Sunday, April 22, 2012

Vatican attacks American nuns: A compilation. USA nuns live Gospel, serve the poor and sick...while Benedict XVI lives in luxury out-of-touch-with-reality in Vatican Bank Tower

Updated August 12, 2012 

American Nuns Springtime, Catholic Spring…(like Arab Spring)

Cadinal Ratzinger’s clone, Cardinal William J. Levada, of the Vatican Inquisition office now deceitfully called CDF Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, called the American nuns approach a “dialogue of the deaf”` and that church doctrine is not open for dialogue.  The world through Google can now see that church doctrine coming from the Vatican has proven itself amoral for over half the 20th century and the Olympics have better morals than the Vatican Titanic sinking in moral bankruptcy http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/07/ncaa-penn-state-more-moral-than-vatican.html .  Those Vatican misogynist men want to rule like medieval kings whose every whim must be obeyed or it’s the guillotine or excommunication.  John Paul II kept citing Totus Tuus Marie and that Mary was “silent, obedient, humble” because they want women to imitate her, the Vatican invention of docile Catholics ready always to be slaughtered by the Pope who is no longer “Feed my sheep” but “Thief of my sheep”. 
Thank God, the American nuns are modern Joans of Arc and although they backed away from a direct confrontation with the Vatican, saying they want a respectful “open dialogue” with Rome on their disagreements about gender, human sexuality and authority, they have made a powerful statement that should burn coals in Benedict XVI and his Opus Dei cronies’ heads as Franciscan Sr. Pat Farell instructed the sisters to be “fearless” in their response to the Vatican, and at the end of her speech as she stepped down from her office, she declared a phrase she learned in Chile during the Military dictatorship. "They can crush a few flowers, but they cannot hold back the springtime."
"They can crush a few flowers, but they cannot hold back the springtime."  American nuns’ springtime and Catholic Spring ...it is time that Opus Dei Golden Cows John Paul II and Benedict XVI are dethroned and not worshipped as saints because that is the biggest deception and pathological lie of the Vatican in the 21st century.  The Opus Dei has added a new “church doctrine” and it is the writings of John Paul II and Benedict XVI and no one must contest thm but simply parrot them in order not to be excommunicated.  This is the major fear of the Opus Dei who ahs ghost written miles of books of John Paul II as now the 21st century Catholics and nuns are enlightened like the Arabs, who have enough of medieval insane doctrinal rules and selfish rules!

Sister Pat Farrell, the departing president of the nuns’ group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said at a news conference that the members of her organization wanted to be “recognized as equal in the church,” to have their style of religious life “respected and affirmed,” and to help create a climate in which everyone in the church can talk about “issues that are very complicated.”  That is something the Opus Dei, who controls the Vatican, is not comfortable with because they are a militaristic fascist organization that treats women – never as “equals” – but as second-class citizens who must be yes-women and Amen-women and “Pray, Pay, Obey” women, who must blindly parrot and pray the Angelus and the Rosary everyday and attend Mass in Latin.  This is not a surprise because Opus Dei was  founded by Escriva who reinvented his name so many times to have some nobility that he was not born with, and was obsessively jealous of Jesuit founder  Ignatius of Loyola who was born in nobility in Spain, read more here http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/2006/11/john-paul-ii-and-saint-josemaria.html
The only dialogue with women that Opus Dei knows is through the confessional, so imagine 900 American women of the LCWR kneeling down in a confessional booth with Opus Dei priests and their Vatican puppets? 

Those Opus Dei priests do not have the know-how or savy of Jesuit discernment,  just look at their neophyte Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls and the mess he left behind, he had to hire a Jesuit janitor Fr. Lombardi to face the world because Opus Dei is always hiding behind the veil of hypocrisy, read our related article, http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/09/benedict-xvi-uses-hitler-to-divert.html . 

The Sacrament of Confession is Opus Dei’s tool and the Vatican’s weapon to maintain its autocracy and totalitarianism.   Confession is another magical Catholic invention that does not require criminals to serve justice and jail time for their crimes and they do not have to amend with their victims, read more here http://jp2army.blogspot.ca/2010/03/forgiveness-is-gizmo-of-injustice-to.html

The Opus Dei want American nuns to be like Sr. Anglica of EWTN - whose nuns worship in her $100 million dollars diamond studded chapel as she broadcast and parrot out Vatican church doctrines written by Opus Dei Golden Cows John Paul II and Benedict XVI, never leaving the comfort of her monastery, always obedient and praying the Angelus, receving communion in the tongue, unlike those American nuns who are in the fields amidst the poor brethren of Christ.

“How in the world can these consecrated religious who have professed to follow Christ more closely ... be opposed to what the Vicar of Christ is asking? This is a contradiction,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, leader of the Vatican’s Supreme Court, told Catholic TV station EWTN. “If it can’t be reformed, then it doesn’t have a right to continue.”


You go girls, American Nuns' Sprintime...Catholic Spring like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street, read our related article here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/10/ows-otv-occupy-wall-street-occupy.html

Diamond bride Mother Angelica’s EWTN acquires Fr. Marcial Maciel’s National Catholic Register: same God and Mammon, same hypocrisy http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/2011/01/diamond-bride-mother-angelicas-ewtn.html



 John Paul II Galaxy size ego usurps Mary statues. ‘The Holy Father’ John Paul II ousts Baby Jesus from the arms of His ‘Holy Mother’ Mary! http://stella0maris.blogspot.com/2011/06/john-paul-ii-galaxy-size-ego-usurps.html
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Spiritual healing, the Eucharist and the Rosary bring NEITHER JUSTICE NOR SAFETY FOR CHILDREN, the preys of the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2010/05/spiritual-healing-eucharist-and-rosary.html

Read news updates for August 12, 2012 below

Updated August 9, 2012

From far-flung Latin Rome, from his vain narcissistic Papal Throne, Benedict XVI sits in the lap of luxury gazing at his billion dollars art collection and twiddling with his misogynist fingers and donning on his papal GAY robes for photo-ops with royalties and visiting billionaires.  The  Opus Dei controlled Vatican are attacking American nuns, those hard-working women of Christ who work in the fields among the poor where the Pope, Papal Nuncios, Cardinals, Bishops, Monsignors, and Opus Dei members would not dare to thread from the comfort of their multimillion dollar abodes.  At the onset, American nuns immediately rejected the attendance of Vatican’s main watchdog who’ll supervise the reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) saying that Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle “would not be helpful” at the LCWR’s annual assembly this week in St. Louis.  

The dogmatic and dictatorial Vatican attacks on American nuns and branding them as “radical feminist” and threatening them is reminiscent of The Mission in the annihilation of Jesuit missionaries and poor tribes in Paraguay, watch the movie trailer here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/10/sacred-evil-vatican-benedict-xvi-hall.html  and the recent silencing of outspoken Irish priests http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/hypocrite-benedict-silenced-outspoken.html 

It is remarkable that these tough cookies American nuns are not taking the Pope last Tsar totalitarian voice by kneeling down chanting “JP2, we love you” like those hyped World Youth Day http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/2011/02/holy-heist-john-paul-ii-wyd-had-no-role.html or parroting “Amen, Holy Father” like those obedient yes-women Opus Dei numerary celibate women http://pope-ratz.blogspot.ca/2008_04_01_archive.html and OD members (who only receive the Host fake-flesh of Christ in the tongue and kneeling down only http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/11/oc-diocese-buys-crystal-cathedral-as.html ). 
The President, Sister Patricia Farrell, told reporters that the group will continue to question Church teachings even if in the Vatican’s eyes, “Questioning is seen as defiance”.  The Vatican’s eyes are indeed blinded by its greed for absolute power but ‘absolute power corrupts’ and so the Vatican Titanic is rotting from its own holy corruption and sinking in moral bankruptcy.  As the Vatican corrodes from its own amorality http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/07/ncaa-penn-state-more-moral-than-vatican.html  the women religious of the LCWR will “continue raising and responding to questions, according to our own consciences and according to new information and questions that arise in our day.” 

Their keynote speaker is not someone from the Vatican, neither is it a Bishop or a priest, it’s not even a religious nun but rather a laywoman, Barbara Marx Hubbard, a lay woman born in 1929, who studied at L'Ecole des Sciences Politiques at La Sorbonne in Paris and who is a prolific futurist author. Sister Patricia Farrell said that “I would also say that there are very few doctrines in the Church that are not discussable, that are absolutely infallible.”  Hear that? Benedict XVI, your GAY papal voice is not infallible http://pope-ratz.blogspot.ca/2008/04/opus-dei-pope-2-benedict-xvi-effeminate.html . 
Please, United Nations, dissolve the membership of the Vatican as a “country” immediately to end the self-proclaimed “infallible voice” of the Pope preached from his out-of-touch-with-reality Chair of Peter in far away Rome.  And please, The Hague, bring Benedict XVI to trial for his crimes against humanity (before he gets ill or dies), please learn from the Jews who recently captured a former Nazi who is 97 years old, it is not too late to bring the Vatican to face its crimes against hundreds of thousands of children mainly little boys sodomized by the JP2 Army-John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army in the latter half of the 20th century, read about the Nazi caught here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/trial-of-willaim-lynn-compilation.html
Read LCWR nuns news articles updates below.
Read our related articles:

Latin is not a mother tongue and therefore cannot be the “official language” of the Vatican. Why must the Vatican Bank be above all banks? http://pope-ratz.blogspot.ca/2010/10/latin-is-not-mother-tongue-and.html

http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/2011/04/odan-letter-to-pope-john-paul-ii-to.html

Updated August 5, 2012

The Vatican after proving for over half a century that it has no morals when it comes to protecting its most vulnerable members, the hundreds of thousands of long-suffering children who were sodomized by the JP2 Army-John Paul II Pedophile priests Army, the Vatican is now reinforcing its last voice as a totalitarian regime by attacking its next vulnerable victims, the American nuns or women.  So now they want two or three Bishops to control these nuns with out-of-touch-with-reality policies and autocratic agendas written from their Bishops Palaces as they twiddle with their misogynist fingers while these American nuns live amidst the poor brethren of Christ.  The Vatican echelon is out-of-touch with the people like the last Tsars of Russia and the aristocracy in the last days before the French Revolution.  

But there is one practising Catholic woman the Vatican would not dare touch or excommunicate as she fervently attacks Vatican laws openly and publicly and she reaches more people and nations more than all American nuns combined can.  The Vatican monocracy bans contraception but she distributes freely condoms and contraception to 200 million of poor women in the world and has made it her lifetime crusade to save women’s lives through contraception, read about here,

Melinda Gates versus Benedict XVI: who’s more “like Christ”? Melinda Gates saves lives of 200 million women while Benedict XVI sits in out-of-touch-with-reality Vatican Throne http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/07/vatican-titanic-hit-by-melinda-gates.html


The Vatican document against the American nuns stresses that “bishops are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals”, oh really? What faith and morals are there with Cardinal Josef Ratzinger with his crimes against humanity pending at The Hague, with Boston’s disgraced Cardinal Bernard Law and Los Angeles Cardinal Mahony, guilty Monsignor Lynn, and all the Cardinals and Bishops who covered-up the JP2 Army-John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army during the latter half of the 20th century?   So the Vatican wants to prove to the world that it has one last autocratic voice left and it had to choose women as its last victim before the Vatican Titanic completely sinks into the ocean of moral bankruptcy, read our related article: 

NCAA & Penn State more moral than Vatican. Sports is more moral than John Paul II, Benedict XVI, Vatican Titanic sinking in moral bankruptcy http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/07/ncaa-penn-state-more-moral-than-vatican.html

 
The Vatican silenced the Liberation Theology priests like Jon Sobrino and Leonardo Boff because they were the few voices who would have incited the poor to claim their rightly ownership of their respective countries, but the Vatican connives with their despots and hoard their moneys in SECRET Vatican Swiss Banks, read more here

Hypocrite Benedict silenced Fr. Tony Flannery, Brian D'Arcy – A compilation… but he does not silence Cardinal Bernard Law and JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests


Read news updates for August 5, 2012 below

Updated June 3, 2012

The Vatican is now attacking American nuns, the members of the LCWR Leadership Conference of Women Religious, whose median age is 74 - and if the Vatican would declare any group of sisters to be “outside the Catholic Church”, then those sisters might risk losing anything their communities had accrued over the years -- housing, savings, medical care.1   The pitiless and heartless Pope Benedict XVI does not care about “housing, savings and medical bills” because he has billions of dollars at his disposal for his own old age as he resides in the lap-of-luxury in the largest church and wealthiest medieval palace on the planet, read about the Vatican billions here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011_03_01_archive.html  The Vatican is the only country which will never know recession because there are 1.2 billion Catholics willing to pay for a bite of the prime meat of God-Christ in the Eucharist each week and the International Eucharistic Congress in Ireland will soon take place in June on how to further brainwash Catholics of the “supernatural powers” of the Pope and only-male-Priests to reincarnate God-Christ even if they are powerless and cannot reincarnate dead cats and dead dogs, read more here http://stella0maris.blogspot.ca/2010/01/magisterium-benedict-versus-holy-mary.html  The Vatican wants American nuns to be parrots of medieval obsolete Opus Dei doctrines like Mother Angelica's EWTN and therefore her nuns are justified to be worshipping in a $100 millions dollars diamond studded chapel.  Mother Angelica and her monastery of nuns in Alabama are broadcasting deceptions in EWTN about the fast-track sainthood of John Paul II, the Opus Dei's biggest Golden Cow, read about the John Paul II Millstone here which proves he was never a saint while alive and can never be a saint now that he is dead http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/ . The diamonds worth $50 million dollars (today it’s worth $100 million) in the chapel of Mother Angelica makes the Victoria Secret $2 million bra a piece of candy’s worth.  How many child soldiers and thousands of people were killed in Sierra Leone to furnish Mother Angelica’s greedy appetite for a $50 million diamond chapel – “only the best for Christ, her Spouse” – is Vatican Holy Shit, read more here http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2011/11/benedict-xvi-master-manipulator-of.html  What a stark contrast between Mother Angelica's monastery secure life versus the LCWR nuns who live amdist the poor.

The main reason why the Pope does not want women to be ordained priests is that these women priests will have a big share of this guaranteed income of billions of dollars from the Eucharist and will have access to the secrets of the Vatican Bank.   Therefore the all-male population of the Vatican refuse to allow women into their exclusive prime real-estate.  If 1 billion Catholics gave a dollar each week (many give thousands or millions) that would be 52 billion dollars a year income for the Vatican – to do what - with such wealth exactly?  And now the billionaire Pope wants to suppress old nuns in the pretext that they are failing to provide “allegiance of mind and heart to the Magisterium of the Bishops”?2  Oh, Bishops - just like the Pope - who are also living in the lap of luxury in out-of-touch-with-reality Bishops’ Palaces and who would not dirty their hands to serve the homeless, the prisoners, women, gay and lesbian people, immigrants – which the nuns are doing!

Imagine that, how the Vatican trembles at the charitable powers of 74 year old women, it’s because from far-flung Rome, the Pope knows he is far away from people and therefore he has no immediate impact and influence in their minds and hearts – except for his papal garb naked-of-morality Emperor’s Clothes from St. Peter’s Square where he helms the Vatican Titanic sinking in moral bankruptcy.  That is why Cardinal Ratzinger silenced the few Liberation theologians like Jon Sobrino and Leonardo Boff because he knew he had no immediate influence on the millions of poor people in Latin America and he feared a non-violent revolution enlightened by Liberation Theology – just like Gandhi’s leadership in India that was far from the British Empire and their only solution was to silence and assassinate him, read our related article, http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/hypocrite-benedict-silenced-outspoken.html. 

The Vatican Totalitarian Empire also has one weapon of assassination and that is to “silence” or “excommunicate” these priests and nuns who live among the people - who do not agree with the out-of-touch-with-reality papal decrees from a Pope living in luxury in the Vatican Palace.  "Submit to our authority, or call yourselves Catholic no longer"3 is the most powerful statement of the Vatican that is equivalent to assassinating-live Catholics converting them into a dead man walking.  Hitler burned millions of Jews in the gas chambers but the Vatican Pope is worse because he burns billions of non-Catholics in Hell...and on Earth, read more here http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2011/02/nazis-of-hitler-and-roman-catholic.html   

Liberation Theology would have awakened the poor of South America of their God-given rights - in this life – and not “Blessed are the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven – in the afterlife.   Despots, like Marcos, would have been toppled and the Vatican Bank would have depleted one of its main sources of income from these despots’ ill-gotten wealth which is the cause of the rape of thousands of poor women and poor children, read more here http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/2011/02/holy-heist-john-paul-ii-wyd-had-no-role.html .  The Vatican and the Pope and Cardinals and Bishops and the Opus Dei who control the Vatican hierarchy are all callous hearted and have no morals at all and they are interested only in two things –money and power.  Read our related article, Theology and John Paul II are heartless and together they made the immoral Fr. Marcial Maciel thrive  http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/2010/05/theology-and-john-paul-ii-are-heartless.html   The Nazis and the John Paul II Pedophiles Rapists-Priests Army were both an inherently evil all-male elite hierarchy born from the Devil's bowels http://jp2army.blogspot.ca/2011/01/nazis-and-john-paul-ii-pedophiles.html

The sooner the United Nations annuls the status of the Vatican as a “country”, the sooner the world will be a better place.  The Vatican has had too many evil powers for 2,000 years and it is time to end its secular power in the United Nations once and for all.  The Vatican Totalitarian Regime and Reign of Terror of God’s Rottweiler Benedict XVI-Ratzinger should be limited to its one-medieval building of the Vatican Palace and to its exclusive few hundred GAY members of the Pope and Opus Dei handpicked Cardinals, Bishops and priests, the only-male hierarchy of the militant Opus Dei Regime.  It is time that fanatic Catholic religious doctrines and papal decrees are looked upon as religion-for-sale schemes and after-life lots in Heaven-for-sale deceptions.  Hitler burned millions of Jews in the gas chambers but the Vatican Pope burns billions of non-Catholics in Hell, this is one of the crimes against humanity of Cardinal Ratzinger, read the details here The Nazis of Hitler and the Roman Catholic Church of Benedict XVI are similar: They both burn human beings in Auschwitz and in Hell http://pope-ratz.blogspot.com/2011/02/nazis-of-hitler-and-roman-catholic.html  

The Pope controls the gates of Heaven and Hell and he also controls the gates of the Earth as to who is  “Catholic or condemned”.  Those who do not agree with the ridiculous papal decrees are “condemned” because they do not believe in papal out-of-touch-with-reality decrees against gays, abortion and women priests – just like the American nuns and Girl Scouts who are now under attack by the mighty Vatican, read articles below.  It is time the Pope is reduced to a mere ceremonial religious actor which he really is.  The Pope and priests have no “supernatural powers”, they cannot reincarnate dead cats and dead dogs and therefore they cannot reincarnate God either, read about the sorcery of the Eucharist here our related article Benedict VERSUS Holy Mary: Priests' transubstantiation instant reincarnation of Christ VERSUS Mary’s 9 months pregnancy& child birth http://stella0maris.blogspot.com/2010/01/magisterium-benedict-versus-holy-mary.html

 This 9-seconds transubstantiation of the host is the biggest lie and it is the seat of power of the Vatican and it is its most powerful tool for Pope Crimes and Vatican Evils through the centuries until now.
As epitomized in John Paul II and Benedict XVI Ratzinger, the Opus Dei’s 2 biggest Golden Cows, the Vatican , The Opus Dei that controls the Vatican, and their doctrines and theology are heartless and together they made Fr. Marcial Maciel and the JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests thrive, and now they are also heartless in their attacks against American nuns and American Girl Scouts.  The pretext of Vatican power is always in its exclusive “supernatural power” to reincarnate God in the Eucharist and with this they can excommunicate or “silence” good standing members with this powerful edict: "Submit to our authority, or call yourselves Catholic no longer." Read about heartless Opus Dei here Why John Paul II is Opus Dei's Patron Saint: analysis of conference at Holy Cross Pontifical University in Rome http://jp2m.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-john-paul-ii-is-opus-deis-patron.html

In this video, Thank you, Sisters, by Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit in New York, he thanks all the sisters, especially who were martyrs who laid down their lives for the poor and the oppressed, the least brethren of Jesus Christ...while the Pope is living in  the lap of luxury and with his Chair of St. Peter, he papal farts at good Catholics and good nuns - who do not have his  Swiss Guard Army to protect them or a $100 Million Euros police security like he had in Madrid for the World Youth Day, read more here http://pope-ratz.blogspot.ca/2011/08/anti-pope-protests-in-madrid-injure-11.html

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Read our latest articles:

Famous LC priest fathered a child. Fr. Thomas Williams, prominent Legion of Christ priest, TV personality and best seller author fathered a child ! VIDEO http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/05/famous-lc-priest-fathered-child.html

Irish Law versus Canon Law on seal of Confession: A compilation. Sacrament of Confession protects criminals and ignores their victims  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/irish-law-versus-canon-law-on-seal-of.html

Baloney, ‘David Quinn: The beliefs of the church are not going to change by poll’...but the Pope apologizes centuries later for Pope Crimes and Vatican Evils   http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/baloney-david-quinn-beliefs-of-church.html

Hypocrite Benedict silenced Fr. Tony Flannery, Brian D'Arcy – A compilation… but he does not silence Cardinal Bernard Law and JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/hypocrite-benedict-silenced-outspoken.html

Updated May 9, 2012  Cardinal Bernard Law has a starring role in the oppression of American nuns.

