He didn't actually smoke with me. But he invited me to the school gym, locked the doors and set up at a record player for our meeting. He had asked me to bring along some records, so I arrived with Donovan and Dylan albums under my arm. We sat in two folding chairs on the gym floor, next to the record player, and he invited me to smoke dope as we listened to the music and discussed it. He wanted to know what the hippie thing was all about, so he could understand what was going on with the younger members of his flock, all of whom were morphing into hippies. That was a powerful, right-minded priest. His only impulse was to understand and help.
I see this same attitude in the nuns who work so hard in the United States. Nuns are good people (for the most part). All those I've encountered have been open to the world, to new ideas. And they haven't been vicious at all. That's left to the priests. Nuns, in my experience, are never judgemental. Like that priest from the 60s, they only want to help.
So it will be very, very interesting to see what response the nuns give to the Vatican's recent attack. Today's New York Times has an interesting article about the situation. Something tells me the nuns will do the right thing, especially since Sister Pat Farrell is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious -- the organization directly attacked by the Vatican. She's one smart cookie. I know in my heart that the nuns will not buckle under. You cannot silence people who can tell right from wrong. The nuns have been using their brains (and their hearts) all these years, while the priests have not. It's the nuns who'll come out on top. Just you wait and see.