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Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns
The Vatican and the American Catholic Church have issued three reprimands of Catholic nuns since last year.
June 5th, 2012
02:34 PM ET

Vatican intensifying crackdown on American nuns

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) - The Vatican denies there's a connection, but its reprimand of an influential American nun, at a moment when the Holy See is already engaged in an intense fight with most American nuns, sends a clear message: The Catholic Church’s leaders think America’s nuns have gone rogue and must be reined in.

The Vatican on Monday censured Sister Margaret A. Farley, who teaches at Yale Divinity School, over a 2006 book she wrote that the church said is out of step with official church teaching on human sexuality.

Just weeks before, the Vatican issued a major report condemning the groups that represent most American nuns, saying those organizations had promoted “radical feminism” while neglecting teachings against homosexuality and abortion.

“The Vatican believes that there is a climate of dissent in some quarters of the women’s religious life in America,” said John Allen, CNN’s Vatican analyst. “They are trying to deal with that, and both these developments speak to that.”

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In its reprimand of Farley, the church focused on her book “Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics,” which it said condones masturbation and homosexuality.

“Masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action,” the church said in a statement Monday that characterized “homosexual acts” as “acts of grave depravity.”

The reprimand warned church officials not to use Farley’s book, raising eyebrows in Catholic circles because she is one of the country’s most respected female Catholic theologians.

The Rev. Brian Linnane, a Jesuit priest and president of Loyola University Maryland, did his doctoral work in theology under Farley.  He said the notification could have a chilling effect on academic freedom at Catholic institutions.

“There’s a sense that the vocation of the theologian is diminished in this notification to where it’s just, ‘Keep repeating what we’ve already said and don’t question it, don’t critique it, don’t try to help us make it more adequate.’  And I think that’s troubling,” he said.

Linnane said people who read the book knew that Farley was departing from Catholic teaching in certain areas.  

“She did not write a book about sexual practices.  She wrote a new framework to think about sexual ethics, which looks at justice, instead of procreation or abstinence, which have been part of the tradition,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s a question of right or wrong so much as I think it is of the ability to raise critical questions, to try and develop new understandings of the theological tradition and in this case of the moral tradition.”

Linnane said the Vatican is right to be sure that public ministers such as priests and nuns be on the same page doctrinally as the church leaders, and he noted the rebuke was specifically against the book, not the author.

“There’s no silencing of Sister Farley in the notification, there’s no threat to her membership in her religious community; it’s just about the book, which everyone agrees probably shouldn’t be taught in Catholic seminaries, certainly shouldn’t be taught in religious education classes for young persons. Everyone agrees it’s theological speculation,” he said.

The censure came days after the leadership that represents most American nuns concluded a meeting in Washington to devise a response to an April Vatican assessment that accused the nuns of hosting speakers who preached “radical feminism” at an annual gathering of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The group represents about 80% of American nuns.

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The report also said the nuns were too focused on social justice and not enough on opposing abortion, euthanasia and same-sex marriage.

The recent reprimands come about a year after U.S. Catholic bishops rebuked another nun, Sister Elizabeth Johnson at Fordham University, for her writings.

The bishops said that Johnson falsely claims the Catholic Church’s names are “metaphors that do not apply to the reality of God within the traditional Catholic understanding.”

“In the last 12 months you’ve seen two of America’s leading Catholic nuns who are theologians in the cross hairs,” Allen said. “I’m not sure there’s anyone left of their stature to go after.”

Many parts of the American nuns’ community and the Catholic academic world have come out swinging against the Vatican critiques. In a statement, Farley defended her work, saying it was not meant as an official church teaching.

Farley said she feared the Vatican “misrepresents (perhaps unwittingly) the aims of my work and the nature of it as a proposal that might be in service of, not against, the church and its faithful people.”

On Friday, the leaders of the American nuns whom the Vatican had criticized said the Holy See’s report was “based on unsubstantiated accusations and (was) the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency” and that the report had “caused scandal and pain throughout the church community.”

