NCAN also addresses the Apostolic Visitation

by Thomas C. Fox

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The National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) at its annual board meeting Aug. 16 -18 in Detroit, Michigan, issued statements on several church topics. The following is what NCAN had to say about the Vatican Apostolic Visitation:

A number of seminary personnel reported that the investigation of US seminaries in 2005 and 2006 did not reflect their actual experiences. We question how the Vatican will determine the results of their visitation of U.S. communities of women religious. No visitation should be completed without a final report being shared with the investigated community. We believe that the lack of transparency will invalidate the whole visitation process.

We cannot help but feel that this investigation is an attempt on the part of the Vatican to control US nuns and to silence dissenting voices. A recent poll reported in the National Catholic Reporter (Catholics want women religious to speak out on policy issues: Survey gives U.S. nuns strong Catholic backing,, June 4, 2010) showed that the majority of Catholics believe that women religious should follow their consciences and make public statements concerning church and society even when those statements run counter to those voiced by the bishops.

Religious communities of women have long engaged in self-study, ministry evaluations, and spiritual development. Inspired by diverse charisms, under the leadership of duly elected leaders and Vatican approved constitutions, we women religious daily carry out our mission of compassionate service. We decry the assumption that mature women led by God’s Spirit are incapable of living out their commitments without male oversight. We are proud of our history and the contributions Catholic women have made and are making in church and society.

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