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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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American nuns mount 'almost universal resistance' to Vatican inquiry

November 25, 2009

Many leaders of women's religious orders in the US are refusing to answer questions submitted to them as part of the Vatican's apostolic investigation, the National Catholic Reporter reveals. One informed source told the Reporter that only about 1% of the religious contacted had responded by a November 20 deadline to the questions submitted by Mother Mary Clare Millea, who is leading the Vatican inquiry. Another source quoted anonymously in the Reporter's account boasted of "almost universal resistance" to the Vatican.

The apostolic investigation is being conducted to gauge the health and vitality of women's religious orders in the US, and to answer questions about their loyalty to the faith and the authority of the Holy See. Many prominent American nuns have expressed resentment about the inquiry, and a few have recommended a policy of non-cooperation with the apostolic investigation.


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  • Posted by: Pete - Dec. 05, 2009 12:07 AM ET USA

    Something about that VOW of OBEDIENCE that seems to be getting a little sticky. No wonder so many orders are in trouble--won't obey, don't believe the teachings, and refuse to submit to authority. The bishops who are defending them should also be removed from office. If we have to clean house to go forward, let the Holy Spirit lead on!

  • Posted by: sparch - Nov. 30, 2009 10:17 AM ET USA

    It sad to read that the religious orders have rejected the church by taking this course. The Vatican was conducting the visitations to help the religious orders, help that could have bolstered the orders to make them stronger. The final throes of a dying arm of the church. They reject the very people who have come to rescue them. The world has indeed turned upside down.

  • Posted by: michaelwilmes - Nov. 28, 2009 4:28 PM ET USA

    Excellent. Now to hear those two magical words from Rome: Check-mate.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 28, 2009 2:12 PM ET USA

    My copy of the NT Sermon on the Mount doesn't say anything about the Insubordinate inheriting the Earth. Must be an old edition.

  • Posted by: Lucius49 - Nov. 27, 2009 11:54 AM ET USA

    You have to add to this that the investigation is being undermined by some of our bishops who have publicly praised the sisters in question. Now the ball is in the Holy See's court. Does it have the fortitude and will to take the appropriate steps which would include dissolving groups that have abandoned the church which keeping up a facade of being women religious.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 27, 2009 11:01 AM ET USA

    It is difficult, to say the least, to teach my children the importance of accountability, structure, commitment, respect and supremacy of the Church, if those in leadership continue to decent without formally doing so to bear the consequences of their actions.

  • Posted by: drl12501082 - Nov. 26, 2009 6:19 PM ET USA

    These women pretend they are holy, while dismissing in the classrooms and parishes Catholic Church teachings. The hypocrisy and the cruelty with which they abuse the Church and its people is a horror. May the Lord save us from any more of this tragedy.

  • Posted by: cephas - Nov. 26, 2009 1:58 PM ET USA

    Many orders appear to have lost the faith. Time for some serious pruning. Fortunately there are some faithful, growing, vibrant orders (with many young vocations) to fill the void.

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Nov. 26, 2009 1:06 AM ET USA

    How appropriate that "almost universal resistance" would come from those who have presided over Almost Universal Decline.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 25, 2009 9:47 PM ET USA

    They've got their answer right there.

  • Posted by: skladach - Nov. 25, 2009 7:29 PM ET USA

    Bishop Sheen in the Fifties wrote, "Anyone who marries the spirit of the age is soon widowed."

  • Posted by: unum - Nov. 25, 2009 7:19 PM ET USA

    The vow of obedience is sooo passe'.

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Nov. 25, 2009 6:49 PM ET USA

    This news is so appalling! The Church is in way worse shape than I even thought. Most of the comments in the National Catholic Reporter at the end of the article are straight from hell.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Nov. 25, 2009 5:59 PM ET USA

    It seems to me that recommending a policy of non-compliance is the material sin of contumacy, and that this is the equivalent of what Patrick Kennedy is doing in the secular realm to Bishop Tobin. Too bad.

  • Posted by: - Nov. 25, 2009 5:32 PM ET USA

    "But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth?" --Luke 18, 8 These women religious are source of great scandal to the young and the uniformed. They shame themselves and their respective orders. But as the Lord always works in His own mysterious ways, the vast majority of them are moribund and many of their orders are doomed to extinction soon.

  • Posted by: Eric - Nov. 25, 2009 4:40 PM ET USA

    This behavior tells the Vatican more than any survey could.