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September 19th, 2010
12:03 PM ET

Nuns speak out on Vatican investigations

Editor's Note: CNN Correspondent Carol Costello and Producer Bob Ruff bring us this post.

(CNN) – The "talk" has been "heated" of late on Sister Maureen Fiedler's WAMU radio show in Washington DC. A sample: "Some of my friends asked me whether Vatican officials suffer a deep-seated hatred of women."

Sister Maureen understands why her listeners, mostly Catholic nuns and religious women, feel the need to sound off. They've been frustrated, even angry, ever since the Vatican ordered two sweeping investigations into the religious views and lifestyles of American nuns.

"What I hear from a lot of lately with regard to this investigation," said Fiedler, "is, let me get this straight: It's priests that abuse children. Some priests, of course. It's bishops that covered it up. So they're investigating nuns?

One of those Vatican-ordered investigations, which are now nearing completion, involves a two-part questionnaire consisting of 120 detailed questions like: What is the process for responding to sisters who dissent publicly from Church teaching...? How does the manner of dress of your sisters...(lend) to the dignity...of your vocation? And, what are the procedures for dealing with matters (like) civil disobedience, criminal activity, sexual improprieties, etc?

Read the full story on American Morning's blog AMFix.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Catholic Church • Faith Now • Leaders

soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. kerry

    my church is geting stranger by the week
    time to go to the church of my baptisum

    April 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  2. kerry

    this is whats happening and how it happend
    http://kerrysdomain.net/vatican2

    December 29, 2010 at 1:19 pm |
  3. Truthwillsetyoufree

    For your information, CatholicMom, The Trinity is in the Gospel. Not the wording , but we can understand how it is formed.
    You stated:

    You see, not everything that a Christian accepts as Truth is in the Bible.

    Thats a nice cop out.

    You have still failed to tell me where that "Mystery" in your personi Christi came from? Don't you know? All I asked was where it is in the bible? How does that cause you to question my Christianity?

    IWhere else does one find truth if you can't get it in the bible, the written word of Jesus C-h-r-i-s-t, inspired by the Holy Ghost.?

    See thats the problem with the Rcc, and you people that believe every word they tell you, and never question it, because you are afraid you will be Cursed (ananthema or something like that) or thrown out of the church altogether.

    Thats exactly one of the reasons why I got out of there. Anything they can't answer, Is a "mystery."

    September 20, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Truthwillsetyoufree,
      Check out these verses for Holy Orders: Luke 5:1-11, John 1:35-39, 15:15-16, 20:19-23, Acts 6:3-6, 13:3, 1Cor 11:19-27,
      2Tim 1:6, Heb 5:1-5, 1Pet 2:5-11.

      September 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm |
  4. Truthwillset you free

    This is there "Persona Christi "

    THey believe they are the church that Jesus spoke of . The second part is a another Catholic "MYSTERY" That is because its another lie the Cayholic Church teaches, that it can't explain No man is equal with C-H-R-I-S-T.
    But, as usual, the Catholic Church says a priest is. Note the words at the end...
    "the redemptive sacrifice, the SAME sacrifice which C-h-r-i-s-t offered on the cross?"
    Also note it does not say, this priest is a FOLLOWER of C-h-r-i-s-t...But BECOMES another C-h-r-i-s-t.....sine there is no scripture for that, and they can't justify it, it becomes A MYSTERY! What Bunk!

    IN PERSONA CHRISTI

    PRIESTS
    Saint John Chrysostom wrote in the fourth century, "Priests who dwell upon earth and make their abode therein have been commissioned nonetheless to dispense things which are in heaven, and have received an authority such as God has not given either to angels or archangels. For it has not been said to them: All that you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven (Matthew 18:18). Those who rule upon earth, indeed, have authority to bind, but bodies only, whereas the binding done by priests takes hold of the soul itself and reaches to heaven. What priests execute below, God ratifies above, and the Master confirms the judgment of His servants."

    Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, says, "The priestly vocation is a mystery. It is the mystery of a wondrous exchange ("admirabile commercium") between God and man. A man offers his humanity to Christ, so that Christ may use him as an instrument of salvation, making him, as it were, another C_h_r_i-s-t. Unless we grasp the mystery of this "exchange", we will not understand how it can be that a young man, hearing the words "Follow me!", can give up everything for Christ, in the certainty that, if he follows this path, he will find complete personal fulfillment. In our world is there any greater fulfillment of our humanity than to be able to re-present every day in the Person of C-h-r-i-s-t, ("in persona Christi"), the redemptive sacrifice, the same sacrifice which C-h-r-i-s-t offered on the cross?"

