Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Pope Francis has backed the Vatican’s doctrinal crackdown on a major group of American nuns, reasserting the Roman Catholic Church's conservative approach to various social issues in a move that could cool the warm reception he has received from some liberal Catholics since taking office last month.
The Vatican said in a statement Monday that Francis had reaffirmed the doctrinal evaluation and criticism of U.S. nuns made last year by the Holy See under his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. The assessment accused the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an organization that represents most U.S. female Catholic orders, of promoting "radical feminist themes" and ignoring the Vatican's hard line on same-sex marriage and abortion.
"[R]adical feminist themes"?  It is to laugh.  Perhaps I am what the Vatican would consider a radical feminist today because of the fine example of the nuns who taught me in my Roman Catholic elementary and high schools.  Not that the words were ever mentioned, but the great majority of my teachers set an example for me by their intelligence, kindness, knowledge, and common sense.  That the investigation of the nuns will continue is disappointing, but, on the other hand:
Father James Martin, a prominent Jesuit priest in the United States who led a Twitter drive last year to defend the nuns, said it was too soon to say whether Francis, the church's first Jesuit leader, was shutting the door on dialogue.

"Given the long history of the LCWR investigation, it's not surprising that Pope Francis is asking the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] to continue its work. It would have been odd for him to halt things at this point, so early in his job," Martin said. "But given that he himself is a member of a religious order, I would imagine that the sisters will get a sympathetic hearing from him."
I hope Martin is correct that the nuns will get a fair hearing, and their harassment will soon be a matter of history.