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Nuns brace for Vatican meeting
Sister Vickey Haran, who works with the poor in the Los Angeles area, says Rome should "look at itself first."
June 8th, 2012
01:05 PM ET

Nuns brace for Vatican meeting

By Jim Roope, CNN

Los Angeles (CNN) - The leadership of America's largest group of Catholic nuns will head to the Vatican on Tuesday to address accusations that it strayed from church doctrine.

“I don’t know why Rome is not happy,” said Sister Vickey Haran, a nun from the Los Angeles area.  “All of our energies have gone into making ourselves better so that we can serve the poor people of God."

Originally from Sligo, Ireland, Haran has been a nun for 50 years in the Holy Faith religious order, and she's been in the United States since 1967. She said she is heartbroken and angry about the Vatican’s doctrinal assessment that the leadership group representing most American nuns has been challenging the church’s doctrine on homosexuality, the male-only priesthood, artificial birth control, celibacy and abortion.

An April report from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the church's watchdog on doctrine, said the largest umbrella group of American nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, had allowed "radical feminism" to be espoused at their conferences unchecked. The group represents about 80% of American nuns.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

“I think that Rome has to look at itself first,” said Haran, who will not be heading to the Vatican next week. “You know, clean up your own house first because it’s under tremendous strain and stress; it must be, with all of the allegations and everything that has gone on in the past.”

She said the Vatican is emphasizing what nuns don’t do rather than all the good the sisters do.

The doctrinal assessment praised the sisters' work on social justice issues but said they were not doing enough on abortion, same-sex marriage and euthanasia.

The Vatican report was also critical of the nuns because of their support for the Affordable Care Act, which will require private health plans to cover artificial birth control, the use of which is against Catholic teaching. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops strongly opposes that mandate.

But Haran said she's sees a difference in the letter of the law and the spirit of it.

“If a poor woman comes to my door in the morning, I can’t start telling her, 'Well, Rome says this.' That’s not what they want to hear,” Haran said.

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The Rev. Richard Albarano of the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Burbank, California, said that given the sex-abuse scandal and the recent accusations against the nuns, the Vatican risks becoming "distasteful to the people of God.”

“The Vatican is not the church,” Albarano said. “It is part of the church. And the Vatican is made up of our brothers, mostly, and a few sisters, who are supposed to be one with all of us in the church."

Haran said faithfulness lies in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“Leaders in the church come and go, but the Gospel of Jesus Christ is always there,” Haran said. “We base all what we do on the gospel values. You know, Jesus turned nobody away.”

Vatican rebuke sends American nun's book up best-seller lists

Cardinal William Levada, who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said in a statement last month that the purpose of the doctrinal assessment was "aimed at fostering a patient and collaborative renewal of this conference of major superiors in order to provide a stronger doctrinal foundation for its many laudable initiatives and activities."

Levada, an American who was formerly the archbishop of San Francisco, called the face-to-face meeting in Rome critical. "Such a personal encounter allows for the opportunity to review the document together in a spirit of mutual respect and collaboration, hopefully thereby avoiding possible misunderstandings of the document’s intent and scope," Levada's statement said.

"As the issues evidenced in the doctrinal assessment involve essential questions of faith, the Holy Father has given the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith a special mandate to collaborate with the (Leadership Conference of Women Religious) in a renewal of their work through a concentrated reflection on the doctrinal foundations of that work."

Haran said she is praying the Vatican realizes the sisters are doing both the work of the church and of God.

Editor's note: Listen to the CNN Radio broadcast about the issue:

CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Dave Dawson

    Test your own faith.
    See what you come up with.
    Others are testing your faith too.
    See what you come up with.

    June 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  2. Gilgameshp

    This journey from America to the Vatican by nuns seeking redress was made as early as the Sixties,
    when Sr Anne Francis Cavanaugh made it, with one companion. They sat in front of nine men judging them.
    There was no water to drink as they testified, and certainly no Ladies Room, though the meeting lasted into the nighf. Maybe now there are at least Restroom Facilities for testifying Sisters there. I narrated her trial in a book called LEAVING: A Memoir, available on Amazon. It is I think honest, and accurate. For anyone wanting to get the background on what is going on now, this is authentic.

