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American nuns come out swinging against Vatican in face of ‘radical feminist’ accusations
Protesters in New York show support for American nuns in the face of Vatican criticism.
June 1st, 2012
09:42 AM ET

American nuns come out swinging against Vatican in face of ‘radical feminist’ accusations

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The leadership representing most of America’s nuns came out swinging Friday against the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, in the face of charges from the Vatican that the nuns are espousing “radical feminism” and straying from church teaching.

The Vatican’s criticism of the American nuns has “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community, and created greater polarization,” the Leadership Conference of Women Religious - which represents about 80% of American nuns - said in a statement Friday.

The board of the group had convened in Washington this week for three days of special meetings, provoked by an April assessment from the Vatican that said America’s nuns had largely gone rogue and warned that they could be a negative global influence on the church.

The Vatican report said that at an annual gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, guest speakers who preached "radical feminism" went unchallenged. The report also said the nuns were too focused on social justice and not enough on opposing abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious said Friday that the assessment “was based on unsubstantiated accusations and (was) the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency.”

“Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise (the nuns’) ability to fulfill their mission,” the statement continued.

The Leadership Conference’s 22-member board said that its leaders would travel to Rome this month to meet with the head of the Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the office that launched an investigation of the American nuns several years ago.

Hours later, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement from Archbishop Peter Sartain in which he vowed there was a wholehearted commitment "to dealing with the important issues raised by (the Vatican's) doctrinal assessment and the LCWR board in an atmosphere of openness, honesty, integrity and fidelity."

"I look forward to our next meeting in Rome in June as we continue to collaborate in promoting the important work of the LCWR for consecrated life in the United States," said Sartain, who heads the Archdiocese of Seattle. "The Holy See and the Bishops of the United States are deeply proud of the historic and continuing contribution of women religious - a pride that has been echoed by many in recent weeks."

Pope Benedict XVI, a theologian by training, was the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for decades before he was elevated to papacy. In interviews conducted while he held that earlier post, he spoke often about growing the church by pruning - becoming smaller but more devout before expanding.

Church experts say that the nuns have a few options in responding to one of the most powerful offices in the church. They could accept the assessment, negotiate or resign en masse and form a new group outside the watchful eye of the Vatican.

–CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Vatican

soundoff (1,467 Responses)
  1. jbrown

    I support the nuns!! They stand for the true meaning of the church- helping others truth, love for the fellow man and forgiveness. The men in the high ranks are ruining the Catholic Church. Their ideals are not keeping up with modern society. I know that is why I left and many others are leaving in droves. They need to ordain women and accept gays in the church in order to survive.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Atlantan

      Amen!

      June 1, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • Alex

      Church need to keeping up with Bible. About modern society you know where they going

      June 1, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      So why would you bail...why not make changes within the Church? There are so many lay ministries out there (with MEN in them even!) and so many of them are known and beloved to the Pope. If you bail, what gives you the right to criticize?

      June 1, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      chirp chirp

      June 3, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  2. Out with the bad air, in with the good air

    You go, Girls! Something has to be done to right the Church or it's going down.

    The powers that are (and were) have mismanaged the lot far too long as it is.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  3. Colin

    Dear Catholics:

    God here.

    First, I do not exist. You created me when you thought the World was 4,000 years old. We now know the Universe is 13,720,000,000 years old, the World a third of that. The concept of a 13,700,00,000 year old being, capable of creating the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, monitoring simultaneously the thoughts and actions of the 7 billion human beings on this planet 24 hours a day, seven days a week is ludicrous.

    Second, if I did, I would have left you a book a little more consistent, timeless and independently verifiable than the collection of Iron Age Middle Eastern mythology you call the Bible. Hell, I bet you cannot tell me one thing about any of its authors or how and why it was edited over the centuries, yet you cite them for the most extraordinary of claims.

    Thirdly, when I sent my “son” (whatever that means, given that I am god and do not mate) to Earth, he would have visited the Chinese, Ja.panese, Europeans, Russians, sub-Saharan Africans, Australian Aboriginals, Mongolians, Polynesians, Micronesians, Indonesians and native Americans, not just a few Jews. He would also have exhibited a knowledge of something outside of the Iron Age Middle East.

    Fourthly, I would not spend my time hiding, refusing to give any tangible evidence of my existence, and then punish those who are smart enough to draw the natural conclusion that I do not exist by burning them forever. That would make no sense to me, given that I am the one who elected to withhold all evidence of my existence in the first place.

