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Columnist echoes US nuns' critique of Vatican inquiry

January 04, 2011

Writing in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, columnist Michael O’Malley offers an analysis of the Vatican’s apostolic visitation of American women’s religious orders, from a perspective highly sympathetic to the American nuns and critical of the Holy See. For example:

One of the questions investigators ask, according to the Visitation's Web site, is: "What is the process for responding to sisters who dissent publicly from church teaching and discipline."
That question, says the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit theologian at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., shows what the inquiry really is all about-- the idea that nuns should not think for themselves or question church authority.

Actually the question merely asks how religious orders respond to criticism of the Church. If the nuns who hold positions of authority in these religious orders could “think for themselves” and apply reasonable disciplinary constraints on their members, Vatican involvement would be unnecessary.

O’Malley reports, however, that the appointment of Archbishop Joseph Tobin as secretary of the Congregation for Religious has eased the fears of American nuns.


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