Nuns stunned after being ordered by the Vatican to get back on the straight and narrow

A LEADING American organisation of Catholic nuns – the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) – has been severely rapped following a Vatican investigation which found that it was spending too much time on trivial issues such as poverty and social justice and not enough on raising hell over gay marriage and abortion.

The LCWR, which has around 1,500 members in the US,  says on its website that it was left stunned by the findings of Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF, formerly the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition. In 1981 a certain Joseph Ratzinger was appointed to head the Inquisition).

Pope Ratzinger once headed the Inquisition

The CDF said in its findings, published this week:

While there has been a great deal of work on the part of LCWR promoting issues of social justice in harmony with the Church’s social doctrine, it is silent on the right to life from conception to natural death … Further, issues of crucial importance in the life of the Church and society, such as the Church’s Biblical view of family life and human sexuality, are not part of the LCWR agenda in a way that promotes Church teaching.

The naughty nuns also stand accused of issuing occasional statements:

That disagree with or challenge positions taken by the Bishops, who are the Church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals.

The CDF thundered:

This is not compatible with its purpose.

And it pointed out:

The Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated life …

In a sinister, Mafia-like move, the Vatican has called in a trio of “heavies” to knock the wayward nuns back into line. Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle has been named the CDF’s  “Archbishop Delegate” for the kick-ass initiative, assisted by Bishop Leonard Blair and Bishop Thomas John Paprocki.

It will be the task of the Archbishop Delegate to work collaboratively with the officers of the LCWR to achieve the goals outlined in this document, and to report on the progress of this to the Holy See …. In this way, the Holy See hopes to offer an important contribution to the future of religious life in the Church in the United States.

Hat tip: Robert Stovold


63 responses to “Nuns stunned after being ordered by the Vatican to get back on the straight and narrow”

  1. Thomas54 says:

    Sinister, manipulative, vindictive, control freaks. The Holy See through and through.

  2. Broga says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if these nuns told that bunch of dysfunctional, woman hating, emotionally stunted and uncaring brutes to get lost.

  3. Matt Westwood says:

    May I just pledge my support to all religious groups whose mandate it is to fight social ills like poverty and social injustice. I sincerely hope the LCWR prevail.

    I also suggest that everyone who has such a view should take the battle to them on their own ground, and pray against the Catholic leadership whether you think it works or not. It may, it may not. In a spirit of scientific endeavour, though, you never know, and all you’ve lost in the meantime is the length of time it took to issue such a prayer.

  4. David Lawson says:

    The BBC interviewed the head of the nuns organization on this story and offers good arguments to reject them

  5. Cliff Knoetz says:

    The “Holy See Through” is right…

  6. barriejohn says:

    Has Ratsknickers never heard of the Council of Trent?

    Canon 11. If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, excluding grace and charity which is poured into their hearts by the Holy Spirit and inheres in them, or also that the grace which justifies us is only the favour of God, let him be anathema.

    Canon 12. If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.

    Canon 24. If anyone says that the justice (righteousness) received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of the increase, let him be anathema.

    Canon 30. If anyone says that after the reception of the grace of justification the guilt is so remitted and the debt of eternal punishment so blotted out to every repentant sinner, that no debt of temporal punishment remains to be discharged either in this world or in purgatory before the gates of heaven can be opened, let him be anathema.

    Canon 32. If anyone says that the good works of the one justified are in such manner the gifts of God that they are not also the good merits of him justified; or that the one justified by the good works that he performs by the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ (of whom one is a living member), the justified does not truly merit an increase of grace, and eternal life, provided that one dies in the state of grace, the attainment of this eternal life, as well as an increase in glory, let him be anathema.

    The nuns appear to be in the right!

  7. Broga says:

    The Vatican really has lost the plot. While criticising these nuns – women – they have been so ready to hide and protect legions of paedo priests – men.

    How much longer before the whole rotten edifice of the Roman Catholic Church, with its stench of sanctimony and hyppocrisy, just falls apart? Despite the best efforts of the BBC and its RC hierarchy to defend and promote its so called truth.