    Fifth, I would not care who you do or how you “do it”. I really wouldn’t. This would be of no interest to me, given that I can create Universes. Oh, the egos.

    Sixth, I would have smited all evangelicals and fundamentalists long before this. You people drive me nuts. You are so small minded and yet you speak with such false authority. Many of you still believe in the talking snake nonsense from Genesis. I would kill all of you for that alone and burn you for an afternoon (burning forever is way too barbaric for me to even contemplate).

    Seventh, the whole idea of members of one species on one planet surviving their own physical deaths to “be with me” is utter, mind-numbing nonsense. Grow up. You will die. Get over it. I did. Hell, at least you had a life. I never even existed in the first place.

    Eighth, I do not read your minds, or “hear your prayers” as you euphemistically call it. There are 7 billion of you. Even if only 10% prayed once a day, that is 700,000,000 prayers. This works out at 8,000 prayers a second – every second of every day. Meanwhile I have to process the 100,000 of you who die every day between heaven and hell. Dwell on the sheer absurdity of that for a moment.

    Ninthly, had I existed, I would have put in place a much less corrupt, bureaucratic inst.itution than the Roman Catholic Church. Hell, look at its history, it is littered with rampant abuses of power. It is obviously an entirely human creation and is constantly behind the times and completely marbled with self interest.

    Finally, the only reason you even consider believing in me is because of where you were born. Had you been born in India, you would likely believe in the Hindu gods, if born in Tibet, you would be a Buddhist. Every culture that has ever existed has had its own god(s) and they always seem to favor that particular culture, its hopes, dreams and prejudices. What, do you think we all exist? If not, why only yours?

    Look, let’s be honest with ourselves. There is no god. Believing in me was fine when you thought the World was young, flat and simple. Now we know how enormous, old and complex the Universe is.

    Move on – get over me. I did.

    God

    June 1, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • "Get over" what?

      Never had to "get over" you since, until your foolish rant you were unnoticeable in the first place.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • derp

      Bravo my friend.

      Well played.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • GFreas

      Big comment, small mind. Run along, sonny.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • stanton

      HE CAN DO ALL OF THAT AND MORE THAT'S WHY HE IS GOD AND YOU AREN'T!!!!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Irishcat

      Why did you feel the need to read the article or to respond to the article? If you don't believe, then this should be of absolutely no concern to you!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Poly

      Stupidity at its best ... Colin.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • derp

      "Why did you feel the need to read the article or to respond to the article? If you don't believe, then this should be of absolutely no concern to you!"

      Because it's fun riling up you jesustards.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Colin

      Irish Cat – because thousands of young people read these things. The internet has opened up communication with young Catholics the way the church can no longer block.

      These kids need to have their eyes opened to the sheer absurdity of what has been shoved down their throats from when they were too young to question it.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • maybe

      Maybe you are right. No one really knows until you die. So until then we will see. Though, I would rather not take any chances. Lord knows how that went in my life. Never again. I need redemption. That's just my opinion.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Maybe
      I'm not taking any chances either.
      That's why I sleep with a battle-axe next to my bed.
      If I don't die in battle, I'll never get to Valhalla!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Colin

      Yes "maybe" and perhaps the Jews, Muslims, Jains, buddhists, Hindus and 1,000 others are right, too. See the second to last paragraph of my letter

      June 1, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • GFreas

      Silly Colin criticizes because he believes there is no "right" answer to be ascertained. He has no clue about faith, and that's just sad, because all he has is critique, materialism, worldliness, and no hope. His parents and his schools sold him a bill of goods, and all he can do is post negativity. Very sad.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • Colin

      Gfreas, my apparent personality defects aside, do you have any substantive disagreement with any of the points I made? If so, please articulate them.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Allan

      Colin,

      I rarely read commentary; and especially in anything that runs the risk of having a religious bent to it. However, I scrolled down today... and your post made me giggle like a little school girl (or maybe like a tiny 13.75B-year-old god-like school girl).

      It's fascinating to me how every religious person is ultimately 99% atheist. A Christian is entirely a atheist regarding all the other religions ("there is only one true god!"). A Muslim would be appalled at the thought of the Christian God being real ("there is only one true god"). So almost every religion (or the individuals who subscribe to each) is atheistic/disbelieving in any other religion. May the religious among us simply go "one god further into atheism".

      Dum-B-asses (pronouncing the "B" here for emphasis).

