Browse By

Feedback from Carmelites – some of them are waking to the danger

This is terrifying. The more I read and think about it, and the more I discuss things with nuns themselves, the more frightening and disastrous it seems.

The nuns are just sitting there in the crosshairs. The lack of communication between them is a big part of the problem, and of course, the natural innocent trustingness of nuns devoted to the Faith and the Church.

This is a comment from a Carmelite hermit of my acquaintance via email. Once again, I won’t say what country the person is writing from. [The comment has been edited slightly to obscure the origins.]

I have been warning and informing as best as i have been able my former Carmelite Monastery and their [redacted] foundations for some time. When I started to raise red flags i must say they were not accepted welll… the blindness of my sisters amazed me and at the same time I understood it, so I continued on my mission for them to be informed of the coming dangers, to put it mildly. I believe that knowledge is of utmost importance.

They don’t have internet, so at times I make a pdf file of an Official document from the Vatican to fax to them, then they fax it to other monasteries they are close to. The latest was Cor Orans, followed by your article. The effect is better if others speak rather than myself. What you wrote was completely in sync with the concerns, writing on the wall, I have been sharing with them. Now they are more concerned and see the pitfalls themselves. I love them, I love and respect the Carmelite Order. I know they can’t change what is written in the documents,  but I did not want them to blindly accept them.

Thanks be to God their eyes are now open and they are very, very concerned. This knowledge will affect both their prayers for the Order and how they will manage future changes.

They will not be amongst the “shameful gushing” monasteries! Again, I thank you for your well written analysis in your article in The Remnant. I will be forwarding a pdf of your next part as soon as it comes out.

I realized that this is actually part of the problem with true cloistered contemplative monasteries… in most cases they are not aware of what is actually happening. I wish there was a way to inform all of them.


This, if nothing else, is why I keep doing this. At least some will be saved from the Bergoglian asteroid, the Asteroid 2.0.

At least a few.

This communication confirms something I’ve been thinking about. 

Why was this extensive re-write – including the whole-cloth invention of the entire multi-tier edifice of federations with such extraordinary powers – only aimed at the women? Why do men’s monasteries not have to form themselves up in federations given powers to close or “affiliate” them, take over their formation processes and dispose their material goods?

Is it because, simply, female religious tend to be more docile, more compliant, less independent-minded, more ready to believe that everything that comes from Rome must be good? Certainly this naive response to Cor orans has been reported to me from a number of sources distressed to see such lack of insight – or instinct for self-preservation – among faithful nuns.

Or possibly it’s because the growth of specifically traditional female houses has been much slower than that of the men’s houses. If you look at the many internet lists available of monasteries and religious orders exclusively devoted to the traditional, pre-Vatican II liturgical rites, you will find the same thing every time. The list of mens’ communities is always several pages long. For women it remains a tiny handful, and mainly in France where vocational aspirations from speakers of other languages are usually coolly received.

In the US, where the English language traditional movement is strongest, there is exactly one Benedictine house, whose very young upper age limit makes it a closed door to many potential candidates, and two houses of Carmelites, one in formation. There is nothing in Britain or Canada, New Zealand or Australia. In Europe the situation outside France is equally bleak.

With all this in mind, is it possible that the FrancisVatican felt they could not move directly against the men’s communities? Monasteries have ancient and well respected juridical rights, and most bishops, even of the neo-modernist variety, could be reluctant to see a large, well-established house – often full of helpful priests – like Le Barroux or Fontgombault be closed. It would be a bridge too far, even for Francis. But the number of traditional monastic houses of nuns is perishingly few and scattered broadly throughout the world, and, so I am informed, have very little communication between them.

Nuns also have a vulnerability built in that men’s monasteries don’t; they need priests to come in from outside. This means they need desperately to maintain the favour of the bishop. Houses like the female foundation of Le Barroux are more protected. In the history of the Benedictine life, a women’s house is often “twinned” in this way with a male monastery that founds it, precisely to alleiviate this problem. But a house of Carmelites, for instance, with their powerful tradition of independence, is totally dependent on the local bishop’s willingness to provide a priest as chaplain.

Simply put, I think contemplative nuns were just an easy target.

There’s more coming tomorrow on this. Some Carmelites are responding to me privately and these quotes have appeared in the next piece to be published by the Remnant. The one after that will be an examination of a document issued by the European Federations of Discalced Carmelites in 2009. It shows a decided continuity with the direction taken by Cor orans. It makes it indisputable that this plan has been in effect for many years, and has waited for this moment, and this pope, to be brought to full fruition.

Stay tuned.