Catholic Groups Applaud Vatican Report as "First Step" in Reconciling with U.S. Sisters

Demand immediate removal of sanctions against LCWR leadership 

For Immediate Release: December 16, 2014

Organizational media contacts: See list below

For general background:  

Kate McElwee: (Rome)  +39 06 320 3331 [email protected]

Statement from the Nun Justice Project:

It is praiseworthy that the Vatican's Congregation for Religious issued a generally positive report about the  outcomes of its three year apostolic visitation of U.S. Sisters.  The Nun Justice Project is encouraged by Sr. Sharon Holland's characterization of the report as "affirming and realistic."  Holland is the president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) an umbrella group representing 80 percent of U.S. women religious.

Nevertheless, the visitation process was both demeaning and a huge waste of time and energy for the Vatican and especially for the sisters who had to divert precious resources away from ministries to the marginalized just so Rome could discover what Catholics have known all along: U.S. women religious are among the most inspiring and faithful of Catholics and led the way in implementing Vatican II reforms.

While the report is a positive first step, reconciliation will not be fully accomplished until the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith removes its unjust mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

We renew our call to Cardinal Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), to immediately rescind the mandate and apologize to LCWR sister leaders, especially in light of Pope Francis' recent praise for diversity of theological views, pluralism and reading the "signs of the times."  Until the mandate is removed, the faithful and creative leadership of U.S. sisters remains under unjust Vatican scrutiny.

Over the past five years, the Nun Justice Project organized massive support for women religious. Tens of thousands of Catholics petitioned the Vatican and participated in hundreds of public demonstrations, prayer services, vigils, and media events.  Their voices have been instrumental in advancing due process, raising up women's leadership voice and promoting justice in the church.  They will not desist until the LCWR mandate is removed.

We believe it is important to learn what sisters themselves have to say about their experience of the Visitation. Power of Sisterhood: Women Religious Tell the Story of the Apostolic Visitationis an inspiring narrative told from their perspective.  For example, Sr Addie Lorraine Walker reflects "...  within a context of subjugation women religious found a unique sense of liberating power along with the meaning and purpose of their prophetic voice."  (Full review can be found here)

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For background on the Nun Justice Project's work addressing the LCWR mandate visit nunjustice.org.