Vatican Reprimands a Group of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes

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Registered: 03-18-2000
Vatican Reprimands a Group of U.S. Nuns and Plans Changes
9
Thu, 04-19-2012 - 9:13am

'Shame' on these sisters for focusing too much on poverty & social injustice. 'Only men know what's best for women'.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/19/us/vatican-reprimands-us-nuns-group.html?_r=1&ref=us

The Vatican has appointed an American bishop to rein in the largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns in the United States, saying that an investigation found that the group had “serious doctrinal problems.”

The Vatican’s assessment, issued on Wednesday, said that members of the group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had challenged church teaching on homosexuality and the male-only priesthood, and promoted “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

The sisters were also reprimanded for making public statements that “disagree with or challenge the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.” During the debate over the health care overhaul in 2010, American bishops came out in opposition to the health plan, but dozens of sisters, many of whom belong to the Leadership Conference, signed a statement supporting it — support that provided crucial cover for the Obama administration in the battle over health care.

The conference is an umbrella organization of women’s religious communities, and claims 1,500 members who represent 80 percent of the Catholic sisters in the United States. It was formed in 1956 at the Vatican’s request, and answers to the Vatican, said Sister Annmarie Sanders, the group’s communications director.

Word of the Vatican’s action took the group completely by surprise, Sister Sanders said. She said that the group’s leaders were in Rome on Wednesday for what they thought was a routine annual visit to the Vatican when they were informed of the outcome of the investigation, which began in 2008.

“I’m stunned,” said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby founded by sisters. Her group was also cited in the Vatican document, along with the Leadership Conference, for focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping “silent” on abortion and same-sex marriage.

“I would imagine that it was our health care letter that made them mad,” Sister Campbell said. “We haven’t violated any teaching, we have just been raising questions and interpreting politics.”

The verdict on the nuns group was issued by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is now led by an American, Cardinal William Levada, formerly the archbishop of San Francisco. He appointed Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle to lead the process of reforming the sisters’ conference, with assistance from Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki and Bishop Leonard Blair, who was in charge of the investigation of the group.

They have been given up to five years to revise the group’s statutes, approve of every speaker at the group’s public programs and replace a handbook the group used to facilitate dialogue on matters that the Vatican said should be settled doctrine. They are also supposed to review the Leadership Conference’s links with Network and another organization, the Resource Center for Religious Life.

Doctrinal issues have been in the forefront during the papacy of Benedict XVI, who was in charge of the Vatican’s doctrinal office before he became pope. American nuns have come under particular scrutiny. Last year, American bishops announced that a book by a popular theologian at Fordham University, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, should be removed from all Catholic schools and universities.

And while the Vatican was investigating the Leadership Conference, the Vatican was also conducting a separate, widespread investigation of all women’s religious orders and communities in the United States. That inquiry, known as a “visitation,” was concluded last December, but the results of that process have not been made public.

 


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Registered: 04-17-2008

I am an ex-Catholic, mainly because I disagree vehmently on so much of what they stand for.

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Registered: 02-05-2011

To the best of my understanding, no person is forced to be a Catholic. If someone doesn't accept the teachings of the Catholic church, and can't reform the church from within, it may be time to leave. The links in the New York Times article clearly indicate there has been a long series of investigations by the Church into the activity of various Catholic groups within the U.S.



IIRC Catholics distinguish between doctrine, discipline and dogma. Doctrine can't be changed or challenged. The pope runs the Catholic Church, that is doctrine, priests must be male, also doctrine. Priests may not marry, that is discipline, and can be changed. Any nun who advocates for female priests is questioning church doctrine, something that can't be changed. Such activity is not only futile, but places a Catholic in a condition of being apostate from the teachings of her church. If she can't resolve the conflict, departure would seem the most appropriate resolution.



I can't imagine any Catholic nun advocating for female priests and wondering why her Bishop wouldn't be concerned. I'm not a Catholic, and do not subscribe to Catholic doctrine, but respect their right to organize and practice their faith as they please.

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Registered: 03-18-2000
Well said!

 


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Registered: 04-17-2008

I'd also like to point out that Ratzinger was, I believe, a Nazi, or at least a Nazi sympathizer.

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Registered: 04-17-2008

All of that discussed above is one BIG reason I am an EX-Catholic.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001

The current Pope wants to take the Church back to the Middle Ages or even Dark Ages. Women were unmercifully dominated and considered less than, and incapable without direct leadership of men, especially the Church's men. This attack on the U.S. nuns is just another tactic in his strategy. He wants absolute power, both in gov't as well as spiritual, over the planet and he's working to accomplish that through pushing politics and slapping down especially any Catholic organizations or groups that show any independent thinking at all. This arrogance is going to alienate more than unite, in the long run, IMO. And that is a very good thing if you asked me! Religions throughout history, including the Catholic Church, have been guilty of preventing human or civil rights, using power and money to force submission and persecution of others. I wish all religions would just "get it" that it's an individual freedom of choice, and seeking religious world domination is violent and wrong on many levels, and stay the h*ll out of gov'ts. :smileymad:


Blessings,

Gypsy

)O(



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Registered: 10-11-2005
Tree I saw that on facebook & I say right on. I don't like the CC because of their anti women stance. Did anyone here about the bishop from ILL that went on a "anti Obama rant"
~~Sam stitches well with others, runs with scissors in her pocket. Cheerful and stupid.
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Registered: 04-07-2002
The Catholic church has gone off it's rocker. They are so behind the times that they may be doomed.

They're going to be really mad at the local catholic churches in our area because they are refusing to "encourage" their parishoners to support a state referendum trying to overturn same-sex marriage.

 nwtreehugger  

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Registered: 03-18-2000

 


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