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New Vatican official hopes to defuse tensions with US women religious

CWN - August 04, 2010

The American priest named this week as secretary of the Congregation for Religious acknowledged that his appointment is a reflection of “just how badly” American leaders of women’s religious orders have reacted to an apostolic visitation ordered by the Vatican.

Archbishop-elect Joseph Tobin, whose new responsibilities will include supervising that apostolic visitation, said that his own impression of women's religious life in the US was “extremely positive.” But in an interview with John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter: "There's a great deal of misunderstanding among American religious about the decisions of the Holy See, and in particular the visitation of women religious."

"Maybe I can offer a different picture of American women religious than the one that sometimes has been presented in Rome," the Redemptorist priest said.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which has been highly critical of the Vatican investigation, has welcomed the appointment. "Fr. Joe Tobin is held in high regard by U.S. men and women religious," the group announced.

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  • Posted by: polish.pinecone4371 - Aug. 05, 2010 9:52 AM ET USA

    deacon2476427, are you serious? "American Religious women have been faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ..." Really? You mean those 'pilgrimages' to Latin America so women can find their 'inner goddess' are part of the Gospel? Or getting into reiki? Or saying ObamaCare is just fine so Stupak can have a clear conscience and now we have states funding abortion with more taxpayer money? You consider all that the Gospel? Then I pity you and those you lead.

  • Posted by: Juan - Aug. 05, 2010 5:15 AM ET USA

    Yes, a little dialogue will help. Guess who loses.

  • Posted by: Anselm - Aug. 04, 2010 10:22 PM ET USA

    Responses to two comments. I would say the dissent nuns did not win, Archbishop Tobin is respected among all circles so his voice will be strong in speaking for Rome. As far as Mother Angelica and Sr. Chittister, a better example would be naming congregations, as Mother Angelica has also been reprimanded by Rome for failing to obey the lawful order of the Bishop of the Dioceses EWTN is in. Hence the document on the broadcast of the Mass 10 years ago.

  • Posted by: Steve214 - Aug. 04, 2010 9:47 PM ET USA

    There is only one issue here: discipline. It will either be imposed--or the faithful will be betrayed once again. This is not a misunderstanding.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Aug. 04, 2010 8:27 PM ET USA

    It looks to me like the Vatican is pulling its punches again. The dissident nuns have won this round. Really disappointing news.

  • Posted by: ColmCille - Aug. 04, 2010 8:14 PM ET USA

    _Some_ "American Religious women have been faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and tireless in their discipleship." Others--far too many--have embraced heresy, dissent and pagan practices, or have given into lukewarmness and lax observance. This visitation is urgently needed, and I hope His Excellency will dig deeply for the truth, and present the reality without sugarcoating it.

  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Aug. 04, 2010 7:47 PM ET USA

    "Maybe I can offer a different picture of American women religious than the one that sometimes has been presented in Rome." Which is it to be... Mother Angelica, for example? Or Sr. Joan Chittister?

  • Posted by: deacon2476427 - Aug. 04, 2010 6:09 PM ET USA

    American Religious women have been faithful to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and tireless in their dicipleship. I am very happy that Bishop Joe Tobin shares an extreamely positive view of these women.

  • Posted by: adamah - Aug. 04, 2010 5:15 PM ET USA

    What is he going to do? Tell the Pope that women's communities in the United States are "vibrant"?

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