16 Catholic Organizations Call on Pope Francis to Apologize to U.S. Nuns; Launch Petition

Written By Call To Action

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May 15, 2014

For Immediate Release

May 15, 2014

Washington, DC – The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group representing 80% of the 57,000 nuns in the United States, remains under scrutiny from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).

In the spring of 2012, the CDF issued a statement accusing LCWR of promoting “radical feminist themes” and “corporate dissent,” causing outrage among Catholics around theglobe. On April 30, 2014, the Vatican chief of doctrine, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, accused U.S. nuns of not abiding to the harsh and unjust reform agenda imposed on them by the Vatican. In addition, the document personally attacked renowned theologian Dr. Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ.

The following is an open letter to Pope Francis signed by representatives of The Nun Justice Project, a coalition of 16 progressive Catholic organizations based in the United States. In addition, the group launched a Groundswell petition calling for individual signers to take action.

The letter reads as follows:

Dear Pope Francis   

We write with respect and gratitude for your extraordinary leadership in our Church.

Sadly, we also write with concern and dismay at the behavior that Cardinal Gerhard Müller recently exhibited toward women leaders of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) and especially toward Dr. Elizabeth Johnson CSJ. 

Cardinal Müller’s preemptive public criticism of LCWR leadership and Dr. Johnson, one of the most beloved and respected theologians in the world, eclipsed any opportunity for public dialogue. 

This communicates that faithful Catholic female leaders are disrespected and discounted in our Church.

On numerous occasions you have expressed a desire to expand leadership opportunities for women.  We respectfully suggest that the place to begin is to listen to faithful women who are already exercising leadership. 

We ask you to personally intervene with Cardinal Müller and Archbishop Sartain and remove the unjust mandates imposed on LCWR over two years ago. 

In addition, a public apology to Dr. Johnson and LCWR leadership would speak volumes about the institutional Church’s intent to truly listen to women and honor their voices. 

In closing, we express our love and solidarity with you as together we joyfully proclaim the rich diversity revealed in the Good News of Jesus Christ, a message ever ancient yet ever new.

Sincerely yours,

The Nun Justice Project

American Catholic Council

Association of Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Catholics Speak Out / Quixote Center

Call To Action

CORPUS

DignityUSA

Federation of Christian Ministries/RCFCC

FutureChurch

National Coalition of American Nuns

New Ways Ministry

Pax Christi Maine

RAPPORT

Roman Catholic Womenpriests – USA

Southeastern Pennsylvania Women’s Ordination Conference

Voice of the Faithful

Women’s Ordination Conference

Media Contact: Ryan Hoffmann, Call To Action Director of Communications, ph: 773.404.0004 ext. 285, email: ryan@cta-usa.org 

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