The evil Achilles Heel of Blessed John Paul II, criminal Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned in disgrace as Archbishop of Boston, apparently has an important role in the powerplay to oppress American nuns who are working for social justice, see news updates below.  The Vatican is so afraid of Liberation Theology or working for the poor like the nuns and the Jesuits do, because Liberation Theology threatens their livelihood at the Vatican Bank that hoard despots' ill-gotten wealth from the poor especiallly the Third World countries.  Cardinal Bernard Law enjoys "diplomatic immunity" and so he is free to travel freely and carry billions of dollars unchecked.  That is why John Paul II papal farted at us Bostonians and he took him and glorified him as Archpriest in the mother of all basilicas of Rome, the St. Mary Major where apparently the Rosary which was recited by Pius V for only one day led to the defeat of the Battle of Lepanto.   Unfortunately, the Rosary of John Paul II could not defeat his own JP2 Army - John Paul II Pedophile Preists Army, read our article here http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/  Cardinal Bernard Law is the living proof that John Paul II is not a saint -- no matter what "miracle" the Opus Dei Vatican Saint Factory is cooking up, John Paul II was only a narcissist who was only obssessed with his legacy as John Paul II the Great and the biggest proof is that during his longest papacy, not once did he show Christ's compassion to one of the victims of the 80 pedophile priests that Cardinal Bernard Law condoned and covered-up.  As the "representative of Christ" and as the longest reigning pope, he was cold and callous hearted towards children, therefore ,children in the USA and Ireland and around the world should never utter his name with a "Blessed" or "Saint"  title, let the Opus Dei worship him as their Golden Cow but children should not be brainwashed, read more here Heil Satanas JP2 Patron Saint of Pedophiles, Pederasts Rapists-Priests! John Paul II is the same yesterday and today-- he cannot protect children  http://jp2m.blogspot.ca/2011/05/heil-satanas-jp2-patron-saint-of.html.

Updated May 2, 2012  more good articles defending the nuns, read also our related article Hypocrite Benedict silenced Fr Tony Flannery – A compilation… but he does not silence Cardinal Bernard Law and JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/hypocrite-benedict-silenced-outspoken.html

“The Vatican has issued a harsh statement claiming that American nuns do not follow their bishops’ thinking. That statement is profoundly true. Thank God, they don’t. Nuns have always had a different set of priorities from that of bishops. The bishops are interested in power. The nuns are interested in the powerless. Nuns have preserved Gospel values while bishops have been perverting them. The priests drive their own new cars, while nuns ride the bus (always in pairs). The priests specialize in arrogance, the nuns in humility.” read more below

Updated April 28, 2012 with more articles

Benedict XVI has returned to his original nature as God's Rottweiler mauling anyone who disagrees with him and this time on his 7th anniversary as Pope he is mauling American nuns.  Upon his return from the communist Cuba where he acted as God's representative and lectured Fidel Castro, he is turning out to be worse than his old self Cardinal Ratzinger by silencing Irish priest Fr. Tony Flaherty and other liberal Irish priests and now he wants to "change" American nuns according to his Vatican mindset which is really out-of-touch-with-reality because all he does all day is count the Vatican Billions as he dress up to have his face covered with movie-star make-up foundations to hide his ugly face and dress up in papal robes that could feed 10 African villages for 10 years to have his photo-op taken with European royalties and world millionnaires and billionnaires.  Sister Simone Campbell told the BBC "I've no idea what they're talking about, Our role is to live the gospel with those who live on the margins of our society: the hungry, the poor, the ill. That's all we do." Campbell was responding to Vatican charges that her group, NETWORK, is engaging "corporate dissent." The Vatican accused the Leadership Conference of promoting "certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."  Below is a compilation of all news articles about this latest bullying tactics of God's Rottweiler.

Read our latest articles:

Titanic = 1,500 victims. Vatican Titanic = 15,736 American victims of Captain John Paul II & Benedict Ratzinger. Titanic anniversary = Divine Mercy Sunday  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/titanic-1500-victims-vatican-titanic.html

Baloney, ‘David Quinn: The beliefs of the church are not going to change by poll’...but the Pope apologizes centuries later for Pope Crimes and Vatican Evils  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/baloney-david-quinn-beliefs-of-church.html

Hypocrite Benedict silenced Fr Tony Flannery – A compilation… but he does not silence Cardinal Bernard Law and JP2 Army – John Paul II Pedophile Priests  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/hypocrite-benedict-silenced-outspoken.html

Trial of William Lynn: A compilation. Philadelphia JP2 Army - John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/trial-of-willaim-lynn-compilation.html

Benedict Ratzinger & Marcial Maciel are 2 criminal heads of the Mystical Body and Legion of Christ  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/03/benedict-ratzinger-marcial-maciel-are-2.html

Satanas JP2 Blood worshipped in Colombia while he was still alive! http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/04/satanas-jp2-blood-worshipped-in.html

Obama admin versus Vatican Bank. USA government lists Vatican as 'potential money-laundering center'  http://popecrimes.blogspot.ca/2012/03/obama-admin-list-vatican-as-potential.html

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June 3, 2012 updates

Why the Pope Hates Nuns

UNITED STATES
AlterNet

It's tempting to simply view the church hierarchy as a cult of misogyny. But at its heart, it's a cult of power; misogyny is but one tool for securing that power.

June 1, 2012

In 1979, Sister Theresa Kane was given a very special task. As president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group for most orders of U.S. Catholic nuns, Kane was asked to deliver four minutes of welcoming remarks, on behalf of American sisters, to the newly elected Pope John Paul II during his first papal visit to the United States. At a gathering inside the grand church in Washington, D.C., known as the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Kane offered the pope a warm greeting, and then launched into this:

As I share this privileged moment with you, Your Holiness, I urge you to be mindful of the intense suffering and pain which is part of the life of many women in these United States. I call upon you to listen with compassion and to hear the call of women...As women, we have heard the powerful messages of our church addressing the dignity [of] and reverence for all persons. As women, we have pondered these words. Our contemplation leads us to state that the church, in its struggle to be true to its call to reverence and dignity for all persons, must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of the church."

All ministries -- including, of course, the priesthood. Her meaning was not lost on the pope or, it seems, his henchmen in cassocks.

Chief among the new pope's enforcers was Joseph Ratzinger, the bishop from Bavaria, whom, three years later, JPII would appoint to the position of prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine the Faith, an entity once known as the Roman Inquisition. As prefect, Ratzinger soon had his Congregation all but living up to its historical inquisitive reputation as he conducted a jihad against liberal bishops, clerics and nuns in the U.S., and around the world. Today, the former prefect is known as Pope Benedict the XVI, still an enforcer, and one with a long memory.

Nationwide Catholic "Counter" Rallies Next Friday, Noon, June 8, for Abused Children, Women, Sisters, & Gay Persons

UNITED STATES
Bilgrimage
As I just noted at the end of my posting a moment ago, a reader I value has sent the following announcement about counter rallies that are being organized to occur simultaneously with the nationwide USCCB- sponsored "religious freedom" rallies this coming Friday. In contrast to the USCCB-sponsored rallies, these counter rallies don't seem to be centrally organized with a website to which I can point readers for more information. But the announcement is informative and clear, and should answer any questions interested readers may have about attending, wearing white, bringing signs to indicate your concerns, and doing local organizing to gather other like-minded Catholics in your area. The proposal to encourage Catholics who want to give a counter-witness to the narrow, politically partisan and lopsided USCCB definition of religious freedom strikes me as very good:
WHAT: Catholic "counter" rallies to show solidarity (A) with women, including American Sisters, disrespected by the hierarchy, (B) with children abused by priests protected by the hierarchy, and (C) with gay Catholics insensitively treated by the hierarchy. The bishops will also be holding at the same time and place a rally to object to the new proposed HHS regulations on health insurance for contraception. The venue will give all Catholics a chance to voice their concerns on other hierarchical concerns the bishops appear uninterested in addressing with Catholics generally.
WHEN: Noon, next Friday, June 8.

LCWR president speaks of pain and process

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
Jun. 01, 2012
By Joshua J. McElwee

Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, told NCR Friday the group is still discerning whether it can abide “with integrity” a Vatican-ordered revision of the organization’s charter, and plans to raise serious questions with church officials during planned meetings later this month in Rome.

In an exclusive interview, Farrell said a special meeting of the group’s national board of directors this week found it facing “a gamut of emotions of ups and downs” as it attempted prayerfully to decide the future course for the organization.

Farrell’s comments come just hours after LCWR, which represents some 80 percent of U.S. women religious, issued its first official statement in reply to a highly critical doctrinal assessment of the group issued April 18 by the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

The LCWR reply said the Vatican assessment followed a flawed process and charged that it has caused “scandal and pain throughout the church.”


U.S. nuns reject Vatican’s accusations

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has defined the Vatican’s accusations of their doctrinal infidelity as “unsubstantiated”. On 12 June the congregation is to meet Cardinal Levada in Rome
Fabrizio Mastrofini
Rome

It took them more than a month but in the end, U.S. nuns have rejected the Vatican’s accusations. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) finally reached a decision at a meeting which took place on 30 and 31 May. The accusations made against them by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were defined as “unsubstantiated” “and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency.”
The sanctions imposed - they added - are “disproportionate” and could compromise their board members' ability to fulfil their mission. It was over a month ago that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had asked for a deep reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the organisation which represents the majority of orders of women religious in the United States. The investigation concluded that the “the current doctrinal and pastoral situation of the LCWR is grave and a matter of serious concern.” The Archbishop of Seattle, Peter Sartain, was nominated as Vatican delegate for the supervision of the reform work, the revision of the organisation’s statutes, programme planning and the revision of liturgical texts.
Over the past month and a half, the number of demonstrations in favour of the nuns has risen in the U.S., with marches, debates and telegrams expressing solidarity. Three days ago, a group of nuns, and lay people marched before the Apostolic Nunciature in Washington. To everyone’s surprise, the city’s Nuncio, Mgr. Carlo Maria Viganò, went out to speak to the demonstrators, asking two of them to enter his office for a more in depth face to face dialogue. This gesture received a great deal of attention in the progressivist Catholic press and was seen as a sign of sensitivity at the very least.


Nuns’ bold response to Vatican report signals division remains unresolved

UNITED STATES
Washington Post
By Michelle Boorstein, Published: June 1
Leaders representing most American nuns on Friday issued a surprisingly forceful response to a Vatican report calling for their reform, saying the report had caused “scandal and pain” among Catholics.
Reactions among Catholics to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious’s statement were strong and polarized, typical of a faith community divided between those anxious to see Catholic theology more explicitly outlined — and enforced — and those who want more openness on everything from ideas on human sexuality to how decisions are made at the top of the church. ...
Kathleen Sprows Cummings, associate director of the University of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of American Catholicism, said the statement showed that the women were “unintimidated, committed to dialogue, and above all focused on working toward a more just society.”
But others said it foreshadows continued division in the church.
“What worries me here is the emergence of an adversarial view of membership in the church,” said Michael Sean Winters, a left-leaning Catholic writer.

US Catholic nuns group: Vatican-ordered overhaul based on 'unsubstantiated,' 'flawed' claims

UNITED STATES
Medicine Hat News

Friday, 01 June 2012 07:48 Rachel Zoll, The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - The largest umbrella group for U.S. nuns said Friday that the Vatican-ordered overhaul of their organization is based on unsubstantiated claims from a flawed investigation that has caused "scandal and pain" for Roman Catholics.

A Vatican agency in April said the group has "serious doctrinal problems," including taking positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the all-male priesthood, marriage and homosexuality. The Vatican reprimand prompted an outpouring of support for nuns by Catholics and non-Catholics.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 57,000 nuns, said they will bring their concerns to the Vatican orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a meeting scheduled for June 12 in Rome.

The national board of the nuns' group issued the statement, its first since the Holy See ordered the overhaul, after a three-day private meeting.

American nuns come out swinging against Vatican in face of ‘radical feminist’ accusations

UNITED STATES
CNN
By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The leadership representing most of America’s nuns came out swinging Friday against the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, in the face of charges from the Vatican that the nuns are espousing “radical feminism” and straying from church teaching.

The Vatican’s criticism of the American nuns has “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization,” the Leadership Conference of Women Religious - which represents about 80% of American nuns - said in a statement Friday.

The board of the group had convened in Washington this week for three days of special meetings, provoked by an April assessment from the Vatican that said America’s nuns had largely gone rogue and warned that they could be a negative global influence on the church.

When in Rome, Speak Up for Reality

UNITED STATES
The New York Times
Editorial
Published: June 1, 2012
The nation’s Roman Catholic nuns are pushing back against the Vatican’s unjustified attack on their fidelity. The president and the executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the nation’s 57,000 nuns, intend to go to Rome and fully rebut the accusations that the group has “serious doctrinal problems” and a tendency toward “radical feminist themes.”
Catholic laity immediately and rightly decried the attack as an insult to the high professionalism of the sisters and the vital importance of their good works. To many, the Vatican’s decision to appoint three American bishops to oversee and remake the conference seemed to be retaliation for the group’s endorsement of President Obama’s health care reform. The nation’s bishops were opposed.
It’s heartening that after six weeks of official silence and spirited discussion in the ranks of the sisterhood, the leadership conference is finally speaking out in its own defense. On Friday, the national board said the Vatican’s assessment of its works was based on “unsubstantiated accusations” and a “flawed” review process.

Commentary on the Vatican and the LCWR

UNITED STATES
America Magazine
Posted at: Thursday, May 31, 2012
Author: Tim Reidy
Today we posted two Web-only articles commenting on the "doctrinal assessment" of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The first article is from Most Rev. Peter Sartain, the archbishop of Seattle and the CDF-appointed delegate charged with overseeing the evaluation of the LCWR. Archbishop Sartain begins with praise for the legacy of women religious in the United States:
Catholic explorers, immigrants, settlers, Native Americans, converts, sisters, brothers and priests faced daunting challenges in the early days: few resources, primitive transportation, disease, extreme weather, racism and language barriers. I am moved every time I read about the establishment of hospitals, schools, orphanages and monasteries in the Pacific Northwest. For the most part, these institutions were the inspiration and work of religious women, who responded to God’s call to serve his beloved people, no matter their religion, culture, language or way of life.
Quite simply, these religious women evangelized. They lived the life of Jesus Christ; they introduced others to him; they taught the truth; they loved; they healed; they cared for the outcast; and most importantly, they prayed. The histories of our early years chronicle the sacrifice offered by religious women to build the foundation of the church in this part of the world, and embedded in each story is a life of prayer. Prayer makes witness to Christ possible and credible.

Nuns push back on Vatican report...

UNITED STATES
Washington Post
Nuns push back on Vatican report, calling it unsubstantiated and scandal-causing
By Michelle Boorstein
Leaders representing most American nuns pushed back on Friday against a stinging Vatican report that was issued in April and called for their “reform.”
After a special meeting this week in Washington, the 21-member board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued a statement calling the Vatican report “unsubstantiated “ and saying it has “caused scandal and pain” and exacerbated polarization throughout the Catholic church community.

The board of the conference, whose members represent the vast majority of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, met for three days to consider how to respond to the Vatican report accusing the group of “radical feminism” and of publicly undermining the leadership of the bishops.
The full 1,500-member conference will meet in August to determine more specifically how to react, but Friday’s statement was an unusually bold reaction to the Vatican’s doctrine-enforcing arm and seemed to imply the women may choose to rebel.

LCWR board says Vatican order to reform based on 'flawed process'

UNITED STATES
Catholic News Service
By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious said June 1 the assessment that led to a Vatican order to reform the organization "was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency."
"Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their (board members') ability to fulfill their mission," the board said in a statement. "The report has furthermore caused scandal and pain throughout the church community and created greater polarization."
The board released the statement the morning after it concluded a special meeting in Washington May 29-31 held to review and plan a response to the report issued to LCWR by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Nuns: Vatican reprimand causing pain in church

UNITED STATES
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The umbrella group for U.S. Roman Catholic nuns says the Vatican crackdown on their organization is based on unfounded claims and has hurt the church.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious says they are sending their top administrators to Rome in two weeks to meet with the Vatican officials in charge of their case.

The sisters made the statement Friday after a three-day board meeting.
The Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog in April accused the group of serious doctrinal problems. The Vatican said the organization took positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood, marriage and homosexuality. The Holy See ordered a complete overhaul of the group.

U.S. nuns push back against Vatican crackdown

UNITED STATES
Reuters
Fri Jun 1, 2012
By Stephanie Simon

(Reuters) - 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.
UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By Joshua J. McElwee
A harsh Vatican critique of the organization representing most U.S. women religious was based on unsubstantiated accusations, comes from a flawed process and has caused "scandal and pain throughout the church," the sisters' group said in a statement this morning.

The statement, issued Friday by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), came after three days of meetings among the group’s national board and is the first official public response to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith's April 18 assessment of the organization, which represents some 80 percent of U.S. Catholic sisters.

That stinging Vatican assessment ordered LCWR to revise its statutes, programs and affiliations and place itself under the authority of Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain.

Friday’s statement said that during their meetings this week LCWR national board members raised concerns about “both the content of the doctrinal assessment and the process by which it was prepared” and that the group’s president and executive director will soon travel to Rome to “raise and discuss” their concerns with Vatican officials.

“Board members concluded that the assessment was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency,” the statement continues.

May 23, 2012 Updates news

1,2 &3 The Vatican Lays a Cunning Trap for American Nuns (emphasis ours)

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Mary C. Johnson

At the end of this month, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious will meet to formulate a response to a Vatican trap whose cunning is best appreciated within the long tradition of religious authorities who craft impossible dilemmas for those they perceive as threats.

Two millennia ago, the chief priests sent someone to ask Jesus, "Should we pay taxes?" If Jesus said yes, he would pit himself against Jewish resistance to Roman occupation and therefore, in Jewish eyes, against God. If he said no, the Romans could execute him for sedition. Instead, Jesus famously replied, "Render to Ceaser what is Ceaser's and to God what is God's."

In the 15th century, Joan of Arc's ecclesiastical inquisitors asked her, "Do you know yourself to be in God's grace?" If Joan answered yes, she would commit heresy because the Church had long taught that no one could be certain of being in God's grace; if no, they could interpret her answer as an admission of guilt. Joan looked them in the eyes and replied, "If I am not in God's grace, may God put me there; if I am, may God so keep me."

Today, the Vatican tells the women of the LCWR, "Submit to our oversight and control of your every action for the next five years." The Vatican's official "or else" clause remains unstated but clear to all involved. "Submit to our authority, or call yourselves Catholic no longer."

The Vatican has cited the LCWR, which represents more than 80 percent of America's Catholic sisters, for what they call "policies of corporate dissent" on issues including the Church's teaching on human sexuality and women's ordination, and for "radical feminism." The Vatican has appointed Seattle archbishop Peter Sartain to revise LCWR's statutes and create new LCWR programs designed to seep sisters in Catholic dogma. Sartain has veto power over speakers at LCWR assemblies and will review LCWR's affiliations. In short, the Vatican has grounded the sisters and Sartain is the official babysitter.

