FL Catholics learn about the history of feminist nuns
The CTA chapter in SW Florida recently hosted Dr. Marian Ronan, a Catholic author, feminist, activist, religion professor and past president of the Women’s Ordination Conference who recently published the book Sister Trouble: The Vatican, the Bishops, and the Nuns.
Chapter leader Ellen McNally summarized what they learned from Ronan this way: “Since the 3rd century, popes and bishops have attempted to control celibate Christian women. Most attacks were on individual congregations and sisters who lacked the power to fight back. In the 1950s, however, the Vatican ordered women’s congregations to begin meeting together. The sisters did not want to, but obeyed. This led to the formation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. And even before the Second Vatican Council, the sisters were ordered to become better educated so that they could respond more effectively to the modern world. Thanks to the Vatican, Catholic sisters are now some of the best-organized and most highly educated women in the history of the church. These changes led to the recent investigations of U.S. sisters by two Vatican offices and the negative “doctrinal assessment” of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in 2012. Some hope Pope Francis will change all this, but certain Vatican attitudes toward Catholic sisters and other women seem deeply ingrained. Dr. Ronan’s presentation was followed by a lively question and answer period.”