Voice of the Faithful Takes Nuns’ Side

As the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith comes down on women religious in the United States for doctrinal impurity, Roman Catholic Church reform movement Voice of the Faithful supports the sisters.

On Wednesday, the Vatican mandated reform of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the largest leadership body of women religious in the United States, which represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 nuns in the country. Because of LCWR’s purported doctrinal impurity, the Vatican has appointed an archbishop to oversee the nuns’ reform.

The record of women religious in this country taking care of the most vulnerable in our society, creating the American hospital system, for example, is a primer on Gospel values. Their long service on the front lines of poverty and disease is worthy of the respect and admiration of all, VOTF among them.

Canon Lawyers are not giving LCWR much of a chance against the Vatican, which started LCWR in 1956 and to which the sisters answer.

VOTF believes that, although the Vatican may have Canon Law on its side, the sisters have Jesus’ example on theirs and his Scriptural admonition (Luke 20:46-47) about teachers of the law: “Be on guard against the scribes, who like to go around in long robes and love greetings in the marketplaces, seats of honor in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets. They devour the houses of widows and, as a pretext, recite lengthy prayers. They will receive a very severe condemnation.”

Comments supporting the sisters will be forwarded to the LCWR.

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  1. #1 by Margaret Collins Shields, (suzy) on July 21, 2012 - 7:47 AM

    The Sisters of Loretto, St Mary’s Academy, Denver, Colo. meant the world to me. They were fabulous educators, loving and giving women. They gave so much. Being an only child with a widowed and needy mother they were my “roots”. They were so interested in all of us. We were their lives also. I thank God every day for my 16 years with the Sisters of Loretto. The Catholic hierarchy should be ashamed of themselves; their credibility and leadership eroades on a daily basis.

    Margaret Collins Shields, SMA’54,LHC’58


  2. #2 by fr. pat cawley on April 30, 2012 - 2:35 PM

    Perhaps the Vatican’s attack on the LCWR will prove to be the rallying point for all of us to come together and demand our church back. Enough is enough. I do think there is a mixup though. The LCWR should be overseeing the Vatican and the Bishops. Now that would be prove revealing. Also a quick review of the three Bishops selected for the inquisition makes one wonder about the wisdom of it all.


  3. #3 by Pat Cuccia on April 25, 2012 - 3:10 PM

    Unfortunately there is no dialogue when it come to the Vatican and its hierarchy. The Civil War, Hurricane Katrina, the Foundling Hospital, numerous hospitals, thousands of schools, etc. Where are the boys when there’s work to be done?
    Another diversion to the cover up which is STILL going on! They just can’t deal with smart women.
    Women who live the Gospels and thought Jesus meant what he said on the Mount!


  4. #4 by Mary Lynn Ritchey on April 25, 2012 - 12:31 PM

    Just think of what the Catholic Church in this country owes to women religious who since its inception used them to teach catechism classes, teach in Catholic schools (for a pittance), to nurfse its sick in the Catholic health care system built by the sisters They received little or no diocesean assistance from the church for any of this. They answered the call of Vatican II to serve the poorest of society’s poor, marginalized, and dispossessed, the ones whom Jesus served. Again, they received no assistance from the official church. They lost numbers. They banded together to retain their identiry, to keep the faith and to remain true to their various missions. But in these processes they became educated, strong and powerful–and fully able to think for themselves and outside the Roman party line. Now they are a threat and must be “dealt with.” If the official church still had the Spanish Inquisition of fire and brimstone, I’m sure these women would be burned at the stake. I say more power to them.


  5. #5 by lpmulligan on April 25, 2012 - 11:50 AM

    While I am naturally inclined to agree w/ the position taken by VOTF, I also believe the comments above, #s 2 & 5, make valid points, & that the partial response in # 3 (to # 2), is just that, partial. The critical portion of the request in # 2, albeit not fully articulated, has not been addressed, and should be; that is, on what principled basis does VOTF believe the position taken by the CDF to be erroneous? Hopefully, at some point VOTF will do so.


    • #6 by lpmulligan on April 25, 2012 - 4:41 PM

      why has the #’ing changed? what is referenced above as #3 now looks like it is shifted to #6?