Representatives of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious are flying to Rome this week to try to chart a course forward with Vatican officials. Church experts said that the nuns could accept the assessment, negotiate or resign en masse and form a new group outside the watchful eye of the Vatican.

The reprimands originate from the Vatican’s powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which Pope Benedict XVI led for decades before his elevation to the papacy.

In interviews conducted while he held that earlier post, Benedict spoke often about growing the church by pruning - becoming smaller but more devout before expanding.

It is hard to know what the reaction to the fight between American nuns and the Vatican is within the American Catholic community, but there have been some pockets of protest against the Vatican’s actions.

“It’s one thing when the Vatican goes after a theologian, because most rank-and-file Catholics don’t know any theologians,” Allen said. “But so many have been educated by sisters in a school, taken care of by a sister at a hospital or know a nun in their parish that is running the office."

He added, “When there’s a perception that sisters are under fire, there’s a tendency to support them.”

There is evidence that the reprimand against Farley has raised her profile as a theologian. Her "Just Love" was the best-selling religious studies book Tuesday on Amazon.com.

- CNN's Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Sexuality

soundoff (2,186 Responses)
  1. ForGoodOfAll

    The Vatican is getting desparate as the lies and filthy scandals are being exposed. Now the Vatican is trying to avoid further scrutiny by shifting attention to the nuns. Disgusting religion.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:53 am |
  2. At death atheists believe

    Ive noticed something..atheists often complain how evil the church is but they don't do anything in real life to help?! They cling to the internet as their source of hope that one day religion will be stomped out.But that action in real life is not take.They complain about the pedo's within the Catholic church..or the silence of woman.What do they do?

    Nothing but complain..they leave the action to someone else but can stand there and say "religion is evil"

    June 6, 2012 at 7:48 am |
    • OMGod

      We do plenty. We keep our hands to ourselves. Perhaps that doesn't seem like a lot to you, but I am sure the children appreciate it. I help to stomp out the evil church every Sunday...by staying home and putting my financial resources to better use. And besides...it's your church. You should be fixing it. I would apologize in regards to complaining about grown men abusing children, but that just wouldn't make sense.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:56 am |
    • maniacmudd

      religion IS a BANE on humankind!
      Set your moral base, don't cross it.
      Study your faith in your home.
      I prefer to define Atheism as a refusal to be led by fairytales and keeping an open mind.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:00 am |
    • Brenden

      "Ive noticed something..atheists often complain how evil the church is but they don't do anything in real life to help?!"

      I guess you've missed when /r/atheism raised over @200,000 for Doctors Without Boarders. I guess you also missed Non-Believers Giving Aid. You also missed when the Foundation Beyond Belief attempted to donate $500,000 to the American Cancer Society for their Relay for Life. I said attempted to because ACS refused half a million dollars in cancer research money because of who was giving it.

      Do a little research and you can save yourself from making baseless claims that make you look silly and ignorant.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:03 am |
    • Frank

      We atheists are having to pay taxes on your behalf since your tax exempt pedophile cult doesn't have to as they use our money to live lavishly and rape children and pay out hush money.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      At death: Please enlighten us with what the church is doing to stop ho.mo.phobia, pedophilia, oppression of women, child abuse? If Atheists had their way none of that garbage would be happening but the church gets away with being hateful due to the outdated doctrine they follow.
      Now if you were referring to charitable works, UNICEF-Doctors Without Borders-OxFam-ACLU-AmnestyInternational-DonorsChoose.org-The Nature Conservancy-WheelChair Foundation.
      Atheists do plenty for others and ask nothing in return. When you see churches doing charitable things in most cases the recipients are people within the group, although admittedly there are soup kitchens and youth groups but every single church group brings in the person who is down and out and plays on it by telling them they need god....nothing like getting one when they're too weak to fight against it.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Scott

      WOW dude you really don't get it do you?

      June 6, 2012 at 9:04 am |
    • Bill Deacon

      Brenden $700,000? Really? Quite the world changing movement you've got going there.

      June 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • runutz

      You are an uneducated, uninformed disgrace to your species. We do plenty of good, we just don't feel the need to brag about it for you or Gods approval !