  8. Brian Jordan says:

    Canon 666. If any pesky nuns waste their time pushing old-fashioned Christianity, instead of following the Diktat Of The Day from the Vatican P.R. Department, let them be anathema.

  9. Pete H says:

    @ David Lawson,

    Thanks for the article showing the nuns’ response. The video attached to the story is excellent.

    Looks to me like they are in no mood to be dicatated to.

    They may be nuns, but they are also American women, and as the husband of an American wife, I can attest that they are intelligent, feisty and not to be trifled with. 😀

  10. ZenDruid says:

    I was tickled when she suggested in the interview (and quickly retracted) that those deviant narcissistic Vatican boys “grow up”. Exactly. Learn some manners, and grow up!

  11. Daz says:

    Oops, their priorities are showing!

    The RCC do seem to rather enjoy shooting ’emselves in the collective foot, don’t they.

    Peter Sartain: Rat peer stain

  12. Broga says:

    This episode demonstrates how far Ratzinger and co are so adrift from contemporary life. They still think that when they tell their minions to jump the response will be, “How high?” Now it is not only the fantasy spun in their diseased minds of militant secularists they are dealing with but the reality of militant women (shock! horror!) who are prepared to oppose them.

    The expected scenario was that some male Vatican religious gauleiters would step in and bring the cowering women to heel. Instead, sympathy and support for the nuns is now international and the Vatican and its gauleiters are objects of contempt. And the women are standing their ground.

  13. barriejohn says:

    I thought that the best bit of last week’s Divine Women was when Bettany Hughes pointed out that all that dreadful New Testament misogyny was down to Augustine alone, a man who had been obsessed with sex in his youth, and remained so after his conversion! Maybe Augustine really WAS “The Apostle Paul”: it would answer a lot of questions.

  14. Daz says:

    Thanks Barriejohn. I knew there was summat I wanted to catch up with on iplayer…

  15. barriejohn says:

    Jesus was guiding my hand, Daz!

  16. Normand says:

    If the Devil existed I am sure he would look like Ratzinger. Someone should copy that face on a mask for Halloween and make a killing because it will rival Freddie.

  17. Mark Palmer says:

    Isn’t unbelievable the lengths the
    Vatican Knuckleheads
    will go, to shove their agenda down our
    throats? It’s not that far from the Muslims shoving Sharia Law in our

    They should not have any right to use
    their dogma to contradict/change the Constitution of the United

    For a really, really great comment
    regarding how The
    Vatican is a foreign Government and is violating US Constitutional
    read the comments by “ludwig” following the article
    titled: “Vatican
    scolds Catholic nuns’ group for deviating from doctrine”

    on the Los
    Angeles Times

    web site.

    very well thought out op-ed piece that is well worth your time to

  18. Daz says:


    I find it more interesting when hands are guided by the devil…</smut>

    Talking of bad semi-religious jokes: What’s the similarity between a busy day and an imp chasing a demon?

    They’re both just one damned thing after another!

    I’ll get me coat…

  19. Trevor blake says:

    I used to work in an elementary school. Sometimes the children would be, well, children, and do something they knew they weren’t allowed to do at school. Children in middle school and in high school also broke the rules, but there was a difference in their responses after being caught. Only the very young children were surprised that their actions had consequences. By the time they are 10 or so years old they may not like the rules but they weren’t surprised that they were in trouble.

    When an adult devotes his or her entire life and all of their time and the summation of their resources to the Roman Catholic Church – please, please spare me the flap jawed pantomime of surprise when that adult learns the rules apply to them too. The RCC is not a democracy. Disagree if your conscious guides you. Take the outcome as it is given to you. But surprise? I beg you to suffer in silence instead.

  20. Jim Boomba says:

    To Trevor Blake
    Which goes to show that religion is nothing about morality and all about authority.

  21. Matt Westwood says:

    @Trevor blake: “RCC is not a democracy.” All the more reason for it to be utterly destroyed and obliterated from the face of the earth.

    You forgot a third stage of disobedience: when an adult has formed a moral matrix for his/her behaviour, and has come to be convinced that certain of the “rules” are unjust, pointless and to a greater or lesser extent “evil”, and those who seek to enforce those rules are corrupt. Under such circumstances it is your moral and ethical duty to fight those rules, starting with the approach of your own disobedience towards those rules.

