Seattle Archbishop to lead Vatican crackdown on nun groupon April 19, 2012 @ 6:53 am (Updated: 8:16 am - 4/19/12 )
Archbishop J. Peter Sartain has been brought in after a report Wednesday claimed the nuns were taking positions on issues such as birth control, that go against the Roman Catholic teachings, and promoting feminist views that aren't held by the Catholic faith.
The report from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the organization faced a "grave" doctrinal crisis, in which issues of "crucial importance" to the church, such as abortion and euthanasia, have been ignored. Vatican officials also castigated the group for making some public statements that "disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops," who are the church's authentic teachers of faith and morals."
The Leadership Conference represents about 57,000 religious sisters and offers programs ranging from leadership training for women's religious orders to advocacy on social justice issues.
Benedictine Nun Sister Joan Chittister, who used to lead the conference, told CBS the church is trying to stop all debates on important issues, which will backfire.
"If we can't think those things through together, then this body that has supported, taught, educated and built the entire social system of the church cannot possibly be effective there anymore," said Chittister.
When the Vatican-ordered inquiry was initially announced, many religious sisters and their supporters said the investigation reflected church officials' misogyny and was an insult to religious sisters, who run hospitals, teach, and play other vital service roles in the church. Conservative Catholics, however, have long complained that the majority of sisters in the U.S. have grown too liberal and flout church teaching.
Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain was appointed to oversee reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which will include rewriting the group's statutes, reviewing all its plans and programs, including approving speakers, and ensuring the organization properly follows Catholic prayer and ritual. The reform could stretch over five years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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