Any reply the sisters choose to make will have consequences far beyond the keynote speaker at the next annual meeting.

In the 50 years following the Second Vatican Council, the American sisters represented by the LCWR have engaged in discernment and renewal, a process initiated by decree of the popes and bishops at the Council. Not without controversy from Catholics nostalgic for long habits and authoritarian discipline, LCWR Sisters have abandoned traditions that infantilized their members. They've educated themselves, many earning advanced degrees. Inspired by the examples of Jesus and the founders of their religious communities, they moved into ministries with people on the margins: prisoners, the homeless, women, gay and lesbian people, immigrants.

And yes, some of them have occasionally spoken to advocate for gay rights, for women's ordination, for a healthcare plan the bishops opposed. Throughout the process, the LCWR has sought "to develop leadership, promote collaboration within church and society, and serve as a voice for systemic change." The Vatican hasn't been happy to see women blossom as real leaders and they especially don't like that "systemic change" stuff.

Though today's sisters watched two-thirds of their companions in religious life leave the convent after Vatican II -- some unsettled by the changes, others impatient that change didn't happen fast enough -- the American sisters represented by the LCWR have clung to their religious vows and their life with each other in the Church. Baptized in Catholic parishes, raised in Catholic families, educated in Catholic schools, these women experienced what each of them believed to be a call from God to dedicate themselves to him in the Church. They've labored within the Church, often without significant financial compensation, rendering retirement difficult for many. These women have often served as missionaries and some of their companions have given their lives as martyrs. The median age of an LCWR sister today is 74.

Now the Vatican is telling these women they're not Catholic enough.

If the LCWR submits to Sartain's oversight, they assent to being treated as ecclesiastic children who don't know what's best for them; they relinquish the haven they've created to challenge and support each other. As Sister Jeannnine Grammick, founder of New Ways Ministry, a group that works with gay and lesbian Catholics and has been cited in the Vatican assessment, told The New Republic, "If we comply, if we submit to what is being asked by the Vatican, it would be a repudiation of all the renewal that we've done in religious life. I don't believe that nuns will say we can do that."

If they don't submit, if the sisters disband the LCWR and regroup in a configuration beyond Church control, then the official Church will claim that they aren't really Catholic any more. If the Vatican would declare any group of sisters to be outside the Catholic Church, then those sisters might risk losing anything their communities had accrued over the years -- housing, savings, medical care.
Even more significantly for many, sisters who have never considered themselves anything but Catholic would find themselves banished.

The sisters of the LCWR face two basic choices: submission or exile.

Like Jesus, like Joan of Arc, the sisters may find a way to reframe the discussion -- or they may choose not to respond at all. I'm afraid that ultimately it won't matter. The religious authorities of their days didn't really care how Jesus and Joan responded; in the end, they had Jesus crucified and Joan burned at the stake. In service of Vatican power and the moral authority the bishops claim is theirs alone, what harm is there in inconveniencing a few old nuns?

As the sisters gather to formulate their response, their years of prayer and discernment will serve them well. These are strong, centered women placed in an impossible position by powerful men who feel threatened. May Jesus and Joan show them the way.

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Vatican concerns puzzle resource center leaders

SILVER SPRING (MD)
National Catholic Reporter

May. 21, 2012
By Jerry Filteau

SILVER SPRING, Md. -- One of two organizations named in the Vatican-ordered reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious advised women religious on their canonical and financial rights during the Vatican’s recent three-year apostolic investigation of U.S. women’s orders.

In its eight-page April 18 document calling for a reform of LCWR, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith mentions the Resource Center for Religious Institutes twice.

“We worked with women’s communities during the apostolic visitation and we worked with LCWR during the [separate] doctrinal assessments” that culminated in the new document from the doctrinal congregation, Benedictine Fr. Daniel Ward, the center’s executive director, told NCR.

“But under canon law everybody has a right to canonical counsel,” he added.

American Nuns: Guilty as Charged?  (Emphasis ours)

UNITED STATES
The Nation

Angela Bonavoglia
May 21, 2012

On April 18, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—the modern-day vestige of the Holy Office of the Inquisition—released the conclusions of an investigation begun in 2008 into the sins of our sisters. The congregation issued what amounted to a takeover decree to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a move that “stunned” the organization. With over 1,500 members, all heads of religious congregations, LCWR leans liberal and represents 80 percent of America’s 57,000 nuns.
After giving an obligatory nod to the sisters’ good works in schools, hospitals and social service agencies, the CDF devoted the remainder of its Doctrinal Assessment to attacking the sisters for failing to provide “allegiance of mind and heart to the Magisterium of the Bishops”; focusing on the “exercise of charity” instead of lambasting lesbians, gays, and women who use birth control or have an abortion; refusing to accept the ban on women’s ordination; allowing “dialogue” on contentious subjects; and tampering with the notion of God the “Father” while promulgating other “radical feminist” theological interpretations. The CDF’s solution: send in three men, an archbishop and two other bishops, to take control of LCWR for five years.

This led to an enormous outpouring of support to the sisters. But to anyone who has been watching the nuns closely, an unsettling observation emerges: these charges appear, in some measure, to be true. But that is not because, as the Assessment insists, LCWR has rejected “communion” with the church. Instead, it is evidence of a theological conflict that is raging in the Catholic Church, a conflict that most of us only notice when it spills over into American politics.

Liberal voices in the Church have been under attack ever since Vatican II. A number of vocal Catholic women, including nuns, have been among the most persistent and influential leaders of the fight to save the church from what they see as soul-crushing conservatism. This has galled the hierarchy, which has responded with silencings, firings, excommunications and public denunciations. Seeing that picking their targets off one by one wasn’t working, the Vatican, in taking on LCWR, decided to go for broke.

To understand what is behind the Vatican’s crackdown, go back to the 1970s, when feminism was seeping into the bones of American nuns. In 1971, the vast majority of the nuns who belonged to the Conference of Major Superiors of Women, which had been founded at the Vatican’s behest in the 1950s, moved to change the name of their organization to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to reflect a commitment to women’s leadership and a more democratic spirit. Nuns were major participants in the first women’s ordination conference in 1975, and in the second, even larger one, three years later. By 1979, LCWR had become so spirited that its president, Sister Theresa Kane, challenged Pope John Paul II from the podium at Washington, DC’s Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to include women “in all ministries of our Church.” She did this while nearly fifty sisters wearing blue armbands, symbolizing women’s ordination, stood in silent protest.

Sister Elizabeth Johnson, who attended the second women’s ordination conference and whose order belongs to LCWR, found feminism too, but she also found theology, becoming the first woman to earn a PhD from Catholic University of America, the only US university under Vatican control. Upon graduation, Johnson became the first woman to join Catholic University’s theology faculty. She slipped the occasional feminist reading into her course on Christology, inviting forty male seminaries to wrestle with the question of whether a male savior could save women, originally posed by the grandmother of Catholic feminist theology, Rosemary Radford Ruether. In time Johnson became the first woman eligible for tenure in CUA’s theology department. But that’s when her meteoric rise ended. In 1986, her bruising tenure battle began.
In addition to being female and not ordained, Johnson faced opposition for having publicly supported Father Charles Curran, who was eventually fired from Catholic University for defending birth control, and having authored a single article on Jesus’ mother, Mary, in which Johnson quoted “some pretty vicious things” said about Mary by feminists—that she was sexless, passive and not a good role model. While Johnson understood the criticisms, she attempted to counter them. “If we went back to Scripture, you wouldn’t see her that way,” she told me when I interviewed her for my book Good Catholic Girls. “I was trying to defend Mary! I was on the good side, but they couldn’t see that.”

An opponent of her tenure, then-Chancellor James Hickey sent Johnson’s case to the CDF, the same group that is now disciplining the nuns. At the time, the CDF was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI. The CDF required Johnson to respond to forty “dubia” (doubtful things) regarding her beliefs about Mary. When her answers failed to allay their fears, they ordered Johnson to appear before the six American cardinals to be interrogated about her theology. As that tense session drew to a close, an angry Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, who would later resign in disgrace for having failed to protect children from pedophile priests, slammed shut the binder before him that contained Johnson’s sixteen articles. “Well, you mostly write in Christology,” he snapped. “You’re not going to do any of that feminist stuff anyway.”
Oh,” thought Johnson, “you wait and see.”

Johnson got tenure, but she soon left Catholic University for Fordham. She went on to write a blockbuster, theologically speaking; She Who Is is a brilliant, moving and utterly convincing exploration of the Biblical evidence for a female face of God.

Johnson’s next confrontation came in 1995, when she was incoming president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. She and the Society battled Cardinal Ratzinger and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over just how definitive Pope John Paul II’s 1994 teaching against women’s ordination was. Observing the resistance of many Catholics to the teaching, the CDF issued a document declaring that the teaching was infallible—despite the fact that the pope himself had not used that crucial word.

“The head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had never come out before and said ‘I'm declaring this to be infallible,’” Johnson told me. Reflecting a growing fear among Catholic theologians of “creeping infallibility,” the society publicly refuted the CDF’s contention. “There are serious doubts regarding the nature of the authority of this teaching and its grounds in tradition, [and] widespread disagreement…not only among theologians, but also within the larger community of the Church,” their statement read. It added that not all traditions are “legitimate,” particularly those based on women’s “inferiority” and “divinely intended” subordination. They called for study, discussion and prayer “by all the members of the Church.”

The American bishops were irate. That anger colors the Doctrinal Assessment, in which the CDF chastises LCWR for daring to “contradict or ignore magisterial teaching” and for failing to recognize the bishops as the “Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.”

Yet in their claim to absolute power to serve as the church’s teachers of faith and morals, the hierarchy of cardinals and bishops disregard the cherished Vatican II concept of the sensus fidelium (sense of the faithful). It says that church teachings must be accepted by the faithful to be legitimate. That means that the voices of theologians, women religious and other lay Catholics carry significant weight.

The fundamental tension between the bishop’s claim to unchallenged power and the voice of lay Catholics was on full display in 2010, when the US Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed President Obama’s healthcare reform law. That law passed narrowly, a result of support provided by LCWR; NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby; and Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association.
NETWORK—founded by sisters, including members of LCWR, with whom it works closely—originated a petition supporting healthcare reform, which LCWR signed. Unlike LCWR, NETWORK is not under the Vatican’s control. The Assessment allowed the Vatican to go after NETWORK indirectly, criticizing LCWR’s association with the organization and their failure to promote an anti-abortion agenda.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, LCWR made it clear, in meetings with Vatican officials in 2010, that LCWR was not in favor of abortion, but disagreed with the bishops that the healthcare reform law would allow federal funding for abortion and felt they had a “moral imperative” to support a law that would give 30 million previously uninsured people health insurance.

This same tension played out when Sister Carol Keehan backed the Obama compromise to enable women working in religiously affiliated organizations to access birth control without a co-pay, and the bishops opposed it. And it is playing out right now, as Cardinal Timothy Dolan, head of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, says he finds Obama’s support for same-sex marriage “deeply saddening”—while some leading Catholic theologians and 51 percent of lay Catholics disagree. They are following in the footsteps of Sister Jeannine Gramick, co-founder of New Ways Ministry, who refused decades ago to see homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered,” as the church proclaims, and rejected Cardinal Ratzinger’s decree that she end her ministry, a CDF order publicly decried by LCWR.

Much work by Catholic feminist theologians has undermined the hierarchy’s claim to absolute authority in matters of faith and morals. Feminist theologians have re-envisioned God. They reject the one-time, one-place, men-only view of revelation. Like Johnson, they see Mary as assertive, autonomous, and strong, her decision to bear the Messiah between her and God. They claim Eve as human, not evil, and hold Adam responsible for his own Fall. They demand an inclusive church and liturgy. They work across faith lines toward a truly ecumenical world.

They claim women’s moral authority, clinging to the fundamental belief in the primacy of conscience. “God gave us free will,” explained the late Sister Margaret Ellen Traxler, a signer of Catholics for a Free Choice's 1984 petition, published in the New York Times, calling for dialogue in the church on abortion. “Free will is guided by conscience…. A woman will answer to God for one thing: Has she followed her conscience?… It’s nobody’s right to tell her what her conscience said to her.”

How many of the women affiliated with LCWR, NETWORK or the Catholic Health Association accept these and other tenets of feminist theology is unknown. But the groups’ joint efforts to push policies that they believe represent Catholic social teaching, as well as their individual interactions, indicate mutual respect. LCWR gave Keehan their 2011 Outstanding Leadership Award for her “significant role in working for US healthcare reform.” They gave the same award in 2007 to one of the world’s leading Catholic feminist authors, former LCWR president Sister Joan Chittister, who, in 2001, with the support of Benedictine sisters nationwide, refused a Vatican order not to speak at the first international conference on women’s ordination. Sister Elizabeth Johnson spoke at an LCWR event in 2008, a year after she published Quest for the Living God, a book the US bishops last year publicly denounced.

It is no accident that the women condemned for their failures in the Assessment are “especially those involved in theological research, teaching, publishing, catechesis and the use of the means of social communication.” And it’s no surprise that the LCWR speaker singled out by the CDF as a purveyor of “serious theological, even doctrinal errors”—Sister Laurie Brink, an assistant professor at Chicago’s Catholic Theological Union—ventured into what some Christians, perhaps many, see as the most frightening frontier of feminist theology.

In exploring the divergent paths being taken by women religious, Brink in her 2007 LCWR keynote address described the “sojourning congregation,” which “has grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion.” She noted, “The Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative for these women,” and that while “they still hold up and reverence the values of the Gospel,” they also recognize that those values are not the sole province of Christianity. Seeing these women as both courageous and potentially prescient, Brink wonders if they are providing “a glimpse into the new thing that God is bringing about in our midst.” Most provocatively, she asks: “ Who’s to say that the movement beyond Christ is not, in reality, a movement into the very heart of God?”

The CDF took those observations as a “cry for help”—specifically, from an all-male cadre of hierarchs who still cannot summon the leadership to condemn the real sinners in their midst and who failed miserably to protect the children in their care from sodomy, rape and their own indifference.

Observing the work of feminist theologians, Peter Steinfels, co-director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture, came to a very different conclusion. “[O]ver the long run, nothing in Catholic Christianity, like nothing in other forms of Christianity—or in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and even Hinduism…will remain untouched by the passage from a patriarchal era to one of female equality,” he wrote in A People Adrift. “[N]o one should be confident about predicting which elements in the great religions will be radically revised, which will be reconfigured, which will remain relatively intact.”

The church fathers are so desperate that they have ordered the archbishop and his two assistant bishops to take over everything from LCWR—revising the community’s rules, planning events, approving speakers, withdrawing unsuitable materials. Chittister minced no words in assessing the Assessment. She told the National Catholic Reporter that it was “immoral,” “demeaning,” and nothing more than an attempt “to control people for one thing and one thing only…for thinking.” She sees rejecting Vatican control and forming an independent organization as the only real option for LCWR.

The organization has given no indication of what it will do next. The board plans to meet from May 29 to June 1. While a spokeswoman told me she highly doubted that any decision will be made at that meeting, they expect to make public statements after the board meets.

That can’t make the hierarchy too happy—any institution that behaves autocratically counts on silence to keep its power. In the church today, those voices for social change are loud and unrelenting. And they are everywhere—in the pews, in the public square and deep in the hearts of the sojourners among us.
There is nothing the hierarchy can do about that: you can’t stop an echo.

American nuns resist Vatican rebuke

NEW YORK
USA Today

By Cara Matthews, The (Westchester, N.Y.) Journal News
OSSINING, N.Y. – As the Vatican accuses American nuns of spending too much time on human rights and helping the poor, some Catholic activists who support them are organizing vigils and petitions to persuade the church to change its mind.
"With the sisters, they've worked their fingers to the bone. They deserve more than this," said Eileen Sammon, a parishioner at St. Ann's Church here and a former Dominican nun. "They're like a helicopter hierarchy hovering over the sisters instead of cleaning their own house," referring to the continuing problem of priests' sexual abuse of children.
Sammon is organizing a prayer vigil Tuesday in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan with the hope that Cardinal Timothy Dolan will contact the Vatican and ask to have the reprimand rescinded.

Irish nun quits Catholic church after claiming abuse at hands of priests

IRELAND
Irish Central

By
PATRICK COUNIHAN,
IrishCentral Staff Writer

Published Tuesday, May 22, 2012
A County Meath nun has quit the Catholic Church and formed a new religious group in protest at years of ‘mental, sexual and physical abuse’ at the hands of priests.
The Drogheda Independent reports that Duleek nun Mother Maria Francesca has ‘given up on Rome’ and joined the Ecumenical Catholic Church in the English city of Liverpool.
Mother Maria Francesca is now a Franciscan Sister of the Blessed Sacrament in Liverpool, a movement she helped to establish earlier this year.
The 58-year-old’s new Church allows women priests and married priests.
She told the paper that she cannot ‘stay silent’ anymore on the ‘bullying, sexual and physical abuse’ she and others have suffered at the hands of Catholic priests.

Nun quits following abuse by priests

IRELAND
Drogheda Independent

By ALISON COMYN
Wednesday May 16 2012
A LOCAL nun has joined a new religious group after claiming to have suffered physical and mental abuse at the hands of priests for many years.
Mother Maria Francesca has 'given up Rome' to become a Franciscan Sister of the Blessed Sacrament in Liverpool. The 58-year-old is now part of the 'Ecumenical Catholic Church', which allows women priests and married priests. A NUN from Duleek has broken away from the Vatican as she says she cannot stay silent anymore on the ' bullying, sexual and physical abuse' she and others suffered at the hands of Catholic priests during the past few decades.
Mother Maria Francesca is a member of the Stears family in Duleek, but has been a nun in the UK for many years, recently 'giving up Rome' to become a Franciscan Sister of the Blessed Sacrament in Liverpool.
The 58- year- old says she defended the Catholic Church to the hilt in the past, but could no longer stay silent on the abuse she has suffered and witnessed, or the fact the Vatican imposes rules she simply cannot follow.

VATICAN CITY
Chicago Tribune
Philip Pullella
Reuters
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict on Friday held out an olive branch to American Roman Catholic nuns, who are reeling from a stinging Vatican report that criticized them as being feminist and politicized.
"I wish to reaffirm my deep gratitude for the example of fidelity and self-sacrifice given by many consecrated women (nuns) in your country," he said in an address to visiting U.S. bishops.
In a reference to the malaise felt by many American nuns after the report issued last month, he said he hoped that "this moment of discernment will bear abundant spiritual fruit for the revitalization and strengthening of their communities in fidelity to Christ and the Church ..."

US bishops discuss LCWR reform, visitation with Vatican officials

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

May. 02, 2012
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- Recent Vatican investigations of religious women have created opportunities for growth through reflection and for dialogue with their bishops, two U.S. bishops said after discussing the matter with Vatican officials.
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M., and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., told Catholic News Service May 2 that they had discussed the Vatican visitation of U.S. communities of religious women and the more recent order to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious earlier the same day with officials from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Archbishop Sheehan said that during the meeting, attended by bishops from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Wyoming, who were making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican, "the point that was made was that although some people were unhappy with the decision to make corrections" in the LCWR, it would be "an opportunity for dialogue" between the religious and the bishops.

The Taliban in Rome

MALAYA
Malaya Business Insight

Published on Wednesday, 02 May 2012
Written by ALBERTO G. ROMUALDEZ .
‘Debates in Congress are generally informed by myths. For example, the reproductive health myth is that all “morning-after” pills are abortifacient.’
THE Talibanic tendencies of conservative Catholic bishops were recently affirmed by the Vatican when it effectively placed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) under the supervision and control of an “Archbishop Delegate” assisted by two other bishops representing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The LCWR is the largest organization of women religious leaders in the United States with members comprising the representatives of over 80 percent of American Catholic nuns. Just like their Islamic Afghan counterparts, the American bishops are out to suppress the rights of women religious leaders to participate in serious religious discussions.

