Widespread Support for US Nuns

Vigorous support from laity, priests and bishops for US sisters being investigated by the Vatican may be bearing fruit. On November 10, church officials rescinded their request for sensitive information about congregations' financial assets and land holdings, and demographic data related to age and individual ministries. California bishops publicly voiced their support, as did Cardinal O'Malley, the International Union of Superiors' General and leaders of religious communities in Asia and Oceania. A U.S. House resolution passed Sept. 22 "honors and commends Catholic sisters for their humble service and courageous sacrifice throughout the history" of the nation. The resolution was introduced by Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, and co-sponsored by 67 members of both parties.

National Call To Action is calling on its 25,000 members to ask their bishops not to fund the $1.1 million investigation, as requested in a July 14 letter from Cardinal Rode to US bishops. Catholic Speak Out is circulating a sign on-ad in support of the sisters that had attracted about 2500 signatures at press time.

Most Communities Choose Nonviolent Resistance

At press time, there were reports that, after extensive consultation with canon lawyers, most US congregations would reply in a minimalist fashion to a wide-ranging Vatican canonical questionnaire. Canonists explained that the Apostolic Visitation is in fact a disciplinary process undertaken to correct a perceived problem, yet the problem being investigated hasn't been made clear. The minimalist response will require Vatican officials to name the perceived problem, kicking in a canonical process in which communities have due process protections under canon law. Leaders said that saying no to an administrative request was not being disobedient to the Pope. Some noted that the US Bishops' pastoral on domestic violence defined violence as "any kind of behavior that a person uses to control an intimate partner through fear and intimidation." Others quoted Gandhi's first principle of nonviolence about the obligation of non-cooperation with anything humiliating.

Parish Petition to Support the Sisters

A California parish group calling itself the Women of Magdala garnered 1400 signatures (half the number of parish adults) on a petition supporting US sisters and sent copies to church officials. The group, which regularly participates in FutureChurch's annual Mary of Magdala celebrations, was supported by their pastor, who published supportive information in the parish bulletin prior to the petition circulation.

Women & Spirit: Catholic Sisters in America

A new exhibit documents the contributions made by US women religious in the history of the United States. It runs nationwide for three years and has achieved significant critical acclaim. For schedule info and short videos, see www.womenandspirit.org.


Visit www.futurechurch.org for a petition template, sample bulletin announcements, and addresses.


Focus on FutureChurch

Fall 2009


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