The Chittister Creed

November 2001

Sister Joan Chittister is in the headlines again -- big time this time. Some years ago the Holy See stated that the Catholic teaching disallowing priestesses is infallible and not even a matter for debate. But recently, Chittister spoke before a conference of Women's Ordination Worldwide in Dublin, defying the Holy See. And, as of this writing, she's gotten away with it. The Holy See had demanded that Chittister not speak at the conference and threatened her with punishment if she did, but she spoke anyway, and then the Holy See just let her off the hook. As Time magazine (Aug. 20) notes, "Rome blinked."

Is this any way to run a Church? Imagine that you said to your teenage son, "There will be no foul language in this house," and the next day he cursed out his sister in front of you, and you did nothing about it. Time quotes a ranking official of the Holy See as saying, "What ever happened to obedience? This is a cancer. Do you let it grow?" Good question!

Chittister wants a debate about having priestesses. But why would any Catholic want to debate an infallible doctrine unless he thought it needed to be changed or eliminated? Msgr. Timothy Thorburn, Chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln, noted recently that Chittister is a member of Call to Action, whose platform officially calls for the ordination of women. In her keynote speech at a 1994 Call to Action conference, Chittister said (with reference to the priest shortage): "Faced with a choice between maleness and sacraments, the Church has chosen for maleness. Faced with a choice between sexuality and sacraments, the Church has chosen for celibacy. The new golden calf in the ecclesiastical desert is, therefore, an unmarried man.... We need idol smashers aplenty...." In other words, this "longtime feminist firebrand" (as Time calls her) wants to smash the all-male priesthood.

After her Dublin speech, Michael S. Rose noted that Chittister "is probably best known for her...advocacy of women's ordination...." Long ago C.S. Lewis wrote that those who favor priestesses would deliver us into a "different religion."

You have two options:

  1. Online subscription: Subscribe now to New Oxford Review for access to all web content at AND the monthly print edition for as low as $38 per year.
  2. Single article purchase: Purchase this article for $1.95, for viewing and printing for 48 hours.

If you're already a subscriber log-in here.

New Oxford Notes: November 2001

Read our posting policy Add a comment
3/07 Sr. Chittister was recently invited to speak (on video) at a women's mini-retreat at our parish. Thanks to being a longtime subscriber of NOR, I recognized the name and voiced my opinion (shock) that she was to be our inspiriation. I have learned of several parishioners who are members of Call to Action and also some who are Faithful to the Magisterial teachings (allies). Many have left our parish bc of the hererodox element. I will stay on to fight it as long as I'm able. Posted by: Magdalene
March 14, 2007 02:06 PM EDT
My wife and I (along with another older couple) very recently were confirmed as new Catholics. The parish gave us books as welcome gifts. The men received "The Tent of Abraham" by Sr. Chittister. I consider it very inappropriate for a parish to promote an individual who does not teach the Faith - and particularly to converts who are still internalizing the foundations of Catholocism. I am also personaly insulted. Posted by: glightnr
May 06, 2007 12:30 PM EDT
This woman puts SHAME to her Order and makes me not want to support the sisters. She is an excellent speaker, like our new President is, but look and listen carefully what they are saying.
Posted by: Frederick G. Stein
January 29, 2009 01:10 PM EST
I am an Evangelical subscriber to NOR, and can't help but notice how similar Chittister is to the "12 Step Program" that appears to be part of every Evangelical church today. "I believe in the multiple revelations of that God, alive in every human heart,"I acknowledge the need to be freed from the compulsions of my disordered life," and so on.

This woman is just another microbe in an infection running fairly wild in our world.
Posted by: eberwein
November 12, 2009 11:43 AM EST
Add a comment