Led by Cardinal William Levada, the former archbishop of San Francisco, the Vatican has initiated a crackdown to control the activities of the largest leadership group of American Catholic nuns. If it were not so tragic and destructive, it would be the height of irony that the leaders of the Catholic Church, who are big fans of religious liberty when it serves their interests, now attempt to curtail the freedom and the good work of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
This group represents 80 percent of Catholic sisters in the United States. These are women who do so much of the heavy lifting in our church, especially in education, health care and social services.
The bishops worry that the conference’s positions on homosexuality and the ordination of women will “give scandal,” a mystifying position given that these same bishops have presided over the most serious church scandal in the past 500 years, where thousands of children were molested and hundreds of cases have been ignored or covered up.
A committee of American bishops has been authorized by Levada to revise the women’s group’s statutes, review its plans and programs, approve its conference speakers and examine its affiliations with other organizations, such as Network, a national Catholic social justice group founded by Catholic sisters. The Vatican document is critical of the women’s conference for focusing too much on poverty and injustice while not sufficiently supporting church teaching on abortion and marriage.
But according to Rome, the sisters need not worry. [More]