We have all seen the war movies and heard the stories of those too young to serve lying about their age so as to join the service in defense of liberty, justice, or freedom. Some said they were young and naive, but they wanted to be in the battle. They wanted to make a difference.
When I hear these stories, I usually think of the kid from Brooklyn or the farm boy out of Iowa. They knew where the real battle of their day was occurring and they wanted to be part of it.
The kid from Brooklyn, the farm boy from Iowa, the nuns at Walsingham?
In a joint statement, the nuns explained their situation. They said: “On December 2 2010 Sister Wendy Renate, Sister Jane Louise and Sister Carolyne Joseph left the Priory of Our Lady in Walsingham for a period of discernment with the intention of joining the ordinariate when established. We ask prayers for ourselves and for the Sisters remaining at the Priory of Our Lady.”
The community, which numbered seven nuns belonging to the Society of St Margaret, reportedly voted four to three against joining the ordinariate. The three nuns who left the community are its youngest members. The priory is an autonomous house of the Society of St Margaret and is not linked to the Anglican shrine at Walsingham, which is under the administration of Rt Rev Lindsay Urwin, the former Bishop of Horsham.
The young always seem to know where the battle is. Maybe not just the young.
Increasingly, I get the feeling that more and more separated Christians are coming to the realization that in the battle between Christianity and militant secularism, all the generals are in the Catholic Church.
I don’t base this feeling—and I readily admit it is a feeling not based on much more than my gut—that serious Christians of many stripes increasingly see the church, the Catholic Church, as the “pillar and bulwark of the truth.”
I was at a business dinner a few years ago. I work for a German company. This dinner, in Miami, was with some of the head muckety-mucks from my company. I got into a conversation with one executive out of Germany, a former Lutheran pastor, who confided to me that he was seriously considering becoming Catholic.
I asked him why and he responded in a startlingly straightforward manner. “The Catholic Church doesn’t change its teachings.” I understood that this was the dumbed-down version of what he was trying to say but I understood what he was getting at.
I also asked him, if he believed that, why he had not yet converted. He went on at length about family pressure and, well you know the rest. Change is tough. Change after a lifetime is really tough.
This is why I marvel at the courage of some of the long-serving Bishops of the Anglican communion. I suppose it shows the wisdom of what Pope Benedict has wrought through the introduction of the ordinariate. Such change has got to be easier when you are not alone.
That said, I cannot help but think that these young nuns are making the move because they implicitly understand that the battle has been joined. The lines are being formed. It is time for a choice. Do you stand with Jesus? Do you stand with his Church? Do you have the “pillar and bulwark of the truth?”
I don’t pretend to know how this will all work out. But I do know that before the end, there will be battles, the lines will be drawn, and there will be one flock and one shepherd.