Blog Post

The Grail is Not a Catholic Group

grailvilleCV asks: "Have you ever heard of the dissident 'Catholic' group called The Grail? If you have any research, I would love to see it."

Yes, I have read about The Grail and do not recommend this group to Catholic women.

Here are a few reasons why:

1.  They are supporters of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious ( LCWR), a dissident group whose activities in support of female ordination, homosexuality and other stances in opposition to Catholic teaching has caused them to come under official investigation by the Vatican.

2.  They are very actively involved in the radical UN Commission on the Status of Women which advocates for women's "reproductive rights"

3.  They freely acknowledge on their website that they "recognize the earth as a sacred living organism" which is a pantheistic belief

4.  They consider themselves to be pioneers in Catholic feminist theology.

the chapel at Grailville the chapel at Grailville

For those of who have never heard of the Grail, it began as a Catholic women's movement in Holland in 1921.

Founded by Fr. Jacques van Ginneken (1877-1949), "he felt that many new possibilities were opening up for women and that a group of lay women, unconfined by convent walls and rules, could make an immense contribution to the transformation of the world," the website states.

Although the work women become involved in varies by nation and continent, it primarily challenges them to do whatever they can to "improve the quality of life and to build a society which recognizes, in words and deeds, the dignity of all human beings and the value of all creatures."

The movement was brought to the U.S in 1940 by two Dutch Grail women, Lydwine van Kersbergen (1904-1998) and Joan Overboss (1910-1969), who were invited by Chicago’s archbishop. Their work began at Doddridge Farm, a summer camp in Libertyville, Illinois and is now based in Grailville where they offer spiritual programs such as this Zen retreat.

As they explain, they moved away from Catholicism in the late 60s and 70s saying that they were "influenced by changes in the Catholic Church and by the growth of the women’s movement," which encouraged them to become pioneers in Catholic feminist theology and "to become more inclusive of other religious traditions."

This is no longer a Catholic group, by its own admission:

" Ecumenical in its perspective over many years, the Grail became at the end of the 20th century, an ecumenical movement, open to the ways of other religious traditions and to expressions of genuine spiritual search which are consistent with its identity and integrity of purpose."