The Vatican action was taken after years of, sometimes acrimonious, disputes between bishops and the LCWR concerning administrative, doctrinal, and spiritual issues specially the distinction between social involvement and the need to preach correct doctrine. It came on the recommendation of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in its “Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR”, submitted to the Pope (himself a former head of the Congregation) early this year.

Is the Catholic Church sending a message to women?

UNITED STATES
Washington Post
By Marianne T. Duddy-Burke
I was a Girl Scout. My daughter is a Girl Scout. As Catholics, and we are stunned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ decision to investigate an organization that we both deeply love.

It is tempting to laugh off this news as further evidence of how profoundly out of touch many of our bishops are with the lives and concerns of the people who fill their pews. But the hierarchy’s attempt to exert pressure on an organization that has helped millions of girls grow into strong, self-reliant and public-spirited women is only the most recent episode in an increasingly troubling sequence of events.
In March of 2010, the U.S. bishops’ Committee on Doctrine authorized a statement critiquing “Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God,” by Sister Elizabeth Johnson, one of this country’s leading Catholic theologians. In compiling the report on a three-year-old book the bishops violated their own guidelines about communicating with a theologian whose work is under investigation, according to reports. Johnson said she was never invited to discuss the book with the bishops.



--------------

May 9 updates


Bernard Law Hid Pedophiles, Behind Push To Punish Nuns

UNITED STATES
Care2

by Jessica Pieklo
May 8, 2012

Last month the Vatican announced it was cracking down on American nuns for not sufficiently pushing the Catholic Bishops anti-gay, anti-woman agenda. Who was behind this sudden and aggressive push-back against women many American Catholics deeply respect? The same shamed men behind the church’s sex abuse cover-up and complicity.

David Gibson reports that conservative American churchmen living in Rome, among them the disgraced former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, were key figures pushing the hostile takeover the the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR. Law and other hard-right Catholic leaders don’t like the group because of its emphasis of social justice work over loyalty to church hierarchy and issues like abortion and gay marriage.

Law was joined by a former archbishop of St. Louis, Cardinal Raymond Burke in his efforts to aggressive investigate the LCWR. Burke was named to a top Vatican judicial post in 2008 because his hard-right views made Burke a lightning rod in the U.S.– a move familiar within the Catholic Church’s leadership structure and one knowing as getting “kicked upstairs.”

Catholic Church Has More Important Advice for Women

UNITED STATES
The Philly Post

Sandy Hingston
A few weeks back, I wrote about how the Catholic Church was cracking down on rabble-rousing nuns who despite Rome’s exhortations continue to care more about social justice issues like affordable health care than about cracking down on gay rights and abortions. This week, a priest in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia, is telling females to get over themselves and get married to loser guys.

Young hussies today, opined Father Tony Kerin, are “too choosy” in looking for a mate: “I think many are setting aside their aspirations for later, but by the time they get around to it, they’ve missed their chance.” In trying to have it all, Father Kerin cautioned, the breastified will “end up missing out.”

I could say a few things about marriage and missing out and taking relationship advice from celibate guys belonging to an organization that’s proven to be a haven for pedophiles, but that would be a cheap shot. I will note that Father Kerin, not content with advising women to rush to exchange eternal vows with questionable fellas, also warned us not to shack up without the benefit of matrimony. I will mention that Australian priests are such stalwart proponents of marriage that one of them recently admitted to having been secretly married for a year.

Australia's religious support US counterparts

UNITED STATES/AUSTRALIA
Catholic Leader

Published: 13 May 2012
By: Catholic Religious Australia

CATHOLIC Religious Australia (CRA) has sent a letter of support to the United States' Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) following the recent announcement of a Vatican proposal to reform the association.
The announcement from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was based on an investigation by Bishop Leonard Blair began on behalf of the Vatican in April 2008.

More than 50 protest treatment of nuns

LOUISVILLE (KY)
The Courier-Journal

Written by
Mark Boxley
The Courier-Journal

When more than 50 laypeople took to the steps of Cathedral of the Assumption on Tuesday, they had one message in mind: “We are all nuns.”
The group gathered at 5 p.m. for a silent prayer vigil to support the nuns of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which has recently been the focus of what vigil participants called a Vatican investigation.
In a statement concerning the Women Religious, the Vatican said that while lauding sisters’ historic work in education and on behalf of the poor, the conference had allowed influential members and speakers at its meetings to undercut, without challenge, core church doctrines on sexuality, the nature of Jesus and the male-only priesthood.

 Nuns group sanctioned by Vatican to meet this month

UNITED STATES
Chicago Tribune

Rossilynne Skena
Tribune-Review, Greensburg, Pa.

The national group of Roman Catholic nuns led by a Western Pennsylvania woman will meet at month's end to discuss a Vatican rebuke of the organization.
Last month, the Vatican, which oversees the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, slapped the group with sanctions for promoting "certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."
The Leadership Conference's national board will meet in Washington May 29 through June 1, "beginning to look at what the next steps will be in response to this (Vatican) report," according to Sister Annmarie Sanders, the group's associate director for communications.

Reports link Law to crackdown on nuns

ROME
Boston Globe

By Michael Rezendes
| Globe Staff
May 05, 2012

Three respected Catholic publications are reporting that Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the controversial former Boston archbishop, played a key role in the Vatican’s decision to tighten its grip on the largest association of Catholic nuns in the United States.

The Vatican announced its initiative on April 18, naming three American prelates to ensure that US nuns conform to Church doctrine, which has grown more conservative under Pope John Paul II and his successor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Earlier this week, a columnist for The Tablet, a British Catholic weekly, reported that the Vatican’s initiative was sparked by Archbishop William E. Lori, who was recently named to lead the Archdiocese of Baltimore, who “formally petitioned’’ the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to investigate the nuns.
The Tablet also reported that Law was “the person in Rome most forcefully supporting Bishop Lori’s proposal.’’

But Lori denied the first of those assertions in a statement issued to the Globe yesterday through the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Analyst: Crackdown on nuns driven by U.S. Cardinals in Rome

ROME
USA Today

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY
Is the Vatican leaning on U.S. nuns to focus on authentic doctrine -- or bullying them into submission for political purposes?
Religion News Service's David Gibson raised the question in his analysis today of the Vatican crackdown on nuns and sisters announced last month. The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is now to be governed by bishops and redirected to focus on battling gay marriage, contraception and abortion, rather than the social justice focus for which it has been known.
Now, further reports reveal, the efforts were pushed by conservative U.S. cardinals in Rome including Boston Cardinal Bernard Law-- who was last in headlines when he was forced to resign as Archbishop of Boston in 2002 for gross mismangement of the sexual abuse crisis.

Are Americans in Rome behind the nuns crackdown?

ROME
The Christian Century
May 04, 2012 by David Gibson
Religion News Service (RNS) When the Vatican last month announced a doctrinal crackdown on the leadership organization representing most of the 57,000 nuns in the U.S., the sisters said they were "stunned" by the move. Many American Catholics, meanwhile, were angry at what they saw as Rome bullying women whose lives of service have endeared them to the public.
Vatican watchers also were perplexed since a broader, parallel investigation of women's religious orders in the U.S. was resolved amicably after an initial clash. That seemed to augur a more diplomatic approach by the Vatican to concerns that American nuns were not sufficiently orthodox.
Now it turns out that conservative American churchmen living in Rome -- including disgraced former Boston Cardinal Bernard Law -- were key players in pushing the hostile takeover of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR, which they have long viewed with suspicion for emphasizing social justice work over loyalty to the hierarchy and issues like abortion and gay marriage.
Vatican observers in Rome and church sources in the U.S. say Law was "the person in Rome most forcefully supporting" the LCWR investigation, as Rome correspondent Robert Mickens wrote in The Tablet, a London-based Catholic weekly. Law was the "prime instigator," in the words of one American churchman, of the investigation that began in 2009 and ended in 2011. The actual crackdown was only launched in April.

Church’s sexism is a scandal

UNITED STATES
Philly.com

May 03, 2012|By Roy Bourgeois
I have been a Catholic priest for years, and, like most people I know, I have been changed by my experiences over the years.
Growing up Catholic in a small town in Louisiana, I and others did not ask why the black members of our church had to sit in the last five pews during Mass, or why our schools were segregated. Nor did we, needless to say, ask why women could not be priests.
The military was my ticket out of Louisiana. I volunteered for duty in Vietnam, which became a turning point in my life. In the midst of all the violence and death of the war, my faith became more important, and I felt that God was calling me to be a priest.
After four years in the military, I entered the Catholic Church’s Maryknoll Order, was ordained, and went off to serve the poor of Bolivia for five years.
Later, during my years of ministry in the United States, I met many devout Catholic women who were also called by God to be priests. Such women are rejected based on the church’s teaching that only baptized men may be ordained.
This makes no sense to me. Don’t we profess that God created men and women of equal worth and dignity? Doesn’t Scripture state clearly that “There is neither male nor female. In Christ Jesus you are one” (Galatians 3:28)? How can we men say our call from God is authentic, but the call women feel is not?
After much reflection, study, and prayer, I believe the exclusion of women from the priesthood is a grave injustice against women and our loving God, who calls both men and women to be priests. I also believe that to have a healthy, vibrant church, we need the wisdom, experiences, and voices of women in the priesthood.
The Vatican has referred to the ordination of women as “a grave scandal.” When most Catholics hear the word scandal, however, they think of the many priests who sexually abused children, and of the many bishops who covered up their horrific crimes.

Seeing red.

ROME
dotCommonweal

May 3, 2012
Posted by Grant Gallicho
Robert Mickens of the Tablet and Sandro Magister of Chiesa are reporting the names of the men behind the investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. You’re going to recognize a few. First, Magister:
The inspection [of LCWR] had been urged above all by some cardinals of the United States, both of the curia and residential [i.e., those who live in Rome], with direct knowledge of the “problematic” orientations of the LCWR.

Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the congregation for religious until the end of 2010, had given the go-ahead to a rather hostile apostolic visitation of the LCWR. But after, on January 4, 2011, he was replaced by Brazilian cardinal João Braz de Aviz, a focolarino [member of the Focolare movement], and even before that, when the American Redemptorist Joseph W. Tobin became secretary of the same congregation, the apostolic visitation continued and concluded in a much more conciliatory manner.

This changing of the guard at the top of the congregation for religious was not at all to the liking of the cardinals from the United States residing in Rome at the time – Levada, Raymond L. Burke, James F. Stafford, Bernard F. Law, John P. Foley – so much so that none of them attended Tobin’s episcopal ordination at Saint Peter’s Basilica on October 9, 2010.


That’s extraordinary. On Magister’s telling, those American cardinals were so disappointed with the decision to appoint Tobin — an outsider who didn’t want the job and freely admits to “ranting about the curia” — that they couldn’t be bothered to attend his ordination to the episcopacy. (I wonder who attended Cardinal Law’s 2004 appointment as archpriest of St. Mary Major. His retirement ran silent.) Imagine their surprise when soon after a nun was appointed undersecretary for the congregation — and one who doesn’t usually wear a habit, just like those troublesome LCWR nuns. Those American cardinals must have seen the writing on the wall. Under new management, the apostolic visitation of the LCWR seems to have gone precisely nowhere.


Law, Lori and the LCWR

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Tom Roberts on May. 03, 2012 NCR Today
Perhaps it should surprise no one, given the byzantine culture of Catholic hierarchy and Vatican bureaucracy, that just beneath the surface of the most recent attack on LCWR, one might find evidence of Cardinal Bernard Law, whose gross mishandling of the sex abuse crisis fairly upended the venerable church of Boston, and Archbishop William Lori, the fiery point man in the episcopacy’s religious liberty campaign and recently rewarded with the prestigious Baltimore see.

It is one of the ongoing curiosities – pointed out abundantly on this site and within the pages of NCR – that those who have caused the greatest scandal and damage to the church are those who still sit in judgment of all else in the community. And they are using their prerogatives, which they bestow upon themselves and are available only to those within the secretive, all-male, celibate world of Catholic hierarchy, to flail about, pointing up dangers and faults they are seeing all about them, in others and in endless other sectors of the Catholic community.

In the most recent instance of the women religious, The (London) Tablet’s Robert Mickens traces the timeline and personalities who have been working to bring the Leadership Conference of women Religious to heel. As his reporting shows (the link here is to America magazine and a posting by Jesuit Fr. James Martin, who also provides links to the Tablet piece) the good bishops can be persistent in their pursuit of orthodoxy and proper behavior on the part of others, especially vowed women.


US bishops discuss LCWR reform, visitation with Vatican officials

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter

May. 02, 2012
By Cindy Wooden Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY -- Recent Vatican investigations of religious women have created opportunities for growth through reflection and for dialogue with their bishops, two U.S. bishops said after discussing the matter with Vatican officials.
Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M., and Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., told Catholic News Service May 2 that they had discussed the Vatican visitation of U.S. communities of religious women and the more recent order to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious earlier the same day with officials from the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

Archbishop Sheehan said that during the meeting, attended by bishops from Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Wyoming, who were making their "ad limina" visits to the Vatican, "the point that was made was that although some people were unhappy with the decision to make corrections" in the LCWR, it would be "an opportunity for dialogue" between the religious and the bishops.

Abusive ecclesial authority puts our bishops on the spot

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Thomas C. Fox on May. 01, 2012
COMMENTARY

Some of our bishops are acting like bullies, abusing the authority of their offices in the name of enforcing orthodoxy.

Dealing with U.S. women religious, these bishops' actions appear governed more by a desire to enforce obedience than to develop fidelity in our sisters.

Catholics see through this guise. They are upset, fed up with the likes of this behavior. They are speaking out. Soon they will be on the streets making their voices heard. You can count on it.

What the bully bishops claim to be matters of orthodoxy are really matters of pastoral style. They are the results of an unwillingness among our bishops to enter into sincere and mutually repectful dialogue with the women. None of the issues at hand has anything to do with the Creed. They stem from the actions of a small group of misdirected and fearful men determined to take catholic out of Catholic while judging, silencing and demeaning those who stand in their way.



May 2, 2012 updates


They Took Leadership and Incurred Wrath

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Ken Briggs on May. 01, 2012 NCR Today
The grudge hardened in 1971 when the superiors of women's religious communities decided to re-name themselves the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The flash point was the word "leadership." The Vatican protested it's use, the superiors overrode the objections and Rome's campaign against "radical feminism" became a fixture in Holy See strategy.

"Leadership" signified a breaking loose from the pre-Vatican II assumption that male clerics had the final say on everything about sisters' existence. They were insisting on a degree of autonomy based on "Perfectae Caritatis," the instructions given them by Vatican II.

The ink had barely dried on the document as the head of the Italian bishops was warning the sisters not to take this freedom too far. That would be abusing official authority. Eventually this bacame a full fledged attack on renewal as a mindless fling with worldliness, individualism and apostacy.

Read Them and Weep

UNITED STATES
dotCommonweal

April 30, 2012
Posted by J. Peter Nixon
In its recent statement regarding the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith noted that its principal means of assessing the doctrinal fidelity of the LCWR was a review of keynote and leadership addresses at the LCWR annual assembly. Many of the documents in question are publicly available on the LCWR web site. Given the controversy, I wanted to read some of these documents myself.

What I found was not what I expected. With all the concerns the CDF raised about “radical feminism,” I assumed I would encounter many stirring denunciations of patriarchy and criticisms of the Church’s teaching that the sacrament of Holy Orders be restricted to men.

Intimations of those positions find their way into the documents here and there. At most, however, they are a minor concern. The core struggle revealed in these addresses is an emotional and spiritual one: how to live out a religious life in communities whose vision of Church—a vision that once seemed a real possibility—is increasingly a road not taken.

Drane: Vatican culture helps explain reprimand of American nuns

UNITED STATES
GoErie

By JAMES F. DRANE
Contributing writer

How does one explain the public reprimand of American sisters, from a group of bishops and Vatican officials who failed so tragically to handle the mentally ill pedophile priests and the damage they did to innocent children and to the Church?

The American sisters targeted belong to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which includes a majority of American nuns. They were reprimanded for questioning Church teaching on homosexuality, male only priesthood and for promoting "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith." They were also reprimanded for public statements that disagree with and challenge the American bishops, "who are the authentic teachers of faith and morals."

All the above accusations and reprimands were associated with a discussion of President Barack Obama's health-care plan.

One explanation of what is happening comes from an enduring culture inside the Vatican. Inside the Vatican, there is a particular culture, just as there is a culture inside every large industrial organization, big bank, leadership group of a Protestant Church or government agency responsible for protecting the president. Without an understanding of an inside culture, one can never explain particular unusual behaviors.




April 29, 2012

Bearing down on the Sisters

PHILIPPINES
Inquirer
By: Rina Jimenez-David
Philippine Daily Inquirer

I still remember the Maryknoll Sisters. I still remember them walking around the Maryknoll campus in Loyola Heights, in their black-and-white habits with the peaked cap and large rosaries hanging from their waists.

Most of them were Americans, and there was even a rumor circulating that one of the prettiest nuns had won a beauty contest in her home state before she heard the call. They never seemed to age. But a friend, who also grew up among religious women, explained: “Of course they never aged. All the parts that reveal a woman’s age—neck, forehead, hair, knees and hips—were concealed!”

The Second Vatican Council took place just before I stepped into high school, and pretty soon the forever-young nuns in their black-and-white habits were no more. In their place we saw old (or aging) women, their graying hair finally exposed, the monochromatic habits replaced with decorous dresses albeit in colorful prints, but the ugly shoes (or utilitarian sandals) still remained.

What didn’t change was the nuns’ spirit—a combination of daring and openness, even with hard-headed young women, and a devotion to serving the poor and the needy. Maybe this was why before I graduated and left the green and idyllic campus, the nuns had already left the college, choosing to serve the poorest communities in rural areas, and leaving the education and formation of cosseted girls from middle-class homes to the capable hands of lay teachers and administrators. ...

Recently, the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a statement saying it was appointing a bishop to oversee the affairs of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which gathers most of the major women’s religious congregations in the United States. The reason? The nuns’ alleged refusal to “toe the line,” issuing statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” More on this last statement later.

Anyway, the American Catholic columnist Garry Wills, reacting to the Vatican’s action, wrote in his blog for the New York Review of Books: “The Vatican has issued a harsh statement claiming that American nuns do not follow their bishops’ thinking. That statement is profoundly true. Thank God, they don’t. Nuns have always had a different set of priorities from that of bishops. The bishops are interested in power. The nuns are interested in the powerless. Nuns have preserved Gospel values while bishops have been perverting them. The priests drive their own new cars, while nuns ride the bus (always in pairs). The priests specialize in arrogance, the nuns in humility.”

My sentiments exactly.

At a time when thousands of Catholics in different parts of the world have left the church or have been deeply disillusioned over such issues as clergy sexual abuse, anti-women rhetoric and sanctions especially over reproductive health, and the extreme right turn the hierarchy has taken on social issues, the Vatican has chosen to sanction the one group within the church almost universally admired and loved for being outspoken and authentic.

* * *
And are the bishops necessarily the church’s “authentic teachers of faith and morals?” Those who’ve viewed “The Borgias,” a TV-movie dramatization of the reign of Rodrigo Borgia who became Pope Alexander VI (a son was appointed Cardinal), shows us how fallibly human (and sinful) the leaders of the church are, and how wrong they could be on issues of precisely “faith and morals.”

The precipitating action that may have sparked the Vatican crackdown, some LCWR leaders believe, was the group’s open letter to US President Barack Obama supporting his health reform initiative, which the American bishops opposed. Obama has said the nuns’ letter was the “turning point” in gathering political support for the measure. The bishops may have been incensed by what the nuns did, but they have yet to explain how they could be opposed to moves to provide healthcare for the poorest Americans.

In the view of several local pro-reproductive health groups who issued a statement in support of the LCWR, the Vatican’s heavy-handed move is simply part of the church hierarchy’s “wider campaign to silence the public voice of women both within their church and outside of it—locally reflected in the actions of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).”

* * *
“We value the LCWR’s commitment to social justice and their right to take a conscientious position against a religious leadership that has shown to be both out of touch and outright hostile to the very idea of women taking a greater role in society,” the statement concluded.

