She said that in addition to the "areas of energy and vision" that she sees among religious orders today, there are areas of struggle and concern. Among those is the decline in numbers of religious and the aging of religious communities.
But, she said, it is not only the religious communities, but the entire population in the U.S. that is aging.
She is on to a partial truth here. Both the general population and religious communities are aging and they both have the same underlying cause, though she doesn’t make the leap to point it out. The graying to our culture is due to abortion, contraception, and a materialistic attitude that is not open to life. With such small families now is it any wonder that there are less people available for vocations to the priesthood or religious life. How many parents will encourage a vocation for a child when they might only have one or two? SInce the Erie Benedictines and especially some of its members are openly supportive of abortion it is no surprise that they do not make the connection between their own beliefs and the decline of their order.
Now I am no expert on Dominican history, but the following statement doesn’t ring true to me.
"During the Reformation, the Dominicans were founded to preach and to help defend the faith. In this third millennium, maybe we have to re-found our institutions."
St. Dominic was preaching a couple hundred years before the Reformation and worked tirelessly to defeat the Albigensian heresy. If he was alive today he would probably start preaching in some Dominican and Benedictine con vents..
The institutional church is a human construct, she said, "fallible, provisional and in need of constant renewal."
"The structures and policies are always behind where the spirit is moving us," she said.
While it is certainly true that the Church is always in need of renewal (just as individually we are) I believe Jesus would be surprised that he founded a human construct.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.