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Friday, July 3, 2009
Vatican Study of American Nuns
Mother Mary Clare Millea, of the Congregation of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, has been appointed by the Vatican to study the activities of some orders of nuns in the United States.
I grabbed this story from the New York Times, written by Laurie Goldstein. It concerns the Vatican investigation of women religious orders in America. We know that many religious orders are in decline. Mother Mary Clare Millea has been asked by the Vatican to find out why. The NY Times has not been friendly to the Catholic Church in recent times, but you may find some good information in the article. When problems arise and vocations falter, I believe it comes down to the issue of "obedience."
U.S. Nuns Facing Vatican Scrutiny
The Vatican is quietly conducting two sweeping investigations of American nuns, a development that has startled and dismayed nuns who fear they are the targets of a doctrinal inquisition.
Nuns were the often-unsung workers who helped build the Roman Catholic Church in this country, planting schools and hospitals and keeping parishes humming. But for the last three decades, their numbers have been declining — to 60,000 today from 180,000 in 1965.
While some nuns say they are grateful that the Vatican is finally paying attention to their dwindling communities, many fear that the real motivation is to reel in American nuns who have reinterpreted their calling for the modern world.
In the last four decades since the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, many American nuns stopped wearing religious habits, left convents to live independently and went into new lines of work: academia and other professions, social and political advocacy and grass-roots organizations that serve the poor or promote spirituality. A few nuns have also been active in organizations that advocate changes in the church like ordaining women and married men as priests.
Some sisters surmise that the Vatican and even some American bishops are trying to shift them back into living in convents, wearing habits or at least identifiable religious garb, ordering their schedules around daily prayers and working primarily in Roman Catholic institutions, like schools and hospitals.
To read the rest of the article, click HERE
* New Video Message from Mother Clare
** Above photo of Mother Mary Clare Millea is by James Estrin, NYTimes