News reports say the reactions of American women religious have varied from “stunned” to “defiant.” Sr. Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby group associated with LCWR, told a wire agency that it was “painfully obvious” the Vatican leadership was “not used to having educated women form thoughtful opinions and engage in dialogue.”

That’s telling ’em, Sister! I don’t know if Sister Simone is a Maryknoll Sister, but what she said is entirely in line with the training and spirit imbued in us by the Maryknoll nuns of fond memory. Forming “thoughtful opinions” and “engaging in dialogue” were certainly the core of my Maryknoll education.

When things get tough for the clergy, bash the nuns

UNITED STATES
Philly Burbs
Throughout the centuries, and even in today’s world, Catholic nuns — those dedicated religious women who have devoted their entire lives to helping others while expecting very little in return — have always been (and still are) treated by many leaders of their church as second-class citizens.
Traditionally, they rank well behind the priests, monks, brothers and other male members of a paternalistic hierarchy.
Throughout most of church history and well into the past century, nuns (because they were women) could not even step onto the altar during Mass or other religious services.
This gender bias was not only found in religious matters, but in the basic differences in the day-to-day lives of both nuns and priests.
A typical example was a convent I clearly remember from my youth. It was a converted run-down building on the edge of the Kensington section of Philadelphia that had previously been a street-corner saloon.
In that dilapidated facility, a dozen sisters (our elementary school teachers) had to sleep on torn mattresses stuffed with old newspapers because they couldn’t afford to buy decent bedding. Much of their furniture was secondhand and donated by parishioners.

U.S. Nuns Face Vatican Rebuke for "Radical Feminism" in Stances on Church Teachings, Social Justice

UNITED STATES
Democracy Now
[with video]
The Vatican has reprimanded the largest group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying they have focused too heavily on issues of social justice, while failing to speak out enough on "issues of crucial importance," such as abortion and same-sex marriage. In a report issued last week, church leaders accused the nuns of promoting "radical feminist" ideas and challenging key teachings on homosexuality and male-only priesthood. An archbishop and two bishops — all of them male — have been appointed to oversee the nuns. "To me, it’s quite puzzling that our work with the poor, which Jesus told us to do in the gospels, would be the source of such a criticism," says Sister Simone Campbell, head of the Catholic social justice group NETWORK, which was harshly criticized in last week’s report.

U.S. nuns group deserves support

UNITED STATES
San Francisco Chronicle
Brian Cahill
Friday, April 27, 2012
Led by Cardinal William Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco, the Vatican has initiated a crackdown to control the activities of the largest leadership group of American Catholic nuns. If it were not so tragic and destructive, it would be the height of irony that the leaders of the Catholic Church, who are big fans of religious liberty when it serves their interests, now attempt to curtail the freedom and the good work of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

This group represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States. These are women who do so much of the heavy lifting in our church, especially in education, health care and social services.

The bishops worry that the conference's positions on homosexuality and the ordination of women will "give scandal," a mystifying position given that these same bishops have presided over the most serious church scandal in the past 500 years, where thousands of children were molested and hundreds of cases have been ignored or covered up.
UNITED STATES
Sarah O'Leary
"Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? -- New American Standard Bible, ©1995
Growing up in born-again bastion of Wheaton, Illinois, my childhood friends celebrated every type of Christianity. Among the largely Catholic population there were Covenants, Evangelical Frees, Methodists, Lutherans and non-denominational religionists who attended a variety of Christian churches. I found it most extraordinary that many of them actually read the Bible! What kind of craziness is that? Catholics I knew didn't read the Bible. The priest and selected laymen read parts of it on Sunday for us. Other important stuff was picked out and fed to us by nuns in Sunday school. But actually read it on our own? No way. I've never been in a Catholic Church that even had Bibles in the pews, let alone in our hands.
As an adult, I think I now understand why actually reading the word of God on our own wasn't encouraged in my Catholic Church, or most anyone else's. It was the same reason, I believe, the mass was in Latin for so long. If we truly understood what was going on, we might have actually learned something. We might have empowered our selves. We might have interpreted the Scriptures on our own, prioritizing God's edicts in a way that the Church might not support. How could we be blind followers if we studied the same Bible as our moral leaders? Isn't that like standing next to the magician when he's performing a trick? It made sense that the Church try to keep us ignorant and in fear (thus solely dependant on the Church for spiritual survival), rather than educated and potentially empowered.
Today's current state of my Catholic Church's dis-grace has reached a hell-hot fever pitch. As reported in the Huffington Post, we have the Bishop in Peoria, IL preaching politics against the President from the pulpit, risking the Church's tax exempt status and a bishop in Seattle who is trying to overturn gay marriage, while many in his flock (including men of the cloth) opening rebel against him. And, rather than focus on things such as world hunger or disease, the Vatican is trying to reel in a group of "radical" U.S. nuns who comprise 80% of all nuns in the U.S.
At risk of posing a question of the logically obvious: Why doesn't my Catholic Church get its own house in order first? et the plank/log/boulder/semi truck/elephant out of its own eye before it tries to remove a speck from another's eye? Maybe you've heard about the Philadelphia bishop in the middle of the current pedophilia scandal. Or the now almost countless scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church involving priests raping young boys and girls? Or the cover ups of these events by our blessed priests, bishops and higher ups executed around the world to avoid "harming" their precious church? What part of that is the work of true followers of Jesus? None of it. Not one damned bit of it. With millions around the world suffering, starving and in need of spiritual guidance, is homosexuality and birth control the best we can do?

The Good Sisters

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

Editorial
There has been a great deal of ink, broadcast air, and cyberspace focused in the past week on the Vatican’s move against the women religious in the United States as they are organized in the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW).

There is great feeling both nostalgic and immediate expressed in the support of the vowed religious women in all approaches: the men are from Mars, women are from Venus theme, the walk with the underprivileged, the marginalized, and the poor versus the disconnected mansion men, or the social justice versus the hard right guide to sexuality.

We do not raise our voice to condemn, hurt, or deflate the sisters for God knows we have seen, know and sympathize with their plight because of the courage of the survivors of sexual abuse who have informed the Church and the society at large of the dealings of the hierarchy.

It is because of the survivors and the families of those who committed suicide that we raise our voice in the midst of the discussion about the nuns.

We raise it to ask the sisters as they pray, reflect, gather and seek to dialogue in their current crisis to come clean with the sexual abuse by nuns and do right by the survivors and their families.


UNITED STATES
Slidell Sentry
Another view By Cokie and Steven Roberts
Really? Women religious in America will now have a bishop grading their morals?
Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Given the sex-abuse scandals — in which many Roman Catholic bishops looked the other way at best and moved child molesters from parish to parish, perpetrating evil, at worst — you would think that a ruler rap on the hierarchical knuckles would be in order. “Sister” should have stepped in years ago. Instead, the Vatican has assigned a bishop to crack down on the nuns.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, aka the Inquisition, has appointed Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to review and revamp the plans, programs and pronouncements of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization of the superiors of religious orders that represents about 57,000 U.S. nuns. What sins have these religious women committed that brought on the wrath of Rome?
Here’s one, according to the Vatican document: “While there’s been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death.” Oh, no — while these women are ministering to some poor pregnant girl and giving her the wherewithal to get health care and food for her baby, they are not loudly attacking abortion?
Another transgression: “The Church’s Biblical views of family life and human sexuality are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching.” Translation: The nuns aren’t condemning gay marriage as they make their rounds to hospitals and social-service agencies where gay clients and their children await their care.

April 27, 2012

Notes on the LCWR overhaul

VATICAN CITY
National Catholic Reporter
by John L Allen Jr on Apr. 27, 2012 All Things Catholic
By far, the biggest Vatican story at the moment in the American media market is an announced overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the main umbrella group for superiors of the roughly 400 women's orders in the States. The move has been presented by the Vatican as a "reform" but styled as a "crackdown" in most press coverage.

As is by now well known, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's powerful doctrinal watchdog agency, has faulted LCWR for silence on issues such as abortion and euthanasia, a climate of "corporate dissent" on matters such as homosexuality and women's ordination, and the inroads of "radical feminism." The congregation appointed Archbishop James Peter Sartain of Seattle as its delegate to oversee reform, with power to do things like reviewing documents before publication and signing off on speakers for LCWR meetings.

The story has become a cause célèbre, primarily because of the deep fault lines it seems to encapsulate: men vs. women, family values vs. women's issues (especially in a domestic political season in which an alleged "war on women" is in the air), Rome vs. America, left vs. right, authority vs. dissent, the hierarchy vs. the grassroots, and so on. Depending on where one stands vis-à-vis those divides, it's easy to see LCWR as either a hero or a scapegoat.

The Inquisition: Vatican issues a knuckle-rap to the nuns,” by Cokie Roberts and Steven V. Roberts, phillyburbs.com,

The Good Sisters

UNITED STATES
National Survivor Advocates Coalition

Editorial
There has been a great deal of ink, broadcast air, and cyberspace focused in the past week on the Vatican’s move against the women religious in the United States as they are organized in the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW).

There is great feeling both nostalgic and immediate expressed in the support of the vowed religious women in all approaches: the men are from Mars, women are from Venus theme, the walk with the underprivileged, the marginalized, and the poor versus the disconnected mansion men, or the social justice versus the hard right guide to sexuality.

We do not raise our voice to condemn, hurt, or deflate the sisters for God knows we have seen, know and sympathize with their plight because of the courage of the survivors of sexual abuse who have informed the Church and the society at large of the dealings of the hierarchy.

It is because of the survivors and the families of those who committed suicide that we raise our voice in the midst of the discussion about the nuns.

We raise it to ask the sisters as they pray, reflect, gather and seek to dialogue in their current crisis to come clean with the sexual abuse by nuns and do right by the survivors and their families.

LCWR annual assembly to go forward

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Apr. 26, 2012
By Joshua J. McElwee

When the Vatican put the largest organization representing U.S. women religious into church receivership, saying it needed to submit to the control of an archbishop and reform its statutes, a major criticism cited was the group’s annual assemblies, which were said to have presented viewpoints that were “a serious source of scandal.”
Despite that concern, this year’s assembly of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, planned for August, is to go forward with Vatican support, NCR has learned.

Let Vicki do talkin’, bishop do the walkin’

MASSACHUSETTS
Boston Herald
By Margery Eagan
Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let’s call it a “Catholic spring.”

Via the same social networking that created an Arab spring and toppled dictators, local Catholic activists in three short weeks collected 20,000 signatures protesting a Worcester bishop’s uninviting of Ted Kennedy’s widow, Vicki, to speak at the commencement of Anna Maria College in nearby Paxton.

The same networking could prove a powerful tool for frustrated Catholics opposed to their supposed leaders, the U.S. Catholic bishops, and hoping to organize where their dollars will go.

Yesterday thick bound books containing protesters’ signatures — and many blistering attacks — were brought to the sidewalk outside Worcester diocesan headquarters and handed to Ray Delisle, spokesman for Bishop Robert J. McManus. Delisle said McManus was not there.

McManus has declared Kennedy unfit for Anna Maria because her views on abortion and gays are out of line with Catholic teachings. Yet yesterday Delisle could point to no specific instances of her speaking out publicly on either issue — though her late husband surely did.

Meanwhile, McManus himself appears out of line with Catholic teachings on healing the post-sex abuse crisis. He’s consistently played “hard ball” with child abuse survivors, said Skip Shea, a Worcester survivor. Mitchell Garabedian, a Boston attorney who’s represented hundreds of survivors, characterized McManus as “one of the worst” bishops, refusing to provide lists of credibly accused priests or to settle credible claims as many fellow bishops, including Cardinal Sean O’Malley, have done.

We Are All Nuns

UNITED STATES
Religion Dispatches

By Mary E. Hunt
When it comes to the Vatican’s crackdown on women religious, I believe it’s time to declare that for the purpose of this struggle: we are all nuns.

The mandate by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) via the appointment of an Archbishop Delegate to bring the nuns back in line—below and behind the bishops—has outraged those who respect its rich legacy.

If you can spell Catholic, you are probably asking: how dare they go after 57,000 dedicated women whose median age is well over 70 and who work tirelessly for a more just world? How dare the very men who preside over a Church in utter disgrace due to sexual misconduct and cover-ups by bishops try to distract from their own problems by creating new ones for women religious?

April 25, 2012
UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
by Joe Ferullo on Apr. 23, 2012 NCR Today
About twice a month, my wife meets up with a Vietnamese-American nun in a rough part of town, and together they roam in a beat-up white van, scouring the streets for homeless women. It never takes long. The sister knows just where to look: dirty alleys, dark underpasses -- they are there.
Many of them are regulars, seeking out the van from their hidden places. The sister and my wife offer to bring them back to a church shelter; if the person refuses, they hand out bags of food and essentials then head on their way.

This slender, slight but fierce nun is apparently a clear and present danger to the Catholic church.

I'm talking, of course, about the now-infamous Vatican report that says the real trouble with the church in America is that our nuns here just can't seem to toe the line of the bishops, "who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals."

Funny statement, that -- as noted by Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez. He points out that, at the very moment the report was being issued, a child abuse trial in Philadelphia involving the clergy also revealed that a West Virginia bishop was accused of abuse. In Kansas City, Mo., another bishop goes on trial in September for failing to report abuse. And, Lopez writes, last year church officials paid $144 million to settle abuse allegation and cover legal fees -- more than a decade after the scandal first broke.
UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
by Robert McClory on Apr. 24, 2012 NCR Today
The attitude toward women that prompted the Vatican crackdown on the LCWR was there in the beginning and it's never been exorcised from Catholicism. It even got into the New Testament, in 1 Corinthians, for example, where the writer declares that women "should keep silence in the churches for they are not permitted to speak but should be subordinate. ... If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husband."
Today, we are assured by every credible Scripture scholar that this was inserted by some scribe after Paul's death; it totally contradicts his attitude toward women and his acceptance of women as co-workers. In Romans, he commends an entire list of women, including Junia, whom he calls "prominent among the apostles." Nevertheless, several putdowns of women got placed in the texts and have remained as stumbling blocks for the unwary.

The paintings in the catacombs from the first centuries give witness that women, portrayed in the garments of priests and deacons, even presiding at the Eucharist, shared in the radical equality of the Gospel. But soon the declarations of bishops and synods warn that women should not be ordained and the practice is to be snuffed out wherever it has taken root. The hierarchy alone, they reminded the people (just as they told LCWR), are the deciders.
UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
by Joshua J. McElwee on Apr. 25, 2012 NCR Today
The leadership of the largest organization representing U.S. women religious announced this afternoon that the board of the group will meet in an "atmosphere of prayer, contemplation and dialogue" in May to discuss news that the Vatican has ordered it to revise its statutes and has appointed an archbishop to oversee the revision.

The announcement comes on the website of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which was the subject of the April 18 order from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and is signed by the group's president, president-elect, and past-president.

The statement says the national board of the group will meet from May 29-June 1 to "begin its discussion" on the matter.
UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
by Phyllis Zagano on Apr. 25, 2012 Just Catholic
What's left to say? By now the whole world has heard the Vatican is going to take care of those uppity, radical feminist nuns.
Except they're not that uppity. They're not radical feminists. For Pete's sake, they're not even nuns.

Which is where the problem begins. In the sixth century, a bishop named Caesarius of Arles endowed a monastery for his sister to run, and wrote "A Rule for Virgins." You know, enclosure and all that. For about 1,000 years, that was pretty much the only choice for women who wanted to consecrate their lives to God.
While a few women were also ordained as deacons, any vocation for women soon got stuffed behind fortified walls. Over the centuries, new women's vocations broke through here and there -- the Beguines, Catherine of Siena -- until Mary Ward and others brought defunct diaconal ministries to the alleys and byways of Europe. Eventually, the church recognized this new vocation, now called apostolic, or active religious life -- "sisters" -- as opposed to cloistered, or contemplative, nuns. ...
Great theater here. Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle with Bishop Thomas J. Paproki of Springfield, Ill., and Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio, are the men in black. One of Sartain's five older sisters belongs to the conservative Nashville Domincans. Paprocki, an amateur ice hockey goalie, once blamed priestly pederasty on the devil. And Blair, secretary to the archbishop of Detroit around the time of Agnes Mary Mansour, was in it from the start.
In fact Blair, together with now-Archbishop Charles J. Brown, the new apostolic nuncio to Ireland, prepared the recommendations to the voting members of CDF.

Having the Sisters' Back

UNITED STATES
Huffington Post

Jim Wallis
After an official investigation, the Vatican seems pretty upset with the Catholic Sisters here in the United States. They have reprimanded the women for not sufficiently upholding the bishops' teachings and doctrines and paying much more attention to issues like poverty and health care than to abortion, homosexuality and male-only priesthood.
There are concerns with "a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes" and they have been taken to task for "occasional public statements" that disagree with the bishops, "who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals."
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), the largest representative group of all the Catholic sisters orders, has now been put under the control of some bishops who are to "reform" them, change the group's statutes and programs, and approve who will speak at their events.
The Vatican's approach to its concerns, to say the least, is quite regrettable. Condemnation and control were chosen over conversation and dialogue. Quite honestly, do most of us believe, or even most Catholics believe, that the bishops are the only "authentic teachers of faith and morals?"

Journalists Tout Dissident Nuns and Rehash Decades-Old Scandals To Bash Catholic Church Again

UNITED STATES
TheMediaReport

Dave Pierre
Since when have journalists been so concerned about internal doctrinal matters in the Catholic Church? Why are journalists suddenly fretting about the status of nuns in America?

It has been no secret that many Catholic women religious (nuns) in recent years have been in open dissent of a number of gender-related components of Church teaching, such those regarding the all-male priesthood, celibacy requirements, and, in some cases, abortion.

Because of this open dissent, the Vatican has finally taken efforts to review and monitor the leadership of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR). These efforts simply seek to align the conference – a Church-recognized body – with the teachings of the Church and with Church law.

Now it seems that the Vatican's actions have journalists worked up all over the country.

How to properly spank a nun

UNITED STATES
San Francisco Chronicle

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Funny how no one ever talks about the nuns.

I suppose it makes sense. After all, Catholic nuns are so rarely embroiled in sex scandals. They are never caught pants down in the rectory with a 10-year-old altar boy, teaching him of the "mystical secretions" of the Lord. They never cost the church billions in litigious payouts for rape, abuse, millennia of pedophilic atrocity and shame. For that, you gotta look to the priests.

The nuns, they keep to themselves. They work quietly, faithfully in the background, the humble and resolute handmaidens to the patriarchy, performing their work without media glare, without need to draw obnoxious battle lines around every sexual or moral issue under the sun. Or so it would seem.

Wineke: Catholic Church reasserting control of nuns underlies hypocrisy

UNITED STATES
Channel 3000

By Bill Wineke
Special to Channel 3000

Something very strange is going on within the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church.
Each week brings revelations seemingly more bizarre than those of even the week before.
Last week, the Vatican took over the leadership of American nuns and appointed an archbishop to act, in effect, as a receiver for the group. Archbishop Peter Sartain, of Seattle, now has power to remove the elected leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, approve speakers at the group's conferences, set policy for the group and tell the nuns with whom they might affiliate.
The Vatican announced all this in a press release. That's how the nuns learned about it. The contempt shown the nuns couldn't have been more pronounced if the pope had mooned them in public. ...
The document doesn't say the nuns have actually done something immoral. It's not as if, say, they had numerous members of their orders who sexually abused children, or had mother superiors who covered those crimes up.
Not to be too subtle about this: The Vatican did not put the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops into receivership.

Doctrinal Assessment of the LCWR: Safeguarding the Integrity of Consecrated Life

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

by MOTHER MARY ASSUMPTA LONG, OP
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith situates the introduction of its doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the section of Pope John Paul II’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Vita Consecrata entitled “Sentire Cum Ecclesia” (To Think With the Church).

The eight-page document, published April 18, summarizes the findings of a careful investigation of the LCWR begun in 2008 and has renewal as its primary purpose:

The renewal of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which is the goal of this doctrinal assessment, is in support of this essential charism of religious which has been so obvious in the life and growth of the Catholic Church in the United States.

Recent media coverage has displayed a variety of responses to the doctrinal assessment, and members of the LCWR have issued public responses.

