Sister Activist: Nuns’ Group Targeted By Vatican Refuses To Back Down_Featured_, Politics Sunday, August 12th, 2012
Members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious say they’ll keep talking to prelates but will “reconsider” if “forced to compromise the integrity of [their] mission.”
(AlterNet) The Vatican has a nun problem. But you won’t find the prelates skipping around singing, “ How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria? ” They’re certain of their solution: flex the hierarchy’s magisterial muscle, and place those wayward sisters under the canonical thumb.
The nuns in question are members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella group for most of the women’s religious orders in the United States, which just concluded its annual conference in St. Louis. Faced with a decision on how to respond to a Vatican rebuke of LCWR — which the Vatican is seeking to control, the members voted to have their officers maintain discussions with the Vatican, but to “reconsider if LCWR is forced to compromise the integrity of its mission.”
It’s not quite the dramatic break that some had hoped for; one avenue the sisters considered was to vote to dissolve their group and reconstitute it as a non-profit organization under the U.S. tax code, which would place it beyond the Vatican’s reach. That would have been a giant kiss-off to the all-male hierarchy — one that the membership was not quite willing to make. But that doesn’t mean they’re exactly kissing the pope’s ring.
The tone of the sisters’ decision remains defiant, and they have reserved the right to revisit their options. In the world beyond the church, that might seem like not such a big deal, but this is the Holy See we’re talking about here, and these are women, the most visible women in the church, saying to Pope Benedict XVI, “Not so fast…”
In April, the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced its plans to “reform” — effectively take over — the group, which it found to be insufficiently interested in opposing abortion or homosexuality, and guilty of advancing “radical feminist themes.”