Portland nuns criticized by Vatican

By Guest Opinion,

The Vatican has launched an investigation of the Leadership Council of Women Religious, a group representing over 80% of the 57,000 nuns in the U.S. including an active chapter in Portland.   The Vatican’s official document detailing the charges under investigation outlines three areas of concern. First of all, “Addresses given during LCWR annual Assemblies manifest problematic statements and serious theological, even doctrinal errors.” Secondly, “these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.” Thirdly, the Vatican has discerned “a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

Translated into layman’s terms, the Vatican believes that nuns in Portland and across the U.S. are more liberal than the Church, especially on abortion, homosexuality, and the core beliefs of Christianity. The  feminist criticism involved theological “themes incompatible with the Catholic faith in some of the programs and presentations sponsored by the LCWR, including theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world”.
Moreover, some commentaries on “patriarchy” distort the way in which Jesus has structured sacramental life in the Church; others even undermine the revealed doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the inspiration of Sacred Scripture”.

A recent vigil at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Northwest Portland attracted more than 90 people, who walked around the Cathedral’s front yard carrying candles and reciting the names of those Sisters who had been influential in their lives.

Nuns have been working hard in Oregon for nearly 170 years, establishing missions, running schools and hospitals, and blessing the lives of Oregonians of all faiths in countless ways. Today, about 155 nuns live and work in Oregon.

The Vatican’s investigation of the Sister’s doctrinal correctness continues to trigger a backlash, with many arguing that the merciful and charitable works of nuns are far more important than their beliefs. But the Holy See is committed to a position highly unpopular today: what humans believe matters more than what they do.


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