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Nuns push back on Vatican report, calling it unsubstantiated and scandal-causing
After a special meeting this week in Washington, the 21-member board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious issued a statement calling a Vatican report calling for the nuns' "reform" “unsubstantiated “ and saying it has “caused scandal and pain” and exacerbated polarization throughout the Catholic church community.
The full 1,500-member conference will meet in August to determine more specifically how to react, but Friday’s statement was an unusually bold reaction to the Vatican’s doctrine-enforcing arm and seemed to imply the women may choose to rebel.
“The sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise [the nuns’] ability to fulfill their mission,” Friday’s statement said.
The April report by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith assigned a Seattle archbishop to oversee the “reform” of the Leadership Conference, including possibly changing the group’s statutes and who speaks at events.
At issue in the Vatican report was whether the Leadership Conference has strayed too far from church norms and the priorities of the bishops, including opposition to same-sex marriage and how to minister to gays and lesbians. The Conference has focused far more on issues like poverty and immigration reform and personal spirituality. It has not emphasized some subjects the bishops are prioritizing, including fighting the White House’s mandate requiring employers to provide contraception in health-care packages.