The Vatican's orthodoxy watchdog yesterday announced a full-scale overhaul of a group representing most US nuns and named an American archbishop to oversee the reform.
The Vatican agency cited the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the largest umbrella group for Roman Catholic religious sisters in the United States, for using materials that "do not promote church teaching" on family life and sexuality; for sometimes taking positions in opposition to the nation's bishops; and for being "silent on the right to life from conception to natural death -- a question that is part of the lively public debate about abortion and euthanasia in the United States".
Representatives for the women's group, based in Silver Spring, Maryland, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The review, which began in 2008, was a "doctrinal assessment" by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. When it was initially announced, many religious sisters and their supporters said the inquiry reflected church officials' misogyny and was an insult to religious sisters, who run hospitals, teach, and play other vital roles.
Conservative Catholics, however, have long complained that the majority of sisters in the US have grown too liberal and flout church teaching.