Hello? Rome? Let the Sisters be
In Washington, D.C., and Toledo, Ohio, in upstate New York and in south Texas, protesters have gathered in recent weeks with a simple message:
Let the sisters be.
The vigils in cities across the United States are intended to express solidarity with American Roman Catholic nuns, who are struggling to formulate a response to a sharp rebuke from the Vatican.
The Vatican last month accused the leading organization of U.S. nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, of focusing too much on social-justice issues such as poverty and not enough on abortion, gay marriage and euthanasia. The Vatican also rapped the group for standing by as some nuns publicly challenged U.S. bishops on matters of church doctrine and public policy.
In a move that many nuns viewed as an insult, the Vatican put the nuns’ organization under the effective control of three U.S. bishops, who have the power to rewrite its statutes, its meeting agendas and even its liturgical texts. The board of the Leadership Conference is due to meet next week in Washington, D.C. to mull a response.
Some prominent nuns have suggested that the Leadership Conference, which was founded in 1956 at the Vatican’s request, might dissolve its official ties with the Roman Catholic church and become an independent nonprofit organization. Others argue that the best course may be to stall and hope the Vatican’s scrutiny will fade with time…
“But behind the temperate language, many nuns remain furious – and determined to resist the Vatican crackdown.
“Our sisters have fed the hungry, healed the sick and stood with the marginalized, so they’re wondering, how can these men in the Vatican criticize us?” said Donna Quinn, a nun from Chicago who helps run the liberal National Coalition of American Nuns.
Submitting to the Vatican’s demands would be akin to “allowing an oppressive regime to come in with a hostile takeover,” Quinn said.”