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Crowning moment of awesome by a Quebec Nun

June 10, 2010

So, as I mentioned in passing the other day, the archbishop of Quebec (aka the Arch-Dinosaur of Quebec, aka the mouthpiece of Rome, aka the Catholic Taliban (That one’s not mine, it’s from the newspapers) and so forth into less complimentary names) kind of stepped into the abortion debate. He’s been piling up the incendiary declarations (eg, “That there was a crime is no justification for another crime” re: abortion in rape cases – that one went down real well. And by real well I mean he managed to get every last political party in Canada to agree on something, namely telling him to get bent) and so on.

So far, the clergy under him had been mostly playing the “Quietly distance ourselves from that guy” card, by mentioning (in a whisper) the importance of understanding an an open hand, without explicitly saying they disagreed with him. (Keeping in mind that the Quebec clergy include at least one man who served as MP and, while there, supported abortion right and gay marriage, that is not exactly surprising. Well, perhaps surprising in the “What, they have’t done more?” sense).

Then this morning a nun, Sister Marguerite Rivard, sent a letter to the newspapers. Choice bits follow:

“Jesus in the gospels always held an open hand to women he encountered…and they were not praying in church. Jesus did not hold a crosier in hand to hit in the name of a So-Called Morale women who disobeyed norms; that’s why he had his hands free to take these women’s hand in the name of Love.”

“What an ecclesiastical hypocrisy, what a so-called morale: to condemn people of whom you never tried to understand the suffering, instead of having heart and arms open wide to welcome in Love those who need it most. You should hurry to go read the Gospel, if you claim to speak in the name of God. The God of Jesus Christ can only feel betrayed by your haughty attitude, without any compassion, without true justice, without Love.”

“I do not know if I am being disrespectful in writing these words, but they are what I feel in a hearth that has infinite respect for all these women whom you would condemn without second thought. Jesus, in the Gospel, condemn but one group…and they are not women, but the religious elite of his time, telling : “what sorrow also awaits you experts in religious law! For you crush people with unbearable religious demands, and you never lift a finger to ease the burden” (Lk 11:46)

She actually disapproves of abortion (and why not?), but even in saying that manages to add a few digs at the cardinal.

All in all, I can only say, thank you, sister Marguerite. I think many people who are (nominally) Catholics in Quebec needed and wanted to hear this, from someone like you. I know I did.

(My note: I used the New Living Translation above, as one that best represent the French version of the text Sister Marguerite used. “Experts of (the) (Moses’) Law” is probably the most accurate translation, while the commonly given translation of “Lawyer” is a load of bullcrap perpretrated by people who either haven’t noticed that “Lawyer” really doesn’t represent well what Jesus is talking about, or (more likely) by people who would rather try and hide the fact that Jesus is busily condemning people who preach on and on about how everyone should obey God’s Law to the last detail (eg, most every preacher ever).

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