      June 7, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  3. Dadster

    Yes, nuns are rogue and pedophile priests are normal.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:40 am |
    • Lostraven

      I was thinking the exact same thing. Nice comment. Sad but true, but still a nice comment just the same.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:44 am |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      well said.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • iloverodstewart

      I agree completely. (Including the sarcasm, of course).

      June 6, 2012 at 7:54 am |
    • oxymoron

      Dadster, my thoughts exactly...it is ok to be a pediphile priest and hide behind the robes of the Vatican.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  4. Ken in NC

    The Vatican needs to go back and reread about what is happening here in the USA. It's not the Nuns that have gone rogue. That was Sarah Palin. She has been rogue since 2008.

    June 6, 2012 at 7:38 am |
  5. OMGod

    What was the delay in censoring all the priests who took advantage of little boys and girls? I guess those acts didn't meet the criteria for being characterized as....

    intrinsically and gravely disordered action

    June 6, 2012 at 6:59 am |
    • midogs2

      Isn't it a 'men's club', OMGod?

      June 6, 2012 at 7:15 am |
    • MarkinFL

      That is actually in the category: "gravely and intrinsically difficult to keep buried after the sh1t hits the fan"

      June 6, 2012 at 7:18 am |
    • Lostraven

      Had they sensored and reined in all the priest who were molesting little boys, that would have been like "The Pot, calling the Kettle...b lack."

      June 6, 2012 at 7:45 am |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      Seems that men can do no wrong in the Vatican's eyes, but women are second class citizens.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:56 am |
  6. Reality

    The bigger picture:

    Another crack in the foundation of the RCC as we march to the following:

    ONLY FOR THE NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG–

    Recognizing the flaws, follies and frauds in the foundations of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the "bowers", kneelers" and "pew peasants" are converging these religions into some simple rules of life. No koran, bible, clerics, nuns, monks, imams, evangelicals, ayatollahs, rabbis, professors of religion or priests needed or desired.

    Ditto for houses of "worthless worship" aka mosques, churches, basilicas, cathedrals, temples and synagogues.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:57 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      You rep repeating this posting. And it's not improving with age.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:10 am |
    • Reality

      Obviously, some people do not understand the meaning of "ONLY FOR NEW MEMBERS OF THIS BLOG" nor do they know how to use the scroll bar.