  6. #7 by Dan Daly on April 24, 2012 - 10:37 PM

    VOTF supports the nuns but offers no factual points to support this action. Are we sudenly just supposed to agree with VOTF no questions asked?


  7. #8 by Richard E. Hughes on April 24, 2012 - 7:08 PM

    Aloha: Before signing a petition, I like to know the facts. What exactly is LCWR teaching or doing that the members of the Magisterium consider “doctrinal imurity”? We all seek doctrinal purity, and frankly, I sense that some of what the members of tthe Magiterium teach is not pure. However, as I see it, the issue is not about not being fair to women or taking sides, the issue is about doctrinal purity. May we have more information on the issue? Shalom, Richard E. Hughes


  8. #10 by Rosalie Steward on April 24, 2012 - 6:57 PM

    God created each of us in Love….and nowhere in this story of creation do I find God suggesting that the Male creature is in charge of or superior to the Female creature. We are each made in God’s Image and Likeness.

    Our all male run church will not Honor the equality of women. This is just another example of
    how their own ignorance of humans and human sexuality is mis leading them and clouding their judgement and driving them down a false path.

    We are created as companions to each other……Males are not meant to be overseers.

    May the Holy Spirit bring them to their senses Following Jesus is the Work and cooperation
    rather than control would be more fruitful in carrying out “The Mission”.


  9. #11 by G. Prisco on April 24, 2012 - 6:12 PM

    It is very sad to see how VOTF has developed over the past ten years. The original founder’s (Jim Muller et al) vision seemed on target and their goals and objectives doable over time if VOTF could maintain its centrist posture and patience in the development of dialog with the Vatican. In the winter issue (2002-03) of Notre Dame Magazine that featured an article on VOTF and Muller, the article stated “But the crucial question remains: Can the center hold?” It appears that the center did not hold and that some of the things Muller feared have happened. VOTF has moved far to the left embracing just about every extreme “Catholic” activist group and leftist persons out there. The latest predictable knee-jerk reaction of VOTF to the Vatican’s call for reform of the LCWR in no way will help in realizing the vision to ” Keep the Faith, Change the Church” as hoped for by the VOTF founders. Instead you are marginalizing the organization to the point where you are becoming a paranoid group with little stature to command the attention of most Catholics not to mention the Vatican. I believe you should read the N.D. article to try regain your bearings.


    • #12 by Patricia on April 26, 2012 - 2:24 PM

      Curious – how you think VOTF has developed over the past 10 years or changed unfavorably in your opinion. VOTF has never had dialog with the Vatican to my knowledge. Wonder if you’d agree that the center has shifted over the past 10 years with the ripple effect that revelations of clergy sexual abuse across the world have produced: Ireland, Australia, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Belgium, etc. Who are some of the activist groups and leftist persons that VOTF have embraced? Just curious to know what you consider left of center. BTW, many of the original founders continue in leadership positions of VOTF.


  10. #13 by Frank DIngle on April 24, 2012 - 5:24 PM

    The Legend of The Grand Inquisitor fits the current Vatican!

    The tale is told by Ivan with brief interruptive questions by Alyosha. In the tale, Christ comes back to earth in Seville at the time of the Inquisition. He performs a number of miracles (echoing miracles from the Gospels). The people recognize him and adore him, but he is arrested by Inquisition leaders and sentenced to be burnt to death the next day. The Grand Inquisitor visits him in his cell to tell him that the Church no longer needs him. The main portion of the text is devoted to the Inquisitor explaining to Jesus why his return would interfere with the mission of the Church.

    Summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Grand_Inquisitor

    Peace, Hope and Love

    Frank Dingle


  11. #14 by Sarah Murphy Doganieri on April 22, 2012 - 3:08 PM

    I do not have full knowledge of LCWR but I do have a comment about the role of Women in the church. I think the treatment of women in the Roman Catholic Church is a sad one. We have much to give…..much to offer. We are not second class citizens, nor are we inferior to men. Some of us are content to serve but others are called to lead but can not. I once heard a priest say that the reason the Catholic Church only allows men to be priests or for that matter leaders in the church
    is because Jesus was a Man. Would the culture of His time allow for a Female Messiah. I doubt it.
    Let us live in the present and stop denying ourselves of the talent, leadership., and intelligence of all women………and may God forgive us for denying them and us of their contribution. Women of God, stand your ground.


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