Sunday, December 9, 2018

Battle of wills: Tiny order of French nuns takes on Vatican By Nicole Winfield | AP December 8, Washington Post

My Response: This situation sounds complicated and painful especially for the nuns in the order. It is hard to know what we do not know of the circumstances about the religious order, the finances, the Vatican's assertion of control, and the sisters decision to leave an order they love. Hopefully, the Order and the Vatican will come together and have a fruitful dialogue that will resolve all the issues and bring everyone peace, harmony and integrity. Bridget Mary Meehan ARCWP,

..."Born in 1901, Mother Marie died in 1999 and her niece, the current ousted superior, took over a year later. She remains at the mother house in Saint-Aignan sur Roë, in western France. She had been due to step down after her term was up and a new superior was elected, but plans for the election are now in limbo, Mignot said.
The standoff with the Little Sisters comes amid a continuing free-fall in the number of nuns around the world, as elderly sisters die and fewer young ones take their place. The most recent Vatican statistics from 2016 show the number of sisters was down 10,885 from the previous year to 659,445 globally. Ten years prior, there were 753,400 nuns around the world, meaning the Catholic Church shed nearly 100,000 sisters in the span of a decade.
European nuns regularly fare the worst, seeing a decline of 8,370 sisters in 2016 on top of the previous year’s decline of 8,394, according to Vatican statistics.
While lamenting the “tight grip” that the superior has over them, the Vatican’s congregation for religious orders told AP that most sisters had been kept in the dark about the management dispute over the elder-care homes — details that even the Vatican commissioners haven’t fully ascertained since they haven’t been able to access the institutes’ finances, the Vatican summary said.
In the past, the Vatican has not been afraid to impose martial law on religious orders, male or female, when they run into trouble, either for financial, disciplinary or other reasons.
St. John Paul II famously appointed his own superiors to run the Jesuits in 1981, some 200 years after Pope Clement XIV suppressed the order altogether. Pope Benedict XVI imposed a years-long process of reform on the Legion of Christ order and its lay branches after its founder was determined to be a pedophile. More recently, the Vatican named a commissioner to take over a traditionalist order of priests and nuns, the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
“It’s serious, but it’s also serious that these nuns would do such a violent act as to threaten to leave religious life,” she said. “It’s difficult to understand, other than perhaps because of their attachment to the charism of the founder” and her niece. Sabina Pavone, a professor of modern history at the University of Macerata, said Catholic archives — especially from Inquisition trials — are full of cases of the Vatican taking action when religious superiors assume “tyrannical” powers over their devoted followers.
While many of the cases date to the period of tremendous growth of religious orders for women in the 1800s, she added, “we shouldn’t be surprised that you find them today” as well."

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