    The mistake made by all you authoritarians is that you somehow seem to think that everybody but your pompous self is a naughty child that needs correcting. This is probably a result of your own experience working in schools.

    But now tell me: did working in a school give you that skewed outlook on humanity, or was it your desire to impose pointless discipline upon those who by default were under your authority cause you to gravitate towards that work? No, you don’t need to answer me, just think about it.

  22. barriejohn says:

    I was at one time in touch with a large group of young evangelical Christians who were members of a Catholic church on one of Swindon’s council estates. They seemed to believe eveything that I did, read all the books that I did, attended early morning prayer meetings, and engaged in enthusiastic personal evangelism just as Protestant Christians do. But they felt it their duty to remain in the RC Church. My best friend – now sadly deceased – was a keen Anglican and lay preacher, yet attended Brethren “meetings” with me, where he nodded more enthusuiastically than anyone else and shouted “Amen” at the “truth” that was proclaimed. It is difficult to understand what goes on in their minds, but it’s more than just loyalty – they seem to believe that God has ordained that these organizations should represent him on earth, so it is their duty to operate within their structures. But how about this story from today’s Mail?

  23. Broga says:

    I heard one of the nun’s on “Sunday” and she certainly was not backing down. She seemed to be making an effort to be polite. However, that did not stop her describing the Vatican gauleiters as being men who could not cope with educated, professional women. Her view was that the Vatican outfit were hopelessly out of touch. She said she was ready to have a discussion. She seemed in no mood to take orders.

  24. Trevor blake says:

    Jim B.: I advocate the withering away of religion under the twin suns of reason and scorn. Greetings to you!

    Matt W.: perhaps you have confused my description of how the RCC operates (not a democracy) with what I advocate. Let me try to clarify. If you sleep with dogs, you wake up with fleas. If you become a nun, you do what the pope says. I’m not saying that’s right. I’m saying you’ll get no sympathy from me if it turns out you break the pope’s rules and he doesn’t like it. And I’m saying it’s a good idea to leave the church for that (or any, or no) reason.

    Authoritarian? Pompous? No, that’s the guy in the funny hat in Rome.

    You call me names, presume much about my work in schools, then ask for no reply. I, in turn, greet you as a friend who has misread my words. I hope this clarifies what my position is. If you have any more questions you can read my many comments at The Freethinker, or my tens of thousands anti-religious (and pro-democracy) posts at

  25. Matt Westwood says:

    @Trevor blake: Okay point taken apology offered.

    But I still think you do the nuns there a disservice. Anyone working to relieve the world of its social problems like poverty deserve all the support they can get. In certain environments, the only opportunity you get to devote your life towards the calling of helping other people is via the auspices of the established churches of whichever denomination. Fact of life. That’s a problem of society. It’s unfair to blame the nuns for this fact. And I believe they do need sympathy and support.

    What worries me is the people who look at them and say: “Catholic nuns, hah! they deserve everything they get, because they’re Catholic.” That’s bigotry.

  26. Stonyground says:

    Having followed this story via various media outlets, it seems to me that these nuns are getting a bollocking for making the RCC look good. All Christian denominations like to project JC as someone who cared about the poor and marginalised, these nuns seem to be doing their best to put that into practice. Of course, if Ratty had to start following the teachings of Christ, the Vatican would have to sell all they have and give the proceeds to the poor.

  27. Broga says:

    @Stonyground: I think Ratty and his mates, living high on the hog in the Vatican, have one philosophy thoroughly integrated into their approach: don’t do as we do; do as we say.

  28. Robster says:

    This “Holy see” thing they call pope Ratzi, what on earth is that all about? If the old fella’s got holes, you’re gonna see through him any way, like that’s ever been difficult. What’s so magic about that? Maybe it describes ratzies cranial capacity, it must’ve all fallen out, through the hole.

