US Nuns Push Back Against Vatican Crackdown

Friday, 01 Jun 2012 09:18 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink
The largest organization of U.S. Catholic nuns on Friday rejected a Vatican assessment that they had fallen under the sway of radical feminism and needed to hand control of their group over to a trio of bishops.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, whose members represent about 80 percent of nuns in the United States, issued a sharp statement calling the Vatican's rebuke "unsubstantiated" and "the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency."

The nuns said the Vatican's report has "caused scandal and pain throughout the church community and created greater polarization."

Tensions between U.S. nuns and church authorities, both in Rome and in the United States, have been simmering for decades as nuns have taken an increasingly independent and outspoken role in politics and social outreach.

The Leadership Conference has aired frank discussions of issues that deeply discomfit the Vatican, from ministry to gays and lesbians to the patriarchy of church culture. Some nuns have made public calls for the church to relax its stance against contraception; others have worked to ordain women as priests, in ceremonies the Vatican does not recognize as valid.

The Vatican also complained that the nuns have focused most of their attention on social justice issues, such as poverty, and have not spent enough time promoting the church's view on divisive political questions such as abortion and gay marriage.

To bring the sisters into line, the Vatican announced earlier this spring that it would put the Leadership Conference under the effective control of a trio of bishops, who would have the power to rewrite its statutes, its meeting agendas and even its liturgical texts.

In their response on Friday, announced after three days of discussion and prayer in Washington, D.C., the conference board called the punishment "disproportionate" and said it "could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission."

The nuns have drawn strong public support in the United States since the Vatican made its move to rein them in. In the past few weeks Catholics have organized vigils outside churches from Anchorage, Alaska, to Lady Lake, Florida, and in major cities including Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, as well as outside the offices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.

Knots of demonstrators - sometimes a handful, sometimes several dozen - pray, sing and give thanks for nuns. More than 50,000 have signed an online petition asking the Vatican to withdraw its order.

The Leadership Conference cited that support in its tough response to the Vatican, saying the board "believes that the matters of faith and justice that capture the hearts of Catholic sisters are clearly shared by many people around the world."

The Leadership Conference president, Pat Farrell, and the group's executive director, Janet Mock, said they would fly to Rome in little over a week to meet with Cardinal William Levada and the U.S. bishop assigned to reform their group, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle.

That meeting is scheduled to take place one day before U.S. bishops gather in Atlanta for wide-ranging discussions on issues from clergy sex abuse to the federal mandate that all health insurance plans cover contraception.

Following their discussions in Rome, the nuns will convene a national convention in St. Louis in August to further shape their response to the Vatican.

"This response shows Catholic sisters are not backing down from their social justice mission and are handling a troubling situation with great dignity," said John Gehring, the Catholic program director for Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group.

 

 

 

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Charlie Rangel: GOP Believes 'Slavery Isn't Over'

Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 23:09 PM

Rep. Charlie Rangel on Thursday likened Republicans to Confederates from the Civil War era, charging that they "believe  . . .

New York Archdiocese to Reorganize, Merge Parishes

Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 22:51 PM

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York will merge more than 50 parishes because of lower attendance and rising expen . . .

Michelle Bachmann: World Sees US Has No Plan to Fight Terrorism

Thursday, 30 Oct 2014 21:56 PM

The world has no confidence in U.S. leadership because they don't know what our plans to fight terrorism are, Rep. Miche . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved