Philadelphia Inquirer: US nuns under Vatican rebuke will continue talks

ST. LOUIS – American nuns described as dissenters in a Vatican report that ordered an overhaul of their group said Friday they will talk with church leaders about potential changes but will not compromise on the sisters’ mission.

Sister Pat Farrell, president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, called the Vatican assessment of the organization a “misrepresentation.” But she said the more than 900 women who attended the group’s national assembly this week decided they would for now stay open to discussion with three bishops the Vatican appointed to oversee them.

“The officers will proceed with these discussions as long as possible but will reconsider if LCWR is forced to compromise the integrity of its mission,” Farrell said at a news conference, where she declined to discuss specifics.

The organization represents about 80 percent of the 57,000 Roman Catholic nuns in the U.S.

The St. Louis meeting was the group’s first national gathering since a Vatican review concluded the sisters had “serious doctrinal problems” and promoted “certain radical feminist themes” that undermine Catholic teaching on all-male priesthood, birth control and homosexuality. The nuns also were criticized for remaining nearly silent in the fight against abortion.

Farrell acknowledged the nuns’ plan going forward was vague, but noted the process would stretch over five years and had only just started. The board is expected to meet this weekend with Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain, who will be in charge of the overhaul…
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