Why The Cross-Dressing “Sisters” Got Their Communion
© Jack Cashill
“ Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence have history of charity, activism,”* so reads the headline of a recent San Francisco Chronicle article, a headline that provides all the proof one needs of the paper’s appalling dishonesty.
The Chronicle was defending this stable of faux nuns from the criticism they received after receiving Holy Communion from Roman Catholic Archbishop George H. Niederauer in San Francisco last month.
A quick trip to the group’s web site — thesisters.org — would have disabused even a cub reporter of the group’s good intentions. The cross-dressing “Sisters” were proudly conceived in blasphemy and have spent the last thirty years mocking Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.
Had they directed their “charity and activism” at Islam they would have been killed off a long time ago, literally.
Less clear is why the good Archbishop gave them communion in the first place and has apologized so tepidly since.
In reseraching my book, What’s the Matter with California, I came across the answer. Those who think California’s “human potential movement” a string of trivial quackeries like est, Esalen and Scientology underestimate the damage that movement leaders consciously did to mainstream churches.
Dr. William Coulson tells this sad saga well. Coulson came to work under Carl Rogers at the Western Behavioral Sciences Institute in La Jolla in 1964. Rogers was the head guru of humanist psychology, the underlying pholosophy of the human potential movement.
As the resident Catholic on the staff, Coulson had as his mission the recruitment of Catholic religious orders, beginning with the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (IHM) headquartered in Hollywood.
Coulson, Rogers, and 58 other facilitators on a three-year grant from the National Institutes of Mental
Health—our tax dollars at work--inundated the order with a humanistic psychology program called “Therapy for Normals.”
Coulson was alive with the spirit of Vatican II as strained through the “Me” filter:
“I thought, ‘I am the Church; I am as Catholic as the Pope. Didn't Pope John XXIII want us to open the windows and let in the fresh air? Here we come!’” As to Rogers, he was mostly just “anti-Catholic.”
The IHMs were ready to change as well. In the wake of Vatican II, they had been asked, like all religious orders, to reassess their mission and to realign it with the unique spiritual gifts of their founder.
The architects of Vatican II, however, never imagined that the primary realignment tool would be the encounter group.
This being the sixties, more than a few of Rogers’ free-wheeling realignment specialists zoomed in on the order’s commitment to chastity—now seen as a sexual “hang-up”--and a few of those took a hands-on approach to the zooming.
The more ethical of the facilitators encouraged the participants to explore their sexual feelings on their own. In a not atypical case, an older nun in one group, "freeing herself to be more expressive of who she really was internally," decided that she wanted to have sex with a younger nun.
The younger nun obliged, but soon regretted it. Guilt stricken, she went to consult a priest.
Alas, the IHM community, like the Santa Mira of The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, had been imperceptibly transformed. The facilitators had already been to see the priest and snatched his judgment.
Although he looked and dressed like a priest, the advice he gave the sister was alien to their shared 2000 year-old tradition.
Not unlike Archbishop Niederauer in San Francisco, t he priest refused to hold her to any standards. He encouraged her instead to look within and decide for herself if her actions were right or wrong.
Recalls the sister, “He opened a door, and I walked through the door, realizing I was on my own."
This young sister was not the only one to walk through that door. Within just a few years the 615 IHM nuns dwindled to a handful. Their college closed. Their 60 schools were reduced to one.
The Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary “were ready for an intensive look at themselves with the help of humanistic psychologists,” regrets Coulson. “We overcame their traditions, we overcame their faith.”
California served as beachhead in the humanistic war on faith, and once established, the humanist troops soon fanned out across the nation.
These missionary humanists counseled with dozens of Catholic and other Christian religious organizations eager to get with the times.
Wholesale assaults were rare after the 1960’s. More typically, the psychologists settled in as something of a fifth column.
Even today, priestly orders contract with psychologists to perform the initial interviews with candidates for the seminary. For the presumed sake of objectivity, these orders do not necessarily hire Catholics or even Christians.
Given the humanistic bias of the profession, these psychologists tend to see flexibility and open-mindedness as virtues and traditionalism as a vice.
Ironically, the media forces that have encouraged liberalization—The Los Angeles Times comes to mind--are the ones that attack the results of that liberalization most gleefully.
“We provoked,” Coulson acknowledges, “an epidemic of sexual misconduct among clergy and therapists.”
Like far too many people in California and elsewhere, Catholic clergy came to put more trust in modern psychology than they did in their faith or in their own common sense.
As a result, some dioceses sent their pedophile priests to psychotherapists in the honest assumption that they could be cured. They weren’t. Ever. They had to be checked more forcefully.
Now, only the psychotherapists remain at large.
Cashill’s newest book, What’s the Matter with California, is available in bookstores - or you can order your autographed copy online .
|(*SF Chronicle Perpectual Indulgence article link here)|
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