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Catholic World News

Fort Worth bishop dismisses Carmelite superior

June 02, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, has dismissed the superior of a Carmelite monastery from religious life, in the latest move in a public dispute with the religious community.

Bishop Olson took action immediately after the Vatican Dicastery for Religious appointed him as “commissary” for the Carmelite monastery in Arlington, Texas. A commissary is ordinarily named when the Vatican concludes that a religious community is unable to govern itself.

The dispute began in April, when the bishop opened an investigation of Mother Teresa Agnes, the superior of the monastery, charging that she had violated the Sixth Commandment with a visiting priest. The Carmelite community denies that charge, saying that the Mother Teresa Agnes admitted only to unspecified misconduct that took place while she was under the influence of medications after surgery.

As the conflict escalated, Bishop Olson seized control of the monastery’s communications. Mother Teresa Agnes and her community filed a lawsuit in civil court, saying that the bishop had no authority to take such actions. The bishop fired back by ordering a halt to the daily Mass celebrated at the monastery.

With his order dismissing Mother Teresa Agnes from religious life, Bishop Olson said that he would restore the daily Mass, as well as confessions, to the Carmelite community.

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