    I would like to know where Jesus said that in the bible! He didn't. Another thought up concept of the RCC!

    Also, a lie: whereas the binding done by priests takes hold of the soul itself and reaches to heaven. No one controls our soul but the Lord himself.

    September 20, 2010 at 8:14 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Truthwillset you free,

      Perhaps, I am mistaken, I thought you were Christian.

      Here is a perfect example of a Christian mystery. The Trinity. We know it is explained that there is such a thing in the Bible but for our creature minds it is hard to explain how there can be three Persons in One but we know it is true and take it on Faith. That is what Faith is….we accept it as Truth. Maybe you don’t, but that does not change what is. You see, not everything that a Christian accepts as Truth is in the Bible.

      September 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm |
  5. Truthwillset you free

    Here is an article about one nun that did stand trial for abuse of boys

    http://www.jsonline.com/news/milwaukee/29500544.html

    September 20, 2010 at 7:19 am |
  6. T'Pau

    Vot!
    Dere hast bin nOh investigations by deh Vulcans here!
    Shpock, yu must prepare their minds for teh logic ve all must share...

    September 20, 2010 at 5:50 am |
  7. Reality

    For new members only:

    The larger question is: Why would any woman or man, married or not want to become a leader of any religion considering the flawed histories and theologies of these religions???

    September 20, 2010 at 12:24 am |
    • peace2all

      @Reality

      Vintage Reality... :-)

      Peace.....

      September 20, 2010 at 3:20 am |
  8. Kay

    Interesting that you all fall for the negative implications of "an investigation." It is a "survey" at best. If the sisters aren't doing anything wrong, they shouldn't be the least bit alarmed by it. It is a complete lie furthered by journalistic sensationalism that the Roman Catholic Church is hateful or oppressive to women.

    If you really cared about what the church teaches and what Catholics believe, you would skip the headlines and read actual Church teaching for yourself. Then, at least, you could reject it credibly. And the RCC is far from "done." That's laughable!

    September 19, 2010 at 11:12 pm |
  9. Truthwillsetyoufree

    You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. (NIV, Galatians 3:26-29)

    some of the great leaders and prophets of Israel were women (Exodus 15:20, Judges 4:4-5, Esther 4:15-17, Luke 2:36-38, etc.), so God could not have intended to exclude women from spiritual and political leadership. Paul's proclamation of equality (Galatians 3:26-29) and Jesus' willingness to defy convention and accept women into his larger circle of disciples (Luke 8:1-3, 10:38-39) should be the guiding principles rather than the customs of the Roman Empire in the first century. Women took as large a role in the early Church leadership as was allowed by the conventions of that society (Acts 1:12-14, 18:24-26, 21:7-9, Romans 16:1-16), so women today should be able to serve the Church in whatever positions they are qualified for.

    September 19, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Truthwillsetyoufree, you said, 'so women today should be able to serve the Church in whatever positions they are qualified for.'

      They are!

      September 20, 2010 at 12:15 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Truthwillsetyoufree,

      Your verse, Galatians 3:26-29, is speaking about Baptism not ordination. In Baptism we all become members of the Body of Christ with Him as the Head, our high priest. In ordination, men become configured to Jesus Christ as priest, persona christi. A woman is acting scandalous when she tries to configure herself as a man to Jesus Christ in His priesthood.

      September 20, 2010 at 11:25 am |
  10. k macri

    The nuns are the backbone on the church in America. If the Vatican is smart they will support them in their works not investigate them.

    September 19, 2010 at 7:44 pm |
    • Critter

      @k macri

      I confess I do not see any evidence of wisdom in the Vatican, just deviousness. They've been too clever by half. The current state of affairs is proof enough of that...

      And if you mean that the nuns are the ones doing all the real work, I kinda think that might be true, but I don't really know for sure...religion is a sort of lazy confidence game anyway. Work one day a week if you like and soak up all of "God's" money.
      ...and put the women to work...yeah, I can see that happening....

      September 19, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • NL

      There aren't enough front-line priests doing mass so sisters often hand out hosts that were already consecrated prior. Must be frustrating that they have to wait for some priest to have the time to do this. Imagine a nun of 40 years having to depend on a freshly-minted priest for this?

