November 10, 2010

Some Structure in a Chaotic World

Justin Katz

It would be a mistake to make a splash of the quiet trickle of societal conversion, but it can be a source of hope to note this sort of thing:

A handful of Roman Catholic convents are contradicting the decades-long slide in the number of women choosing to devote their lives to the sisterhood. And at least two of them are doing it by sticking to tradition, including the wearing of habits. ...

Sisters at St. Cecilia's and other thriving U.S. orders typically are younger, which makes them closer in age to potential newcomers. These orders also emphasize traditional practices, like wearing long, flowing black-and-white habits, and educating students.

There's no denying that religious life has become less mainstream of an option, over the past century, but it's a mistake for religious organizations to chase members into the brambles of a decaying culture. Those who wish truly to commit will do so, and maintaining the markers of difference will be, for them, an attraction, not a deterrent.

A plain statement of purpose and a resolute following of tradition create a powerful beacon, and it's left to those of us who believe to stop going along with the pop culture assessment that there's something peculiar about following it.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

"but it's a mistake for religious organizations to chase members into the brambles of a decaying culture"

Great turn of phrase! "chase...into the brambles of a decaying culture"

Posted by: tom parker at November 10, 2010 7:53 PM


What in your mind is different about a traditional Roman Catholic nun's habit and the burka (burqa) worn by Muslim women?

Posted by: Phil at November 11, 2010 6:53 AM

Well, first of all, the traditional habit doesn't cover the face.

But more importantly, the habit is worn by a woman who has opted for a particular vocation within the Church, and one for which her dress is almost an employment uniform. Wearing the habit in public announces that the woman has chosen a particular role within the Christian community, and women have other laudable vocations that they can pursue that have no such uniform — notably, marriage.

Posted by: Justin Katz at November 12, 2010 11:21 PM

I didn't know that marriage was a vocation for women. I hope my wife doesn't find out. There would be considerable back pay involved if that were the case.

Posted by: Phil at November 13, 2010 7:58 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?

Important note: The text "http:" cannot appear anywhere in your comment.