Nuns say they will continue dialogue despite Vatican criticisms

(RNS) The American nuns who were publicly scolded by the Vatican’s top doctrinal official for disobedience and promoting unorthodox beliefs have rejected the criticisms, and say their “attempts to clarify misperceptions have led to deeper misunderstandings” between Rome and the organization representing most of the 50,000 sisters in the U.S.
Archbishop Gerhard L. Mueller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is pictured in a Jan. 11 photo in Rome. Photo by Paul Haring/courtesy Catholic News Service

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, who leads Rome’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Photo by Paul Haring/courtesy Catholic News Service

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But the leaders of the umbrella group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, also said in a statement that the April 30 conversation with Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, who leads Rome’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “was constructive in its frankness and lack of ambiguity.” “It was not an easy discussion, but its openness and spirit of inquiry created a space for authentic dialogue and discernment,” the four sisters representing the LCWR said late Thursday (May 8). “This work is fraught with tension and misunderstanding,” they said. “Yet, this is the work of leaders in all walks of life in these times of massive change in the world.” The LCWR, which represents about 80 percent of the nuns in American orders, has for two years been under orders from the Vatican to refocus its social justice mission to stress issues of sexual morality — including opposition to abortion and gay marriage — and to heed to traditional church doctrines and beliefs. The Vatican’s doctrinal office also said the LCWR must overhaul its bylaws and that speakers at the group’s annual assembly must be approved by a trio of U.S. bishops, led by Seattle Archbishop J. Peter Sartain, that is overseeing the reform for the Vatican. After an initial burst of controversy and a backlash against Rome’s takeover of the LCWR, negotiations between the nuns and the Vatican seemed to be going well — until Mueller’s talk that opened the latest round of discussions. In his address, Mueller told the sisters that they continued to endorse “fundamental errors” of belief and they were in effect thumbing their nose at Rome by not seeking approval before honoring a theologian whose work has been criticized by the hierarchy. Sartain, who was present at the talks in Rome, also issued a statement saying he fully agreed with Mueller’s criticisms. The four sisters of the LCWR said in their statement that “despite maximum efforts through the years, communication has broken down and, as a result, mistrust has developed” at Mueller’s office. They said that this negative experience was not true of their visits with other departments in Rome over the past week, which were “marked by genuine interaction and mutual respect.” The nuns did stress, however, that the frank conversations with Mueller and Sartain were “constructive” and they deepened their commitment “to stay at the table and talk through differences.” “What created an opening toward dialogue in this meeting was hearing first-hand the way the CDF perceives LCWR,” they said. “This is a very complex matter, yet LCWR was heartened by the attempt of both CDF and LCWR to find a way through that honors the integrity and mission of both offices.” “We have come to believe that the continuation of such conversation may be one of the most critical endeavors we, as leaders, can pursue for the sake of the world, the Church, and religious life.” There was no word on when the two sides would meet again. KRE/AMB END GIBSON The post Nuns say they will continue dialogue despite Vatican criticisms appeared first on Religion News Service.

16 Responses to “Nuns say they will continue dialogue despite Vatican criticisms”

  1. Michele Joseph

    Yes, it is an honest debate.
    I know you love to argue.
    I do not, and when I do, I get mean,as we all know too well.
    In an e-mail yesterday I talked about sources.
    We each read different things, we hang out with different people.
    Our ideas are shaped by what we see & read & here.
    The gap between the right & the left is wider than the Grand Canyon.
    I have come to believe in parallel universes.
    We are aware of each other, but we are in different worlds.
    You have sources you trust, as do I.
    “You are entitled to your own opinion, but you are not entitled to your own facts”
    We could chase each other around all day, each firing links back & forth.
    But, in my opinion, neither one of us KNOW FOR SURE ANYTHING.
    Why, because our “facts” are bought by the highest bidder.
    HUGE amounts of money go into shaping our opinions.
    So, how can you tell ? By statistics ? You can make statistics say whatever you want them to.
    Here’s what I know. I’m 55 years old.
    I have never in my life seen such wide-spread poverty. I have never seen such a crumbling infra-structure. I have never heard as many people saying such hateful things.
    I know what I know from experience.
    I can know things by checking against my own experience
    I can Google things you say, things I believe and I can check out your facts against mine and look at which publication says what and who owns what.
    I think I’ve said this before- ” Follow the money ”
    The rich are richer than I ever imagined a person could be, the middle class
    is sliding into poverty. The poor are poorer a more numerous than I ever expected possible in America.
    I have never seen such injustice in my life as exists today.
    So you’ve got your numbers, I have numbers, also.
    But, what I TRUST is my experience.
    On my Facebook page, I have friends that cover the whole spectrum.
    I know what is the general Republican story, I know the Democratic story,
    All the way from anarchist to Fascist.
    And I know what resonates with me, what sounds like TRUTH to me.
    I have listened to people talk with tears streaming down my face & completely overcome by frisson.
    I have listened to other types & I throw up in my mouth a little.
    You like numbers. You love to argue.
    To me that feels hostile.
    With numbers we can argue all day & night, because we have different numbers.
    But, there is no arguing with tears a frisson.
    There is a move “Leap of Faith”
    Steve Martin says to the kid “Kid, you can’t get around the genuine article, and you, kid are the genuine article.”
    What do i trust ? Numbers?
    No. Experience, common sense tears, and Frisson.
    Especially frisson.

