NEW YORK – The largest umbrella group for U.S. nuns on Friday broke weeks of near-silence on a stinging Vatican report that they had undermined Roman Catholic teaching, saying the inquiry was “flawed” and based on “unsubstantiated accusations” that were causing pain throughout the church.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been considering for six weeks how they should respond to the Vatican findings, which accused them of promoting “certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith,” while failing to emphasize core teaching on abortion.
The Vatican ordered a full-scale overhaul of the organization overseen by three American bishops, a decision that has led to an outpouring of support for the nuns nationwide.
After three days of discussion and prayer, the board decided to take their concerns to a meeting June 12 in Rome with the Vatican orthodoxy watchdog, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The office in Rome is led by an American, Cardinal William Levada.
“Board members concluded that the assessment was based on unsubstantiated accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked transparency,” the group said after a three-day meeting. “Moreover, the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the concerns raised and could compromise their ability to fulfill their mission.”