      June 6, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  7. martog

    1. You believe that the pope has personal conversations with God (that nobody else ever hears) and is infallible when speaking on matters of Church doctrine. You then wistfully ignore the fact that Church doctrine changes and that former popes therefore could not possibly have been “infallible”. Limbo, for example, was touted by pope after pope as a place where un-baptized babies who die go, until Pope Benedict XVI just eradicated it (or, more accurately, so watered it down as effectively eradicate it in a face saving way). Seems all those earlier “infallible” Popes were wrong – as they were on Adam and Eve v. evolution, heliocentricity v. egocentricity, and a host of other issues that required an amendment of official Church doctrine. You also ignore the innumerable murders, rampant corruption and other crimes committed over the centuries by your “infallible”, god-conversing popes.
    2. You reject the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours. You are blissfully (or intentionally) blind to the fact, that had you been born in another part of the World, you would be defending the local god(s) and disdaining the incorrectness of Catholic beliefs.
    3. You begrudgingly accept evolution (about a century after Darwin proved it and after accepting Genesis as literally true for about 2,000 years) and that Adam and Eve was totally made up, but then conveniently ignore that fact that your justification for Jesus dying on the cross (to save us from Original Sin) has therefore been eviscerated. Official Church literature still dictates a belief in this nonsense.
    4. You disdain native beliefs as “polytheist” and somehow “inferior” but cannot explain (i) why being polytheistic is any sillier than being monotheistic. Once you make the quantum leap into Wonderland by believing in sky-fairies, what difference does if make if you believe in one or many?; nor (ii) why Christians believe they are monotheistic, given that they believe in god, the devil, guardian angels, the holy spirit, Jesus, many demons in hell, the Virgin Mary, the angel Gabriel, thousands of saints, all of whom apparently make Earthly appearances periodically, and all of whom inhabit their life-after-death lands with magic-sacred powers of some kind.
    5. You bemoan the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don`t even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees or the 3,000 Israelites killed by Moses for worshipping the golden calf (or the dozen or so other slaughters condoned by the bible). You also like to look to god to for guidance in raising your children, ignoring the fact that he drowned his own – according to your Bible.
    6. You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that God impregnated Mary with himself, to give birth to himself, so he could sacrifice himself to himself to “forgive” an ”Original Sin” that we now all know never happened.
    7. You disdain gays as sinners, but have no problem when Lot got drunk and committed father-daughter in.cest (twice) or offered his daughters to a mob to be gang ra.ped, or when Moses, time and again, offered his wife up for the “pleasures” of the Egyptians to save his own skin.
    8. You believe that your god will cause anyone who does not accept your Bronze Age stories to suffer a penalty an infinite times worse than the death penalty (burning forever in excruciating torture) simply because of their healthy skepticism, yet maintain that god “loves them”.
    9. You will totally reject any scientific breakthrough that is inconsistent with your established doctrine, unless and until it is so generally accepted as to back you into a corner. While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you of the deep inanity of your silly faith, some priest doing magic hand signals over bread and wine is enough to convince you it is thereby transformed into the flesh and blood of Jesus because of the priest’s magic powers (or “sacred powers” to the extent you see a difference).
    10. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to Lourdes, Fátima and other magic places and prayers in general. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. The remaining 99.99% failure was simply “god moving in mysterious ways”. The fact that, if you ask for something repeatedly, over and over, year after year, sooner or later that thing is bound to happen anyway, has not even occurred to you. A stopped clock is right twice a day.
    11. You accept the stories in the Bible without question, despite not having the slightest idea of who actually wrote them, how credible these people were or how long the stories were written after the alleged events they record occurred. For example, it is impossible for Moses to have written the first five books of the Old Testament, as Catholics believe. For one, they record his death and events after his death. In fact, the chance of the Bible being historically accurate in any but the broadest terms is vanishingly small.
    Heavens, I could not fit them into ten. Maybe, if they pray hard enough to their sky-fairy, the Catholics can turn them into 10

    June 6, 2012 at 6:52 am |
    • kentuckyscience.com

      Finite Universe – zero and one are equal (matter can be infinitely divided into nothing – God is Nothing that created everything out of emptiness) "At the Planck distance and the Planck time all physics, as we know it today collapses. This is the reason we call the beginning of the big bang a singularity. You cannot apply ordinary reasoning there. Zero and one have no sense there.OK?" J-P Burri There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Big Bang views one and zero as being equal, since it states that zero appeared out of the absence of zero; then zero created something. Many scientists believe or have faith that light does not have mass, thus they believe the Universe is Finite. Religion promotes the most commonly accepted idea of the group. If light does not have mass, then it would be impossible to move an electron. Light described as a particle means nothing, if it has no mass since it would be impossible to distinguish from nothing because no mass means void of substance. If it has no substance, then nothing is present to distinguish the particle from other particles.
      The Big Bang theory prevents any condition where something has always been. Infinity is defined as the difference between one and zero. Once one and zero are the same according to the big bang, the definition of infinity as stated above is no longer valid. If the big bang occurred, all maths must deal with the proof of 0=1.

      Infinite Universe – zero is not equal to one (there is a point where matter can't be divided – God is Something that can neither be created nor destroyed that is dependent on nothing.) An infinite universe lacks a beginning, so there is no one set past or a given future.
      The infinite Universe supports the view that all particles considered to be energy have mass or substance; that there is one fundamental particle which accounts for all the diverse forms of matter in the Universe. It is the ultimate example of team work, since it fundamentally has no reason to destroy itself. So, why does evil exist? Free will and without freewill, God would lack choice. Balance is the nature of perfection in the Infinite Universe. In an infinite Universe the total amount of something remains constant. When an atom is divided it no longer has the characteristics of the original element. There is a point where matter can't be divided and at this point something and nothing are distinctly defined. In the infinite Universe, the term infinite is used to describe the difference between something (1) and nothing (0). There is an infinite difference between zero and one.

