nothing to see here, folks

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Oct 09, 2009

 Archbishop Edwin O'Brien knows a thing or two about apostolic visitations. He led the apostolic visitation of American seminaries that was ordered up by the Vatican at the height of the sex-abuse scandal. That investigation, you'll recall, concluded with an assurance that the seminaries were in fine shape, and we could all relax.

Now Archbishop O'Brien is assuring American nuns that they, too, can relax about the apostolic visitation currently underway into women's religious orders.

As far as I can see, our women religious have nothing to fear from an Apostolic Visitation, and I will do all I can to assist in making this a positive experience for all involved.

Oh, there are a few problems, the archbishop concedes. "The fact that some communities are receiving few if any vocations, for instance, is of real concern to them and the whole Church." But we shouldn't be agitated by the reports about nuns denouncing the Vatican "patriarchy," lobbying for ordination of women, and organizing Gaia-worship services. The apostolic visitation will produce a few ripples, but no big waves, he signals; business-as-usual will continue.

The calming message from Archbishop O'Brien-- following close after a very similar signal from Cardinal Sean O'Malley-- suggests that after weeks of bitter complaints about the Vatican inquiry, American women's religious orders are now quietly rallying support within the US hierarchy.

When an archbishop says that a Vatican investigation won't make waves, he's not just trying to make a prediction; he's trying to make a policy.

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