Sister Joan Chittister & Sister Simone Campbell Respond to Vatican Action Against U.S. Nuns

We’re continuing our coverage of the news which broke yesterday that the Vatican has appointed an overseer to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the association of heads of nuns’ communities in the U.S.   The National Catholic Reporter (NCR) article on the action highlights the tasks that the appointee, Archbishop Peter Sartrain of Seattle, will undertake:

  • 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 [Vatican] 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.’ “

Sister Joan Chittister

LCWR has yet to issue a statement concerning the statement from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), but the NCR article quotes  a response to the announcement from Sister Joan Chittister, OSB, the renowned Catholic author and speaker, who is a past-president of LCWR:

“Although LCWR officers did not immediately return requests for comment on this story, a former leader of the group told NCR that the appointment and the order for the group to revise itself was ‘actually immoral.’

” ‘Within the canonical framework, there is only one way I can see to deal with this,’ said Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister, who has served as president of the group as well as in various leadership positions. (Chittister also writes a column for NCR.) ‘They would have to disband canonically and regroup as an unofficial interest group.

” ‘That would be the only way to maintain growth and nourish their congregational charisms and the charism of the LCWR, which is to help religious communities assess the signs of the time. If everything you do has to be approved by somebody outside, then you’re giving your charism away, and you’re certainly demeaning the ability of women to make distinctions.’ “

David Gibson, a premier reporter on Catholic issues, noted in a Religion News Service story appearing in USA Today, that concern about the nuns’ silence on marriage equality was referred to in the Vatican directive:

“. . . ‘[C]rucial’ issues like ‘the church’s biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes church teaching. Moreover, occasional 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 criticism of LCWR’s approach to lesbian/gay issues is also explicitly referenced in the Vatican document:

“In this wider context, the CDF notes the absence of initiatives by the LCWR aimed at promoting the reception of the Church’s teaching, especially on difficult issues such as Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio sacerdotalis [in which the pope said there could be no discussion on women’s ordination in the church] and Church teaching about homosexuality.”

As Bondings 2.0 reported yesterday, the Vatican’s criticism of LCWR’s approach to lesbian/gay issues also included nuns’ support of New Ways Ministry.  From the Vatican document:

“Policies of Corporate Dissent. The Cardinal [William Levada, CDF Prefect] spoke of this issue in reference to letters the CDF received from “Leadership Teams” of various Congregations, among them LCWR officers, protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and of a correct pastoral approach to ministry to homosexual persons, e.g. letters about New Ways Ministry’s conferences. The terms of the letters suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality. It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Church’s teaching.”

You can read New Ways Ministry’s response to this criticism here.

Sister Simone Campbell

Besides New Ways Ministry, another Catholic organization, NETWORK, a national social justice lobbying group, was also cited in the CDF’s criticism of LCWR.  The New York Times article explains the reference and reports NETWORK’s  reaction:

“ ‘I’m stunned,’ said Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby founded by sisters. Her group was also cited in the Vatican document, along with the Leadership Conference, for focusing its work too much on poverty and economic injustice, while keeping  ‘silent’ on abortion and same-sex marriage.

“ ‘I would imagine that it was our health care letter that made them mad,’ Sister Campbell said. ‘We haven’t violated any teaching, we have just been raising questions and interpreting politics.’ ”

In 2010, NETWORK supported President Obama’s health care bill, while the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed it.

Bondings 2.0 will be following the news and commentary on the decision about LCWR in the coming days and weeks.

–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry

67 replies
  1. Walter G. Sandell, Jr.
    Walter G. Sandell, Jr. says:

    “It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Church’s teaching.”
    It is an even more serious matter when those who claim the guidance of the Holy Spirit do not provide ‘effective leadership and example to their communities,’ but resort to authoritarianism and economic power to control the People of God. The failures of the papacy and hierarchy with respect to evangelization and conversion of the World are self evident.
    The failures with respect to child sexual abuse call for an international investigation.

    • Rita
      Rita says:

      Yes! That’s a splendid idea! If the white male hierarchy think its their duty to come and ‘oversee’ a group of nuns, perhaps its time for an international committee to come and oversee the Vatican’s handling of the sexual abuse scandal starting from its earliest years to the present and to finally get to the bottom of who did what and who covered up for whom, even up to and including the present and previous popes! With proper due process and trials to follow and prison sentences where warranted! That I would like to see! I’m tired of hearing how the nuns ‘don’t follow the teachings of the Church’ while these fellows cover up for perverts!

  2. Rachel Guido DeVries
    Rachel Guido DeVries says:

    I believe it is time for American Catholics to leave the boys in Rome to themselves. I praise God for all of the wise and compassionate women and men religious who are moved by the gospels. Rome and its men are more like members of the Taliban than good Christians. They are not motivated by God or Love–but my power and meanness and some forces unknown. Let us stand up for women religious and for the love that Jesus Christ asks of us.

  3. Brother Benilde Montgomery, O.S.F.
    Brother Benilde Montgomery, O.S.F. says:

    Thank you Frank for keeping us up on this issue. As a male religious, I would like to find out how is the best way we can support our sisters? I know prayer, but I’m thinking in an immediate abd practical way.
    Also, agree entirely with Walter Sandell, adding that it was the soon to be sainted JP II who created most of the present episcopacy, moving them away from their pastoral duties to the CEO roles they now play in corporate RC.
    I also wonder why are they so interested in sex of all sorts? Apparently their renowned chastity has given them not much else to think about.
    By the way, Leveda was not much liked by the gay community in San Francisco. He got away asap and went to Rome where the big boys are.

  4. Margaret Swedish
    Margaret Swedish says:

    I think Sr. Joan is right. I think that LCWR, as I had long feared when this investigation began, was going to be forced to take orthodox positions contrary to its beliefs, doctrine that supports a male hierarchical model of power, but has no resemblance to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. My fear was that, this time, there would be no room for nuance.

    The order is indeed “Immoral,” as Sr. Joan says. And to put a male hierarch in charge of LCWR is to denigate the role, voice, and dignity of women. It reminds me of those gospel scenes where the religious authorities are shocked that Jesus would speak to women as an equal and have them among his company.

    LCWR is now invited by these ‘signs of the times’ to something profound and freeing – to help set the gospel free of an institution whose organizational structure and moral arrogance is contrary to the gospel of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Why are they “so interested in sex,” Bro Benilde? Because that is a place where power rests. If you can control women, their roles, their reproduction, you can keep them from claiming their space in this world. And also because of fear – fear of their own sexuality.

    This is an extraordinary moment for LCWR, women religious, and the US church. I will light my candle for wisdom, deep discernment, and a real liberation.

    • Colleen
      Colleen says:

      Thank you for you intelligence, compassion and insight in to this issue… you have exposed the very core of the argument…”Why are they “so interested in sex,” Bro Benilde? Because that is a place where power rests. If you can control women, their roles, their reproduction, you can keep them from claiming their space in this world. And also because of fear – fear of their own sexuality.” This is the essence of patriarchal power…they not only fear their own sexuality…but they are fear the power of women.


      • George Magnuson
        George Magnuson says:

        Colleen, You are absolutely correct, and they are blinded to or refuse to see the hidden assumptions of their thinking and speech!
        George Magnuson

      • colkoch
        colkoch says:

        I’ve always thought it most interesting that Jesus talked about love and the boys in the Vatican talk constantly about sex. Makes one wonder where the maturity stopped for those boys. I would say in the seminary. Jesus didn’t attend a seminary.

    • Celia
      Celia says:

      That very phrase neatly sums up the entire issue: Why are they “so interested in sex,” Bro Benilde? Because that is a place where power rests. If you can control women, their roles, their reproduction, you can keep them from claiming their space in this world. And also because of fear – fear of their own sexuality. Blessings to you and your work.

  5. Kathryn
    Kathryn says:

    This is why I can no longer affiliate myself with “the church” they have forgotten what Jesus’ teachings were all about. So have most of our leaders. Remember how He trashed the money tables in the temple and remember how He asked his friends to leave their worldly goods behind and follow him. I listen to all the political waste and money spent on hate and my heart aches. Dear kind sisters, please keep spreading the love and hope that you give others. I will try to do the same in my own corner of the world (I am a teacher).

  6. Bill Davis
    Bill Davis says:

    “Why are they so interested in sex?” As a wise old Jesuit friend of mine used to say about holy mother church: When your nose is in the crotch, your vision is limited. Bill Davis

  7. Elizabeth
    Elizabeth says:

    I just joined NETWORK. It is my way of supporting not only social justice but the women who promote it. Thank you, Sisters. You are an inspiration in the way that you live the gospel.

    • Erica
      Erica says:

      This is a grave miss-use of power! May we rise to support our sisters and the Female principle of the Divine. May you be held in loving arms and call on your resources, Catholic and non-Catholic! We join you in this battle!

  8. mary
    mary says:

    As the church is returning to the dark ages, I will reticent to calling the CDF by its prior name: Office of the Inquisition. The Inquisitors are “femiphobes”, just as they are homophobes.

  9. Clare Hudspeth
    Clare Hudspeth says:

    Sister Joan, I would really appreciate your advice and guidance on how to be a strong lay woman in the Catholic Church today. As a 70 year old life-long Catholic with a gay daughter and a grandson conceived by in vitro fertilization, and as a long time volunteer in child abuse prevention work, I feel ever more strongly that I am a hypocrite continuing to attend, support and serve as a lay minister in the Catholci church. Should I express my views, politely and carefully but accurately to our paster? to our Bishop? Should I attend the Episcopal church? I can remain silent no long. Thanks for all you have done to promote the openess of Vatican 2 and for your own courage in speaking out. Advice welcome! Clare

  10. Beate Grupp OSB
    Beate Grupp OSB says:

    It is so strange, what problems do the men in the vatican have? Instead of supporting all people who are baptized and spread the good news of the gospel in their daily circumstances and in the world, where the vatican does not reach out to, instead they hinder the mission of Jesus himself. Where is the Holy Spirit?
    In Rome?
    As a German benedictine I want to express my support of all my fellow religious in America – not only those of my own congregation. Keep your head up.
    Beate Grupp, Bernried, Germany

  11. Jody Walker
    Jody Walker says:

    Sister Joan has been such an inspiration to so many. When an institution, especially one with extreme power and wealth, is faced with challenging times and critical questions as we evolve in our spiritual understanding, that institute always has 2 choices. It can evolve as the Christ Consciousness is continually evolving in complexity, love and compassion, (Revelation didn’t end 2000 years ago) or it can seek to maintain the status quo, preserving the institution no matter the cost to the living, breathing inhabitants of the planet. (What ever you do to the least)

    My own spiritual growth can no longer flourish within the confines of a male dominated, hierarchical “church”. Spirituality for me has never been about answers. We will never comprehend the vast complexities of the Universal Force of Love to which we are all connected and of which we are all a part. I need to be free to ask the questions, to look within my own heart and to follow the voice that calls from within and without to wake up and to see Jesus in everyone.

    We are evolving beyond the ethnocentric view of God (an us versus them mentality) and we desperately need the clear, courageous voices of people like Joan to lead us toward a sane, sustainable future.

  12. Sr. Sharon Peters
    Sr. Sharon Peters says:

    As an American religious living and involved in ministry in Europe, I am deeply saddened to read of the decision of the Vatican to impose such heavy-handed strictures on the LCWR. What amount of time and energy will be siphoned away from the work we are called to do among the People of God in order to ‘battle’ the suffocating actions of the CDF? What a hindrance and contra-witness to the ‘proclamation of the Good News’! I also find the fact that there are American bishops willing to be part of the CDF’s actions against their own religious, who are ‘the face of the church’ to many people – both within and beyond it – a very sad witness. From here, all I can offer is my prayerful support as well as that of Sisters of a variety of congregations with whom I am involved in several countries. Shalom, Sharon

  13. Jeri Fantuzzo
    Jeri Fantuzzo says:

    Catholics are leaving the church in droves. Yes they are mad because they wrote a letter in support of president
    Obama’s heathcare proposal. It is the nuns doing the work of Christ. I am a fallen away catholic, and this doesn’t help. We wouldn’t have any priest today if you were hell bent against gays. Many found a safe haven to prey on young boys, and the church knew it and did nothing, just like the holocaust.
    The vatican has gone to far this time, they need to apologise to the nuns.
    Friend in Christ

  14. Janice Poss
    Janice Poss says:

    Yes, Sr. Joan is right. I can see the group disband and start an unofficial new group–there’s always a work-around!! I hope they do, it would be the smartest thing.
    If the CDF has done this to the LCWR, what else will they try to take control of? All the female religous communties, hospitals and schools? I would imagine that there aren’t enough priests to go around, huh?
    The USCCB and CDF has a ‘you are either with me or against me’ mentality that is extremely dangerous. All women and other marginal groups have found their voices and their strength and if the Vatican thinks it can move backward against Vat II and silence the marginalized, they are sadly mistaken. The tide here in America is too strong. Social justice will abide and win. As brilliant a theologian as BXVI is, he is backpeddling in a sea of modernity that can never return to the past–how he cannot see and know this, especially since his former schoolmate, Hans Kung, does, astonishes me.
    Why are there so many people in and outside the church, female, male, priest or nun, theologian or lay parishioner, lapsed or praticing that see the job that needs to be done to refocus the church into a new and renewed paradigm of Jesus’ message that these aging, men are too blind to see and too deaf to hear.
    The voices of the silenced are loud and clear because it is the true message of Jesus, not the CDF nor the USCCB.

  15. jfoxv
    jfoxv says:

    Ironically, Acts of the Apostles on April 19 as we hear this sad news tells us,
    “But Peter and the Apostles said in reply,”We must obey God rather than men. ” It seems in this case the pronoun men is correct.

    • Sharon M. Peters, P.C.J.
      Sharon M. Peters, P.C.J. says:

      Interesting…jfoxv, I was also quite moved by the spot on relationship between this week’s readings and the events of the past few days… we should take courage from the messages: Monday: ‘They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to proclaim the word of God boldly’; Tuesday: ‘United, heart and soul’; Wednesday: ‘The men you imprisoned are in the Temple, preaching to the people’: Thursday: ‘We are witnesses of this, we and the Holy Spirit’; Friday: ‘They were glad to have suffered for the sake of the name of Jesus’. May we be unafraid to proclaim the Good News – no matter what the circumstances! Shalom!

  16. iggy
    iggy says:

    its funny how unwilling we are to be open, as human beings,,,all as one on this tiny planet the vatican awer of the aramaicl lords prey ,,,non sexist !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! please may we awaken

  17. Phil Little
    Phil Little says:

    This crisis goes beyond LCWR and the “Holy” Office of the Inquisition and its branch affiliates in the Vatican. This must be understood in the wider context of the “restoration” of the church to its pre-Vatican2 theology and ecclesiology. Perhaps no group in the church responded with greater insight to the call of Vatican2 for renewal than women religious. The clergy have always been hampered but their elitism and the control exercised on them by their membership in the old-boys fraternity, which logically has little basis theologically or scripturally. The Vatican has begun a new offensive against the organization under which women religious gathered and grew in their prophetic ministries. Most of all – women religious are no longer easy to control or to exploit, as so many are working in non-church institutions while they minister to the more needy and poor in their midst. For the Vatican – and its clergy minded administrators – control is the main objective, the need to regain control over women. Controlling their work and even their way of thinking are just part of this offensive against women religious. Perhaps the women’s congregations need to discuss whether or not they need the LCWR to continue their networking and mutual support. Can they be forced to join and to fund an organization that no longer serves their needs. Why waste energy fighting the Vatican? If the LCWR can function without Vatican control then go that route. If the Vatican has the right to take over this organization and to appoint male clerics to supervise and approve all that the LCWR attempts, then the women already have their networks – pitch their tent under a different umbrella and just keep on going.

  18. Mary Colgan McNamara
    Mary Colgan McNamara says:

    I awoke yesterday to the news of the Vatican’s reprimand of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious). All day that grief swirled in my stomach. Just now as I was straightening things in the kitchen, these words came pouring in from nowhere. I raced to my computer and got down as many as I could.

    On reading the Vatican reprimand of LCWR

    They may hold up half the sky, half the Church. But it was never the half I belonged to in the first place. People may want to ‘recover’ from that half. I am forever unwilling to surrender mine.

    My half of the Catholic Church is the world of mystery, miracle and meaning, of silence and the unknowable. Of prayer at a mother’s knee or beside a birth or death bed. Of occasional piercings of the cloud of unknowing and rendings of the veil. Unmatched ritual, wisdom literature, music and art offer invitations to this half.

    My half of the Catholic Church embraces the much wider human urgency so alive in the historical Jesus, in Buddha, in Ghandi, in Simone Weil, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King and Mother Teresa. In millions of the forever nameless. The urgency toward compassion and justice for each other, toward awe and respect for animals and the environment, toward a relational, inclusive world. A world as far removed from fear as each heart can find the courage to be.

    What is the most common injunction of many scriptures? Fear not. Fear not the biology different from yours. Fear not the skin color different from yours, the lifestyle different from yours. Pass through that fear into largesse of heart. Expand. Embrace until your star dust particles are ready to be given back to the cosmos from which they came. Then, just as you released fear, release again. Release the starlight within you.

    • Janice Poss
      Janice Poss says:

      So beautifully stated, so right on! Yes, it does seem a very half and half world within the church these days. let’s hope it’s more our half than the other, however. Thanks.

    • Renate Rothwell
      Renate Rothwell says:

      These are beautiful and moving words which touch and resonate in my own heart and my experiences within a chuch I chose to belong to. It’s difficult to fight them but less so to hold on to your own beliefs.

  19. Pauline
    Pauline says:

    This time perhaps the bullies have targetted a group they will regret going for, because the women have the courage of their convictions and will not allow themselves to submit to what is obviously harmful and wrong. They will use their God-given gifts of intelligence and integrity. Once you have understood the dynamic of power-over-you, there is no going back. To submit and acquiesce would be to collude. I have seen so many men in this kind of situation refuse to stand up and be men, that I place my hope in the women.

  20. Jerry Burke
    Jerry Burke says:


    • Clare Hudspeth
      Clare Hudspeth says:

      Thanks for giving me a reason to smile during this sad situation. Women must continue to follow our own consciences with all our energy.

  21. Dom Flamiano, Esq.
    Dom Flamiano, Esq. says:

    Prophets, of all genders, suffer, just like Jesus did. Surely it is a sign. How is Gospel spread by thus walled up under siege? Is it as if Vatican II never actually happened? Praise the Spirit that they are still official documents. We sallied forth with those documents, hahaha.

    • Dom Flamiano, Esq.
      Dom Flamiano, Esq. says:

      Lumen Gentium, Orientallium Ecclesiarum, Christus Dominus, Perfectae caritatis, Nostra aetate, *Dei Verbum*!, Dignitatis humanae, **$#Gaudium et spes****, and, of course, Mater et Magistra, Pacem in Terris, Octogesima Adveniens. I would add Rahner’s “Foundations of Christian Faith” and Dorr’s “Option for the Poor”, and, Liberation Theology. it works.

