Sister Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of New Ways Ministry, has a 50-year record of dissent from Church doctrine on homosexuality, female ordination and abortion.
When I first heard that Pope Francis wrote a letter to Sister Loretto Jeannine Gramick praising her 50 years of ministry, I immediately thought it was a case of mistaken identity. Surely the pope or his staff had confused her with one of the thousands of Catholic sisters who have worked for half a century to teach and model the truths of the Catholic faith and who deserve such a letter.
After all, Sister Jeannine has spent the past 50 years defying and defying Church authorities, and last week she told an interviewer, “Sometimes we have to go against what the people say. leaders of our Church.
Indeed, that has been her track record and modus operandi over the years, and it is a mystery how she managed to remain a consecrated nun, given her public attacks on Church doctrine and of his affiliation with radical organizations. Let’s count some of the ways:
In 1977, Sister Jeannine and Salvatorian Father Robert Nugent founded New Ways Ministry to offer gays and lesbians “messages of justice, acceptance, dialogue and reconciliation”. After some complaints that their messages and writings questioned Church teachings on homosexual acts and criticized Church documents, some bishops banned them from working in their dioceses.
In 1984, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life ordered them to separate completely from the New Ways Ministry, and told them that they must faithfully present the teaching of the Church on homosexual acts. The two gave up their leadership positions but continued their activities.
On October 7, 1984, Sunday for the respect of life, Sister Jeannine, then a sister of Notre-Dame school, joined 25 other nuns in signing a New York Times display an advertisement sponsored by Catholics for a Free Choice. This advertisement stated that “the statements of recent popes and the Catholic hierarchy” are not the only “legitimate Catholic position” on abortion.
After years of complaints against Sister Jeannine and Father Nugent, the Holy See created a commission in 1988 to evaluate their statements and writings to see if they were faithful to Church teaching. In 1994, the commission reported certain positive aspects of their apostolate, but noted “serious shortcomings” “incompatible with the fullness of Christian morality”. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) then got involved, and five years of exchanges of correspondence ensued, Sister Jeannine and Father Nugent being invited to state “unequivocally” their positions on the morality of acts homosexuals.
When the couple finally refused, in 1999, the CDF issued a notification, ordering them to cease their ministry completely. Father Nugent complied, but Sister Jeannine publicly declared that she had chosen “not to collaborate” in her own “oppression”.
When her superior School Sisters of Notre Dame told her she could not stay in order if she defied the CDF requirement, she was transferred to the Sisters of Loretto in 2001, and after a quiet time at home in Kentucky, she was soon back in Maryland. and re-associated with New Ways Ministry.
A longtime member of the board of the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), Sister Jeannine became its national coordinator in 2003. The NCAN is made up of a handful of sisters and laity of various faiths and not, and has promoted abortion, women’s ordination, and same-sex marriage since its founding in 1969. Sister Jeannine was also a board member of the defunct Women’s Ordination Conference.
In good conscience, a documentary film released in 2004 featured Sister Jeannine as she is supposed to be “seeking answers in high places [the Vatican] about his silence or blacklisting,” according to the promotion for the film. But alas, “She never has her day in court.” Apparently, she considered her five-year correspondence with the CDF an inadequate audience.
In 2012, Sister Jeannine co-wrote a play in The Washington Post titled “A Catholic Case for Same-Sex Marriage.” And she told MSNBC the same year that “we women come from a different conception of ‘the Church’ than the Vatican.” Around this time, she also began wearing a veil, which appeared to be an accessory for her media appearances promoting same-sex marriage.
As National Coordinator of NCAN, she signed a May 14, 2014 letter to President Barack Obama urging him to allow federal funds to pay for overseas abortions. And in 2016, Sister Jeannine criticizes the Pope’s apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) as “bland” and showing “no understanding of gender identity”.
In a March 21, 2021 op-ed, she urged the Supreme Court to rule against Catholic agencies that refuse to place children in gay homes. And a simple search of the New Ways ministry website provides other examples of Sister Jeannine’s shameful record.
The only reasonable conclusion that can be drawn from the pope’s cursory 50th birthday note to Sister Jeannine is that the staff members handling his voluminous correspondence apparently did not do their homework and inform the Holy Father of the identity of that person.
The unfortunate result is that Sister Jeannine and her cohorts are now joyfully celebrating what they claim is the Pope’s endorsement of her radical agenda.