    June 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  3. dcmerkle

    I left the Catholic church because of the catholic tape that had been run in my mother's head on divorce. She never remarried because the weight of the divorce rested entirely on her shoulders. As if she was the reason why her marriage had failed. Over the years I ran into may obstacles when I wanted my children baptized Catholic. Because my children's father and I weren't married, but living together my children were refused baptism. The Catholic church refuses to recognize the change in the world. I was taught about the sacrament of reconciliation; the act of forgiveness. I realized, that sacrament was only meant for those that were willing to play the game. I'm not into games and until the Church takes off their holier-than-though, rose colored glasses the Church will continue to lose their parishioners.

    June 9, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • Pope of Hope

      When will the Catholic Church stand up and defend the gay medical marijuana cancer patients that are being terrorized by the corrupt and draconian democrat party.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      pope, there is no such thing as the democrat party. There is a Democratic Party in this country, however. If you can't call a thing by its correct name, you are the loser.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Jennifer

      Hey sqeptiq – your astute observation is indicative of your small penis.

      June 10, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  4. Jessica

    Vatican ruining one of the only, mostly, good things about the catholic church. Spending too much time focusing on the poor??? Sounds like they are taking after Cerflo Dollar.

    "You know, Jesus turned nobody away.”" You said it sister!

    June 9, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  5. Moby Schtick

    The world has had enough of your stupidity and cruelty, RCC. Go away.

    June 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  6. Ann

    This is ridiculous. I am extremely disappointed in the Catholic Church's decision to attack nuns that do so much good. They should instead be using their worldwide influence to focus on real issues–turmoil in Syria and the Middle East, starvation and poverty everywhere, and of course cleaning up their own organization.

    June 8, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  7. whoCares

    The nuns need to visit with out any undies and do a basic instinct on the pope. Give the old fat a heart attack.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
  8. Everett Wallace

    alright nuns you are no where near strong enough to mess with cain (benedict) go if you dare and you will be lost.

    June 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  9. Lol

    They should take the pope and all the cardinals hostage and cut their heads off lol.

    June 8, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  10. Kindness

    For you.
    A thought to consider without a typical ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    June 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Jesus

      SPAM alert this post has been proven wrong over and over again but this person's ego can't handle it so they have to continue to spam this nonsense.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
    • just sayin

      Stand strong in the faith. God bless

      June 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
    • A Serpents Dump

      Stand strong in the lies. Satan bless.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  11. I am the god of science bow down to me atheists

    Case closed!

    June 8, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Answer

      Once again the zealots crave for power. Typical spiel from the nutbags.

      June 8, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  12. Reality

    Solving the issues in less than 100 words. This is so easy one wonders why it took so long: (from a PowerPoint slide)

    SAVING 1.5 BILLION LOST MUSLIMS:
    THERE NEVER WERE AND NEVER WILL BE ANY ANGELS I.E. NO GABRIEL, NO ISLAM AND THEREFORE NO MORE KORANIC-DRIVEN ACTS OF HORROR AND TERROR LIKE 9/11 AND NO MORE SUNNI/SHIITE CONFLICTS.

    SAVING 2 BILLION LOST CHRISTIANS:
    THERE WERE NEVER ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANY BODILY RESURRECTIONS I.E. NO EASTER, NO CHRISTIANITY AND THEREFORE NO MORE VATICAN COVERUPS AND NO MORE CONFLICTS WITH NUNS.

    SAVING 15.5 MILLION FOLLOWERS OF JUDAISM:
    ABRAHAM AND MOSES PROBABLY NEVER EXISTED.
    (prob•a•bly

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.)

    Added details upon request.

    June 8, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • Dave Dawson

      Everything in Creation is there to test your faith. This makes testing your faith perfectly legal. Even the weather tests your faith & the weather is perfectly legal. The terrorists now before you cottoned onto this & they are testing your faith too.
      If you have little or poor faith, should you be seen to be taking too much umbridge because they're testing your faith – legally?
      No, you shouldn't be seen to be taking too much umbridge from them & the weather.
      BEFORE YOU DECLARE THE MUSLIMS LOST – TRY TESTING THEIR FAITH.
      I DARE YOU.