  22. SRS
    SRS says:

    Let us be inspired and encouraged by the brave stance of Sister Joan and Sister Simone. Apparently the Vatican deems US Sisters wrong-headed in working for greater social justice among the voiceless and disenfranchised. Isn’t this what Jesus instructed us to do? The US Sisters should be investigating the power-hungry men at the Vatican! Souls are without gender. The RC Church has much in common with apartheid, a system that ruled by oppression and intimidation.

    Let us each do some small thing every day to keep our support of Women Religious alive. Open a conversation about this with someone you know. Stop putting money into the collection basket. Send a donation to the LCWR, something we can do online at their website. Most importantly, we must open our mouths and speak our outrage. Silence conveys obedience.

    One of the most interesting aspects of this sad situation is that the Vatican states that a woman ordained a priest is automatically excommunicated by virtue of the act of becoming ordained. Serious punishment. Has ONE CATHOLIC PRIEST PEDOPHILE been excommunicated?

    Jesus was an outsider, a community organizer, and a rabble-rouser. He was uneducated. He had a gang – yes, the apostles. He hung out with women. The establishment considered his teachings of love and forgiveness dangerous. Jesus brought the message that God’s love exists for every person on earth. This is an eternal truth. We must support the small and ever-growing group of women priests who embody this message and offer masses at different locations throughout the US. They represent the great hope for spiritual equality and inclusion for all women and men.

  23. Eileen
    Eileen says:

    My Good Sisters – PLEASe leave these men behind and lead the new American Catholic Church…so many of us are leaving and looking for a new community that truly feeds us. They have lost our trust…

  24. Mary Colgan McNamara
    Mary Colgan McNamara says:

    Janice, Renata, and others, at the same time as I wrote about ‘Half the Sky’, I stumbled upon this compassionate encouragement on Angeles Arrien’s website. Let us together in integrity find ways to, as Angeles suggests in her practice, decrease arrogance, fear and polarizing positionality while always upholding our essential half of the sky.

    Litany of Contradictory Things

    Wheat and weeds:
    let them grow together…
    Rich and poor, humble and haughty:
    let them grow together.
    Those whose thinking is similar and contrary:
    let them grow together.
    Those whose feelings are transparent or concealed:
    let them grow together.
    Days of sparseness and days of plenty:
    let them grow together.
    Winter, spring, summer, fall:
    let them grow together.
    All the seasons of one’s life:
    let them grow together.
    Joys and sorrow, laughter, tears:
    let them grow together.
    Strength and weakness:
    let them grow together.
    Doubt and faith:
    let them grow together.
    Denial and commitment:
    let them grow together.
    Preoccupation and freedom:
    let them grow together.
    Virtue and vice:
    let them grow together.
    Contemplation and action:
    let them grow together.
    Giving and receiving:
    let them grow together.
    The helpful and the helpless:
    let them grow together.
    Wisdom of the East and West:
    let them grow together.
    All contrarieties of the Spirit:
    let them grow together.
    –Excerpted and adapted from Michael Moynahan, SJ
    from Hearts on Fire, pgs. 87-89, edited by Michael Harter, SJ

    1. During the month of April, notice and make a list of the contrarieties that you are experiencing internally and externally at this time. And after each, add the blessing, “let them grow together”.
    2. Read the above couplets once a week for your own practice of reflection and contemplation; and for the purpose to strengthen your ability to hold paradox and opposing thoughts, feelings, perspectives, and experiences. This practice helps us to create a greater capacity for hosting diversity and differences, without making them right or wrong, good or bad, positive or negative. Instead, we have the opportunity to extend a blessing of allowance, which fosters an intention to let them find their way together, or “let them grow together”. Ultimately, this is a practice in decreasing arrogance, fear and polarizing positionality; and instead, fosters and increases tolerance and compassion for our selves and others.