A Catholic ‘war on women’

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

Sally Quinn
Jesus would be rolling over in his grave if he hadn’t already left it. The pope is taking on the nuns.
The Roman Catholic Church is a hierarchical institution if there ever was one. Nobody does anything without consulting a superior. Eventually, that would lead to His Holiness. And this time he has gone too far.

When Vatican bishops issued a report condemning nuns, including those among the 55,000 members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, for “radical feminism” and ordered disciplinary action, all hell broke loose. ...

While the “radical feminist” nuns were taking care of the poor and the sick, what were the priests and bishops doing? More than a few were being accused of sexually abusing children and covering up for each other. Take the case of Cardinal Bernard Francis Law, who stepped down as archbishop of Boston in 2002 for covering up sexual abuse by priests in his archdiocese. Instead of leaving Boston in disgrace, Law was summoned to Rome by Pope John Paul II and given the plum assignment of archpriest of the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore. He was allowed to keep his title of cardinal and participated in the papal conclave. He resigned last November at age 80 after throwing himself a big birthday party. Let’s hope the victims of the sexual abused he covered up have been able to on with their lives as fortuitously as he has.
The numbers of sexual abuse scandals are too numerous to mention, but include the recent charges against a priest who was head of the Office of Child Protection and Safety in Northern Virginia, and is being investigated for sexual misconduct with a boy and is now on administrative leave.

Voice of the Faithful Takes Nuns’ Side

UNITED STATES
Voice of the Faithful

As the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith comes down on women religious in the United States for doctrinal impurity, Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful supports the sisters.

On Wednesday, the Vatican mandated reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the largest leadership body of women religious in the United States, which represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 nuns in the country. Because of LCWR’s purported doctrinal impurity, the Vatican has appointed an archbishop to oversee the nuns’ reform.

The record of women religious in this country taking care of the most vulnerable in our society, creating the American hospital system, for example, is a primer on Gospel values. Their long service on the front lines of poverty and disease is worthy of the respect and admiration of all, VOTF among them.

Why Go After the Nuns?

UNITED STATES
Religion News Service - Spiritual Politics

Mark Silk|Apr 24, 2012
The denunciation of the Leadship Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF, formerly known as the Roman Inquisition) puts this medievalist in mind of the Church's 15th Ecumenical Council, which wrapped up its business in Vienne exactly 700 years ago next week.

It was not a happy time for the papacy. In 1305, the tumultuous politics of the Italian peninsula had forced Pope Clement V to relocate the curia to the north, ushering in the "Babylonian Captivity of the Church" in Avignon that lasted for most of the century. The move put Clement under the thumb of King Philip the Fair of France, who was vigorously consolidating administrative control of the monarchy. To that end, Philip arrested the Knights Templars, seized their property, and got them to confess to heresy and sodomy by torture and burning at the stake. The main business of the Council of Vienne was the suppression of the venerable crusading order, which Clement seems to have agreed to do in exchange for Philip dropping heresy charges against a previous pope, Boniface VIII.

While they were at it, the Council also suppressed a movement of pious lay women who wore a distinctive habit and lived together in hospices, impressing many by their teaching and the sanctity of their lives. To the men who ran the church, they were dangerously out of line. As the Council put it:

The women commonly known as Beguines, since they promise obedience to nobody, nor renounce possessions, nor profess any approved rule are not religious at all, although they wear the special dress of Beguines and attach themselves to certain religious to whom they have a special attraction. We have heard from trustworthy sources that there are some Beguines who seem to be led by a particular insanity.

Archbishop Sartain Praises Women Religious as 'Great Gift' to the Church

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Register

by CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY/EWTN NEWS
04/24/2012

Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle praised American religious women as a “great gift” days after being asked by Pope Benedict to help reform the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

“What I hope and pray for every day is that I, first of all, do as the Lord asks and do as the Holy Father asks,” said the archbishop, describing the task of renewal ahead to CNA on April 23.

He said he hopes “to work in a positive way,” recognizing “the wonderful contribution of religious women in the United States, and to work in a way that shows our continued love and support for their extraordinary contribution.”

Archbishop Sartain made his remarks in Rome only days after Pope Benedict XVI also publicly praised the contribution religious women make to the U.S. Church and society.

Mobilize: Support our Catholic sisters

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Dennis Coday on Apr. 24, 2012 NCR Today
Sisters Under Scrutiny is a new NCR blog that aims to be your one stop site gathering the latest news, actions and reactions arising from the Vatican ordered reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the umbrella organization for 80 percent of American Catholic sisters.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith April 18 ordered LCWR to reform its statutes, programs and affiliations to conform more closely to the teachings and discipline of the Church. Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain was appointed the “archbishop delegate” to oversee the organization. LCWR leaders say they were “stunned” by the move, which caught them by surprise. During the coming weeks NCR will feature on this blog the latest news and actions flowing out of this unprecedented move.

Also visit the Support our Catholic sisters Facebook page. We hope this page will become a space sisters can turn to for inspiration and that the sisters’ supports can use to organize that support.

Who will watch the watchmen of America's women religious?

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Eugene Cullen Kennedy on Apr. 24, 2012 Bulletins from the Human Side
The sound you hear all across Catholic America today is that of Rachel's weeping again over the unnecessary and undeserved suffering that has been heaped by a righteous-sounding Cardinal William Levada, the pope's man at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, on the women religious of this country.

This event is one of epic sadness because it symbolizes how an organized church undercuts the immense good it does at its best by doing near to its hypocritical worst in an attack as coordinated as a terrorist strike on the heroic women who deserve credit for building the church in America into the most successful realization of Catholicism in history.

Only ambitious men "making," in the apt Italian phrase, "a career in the church" could have designed this bad-faith betrayal of the leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious who had arrived in Rome for a dialogue with Cardinal Levada only to learn that the news of the empowering of a panel of bishops to supervise them had already been sent to the American bishops for public distribution. ...

Archbishop Sartain, who has just politicized his parishes by delegating them to gather signatures against legislation on same-sex marriage, according to the website Christian Child Abuse, played a still-unclarified role while bishop of Joliet, Ill., in ordaining as a priest a seminarian on whose computer gay porn with young boys had been found a few months before. This priest was convicted the next year of sexual assault of an underage boy. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, SNAP, observed: "Sartain, in our view, had a moral obligation to postpone the ordination, send [the priest] for treatment and inform the public." SNAP president Dave Clohessy later said Sartain "did none of that."

LCWR earthquake snaps tensions present since Vatican II

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

Apr. 24, 2012
By Tom Roberts

Commentary

It is almost instinctively that one reaches, when attempting to explain what is going on today in the Catholic church, for metaphors out of the natural world -- storms, earthquakes, seismic shifts -- to get at the magnitude of events.

We search for the terms that explain what we're experiencing: phenomena beyond the ordinary disturbances we've learned to weather one season to the next. Just as seismologists or climatologists begin to put together patterns over time, to construct a mega-image of what is happening, so are we. Another piece of the puzzle has just fallen into place for us with the delivery last week from the Vatican of the "Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious."

The 5.8 earthquake that hit the East Coast in August was insignificant by West Coast standards, yet it was felt hundreds of miles from its epicenter in Virginia. Geologists explained that the earth's crust in this part of the world is more dense and less disturbed and fractured than that in the usual earthquake zones, allowing the seismic waves to travel further than they would, say, in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

LCWR: A radical obedience to the voice of God in our time

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

by Jamie L Manson on Apr. 23, 2012 Grace on the Margins
In his Holy Thursday sermon, Pope Benedict XVI made headlines for criticizing those who refuse to obey the church's position on the ordination of celibate men. He traced his argument back to Christ's obedience to the will of God.
"His concern was for true obedience," Benedict said, "as opposed to human caprice."

Of course, the pontiff fails to point out that Jesus was obeying God while also radically disobeying the religious leaders and laws of his time. Like so many archconservative Roman Catholics, he is confusing God with the institutional church and its doctrine.

I suppose the pope is using some of this same logic in his treatment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. He views the sisters' unwillingness to condemn gays and lesbians or contraception or women who feel called ordained ministry as an act of "caprice."

But the basis on which the sisters focus their ministries is anything but shallow and whimsical. Their devotion is founded on a radical obedience to the voice of God as it emerges from the voices of the poor, the sick, the abandoned and the broken.


Latin American religious recall tough decisions, emphasis on dialogue


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Catholic News Service

By Ezra Fieser
Catholic News Service

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (CNS) -- The decision to take over leadership of the largest U.S. group of Catholic nuns for its "serious doctrinal problems" was not the first time the Vatican reined in a group of religious.

Two decades ago, the Vatican appointed a bishop to oversee the work of the Latin American Confederation of Religious, known by its Spanish acronym as CLAR. At the time, the confederation represented 160,000 men and women religious in the region.
"It was a very difficult moment for the confederation," said Father Gabriel Naranjo Salazar, a Vincentian priest involved in CLAR at the time and who is now secretary-general of the organization.
"It was not only difficult because it affected the (CLAR's) ecclesial independence and its mentality, but also because it seemed completely unjustified," Father Naranjo told Catholic News Service in mid-April.

  
UNITED STATES
Boston Globe
By Joan Vennochi
Globe Columnist
April 22, 2012

Pope Benedict XVI can’t wait to crack down on “radical feminist” nuns.
But will he ever really crack down on protectors of pedophile priests?

A Vatican-led investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious cites the nuns’ silence on abortion and same-sex marriage. How bad is that up against the silence of church officials, from parish priests to the Vatican, who ignored and concealed child sex crimes?
By ironic coincidence, news about the Vatican’s effort to rein in the conference — the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States — broke the same day the Rev. Bradley M. Schaeffer resigned from the Boston College Board of Trustees after growing public criticism over the role he played in supervising a former Jesuit priest who allegedly molested dozens of children over a span of 40 years.
The juxtaposition of the two events exposes a familiar church mindset.
UNITED STATES
Washington Post
American nuns stunned by Vatican accusation of ‘radical feminism,’ crackdown
By Michelle Boorstein and Elizabeth Tenety, Published: April 20
American nuns struggled to respond Friday to a Vatican crackdown on what it calls “radical feminism” among the women and their purported failure to sufficiently condemn such issues as abortion and same-sex marriage.
Some nuns in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious characterized the disciplinary action announced Wednesday as an “ambush,” but others — including the leadership — said they couldn’t publicly comment on a system that mandates their obedience. The 1,500-member conference represents the vast majority of the country’s 57,000 nuns.
“People are stunned,” said Sister Pat McDermott, president of the 3,500-member Sisters of Mercy of the Americas, based in Silver Spring. “They’re outraged, angry, frustrated, they don’t know where this came from and how to hold it.”
Thousands of people joined a Twitter drive to support the Leadership Conference, which represents more than 80 percent of American nuns. Using the hashtag #whatsistersmeantome, one person wrote of the nun who “was the rock of our Catholic campus.” Another man tweeted about how his father lost his own mother at 13. “It was the Mercy sisters who consoled and loved him onward.”
UNITED STATES
Philadelphia Inquirer
Monica Yant Kinney, Inquirer Columnist
Last week, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his 85th birthday by issuing a rebuke of an unlikely foe:
Nuns.
Following a bizarre three-year inquisition of American sisters' "quality of life," the Vatican slammed nuns for devoting their lives to educating the poor, treating the sick, and feeding the ravenous. Women religious are "charitable," but all this social-justice work has fostered a "radical feminism" the pope wants to tamp out, ASAP.
The Vatican says the sisters sinned by supporting President Obama's health-care plan and helping homosexuals. But nuns are also guilty of staying too "silent" on issues like abortion.
You can read the eight-page "doctrinal assessment" (http://bit.ly/JamGHa), but I'll summarize the conclusion: Nuns need to remember their place and obey the men who run the church.
UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times
By Steve Lopez

April 21, 2012
In Philadelphia last week, a child sex-abuse trial involving Catholic clergy led to a bombshell — a bishop from West Virginia was accused of abuse.
In Kansas City, a Catholic bishop goes on trial in September, accused of failing to report suspected child abuse.
So who's in trouble with the Vatican?
Nuns.
UNITED STATES
The Huffington Post
By Alana Horowitz
The head of a Catholic lobbying group is fighting back against criticism from the Vatican.
"I've no idea what they're talking about," said Sister Simone Campbell told the BBC. "Our role is to live the gospel with those who live on the margins of our society: the hungry, the poor, the ill. That's all we do."
Campbell was responding to charges that her group, NETWORK, is engaging "corporate dissent." The Vatican ordered an investigation of U.S. nun group Leadership Conference of Women Religious and its ties to NETWORK, who supported President Obama's health care reform push. The Vatican accused the Leadership Conference of promoting "certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."
Campbell told the AP that she believes the link between the crackdown and the health care reform support is clear.
SILVER SPRING (MD)
Leadership Conference of Women Religious
[Silver Spring, Maryland] The presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was stunned by the conclusions of the doctrinal assessment of LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Because the leadership of LCWR has the custom of meeting annually with the staff of CDF in Rome and because the conference follows canonically-approved statutes, we were taken by surprise.

This is a moment of great import for religious life and the wider church. We ask your prayers as we meet with the LCWR National Board within the coming month to review the mandate and prepare a response.
VATICAN CITY
AFP
By Dario Thuburn (AFP)
VATICAN CITY — The Vatican has issued a scathing condemnation of the main association of Catholic nuns in the United States for taking liberal stances on contraception, homosexuality and female priests.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) said in a statement on Thursday it was "stunned" by the Vatican report which pointed to "serious doctrinal problems" and "unacceptable positions" on a range of issues.
It accused members of LCWR, which represents around 45,000 US nuns, or 80 percent of the total, of "corporate dissent" with the Church's teachings against homosexuality and said it was pursuing "radical feminist themes".

American nuns contest Vatican’s accusations

According to Sister Campbell, the questions raised against those who announce the Gospel through their own life are incorrect
Vatican Insider staff
Rome
Speaking to the BBC, Sister Simone Campbell, head of en/homepage/news/detail/articolo/suore-nuns-monja-stati-uniti-united-states-estados-unidos-8087/“Network”, a Catholic association which promotes social justice, responded to the indications given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in relation to the tough doctrinal evaluation which dealt a strong blow to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the association representing the majority of Catholic women religious in the United States.
The document issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith speaks of the “dissent” shown by American nuns, whom it accuses of ignoring or questioning the Catholic Church teachings on abortion, homosexuality and priesthood. As a result, they face being “monitored” for five years by the Bishop of Seattle.
WEST VIRGINIA
The Charleston Gazette
By Paul J. Nyden
The Charleston Gazette
Advertiser
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Pat Hussey and Barbara Ferraro, former Roman Catholic nuns who lived in Charleston for many years, criticized Pope Benedict XVI for launching a crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
LCWR is a group of organizations that represents 80 percent of the 55,000 Catholic nuns in the United States.
On Wednesday, Pope Benedict released a document criticizing LCWR for focusing too much on efforts to eliminate poverty and economic injustice. The Pope also attacked the group's failures to speak out strongly against allowing women to become priests, abortion and gay marriage.
UNITED STATES
Indie Theology
by Michele Madigan Somerville
I was not at all surprised to read about the Vatican's fresh attempt to crack down on nuns in the United States. When the class bully strikes out with the tough guys in the schoolyard, what, in his desperation, does he do? He moves on to the girls. A "Get the nuns!" strategy makes perfect sense at this point in time.
The Vatican is losing the war of public opinion in the pews. Prominent practicing Catholic politicians are refusing to budge on equal marriage rights and medical insurance coverage of contraception. The sexual abuse stories keep coming - I think they are getting uglier. In the United States, the Vatican has failed to muster adequate support in the pews for its (secular) political agenda. The Holy See's efforts to strong-arm American politicians have failed and are likely to backfire. Some of the Vatican's own bishops are refusing to campaign against equal marriage rights in their dioceses. The hierarchy itself is sharply divided. In the US, the Vatican has struck out with the president its long-shot dream of an Opus Dei in the Executive Office has gone the way of ripples on a pond.
The Vatican needs to flex its muscles. More urgent, still, is its need to push tales of Vatican corruption, child molestation and news of its colossal failure to convince Catholics to vote in accordance with the Magisterium off of what we once called "the front pages." The Vatican needs to create fresh fear.
UNITED STATES
Los Angeles Times
By Michael Muskal

April 19, 2012, 5:46 p.m.
The Vatican has ordered an overhaul of the most important group of nuns in the United States after an investigation found what Roman Catholic Church officials called "radical feminist themes" that questioned official positions on homosexuality and the ordination of women.
In a bluntly worded report, the Vatican's watchdog of orthodoxy, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, found what it called "serious doctrinal problems" with some of the comments and actions by the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, based in Silver Spring, Md. The Vatican on Wednesday named Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle to oversee changes in the group, a process that could take up to five years.
The Leadership Conference, which says it has more than 1,500 members representing more than 80% of the 57,000 women religious in the United States, stated it was "stunned" by the official assessment.
UNITED STATES
The News Tribune
Cheryl Tucker
When I read the story Thursday about how the Vatican plans to rein in its more uppity nuns, I wondered what my friend – a former priest at a Tacoma parish – thought about it. Here’s his take:
It is amusing that a group of conservative men have been appointed to change the bylaws of a group of women concerning matters that generally deal with sexual orientation.

Granted, a group of nuns may not know as much about sex as the standard adult Catholic female population, but they still probably know a hell of a lot more than the “Congregation for The Doctrine of the Faith,” probably more than the three bishops who were appointed to the panel, and could probably well instruct both groups about the direction for real Catholic social teaching.
UNITED STATES
The Daily Beast
Barbie Latza Nadeau
American nuns are pushing ‘radical-feminist themes,’ according to a damning new Vatican report. Barbie Latza Nadeau on why the U.S. sister act is too hot for the men of the Holy See.
For the past three years, Mother Mary Clare Millea has been scouring convents, on the lookout for deviant nuns. The matronly American, who has a doctorate in canon law from Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, was given this mandate as part of a Vatican-ordered investigation called Apostolic Visitation. She has had no trouble finding sisters on the edge, but the nuns’ main infractions weren’t sins of the flesh or succumbing to vices. Instead, the offending nuns were simply speaking their minds.
Based on a summary of her findings, which she submitted to Cardinal William Levada, head of the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for a final, yet-unpublished, report approved by Pope Benedict XVI, the vast majority of American nuns are pushing “radical-feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” But rather than preaching against church doctrine, the sisters are often just staying silent on the hot-button issues of abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, and the ordination of women. Their silence is interpreted as endorsement, so by not speaking out against such “evils,” the report says the sisters are effectively showing their approval.
UNITED STATES
Washington Post
By Melinda Henneberger
There were two Santa Maria! stories out of the Vatican this week. First, the bad news: The ultra-traditionalists of Marcel Lefebvre’s Society of St. Pius X are another step closer to being welcomed back into the fold — though church fathers have yet to sort out the problem of the dissident group’s Holocaust denying Bishop Richard Williamson, whose Pope Benedict XVI (Getty Images) excommunication Pope Benedict XVI lifted two years ago.

Then there was the even worse news, by my votive lights, that the Vatican is cracking down on American nuns – who as one of my fellow Catholics noted over a cup of unconsecrated wine last night, “Only do what Jesus told us to do,’’ in their hospitals, schools and orphanages, “so no wonder they’re in trouble.’’

After a lengthy investigation by the office formerly known as the Inquisition, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has been signed up to oversee a forced reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in this country.

That’s because, according to the Vatican report released Wednesday, a number of the good sisters appear to investigators to have been influenced by “radical feminism,” and to have fallen out of step with church teaching on homosexuality and women’s ordination.

Maybe timing isn’t everything, but the juxtaposition of these two announcements on the same day was perfect. If, that is, the intent was to send the message that while schisms may come and go, feminism won’t be tolerated. Or that a man who says, as Williamson did, that history is “hugely against 6 million Jews having been deliberately gassed” will be waved back in, but women accused of dissent can leave if they like.
UNITED STATES
WWNO
By editor
Transcript
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
The Vatican has clamped down on the largest group of Catholic nuns in the U.S., citing what it calls grave concerns about serious doctrinal problems. The Holy See says the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR, has promoted radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith in some programs. And it has named an archbishop to oversee the nuns and approve their work. In a statement, the LCWR says it is stunned by the Vatican's conclusions and will prepare a response.

