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US nuns need not fear probe, says Vatican official

December 07, 2010

In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, the secretary of the Congregation for Religious signals that American women religious have little reason to fear the results of a Vatican investigation.

Archbishop Joseph Tobin says that the Vatican needs to adopt a "strategy of reconciliation" with American nuns, and acknowledge the "depth of anger and hurt" caused by Vatican suspicions.

Although the apostolic visitation of American women's religious orders is still in progress, the American archbishop says that he "would be very surprised if anyone would purport to give any punitive or overly prescriptive norms as a result of this visitation." Some guidance may be given, but no major changes will be required, he indicates.

Archbishop Tobin says: "But forcing people into habits or something like that? That's not what this is about."

The archbishop tells interviewer John Allen that he is not involved in a separate investigation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.


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  • Posted by: Hal - Dec. 08, 2010 10:17 AM ET USA

    Agree with the below commnents. Too bad. There's enough dissent in some of those Orders that they should be disbanded, or whatever the equivalent is. I didn't realize there were such things as "American nuns". Silly me. Thank God for the Nashville Dominicans!

  • Posted by: fenton1015153 - Dec. 08, 2010 9:04 AM ET USA

    I think nuns should all wear habits. I think priests should all wear the collar and black. The Church has a believibilty problem. Some of that problem is lack of proper dress. A lot of the problem is the old 'do what I say not what I do'. Dress is the outward sign of what you should be supporting inwardly. If you do not want to be identified as a Catholic nun or priest then you also may not be living a life that would be attractive to those seeking faith.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Dec. 07, 2010 9:20 PM ET USA

    Would St.Therese of Lisieux be "hurt and angry"? I think she lived her vocation in a very different way,ill health aside.

  • Posted by: FrPhillips1125 - Dec. 07, 2010 6:17 PM ET USA

    Maybe not "forcing them into habits," but it would be nice to require all of them to believe the revealed Catholic Faith...

  • Posted by: michaelwilmes - Dec. 07, 2010 6:06 PM ET USA

    Here, Here! Agreed! All sisters who were either forced out of their convents, or simply left over the utter disgust over liberal, feminist-theology nonsense have to be heard. I can only imagine the sadness many of those fine women endured: giving their lives to Christ in poverty and late in life finding only anger and dissention in their "homes". God Bless those fine Sisters.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 07, 2010 5:59 PM ET USA

    In other words, it's going to be a white wash?

  • Posted by: BobJ70777069 - Dec. 07, 2010 5:30 PM ET USA

    Too bad. Do the American nuns belong to the American Church or the Catholic Church? If it's the latter, they should, as the old G I phrase has it, "Shape up or ship out."

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Dec. 07, 2010 4:26 PM ET USA

    I don't have a clue about why nuns are justified in being "hurt and angry" because the Vatican insists they act like Catholics bound by voluntary vows of poverty, chastity and obedience under the special protection of the Church. If they wanted self-fulfillment and social justice, there are much more direct ways to work for them.