Among other causes Quinn espoused: racial equality, reproductive choice, equal rights, lesbian and gay rights, and different faith traditions. As a woman and an avowed feminist she naturally recognized and challenged the inferior position assigned to women by the Roman Catholic Church.
Setting aside the things that the Catholic Church stands for – equal rights, racial equality and the equality of women (which I’m pretty sure are just subsets of “equal rights,” anyways) – this sounds very much like the résumé of a sort of stock anti-Catholic hooligan. Obsessed with gay rights and abortion on demand, unable to understand the core Truth of Catholicism (that there is definitive Truth, and we know His Name and His Church), unable to understand how men and women can be different without being unequal, and convinced that the Catholic Church hates women because Her Founder restricted the priesthood to guys. This résumé is tired, as are the arguments behind it. There’s not a creative thought on the list: it’s just another spewing of “I believe everything the left wing of the Democratic Party believes, Amen.”
What is terrifying about this résumé is that it comes from the Catholic (ok, Jesuit) Loyola University of Chicago’s hagiography of a Catholic nun. Specifically, Sr. Donna Quinn, OP. If you’re curious, the only reason it says “causes Quinn espoused” is because it’s describing her activities in the mid-70s, when these ideas were apparently more novel. Unfortunately, she still holds them at the ripe old age of 72, as the charming picture on the right illustrates all too clearly. Hope she’s got good health insurance if she’s trying to hang on to see the Catholic Church reverse Herself on abortion, gay rights, and the notion that some religions (like Catholicism) are more true than other religions (like Wicca or Satanism, for example).
But Sr. Donna Quinn isn’t just a casual or accidental heretic. She isn’t an otherwise solid Catholic who happens to hold heretical views on the issues I mentioned above. Rather, her advocating for depravity and heresy has become her central mission, all while drawing financial support for her evil from the Catholic Church Herself.
Shocking, Sr. Quinn actually served as an escort for women seeking abortions. That is, she physically assisted women into a building so that an accredited medical professional could murder her child. Quinn defended her cooperation in this mortal sin by claiming that protesters were “abusive.”
All of that is old news: Catholics news sources ran this story a month ago, along with her superior’s initial (and insane) defense of her at the time. Her order eventually apologized, and made her quit (although she still got to take parting shots at pro-lifers). This raises an obvious question: did the order (1) have so little idea what Sr. Quinn did during daytime hours that they’d missed this somehow? (2) know what she did, but not realize how diametrically opposed “assisting in the procurement of abortion” and “proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as women religious consecrated to Him” were? Or (3) know, and just not care? The initial response reeked heavily of (3), but the follow-up “aw, shucks” denial was a pretty good attempt at (1).
Of course, there are a lot of problems in trying to take this “we had no idea what she was doing out there, gosh!” kind of defense seriously. For starters:
In 1974 she co-founded the organization Chicago Catholic Women, which lobbied the USCCB on a feminist platform before it dissolved in 2000. She is now a coordinator of the radically liberal National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN), which stands in opposition against the Catholic Church’s position on abortion, homosexuality, contraception, and the male priesthood.
She isn’t exactly a spring chicken, nor is she a newcomer to the abortion debate. NCAN’s website (which I’m not bothering to link to) is dedicated exclusively to anti-Catholic “Catholics,” and to dismantling Church teachings: they praise, for example, the Archdiocese of Sydney’s decision not to require teachers to sign a form saying that they agree with the Church’s teachings on sexual issues, and they’re publicly supportive of the excommunicated Rev. Roy Bourgeois, and his war against the Church. Yet her order (that is, those with the most immediate control over her activities) have apparently done nothing in 35 years to stop Sr. Quinn from this sort of activism, despite it being antithetical to the Gospel which they supposedly proclaim.
Unfortunately, her committed activism to homosexuality and abortion-on-demand have caused her to take things to some incredibly blasphemous bounds. In 2005, the Archdiocese of Chicago refused to desecrate Pentecost Sunday by allowing gay activists wearing rainbow sashes to partake in Communion at the Cathedral. Anyone who thinks that this action is “hateful” has no real idea of what goes on at a Mass, or how “worshiping God” is different than “a political rally” or “gay pride parade.” But, of course:
Dominican Sister Donna Quinn, director of the National Coalition of American Nuns, Joseph and Barbara Parot of Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and long time Catholic gay rights activist Rick Garcia, also attended the Mass. After the sash wearers were denied, Sister Donna, the Parots and Garcia approached the altar and received Communion. To the surprise of some, including the sash wearers, the four then approached the sash-wearers and gave them a portion of their consecrated hosts.
Given the choice between honoring the bishop, not to mention the Body of Christ, Sr. Donna decided instead to publicly disgrace the Eucharist.
Somehow, Sr. Quinn wasn’t excommunicated in 1974, when she began her first organized attempt to undermine Catholic teaching. Somehow, she wasn’t excommunicated in 2005, when she desecrated the Body of Christ for the cause of gay sex. And somehow, she still hasn’t managed to get excommunicated, despite being an abortion clinic escort.
She hasn’t given up trying. Now, at the height of the healthcare debate, when the US Bishops finally got organized, on-message, and have been increasingly effective, she lashes out against their #1 legislative priority: a pro-life amendment for Obamacare. After a pro-life amendment failed in the Senate,
Sister Donna Quinn—who quit her volunteer work with Planned Parenthood under pressure from local Church leaders—reports that she has sent thank-you notes to abortion supporters who lobbied their senators against the pro-life amendment. Sister Quinn expressed satisfaction that the amendment was defeated on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, saying that the Virgin Mary was “one of the first women in the New Testament to express ‘choice.’”
That’s right. She undermined the Bishops, the Magisterium (which isn’t exactly ambiguous on this issue), and did so by calling the Virgin Mary a pro-choicer. Nevermind that Mary’s “choice” to obey God was her consenting to become pregnant, not remain so, so the comparison doesn’t hold: there’s something even more fundamentally wrong about invoking the Virgin Mary on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception to support abortion. As the Catechism explains:
CCC 2148 Blasphemy is directly opposed to the second commandment. It consists in uttering against God – inwardly or outwardly – words of hatred, reproach, or defiance; in speaking ill of God; in failing in respect toward him in one’s speech; in misusing God’s name. St. James condemns those “who blaspheme that honorable name [of Jesus] by which you are called.”78 The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ’s Church, the saints, and sacred things. It is also blasphemous to make use of God’s name to cover up criminal practices, to reduce peoples to servitude, to torture persons or put them to death. The misuse of God’s name to commit a crime can provoke others to repudiate religion.
As a final straw, her exact quote was:
“I was reminded of being with men and women from the Unitarian faith tradition last year as they celebrated Mary who by her assent, they believed, was one of the first women in the New Testament to express Choice,” Quinn said.
So rather than obey the Church on even so simple matter of honoring Holy Days of Obligations like the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (which should be the bare minimum of being a nun, one might think), she spends the day attending other religions’ services to praise the Patroness of Life as the first pro-choicer.
Even before this most recent scandal, esteemed canonist Dr. Edward Peters had laid out the precise canons under which someone needs to get around to excommunicating her. Let’s pray that they do it quickly. I’m not normally one to jump on the Excommunication Bandwagon, but I’ll go ahead and make an exception. Without exaggeration, every public action she takes seems scripted by Satan himself: she publicly desecrates the Body of Christ and the name of Mary (on the date of the Immaculate Conception, no less) while describing herself as a “Nun for Choice.”