Sister Florence Deacon and Sister Pat Farrell

The leaders of the nation’s largest group of nuns sidestepped a confrontation with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, announcing Friday that they would “dialogue” with the archbishop appointed by the Vatican to take over their group, but not “compromise the integrity” of their mission.

Pat Farrell, the departing president of the nuns’ group, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said at a news conference that the members of her organization wanted to be “recognized as equal in the church,” to have their style of religious life “respected and affirmed,” and to help create a climate in which everyone in the church can talk about “issues that are very complicated.”

“Their expectation is that open and honest dialogue may lead not only to increasing understanding between the church leadership and women religious,” the nuns said in a statement, “but also to creating more possibilities for the laity, and particularly for women, to have a voice in the church.”

…Cardinal William J. Levada, an American who until June was in charge of the church’s doctrinal office, called the nuns’ approach a “dialogue of the deaf…”

The decision to seek a dialogue came after more than 900 nuns spent four days doing what they call “listening to the Holy Spirit” inside a hotel ballroom. They represent about 80 percent of the 57,000 Catholic nuns in the United States. They were responding to an edict issued in April by Cardinal Levada’s office, which ordered three American bishops to rewrite the Leadership Conference’s statutes, evaluate its programs and publications, and revise its liturgies and rituals…

The standoff between the Vatican and the nuns has become a proxy for the struggle between the church’s right and left flanks. As the nuns were reminded this week, many Catholics who want to see their church reformed are looking to the nuns to be their voice.

Like the American politics these nuns reflect, the confrontation is between reactionaries whose ideology resides in a mythical world somewhere in the distant past when the population as a whole and women in particular obeyed a small group of self-centered men.

  1. Anon says:

    Authoritarian institutions ALWAYS prefer obedience.

    Respect mah authoritay

    • msbpodcast says:

      We Québecois realized this in 1960.

      Before a generation had passed we were buying old churches and converting them to nude dancing bars.

  2. Bob Andweave says:

    Injecting politics into a religious debate is just as ignorant as injecting religious arguments into a political debate.

    • Public says:

      Some countries allow religions to influence their policies. I don’t like it either.

    • If you don’t like the traditional mixture of politics and religion, you may find the Republican convention this year somewhat less offensive than usual. The good news that comes with nominating a member of the Mormon cult to run for president is that they will quite likely downplay the role of religion, especially since many right-wing Evangelicals still believe that all cults (such as Mormonism) are an attempt by Satan to separate people from their true Creator. Instead, the Republicans will highlight the one god that we all share and worship — money.

  3. Jesus H Christ says:

    Who cares?! Unless you’re Catholic or Christian, it makes no difference to the rest of us. Just why this is even newsworthy is what I might question.

    However, it seems to me that this issue may be a good reason for those poor misguided (pronoun)’s to form their own religion or at least secede from the Vatican’s authority. I can’t imagine why they – or anyone – would want to continue to be part of a group that protects pedophiles, breaks civil laws and ignores other indisputable facts. Facts like evolution or even gravity!

    Wallow in ignorance and believe what you want. But don’t try to tell me your religion is good. Facts are facts! And the simple fact is that all religions are sheer idiocy on a grand scale. And in my book that’s not a good thing.

    Religion is simply tradition run-a muck. Traditions are just habits which happen to be shared by many people. And since people don’t adjust to change very well they often form groups which resist change. Either that or they will attempt to find ways to explain change. Religions are all too often the result where people who can’t/won’t change will find a way to bullshit themselves into believing things aren’t the way the cold hard facts say they are. Religions are even used as a crutch to validate those incorrect beliefs too. But make no mistake, this is something that usually starts wars! And that’s not something I want to be a part of.

    • msbpodcast says:

      Religion is simply tradition run amok. (Not run-a muck)

      Actually religions are far more pernicious that mere tradition. Tradition is mere history, religion is the denial of history, or common sense.

      They use coercive enforcement methods to justify their continued existence and will gleefully use unspeakably inhumane methods to stamp out even the thought of dissent.

