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Seattle nuns sending message to Vatican

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Gretchen Gundrum is wearing a "I Stand With the Sisters" pin and will be marching for them on Sunday. (MyNorthwest.com/Jamie Griswold)

Are today's nuns too liberal? The Vatican thinks so and is calling for reform.

The "I Stand With the Sisters" march in Seattle this Sunday is timed to coincide with a national meeting of nuns in St. Louis to determine how to respond to the Vatican's order.

A Vatican review concluded the Roman Catholic sisters had tolerated dissent about the all-male priesthood, birth control, and homosexuality, while remaining nearly silent in the fight against abortion. Officials at the Holy See want a full-scale overhaul of the organization under the authority of U.S. bishops.

"The Vatican is coming down on the nuns not for what they do," says Gretchen Gundrum, who is helping organize the march. "They're on the nuns' case because they aren't speaking out about some of the doctrinal stances that are near and dear to the Bishops heart."

Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain has been appointed, along with two other American bishops, to oversee rewriting the groups' statutes, reviewing its plans and programs, and ensuring the group properly follows Catholic ritual.

The sisters face a limited range of options for how they can respond to the assessment from Rome, given that their organization was created by the Vatican.

Organizers of the march say this demonstration to support the sisters is to send a message because Rome's action against the nuns seems "unfair and misguided."

Gundrum says they welcome anyone that shares their beliefs to come out and march on Sunday. The march begins at 12:30 p.m. at Louisa Boren Park on 15th Ave E. The 2.4 mile march will end at St. James Cathedral.

"We're asking people to bring flowers to honor the sisters who have impacted their lives," says Gundrum. The flowers will be left at St. James Cathedral. She says they chose that place because it represents the heart of the church in Seattle.

By JAMIE GRISWOLD, MyNorthwest.com Editor
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Jamie Skorheim, MyNorthwest.com Editor
Whether it's floating on Green Lake, eating shrimp tacos at Agua Verde, or taking weekend drives out to the Cascades, she loves to enjoy the Pacific Northwest lifestyle as much as humanly possible.
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