    • Janice Poss
      Janice Poss says:

      Mary, Here’s an excerpt from The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberatin Possibilities for Women by Katherine Dyckman, Mary Garvin, and Elizabeth Liebert–three sisters who rewrote the Exercises for women.
      “Feminism does not seek to replace men’s’ exclusive privilege with women’s, but seeks a vision that gives advantage to both. Within a Christian theological context, it gives a lens with which to focus experience and sharpen attention to the ways the Spiritual Exercises function for women.”
      Yes, I have a copy of Hearts on Fire that was given to me for a silent retreat. I love it!! Thanks for reminding me!!

  25. Donna Acquaviva/Bob Naylor
    Donna Acquaviva/Bob Naylor says:

    Donna Acquaviva/Bob Naylor say: We were privileged to work for New Ways’ LGBT Ministry, about five years before we learned that one of our children was transgendered. Our work at NWM gave us the strength we needed to deal lovingly with this news. And it was at NWM that we learned of the LCRW’s unstinting support of the Ministry. We thought then how brave they were. Now comes the deluge due to that support, and we will do all we can to support them in turn. It all reminds me of this story:

    The Holy Trinity was discussing where to go on vacation. God said, “I’d like to see the United States. So much going on there!” Jesus said, “I’d like to go to Jerusalem; it’s been such a long time since I walked those roads.” And the Holy Spirit said, “I’d like to visit Rome. I’ve never been THERE!”


  26. Regina
    Regina says:

    Since the Bible was translated into the vernacular, the mistreatment of women that has gone on unabated for centuries; it should be no mystery why witch hunting started not long after the Bible was translated from Latin.
    This latest abuse of Catholic Church hierarchy toward women religious is just one more part of the long, very long history of verbal attacks, and all other forms of psychological abuse toward women.

    The New Testament, apart from the Gospels, should be acknowledged for what it is – riddled with malevolent errors and falsehoods and venomous wording completely derogatory toward women (and other groups such as loving homosexuals).
    It should be abundantly clear to all humanity that women are not the cause of the greatest harm to humanity.
    The Bible is NOT God. It is subject to error just like any other human endeavor.
    It is long past time that it be cleaned and cleansed of hatred
    and words that produce the fruits of injustice.
    When Christ said, “By their fruits you will know them,” he referenced individuals and so-called leaders,
    but he was also talking about words themselves.
    The Bible, worded with venom toward women, will continue to influence all those in positions of power who believe because of it that they are superior to women,
    to look down on them,
    and mistreat them.
    A new day should dawn, one where the learned and obvious truth prevails.
    Revelations 22 mentions all those “who love and believes a lie”.
    The largest lie masquerading for centuries is that women are not just loving and capable,
    but their voice is critical for a humane and truly loving world and church to finally
    … rise
    from the depths of MANkind.
    “By their fruits, you will know them.”

  27. Mary l.
    Mary l. says:

    Sisters Simone and Joan have my complete support. The church belongs to all of us not the Vatican. Mary from Canada

  28. Clare Julian
    Clare Julian says:

    I was deeply impressed to hear Sr. Simone’s interview with Amny Goodman this past week on Democracy Now. It was obvious that she spoke from an intelligent and soulful place in her heart. I was especially touched as she suggested that one of the main needs of the Church at this time is to truly grieve its offenses. As a former religious who was unable to fit in the box ,so to speak, I truly admire and bless her faithfulness, her integrity and courage.
    Clare Julian

  29. michael mattioli
    michael mattioli says:

    It is a sign of the men’ desperation… more interested in their “authority” than in acting on Christ’s mission… I hope the parish priests will find their courage to stand with their sisters…and let us know that there is “church” in the United States.

