Showdown between nuns and Vatican this week

In what is billed as a showdown between the US Catholic nuns and the Vatican, the nuns will meet this week to determine their response to the Vatican’s reprimand.

Starting Wednesday (NZ time) the religious women will meet for three days in Washington and intend to plan their move slowly, not rushing to judgment.

“The board will conduct its meeting in an atmosphere of prayer, contemplation and dialogue and will develop a plan to involve LCWR membership in similar processes,” the group said in a statement.

“We will engage in dialogue where possible and be open to the movement of the Holy Spirit. We ask your prayer for us and for the Church in this critical time.”

Simone Campbell, a religious sister who’s executive director of Network, a national Catholic social justice lobby in Washington, said she thought the group would put together a draft response to be presented to the full assembly in August.

“I think the results for the media will be very anticlimactic because we as Catholic sisters do things with a lot of prayer and very slowly,” Campbell said.

“It’s going to be like watching paint dry,” she added in a CNN interview.

The Vatican is concerned the Leadership Conference of Religious Women has serious doctrinal problems and has ordered them to undergo a forced reform.

An announcement on April 18 charged the religious women

  • with using materials that “do not promote church teaching” on family life and sexuality,
  • for sometimes taking positions in opposition to the nation’s bishops and
  • for being “silent on the right to life from conception to natural death, a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States.”
The Vatican appointed Seattle Archbishop, Peter Sartain, to manage the five-year reform.


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