Three Years After ‘Radical Feminist’ Charge, U.S. Catholic Sisters and Vatican Reach Peace Agreement

by Rose Marie Berger

The conflicted and controversial three-year doctrinal investigation by the Vatican of U.S. Catholic sisters in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious has formally come to an end, according to a press release from the Vatican this morning and reports in the National Catholic Reporter.

“We are pleased at the completion of the Mandate which involved long and challenging exchanges of our understandings of and perspectives on critical matters of Religious Life and its practice,” said Sr. Sharon Holland, IHM, president of LCWR.

She continued:

“Through these exchanges, conducted always in a spirit of prayer and mutual respect, we were brought to deeper understandings of one another’s experiences, roles, responsibilities, and hopes for the Church and the people it serves. We learned that what we hold in common is much greater than any of our differences.”

Conservative operators within the Vatican have been working for years to bring suspicion on communities of Catholic sisters in the U.S. In the past seven years, they succeeded in launching twin investigations into American nuns.

The first, launched in 2008, was a controversial and unprecedented “apostolic visitation” investigating the finances and communal practices of individual U.S.-based Catholic orders of women religious, representing tens of thousands of women. It ended in December 2014 with a formal backing down by the Vatican office from which it was launched. The final report, issued under Pope Francis, was released at a public press conference in Rome — also unprecedented — in which all those involved made clear statements about the process and emphasized a spirit of forbearance, mercy, and transparency.

Read the rest here.

See more related articles here:
Joint Final Report on the Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), 16.04.2015

Vatican ends controversial investigation of US nuns with olive branch by David Gibson (Religion News Service, Apr. 16, 2015)

Vatican ends controversial three-year oversight of US sisters’ leaders
by Joshua J. McElwee (National Catholic Reporter, Apr. 16, 2015)

Vatican, LCWR announce successful conclusion of process to reform group by Cindy Wooden (Catholic News Service, Apr. 16, 2015)

Vatican Ends Takeover of U.S. Catholic Nuns Group (The New York Times, Apr. 16, 2015)

Read the blog study on Sr. Sandra Schneiders’ theological work on the new forms of Catholic life that U.S. Catholic sisters are living into

Having the Sisters’ Back by Jim Wallis (God’s Politics, 04-24-2012)

End of an Inquisition? by Phyllis Zagano (Sojourners, March 2015)

What About the Women? by Carol Keehan (Sojourners, September-October 2013)

A ‘Hostile Takeover’ of Women Religious by Joan Chittister (Sojourners, July 2012)

The Presumption of Equality by Rose Marie Berger (Sojourners, September-October 2012)

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