  30. Rosa
    Rosa says:

    Dear Sisters,

    I am a Catholic and deep in my heart and mind I know the Lord is with you at this time. I join you in prayer for your success. We as Catholics are not to condemn others, that right belongs to God alone for He unlike us is true justice and He alone can look into our hearts. God has no motive to prove Himself and Christ directed each of us to love one another as He loves us…… to me this means we must love the person who appears different to us. As humans we have free will and at times this gift can cloud our sight and cause us to do things that go against God’s will; there are many examples where the faithful lost their way such as the Inquisition, the house arrest of Galileo for his statement that the earth revolves around the sun, and many other examples.

    We’re all children of God and I believe Christ died for all of us. In Luke 6:41-42 our Lord tells us, “And why seest thou the mote in thy brother’s eye: but the beam that is in thy own eye thou considerest not? Or how canst thou say to thy brother: Brother, let me pull the mote out of thy eye, when thou thyself seest not the beam in thy own eye? Hypocrite, cast first the beam out of thy own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to take out the mote from thy brother’s eye.”

    I’m truly sorry the Pope feels that your group is not doing their part, someone has to be there to help the broken hearted and heal the wounds that afflict God‘s people. Someone has to be there to remind all of us that Christ loves us beyond our understanding and I believe your group has been chosen for this task.

    “Neither do I condemn you,” these words are precious to me because I feel the unconditional love Jesus has for each of us. He is always ready to heal, to forgive, to welcome us. This is the example I wish our church would follow, the path of unconditional love because in truth we are all sinners of one sort or another.

    Again, my prayers are with your group.

    SSF, CA

  31. h france
    h france says:

    Thank you Sister Joan and thank you Sister Simone, I am so dismayed … I used to be so happy to be a Catholic because it seemed we were allowed to think for ourselves and question … now the atmosphere of the Church is turning dark … demonizing certain human beings created by and loved by God … and denying them human rights … yes, it seems the hierarchy are consumed by sexual concerns … I have come to definitely disagree with the mostly male dominated concerns … for one, I believe family planning is a very important thing to achieve and I really can’t believe God really cares how people go about it (with of course the exception being abortion,,, that is not family planning) … speaking of abortion, I am a proponent of life as a seamless garment and abortion is not the only ‘life is sacred’ issue to be concerned about … the church here is fighting a religious liberty battle, but it doesn’t seem to be considering the religious liberty of those who do not share Roman Catholic beliefs … I know we need to try to uphold our ideals … but I think they are going about it the wrong way … I have heard Obama and our government being compared to Hitler and the Nazis … are these people serious? I am 74 years old and participate in many ministries in my parish, but I am beginning to feel like a hypocrite … because of hearing some years ago that we are all called to be priestly people, I used to think of myself as a lay minister of the Church, but we continue to be called volunteers … I am glad to get some of these thoughts off my chest …
    Helen France

  32. Mickey McClure
    Mickey McClure says:

    Thank Heaven for the Christians who are taking back Christianity from the bureaucrats that call themselves the Church! This is the change that I thought would happen as a result of the sex abuse by clergy scandal.What took so long??? No matter…now you have the assurance of holy gospel and truth you are on your way to the new Reformation. The Chosen people had the Law and then the Salvation through love came to stay. If God proclaims, may Love prevail on all of us, even the clergy.
    M. McClure, with intercessory prayer for you from this member of the SCHC.

  33. Reuel Cortes
    Reuel Cortes says:

    But what if, in the end, the Church is right? After all, you are all approving yourselves and those with whom you have the same opinions. Might not your sisters’ “persecution” all be imagined? Please, sisters and brothers, let us remind ourselves that Christ only entrusted the keys of the kingdom to one man, Peter, and “on this rock I will build my Church,” Christ said. Perhaps, we should all have the humility that it is not to us, but to Peter and his Successors, that Christ gave the authority to lead His Church and through whom He will continue to lead it. Let us not give in to the hubris that consumed many men and women in history and led them only to their own downfall because they presumed to “kick against the goad.” By practicing faith and humility, you might yet save the Church in America on which so many in the world look up to.


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