Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Polish "Rebel Nuns" Evicted

When you get known around the office as "the Catholic one" you occasionally get odd stories tossed your way. So this morning it was, "Do you know anything about those nuns who got evicted by the police on Poland?"

Well, no I didn't, but I guess now I do, at least a bit. MSNBC runs an AP story:
KAZIMIERZ DOLNY, Poland (AP) -- Police pushed their way into a Polish convent Wednesday and evicted about 65 rebellious ex-nuns -- arresting the mother superior and a monk who had occupied the complex with them illegally for two years.

The women had taken over the building in a rebellion against the Vatican, which had ordered the replacement of their mother superior, Jadwiga Ligocka.

"They were disobedient," said Mieczyslaw Puzewicz, a spokesman for the Lublin diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. The Vatican formally expelled the women from their Sisters of Bethany order last year.

Police arrested Mother Jadwiga and a former Franciscan friar, Roman Komaryczko, who had been living with the nuns, and planned to question them, police spokesman Mariusz Sokolowski said. He would not say what the specific charges were.

A locksmith had opened the gate to the walled convent in the eastern Polish town of Kazimierz Dolny and police in riot gear pushed forward, encountering an onslaught of verbal aggression from some of the former nuns, Sokolowski said.

Several hours into the operation, the women, in black habits and each escorted by two policewomen, began filing out of the building. Some carried musical instruments -- guitars, a tambourine, a drum -- while others bore simple backpacks or carried large blue garbage bags apparently packed their with belongings.

The women walked calmly out of the convent, through a tree-dotted courtyard, and onto one of three buses, the last of which finally pulled away more than six and a half hours after the operation began.

Among the ex-nuns were five citizens of Russia and Belarus living in Poland illegally, Sokolowski said. They will likely be deported, he added.

The diocesan spokesman Puzewicz, who was at the convent site, said the ex-nuns were acting "as if they are being manipulated" psychologically.

He did not say who he thought was manipulating them, but he did say that the former friar, Komaryczko, had had a "negative influence" on Mother Jadwiga.

When the Vatican formally expelled the nuns in 2006, they refused to leave the building, cutting themselves off from the outside world.

The church eventually sought legal action to remove them, and a court in nearby Pulawy ordered the eviction -- a step they had previously resisted. The convent's electricity was cut off earlier this year, but local residents sympathized with the ex-nuns' plight and secretly funneled them food in the night.

Polish news media have reported that Mother Jadwiga was a charismatic figure who had had religious visions, and was attempting to transform the convent into a contemplative order.

The Lublin diocese hinted at that in a statement on its Web site, which said that "Mother Jadwiga's private revelations and the fact that she made it a guideline to stick by them caused unease to the Congregation."
I can't seem to find any coverage that isn't sourced off the AP story, so I'm not exactly clear what Mother Jadwiga's alleged private revelations were about -- but given that such things can never be made binding (which she according to the story was doing) that certainly sounds like the theological problem.

I was a pleasantly surprised, actually, that the AP appeared to get the point that the Vatican has control over things -- calling the sisters "ex-nuns" based on the fact that they'd been expelled from their order a year ago.

I was also amused that even though the "rebel nuns" wear traditional habits, they carry bongos. Some things must be universal.

If anyone knows of a more complete story, I'd be curious to hear of it.


Fred said...

heh. that's not a bongo (which I think come in pairs), but a dumbek, a drum with an African origin also called a goblet drum. Long ago, I used to play one to accompany my sister's belly dancing. At any rate, here is an amusing site that gives the history of the dumbek:

Darwin said...

Oh dear. Now you have me wondering if the nuns were belly dancing... :-0

Tony said...

Hare Krishna *BANG* krishna, krishna *BANG*.