      Try this link for humor, mockery, and truth: http://shop.cafepress.com/atheism

      Argh.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:45 am |
    • Colin

      Thanks allan, I post a lot because I love having the opportunity to communicate directly with young people and open their minds to the nonsense of relgion. This is now possible with the internet. No religion can burn the internet or put it on their list of banned books........

      June 1, 2012 at 11:47 am |
    • GFreas

      Colin – Your arguments are based on what you perceive and what you you know from a worldly perspective. You can't prove a negative just by presenting what you think is evidence. You talk about what you think you know but have no evidence against that which you do not know. I say there is a God and His church is the Catholic Church. Nothing you said can refute that. You just spewed off about a lot of nonsense that has nothing to do with the existence of God.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • derp

      "His parents and his schools sold him a bill of goods"

      Which is the exact reason that anyone on earth believes in any religion.

      My entire family is atheist. Not because we were told what to believe, but because we were NOT told what to believe.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:56 am |
    • Colin

      Gfreas, to put the one point you made – that I cannot prove a negative – in context.

      I believe in Leprechauns and that the non-belief in leprechauns is a religion.

      I believe that the Leprechaun King created the entire Universe about 6,000 years ago. I know there is a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that the Universe is significantly older than this, but I think a lot of that evidence comes from bad science, or from a worldwide conspiracy of scientists who want to deny Leprechauns. I know this because it is written in the Leprechaun Chronicles, a book cobbled together from various authors, most unknown, by our church during the Dark Ages.

      The Leprechaun King lives in Leprechaun Heaven, where he where he busies himself answering prayers, running the Universe and recording the lives of humans for their final judgment before him. He is surrounded by an entire society of magical beings – his son Merlin, the Holy Leprechaun Spirit, the good fairy Mary, thousands of Leprechaun saints, fairies, pixies and the souls of many millions of dead people.

      I believe that the Leprechaun King loves me and hears my prayers. He intervenes in my life periodically by saving me from various ills. All I have to do is think to myself and he reads my mind and answers my prayers. He loves me and when I die, provided I have lived a good life, I will go to Leprechaun Heaven, where I will live happily ever after with all other humans who have ever led good lives.

      I know there is not a lot of evidence to support my beliefs, but that is just the point. The Leprechaun King wants us to have “faith,” so he never reveals himself. To make an unambiguous appearance and settle once and for all the question of his existence would deprive us of free will and, even though he is all-knowing, he would not know who his true believers were.

      In fact, I believe that the Leprechaun King is “beyond understanding”. He is “outside the Universe” and any time I am faced with something about my Leprechaun belief that makes no sense, I don’t dare question it, I just close my mind and tell myself that my mind is too small to understand the greatness of the Leprechaun King. These answers are satisfying to me.

      Some people are called “atheists,” and they are skeptical of my belief in the Leprechaun King. They point out many inherent contradictions and unsupported assumptions that underwrite my belief in Leprechauns. But, they can’t prove he doesn’t exist, so he must exist. And so what! Even if I am wrong, and go my whole life believing in Leprechauns and it turns out I am wrong, I have lost nothing. However, if they are wrong, the Leprechaun King will send them to hell to burn forever in the presence of the Evil Ground Troll.

      Am I convincing you to believe in Leprechauns yet, Gfreas?

      Perhaps if you focus on why I have not convinced you to believe in leprechauns you will understand how a failure to disprove the Christian god is no reason to believe in it.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Brian

      While people with limited understanding might think this is clever, it's as riddled with holes and misconceptions as anything the religious ever came up with. Just for starters there is no conflict between the scientific view of the Earth and the Catholic faith. It's not something that can be reduced to a one-liner for consumption by those who think intelligence is wisdom. However the writings of Teilhard de Chardin are one way to start.

      Moreover the 'god' who punishes and answers every prayer like a vending machine has absolutely nothing to do with Catholic faith. All you're doing there is creating your own view of what god is and then arguing why it's illogical. Of course it is.

      The fact that each culture has its own understanding of and explanation of human psychology doesn't mean there is no God any more than the fact that each culture has different foods means there is no food. Again you're simply creating cartoonish arguments and knocking them down.

      As for the origins of the various books in the Bible there are massive bodies of research mostly in the 20th and 21st centuries about this and it's perhaps the most obvious sign of your utter ignorance that you seem to be unaware of this.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm |
    • Mop

      If you are not real, how can i read your post ?
      It doesnt exist.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
    • Allan

      Colin (and those enjoying the chatter),

      When I noted to a friend that I believe what "5 senses and logic" provide a basis for, a friend noted "you are missing faith; the ability to go beyond the 5 senses and logic".

      Here is the humor:

      Faith is often defined as "belief in that which is unseen and unproven". Essentially... belief that is contrary to any degree of sense or logic.

      So if one is going to support a religious argument, one has a choice:

      (1) Simply say "I believe in the reedikerous for the heck of it; even if there is no factual basis". This would at least be honest and it ends all debate on the subject. Rational debate is not productive with someone who had stated their irrationality.

      (2) Provide a basis for the belief in evidence, fact, the 5-senses, and logic. No such proof can ever be absolute (e.g., there is no 100% proof that we exist, the world is flat, or the solar system is helio-centric... but there is such tremendous weight of evidence as perceived by our 5 senses and logic these are accepted as fact and truth).

      The real trick is not have an "just because" out-clause. If a three-year-old can win an argument they say "It is that way just because".

      That's what faith is for most folks... it's a "just because" clause with the same intellectual power and authority of a three-year-old. "Despite the absence of evidence or rationality, it is this way just because we have faith it is that way".

      I like the religious folks who at least admit #1 (it's irrational but I believe it anyway). At least it's honest.

      For the rest of us with working brain matter, we'll go with #2 (show me the money).

      Just because.

      A.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • Mary

      Beautiful!! I couldn't have said it better myself.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
    • ExcomByChoice

      In early 2010, an Arizona nun was excommunicated after recommending a first trimester abortion to a woman with a life-threatening condition. Justice for Sister Margaret McBride was swift; she was out of the church within months. In contrast, as The Daily Beast pointed out, it's taken years for the Church to take action in many cases of priests who have abused children.

      June 1, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • ronin

      BRAVO !!!

      June 1, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • Stan

      Get a blog... nobody wants to read your manifesto.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • steven harnack

      Beautiful, and obviously far too logical and threatening to followers of comic book philosophy.

      June 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • BADGUY

      Well done!

      June 1, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      @ExCom...of course she was excommunicated. While on the job, she went against a vow she took and gave advice that directly goes against a major teaching of the organization for which she works. This excommunication was automatic – it occurred as soon as she participated in the abortion. You talk about "justice," but she was never charged in any criminal manner. Did she run from the Church screaming foul? Uh, no. She sought to have it overturned and succeeded. She's still a religious sister. Still Catholic. Oops. Left that part out.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • Choice for everyone

      Wow Colin ...me thinks you doth protest too much.

      June 3, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  4. stanton

    I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WANTS TO MAKE THE LAST POPE A SAINT !!!!WHAT AN ABOMINATION HE DID LITTLE OR NOTHING ABOUT THE PEDOPHILES IN SEVERAL CASES JUST LIKE THE POPE WHO WAS IN OFFICE WHEN THE JEWS WHERE BEING PERSECUTED DURING THE WW 2 AND ALL THE OTHER INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO WERE MURDERED DURING THE DARK AGES!!!!!

    June 1, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Hemlock

      The weak mind is easily mislead.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Friskitt

      Why not, when my company does bad, The CEO gets a bonus.
      Its a mans world.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm |
    • Stan

      I would read this, but then you went all caps lock on it. If you are to stupid to figure out how to use the middle left key on your keyboard, you are too stupid to have anything worthwhile to say.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Cubes

      @stanton. I advice you to read a little more history of Pope Pius XII the pope which has very much been maligned by folks like yourself. If he was so BAD as you put it, why is it that the head rabi of Rome converted to Catholicism and took his name to be Eugenio? Btw that was Pope Pius XII's name. Next time you open your mouth without facts, please do yourself a favor and read up before you comment without the whole story. Best of luck in your research!

      June 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • steven harnack

      @Cubes, people malign Charlie Manson too, but he got a bunch of people to do his bidding so he must be some kind of holy man too, eh? If it works for the pope then why not poor Charlie?

      June 1, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT THE UNHOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH WANTS TO MAKE THE LAST POPE A SAINT !!!!WHAT AN ABOMINATION HE DID LITTLE OR NOTHING ABOUT THE PEDOPHILES IN SEVERAL CASES JUST LIKE THE POPE WHO WAS IN OFFICE WHEN THE JEWS WHERE BEING PERSECUTED DURING THE WW 2 AND ALL THE OTHER INNOCENT PEOPLE WHO WERE MURDERED DURING THE DARK AGES!!!!!

      Shhh. I can hear you jussssst fine, ranting on all like that. Perhaps you won't listen, but just in case your heart isn't stone cold, let's look at some facts. First, the Church does not MAKE saints. God makes saints. How? By bringing them to heaven. The Church does investigate the lives of holy people and recognize they are saints based upon specific evidence (not shouting maniacal claims). These holy people are merely put forth as an inspiration for the rest of us. Sure, JPII wasn't able to single-handedly and perfectly end the horrible abuses that occurred at the hands of quite a few sick men...sick men who would likely have found another means. Then again...JPII was an integral part of bringing down "the wall" and bringing freedom back to Eastern Europe. He inspired so many. There does not need to be proof that he did everything PERFECTLY or succeeded in ever goal. (Who of us can say we have done that?!) He is forgiven though. He sought forgiveness and is now with God. That is what a saint is. People do not decide. God decides.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      Further proof – Moses may have freed the Israelites from Egypt and led them to the Promised Land, but he never made it there. He died just within sight of it. I hope and pray many of the issues on JPII's heart were just within sight and can be resolved.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  5. Swan

    The Pope strategy is only a reflection of what has been happening for years. Catholics leaving in developed countires to be replaced my more devote catholics in the 3 rd world. Good luck with that plan...

    June 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Hemlock

      It's a big magic show. Now folks watch me pull a saint out of the hat.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • BADGUY

      As long as they drop their "greckles" in the basket on Sunday..who cares! They may not have as much, individually, as Catholics in developed countries, but I think the Pope's plan is to "make it up in volume"!

      June 1, 2012 at 6:12 pm |
  6. Leigh2

    Perhaps God will sort this one out ~ one way or the other.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:19 am |
    • codepwned

      aaahahaha... oh wait you were serious... AAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      June 1, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  7. Mike

    In 2007 the Dali Lama said "Western women will change the world." This is part of that change. You go, Sisters!

    June 1, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • StandupforTruth

      "Western women will change the world." Are you naiive to think he meant this in a good way?

      June 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  8. Beadles

    Go, Sisters!!

    June 1, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  9. LIberalsSux

    These old ladies don't look like nuns.....JUST SAYING!

    June 1, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • ME II

      Yeah, especially the tall one on the far left with glasses.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • stanton

      YOU RIGHT WING NUTS SUX BIG TIME!!!!!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Responding to Idiots

      First of all, who said they were nuns? The picture is captioned as protesters supporting nuns. Secondly, what exactly do nuns "look like"? You do know quite a few nuns these days don't regularly wear habits?

      June 1, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • The fact of the matter

      The caption under the picture states "protesters", not Nuns. Read much?

      June 1, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Catholic Clarity

      Uh....nope. Nuns do wear habits. They are cloistered. They do not go out in public. There are religious sisters who do go out in public – many wear the habit and many do not. These are not nuns. Impossible.

      June 3, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  10. Solitairedog

    Dump the nazi pope and his ped priests. Form your own church, one based in Christ's LOVE. One that affirms the role of women on earth and in heaven. Let the priests wallow in their perverted filth.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • jjww

      amen.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • flip1

      The Vatican is a relic of the bygone past, the pope more then useless-even more so then 'Lizbet-,its doctrine a holdover from the Dark Ages, its priests malcontents unable to survive in the real world; and anyone ignorent enough to follow them deserve what they get.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Arvn Huac

      Equality, modern democracy, and social justice are not products of religion. Religion inhibits them. Almost all religions place the female in an inferior position.

      It was the secular Enlightment that brought us those improvements, which religion still fights.

      Dump all churches, come to your senses, and just live life without the tyranny of illusions .

      June 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • karen

      amen and amen

      June 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      The problem with your proposal is that is has been implemented since the 1500's and has to the day rendered 33,000+ divided christian denominations. Where is the "One" Church, oh yeah it is the one that still occupies the Vatican.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      Do you say the same for teachers? After all, several pedofiles have used the teaching occupation to get to children as well. How about ministers? Coaches? Do you ask all teachers (including me...a teacher who never had a single perversion with my beloved students) to wallow in their (our) perverted filth?!

      The role of women on earth...not found in the CC?! Uh, wrong again. Have you met MARY? Also, consider how most religious sisters truly feel about their vocation. Check out the Imagine Sisters movement (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6sge19dMVw). Listen to them. Meet them in person. Try meeting all sorts of sisters. Those wearing the habit, those not wearing the habit. Postulants, novices, young and old...a variety of charisms. The hatred you spew is caustic.

