Vatican overturns Texas bishop’s dismissal of Carmelite nun but backs his investigation

The Vatican has overturned a Texas bishop’s dismissal of a Carmelite nun from her order after she was accused of breaking her vow of chastity with a priest, weighing in on a power struggle and scandal that drew national attention.

The Dicastery for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life found in favour of Mother Teresa Agnes Gerlach, prioress of the Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity in Arlington, Texas, in her appeal to remain in her order after Fort Worth Bishop Michael Olson dismissed her in June 2023.

However, the dicastery upheld several of Olson’s other decisions, including his opening an investigation into the accusation that Gerlach had violated her chastity vow in her contacts with the Rev. Philip G. Johnson, a priest in the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina.

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