      September 19, 2010 at 11:04 pm |
    • Frogist

      I agree that in religion the woman's position is always secondary... almost unecessary. It's a wonder sometimes that Satan isn't depicted as female. But I guess that would mean she would be in a position of power... can't have that. *sigh*

      September 20, 2010 at 11:47 am |
    • NL

      Frogist-
      That would be Lilith and she was, according to folklore, Adam's first wife and created by God at the same time, of equal stuff, and as an equal to Adam. Needless to say she refused to be his "helper mate" and left the slob to be the consort of an angel. One version of her story is that she was the snake in the garden just doing what ex's do. Other traditions say she was the first vampire, or a bat, but always some kind of evil night spirit.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm |
    • Frogist

      @NL: Lilith was always a curious and interesting figure for me. But I didn't know she was supposed to be the snake as well. Wow 2 votes against women from the very beginning eh? I had heard of the whole vampire thing though... I definitely need to read more about her. Thanks for the heads up.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:21 pm |
    • NL

      Frogist-
      Abrahamic mythology is no less interesting than any other mythology. Problem is, most believers don't realize just how much of it all is mythology.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
  11. Eric G.

    Control control control. The RCC is done. How will the followers react when the church implodes? What do you think they will do when they find out their faith is false and they have no ability to reason?

    September 19, 2010 at 5:44 pm |
  12. CatholicMom

    I say 'nip it in the bud….'.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
    • NL

      So, where is the equivalent survey of priests in such matters, or is this just a 'witch hunt'? There's a whole lot of nipping of buds that can be accomplished with the male clergy too.

      September 20, 2010 at 10:44 am |
    • CatholicMom

      If priests wanted to configure themselves by vows to becoming a nun, a woman, I would say, ‘nip it in the bud’ to that also.

      September 20, 2010 at 11:18 am |
    • NL

      CatholicMom-
      Not at all what I asked. I asked where was the equivalent survey of priests in such matters? If it takes a male bishop to make a woman a priest why isn't Rome surveying the male clergy to flush out these traitors? Is it simply because men don't question other men? That would, I suppose, explain a lot about the pedophilia cover ups.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      NL,

      Priest aren’t cloistered together as sisters or nuns can be. Priests answer to their Bishop on an individual bases or as a diocese at particular times when they are all called together.

      September 22, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  13. Iqbal khan

    Islam Cracks The Code – Da Vinci
    First it was the Da Vinci Code controversy – It was everywhere! Dan Brown's book said Jesus in not divine or God, and the gospels as we know them, ...
    http://www.islamcode.com/ – Cached – Similar

    September 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm |
  14. Frogist

    By the church auditing it's women, I think the sister is right in her fear that the church is going to bring back habits and convents as the only way for women to serve as nuns. When the Vatican says women priests are akin to the abuse of children in the church you can see how misguided their position on women really is. It's an obvious and easy thing to target women as a means to distract from the real issues. It's a regularly used mysoginist tactic. And it's sad to see it being employed by such a wide-ranging organisation that holds itself up as a bastion of morality.
    I guess I had hoped that after all the revelations about abuse by priests in the Catholic church that would be it's primary and ongoing focus. But the church seems more concerned about its own heirarchy than the safety of the innocents in their charge.

    September 19, 2010 at 5:00 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Frogist,

      If a sister has a fear of wearing a habit perhaps she did not recognize her true vocation. She wouldn’t like the chasuble either. Give it up sisters!

      September 20, 2010 at 12:11 am |
    • Frogist

      I take it you are against them wearing "civilian" attire? Why? And it is not the habit they fear, it's what it represents. The old ways are not always the better ways. What else will return for the church? Besides which the church seems to be using them to deflect from their responsibilities elsewhere.

      September 20, 2010 at 11:42 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Frogist,
      Again, if they fear what the habit represents then they must have chosen the wrong vocation. Why would they not want to show who they are? Think of the people who might appoach them and ask about the Catholic Faith because they needed some advise...even to help one person that way would be worth wearing the habit if for no other reason. Just one soul is worth it.

      If the habit represents something fearful....it is not what they should be living.
      So, what order of nuns hates the habit? ......Just so those who love the habit and what it represents will avoid those orders.....

      September 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm |
  15. peace2all

    It looks and sounds like more ....deflection from the 'male' dominated RCC. The attacks by *inference* on women in general and Catholic Nuns in particular, and the almost mysoginistic treatment of women in general is again at the very least should be questioned....