      June 3, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
  11. History Bear

    The Catholic church in general is still in the 17th Century, a big step up from the 12th I admit. American Nuns are catholic, but they are AMERICAN. As a product of catholic schools I applaud the Nuns for their courage and determination to pull the church into the 21st Century. Perhaps they should pull a Henry the 8th and split to thier own church.... oh wait , the male priest wouldn't go for it. They all have delusions of being Pope. What a wasted joke that job is.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • GFreas

      The Church is religion, not a democracy. Like all religions, it's value is in its timelessness and consistency; it is not supposed to progress. Heathens don't get this, I know.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Solitairedog

      They all want to wear the pretty golden dresses that the Pope sports.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • derp

      "it is not supposed to progress"

      Could not have made a more damning indictment of religion myself.

      Thanks!!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • gunnymo

      There is no "consistency" in any Church. They continually change to suit whatever "morals" they decide are proper for the times. Let's not forget everything in the Bible that demands the death of men, women and children for the way they do/do not dress, eat and/or act. Why isn't Nazi Pope enforcing those regulations? Oh, right, because they changed. Granted, I'm sure the Nazi Pope would love nothing more than to bring back the burning of witches, the Inquisition and total Papal dominance of world governments.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Swan

      We have cleary gotten too wrapped up in democracy being right in all things. The church is a reminder that for better or worse some things are not up to popular votes ...

      June 1, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • kirikintha

      Quoting: "The Church is religion, not a democracy. Like all religions, it's value is in its timelessness and consistency; it is not supposed to progress. Heathens don't get this, I know."

      How little you know about your own faith – in fact, Christianity has evolved and "progressed" over time. People don't get this, I know.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Inglourious

      @gfreas: "it is not supposed to progress" Christianity started out as a Jewish sect and "progressed" from there.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • The facts of the matter

      GFreas, churches in general are more about big business than religion anyway.

      Money, power, and control is their main agenda.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      But the Catholic Church does progress, albeit slowly.
      It may have taken them some 300 years to finally admit that Copernicus had a point, but they did.
      Thanks to Puis XII and John Paul II, the Vatican recognizes the validity of the theory of evolution and the Big Bang theory.
      Not long ago, rejecting geocentrism would've got you burned at the stake by your friendly neighbourhood inquisitor.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • GFreas

      Scripture does not change; there is no "progress" there.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Gfreas
      They used to say that Genesis had to be taken literally.
      Now in the face of scientific advances, they've reversed that stance and say that the scripture is allegorical.
      So while the words in the book may not have changed, the way in which you're supposed to understand them has.
      Just like how the Church keeps updating their stance regarding Mary,
      During the last one hundred years, veneration of Mary has dramatically increased.
      The exaltation of Mary and the term, Mother of God, became official Catholic dogma in 431 A.D. with prayers to her proclaimed in 600 A.D.
      The "Immaculate Conception was not proclaimed until 1854; her "As.sumption" not until 1950; and her ti.tle "Mother of the Church" not until 1965.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • GFreas

      Ok, Doc, I'll grant you that there are changes within Church, but as you said, they are slow to come and with good reason, I should add. So does that mean since a bunch of rogue nuns with feminist ideals taught over the last 50 years should force the Church to change its current teaching on euthanasia, gay marriage, and abortion? Because that's really what we're talking about here. The Church can't make changes overnight and expect to have any credibility from its membership. That's what Protestantism did, and protestant churches are hurting because of it; religion has to be consistent over time.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:59 am |
    • Friskitt

      The church is a corporation.
      Your soul is the product.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm |
    • StandupforTruth

      Keep up with the times? I think the church should remain its foundations from the year 33 BC. If enough people vote on 2+2 to equal 3, would it then become true?

      June 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  12. GFreas

    Note to self: CNN will not display a comment that calls attention to the fact that 80% of the child abuse in the priesthood was committed against boys by h0m0s3xual priests.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • derp

      And 100% of the abuse against female children was by het ero se xual priests.

      What is your point mor on?

      June 1, 2012 at 11:17 am |
    • ME II

      Note to yourself: stop feeling so persecuted, CNN has automated filter on certain strings of letters and isn't censoring you specifically.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • GFreas

      It's a gay guy censoring comments. There is no automated filter for what I've been typing.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @GFreas
      The real problem most people have regarding the pedo priest scandal is that the Roman Catholic Church is guilty of criminal conspiracy. In fact, covering it all up is official church policy and was set down by the Pope when he was head of the Congregration of the Doctrine of the Faith.
      This preoccupation with secrecy significantly slows the investigative process – the backlog of referrals to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for action against se.xually abusive priests is so large that it takes 18 months to get a reply.
      And then when they DO finally get around to investigating, they don't like to involve law enforcement.
      According to the John Jay report, 918 of 1872 (49%) substantiated allegations of abuse against Catholic clergy were addressed by sending the priest off for psychiatric counseling and then moving him to another parish, with nary a whisper to law enforcement. This number does not include priests relocated for reasons other than charges of se.xual impropriety.

