As a former Catholic, I have to say that nuns have undergone quite the makeover. Once viewed as the Church’s ruler-wielding arm, many now see them as heroes willing to defy a Vatican sorely in need of change.
While most of us were enjoying a lazy Friday, the U.S. Catholic nuns’ board members released a statement appearing to challenge the Vatican’s attempt to keep them in line this past April.
According to the New York Times, the Vatican plans to send three American bishops to “lead a complete makeover of the sisters’ principal organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.” In case you were wondering, the Times reports that this group holds approximately 80 percent of this country’s 57,000 nuns.
So what exactly did these sisters do to deserve such scorn from the big boys? Well, according to Times Live, they care a bit too much about the poor and haven’t railed against gay rights and abortion enough…kind of like that Jesus guy. Oh, and they’re strong proponents of women’s equality –and I applaud that, ex-Catholic and all.
“Even large sectors of the church itself have legitimate concern and want to continue to talk about the place of women in the church, and rightful equality between men and women,” Sister Pat Farrell, the leadership conference’s quick-witted president, told Times reporters. “So if that is called radical feminism, then a lot of men and women in the church, far beyond us, are guilty of that.”
The sisters’ statement calls the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rebuke the “result of a flawed process that lacked transparency.” You’ll have to wait until the June 12 meeting with Vatican officials for more news on the sisters’ fate.
But in the meantime, ABC is reporting that the boys are busy going after an American nun for her book titled “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics”.
With its vast resources, I have no doubt that the Vatican can tackle a group of nuns’ attempt to question authority. But it comes at the price of alienating non-Catholics and the faithful who believe it’s time to step out of the nineteenth century. Calling this sticky situation a PR nightmare would be an understatement.
All that’s left for me to say is go get ’em, nuns!
(Images via Times Live and CNN)