      June 9, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • Reality

      The "faith" of Islam:

      As the koranic/mosque driven acts of terror and horror continue:

      The Muslim Conquest of India – 11th to 18th century

      ■"The likely death toll is somewhere between 2 million and 80 million. The geometric mean of those two limits is 12.7 million. "

      and the 19 million killed in the Mideast Slave Trade 7C-19C by Muslims.

      and more recently

      1a) 179 killed in Mumbai/Bombay, 290 injured

      1b) Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh

      2) 9/11, 3000 mostly US citizens, 1000’s injured

      3) The 24/7 Sunni-Shiite centuries-old blood feud currently being carried out in Iraq, US troops killed in action, 3,480 and 928 in non combat roles. 102,522 – 112,049 Iraqi civilians killed as of 9/16/2011/, mostly due to suicide bombers, land mines and bombs of various types, http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and http://www.defenselink.mil/news/casualty.pdf

      4) Kenya- In Nairobi, about 212 people were killed and an estimated 4000 injured; in Dar es Salaam, the attack killed at least 11 and wounded 85.[2]

      5) Bali-in 2002-killing 202 people, 164 of whom were foreign nationals, and 38 Indonesian citizens. A further 209 people were injured.

      6) Bali in 2005- Twenty people were killed, and 129 people were injured by three bombers who killed themselves in the attacks.

      7) Spain in 2004- killing 191 people and wounding 2,050.

      8. UK in 2005- The bombings killed 52 commuters and the four radical Islamic suicide bombers, injured 700.

      9) The execution of an eloping couple in Afghanistan on 04/15/2009 by the Taliban.

      10) – Afghanistan: US troops 1,385 killed in action, 273 killed in non-combat situations as of 09/15/2011. Over 40,000 Afghan civilians killed due to the dark-age, koranic-driven Taliban acts of horror

      11) The killing of 13 citizen soldiers at Ft. Hood by a follower of the koran.

      12) 38 Russian citizens killed on March 29, 2010 by Muslim women suicide bombers.

      13) The May 28, 2010 attack on a Islamic religious minority in Pakistan, which have left 98 dead,

      14) Lockerbie is known internationally as the site where, on 21 December 1988, the wreckage of Pan Am Flight 103 crashed as a result of a terrorist bomb. In the United Kingdom the event is referred to as the Lockerbie disaster, the Lockerbie bombing, or simply Lockerbie. Eleven townspeople were killed in Sherwood Crescent, where the plane's wings and fuel tanks plummeted in a fiery explosion, destroying several houses and leaving a huge crater, with debris causing damage to a number of buildings nearby. The 270 fatalities (259 on the plane, 11 in Lockerbie) were citizens of 21 nations.

      15 The daily suicide and/or roadside and/or mosque bombings in the terror world of Islam.

      16) Bombs sent from Yemen by followers of the koran which fortunately were discovered before the bombs were detonated.

      17) The killing of 58 Christians in a Catholic church in one of the latest acts of horror and terror in Iraq.

      18) Moscow airport suicide bombing: 35 dead, 130 injured. January 25, 2011.

      19) A Pakistani minister, who had said he was getting death threats because of his stance against the country's controversial blasphemy law, was shot and killed Wednesday, 3/2/2011

      20) two American troops killed in Germany by a recently radicalized Muslim, 3/3/2011

      21) the kidnapping and apparent killing of a follower of Zoraster in the dark world of Islamic Pakistan.

      22) Shariatpur, Bangladesh (CNN 3/30/2011) - Hena Akhter's last words to her mother proclaimed her innocence. But it was too late to save the 14-year-old girl. Her fellow villagers in Bangladesh's Shariatpur district had already passed harsh judgment on her. Guilty, they said, of having an affair with a married man. The imam from the local mosque ordered the fatwa, or religious ruling, and the punishment: 101 lashes delivered swiftly, deliberately in public. Hena dropped after 70 and died a week later.

      23) "October 4, 2011, 100 die as a truck loaded with drums of fuel exploded Tuesday at the gate of compound housing several government ministries on a busy Mogadishu street. It was the deadliest single bombing carried out by the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group in Somalia since their insurgency began. "

      o 24) Mon Jun 4, 2012 10:18am EDT
      BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A suicide bomber detonated an explosive-packed car outside a Shi'ite Muslim office in central Baghdad on Monday, killing at least 26 people and wounding more than 190 in an attack bearing the hallmarks of Iraq's al Qaeda affiliate.