      An organization that has an official policy of covering up child molestation, regardless of teh genders of the victims or perpetrators, is not to be trusted.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • derp

      "It's a gay guy censoring comments. There is no automated filter for what I've been typing"

      Yes, a gay guy sitting in a rainbow painted office, with his imac, a latte, and sequined jumper.

      His name is Father Ifukboyz.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • Huebert

      No 100% of the children were abused by pedophile priest. A pedophile is neither hetero nor ho.mose.xual. They are attracted to children, not adults, and they are predators.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:29 am |
    • GFreas

      Huebert –

      They were mostly pubescent boys. Just like the kind that a gay guy in my office was printing out on the computer the other day, I kid you not.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      GFreas, The automatic filter picks up word fragments too.

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-oon
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!

      June 1, 2012 at 11:38 am |
    • happyprimate

      You obviously have no idea of the difference between a pedophile and a gay person. There are tons of "straight" pedophiles and the vast majority of gay persons would never do harm to any child. Please learn the important difference.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:39 am |
    • GFreas

      Tried to mask offending words; no luck.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:41 am |
    • Helpful Hints

      GFreas,

      I guess you'll just have to pray for heavenly guidance and intervention then...

      (most of the rest of us have figured it out without said same, however)

      June 1, 2012 at 12:15 pm |
    • Friskitt

      Note to self :

      GFrease is an azzhole.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm |
    • Stan

      They are probably censoring you because you are an idiot.

      June 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      @Doc Vestibule, covering [abuse] up is NOT "official church policy." There is no Canon law you can point to in order to support this ridiculous statement. Furthermore, the policies, procedures, and requirements put into place are even more stringent than those that allow me to have access to kids as a teacher. If people are reading these ridiculous and outlandish pieces of misinformation, they are so off base.

      June 1, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  13. Snake

    It's a complete shame. All over the world, fundamentalist [men] are working hard to keep their own power base at the expense...of just about everyone else. From political to social issues, it's the greedy MEN seeking power that are causing the most grief all over the world

    Yes, the world has change. It is the 21st Century, after all. But lots of men still struggle to retain the old ways, as hard as they can, because it benefits *them* and hurts everyone else. The world is all about *them*.

    No wonder the world never gets better.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Solitairedog

      I completely agree with you, Snake. I

      June 1, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Tootsall

      Where is the "like" button?

      June 1, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Friskitt

      Like.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  14. flip1

    The RC church is second only to the Taliban in the application of retribution towards its members (and by extention of its insistance of being the one "true" faith) to the rest of the world. NATO would do good to start a bombing campaign with the Vatican as ground zero.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • GFreas

      People can leave the Church whenever they want to.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • Interested48

      GFreas, and they're leaving in droves. The other day the news said the largest number of religious people in the US, after Catholics, was FORMER Catholics.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      In a country that is founded upon tolerance and respect for those with different faiths, honestly...how do so many of you justify the hateful, negative remarks you make towards me and others in my Catholic family?! You're not riling me up...you're simply putting on the internet evidence that all our founding fathers fought so hard for is simply ignored (taken for granted?) by so many! We should be banding together not cutting each other down!! Shameful.

      June 3, 2012 at 12:17 am |
  15. Jenn

    I'd like to know what "euthanasia" the church is speaking about? (I'm serious)

    June 1, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • flip1

      They dont have a clue themselves, its just something they added to justify their existance as a gaggle of old men seeking to hold on to power until they die-hopefully soon.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • GFreas

      Physician-assisted suicide in Oregon, perhaps?

      June 1, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • John

      It may have to do with Oregon's Death with Dignity, which has been more successful and much more ethical than the church's activities, but in general, it's just part of their martyr complex. They like the sympathy and the money it generates.