We reached Sister Simone Campbell for her reaction. She heads NETWORK, a Catholic social Justice lobby that works with the LCWR and is named in the Vatican's report.

SISTER SIMONE CAMPBELL: Quite frankly, it's very visceral. It's like a sock in the stomach. I wish I knew what was in their brains. I don't know. But it looks like from the outside that they are not used to strong women who took the urging of Pope Pius XII very seriously. Pope Pius XII urged women religious, way before I was in the community, to be educated in theology, to get educated in advanced degrees.

So, we took it seriously and we did it. The leadership doesn't know how to deal with strong women. And so, they're way is try to shape us into whatever they think it should be, not realizing that we've been faithful to the call this whole time.
PENNSYLVANIA
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
By Rossilynne Skena, TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, April 20, 2012
A Roman Catholic nun from Western Pennsylvania was tapped to lead the group representing the majority of the nuns in the nation, just days before the Vatican slapped the organization with sanctions for promoting "certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith."

Sister Janet Mock, a Johnstown native affiliated with the Sisters of St. Joseph in Baden, was appointed executive director of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious this month, according to the Silver Spring, Md., group's director of communications, Sister Annmarie Sanders.

The Leadership Conference represents 80 percent of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in the nation.

The Vatican, which oversees the Leadership Conference, announced Wednesday a full-scale overhaul of the group, accusing it of taking positions that undermine Roman Catholic teachings on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting radical feminist themes.
UNITED STATES
The New York Times
Editorial
The Vatican is reining in the leadership conference that represents 80 percent of American Catholic nuns, accusing the group of “serious doctrinal problems” and promoting “radical feminist themes.” That seems a misreading of the very fine work in schools, charities, prisons and impoverished neighborhoods being done by about 60,000 nuns across the nation.
These nuns and their leaders continued to bolster the reputation of the Roman Catholic Church even as it suffered one of its greatest scandals in the sexual abuse of schoolchildren by rogue priests and the cover-ups by diocesan authorities.
The Vatican has now appointed a bishop to oversee the operations of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious — the 1,500 superiors who run the sisters’ communities — citing individual nuns at conference gatherings challenging church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood. The announcement also accused the group’s leaders of focusing too much on poverty and economic injustice while allegedly keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.
A crucial focus in the inquiry appears to be the fact that dozens of American nuns involved in the conference and in antipoverty and hospital work provided prominent support to President Obama’s health care reform. Conference leaders said Vatican investigators had pointedly raised the issue and the fact that the conference had split with American bishops, who opposed reform.
UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
Apr. 19, 2012
By Joshua J. McElwee
Women religious and others attend a 40th anniversary event for Network, the national Catholic social justice lobby, April 14 at Trinity University in Washington. The Vatican's doctrinal congregation has called into question the relationship between the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and Network. (CNS photo/Nancy Phelan Wiechec)
As the largest leadership organization for U.S. women religious begins to discern what steps to take following news Wednesday that the Vatican has ordered it to reform and to place itself under the authority of an archbishop, experts say the options available to the group are stark.

Ultimately, several canon lawyers told NCR, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has two choices: Either comply with the order or face ouster as a Vatican-recognized representative of sisters in the United States.

What’s more, the lawyers say, LCWR has no recourse for appeal of the decision, which the U.S. bishops' conference announced Wednesday in a press release. That release stated that, following a three-year "doctrinal assessment" by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain had been appointed to review and potentially revise the organization's policies.
UNITED STATES
CBS Chicago
NEW YORK (CBS) — The Vatican has ordered a crackdown on a group that represents most Catholic nuns in the United States, and the former Bishop of Joliet is coming in to keep the group in line.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports, the Vatican says there is serious concern about the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, a group that represents 55,000 American Catholic nuns. ...

Bishops Thomas J. Paprocki and Leonard Blair will assist Sartrain in overseeing the group, the New York Times reported. They will have up to five years to revise the group’s rules, and will approve of every speaker brought in for the group’s public programs and replace a handbook that had been used to facilitate discussions on matters that are considered doctrine and should not be challenged, the New York Times reported.

Sartrain has headed the archdiocese in Seattle since 2010. His appointment that year stirred controversy after his diocese ordained a priest who ended up being charged with sex abuse.

The priest, Alejandro Flores, pleaded guilty in September 2010 to sexually abusing a young west suburban boy over a five-year period starting in 2005, when he was a seminarian. The year before, Flores’ ordination had been delayed twice – first when he said he himself had been sexually abused in a Bolivian orphanage as a boy, and again when it was discovered that he had looked at male pornography on a church computer, the Chicago Tribune reported.
UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
Apr. 19, 2012
By Joshua J. McElwee
The largest leadership organization for U.S. women religious says it was "stunned" by announcement Wednesday that the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had ordered it to reform its statutes and had appointed an archbishop to oversee its revision.

"The presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was stunned by the conclusions of the doctrinal assessment of LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith," the group says in a press statement this morning.

"Because the leadership of LCWR has the custom of meeting annually with the staff of CDF in Rome and because the conference follows canonically-approved statutes, we were taken by surprise."

On Wednesday, the Vatican announced it had appointed Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to oversee the LCWR, which has been the subject of a "doctrinal assessment" by the Vatican congregation since 2009.

The group sent an email earlier this morning to the heads of each of the congregations it represents, explaining how the group initially became aware of the news.

That email, which was obtained by NCR, says that LCWR leadership was in Rome to meet with members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith yesterday regarding the doctrinal assessment. When the leaders came to the meeting, the email says the congregation had already communicated with the U.S. bishops' conference news of Sartain's appointment.
UNITED STATES
Commonweal
Posted by Mollie Wilson O'Reilly
The CDF’s “Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious” is, in my reading, rather short on evidence of the LCWR’s urgent need for reform. One of the few concrete examples given is a keynote address (pdf) delivered by Laurie Brink, OP, at the 2007 LCWR assembly:
The Cardinal [William Levada] offered as an example specific passages of Sr. Laurie Brink’s address about some Religious “moving beyond the Church” or even beyond Jesus. This is a challenge not only to core Catholic beliefs; such a rejection of faith is also a serious source of scandal and is incompatible with religious life. Such unacceptable positions routinely go unchallenged by the LCWR…

Was Sr. Brink rejecting core Catholic beliefs in her address? The Elizabeth Johnson affair has made me skeptical of such claims, so I decided I ought to read her talk for myself.
The subject of Sr. Brink’s address was the various ways congregations of women religious might confront their futures. After each section, there is an invitation for the sisters present to discuss the points raised among themselves, and I must say, reading it, I felt like I was eavesdropping. It wasn’t addressed to me, and their discussions should not be constrained by what outside observers might take out of context. But now that the CDF has made it a matter of general interest, I’m glad I read it. I found that the section referred to above was not at all what the CDF’s description led me to expect. I also found that the rest of the address was relevant to the CDF’s concerns in a number of suprising ways.
================

UPDATES AGUST 5, 2012



Max Rossi | Reuters
Sister Pat Farrell (right), president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), and Sister Janet Mock, the executive-director, walk in Saint Peter's Square following a meeting with Cardinal William Levada at the Vatican June 12.


Conference of American nuns will mull response to Vatican charges

In Nation
7:55 am on Fri, 08.03.12
No matter how cool the air-conditioning in the ballroom of the Millennium Hotel downtown next week, no matter how determined 900 leaders of Catholic religious sisters are to be civil with well-modulated voices, many already are hot under the collar.
Tuesday American Catholic sisters who hold leadership roles in 320 Catholic religious communities will be in St. Louis to participate in the four-day Leadership Conference of Women Religious annual summer assembly. These communities take in 80 percent of U.S. sisters.

The leadership group and many of their supporters are deeply concerned about a mandate for change issued this spring by the Vatican. It calls on the conference to reorganize and more strictly observe church teachings.

The mandate, called a doctrinal assessment, was done over the past four years at the direction of the head of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, a a former San Francisco archbishop.

The assessment charges are levied against the U.S. sisters’ leadership group – not all U.S. sisters in the rank and file. The bill of particulars includes inviting as its annual assembly’s keynoter speakers persons who have promoted "radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith," supporting ordination of women and veering away from Catholic teachings especially on homosexuality and birth control. The sins of omission given include not speaking out clearly in opposing abortion.

The document stresses that bishops are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals. The Vatican assessment also praised the good and important work that generations of Catholic sisters and nuns have accomplished. The leadership umbrella organization was founded at Vatican request in 1956; and as a Vatican-founded and approved organization is directly under the Vatican. 

In an NPR interview last week, LCWR President Sister Pat Farrell said that, in the two decades-plus since Pope John Paul II banned Catholic leaders from public discussion of ordaining women, the LCWR has never taken a stand on the issue nor had it been on the assemblies’ agendas. She also said every congregation of sisters had someone working on right to life issues.

Some St. Louis sisters said they were dumbfounded by the right-to-life accusation since many sisters provide homes for pregnant women, educate them, represent them as lawyers, care for their older children, help those with troubled pregnancies by staffing Birthright offices and lead students on the annual Right to Life March on Washington in January.

Those with long memories know that in 1979 the then LCWR president Sister Teresa Kane addressed Pope John Paul on a U.S. visit and asked about women entering more church ministries including the priesthood. Her question was just one of many worldwide that led the pope to silence church officials on the idea of women priests, saying the Roman Catholic Church could never allow it.

Prayer and reflection

 

What will the sisters do next week and after that? At a Thursday news conference, Farrell said she does not know.

All living former presidents of the organization have been invited to attend a two-hour session and to be available to the members over the four days.

“I feel it is very import for us to gather wisdom from the past,” Farrell said.   

The agenda calls for prayer and reflection. Leaders are to give updates on the meeting Farrell and the group’s executive director had in June with leaders of the Congregation of the Faith at the Vatican. Then the floor will be open to the assembled 900 sisters as Sister Mary Jo Nelson, a Victory Knoll sister and Sister Katherine Gray, a Sister of St. Joseph serve as facilitators to keep an orderly dialogue.

There will be “time to listen to one another,” Farrell said.
“We know that members will bring discernment about what they have been praying about, what they heard from other leaders.” Most have had listening sessions with their rank and file members across the country. And many have talked with the bishops of their own dioceses.

Most of the “discernment sessions” on how to react to the Vatican assessment will be in closed sessions Wednesday and Thursday late afternoons and evenings.
The leadership group has no tradition of taking a “person by person” vote, Farrell said. Instead the board will listen for consensus and come up with a statement about its next move. Or they may not decide on the next move by Friday, Farrell said.

If they do agree on a statement about the LCWR’s next step, they will first tell it to the committee of three bishops who did the assessment. Farrell called it a courtesy to tell them first.

Cardinal Levada assigned Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to study to see whether the nuns’ leadership group was acting in accordance with church teachings. He will be assisted by Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., and Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, who did much of the original assessment

Blair said he hopes there would be “revitalization of women religious life in this country” so they could continue to do what he called “tremendous work,” in an interview with Terry Gross on NPR.  “If anything, part of our concern is precisely for their diminished numbers and their aging population."

Other issues

Since this spring, all participants have been asked not to discuss possible next steps publicly. That black-out continues until Friday. 

 


At Thursday’s news conference, Farrell said leaders of sisters across the country told her they were determined that their annual assemblies do business as usual. Much of the regular work of the annual gathering will continue, which includes following their tradition of making a strong action statement on human rights. This session it will be for all members to help educate the public about how to be alert to, and stop, human trafficking, which they call modern slavery.
For several years, the Federation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet has worked on that cutting-edge issue and was among those advocating LCWR take a stand on the issue. 

Helen Hitchcock, of St. Louis editor of the Catholic periodical “Women for Faith and Family” and “Adoremus,” said none of this surprised her. She said she’s been looking at the group for 40 years. She said many Catholic sisters she has interviewed say they are distressed that those in the ranks who disagree with the LCWR’s more radical agendas have no say and that many people think the group represents the rank and file.

 “There is a lack of strong support for many of the church’s teachings like right to life, against abortion,” Hitchcock said about the LCWR. Some of the rank and file sisters belong a more conservative network that is not restricted to leaders called the Institute on Religious Life, which includes both men and women.

Members of the LCWR are only drawn from the current leaders of their communities. Some of the participants only took office as heads of their orders this summer and have never attended a LCWR meeting. Those who elected them are vowed Catholic religious women who serve in varied posts: hospital CEOs; doctors who lead clinics for the poor; hospice workers; university chancellors and presidents; lawyers, both canon (church) law and civil; professors with doctorates in theology, liturgy, church history; school principals; scientists; environmental leaders; social workers, and community organizers who work daily with the poor, elderly, immigrants and others on society’s margins.

=========

More than 30 vigils planned nationwide in support of LCWR

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter
by Alice Popovici on Aug. 02, 2012 Sisters Under Scrutiny
Vigils in support of Catholic sisters are planned in more than 30 cities as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious prepares for its annual meeting in St. Louis, Mo. Individual locations are listed here.

Here's a statement about the vigils, released today by the Nun Justice Project, a group of organizations that support the LCWR:
Nuns gather to prepare response to Vatican; Catholics across country prepare “Sister City” vigils in support

Washington, DC – While the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) is meeting August 7-11 in St. Louis, MO to discern a response to the Vatican mandate, Catholics will be holding “Sister City” vigils across the country to demonstrate their support with the sisters.

http://nunjustice.tumblr.com/vigil

Vigil Locations
Ames, Iowa
Wednesday, August 8, 4:15pm
Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas Church and Catholic Student Center
2210 Lincoln Way
Contact: Bernard White bjwhite@iastate.edu
Anchorage, Alaska         
August 7, 2012, 6pm
Holy Family Cathedral
800 W. 5th Ave (corner of 5th and H Street)
Contact: Blanche Crandall akcran@yahoo.com 907.222.4844
Austin, Texas
August 4, 2012, 5:15-6:30pm
St. Mary Cathedral
203 E. 10th St.
Austin, TX 78701-2406
Contact: Tom Egan, tom4peace@austin.rr.com
Bardstown, Kentucky
Tuesday August 7, 2012 5 - 6 pm
Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral
110 N. Fifth St. (Corner of North 5th St and West Stephen Foster)
Bardstown, KY 40004
Contact: Jo Ann Paulin scna2010@aol.com
Boston, MA
August 7, 2012 5:30pm
Paulist Center Boston
5 Park Street
Contact: Carol Filip carolfilip@gmail.com
Chicago, Illinois
August 7, 2012, 7pm
Holy Name Cathedral
720 N State Street
Contact: Bob Heineman, heinemanCTA@cta-usa.org 847.682.1056
Cleveland, Ohio
August 7, 7:00pm (Women of Spirit Video will be played after the vigil service)
Blessed Trinity Church 
W. 140th and Puritas
Cleveland OH
Contact: Liz England, 216.228.0869 X 3 or liz@futurechurch.org
Charlotte, NC
August 7, 2012 7:30-8:30pm
St. Luke Catholic Church
13700 Lawyers Road
Mint Hill, NC
Contact: Cindy Platko, cindyplatko@yahoo.com or 704-246-7123
Cincinnati, Ohio
August 7, 2012, 4:45 pm
Cathedral of St Peter in Chains,
Eighth and Plum Sts
Cincinnati OH 45202
Contact: Roxanne Hemmelgarn,  (C) 937.470.4901, (H) 937.435.8770, roxanne204@netzero.net
Columbus, Ohio
August 7, 2012, 6:30-7pm
St. Joseph Cathedral
212 East Broad St.
Columbus, Ohio
Contact: Sharon Izzi, izzi2sharon@hotmail.com 614.761.1556
Dallas, Texas
August 7, 2012, 6pm
Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe
2215 Ross Avenue
Contact Mary Jane Stevenson, 972.247.3466 jstevens53ok@yahoo.com
Ft. Myers, Florida
August 7, 2012, 11am
St. Francis Xavier Church (meet in front)
2055 Cleveland Ave
Contact: Ellen McNally, 239.390.0880 ejmcnally@commcast.net
Hebron, CT
August 7, 2012 6:30pm
Church of the Holy Family
185 Church Street
Contact: Dottie Moon, mgm0526@sbcglobal.net, 860.228.5258
Indianapolis, IN
August 7, 2012 5:30pm
SS Peter and Paul Cathedral
14th and Meridian Sts
Contact: Val Fillenwarth, vfil@sbcglobal.net
Kansas City, MO
August 7, 2012 6:30pm
12th and Broadway
Contact:Janelle Lazzo lazzoj@aol.com
Louisville, Kentucky
Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 5 - 6 pm
St. Raphael, Louisville 
2900 Bardstown Rd.
Louisville, KY 40205
Contact: Helen Deines, helendeines@insightbb.com 502.468.0816
Louisville, Kentucky
August 7, 2012 5-6pm
Contact: Helen Deines, helendeines@insightbb.com 502-468-0816
Cathedral of the Assumption 
433 S. Fifth St.
Louisville, KY 40202
Midland Park, NJ
August 7, 2012, 7pm
The Church of the Nativity
315 Prospect Street
Contact: Lynn Atkinson, atkinlynn@aol.com
Muskegon, Michigan
August 7. 2012, 5-6pm
Hackley Park
316 W. Webster Ave.
Contact: Fred Dabrowski 231.744.1926. 443.716.8720, al.dabrowski@gmail.com
New York, New York
August 5, 2012 7:30-8:30pm
John’s in the Village Church 
218 W 11th Street (Waverly & W 11th Sts.)
Contact: info@dignityny.org
Oakland, CA
August 7, 2012 6pm
Cathedral of Christ the Light
2121 Harrison Street
Contact: Gwen Watson animo3@pacbell.net
Omaha, NE
August 4, 2012, 9-11am (liturgy 11-noon)
Marian High School
74th and Military Avenue
Contact: Patty Hawk, phawk@nebrweslelan.edu
Pittsburgh, PA
August 7, 2012 5pm
St. Paul’s Cathedral
108 North Dithridge Street
Contact: Cathy Raffaele, cdraffaele@yahoo.com
Portland, ME
August 7, 2012, 6-7pm
Congress Square Park (Next to the Eastland Hotel)
Contact: Spirit Support, portlandprayervigil@gmail.com
Rochester, MN
August 9, 2012 6:30pm
Lourdes Chapel, Assisi Heights
1001 14th Street NW
Contact: Lynn Streefland 507-282-7441 lynn.streefland@myclearwave.net
San Diego, CA
August 7, 2012, 5:00pm
Saint Joseph Cathedral
1535 3rd Avenue
San Diego, CA
Contact: Marilyn Lilly marilynlilly@cox.net
San Francisco, CA
August 7, 2012 5-6pm
Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption
Geary and Gough
Contact: Susan Fox susanfox@ix.netcom.com
San Juan, Texas
August 7, 2012, 6:30pm
Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan Basilica
Contact: David Jackson davidjj_98@yahoo.com
Seattle, WA
August 12, 2012 12:30pm
Louisa Boren Lookout to St. James Cathedral
Contact and more information: www.istandwiththesisters.org
St. Francis, WI
Monday, August 6, 2012, 6pm
Marian Center for Nonprofits
3211 S Lake Drive
Contact: Mary Rose Accetturo, 414-530-0916
St. Louis, MO
Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 5:30-7pm
Cathedral Basilica
4431 Lindell Boulevard  
Thursday, August 9, 2012, 7-8:30pm
209 Walnut Street (near the arch at the Old Cathedral)
Contact: CAN@CatholicActionNetwork.org
Tempe, AZ
Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 7pm
Guardian Angels Catholic Community at Community Christian Church
1701 S College Ave
Tempe AZ 85281
Contact Pastor Sue Ringler; pastorsue@cox.net; 480.967.7729
Toledo, Ohio
August 7, 2012, 7-8 pm
Rosary Cathedral
2535 Collingwood Blvd. 
Toledo, OH 4361
Contact: Bev Bingle, 419.360.1217, urbanhermit@catholicweb.com
Washington, DC
August 7, 2012, 6-7pm
St. Matthew’s Cathedral
1725 Rhode Island Avenue NW  
Washington, DC 20036
Contact: Margaret Johnson, margaret.ann.johnson@hotmail.com or Jeannette Mulherin oneirishjem@aol.com 571-216-0459
_____
Throughout the month of May and June, vigils in support of U.S. Sisters were held across the country in over 50 cities (see below!). These prayerful actions gave the sisters the support they needed to issue a powerful, courageous statement on Friday, June 1 at the conclusion of their meeting in Washington, DC.
The statement from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) said the Vatican’s assessment of their work was “based on unsubstantiated accusations” and “lacked transparency.” The sisters called on the Vatican for the process to move forward in an “atmosphere of openness, honesty and integrity.”  Before closing, the sisters’ statement thanked Catholics for their support and the “dozens of prayer vigils held in numerous parts of the country.”
THANK YOU:
Albany, NY * Anchorage, AK * Atlanta, GA * Austin, TX * Baltimore, MD * Bardstown, KY * Belleville, IL * Binghamton, NY * Bloomington, IN *Boston, MA * Claremont, CA * Cincinnati, OH *Chicago, IL * Cleveland, OH * Clovis, CA * Columbus, OH * Dallas, TX * Dublin, Ireland * Hebron, CT * Indianapolis, IN * Kalamazoo, MI * Lady Lake, FL * Lansing, MI * Little Falls, MN * Louisville, KY * Los Angeles, CA * Los Angeles, CA * Mt. Prospect, IL * Midland, Texas * New Orleans, LA * New York, NY * Oakland, CA * Omaha, Nebraska * Philadelphia, PA * Pittsburgh, PA * Pittsford, NY * Portland, OR * Providence, RI * Raleigh, NC * Rockford, IL * Roseville, MI * Sacramento, CA * St. Cloud, MN * San Diego, CA *San Francisco, CA * San Juan, TX * Santa Rosa, CA *Seattle, WA * Sedona, AZ * St. Louis, MO * Stockton, CA * Syracuse, NY * Tempe, AZ *Topeka, KS * Toledo, OH * Washington, DC * Waterloo, IA * Williamsville, NY

Updates August 9, 2012

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Catholic Culture
CWN - August 06, 2012
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, who has been charged by the Vatican with responsibility for supervising a reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), has been told by the group’s leaders that his presence “would not be helpful” at the LCWR’s annual assembly this week.
As the LCWR prepared for the annual meeting, at which members will discuss the Vatican’s demand for reform, the group’s president, Sister Patricia Farrell, told reporters that the group would continue to question Church teachings. She expressed concern that in the Vatican’s eyes, “that questioning is seen as defiance.”
“I would also say that there are very few doctrines in the Church that are not discussable, that are absolutely infallible,” the LCWR president said. She voiced her conviction that the women religious of the LCWR would “continue raising and responding to questions, according to our own consciences and according to new information and questions that arise in our day.”