  29. Equality Jack says:

    @Matt Westwood
    Bigoted? Yes. But the whole religion is racist, bigoted, prejudiced, etc.
    Someone living surrounded by their delusional organization is not going to encounter sane people in the organization.
    The RCC is nuts. The nuns are nuts. The priests are nuts.

    They need a giant, cosmic squirrel to appear in the sky and destroy them all in a blast of might squirrel-fire.

    They became nuns because of the crazy stuff they liked, knowing quite well, for most of them, that the priests were bigoted misogynists.
    It’s all over the place. They couldn’t be a nun for very long without encountering that stuff with EVERY priest.

    So I don’t understand why they act surprised that the priests are acting like they’ve always done.

    My best guess is that this is just a distraction ploy to take pressure off of the ped0priest scandal.
    Otherwise, their “surprise” and such makes NO sense at all to me.

  30. Ian says:

    Just why are we surprised?

  31. Juvenal says:

    Surprised? If the RCC didn’t behave like that some of us would faint clean away.

  32. RuariJM says:

    “…spending too much time on trivial issues such as poverty and social justice and not enough on raising hell over gay marriage and abortion…”

    Actually, it’s rather more the other way round. While the work on poverty, alienation and dispossession is praised for being (wait for it) in line with the RC Church’s policy(!) the amount of time spent facilitating and supporting abortions and promoting other causes that are not just out of line with the Catholic Church’s teaching but actually opposed to it comes in for some sharp words in the Report. (It may help if people actually read the Report – it would make things clearer).

    Trevor Blake is correct. The rules also apply to these ladies. If they prefer a different set of rules they have the complete freedom to go off and set up their own organisation. It may struggle a bit without the infrastructure built up over many years by their predecessors but building their own would be more honest than hijacking a structure whose central tenets you fundamentally disagree with.

    As the topic of sexual abuse has been raised, perhaps the leaders of the LCWR could give up stonewalling representatives of SNAP, who want to discuss abuse by nuns going back several decades. And stop apeing the discredited tactics of the bishops in sheltering, protecting and concealing the wherabouts of people who are accused of serious crimes. Just because they are women does not make it OK.

  33. Equality Jack says:

    Definitely a sham of a red herring trailing its coat to distract and divide the outraged people forming against them.

    I am convinced. If the nuns are also hiding criminals, and I forgot to consider that, then the whole circus is just political theatre with a certainty factor of over 95 percent for me.

  34. says:

    The nuns aren’t hiding anything. The nuns are the ones doing the work of Jesus and the Lord above. I have family in one of these orders. They are on the front line walking the walk – not preaching “all ye are damned” from the pulpit, while taking money from the lambs and stuffing it in the fat wallet of the Vatican bank! They take a vow of poverty! The nuns are helping the poor. They clothe those with nothing to wear. They feed those with empty stomachs. They counsel those in need, unable to pay for social services. They don’t hate the sinner, the just don’t condone the sin. At the same time, they don’t toss the sinner to the side! They offer them counsel consistent with the Vatican’s ridiculous “rules/doctrine” but allow the individuals, their rights as human beings, freedom to make their own choices. Should they need counseling after having made their choice… they provide an avenue for emotional and spiritual healing. This is just another way for the church to point the finger away from the sex abuse perpetrated by the many, many priests the world over. Point the finger at the women to turn the spotlight away from the men. This sickens me. I believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings… and the Catholic Church/Vatican is not a good example of what Christ stood for. The nuns that are out there in the community doing the right thing! They SHOW compassion, they DO the work Jesus speaks of in the bible. I would say I’m ashamed to have been raised in a Catholic family. But, if it weren’t for my family member who is out there in the trenches fighting the good fight for those who have nothing or are struggling spiritually, I would have denounced Catholicism long ago! These nuns aren’t throwing stones in the glass house they are forced to live in. They don’t talk the talk… they just go out there every day and DO the work! I truly hope Catholics across the world, who truly believe in Jesus and his teachings, see through this poorly veiled attempt to deflect attention from the evil being perpetuated by the patriarchal, corrupt, Vatican!

  35. Juvenal says:

    “The nuns aren’t hiding anything”

    Do you know this to be fact, or do you choose to believe it?

