Like a virgin | The Catholic Thing

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Cristina Scuccia’s is neither the first nor the last case of a religious abandoning the habit, even with final vows already professed. The tragic case of the Singing Nun, Jeanne-Paule Marie, comes to mind. (She committed suicide.) There are two crises that go hand in hand in the troubled case of Cristina: a crisis in the Ursuline religious order, a crisis in religious vocations, a lack of an authentic commitment to consecrated life, and the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

That lack was already present during the competition eight years ago. “Like a virgin touched for the very first time,” Sister Cristina Scuccia sang, one of the lyrics in a song first made popular by “Madonna.” Even Madonna was told that “Like a Virgin” would not make her, but break her, given the controversial nature of the lyrics. So, why did a consecrated religious sister, who had professed her vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, sing the same lyrics? Anyone familiar with the song would ask: Who made the consecrated sister “shiny and new”? Whose heart was beating next to hers? Why was a religious sister who has taken the perpetual vows of virginal chastity singing “Like a Virgin” at all?

Cristina’s comments about her musical success and her religious family (the Ursuline Sisters of the Holy Family), whom she describes as a shield, are striking. As she says, “criticism never reached her, because the sisters hid the newspapers from her.” Cristina seems to be critical of her sisters being “too protective” or showing “an excessive protection which became almost a limitation for [her].”

What did this protection limit? What did Cristina want to do that the superiors did not allow after they had granted her permission to participate in the competition? There is a diversion from the expectations of the rule which calls the Mother Superior to “be solicitous and watchful toward the members.” Is “too protective” another way for Cristina to say that her superiors were possessive or controlling to the point of robbing her of her freedoms?

The Catholic Thing

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