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American Nuns Hope For Sister-Friendly New Pope
The Daily Beast ^ | February 13, 2012 | Barbie Latza Nadeau

Posted on 02/14/2013 6:16:05 AM PST by NYer

Of all the scandals that have been pinned to Benedict XVI’s 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.

Sister Florence Deacon

Sister Florence Deacon. (Seth Perlman/AP)

The American nun scandal came to a head last spring when the Vatican’s 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 church’s teachings on sensitive topics like euthanasia, women’s 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 Benedict’s era,” Sister Florence Deacon, the current president of the LCWR, told The Daily Beast after Pope Benedict’s resignation announcement.  One damning report quoted Pope John Paul II’s gratitude for the sisters’ “deep love of the church and generous service to God’s people” but then lashed out at the sisters for not toeing the Vatican’s 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 XVI’s 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. “I’d 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. “I’d 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 don’t 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 Church’s 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 church’s attempt to reform the nuns in light of that judgment.

“The Vatican and the LCWR are tiptoeing around each other for now; the sisters don’t acknowledge the charges, the three bishops don’t make preemptory efforts to enforce particular discipline,” he told The Daily Beast. “It’s 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 Rome’s designs. Further alienating the laity during a time when the church in America is in crisis would likely deepen that tension.”

Sister Deacon won’t 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.”



TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events
KEYWORDS: nuns; vatican

1 posted on 02/14/2013 6:16:11 AM PST by NYer
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To: NYer

What they need are Nuns who are actually Catholic


2 posted on 02/14/2013 6:17:43 AM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: NYer

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.


3 posted on 02/14/2013 6:20:33 AM PST by Da Coyote
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...
“I’d 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 don’t feel valued.”

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

4 posted on 02/14/2013 6:20:53 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

My aunt was a nun....and a pure communist.


5 posted on 02/14/2013 6:22:34 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: NYer

Welcome to the “silly season” of chosen a new Pope.


6 posted on 02/14/2013 6:26:59 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: GeronL
What they need are Nuns who are actually Catholic

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?

7 posted on 02/14/2013 6:27:46 AM PST by NYer ("Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." --Jeremiah 1:5)
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To: NYer

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.


8 posted on 02/14/2013 6:29:35 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: NYer

Identify the top trouble makers and trickle them out.


9 posted on 02/14/2013 6:31:55 AM PST by Berlin_Freeper
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To: NYer

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.


10 posted on 02/14/2013 6:32:51 AM PST by Venturer
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To: NYer
Of all the scandals that have been pinned to Benedict XVI’s papacy, perhaps none has been more divisive than the so-called clampdown on American nuns last April.

LMAO! Nadeau must be a complete and utter moron.

I have been to church every week and have attended in several locations. I have not yet witnessed any mass-defections or precipitous drops in mass attendance of Catholics, outraged at this scandal of supposedly epic proportions.

The only other thing I have to say is that we must be careful not to paint all nuns with the same broad brush.
11 posted on 02/14/2013 6:34:27 AM PST by mmichaels1970
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To: GeronL

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.


12 posted on 02/14/2013 6:34:27 AM PST by Opinionated Blowhard ("When the people find they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.")
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To: NYer

..........With politticking certain cardinals who are “papal material”.


13 posted on 02/14/2013 6:37:03 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Sacajaweau

.....Wow, out of the “mouths of babies”, comes WISDOM that only GOD can send.


14 posted on 02/14/2013 6:40:37 AM PST by Biggirl ("Jesus talked to us as individuals"-Jim Vicevich/Thanks JimV!)
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To: Sacajaweau
My aunt was a nun....and a pure communist.

I too had aunts who were nuns. While not Communists, they were charitably described by other family members as being "a little loopy". In reality it was a bit worse than that (so much so that my mother was forced to conclude that a lifetime of celibacy has severe detrimental effects upon the average female brain)


15 posted on 02/14/2013 6:40:57 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: mmichaels1970

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.


16 posted on 02/14/2013 6:43:41 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: NYer
. . . Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group with more than 1,500 members representing 80 percent of American nuns.

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.

17 posted on 02/14/2013 6:44:46 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Venturer

See my post #17. FWIW, the nuns in the precinct where I was assigned to watch all wore habits.


