St. Louis Catholic has learned that Sr. Louise Lears, a member of the “Pastoral Team” at St. Cronan Parish has been issued a summons and canonical admonition by His Grace, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke. Sr. Lears has been summoned to appear to answer the charges of rejection of a truth of faith under canon 750, and of causing grave scandal, thus implicating the penalties for a scandalous external violation of canon law under canon 1399.


Canon 750 states as follows:

Can. 750 §1. A person must believe with divine and Catholic faith all those things contained in the word of God, written or handed on, that is, in the one deposit of faith entrusted to the Church, and at the same time proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium which is manifested by the common adherence of the Christian faithful under the leadership of the sacred magisterium; therefore all are bound to avoid any doctrines whatsoever contrary to them.

§2. Each and every thing which is proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church concerning the doctrine of faith and morals, that is, each and every thing which is required to safeguard reverently and to expound faithfully the same deposit of faith, is also to be firmly embraced and retained; therefore, one who rejects those propositions which are to be held definitively is opposed to the doctrine of the Catholic Church.

Canon 1399 states as follows:

Can. 1399 In addition to the cases established here or in other laws, the external violation of a divine or canonical law can be punished by a just penalty only when the special gravity of the violation demands punishment and there is an urgent need to prevent or repair scandals.

I am unable to ascertain the exact factual allegations underlying the charges at this time, but readers of this blog will remember that Sr. Lears was present at the Advent vespers protest outside of St. Cronan’s last month. This event occurred, and was presided over by Sr. Lears, despite the request of the Archbishop that St. Cronan’s rescind its invitation to Rabbi Susan Talve to lead this event. Rabbi Talve and her congregation hosted the infamous pretend ordination of would-be priestesses Rose Hudson and Elsie McGrath. As an aside, both Hudson and McGrath were also present at the vespers protest.

The knowing participation in this event with Talve, Hudson, and McGrath following so soon after the schismatic “ordinations” was indeed scandalous.

It is possible that Sr. Lears is being held accountable for her public support of women’s ordination, which support denies a definitive truth, an infallible teaching of the Holy Catholic Church. The teaching that only men can be ordained has been constantly maintained, and most recently confirmed as an infallible teaching in John Paul II’s encyclical Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

Perhaps when the mainstream media pick up the story (as they almost certainly will, as the standard textbook for dissenters is to bring along the cameras), we may discover more information on the factual allegations and also about whether Sr. Lears will break ranks with Hudson and McGrath and actually appear as directed.

When trying to find information about the summons and admonition, I came across this on one dissenter site forum (page down to message 416):

Dear friends,

A friend of mine, Sister Louise Lears SC, who is a pastoral minister at St. Cronan’s parish in St. Louis, [Missouri, USA] is being confronted by Archbishop Burke.

On the Saturday between Christmas and New Year’s, Louise was served (at home) with a “summons to appear and canonical admonition” at the Catholic Center of the Archdiocese. The letter was signed by Archbishop Burke. The hearing is set for January 15 at 10 am. She is to appear to “take cognizance of the accusation and proofs concerning your apparent commission of the delicts of 1) the rejection of a truth /de Fide/tenenda/ (canon 750) and 2) grave scandal (canon 1399).”

She does not know what the the issue is that has prompted this, but she imagines it is her support of women’s ordination. The two women who were ordained to the Roman Catholic Priesthood in October were from St. Cronan’s parish. Rabbi Susan Talve, the rabbi who offered her synagogue for the ordinations of the women, was invited to be the guest preacher at one of St. Cronan’s Advent Vesper services. Archbishop Raymond Burke asked St. Cronan’s to cancel the invitation to Rabbi Talve. Instead, the vesper service took place on the public sidewalk outside the church. Louise presided at the service. This may be what has stirred up the Archbishop, although his summons is mute on its motivation.

The President of Louise’s community, Barbara Hagedorn, has been in touch with Dan Ward, the LCWR canon lawyer in Washington DC, who referred her to a local canon lawyer in St. Louis with whom she is meeting. She has spoken with the Parish Council at St. Cronan’s and they are standing firm behind her.

Louise asks for prayers in this situation and ideas that anyone may have. Louise also wants transparency and has said this information can be shared as widely as possible.

Courage and peace as the hierarchy sinks further into secrecy and repression, (signed)

If you need further proof of the scandalously disrespectful and disobedient attitude of the supporters of the idea of women’s ordination, just read some of the posts there that contain insult and calumnies about Archbishop Burke.

I will try to stay abreast of events as they come. Stay tuned, folks.

In December this space declared, “It’s Time to do Something about St. Cronan’s.” It now seems that something has been, and is being, done.

All parties involved need our prayers, but pray especially for Archbishop Burke.