ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–Defying a Vatican order to submit to a full-scale overhaul by U.S. Bishops, a group representing 80-percent of American nuns votes to “dialogue” with the Bishops — but promises no changes.
Wrapping up its weeklong convention, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, held a news conference to announce its response to the Vatican demand.
“I think what we want is to finally, at some end stage of a process, to be recognized and understood as equals in the church,” said the group’s president, Sister Pat Farrell.
The Vatican has warned the sisters have “serious doctrinal problems,” and are drifting into “feminist themes” that contradict Catholic teaching on the all-male priesthood, homosexuality and birth control. The nuns have also been accused of failing to speak out against abortion.
Farrell was asked what her perception is of the Bishop’s attitude toward her group.
“I would just say that there is a power differential between the Bishops and ourselves,” Farrell said, “There is not right now a climate of openness and dialogue in general in the church.”
On the framework of the upcoming talk with the Bishops, Farrell made it clear the nuns aren’t prepared to rubber stamp everything the Bishops might demand.
“The officers will proceed with these discussions as long as possible,” Farrell said, “but will reconsider if LCWR is forced to compromise the integrity of its mission.”
Before the news conference was cut short, Farrell was asked what the risk is to the nun’s organization and also the church, if there is no dialogue.
“I think absolutely nothing is lost,” Farrell said, “My hope is that in trying to pursue avenues for more authentic dialogue, that it can only be to the benefit of everyone. If it breaks down than we can only go no further.”