      Humans are more complex than other animals. Thus apes would not develop computers, since their brain is limited in size due to the muscle strength associated with eating.
      Therefore the principles of human evolution from an insane species require a virgin birth of Adam and Eve for the establishment of a moral and just human government (Isaiah 9:6).

      June 6, 2012 at 7:27 am |
    • Flippy1124

      kentucky science! LOL! that says it all folks!

      June 6, 2012 at 7:46 am |
    • Tony

      Martog, I was reading what you had to say right up until your "sky-fairies" comment. If you want to reach people who hold different beliefs than you, don't insult those beliefs in such a childish manner. Seriously, I didn't read a word beyond that, so more than half of your comment was ignored.

      I am a Christian who also believes in evolution. Science has NOT negated God for me.
      I was baptized and confirmed Catholic, yet I stand with the nuns on this.
      I am a person of great Faith who doesn't believe every word in the bible should be taken at face value.

      My point is that humans (and faith) are complex and diverse things, and your generalizations don't apply to all of us. Sadly, though, you strike me as the type who probably stopped reading this–dismissing me out of hand–right after I claimed the term "Christian".

      June 6, 2012 at 7:55 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      I suppose verbosity is its own reward. Do you really think anyone is reading all of that?

      June 6, 2012 at 8:12 am |
    • runutz

      ..THIS IS THE "BEST" RESPONSE IN THE 2000 REPLIES I HAVE READ TO DATE....KUDOS TO YOU MY FRIEND.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  8. Sharon Delaney

    Don't get your news regarding Catholicism here folks. Once again, this blog has tried to spin gold out of hay. This is not a women's issue. This is not an "anti-nun" or anti-American issue. This is a theological distinction that the Vatican took 2 years to arrive at. Dr. Farley's work has been deemed "not Catholic teaching," which is something that she actually agrees with. The Vatican is stating that this book should not be used as a tool for understanding what the Catholic church teaches. Period. Shame on you CNN for misleading your readers

    June 6, 2012 at 6:39 am |
    • OMGod

      This action amounts to religious bullying. Shame on RELIGION.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:01 am |
    • davidr

      It is not a matter of theology, but rather a matter of putting Catholic dogma to the test by applying it in real-world situations. Debates like this make it very clear that what the Catholic Church practices, and what it preaches, are not always the same thing. The Vatican is a self-serving xenophobic ivory-tower community whose power is derived from the monumentally stupid assumption that one man can be infallible. Nuns, on the other hand, work in the trenches, with people who are all-too fallible. Ask any nun whether her allegiance is to the Pope or to God, and you are bound to get a conflicted answer.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:19 am |
    • Nilkinggary

      I'm Cathokic, have read the Notification, but happen to think CNN is correct in its interpretation. The Vatican is now engaged in a concerted effort to attack nuns in America. It is part of a larger assault on women's issues in this country. It amounts to a small group of testy old men bullying a much larger group of women. The wording of the notice attempts to restrict he use of the book but is really just an example of how two-faced and rhetorical the Vatican can be.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Scott

      @Nilkinggary While I agree with what you are saying, I think it's closer to the truth to say a small group of testy old men are not going to be bullied by a larger group of woman.

      June 6, 2012 at 9:10 am |
    • runutz

      And this is a reaction to the lame action that have always held women back so men can continue control.

      June 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  9. Paul

    What an absolute joke! Nuns too concerned with social problems and not focused on the teachings and ideologies of the Pope. This is the straw that broke the camels back and really shows how clueless the Vatican is, but then again have we not known that for 30 years now....

    I say break away Nuns, form you own Society or whatever, continue the invaluable social work that you do, screw those old farts in Rome.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      Follow your hearts and do what is right for you and your communities, Sisters! I admire your charitable work, humility and sincere dedication to human kind.