  2. nick batt

    The top 10% of the highest income earners already pay 70% of all taxes. The bottom 90% pay only 29% and the famous bottom 47% pay virtually no income tax.
    The question of whether the trade off between higher minimum wage vs job losses is worth it is an honest debate. My view is based on the Hippocratic oath “first do no harm” That’s why I mentioned Sen. Portman’s proposal.

  3. Michele Joseph

    Not INCREASING taxes, simply getting them to PAY taxes, instead of storing it off-shore. Remember Leona Helmsley “Only the little people pay taxes”.
    If you make it here, KEEP it here, and pay your fair share.Many pay practically no taxes at all.It’s in the Cayman’s & Switzerland.
    Not raising taxes, just get the to PAY taxes at all.just the same as everybody else. That’s what fair is
    Covetous- yes, there are many people coveting food, jealous that other people eat.
    Punishing- not punishing – just there fair share-not just CEO’s ,EVERYBODY.
    Entertainers,politicians, churches, EVERYBODY.
    Everybody should pay their fair share.
    Of course you have heard of tax-shelters and dodging – hasn’t everybody.
    If paying taxes is punishing ,then every is getting punished.
    Where did I get the tight to tell people my concerns ? The First Amendment.
    Bill Gates- you know why his philathropy is the top story ?
    Because very, very few people do that.
    These days, if you give anybody anything, it’s like maybe you ought to canonized or something.
    Certainly not enough to meet the need
    We all know there are not enough jobs to go around.
    Where are they? China, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh.
    When we started out-sourcing, yeah, fat cats are hiring people.
    Lots of peopleEverywhere but here.OVER THERE! (See Benzene poisoning- Chinese child slaves, happens because the child slaves are assembling your
    smart phones) Another readon they don’t want to produce here. Regulations.
    The kids work 16 hours a day. Thank you. Microsoft.

  4. nick batt

    How does increasing taxes on CEOs help the poor? Who gave you the right to tell somebody else how much money they deserve to make? Sounds like covetousness to me. By the way, is it only CEOs you want to punish? What about entertainers like Beyonce (sp?) or athletes like Magic Johnson? Bill Gates has contributed to society way more than the money he’s made and now he’s giving it away. Same with Warren Buffett, or most of the other well known business types. I never saw a guy get hired by a poor person.

  5. Michele Joseph


  6. Michele Joseph

    274 x more- than the lowest paid worker- accurate figure . Google it.

  7. Michele Joseph

    I fail to see how, on average, CEO’s making 273 times more than their lowest
    paying worker shows a concern for justice or concern for the poor..
    Nobody has to throw 500,000 people out of work so they can starve to death
    while the fat cats sit on their rapidly spreading butts.
    Raise the minimum. Lower the top end.
    And if they don’t pay taxes, the same thing happens to them as would happen to us little people.
    Nobody needs bazillion dollars.

