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Leader of 'radical' US nuns rejects Vatican criticism

7:25 am - 04/21/2012
The leader of a group of US nuns the Vatican accuses of flouting Church teaching has rejected the claims.

"I've no idea what they're talking about," Sister Simone Campbell, head of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby, told the BBC.

"Our role is to live the gospel with those who live on the margins of society. That's all we do."

On Wednesday the Vatican announced a crackdown on US nuns long considered too liberal by the church hierarchy.


The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Office of the Inquisition, issued a highly critical report that accused US nuns of engaging in "corporate dissent" and of ignoring, or worse, challenging the church's teachings on abortion, homosexuality and an all-male priesthood.


'Radical feminist themes'


The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which represents 80% of America's 57,000 nuns, was the subject of a lengthy of investigation led by Bishop Leonard Blair of Toledo, Ohio.

The resulting report noted the good work they did with the poor and in running schools and hospitals, but also documented what it called a "grave" doctrinal crisis.

It said the sisters were promoting radical feminist themes and criticised US nuns for challenging the bishops, who it said were "the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals".

The Archbishop of Seattle, Peter Sartain, is to lead a reform of the LCWR.

This will include a review of ties between it and its close partner, Network, a social justice organisation involved in healthcare and poverty programmes.

Network was singled out for criticism in the report for "being silent on the right to life" and other "crucial issues" to the church.

Sister Campbell suggested that her organisation's vocal support for President Barack Obama's healthcare bill was behind the slapdown.

"There's a strong connection," she said. "We didn't split on faith, we split on politics."


American Bishops saw the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act as backing state-funded abortion. The nuns disagreed.

The Vatican said that the mandate to carry out reforms of the nuns' leadership "will be for a period of up to five years, as deemed necessary".

Archbishop Sartain said, "I hope to be of service to them and to the Holy See as we face areas of concern to all."

But Sister Campbell suggested a difficult time ahead: "It's totally a top-down process and I don't think the bishops have any idea of what they're in for."

Source.




Catholic nuns group "stunned" by Vatican slap

(Reuters) - A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns' group said on Thursday it was "stunned" that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.

In a stinging report on Wednesday, the Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been "silent on the right to life" and had failed to make the "Biblical view of family life and human sexuality" a central plank in its agenda.

It also reprimanded American nuns for expressing positions on political issues that differed, at times, from views held by American bishops. Public disagreement with the bishops - "who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals" - is unacceptable, the report said.


The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a "doctrinal assessment" saying the Holy See was compelled to intervene with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to correct "serious doctrinal problems."

The nuns' group said in a statement on its website, "The presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was stunned by the conclusions of the doctrinal assessment."

It added the group may give a lengthier response at a later date.

The conference said it represented 80 percent of America's 57,000 Catholic nuns. It is influential both in the United States and globally.

Academics who study the church said the Vatican's move was predictable given Pope Benedict's conservative views and efforts by Rome to quell internal dissent and curtail autonomy within its ranks.

"This is more an expression of the Church feeling under siege by trends it cannot control within the Church, much less within the broader society," University of Notre Dame historian Scott Appleby said.

That includes a steady drumbeat of calls to ordain women as priests, which the pope has reasserted was an impossibility.


The Vatican named Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain and two other U.S. bishops to undertake the reforms of the conference's statutes, programs and its application of liturgical texts, a process it said could take up to five years.

Source.

Right now I'm torn between anger and a sort of unholy glee that the over-privileged bastards in the church hierarchy are actually feeling enough pressure in order to warrant a crackdown in the first place. Also, my response to any man who feels attacked or threatened by anything to do with feminism or with women having even marginal autonomy remains utterly unprintable to this day.
amyura 21st-Apr-2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
Me too-- LOVED that movie!
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