Well, the Vatican's visitation to the female religious orders in the United States appears to be over and the result is as bullying, as patriarchal and as misogynist as everyone (including, no doubt, every Roman catholic in the USA) was expecting. Basically, the women are to stop thinking for themselves and do  what a man tells them to do from now on. Quelle surprise!


The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ordered the largest leadership organization for U.S. women religious to reform its statutes, programs and affiliations to conform more closely to "the teachings and discipline of the Church." The Vatican also said Wednesday it has appointed Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to oversee the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), which has been the subject of a "doctrinal assessment" by the Vatican congregation since 2009, and has given him power to review and revise the organization's policies. The news came in a press release Wednesday morning from the U.S. bishops' conference, which was accompanied by an eight-page document of the doctrinal congregation and a one-page statement from Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the congregation. According to the document from the congregation, Sartain is to be given authority over the group in five areas, including:

Revising LCWR statutes;
Reviewing LCWR plans and programs;
Creating new programs for the organization;
Reviewing and offering guidance on the application of liturgical texts;
and Reviewing LCWR's affiliations with other organizations, citing specifically NETWORK and the Resource Center for Religious Institutes.

According to the letter, Sartain's mandate runs for "up to five years, as deemed necessary." Sartain is also expected to set up an advisory team including clergy and women religious, to "work collaboratively" with LCWR officers and to "report on the progress of this work to the Holy See." "In this way, the Holy See hopes to offer an important contribution to the future of religious life in the Church in the United States," the letter states.

There has been no official response from the ladies as yet. But I can imagine what's being said in the women's bathrooms at the convents (which are probably the only places on earth that they can now get away from theologically perverted dirty old men trying to look up their theological skirts).

Thanks to Whiteycat for sending this story to me.



  1. Now we find to be in deep debate;
    People finding offense in hearing of faith
    It was our founders who would not choice;
    For none of us to have to lose.
    Remembering back to the young man I;
    They said the pledge while I prayed with closed eyes
    Now we remove our kin giving not what is sound to them;
    Its only ignorant ways that you will always defend.
    And I think you do pretend;
    As if life were not lived to be true with whats in.
    Silly you look while shouting all about;
    Taking your offense to the mention of your doubt.
    poet brian stark (facebook)

  2. There are so many gay priests now chasing after lesbian nuns…
    What a strange world the religious life is.

  3. Patriarchy hitting out wherever it can?
    As sad as this makes me, I can’t help but look forward to the response from some of the most intelligent, articulate and caring voices in the American church of Rome- it’s nuns.

    Perhaps our Episcopal kin should be subtly jacking up the volume on their ‘The Episcopal Church Welcomes You’ message.

    A bunch of old white men, dressed in medieval drag, beating up on a bunch of sisters who too often are the only effective arms and legs of that particular denomination? My sense is the old guys are in for more than a few overdue surprises on this one. TBTG!

    You tell ’em Sistahs!

  4. How dare those wimmen care more about the poor than abortion and gay marriage! They just don’t have the right priorities. Don’t they know the Gospel is about “control” and not that mamby-pamby “love your neighbor” stuff?

  5. The nuns have now issued the LCWR Statement from Presidency on CDF Doctrinal Assessment. It says:

    “The presidency of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was stunned by the conclusions of the doctrinal assessment of LCWR by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Because the leadership of LCWR has the custom of meeting annually with the staff of CDF in Rome and because the conference follows canonically-approved statutes, we were taken by surprise.

    “This is a moment of great import for religious life and the wider church. We ask your prayers as we meet with the LCWR National Board within the coming month to review the mandate and prepare a response.”

    This sounds as if the nuns are going to battle privately, at least initially. My prediction: It’s not going to work. The hierarchy will attempt to beat them down and a lot of the nuns are not going to take it. Somewhere along the line it’s going to go public and it’s not going to be pretty.

  6. Lemme suggest: “The sexism and, indeed, outright misogyny in the Church’s all-male leadership has grown from dysfunctional, to cancerous, to terminal—IF *radical change, radical commitment to gender-equality in the structures of power*—are not undertaken, NOW.”

    HTH, LCWR—God bless!

  7. Sometimes, there is movement from the RCC to TEC. In Los Angeles, there is a group called Holy Family Adoption Services that was founded in 1949 by ardent RCC member Delores Hope (Bob’s wife) and funded and supported by the RCC archdiocese. In 2007, the archdiocese insisted that no children be placed with same-sex couples. Holy Family insisted that placing children with same-sex couples was better than leaving them in foster care. The RCC archdiocese withdrew its support. Holy Family was then invited to become part of the TEC diocese of L.A. You can read more about this Huffington Post story.

  8. I suspect that what will happen is that the good (even Great) sisters will dissolve their organisation and establish one that is not a canonical organisation, and thus not under the discipline of the Vatican. Then the Archbishop of Seattle will find himself overseeing a non-organisation. Which might be said for the RCC hierarchy as well.

    The Pope and the Curia have shot themselves in their Prada-clad slippers on this one.

  9. It’s also rumored that this is a grab for property that the sisters hold. Have to have money to pay off those child abuse settlements.

  10. Having a Catholic friend who begins transitioning only to throw everything away over and over (purging) I asked her how I could help. It turns out her internal struggle is the result of his Catholic up bringing. So I asked a transgender Catholic friend in the Easy how she copes and she directed me to a retired nun in Arizona. I call her and we talk at great length only to learn she has terminal throat cancer but still wants to “accompany” another gender gifted soul through transition. She must be crushed by this.