Vatican crackdown on U.S. Catholic nuns has been a long time brewing

By Reuters Staff
April 21, 2012

(Catholic nuns wave as busloads of clergy arrive to welcome Pope Benedict XVI at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, April 16, 2008. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst )

When Pope John Paul II arrived in the United States in 1979, the president of the nation’s most powerful organization of nuns met him with a challenge. In a bold welcoming address, Sister Theresa Kane called on the pope to include women “in all ministries of our church,” including the priesthood. The pope sat silent, his expression stony.

That moment did not change Vatican policy. But it unveiled growing tensions between the Vatican and American nuns. The conflict would continue to mount for the next three decades, until this week the Vatican finally moved to reassert control over the aging but still ferociously independent conference of Catholic sisters.

In a stinging “doctrinal assessment,” the Vatican accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious – an umbrella group representing most American nuns – of numerous grave breaches of doctrine and decorum.

The report, four years in the making, found that the nuns promoted political views at odds with those expressed by U.S. Roman Catholic bishops, “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” The Vatican chastised the nuns for airing discussions about the ordination of women, the church patriarchy and ministry to gay people.

The Vatican also rebuked the nuns for spending too much time “promoting issues of social justice” while failing to speak out often enough about “issues of crucial importance to the life of the church and society,” such as abortion and gay marriage.

Officials of the nuns’ leadership conference said they were “stunned” by the crackdown. But Catholics who have studied the growing rift between the church hierarchy and American nuns said it was a long time coming.

Read the full story by Stephanie Simon here.
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. See also Catholic nuns group “stunned” by Vatican slap

8 comments

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“Stunned”? Seriously? How can they thumb their nose at the official teaching of the Church and then be stunned by a reprimand? Do they think this is a Democracy where popular opinion determines what Truth shall be? If so, sure, then abortion would be fine. But all good Catholics (and good Catholic nuns) know better.

For those who know Catholic prophecy “…smoke will enter the Church…” and the events of Medjugorje, be aware that the fireworks are about to begin….

Posted by Chauffeur | Report as abusive

I’m not “stunned”, and I don’t have a dog in this fight.

Posted by HennPaul | Report as abusive

The nuns are welcome to join the Anglican Church. There, with the discernment of the Church community, they may seek to be priests and bishops… and they are valued for their service to God, and for their insights as people, especially women. I left the Roman Church because of the lack of value and lack of a place for women, other than that of – as nuns – hiding behind high walls, or being teachers or nurses.
As an Anglican, I am happy to see women fully incorporated into the Body of Christ — and fully valued as persons who are capable of doing everything men can do. “Glory to God, whose power working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.”

Posted by FrJohn | Report as abusive

The nuns have nothing to worry about. They should just carry on their good work and ignore the Taliban in the Vatican. By the end of this year, the Christ will have returned to the world openly. When he does, he will straighten out these Vatican bishops who think they are the boss and that they are authorized to speak for God. See http://www.christmaitreya.org for more info.

Posted by injuntrouble | Report as abusive

The choice of picture at the top of the page is a joke. The real power behind the Social Justice Sista’s would never be caught dead in a habit. A butch haircut and pantsuit is the fashion of the day. The Leftists that run this Organ like to hide behind the habit, with the press willing to play along with the game. Chauffeur is correct… they wackos have finally pushed the church into a corner…When Benedict passes….the full court press will be on.

Posted by Farkel4 | Report as abusive

To be able to directly confront life challenges does not mean one should do such when it is someone else’s responsibility and office. Unfortunately, American Christian/Catholic women have allowed themselves to be seduced into thinking they can be like secular “Amazon” women. While the men of the church need to be again sensitized to their spiritual and natural duties visvia the great Lady the Church, women need to reimagine God’s balanced order where there is a divison of labor, responsibility and accountability. Look to the office of Prophet and leave Priest as Yahweh intended, male. Besides the named Miriam, Debroah, Mary etc.; the church should research Geramiah and Elisha more in depth for others.

Posted by glovergirl | Report as abusive

What Now? shall the church cut off its nose to spite its face? Oh Pope Benedict, for what do you fight? where is the battle? Open your heart. First you ignore pedophile priests? and now you turn your back on the only women who seek to make the church manifest in the world? Listen, with your heart.

Posted by Phoenix12 | Report as abusive