18 posted on 02/14/2013 6:49:28 AM PST by Vigilanteman (Obama: Fake black man. Fake Messiah. Fake American. How many fakes can you fit in one Zer0?)
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To: Biggirl
http://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=4833

To make things worse...This was one of our High School Chaplains

19 posted on 02/14/2013 6:49:39 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Sacajaweau

http://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=4833


20 posted on 02/14/2013 6:50:16 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: NYer
“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.”

I have some advice for the good Sister - you do not need me or anyone else to tell you that the Church's theological arguments work and those of the dissenters do not. However, this is not about arguments, but about the authority of the Church or rather your conflict with authority. Simply put, your problem lies with your own selfish pride and achieving your own goals which are not aligned with Church teaching.

21 posted on 02/14/2013 6:51:28 AM PST by Gerish (Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.)
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To: NYer
Sorry nuns (and all religious for that matter) you have 2 choices according to canon law: orthodoxy and obedience or anathema. the choice is yours. God detests fence sitters.

CC

22 posted on 02/14/2013 6:53:05 AM PST by Celtic Conservative
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To: Sacajaweau

Saul Alinsky was Fink’s mentor according to Fink’s autobiography.


23 posted on 02/14/2013 6:54:07 AM PST by Sacajaweau
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To: Da Coyote
Right now, the church has big problems of which we are all aware.

Placating a bunch of leftist, lesbian, heretic harridans (Oops. Excuse me. I mean Amercian "nuns") would be contributing to the problems.

24 posted on 02/14/2013 7:00:36 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Sacajaweau
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.

Your granddaughter was wise beyond her years.

25 posted on 02/14/2013 7:02:11 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
What you have in America are a bunch of lesbians and activists in habits.

Generally, the lesbians and 'activists' are the ones who quit wearing habits.

26 posted on 02/14/2013 7:04:50 AM PST by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilization is Aborting, Buggering, and Contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: mmichaels1970
The only other thing I have to say is that we must be careful not to paint all nuns with the same broad brush.

Precisely. The traditional orders are growing, while the old ones that threw away their habits are dying off. This is a photograph of novices from the Dominican Order of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist:


The Poor Clares, a cloistered order, has their share of vocations as well:


27 posted on 02/14/2013 7:14:29 AM PST by COBOL2Java (Fighting Obama without Boehner & McConnell is like going deer hunting without your accordion)
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To: GeronL

>>>What they need are Nuns who are actually Catholic>>>

Agreed.


28 posted on 02/14/2013 7:16:41 AM PST by kitkat (STORM THE HEAVENS WITH PRAYERS FOR OUR COUNTRY)
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To: Sacajaweau
My aunt was a nun....and a pure communist.

Communism actually works for that kind of community, who have subjugated their needs to the needs of all. But the cloister is not the real world, nor is the university or the rectory.

29 posted on 02/14/2013 7:16:59 AM PST by JimRed (Excise the cancer before it kills us; feed &water the Tree of Liberty! TERM LIMITS, NOW & FOREVER!)
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To: Vigilanteman
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group with more than 1,500 members representing 80 percent of American nuns

Each member of the "umbrella group" is a religious community with few/several/many nuns. The 1500 number is not the number of nuns, but rather the number of religious communities that are part of the LCWR.

30 posted on 02/14/2013 7:22:46 AM PST by ELS (Vivat Benedictus XVI!)
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To: ELS

“Nuns have no voting power in church matters, especially in electing a Pope.” - Neither does my parish’s pastor.


31 posted on 02/14/2013 7:31:23 AM PST by massgopguy (I owe everything to George Bailey)
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To: NYer

We have a sister-friendly Pope. The problem is that these “sisters” are not Catholic-friendly. They need to go join the Episcopal church or some other heterodox group that will cater to their bizarre beliefs.


32 posted on 02/14/2013 7:37:56 AM PST by Antoninus (Sorry, gone rogue.)
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To: Opinionated Blowhard
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.

I believe that you are 100% wrong. The media focuses only on those they can mock or that support their agenda.

The ones that support the liberal agenda are media whores and make themselves available. Numerous others are teaching, working as nurses, and other "mundane" tasks leading very prayerful lives.

33 posted on 02/14/2013 7:49:19 AM PST by verga (A nation divided by Zero!)
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To: ArrogantBustard

I had two Great Aunts who were Nuns.
One was Sisters of Charity of Nazareth the other Little Sisters of the Poor. They went in back in the dark ages before WW1, both very bright women, both very religious.

