Vatican wants clarifications from 15 US women’s orders

The Vatican has asked the superiors of 15 US orders of Catholic sisters to come to Rome to discuss concerns and provide clarifications.

This comes after the 2014 final report on a Vatican apostolic visitation of US orders of religious women.

Last week, it was reported that the superior of the Sisters of Loretto had been summoned to Rome.

Now, another order being asked to provide the Vatican with further clarifications has been identified.

Sr Teri Hadro, president of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, said her community received a letter from the Vatican in early April asking for a written response to continued concern over the order’s “public dissent of Church teaching”.

Sr Hadro said the letter was friendly.

“It’s just that I think they tend to interpret things as dissent that really aren’t dissent,” she said.

She noted that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has spent the last decade making abortion its primary cause.

Meanwhile, US women religious have focused on issues like food, water and shelter for marginalised populations.

“Because we focus on those issues and not on right to life from conception forward, our silence is being interpreted as dissent,” Sr Hadro said.

“I don’t think that’s the understanding that women religious have. We probably have the same top 10 values and priorities as the bishops, but in different order.

“And it seems to me that there’s some beauty in that, because our role in the Church is different from that of the bishops.”

Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said the conversations with the orders involve “listening to what they say in a transparent way, without fear, without judging”.

“What I have liked most is that the climate of this dialogue is very serene,” Cardinal Braz de Aviz said.

“There is listening on both sides. There is a rapport.”


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