I am referring, first of all, to Art. 3, §6 of the regulations at the end of VDQ, which provides as follows:
Even though the establishment of international and multicultural communities is a sign of the universality of the charism, the recruitment of candidates from other countries solely for the sake of ensuring the survival of a monastery is to be absolutely avoided. To ensure that this is the case, certain criteria are to be determined.
Notice that this provision does not per se forbid recruitment of novices solely to insure the survival of a monastery, which could be understood to address the hasty recruitment of ill-suited candidates in order to keep things going. Rather, it forbids only recruitment from other countries for that purpose. That is, the Pope of Inclusion, the Pope who rails constantly against “walls” that restrict immigration, now makes national origin alone a criterion for exclusion from every convent-monastery in the world.
Do not be fooled by the phrase “solely for the sake of ensuring the survival of a monastery…” The word “solely” will mean nothing in practice. This is simply a prohibition simpliciter of foreign recruitment, there being no bar to domestic recruitment “solely for the sake of ensuring the survival of a monastery.”
Now, what does national origin have to do with a candidate’s fitness for the novitiate? Absolutely nothing. Indeed, the international character of conventual populations is a tradition of the Church. Thus VDQ itself—in typical Novus Ordo fashion—must profess to respect the very thing it demolishes: i.e., “international and multicultural communities [as] a sign of the universality of the charism.”
Confronted with this blatant hypocrisy, the indefatigable Bergoglian apologist Andrea Tornielli has written a piece entitled “Why Francis is urging against the ‘recruitment’ of young nuns from poor countries.” The article is a classic example of the What the Pope Really Means genre of neo-Catholic propaganda. Pretending not to notice what Francis has decreed, Tornielli writes: “Where a novice comes from should never be an issue, nor should the existence of international and multicultural communities. But rigorous training in the vocation must not be optional and there is no taking shortcuts.”
Right, a novice’s national origin should not be an issue, and convents can and should be multinational. But Francis has made national origin an issue for the first time in the history of convents. Tornielli would have us believe, however, that what Francis “really” means is merely that “rigorous training in the vocation must not be optional and there is no taking shortcuts.” Except that is not what § 6 says. The regulation says nothing about rigorous training or the lack thereof in novices; nor, for that matter, does it speak of “young nuns from poor countries.” Rather, it declares simply that recruitment from other countries to sustain a monastery is forbidden across the board. Training of recruits is a separate issue entirely. On that issue, as Hilary White notes, Francis has just imposed on every monastery in the world an absurd one-size-fits-all term of “no less than nine years and not more than twelve.” That is not period of formation; it is a daunting period for the discouragement of vocations by withholding the strengthening grace of final vows.
There is no hiding the truth about what Francis has done here: he has issued the death warrant for numberless convents in the Western church based solely on the criterion of the national origin of candidates. That is the cynical power play of an ecclesiastical politician, not a merciful defender of “inclusion and diversity.”
Even more cynical is Art. 8 § 1, which professes to respect conventual autonomy while undermining it: “Juridical autonomy needs to be matched by a genuine autonomy of life. This entails a certain, even minimal, number of sisters, provided that the majority are not elderly…”
What does a nun’s age have to do with her participation in a convent’s autonomy? Nothing, obviously. Here too the stink of hypocrisy rises to the nostril, for earlier in VDQ Francis declares: “Then too, as St. Benedict reminds us, in community life it is essential both to ‘honour the elderly and to show affection to the young’….” How does Francis “honor the elderly” by decreeing that a convent’s autonomous majority must not be composed of elderly nuns? And how does he define “elderly”? As old as he is? Francis the Pope of Inclusion, who professes to honor the elderly, here engages in rank discrimination in the self-governance of convents based on nothing more than chronological age. Francis is not too old to rule the Church universal with an iron fist, but “elderly” nuns are too old to constitute an autonomous majority in a little convent.
But there is more. Art. 8, § 2 provides that “Whenever the requirements for a monastery’s genuine autonomy are lacking, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will study the possibility of establishing an ad hoc commission made up of the ordinary, the president of the federation, a representative of the federation and the abbess or prioress of the monastery. In every case, the purpose of this intervention is to initiate a process of guidance for the revitalisation of the monastery, or to effect its closure.”
Got that? When a monastery lacks the “requirements” for “genuine autonomy” it will be subject to a commissariat that will either “revitalize” or close it. And one of the requirements for “genuine autonomy” is that that the majority of nuns not be elderly. Let me connect the dots: Francis having now forbidden recruitment of foreign candidates to keep a convent alive—because, after all, they’re foreigners—this will mean simply the closure of any convent in which “elderly” nuns constitute a majority.
Why mince words? VDQ demonstrates yet again that the currently reigning Roman Pontiff is a dictator, pure and simple. As in every dictatorship, official hypocrisy and deception of the people are essential to its consolidation of power without significant resistance. And there are plenty of sycophants to help the dictator reach his goal by defending the Pope’s plenary power over the Church (which is not in question) while explaining away or covering up its continual unconscionable abuse.
Our remedies? Only these three: prayer, protest, and petition. For unlike a literal banana republic, the divine constitution of the Church does not admit of revolution or overthrow. We are being punished with this pontificate, and we must endure the punishment for as long as God wills. We can only pray that, having done our duty, these days will be shortened.
Did you miss Chris's latest Remnant article, "In Defense of Pope Francis"?