Vatican Cracks Down on U.S. Nuns

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Vatican Cracks Down on U.S. Nuns

An unprecedented act of correction reveals the Catholic Church’s increasingly assertive direction.

The Vatican announced on April 18 a major reform of an association of American nuns to ensure its adherence to Catholic doctrine in areas including euthanasia, abortion, women’s ordination and homosexuality. The reform marks an unprecedented exertion of Vatican force on a U.S. Catholic organization, and reflects the Catholic Church’s increasingly assertive posturing on the global stage.

The Vatican’s ire is against “radical feminism” pervasive in the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (lcwr), which represents 80 percent of the U.S.’s 57,000 nuns. In an eight-page “doctrinal assessment” of the lcwr, the Vatican accused the lcwr of numerous grave breaches of doctrine, and made clear that it will forcefully correct the group’s “serious doctrinal problems.”

The report, four years in the making, said the “current doctrinal and pastoral situation of lcwr is grave and a matter of serious concern, also given the influence the lcwr exercises on religious congregations in other parts of the world.”

The Vatican says it discovered that “public statements by the lcwr that disagree with or challenge positions taken by the bishops, who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals, are not compatible with its purpose.” The report berated the nuns for broadcasting discussions about the ordination of women, and ministering to homosexual people. It also lambasted them for devoting excessive time to “promoting issues of social justice” while neglecting to comment on “issues of crucial importance to the life of the church and society,” such as homosexual “marriage” and abortion.

Bent on purifying the sisterhood of “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith,” the Vatican appointed Seattle’s Archbishop J. Peter Sartain to provide “review, guidance and approval, where necessary, of the work” of the lcwr in order to reform the group. The correction process could last “up to five years,” and will include review of the lcwr’s liturgical practices, revision of its statutes, supervision of its meetings, and the establishment of formation programs for the lcwr’s congregations. Sartain’s group will also investigate the lcwr’s relationship with various politically active groups.

The lcwr has said it was “stunned” by the conclusions of the report and by the plans to forcefully reform it, calling it “a moment of great import for religious life and the wider church.”

The Vatican’s condemnation of liberalism among American nuns is significant because it represents perhaps the most assertive crackdown on U.S. Catholicism in history. As the lcwr said, it is a move with great significance for the wider church. The Trumpet has long proclaimed, based on Bible prophecy, that, as Europe becomes more unified, the Roman Catholic Church will become increasingly assertive on the global stage, and will become the guiding force of the European bloc. Six of history’s bloodiest chapters illustrate the devastation that ensues when a unified Europe is steered by the Catholic Church, and the seventh iteration of this unholy union is prophesied to be by far the bloodiest. The Vatican’s crackdown on American nuns highlights the church’s increasingly assertive stance, and its attack on liberalism will only become bolder in the months and years ahead. To understand more, read Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.