  36. zeet says:

    I know this to be a fact… and I choose to believe in factual information.

  37. Broga says:

    Nuns are wonderful, are they? Not the one’s in Ireland who enslaved children in their laundries and abused them cruelly. You don’t have to try very hard to find women, often non catholics, who can tell you about hair pulling, punching, rapping fingers with rulers by these women. They are part of a warped and secret organisation and they must be infected by its practices. Best thing any nun can do is get out and get a life.

  38. Matt Westwood says:

    Sorry but I’m still uncomfortable about the broadness of the brushes being used to paint these people. To judge as morally wanting a whole category of people just because they belong to an organisation against which (rightly or wrongly) you bear a prejudice comes across to me as bigoted.

    I will grant that some people in this organisation have been identified as having done bad things. I will grant that the hierarchy of this organisation is seriously bad news. But I will fight to the death any one of you fucking shitheads who classifies all these nuns as in the same moral category “cos it stands to reason dunnit, they’re nuffink but cafflicks so they must be bastards.”

    And then you wonder why people have a similar knee-jerk reaction against atheists. Come on, are we going to break the circle of abuse here, or just keep the same tired old fascistic jingo-baiting sloganeering?

    Once you’ve bought yourself a van and stuck an urn in there, filled full of soup, and gone round the local drop-outs hangout under the flyover and handed out free soup and cigarettes, then you can criticise the nuns for not being part of the right organisation. Till then shut the fuck up.

  39. Equality Jack says:

    You seriously want me to respect people for being delusional?

    And their sadism is part of the institution. It is “holy writ” to make people suffer, to give only the least of help, to “glorify” the Church (big “C”) by vacuuming up all the gold to make pretty crosses covered with dust and to give the priests silk and satin, gold and wealth, uber-expensive Italian custom shoes, fancy dresses to make it easier to take things up the bum, and to pay for secret rooms where children can be had as sex toys.

    Yeah, you get right on your defense of the “goodness” of these sadistic, child-abusing, busybodies who grasp at every bit of cash from anyone at all using terrorist propaganda that oppresses every bit of a person’s life.
    We wouldn’t want to offend you or anything. No.

    You lap up their propaganda like the lowliest alter boy.

    If those nuns were truly decent people, they’d leave the religion altogether. But they’ve been brainwashed into being co-dependent sadists who are used to keep the followers alive long enough to drain them of money.

    They are the ones who bandage up the children with the bleeding arses. They know ***exactly*** what goes on behind closed doors.

    So fuck you, mate. Those are nasty bits of work right there.
    If you want to defend them, you haven’t got a leg to stand on and you know it.
    We don’t need sadists running soup kitchens, do we? Or are you a masochist that just needs a tickle every now and then?

  40. Matt Westwood says:

    @EJ: “All nuns are sadists” now, is it?

    All atheists are fucking arrogant bigoted pricks, if you’re anything to do by. Fuck off and die before I get there first.

  41. Equality Jack says:

    I’m not “feeling the love” here, Matt. I guess you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

    Well, I can’t say I’m all that surprised. A religious troll like you is so easy to refute because you’re schizoid about the real world and actual things like facts are simply beyond your grasp because of it.

    When you stop frothing at the mouth, why don’t you explain how these devoted followers of a sadistic and oppressive religion are all sweetness and light when their devotion itself inevitably gives rise to sadistic action?

    Or you could just piss off already. I’m not picky.

  42. Matt Westwood says:

    See, it’s shit words like “inevitably” that show you up to be a dickwit.

  43. Equality Jack says:

    *rolls eyes*

  44. Juvenal says:


    To say all Nuns/Monks are sadists is I except an exaggeration, but to claim that they all knew what went on and did nothing about it is not. Good people do not stand idly while the vulnerable are abused.
    My father was taught, for many years, by monks (I forget which order). He did not have a good word to say for any of them. The only thing they seem to have achieved was to instill in him a great and abiding hatred of the RCC.

  45. Matt Westwood says:

    That’s just an example of argument from anecdote. How certain are you that everybody in that organisation did nothing about it?