      Ignore the pompous old guys in fancy garbs who are still protecting pedophiles and holding on firmly to the gold & ivory statues and riches galore while billions of people live in poverty and without shelter, food and clothing. Shame on them!

      June 6, 2012 at 8:10 am |
  10. Sharon Delaney

    c

    June 6, 2012 at 6:31 am |
  11. Using God

    The first thing I thought was "man, the church really hates women". I'm afraid that I have never seen differently. Keeping them from being priests...they step out of line, they get stepped on. Controlling their minds as well as their bodies...how religious...I left the church a long time ago....I do not feel that they follow the law...particularly the one about "love thy neighbor"....and I also saw a show recently that said that the Church was instrumental in sending Adolf Eichmann to Argentina. I knew they didn't do much during the war except support the Nazi's but I found this amazing. Their support of the "wrong way" continues.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:28 am |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      I agree. Very well said!

      June 6, 2012 at 8:13 am |
  12. Bootyfunk

    i'm pretty sure the vatican is the evil super villain headquarters. i know for a fact dr. doom and lex luthor have met with the pope there. they have an army of brainwashed henchmen - you know them as 'christians'.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:20 am |
  13. Bill

    Another Schism afoot? Amerincan Nun's versus the Roman Catholic Church.. didn't Tupac and Biggies teach us all that East vs West only ends in death..

    June 6, 2012 at 6:12 am |
    • Alyssa

      Yes, Tupac and Biggie created that lesson for humanity. Such problems never existed prior to the mid-90's altercations between these groups. [/sarcasm]

      June 6, 2012 at 8:00 am |
  14. Bill

    If the church thinks... “Masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action,” they must not be doing it write....

    June 6, 2012 at 6:07 am |
    • StandupforTruth

      They must not be spelling it "write" either

      June 6, 2012 at 6:25 am |
  15. Jonline

    Well, luckily for the Vatican the sisterhood will be extinct in the next 20-30 years but then again so will the leadership themselves.

    June 6, 2012 at 6:06 am |
    • StandupforTruth

      What other prophesies can you also tell us?

      June 6, 2012 at 6:26 am |
    • Alyssa

      Extinct is probably the wrong word. Both will continue to exist, but in dwindling numbers. The evidence is that the average age of an American nun is over 70. There just aren't enough women to take over when the older ones die. This is true in the priesthood as well.

      June 6, 2012 at 8:02 am |
  16. Bill

    The nuns should fight back.. and create a national "Screw a Nun" day.. and make bumper stickers..

    June 6, 2012 at 6:05 am |
    • Bootyfunk

      bet there's lots of hot nuns hide behind those cassocks and habits. they deserve lovin' too! and by lovin' i mean hot sweaty monkey s.ex.

      June 6, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  17. MollyBee

    Where's the censure on priests abusing children?

    June 6, 2012 at 6:05 am |
    • Lyn

      Absolutely....For decades now, the abuse of child after child after child has been news around the world, and Rome not only stays silent, but brings s cardinal at risk of arrest back to Rome for protection. I'd say, "follow the money...."

      June 6, 2012 at 6:15 am |
    • Bob B

      These creepy old guys just want to hide everything.

      June 6, 2012 at 7:58 am |
  18. Whome

    The Vatican needs to clean-up its own act, they have NO creditability at all. What this jump all over the nuns and protect the priests?

    June 6, 2012 at 6:05 am |
  19. Louis

    So would this more resemble Mel Brooks' "The Inquisition" or Monty Python's "How do you know she's a witch? Well, she looks like a witch!" I hope they're not out looking for a 100 lb duck right now.
    Seriously, it's a real shame the church wasn't this interested in protecting children from pedophile priests as they are in protecting children from independent thinking women!
    I guess were going to see an old fashioned witch trial in Rome this year. How dare those women concern themselves with social injustice when there are so many heretics to burn!

    June 6, 2012 at 5:29 am |
  20. Bob B

    The Vatican is a joke. They are an old mans club with a twisted sense of justice.

    June 6, 2012 at 5:18 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 with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.