83% - Most U.S. Catholics say they are satisfied with the leadership provided by U.S. nuns and sisters.

UNITED STATES
Pew Research Center

Roughly eight-in-ten Catholics say they are very or somewhat satisfied with the leadership provided by Catholic nuns and sisters in the U.S. (83%), and 82% express satisfaction with the leadership provided by their parish priests.
Nearly three-quarters of Catholics (74%) say they are satisfied with the leadership provided by their bishop, and 83% the same percentage expresses satisfaction with the pope's leadership. Seven-in-ten Catholics say they are very (24%) or somewhat satisfied (46%) with the leadership of the American bishops in general.
The percentage of Catholics who say they are satisfied with the leadership of American bishops is significantly higher than it was a decade ago, at the height of the church's child sex abuse scandal (70% today, 51% in 2002).

Catholic Nuns Weigh Vatican Order

ST. LOUIS (MO)
The Wall Street Journal

By BEN KESLING
Leaders of Catholic nuns and sisters in the U.S. are gathering this week for their first major meeting since the Vatican ordered the women to abandon controversial positions and closely hew to official teachings.

During the weeklong event in St. Louis, which starts Tuesday and is estimated to draw 900 participants, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is expected to solidify its response to church authorities. Any policy changes will be announced Friday, a conference representative said.

The group represents 80% of American nuns and sisters. Nuns are cloistered, while sisters typically serve in the fields of education, health care and service to the needy.

In April, the Vatican issued its report on the group following a four-year doctrinal review by Catholic bishops. The scrutiny was prompted by concerns that the group, which comprises the senior leadership of some 56,000 nuns and sisters in the U.S., had widespread policies of dissent against church authorities, and espoused "radical feminism," according to the Vatican report.


Catholic Nuns Weigh Vatican Order

ST. LOUIS (MO)
The Wall Street Journal

By BEN KESLING
Leaders of Catholic nuns and sisters in the U.S. are gathering this week for their first major meeting since the Vatican ordered the women to abandon controversial positions and closely hew to official teachings.

During the weeklong event in St. Louis, which starts Tuesday and is estimated to draw 900 participants, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is expected to solidify its response to church authorities. Any policy changes will be announced Friday, a conference representative said.

The group represents 80% of American nuns and sisters. Nuns are cloistered, while sisters typically serve in the fields of education, health care and service to the needy.

In April, the Vatican issued its report on the group following a four-year doctrinal review by Catholic bishops. The scrutiny was prompted by concerns that the group, which comprises the senior leadership of some 56,000 nuns and sisters in the U.S., had widespread policies of dissent against church authorities, and espoused "radical feminism," according to the Vatican report.

LCWR 'gathers collective wisdom' of members to discern next steps

ST. LOUIS (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Aug. 08, 2012
By Joshua J. McElwee

ST. LOUIS -- The much-anticipated gathering of 900 U.S. Catholic sisters who make up the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) opened here Tuesday night with song, prayer, and references big, small, and in-between to the Vatican’s attempted take-over of the group.

References to the Vatican’s critique of the group, which came in an April 18 announcement from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, came early in the two-hour event, with LCWR president Franciscan Sr. Pat Farrell telling the assembled that “we don’t have to remind you that our gathering this week is an historic time in the life of this organization.”

The opening of the annual assembly of LCWR, which represents some 80 percent of U.S. women religious, also included a welcome by St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson and details about how the group’s members would discern steps forward during the gathering, which continues through Friday night. ...

During an address Tuesday night, Farrell outlined the process by which the group’s members would discuss the Vatican’s mandate in their gathering, saying they want to “gather the collective wisdom of this group to make a response that we hope can be for the good of the church, for the good of LCWR, for the good of religious life throughout the world, and ultimately for the good of the human family.”

Starting Wednesday, LCWR is to host a number of closed door “executive sessions” where members are to discuss the Vatican mandate.

Those meetings, said Farrell, will involve a process “that will be sort of like a seamless garment of discernment.”

The Second Vatican Council has already made us free

UNITED STATES
National Catholic Reporter

By Robert Blair Kaiser
COMMENTARY

Over the weekend, an editor on the Internet observed that many events this year commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council "seem to be wakes, lamenting and grieving over the lost opportunity."

Rather than wring our hands over what the church has become under back-to-back popes who have acted in an arrogant and authoritarian manner, we should celebrate what Vatican II has already done for us.

It has given us a new view of ourselves. It's made us more free, more human and more at the service of a world that Jesus loved.

It has given us a new view of the church. It's our church, not the pope's church, or the bishops' church, or a priest's church.

It has given us a new view of our place in it. We can think, we can speak, we can act as followers of Jesus in a world that needs us.

Rather than whine over what daddy won't let us do, we can put the Council into play ourselves.

American nuns showed us how.
In 1979, Mercy Sr. Theresa Kane, then the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, told Pope John Paul II the church ought to be ordaining women. Doing that, she implied, the church could break the stained-glass ceiling and give first-class citizenship to half of its membership, the women in the church.

LCWR past presidents reflect on Vatican mandate

ST. LOUIS (MO)
National Catholic Reporter

Aug. 07, 2012
By Joshua J. McElwee

ST. LOUIS -- As representatives of Catholic sisters from across the country gathered here Tuesday for a meeting expected to formulate a formal response to harsh critique from the Vatican, current and past presidents of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious met in closed session to share experiences and lay a foundation for that response.

The meeting, which was attended by about 20 women and lasted just over two hours, was full of great energy and feelings of solidarity, several of the women who attended the session told NCR. But they also expressed feelings of uncertainty because of questions left unanswered.

The overall opinion of the group was that the LCWR could not unconditionally accept the Vatican’s mandate that the leadership conference reform its statutes and structures but neither did the group want to walk away from the canonical structure of the LCWR.

The leaders hope to find a middle path, NCR was told, but that they also want to give the Vatican a firm expression of how they understand themselves as religious, suggesting that the sisters do not “necessarily” need to be part of formal church structures.

U.S. nuns meet...

UNITED STATES
Washington Post

U.S. nuns meet to discuss Vatican criticism, their affiliation with Rome
By Michelle Boorstein
It seems hard to imagine, but it’s possible this week that American nuns could take a huge — if symbolic — step away from the Vatican.

Many, many Catholic eyes are on St. Louis as the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, by far the largest representative body of U.S. nuns, has their annual meeting. On the agenda for the Silver Spring, Md.-based organization: Whether the group should remain an official arm of Rome, or become independent.

This is their first meeting since April, when the Vatican’s doctrine-guarding arm issued a report saying the Conference isn’t focusing enough on abortion and traditional marriage and is dabbling dangerously in “radical feminist” ideas such as whether women could be priests. The report said the group needs to be “reformed” and is calling for essentially a takeover and monitoring of the Conference, whose members represent about 80 percent of the country’s sisters.

American nuns reflect on the future, without forgetting Rome

UNITED STATES
Vatican Insider

It’s the moment of truth for the American nuns who have been put by the Vatican under external administration, as they gather for their yearly assembly in St. Louis from the 7th to the 11th of August
Maria Teresa Pontara Pederiva
Rome

After the executive Council sent the accusations back to the sender, after a long period of silence when it was just the lay people who chose to take action with public demonstrations, after influential testimonies and shows of support by male clerics and after a radio sparring match between president Pat Farrel and bishop Blair, a member of the commission sent by Rome, tomorrow 7th of August the nuns will gather at their yearly assembly in St. Louis, Missouri.

The traditional August week-long gathering of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which includes 80% of American sisters, mostly over 70) will centre around the subject “Mystery Unfolding: Leading in the Evolutionary Now”. The keynote speaker will be Barbara Marx Hubbard, a lay woman born in 1929, who studied at L'Ecole des Sciences Politiques at La Sorbonne in Paris and who is a prolific futurist author.

This gathering, says the website, provides members with opportunities for education, reflection on issues pertinent to religious life leadership, networking, prayer and celebration. The assembly also provides time for the members to vote for officers and on resolutions.

Many read between the lines a reference to the “Vatican issue”, which sister Farrel recently reiterated to journalists should not be considered a “challenge”.

Vatican attacks American nuns: A compilation.

UNITED STATES
Pope Crimes & Vatican Evils...

Updated August 5, 2012
Paris Arrow
The Vatican after proving for over half a century that it has no morals when it comes to protecting its most vulnerable members, the hundreds of thousands of long-suffering children who were sodomized by the JP2 Army-John Paul II Pedophile priests Army, the Vatican is now reinforcing its last voice as a totalitarian regime by attacking its next vulnerable victims, the American nuns or women. So now they want two or three Bishops to control these nuns with out-of-touch-with-reality policies and autocratic agendas written from their Bishops Palaces as they twiddle with their misogynist fingers while these American nuns live amidst the poor brethren of Christ. The Vatican echelon is out-of-touch with the people like the last Tsars of Russia and the aristocracy in the last days before the French Revolution.

SNAP will try to hand deliver letter to head of nuns’ group

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests

Posted by David Clohessy on August 07, 2012
■SNAP will try to hand deliver letter to head of nuns’ group
■They want names of predatory Catholic sisters posted on line
■And victims urge nuns – “Don’t investigate crimes internally"
■An independent source cites at least 77 sexually abusive women religious

WHAT:
Holding signs and childhood pictures, outside a hotel where Catholic nuns are meeting, clergy sex abuse victims will hold a news conference, urging the sisters to post, on their websites,

-- notices urging victims and witnesses to report child sex crimes to police, not church officials, and
--the names, photos and whereabouts of proven, admitted and credibly accused child molesting nuns on church websites.
They will also prod nuns to
--stop requiring gag orders when civil lawsuits against abusive nuns are settled, and
--actively reach out to victims of nun abuse

They will try to hand deliver a letter to the head of the nuns’ organization expressing frustration over the unwillingness of Catholic sisters to take proactive steps to address nuns’ sex crimes, heal the wounded and protect the vulnerable.
WHEN:
Tuesday, August 7,----1:00 p.m.

WHERE:
Outside the Millennium Hotel, 200 S. Fourth (between Clark & Walnut) in downtown St. Louis.

Another Disconnect: Nuns, Sex Abuse, and Vatican Investigations

UNITED STATES
The Worthy Adversary

Posted by Joelle Casteix on August 7, 2012
I am guilty of instantly running to the defense of American nuns after the Vatican announced that women religious in the United States had ”a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.” Like most people, I remembered American nuns working with the most dejected among us – helping the poor, the sick, the homeless, and the fringes of society … and my junior AP English teacher Sr. Lorraine, who was in way over her head.

But I had forgotten something: The leadership of American nuns in the United States is also no stranger to child sex abuse and cover up.

Since 2004, SNAP has been trying to get the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW) to make some kind of statement on behalf of children who were sexually abused by nuns. There are a number of SNAP members and leaders who were sexually abused by women religious, and many of them feel like their plight is ignored. Eight years later, SNAP has received no response. Victims have been simply shut out of the conversation.

This week, the LCRW is meeting in St. Louis where they will figure out how they will respond to the Vatican report.

Outside of the meeting, members of SNAP and victims of sex abuse by nuns will be holding a press conference, asking that the bishops “appointed to ‘supervise the overhaul’ of their organization” carefully evaluate the cover-up of sexual abuse by nuns and secret settlements with victims.


Updates August 12, 2012

National Nuns’ Group Dodges Showdown With Vatican

ST. LOUIS (MO)
The New York Times
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

Published: August 10, 2012
ST. LOUIS — The leaders of the nation’s largest group of nuns sidestepped a confrontation with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, announcing Friday that they would “dialogue” with the archbishop appointed by the Vatican to take over their group, but not “compromise the integrity” of their mission.
Sister Pat Farrell, the departing president of the nuns’ group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said at a news conference that the members of her organization wanted to be “recognized as equal in the church,” to have their style of religious life “respected and affirmed,” and to help create a climate in which everyone in the church can talk about “issues that are very complicated.”
“Their expectation is that open and honest dialogue may lead not only to increasing understanding between the church leadership and women religious,” the nuns said in a statement, “but also to creating more possibilities for the laity, and particularly for women, to have a voice in the church.”
Some Vatican officials have already indicated exasperation with the nuns’ insistence on perpetual dialogue. They say that church doctrine is not open for dialogue. Cardinal William J. Levada, an American who until June was in charge of the church’s doctrinal office, called the nuns’ approach a “dialogue of the deaf.”

Leadership Conference of Women Religious: No Retreat, No Surrender


Post by Anthea Butler

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) has offered a response to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s April 18th scathing critique of the organization. In response to the CDF’s censure, the LCWR says it will continue discussion but "will reconsider if forced to compromise the integrity of [their] mission."

During the meeting this week in St Louis, the nuns experienced a tremendous outpouring of support from lay Catholics, who stood with signs outside the meeting in St Louis showing their support. Franciscan Sr. Pat Farell instructed the sisters to be “fearless” in their response to the Vatican, and the end of her speech as she stepped down from her office was a phrase she learned in Chile during the Military dictatorship. "They can crush a few flowers, but they cannot hold back the springtime."

It is probably going to take a spring storm of sustained measure to stop the CDF and the Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle appointed to oversee the CDF mandate to carry out reforms in the LCWR. New President Franciscan Sr. Florence Deacon will lead the LCWR during this time. She will have to forge a path to keep the organization intact, while dealing with clerics who would rather watch and censure than engage in dialogue.

As a Church Historian, I applaud this move. Anyone with an eye towards church history knows that sometimes groups can talk forever to the Vatican and hold them at bay, as long as no one is frog marched into a courtroom or prison.
Long winded dialogue is what the Vatican does best. If the Sisters can keep the male clerics talking, chances are they may be so caught up in their desire to make perfect doctrine that the Sisters of the LCWR can continue their good work.

*As of this writing on Friday afternoon, a complete statement has not been released, but as soon as it is, I will update this post!

 

 

U.S. nuns seek ‘open dialogue’ with Rome over disputes

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Washington Post
By Michelle Boorstein, Published: August 10
American nuns on Friday backed away from a direct confrontation with the Vatican, saying they want a respectful “open dialogue” with Rome about disputes over gender, human sexuality and authority.
The decision by the Silver Spring-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which represents 80 percent of American nuns, came at the end of an intense annual conference in St. Louis this week, where about 900 women met to decide how to respond to an April report by the Vatican saying the group had strayed dangerously far from orthodoxy and the pope and needs to be “reformed.”
The women considered generally accepting the report, rejecting it and becoming an independent Catholic organization (rather than an actual office of Rome), or finding some middle ground.
In a statement Friday, the women said that members want to pursue dialogue with the three-bishop team appointed by the Vatican to approve their conference speakers, literature and training programs.
The women’s expectation is that “open and honest dialogue may lead not only to increasing understanding between the church leadership and women religious, but also to creating more possibilities for the laity and, particularly for women, to have a voice in the church.”
Conference leaders “will proceed with these discussions as long as possible, but will reconsider if LCWR is forced to compromise the integrity of its mission,” the statement read.
Different reactions to the nuns’ decision showed the fragile and divided state of American Catholics over everything from gender roles and the purpose of sex to what it means to submit to authority.
Some experts said the women’s announcement that they wouldn’t simply comply may be viewed as defiance. Others said their decision not to disaffiliate their group from Rome mirrored the frustrations of liberal Catholics who stay close to the church because they think they can sway a Vatican laser-focused on enforcing orthodoxy.
“Both sides in the standoff speak of ‘dialogue,’ but they seem to mean different things,” said R. Scott Appleby, a historian at Notre Dame. Leading bishops “understand dialogue as a conversation about how best to implement the pope’s vision of religious life and witness. The sisters mean an open-ended give-and-take that is more of a mutual discernment of where the Spirit is leading the Church at a given moment in history.”
While the women were never discussing leaving Catholicism, the concept that sisters — the very icons of Catholic dutifuless — could consider taking an official step away from Rome was extraordinary.
Historians said the standoff was the most far-reaching in American Catholicism. There have been conflicts between Rome and individual orders or theologians, but the Leadership Conference represents the vast majority of the country’s 56,000 sisters.
“They’re saying it’s only about doctrine. But for us, the dialogue is about reflecting on our lives out of Gospel. Theology in our view is about exploration and discovery. They think that’s wrong. It’s like cutting the heart out of who we are,” said Sister Simone Campbell, a lawyer and lobbyist in Washington who this summer led nuns on a well-publicized tour called “Nuns on the Bus,” meant to respond to the Vatican report with more visibility.
Asked if the differences were more about free debate or if even hot-button issues such as contraception were on the table, Campbell said: “Absolutely. Theologies have evolved over two millennia. When Jesus died and rose, it wasn’t all settled.”

But leading bishops said nuns have no right to question official teachings of the pope.

“How in the world can these consecrated religious who have professed to follow Christ more closely ... be opposed to what the Vicar of Christ is asking? This is a contradiction,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, leader of the Vatican’s Supreme Court, told Catholic TV station EWTN. “If it can’t be reformed, then it doesn’t have a right to continue.”

Some were celebrating a standoff avoided — for now.
“LCWR agrees to dialog with [the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] reps. Step one accomplished. When both sides listen there is progress,” tweeted Sister Mary Ann Walsh, spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The number of nuns — and priests — is shrinking in the United States, but they retain enormous clout in the developing world, where the majority of Catholics now live.

The stakes were reflected in the emotions on display at the conference. Asked why she and others were crying during an opening prayer Thursday, Sister Mary Waskowiak said at a news conference that she was moved by the questions of the week: “What does it mean to surrender? What is truly being asked of me, truly being asked of us?”

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