      To extend the sayings of Bakunin, who held that every state, no matter how seemingly benign, is fundamentally criminal, every religion, no matter how seemingly benign, is fundamentally a pathological monster in our midst.

  4. dusanmal says:

    That is Church system of belief. It is VOLUNTARY. Core beliefs are clearly defined and mandated if you want to participate. These nuns are free not to be Catholic if they disagree with Catholic teaching and policies. Plenty of other organized religion institution who share their values. It is NOT voting democracy or political dialogue system.
    Again situation equal to a white person demanding that he be recognized as a black man and complaining that it is not democratic choice for him not to be black. Sorry, reality called – no dialogue possible on that item as well.

    • msbpodcast says:

      It is VOLUNTARY.

      Ever since excommunication stopped being effective, it might be voluntary, but where excommunication or a sanctioned bullet to the brain is still in vigor, it is not voluntary.

      Take off your rose colored glasses.

      • bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

        Mpod–you got me here. I agree a bullet to the head makes continuing participation involuntary, I don’t see how excommunication would be. But its all a word game all culminating in why join a club that doesn’t want you?

        1. Jews at a country club.
        2. Blacks on a Bob Sled.
        3. Nuns in a Male Dominated Religion.
        4. Those interested in the Commonweal in Politics.
        5. Fundies in the Public Educational system.

        Yes, lots of examples. Seems a “group” by definition might be exclusionary? My group represents everyone and everything and we are here for you! Sounds like my local representative from a week ago. Could he have been lying?

        Groups are indeed about like minded people contesting against all others. They most often are contested by other groups, but often enough by sub groups within themselves. A CANCER if you will. Revolting from within. Dare I say: HERESY!!!!!! Where is the comfy over stuffed chair when needed?


        They look funny when out of water.

  5. ECA says:

    For those that dont get it…
    its the Declaration..

    “The/you/those CHRISTIANS” is supposed to include all subset..

    As MUSLIM, is supposed to only INCLUDE Terrorists.

  6. So over the two-party system says:

    “Taxed Enough Already Dude” makes a sage point. By being a Catholic you make a VOLUNTARY pledge of obedience to church authority, operating under the assumption that they are representatives of God on earth. America is great that way…fredom to choose or not to choose religion. In reference to msbpodcast, excommunication is less about being forced out of the church and more about people CHOOSING not to believe a major piece of Catholic doctrine. Thus, you are not Catholic, right? The church just says, “yo, you don’t believe in us…why stay?” Hence the Protestant way. Heard of Luther? He has modern peeps.

    This article was so chopped up. Lame.

  7. So what says:

    The part that peeves the religious folk off is that people at last are starting to realize that a religious idiot is still an idiot.

    • msbpodcast says:

      The part that really pisses me off is that they think that the term <bIreligious idiot only applies to the other guy.

  8. Sister Mary Discipline says:

    Guys with dresses vs. women with balls.

  9. Observer says:

    It only took the church 350 years to apologize for it’s treatment of Galileo. These nuns will be vindicated in a mere 300 years or so.

    • The Church should never have apologized for anything regarding Galileo. What part of “infallible” don’t scientists and other critics understand? If the Pope said Galileo was wrong, then he was simply wrong. That doesn’t change until a later Pope utters a new pronouncement, finally making Galileo right (but not retroactively, so no apology is due).

      And these Feminazi nuns are on shaky ground. They should be busy fulfilling their sacred Biblical duty of childbearing and rearing the young.

  10. dave 1001 1001 1001 says:

    I wonder if God reads these posts. She would pissed at a lot of them.

  11. NewformatSux says:

    The nuns tried to claim that ObamaCare doesn’t violate Catholic teaching, when in fact it does.

  12. Peltier Effect says:

    I wonder what Jesus would say to these women, and to the Pope et al.

  13. sargasso_c says:

    In some places they are the only social security and medical safety net.

  14. NewformatSux says:

    The only reason they have any leverage is because it is hard to find people to volunteer to become nuns, and those that do do so because they have trouble getting dates.

  15. Dallas says:

    It’s sad to see nuns subject themselves to the Vatican Fascist Government (VFG) of an ex-Nazi.