      June 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  16. Nancy

    I am with the nuns, the Catholic church male power hierarchy needs to change both in body and in thought.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:12 am |
    • flip1

      The RC church itself is a danger to the survival of the human race.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • GFreas

      Good, go with the nuns. The Church does not change at the whims of its membership. How stupid would that be; why, there's be all sorts of Christian denominations, like the .....Protestants. There you go, go pick a protestant sect that suits you.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:18 am |
    • Keith

      What boggles me is all those pious people who say "the church should not change just because some people want it too". Or "the church NEVER changes its deeply held tenets of faith"
      GARBAGE. Does the RC church still burn heretics at the stake? COME ON DOES IT.
      Does the Inquisition still stretch heretics on the rack or burn them with red hot pokers. These WHERE deeply held temets of the Catholic faith but as far as I can see they don't do it any more, although I suspect there are many who would like to do it to me.
      The RC church changes when it can no longer cow people into submission with threats of death, torture or damnation. The nuns are RIGHT, social justice is vastly more important than crawling on the ground to kiss the ring of some fat cat cardinal or a professed ex-nazi in the vatican.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • Friskitt

      *** The Church does not change at the whims of its membership.....

      Thats what the problem is.

      June 1, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      You can't be with the nuns. They're cloistered. Are you with the religious sisters...who are not in this picture? Then read what they are saying. They are seeking dialog, not disrespect like what is spewn here. If you are truly with the sisters, then why not go to them. Talk to them. Pray with them. Go to a variety, too...not just some. Talk to postulates, novices, young and old sisters, those who wear the habit and those who don't; try to talk to those with a variety of charisms. Then tell me what you discover about how they feel about Pope Benedict. Go to the source, not the website that has shown consistently it just likes to rile people up and cause division!

      June 3, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  17. wilypagan

    Go, sisters, go! You are the backbone of the church in America. Left to themselves, the (male) pedophile bishops and priests will wither, along with PrimeNumber and their other misogynist followers. Those losers can move to Africa and the Middle East where their women hating, gay hating ideas are in vogue. FU Benedict, Hitler Youth, closet case.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • flip1

      Verily. I recall Sister Saint DeSade and her beating up on 7 year olds.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:17 am |
  18. Brian

    It's a good debate for the church to have. Essentially are we 'wasting time' focusing on social justice and feminism instead of opposing things and oppressing women?

    June 1, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  19. Polopoint

    A little headline hyperbole, CNN, eh?

    June 1, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  20. stan

    Seems pretty simple these women are not Catholic, have no interest in promoting the Catholic faith, and therefore should stop pretending to be Nuns. They are not. If they don't quit the church on their own accord their entire sect should be excommunicated and purged of all association with the Church. Once they break their ties to the formal church they are more than free to interpret the bible they way they want. Of course the intent of the entire issue in the media is to drum up further division amongst the believers and the non-believer.

    June 1, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Former Catholic

      We can only hope that the Catholic Church is brought down, the vatican destroyed and its remnants scattered to the wind. It is an abomination; an affront to everything Jesus stood for and should be outlawed.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • j

      I'm surprised you didn't want them burned at the stake too. The Catholic church is behind the times – they will die out on their own accord so leaving it as is sounds like a good decision.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • RZ70

      Does a church exist because it has policies or because it has parishoners?

      Keep in mind that that question is about to be answered by a group of people who inheritted their power from those who said that the Earth is the center of the universe and, in theory, condemned a man's soul to hell for hundreds of years before changing their minds.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • GFreas

      Great comment, Stan. Obviously a Catholic. Pay attention, heathens.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Keith

      So you point Stan is this, let the child rapists, the liars and fornicators, the thieves continue because they are princes of the church. They ARE the catholic church and should be allowed to continue without any exposure or criticism whatsoever because the Pope and his evil cabal SAY SO.
      This is wonderful, here we have women trying to carry out the teachings of their saviour, you know care for your fellow human, comfort the sick and needy, feed the hungry and the Pope and his evil cabal of crooks want to EXCOMMUNICATE them.
      I am a devout ATHEIST and I say a POX on all religion but even I can see the insanity of your position, did JC say that raping children and then covering it up and then protecting the rapists was OK, come on DID HE.
      Who do you think JC would support, the nuns serving food in the soup kitchens or the Pope and his fat retinue who swan around in limousines and private jets attending conferences at luxury hotels then returning to their large houses with their servants.
      The catholic church has lost its way completely when it puts the needs of the Pope and the Cardinals above those of the COMMON PEOPLE.

      June 1, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Friskitt

      The church is crumbling,
      one stone at a time.
      Could be a long slow and painful death.
      Any way i can speed it up ?

      June 1, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
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About this blog

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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.