PRESS RELEASE: Thousands Ask Pope Francis to remove unjust mandate against U.S. Sisters

Written By Call To Action


September 15, 2014

For Immediate Release


Ryan Hoffman: 773.531.9203,

Kate McElwee: +1 607.725.1364 (USA),  +39 393.692.2100 (Italy)

Deborah Rose-Milavec:  216.228.0868 x 4, 513.673.1401,

Thousands ask Pope Francis to remove unjust mandate against U.S. Sisters

Catholics are coming together in unprecedented fashion to support U.S. women religious. Over 17,500 signed petitions or sent letters to Pope Francis asking him to remove the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s unjust mandate against the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an organization representing eighty percent of all US Catholic sisters.

Last week, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, told L’Osservatore Romano in reference to the Vatican’s highly criticized investigation of U.S. nuns, “above all we have to clarify that we are not misogynists, we don’t want to gobble up a woman a day!”

“If the Vatican wanted to prove that they are not misogynists, they could start by removing the unjust mandate against the nuns,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec, a coalition spokesperson. She continued, “we remain inspired by the sisters courage in engaging church leadership while remaining faithful to the integrity of their calling.  We promise our support as they pursue their mission to those on the margins despite attempts at institutional, sexist bullying.”

NunJustice representative Kate McElwee personally delivered the petitions to the Vatican on Friday, September 12, 2014, along with Spanish versions of Sr. Elizabeth Johnson’s books, “Consider Jesus” and “Quest for the Living God”   “Catholics all over the world support LCWR in their commitment to stay at the table with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and address the unjust mandate it issued in 2012, “ said McElwee.

In addition, an estimated 200 private prayer services were also held during LCWR’s August 12-15 annual assembly. The campaign supporting LCWR and Sr. Elizabeth Johnson was sponsored by the NunJustice Project, a coalition of 15 U.S Catholic reform organizations. Johnson is the recipient of LCWR’s 2014 Annual Leadership Award.

In 2012 the CDF issued a statement accusing LCWR of promoting “radical feminist themes” and “corporate dissent” and detailed its intent to control speakers at the sisters’ annual assembly and to whom LCWR can present its annual leadership award.  This past April Cardinal Gerhard Mueller harshly criticized LCWR and Sr. Elizabeth Johnson, singling her out for her scholarship

“At the close of their 2014 Assembly, LCWR sent a clear message: they are standing strong,” said Ryan Hoffman, another coalition spokesperson.  “We are especially inspired by Dr. Johnson’s comments upon receiving LCWR’s 2014 Outstanding Leadership Award:

“When the moral authority of the hierarchy is hemorrhaging due to financial scandals and many bishops who … cover up sexual abuse of children, a cover up that continues in some quarters to this day, and thousands are drifting away from the church … the waste of time on this investigation is unconscionable,” .

Elizabeth Johnson is right, said Rose-Milavec,  “These committed, faithful women are serving the most disenfranchised among us.  Women are making the radical dream of Jesus real in today’s world. It is outrageous that their work and ministry are even being called into question. “

The Nun Justice Project is a grassroots movement supported by the following organizations: American Catholic Council, Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, Call To Action, Catholics for Choice, CORPUS, DignityUSA, FutureChurch, New Ways Ministry, Quixote Center, RAPPORT (Renewing a Priestly People, Ordination Reconsidered Today), Voice of the Faithful, WATER: Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual, Women’s Ordination Conference.#####


  • Matilde Glione says:


    I support your initiative from Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Pope Francis shall remove the mandate asap.

    Matilde Glione

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