    These poor women of faith sacrifice their lives to the needy yet are subjected to the whims of the male controlled VFG. I’m somewhat comforted that setting nuns on fire or stoning them to death is not tolerated any longer.

  16. orchidcup says:

    Thus sayeth the Lord God:


    3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

    3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

    1 Corinthians 14:34-36
    Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

    1 Timothy 2:11-15
    Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.


    4:34 Men are in charge of women, because Allah hath made the one of them to excel the other, and because they spend of their property (for the support of women). So good women are the obedient, guarding in secret that which Allah hath guarded. As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them. Then if they obey you, seek not a way against them.

    Lo! Allah is ever High, Exalted, Great.

    • orchidcup says:

      The decision is unanimous.

      The consensus among all three monotheistic religions is the same:

      The women shall zip their lips and submit to the authority of the Holy Scriptures.

      Allah thinks they should be scourged. Not a bad idea when you think about it. Scourging has always been an effective deterrent to dissent.

      • kerpow says:

        Sounds like rules written by a bunch of men to me.

      • Of course, the outspoken nuns are just the tip of the iceberg in the phenomenon of modern-day boldness among Christian women. If a cherry-picker like Michele Bachmann would spend less time reading her favorite scriptures and more time reading the entire Bible, she would know that her proper place is in the home (possibly as punishment to her husband) and not out in public expressing her inferior opinions on issues of the day and making laws for men to follow. If Bachmann really loved the Lord, she would eagerly be more obedient and submissive as ordained in the Holy Scriptures.

        On the other hand, the blessed Holy Scriptures might just be a large steaming pile of crap, as I have observed on many occasions.

        • orchidcup says:

          Book of Mormon

          9:26 And now, behold, who can stand against the works of the Lord? Who can deny his sayings? Who will rise up against the almighty power of the Lord? Who will despise the works of the Lord? Who will despise the children of Christ? Behold, all ye who are despisers of the works of the Lord, for ye shall wonder and perish.

          2 Nephi 13:12

          And my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they who lead thee cause thee to err and destroy the way of thy paths.

          2 Nephi 13:16-24

          Moreover, the Lord saith: Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet —

          Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the Lord will discover their secret parts.

          In that day the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and cauls, and round tires like the moon; The chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers; The bonnets, and the ornaments of the legs, and the headbands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings; The rings, and nose jewels; The changeable suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the wimples, and the crisping-pins; The glasses, and the fine linen, and hoods, and the veils.

          And it shall come to pass, instead of sweet smell there shall be stink; and instead of a girdle, a rent; and instead of well set hair, baldness; and instead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth; burning instead of beauty.

  17. The Pirate says:

    Thus sayeth the Pirate:
    God isn’t a misogynist, the ignorant men attempting to speak for Him are. God’s true being is only revealed through science, religions are for ignorant people who cannot handle reality or charlatans desiring a societal control device.

  18. JimD, Boston, MA says:

    The Vatican “Dialog” with mere underlings ??? More like the
    “Religious” want the Nuns to SUCK THEIR WET WILLIES !!!


    • orchidcup says:

      Book of Mormon 9:30-33

      Behold, I speak unto you as though I spake from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words.

      Condemn me not because of mine imperfection, neither my father, because of his imperfection, neither them who have written before him; but rather give thanks unto God that he hath made manifest unto you our imperfections, that ye may learn to be more wise than we have been.

      And now, behold, we have written this record according to our knowledge, in the characters which are called among us the reformed Egyptian, being handed down and altered by us, according to our manner of speech.

      And if our plates had been sufficiently large we should have written in Hebrew; but the Hebrew hath been altered by us also; and if we could have written in Hebrew, behold, ye would have had no imperfection in our record.


      • Perhaps when Romney heals the American economy, misguided Christians who previously rejected Joseph Smith’s claim as God’s legitimate prophet will finally see the error of their ways and repent, converting to Mormonism instead. The healing of the economy will be known as the “Romney Miracle” and it will take its places alongside the “Miracle of the Gulls” in Mormon lore.

        Or not. Gullibility (no pun intended) is hard to predict.


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