Skip to comments.American Nuns Hope For Sister-Friendly New Pope
Posted on 02/14/2013 6:16:05 AM PST by NYer
Of all the scandals that have been pinned to Benedict XVIs papacy, perhaps none has been more divisive than the so-called clampdown on American nuns last April. Its no wonder, then, that sisters across America are hoping that the next pope gives them a fairer shake. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast, the head of the largest group of American nuns shares what she is looking for in a new leader.
The American nun scandal came to a head last spring when the Vaticans Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued an eight-page doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group with more than 1,500 members representing 80 percent of American nuns. In it, they chastised the American sisters for pushing radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith. They also accused the sisters of staying silent on a number of the churchs teachings on sensitive topics like euthanasia, womens ordination, and same-sex marriage. A fierce backlash ensued when Father James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author of several faith-based books, called on the Twitterverse to start tweeting support for nuns under #whatsistersmeantome. More than a million tweets supporting the sisters followed. There is a danger of backlash because of the esteem [in which] so many Catholics hold nuns, Martin told The Daily Beast at the height of the scandal. For many Catholics, sisters are the glue that holds the church together.
Now the leadership of the LCWR hopes to start fresh with a new pope. There were two investigations of Catholic sisters undertaken during Pope Benedicts era, Sister Florence Deacon, the current president of the LCWR, told The Daily Beast after Pope Benedicts resignation announcement. One damning report quoted Pope John Paul IIs gratitude for the sisters deep love of the church and generous service to Gods people but then lashed out at the sisters for not toeing the Vaticans party line. While we appreciate this expression of gratitude, we found the whole process of the investigation flawed and question the findings and the mandate given to LCWR, Deacon says. We hope a new pope would be open to dialogue with the U.S. Catholic sisters and work with us to support our mission.
Deacon says she was not surprised by Benedict XVIs resignation. She said there had been rumors swirling around recently that he was ailing quickly. I had heard from people in Rome over the past few months that he was visibly slowing down and that he was only working a few hours a day, she says. Putting those two facts together I was not surprised by his decision to resign.
Nuns have no voting power in any church matter, especially when it comes to electing the next pope. But Deacon does have her own hopes for the future of the Catholic Church under a new leader. I would like a pope who has had direct experience working with a diversity of people and who understands the joys and challenges of ordinary Catholics trying to live the Gospel in the midst of chaotic family lives and stressful job situations, she says. She would also like a pope with an open mind. Id like one who is able to integrate church teaching and advances in science, psychology, anthropology and who strives for understanding and acceptance of all persons.
She would also like to see a pope who understands how detrimental it is to the future of the Church that women are walking away. Id like someone attuned to the voices of young people, especially young women who are leaving the church in the U.S. in large numbers because they dont feel valued.
We hope a new pope would be open to dialogue with the U.S. Catholic sisters.
One of the greatest dividing lines between the male hierarchy in Rome and the American nuns has been the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, which, 50 years ago, loosened the rules for religious women. It was then that some religious orders stopped making the habit a mandatory dress and let sisters have more individual freedom in their lives. That freedom has been a thorn in the side of many cardinals who feel the sisters should be more conservative. Sister Deacon wants the new pope to remember that those decisions that came out of the Second Vatican Council were made in the spirit of renewal. On this 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council it is important that we have a leader who is imbued in the spirit of the council, who appreciates the roles of the laity and of women religious who have accepted its call to renewal and who are committed to building a more just and peaceful world, she says.
Kenneth Briggs, author of Double Crossed: Uncovering the Catholic Churchs Betrayal of American Nuns is doubtful that the Vatican will alter its official judgment against the nuns, but he says a new pope might change the churchs attempt to reform the nuns in light of that judgment.
The Vatican and the LCWR are tiptoeing around each other for now; the sisters dont acknowledge the charges, the three bishops dont make preemptory efforts to enforce particular discipline, he told The Daily Beast. Its shadow boxing of a sort. The reason for the bishops reluctance to be more aggressive, I believe, is that the groundswell of support for the sisters by the Catholic laity has provided a kind of political obstacle to Romes designs. Further alienating the laity during a time when the church in America is in crisis would likely deepen that tension.
Sister Deacon wont be in Rome when the conclave meets, but she does have a word of advice for the members of the College of Cardinals who will go into the Sistine Chapel in March to elect the next leader of the Catholic Church. Recall the sense of excitement with which each session of the Second Vatican Council was received, she says. Vote for someone who can capture that spirit, who sees the church as being more than its leadership, but includes the whole body of its members.
What they need are Nuns who are actually Catholic
We want to be nuns, but we want to be nuns our way.
Right now, the church has big problems of which we are all aware.
Placating American nuns does not appear to be at the top of the list.
Translation: "I'd like someone who will support the feminist sisters whose ranks are dropping precipitously". Meanwhile, on the other side of the coin, young women are being drawn to a prayerful life.
Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist
My aunt was a nun....and a pure communist.
Welcome to the “silly season” of chosen a new Pope.
We've got them and their ranks are growing in leaps and bounds. See post #4. Do you recall the reporter last year who left her position to join a cloistered order?
My granddaughter, then eight years old, told my aunt the nun (right to her face) that she thought the nuns should go back to wearing a habit of some kind. I agreed with her.
Identify the top trouble makers and trickle them out.
The Second Vatican Council signed the death warrant for American Nuns.
Before that Nuns were special and treated as such.
Dropping the habits lost them their respect.
Some may not agree,but I believe the way nuns are treated today bears me out.When they wore habits and spoke I listened, now thay are just another lay person to me.
Exactly. What you have in America are a bunch of lesbians and activists in habits. They are more interested in advocating for Obamacare and protesting war than anything religious. I bet a substantial minority could care less about Christianity.
..........With politticking certain cardinals who are “papal material”.
.....Wow, out of the “mouths of babies”, comes WISDOM that only GOD can send.
We’ve been shutting down churches left and right. The old magnificent nun’s convent is now an old aged home for nuns. There are no new ones to fill the void. They’re dying out and they did it to themselves.
I smell B.S. This means that there are roughly 1900 nuns in the entire U.S.A. Roughly 25 of those 1900 would be conservative nuns in the Greensburg, PA diocese. I know this because I was an assigned poll watcher in the precinct where their convent was located and had them on my strike list as friendly voters. They all showed up to vote, by the way, in three groups.
The Greensburg diocese covers Westmoreland County with a total population of roughly 380,000, or about 0.12% of the U.S. total. Granted, we have a concentration of Catholics of roughly 2.5 times the national total, so lets say we have 0.3% of the nuns in the single precinct.
Multiply that by the 1900 total said to be in the whole United States and this means we should have a maximum of 6 rather than 25. Further, since our nuns are clearly conservative and not part of this libtard umbrella group, it should be closer to 20% of the 6.
See my post #17. FWIW, the nuns in the precinct where I was assigned to watch all wore habits.
To make things worse...This was one of our High School Chaplains