    My argument is that it is fallacious and inflammatory to state that an entire category of people is evil. The argument I’m getting back is that putting my case forward objecting to this demonstration of prejudice indicates that I myself am in that category, which puts the arguer into shitwit territory.

  46. Zeet says:

    I’m not trying make claims that nuns the world over have been “saintly.” Many have not been. Yes, there are many that have been historically physically abusive in schools. But, I have yet to hear of a sex abuse scandal, in any religious order, involving nuns. My own family is Catholic, an aunt is a Catholic Nun… all of my family were raised in Catholic schools… a few were beaten by Catholic Nuns. My aunt still chose to become a Nun for many reasons… one being to restore, or maybe reclaim, the goodness done by many nuns the world over. She experienced physical violence AS a nun “coming up in the ranks” but she didn’t retaliate or adopt the teachings of a few bad seeds. She chose to do the exact opposite. Once she was in a position to oversee others, she made damn sure that violence (on any level) was not tolerated! With regard to the nuns that did these evil deeds to children in their care… they were likely abused as children and thus the cycle continued because they didn’t get the proper help to quell the anger of not being protect as a child. It doesn’t excuse their actions, but it is likely source for where it started and why it was perpetuated.

    As for the monks… notorious abusers (many of whom become priests). As a child, my father was abused repeatedly for years by the monks (yes sexually). When he told his mother, she turned a blind eye and basically said “it didn’t happen – you’re lying.” Her faith in the church blinded her to the possibility that as humans they were capable of evil deeds. Thanks to the Monks and my grandmother, myself and my family, suffered at my fathers hands and effectively lost our childhood. So, having been raise RC, I can’t say I have much good to say about it… save the good deeds and hard work I have seen my aunt doing for years with the lost, the abused, the poor, etc. She is a shining example of what the church should be. But, for the most part, is not. I an not athiest, I’m not a “good Catholic”, but I do believe in God and Christ and I do believe that there are bad seeds in every religion (sadly). But I have to stand up for the nuns and say that they are DOING… not preaching. And that, in my opinion, is what a truly spiritual, faithful, person does. They don’t concern themselves with materialistic items. They receive a pittance from the Church to survive on and don’t complain about it. They don’t sit in fancy gold-dipped chairs, eat off the finest dinnerware, or live in the lap of luxury. They exist in rooms the size of dorms and share eating and bathroom facilities. They live simply, so others might simply live.

    I was disgusted when I was asked to go to our churches rectory to help set up a tv for our priest. It wasn’t a TV… it was a 40″ flat screen movie theater with a direct tv package better than the one I had at home!! All I could think of is the one tiny, old school, tv shared by 6 nuns in the convent my aunt belongs to. Meanwhile, this priest is living in the lap of luxury complaining of exhaustion after having done two masses a day. He owns and drives a new car (the registration doesn’t have the churches name on it). One man, in a huge rectory with all the spoils of any modern family (if not more than the average family). My aunt works 8-10 hours a day in the city… 6 days a week… taking the wretched public transportation, walking to her place of “employment” where she doesn’t get paid. Exhausted… suffering… please – cry me a river! Needless to say I had to leave before I became very vocally disrespectful. I proceed to tell my aunt of my frustration with the church and how these lofty priests are living while she’s out there sharing everything with 6 other women (sometimes more) in a small space. She never complains. She says, “I chose this life. I took a vow of poverty… I have food in my stomach and roof over my head. I have no complaints.” Meanwhile the priest is complaining that he can’t get his fancy computer to load fast enough so he can sync his direct tv show lineup with his tv. Sickening.

    Do I think all priests are evil… no. Do I think all Nuns are saintly… no. But do I think the Vatican and the RC over all is twisted and designed in a patriarchal fashion that caters to men only… absolutely! The work of women in the church is historically undervalued and often times not even acknowledged. Instead, the men in the RCC get all the praise and make all the rules that favor them, while crapping on the women who serve. I don’t believe for a minute that this is how Christ would have wanted it. As with any “great empire” the RCC will collapse on itself thanks to the wrong doings of those at the top.

  47. Matt Westwood says:

    @Zeet: Thanks for that. It’s precisely the point I’ve been trying to make.