still, he managed to not be excommunicated.
I'm not suggesting anyone is being too harsh with these nuns, the poor things. It's about time someone lowered the excommunication boom on this mess.
These sisters, who are no spring chickens keep in mind (the spokesnun is 82), believe that their Foundress is inhabited by the Blessed Mother. They are careful not to use the word "possessed" and the press has been unfair in it's use of the word "reincarnated". They never said their foundress was Mary reincarnated, but every newspaper that picked up the story sure did.
(Make no mistake, spiritual dumpster divers and cafeteria Catholics, the Catholic Church does not believe in reincarnation. You get the one soul and the one body. Don't be covering it in tattoos.)
So the Virgin Mary, living in the Foundress, tells the nuns what to do. They believe this, so they were excommunicated. Actually, there was one nun who packed her bags and got out of there. I think she's going to join another order. I should invite her to live here. We could use another set of hands with Sister Mary Fiacre.
The Cardinal who had to do the deed is besides himself. He had to excommunicate an 82 year old nun. He had to excommunicate people for the first time in 165 years. (He's not 165 years old himself. His predecessors never had to bar anyone from the sacraments either.)
It had to be done. Unless the nuns end up crying on the Vatican steps with the unmarried Cardinal, they are causing a terrible scandal.
Scandal. There is a word as misunderstood as excommunication. Excommunication doesn't mean you've been thrown out of the Church. You're still in the Church. You are barred from the sacraments. You could wear a uni-bomber hoodie and run out to a parish where no one knows you and receive the sacraments, but you would be piling onto your list of mortal sins. Even your scapular won't save you.
Scandal means that your behaviour is causing other people to sin. If nuns believe in Mary possession and reincarnation and that Mary is inhabiting a woman and telling people what to do, then it must be true. If Madonna (a Catholic girl!) can rag pick for her spiritual needs, so can we.
The cardinal had to stop the car before the wheels could fall off.
Luckily for the excommunicated nuns, someone other than Mary must have given them financial advice because, unlike the 86 year old nuns in Santa Barbara, these nuns own their own home. Ironically, it's that one nun who left who's out on the street.
But still(fully) in the church.