In Europe, the Vatican wouldn’t stand a chance with such demands of obedience to men in Rome …
(Guardian) – She is the American nun who after 15 years spent working with war refugees in El Salvador now leads the majority of the 57,000 Catholic sisters in the US. He is the American cardinal who marched in San Francisco protesting against gay marriage and was accused of turning a blind eye to paedophile priests before he took over the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the modern version of the Inquisition.
On Tuesday, Pat Farrell and William Levada will clash in Rome at the climax of a raging row over what Catholicism means for women. It will be a confrontation that pits America’s increasingly independent and broad-minded nuns against the Vatican’s male guardians of the faith. “Pat Farrell knows it will be daunting, but she sees the importance of this meeting for the whole Catholic community,” said her spokeswoman, Sister Annmarie Sanders.
The showdown follows the claim by Levada’s department that Farrell’s Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the umbrella organisation for most US orders, has been promoting “radical feminism” and glossing over the Vatican’s hard line on gay marriage and abortion.
The nuns have drawn strong public support in the United States since the Vatican moved to rein them in. In the past few weeks Catholics have organized vigils outside churches from Anchorage, Alaska, to Lady Lake, Florida, and in major cities including Boston, Chicago, Dallas and Los Angeles, as well as outside the offices of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.
Knots of demonstrators – sometimes a handful, sometimes several dozen – come to pray, sing and give thanks for nuns. More than 50,000 have signed an online petition asking the Vatican to withdraw its order.
The Leadership Conference cited that support in its tough response to the Vatican, saying the board “believes that the matters of faith and justice that capture the hearts of Catholic sisters are clearly shared by many people around the world.”
See also my recent diary – Pope Bendict XVI is Gunning for U.S. Uppity Nuns
- The Vatican Fears U.S. ‘Feminist’ Nuns
- The New York Times and Pope Benedict XVI: how it looks to an American in the Vatican