    Looks like a lot of shake up going on in the RCC

    Peace....

    September 19, 2010 at 12:12 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Peace2all,

      It looks like women are just as capable of bringing scandal to the Catholic Church as men are.

      I sat next to a nun on a flight and only learned that she was a nun by conversation. As the flight came to an end, she ended with the remark that she thought there should be women priests! I was dumbfounded! Had the flight had another leg to it I may have come out of my shock and been able to speak on this but as it was, I have never been able to clear my mind of those remarks from her.

      Talk like that is just another scandal in the Church….nuns going against the teachings of the Church, the Church that Jesus Christ founded. Satan does not only attack priests, he attacks nuns and sisters, too.

      Scandal shall come to Jesus Christ’s Church; He said it would, but woe to the one who brings it….

      I wanted to be a nun when I was a little girl. But that was not the plan for me. But it was the plan for many women. What I don’t understand about these women who want to be priests,or the ones that think that women marrying women and men marrying men is any part of Truth….where did they get that idea and why do they think that the Church can change and make something that is not Truth now become truth.

      What I would suggest to women who find themselves in an order that is going against the teachings of the Church is to find an obedient order so you can continue with your service to God rather than be caught up with these women who are not devoted to theTruth.

      September 19, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Catholic Mom: If what you say is true then the church seems more concerned with scandal regarding women than safety regarding children. What is this truth that the church espouses that is offended by women priests? And how is being in the service of god supposed to mean caring about how high up women can progress within the church's political structure? I am still after all I've read at a complete loss why women cannot be priests.

      September 19, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • CatholicMom

      Frogist,

      Once you understand ‘persona christi’ you will understand why ordained men fulfill the continuation of Jesus Christ’s priesthood.

      I believe these are Pope John Paul II’s words, "the priest shares in Christ’s consecration and mission in a specific and authoritative way, through the sacrament of holy orders, by virtue of which he is configured in his being to Jesus Christ, head and shepherd…" Common sense tells us that a man, not a woman, can be configured to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, as high priest, continues His priesthood through the ordained man.

      Nuns and sisters who know their faith would not wish to try to configure themselves as a man. The Catholic Church is not a corporation where women should want to crash through the stained glass ceiling on their way to the top. They are not Catholic in their thinking if that is their goal in life.

      Yes, the Church is focusing on scandal in the Church as She had done for centuries. There were heresies in the early Church [Docetism, Arianism, Adoptionism, and others] which were settled at Council. Today there are all sorts of controversies,…. some scandals, and some heading towards heresy…. all because people want to take their ideas and plant them in the Church as if Truth can change to suit their new ideas. These ideas have nothing to do with honoring God but everything to do with personal wants. It is nothing new.

      It really seems bizarre that the ones who are screaming the loudest for these changes, say the Church is the most vile thing on earth, or it is a fairy tale, or some other ungodly thing, and yet, they insist on ‘taking up with it’ but only if they can run it into the ground first.

      But many people are coming to their senses and seeing these atrocities for what they are and coming home; I love seeing the new faces in our Church!

      September 20, 2010 at 12:04 am |
    • Frogist

      @CatholicMom: But nothing in your quote from the Pope says priests can only be men. It is a fairly large leap from "configured in his being to Jesus Christ" to no women need apply. You say "the ones who are screaming the loudest for these changes, say the Church is the most vile thing on earth, or it is a fairy tale etc." Except that is not true. The ones who are putting this issue to light come from within the church. They are people who are so passionate about serving the church that they want to be accepted. I don't see what they have done that is morally wrong. The church has overturned their position on many things that they supported in the past, why not this?

      September 20, 2010 at 11:37 am |
    • CatholicMom

      Frogist,

      Scandals are the worst when they come from within thus those who infiltrate whether they manage to become priests or nuns, do the most harm to the faithful and the Church.

      If these infiltrators are as you say… 'passionate about serving the Church' they would do no evil. Evil is that which tries to undermine the Truth that the Church espouses and upholds. If you believe in the Words of the Bible…. The House of GOD is the Pillar and Foundation of the Truth. 1Timothy 3:15 If these people were as you say passionate about the Church and not their own earthly desires, these scandals would fall away like water on a duck’s back. But no, it will have to be scoured out like the crude oil that is the pollution of the latest oil spill to all living things.

      September 21, 2010 at 10:37 am |

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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.