      The bombing on a Shi'ite religious office comes at a sensitive time, with the country's fractious Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish blocs locked in a crisis that threatens to unravel their power-sharing deal and spill into sectarian tensions."

      June 10, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  13. Lewis Keseberg

    Hitting up the Jesus-blood before the meeting should help calm troubled minds.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  14. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!

      June 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Can't hear you.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    the vatican hates women - even the ones that work for them.

    June 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Real Catholic

      I am a Catholic women, and this nun offense me. She might ask our the Pope forgiveness when she visting with him.

      June 8, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • No God

      Why the fvck would she ask the pope for forgiveness? According to Christianity shouldn't she be asking Jesus or god? You treat the pope as a Demi god. That is worshiping a false idol. The pope is not a god he is a human, plain and simple, no better than any other person. Religion is so stupid, with all the rituals and ridiculous hypocrisy. I'm amazed people still subscribe to any of that bullsh•t.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • sqeptiq

      well real woman, the pope should be asking the forgiveness of the nuns; but he lacks the class.

      June 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  16. JeanneLH

    Ahhhh....The Trouble With Angels

    June 8, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • sister phister

      What about "fisting nuns four" where sister Margaret gets here whole for arm in another chicks butt hole. she was tickling her intestines for god, I guess.

      June 9, 2012 at 1:09 am |
  17. Nude Nuns with Big Guns

    It's God's work!

    June 8, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  18. just sayin

    The Nuns do more in the name of their Christ than the Pope and his Child R a p ist Crew. Kudos for the Pope beating up on soem Nuns!!!!! That will win hearts and minds.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
    • JeanneLH

      Exactly!! This is akin to being called to the Principal's office. The guy who said "The Vatican is not the church, it is part of the church. My gosh it is the 21st century. The Church is lucky to still have nuns.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • just sayin

      Proper authority is established for right relationships and good order. God bless

      June 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • just sayin

      And that good order protects the Child Ra p ists. Amen

      June 8, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
    • just sayin

      A liar by any other name is still a liar. God bless

      June 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • just sayin

      The truth is in my pants. God bless

      June 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • find an atheist

      Find obscenity and theft

      June 8, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • sister phister

      The nuns should go down on each other on the steps of the Vatican in protest. That'll show em!

      June 9, 2012 at 1:31 am |
  19. junior

    I liken to the sport of football. Under the new rules, the cheerleaders are now the referees.

    June 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Drew

      Catholicism also isn't a contest. It has no opponent, except perhaps for itself

      June 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • A take

      You are right, it is a fight against evil

      June 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • A Serpents Dump

      A fight against evil religion and is leaders.

      June 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
  20. IslandAtheist

    Julia Sweeney calls for separation of state and church – FFRF
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIp2M_tMXzk&w=640&h=360]

    June 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • PrimeNumber

      Two cats were c*o*pulating in my front yard the other night. They, too, were free from religion.
      The lady in this video sounds very much like a new high school graduate who now imagines she can think for herself. (But Imagining There's no Heaven is Easy if You Try. Not much mental energy required.)
      Cute little nun dolls on display don't make a catholic of any kind, "cultural" or otherwise.

      June 8, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • No proof for "No God" claim

      Why so afraid to be bold? Go to another country such as a Islamic country,you wouldn't be able to produce anything non-Islamic.

      Atheists got it bad? Right.When thousands of religious people die while they sit back and complain about their freedom

      June 8, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Juggling Squirrel Jesus

      "Go to another country such as a Islamic country,you wouldn't be able to produce anything non-Islamic."

      Like Turkey? or Lebanon? Egypt? Syria? Kuwait? Qatar? Bahrain?

      Prejudiced much? And if you're really complaining that the behaviors of those islamic countries reflect the validity of that religion, please consult a history book to learn about all of the wonderful behaviors christian nations exhibited to those labelled as heretics or non-believers.

      June 9, 2012 at 12:28 am |
    • Juggling Squirrel Jesus

      For those keeping score at home, all of those counties have christian populations that are at least double the percentage of the muslim population here in the US. Some of the countries have upwards of ten times the percentage of christians than we have of muslims.

      June 9, 2012 at 2:24 am |
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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.