A sleepy protest, an ironic double standard, and a religious order whose charism is to just blend in… You’ll find them all in Maureen Martin’s latest satirical take on the news.
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Woman Who Left Catholic Church Over Sex Scandal Actually Just Wanted to Sleep In
BOISE, IDAHO — Neighbors who initially hailed an area woman for leaving the Catholic Church over the sex abuse scandal are coming to grips with the fact that she actually wanted more time to sleep and run errands.
Sandy Shaw, a data entry technician for Global Technologies, Inc., in Boise, impressed her friends and neighbors when she announced last year that she had “had enough of the sex abuse scandal” and was “leaving the Catholic Church” as a result.
“She was indignant,” said Marla Davies, her next-door neighbor. “She said she had had enough of the Church and didn’t want to bring her children up in it. I was proud of her and invited her to my church. She seemed excited at first, but every Sunday morning when I would walk over to see if she, her husband, and the girls wanted to go to church, one of the girls would answer the door, saying her mom was asleep,” said Davies.
“The last Sunday I approached her, she just waved me off, saying she had to get her nails done,” said Davies. “That’s when I lost all respect for her. She’s no activist. She’s just tired and vain.”
Other neighbors said they were also impressed with Shaw’s stand at first. “It was kind of like a David and Goliath story, except, you know, with a woman,” said Phillip Turner, who lives across the street from Shaw. “Here was this mother of two, taking on the Vatican of all places, by deciding she wasn’t going to church anymore. She was going to show them that she wasn’t going to stand for the abuse anymore.”
“I thought it was all really cool, until I started seeing her out in her robe, watering her gardenias on Sunday morning,” said Turner. “What she was doing didn’t seem any more heroic than me drinking beer on my porch for hours, which is what I do every Sunday. I guess I was kind of hoping for a neighborhood Erin Brockovich, but what I got were some old reruns of that show ‘Alice.’ It sort of shattered the whole activist image for me.”
Cassie Donovan said she really felt for Shaw and the hurt she had experienced over the Church sex abuse scandal. “She said she was so upset about the scandal that it played a part in her getting her tubes tied. Sandy said she didn’t know of any priest personally who was implicated or involved in the scandal, but it really made her angry. She said she didn’t want to bring any more kids into the world and risk having them abused — well that and that the two kids she had were about to drive her mental and she didn’t want anymore,” said Donovan. “Not long after that, she quit the Church.”
“At the time, I really admired her strength,” said Donovan. “It was like she was thumbing her nose at the Church and everything it stood for. But then after awhile, I realized she was just thumbing her nose at the Church and everything it stood for.”
Gay Marriage Threat to Those Traditionally Married, Multiple Times
COLUMBIA, South Carolina — The California Supreme Court’s recent decision to overturn the ban on gay marriage is a threat to traditional marriage, say those who have been married multiple times.
Miles Stewart, a Columbia attorney who is preparing to take his third trip down the aisle next week, said the California Supreme Court’s ruling bothers him a great deal. “Marriage is something I take very seriously. It’s between a man and a woman, and it’s a sacrament, even if it doesn’t take the first two or three times,” he said. “But with this ruling, though, marriage is becoming utterly meaningless.”
Many are saying the ruling will further erode the dignity of marriage, and accelerate the disintegration of society in general. “What’s next? Polygamy?” asked Walter Andrews, a stock broker with Brooks & Wise in Philadelphia. “At least I took the time to divorce each of my wives in between marriages. With polygamy, you’re all just thrown in there together, doing gosh knows what. Not that that idea isn’t tempting, but you know what I’m saying.”
Marnie Reid, a Winston-Salem, NC, mother of two, who was just granted a divorce from her first husband, agrees that the ruling is bad for society. “These gay couples are going to have children through surrogates, and then get gay divorces later on, only to get remarried later, so their kids will have gay stepmothers and stepfathers,” she said. “What a confusing mess. What kind of society lets that happen?”
Pastor Bob Jackson, of Abundantly and Eternally Blessed Life in Christ Church in downtown Columbia, agreed. “I do a lot of pre-marriage counseling and this new ruling has alarmed some of my people. Some of these folks are gun shy to give marriage a second or third try. They are saying to me, ‘Pastor Bob, why should I even bother getting a marriage license? It’s all become a joke. I have to say I agree with them.”
Religious Order Continues to Blend In, Makes No Real Difference in Community
SPANISH FORT, Alabama — Holy Cross Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, a religious order that has existed in Spanish Fort for over 25 years, has not changed the community for better or worse in any way during that time.
In honor of their anniversary, the sisters baked a cake for themselves at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church and invited church staff and priests from around the area to attend. “So we have some religious sisters living in town?” asked Rev. Thomas Lawrence, head pastor at Our Lady of Angels, unaware the church secretary, Shirley Montoya, was a founding member. “Well, thanks for bringing a cake, whoever you are,” said Father Lawrence.
Almost three decades ago, Holy Cross Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament broke off from Little Sisters of St. Francis of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Sister Montoya said the sisters who left the old order felt they were being called in a different direction. As part of the change, Holy Cross Sisters dress like other women in community, live in their own apartments or houses, and work at various jobs in Spanish Fort. After Little Sisters of St. Francis left the area, the convent was turned into a trade school.
“Our charism is ‘community’, so we really strive to blend in and not rock the boat,” said Sister Montoya, dressed in a matching beige blouse and skirt set from Dress Barn. “Our goal is to be like everyone else in our local parishes, and like everyone else here in town,” she said. “Well, everyone else here in town seems to be Protestant, but whatever.”
“When we first arrived, we used to do things like say the Divine Office together, but then Sister Wendy had an epiphany one day and said, ‘Hey, nobody else in town is doing this,’ so we just stopped,” said Sister Montoya.
Several years ago, the order offered an ecumenical Bible study for a week until a couple of attendees started debating scripture interpretations. “At that point we decided to just put the Bible away. It had to stop,” said Sister Montoya. “Now we watch American Idol together and eat pizza, and everybody is a lot happier. We all think Simon is very divisive, though,” she said. “We’d be even happier if he left the show.”
For the last two years, Sister Wendy Adams has worked at Easy Spirit Shoe Store in Colonial Mall. Felicia Stewart, a co-worker and agnostic, said she was surprised to learn Adams is a religious sister. “One day, I tried to get her in a debate on whether God existed, and she just kind of shrugged her shoulders and started putting the new spring shoes out on the shelves. Whatever she is, she doesn’t seem to be that sold out.”
Sister Agnes Greene said before she joined the order, she used to volunteer at a homeless shelter and work at a soup kitchen in Atlanta, but those days are over, now that she is a novice with the order. “The other day, I was in my car at a stop light when I saw a man holding a sign that said, ‘I lost one of my arms and one of my legs in a horrible tractor accident. My children are hungry and my wife left us. Please help.’ Anyway, the car in front of me just kept going once the light turned green. So, I just followed that driver’s example. I rolled up my window, turned my head the other way and said to myself, ‘Screw it,’ and just hit the gas pedal. If I had given the man something, I would have really stood out from everyone, and that just isn’t keeping a sense of community.”
Stanley Richards, a member of the Spanish Fort Knights of Columbus, said he has yet to meet one of the sisters. “When I go to diocesan functions, pro-life fundraisers, and missions, I keep looking for a group of ladies who look holy or something, but so far, I just keep running into your run-of-the-mill old ladies.”
Sister Montoya said she would like to see the order grow, but doesn’t want to push the issue. “If any women in the community feel called to our order and our charism, great,” she said. “But, if not, we will keep on with the same mission we’ve had for the past 25 years — being residents of Spanish Fort.”