  8. nick batt

    I fail to see how throwing 500,000 people out of work through an increase in the minimum wage according to CBO, shows either a concern for justice or concern for the poor. Sen. Rob Portman has suggested an increase in the EITC as an alternative that supports families and work. Since 71% of families in poverty are single parent families, his proposals which don’t require the break up of a couple seem worthy of consideration.
    Before you accuse the Church of muzzling anybody, you might question why these nuns lack the moral courage of Martin Luther and withdraw from the Church when he couldn’t reconcile. I don’t recall that he and his followers have been muzzled.

    • Denis Eble

      Is it better to lift up 16.5 million people while leaving 500,000 unemployed, or would the country be better off making sure there are more jobs, even if it means lower wages?

      Right-wing Republicans (or do I repeat myself?) would be overjoyed with these two benefits:

      1. Government expenses for social programs aimed at the poor would be reduced. This might result in slightly lower taxes for other Americans.

      2. More revenue for the government would be generated from payroll taxes for social security.

      Regular Americans would be happy because additional income would be spent by consumers and would ripple through the economy if overall budgets for salary were increased thus moving the economy into positive territory- as in Happy Days are here again!

      But wait! If the economy picked up and people were feeling good, then President Obama might get credit. And then, the Republicans would be at a disadvantage in the 2014 and 2016 elections!

      Can’t have that, now could we!

  9. Denis Eble

    “I hope there is no “reconciliation” that muzzles this Sister.”

    I believe that the Catholic dictionary defines ‘reconciliation’ as MUZZLE. Lol

  10. Christy Besozzi

    Last Friday night, Sister Simone Campbell of Nuns on the Bus was on Bill Maher’s show on HBO – web link below – and really made the case for a raise in the minimum wage and the need to care more about the poor and middle class.

    As I believe I’ve said before, she reminds me of what Baha’u’llah said about Mary Magdalene when He called her “the lioness of God” – meaning Mary Magdalene’s fierce defense of justice. Sister Simone is another lioness of God, in my estimation.

    Link to a portion of the show:

    I hope there is no “reconciliation” that muzzles this Sister.

  11. nick batt

    I have no reason to think that the Pope “is on their side” but I’m sure he wants reconciliation as I do.

  12. Zappa912

    Fight on sisters. You have Cardinal Kasper, a close adviser to the pope, and Pope a Francis on your side. You will ride through this storm with the people who do not appreciate all the good work that you do. Stay positive, and may God continue to bless you and guide you. Peace and love to all of you.

  13. Michele Joseph

    You must not have read my comment.
    I know you are smart enough to connect the dots.
    If you aren’t too brain-washed to have lost the abilty.

  14. nick batt

    I’m not sure what hobby Lobby has to do with this story but dialogue is a hopeful sign.

  15. Michele Joseph

    Well, as they say, “Follow the money ” and very few people have as much of it as Mr. Steve Green, owner of Hobby Lobby, right-wing Pentecostal Dominonist.
    Anti-Semetic, anti-choice, and anti equality for both gays and women.
    I don’t find it surprising at all that less than six weeks from when Mr. Green and his sixteen member entourage, went trooping to Rome to visit the Pope.
    Interesting, an emissary from the Vatican now decides he has to issue head-line making edicts to the good Sisters regarding their left-leaning activities, and to, instead place the emphasis if their efforts toward the advancement of the Green’s agenda.
    Mr. Green has an interesting history.
    In June of 2010, he bought up $40 million dollars worth of rare Bibles and manuscripts, an act which caused a week or two of stunned amazement in the art and rare books world, because never before have so many Bibles have been purchased in such a short period of time. As if that is not notable enough, all by one person, too !
    Since then, Mr Green, has been mighty busy, promoting his agenda to force Bible study in public schools- plan which he expects to have implemented by 2017.
    He has owns enough of the Supreme Court to get the O.K. for sectarian prayer in public meetings.
    This is the same Supreme Court that will decide ( or did- not sure) about the Hobby Lobby contraception case that went to Court on March 25th,
    Not long after- March 31st in fact, the whole family goes to Rome-taking their rare books with them.
    And now, less than six weeks later, a Cardinal has to deliver a widely publicized scolding with a command to the Sisters to start serving the far-right’s agenda.
    I have a vague memory of reading that a decision with be rendered in June.
    If the Court rules in favor of Hobby Lobby, Google “Mr. & Mrs.Steve Green Hobby Lobby” and view a picture of your new king & queen.
    Unless it’s the Koch Brothers.
    Hard to say.

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