I had a 1st. Cousin who went into a cloistered order and was very happy there,until they stopped being cloistered, and stopped wearing habits.
They took in pregnant girls and helped them deliver their children, and adopt them. She quit when the leader of this group started letting the girls out to have abortions.

I too believe one of the greatst problems with the nuns today is lesbanism and feminism, two things that go together like peach’s and cream.

I have a lot of memories about the older Nuns, and their love of God, today I believe they are more interested in politics, womens right, becoming Piests, and their lesbian relationships than their love of God. Like one poster stated we cannot paint them all with the same brush, but the vocal ones lead me to be suspiscious.


34 posted on 02/14/2013 7:57:16 AM PST by Venturer
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To: verga; Opinionated Blowhard
I believe that you are 100% wrong. The media focuses only on those they can mock or that support their agenda.

I agree. In thinking that nuns are nothing but lesbians and activists, the media is accomplishing exactly what it is setting out to do.

This isn't about nuns. It's about the media attempt, and its alliance with the activists, to destroy the church to clear away staunch resistance to their leftist social ideals.

This article isn't about rights of nuns. It's about abortion and gay marriage, plain and simple.
35 posted on 02/14/2013 8:04:06 AM PST by mmichaels1970
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To: GeronL; NYer

I have the blessing of working with some Carmelite nuns here in SoCal. They love this Pope.


36 posted on 02/14/2013 8:07:49 AM PST by Shark24
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To: Buckeye McFrog

Nuns take vows of poverty, chastity, & obedience. Each nun owns her habit, a rosary & a toothbrush & that’s pretty much it. I was taught by nuns of the Second Franciscan order (Poor Clares) & their convent life was led in common & rather ascetic.

Denial of earthly goods in the religious life is for some not incompatible with the ideology that preaches hard work & the frugal life for the masses.

We were taught as students to avoid `the temptations of a corrupt world’ and how to be vigilant for `signs of the worldly spirit’. Only when I was much older did I learn that to be called worldy was to be complimented.


37 posted on 02/14/2013 8:46:13 AM PST by elcid1970 ("The Second Amendment is more important than Islam.")
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To: NYer
This may be one of the stupidest articles I have ever read. It can't even get the basic facts right.

The redoubtable Father Z made fun of them because their original headline was "VIVA LA PAPA" (grammar idiot alert). They took that down pretty quickly.

But the article is still stupid. Your translation is about right on: "Dissident 'sisters': we want a figurehead who will just agree with everything we want."

They need to go join the Episcopalians -- but then they wouldn't get any airtime or press because that lot agree with everything they say, so no "courageous stand against evil patriarchy" hook for the loons at the Beast.

38 posted on 02/14/2013 9:58:20 AM PST by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Vigilanteman

I thought so too. here are some facts.
“In the 2008 US Catholic demographic census there were found to be 59,208 religious sisters serving in the USA. This is a stark contrast to a mere 40 years ago when there were over 175,000 religious”


39 posted on 02/14/2013 10:37:13 AM PST by johngrace (I am a 1 John 4! Christian- declared at every Sunday Mass , Divine Mercy and Rosary prayers!)
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To: NYer

BTTT


40 posted on 02/14/2013 5:04:27 PM PST by hattend (Firearms and ammunition...the only growing industries under the Obama regime.)
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To: NYer

Benedict was sister-friendly and church-friendly. He was in the process of cleaning out the scum from the convents as he did with the seminaries.

May his successor continue this task.


41 posted on 02/14/2013 7:33:48 PM PST by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
“I’d 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 don’t feel valued.”

Maybe they don't feel valued because you and your sisters keep talking down the church, and complaining that women are not equal to men in the Church, which is a lie. But you've been screaming that nonsense for over 40 years, so there are some young women who have listened, and it has given them a false impression of the Church.

If the new Pope is faithful to the Church, and the teachings of Jesus, he will not be 'friendly' to most American nuns, because they stopped believing in anything that didn't meet their own political ideas..

42 posted on 02/14/2013 8:22:25 PM PST by SuziQ
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To: NYer

That’s an old picture. There are lots more of them. We live in Michigan and are supporters. In 1995 they started with 4 Sisters. God bless them.


43 posted on 02/14/2013 10:10:51 PM PST by MomwithHope (Buy and read Ameritopia by Mark Levin!)
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