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KC Catholics Caught Between Vatican And Nuns

Alex Smith

In mid-April, the Vatican issued strong criticism of its largest organization for American Catholic nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

The Vatican announced the organization would need to undergo some major changes, and these would be overseen by the Archbishop of Seattle.

The action prompted protests and vigils across the country to support the nuns. KCUR's Alex Smith looked at how the debate is affecting Catholics in Kansas City.

Story Highlights

Molly Stevie (vigil participant): "[The Leadership Conference of Women Religious] leaders are very intelligent and very educated and very capable of running their own communities. And I feel that they have not received the the respect and support they should receive from the Vatican and the hierarchy of the church."

Joshua McElwee (National Catholic Reporter): "Part of the assessment said they weren't speaking clearly enough or loudly enough about official church teaching on issues like homosexual and abortion and gay marriage and those types of things. It wasn't so much that the sisters were saying anything against the church or against official teaching, but the Vatican though they weren't speaking loudly enough in favor of."

Janel Lazzo (Call To Action spokesperson): "To me, it's bullying. To tell sisters that they haven't said enough to support something that somebody else thinks they should, I think that's bullying."

Jude Huntz (Kansas City - St. Joseph diocese chancellor): " The Vatican makes it clear that there are some very narrow groups of sisters within that larger group that they had issue with and were not taking the entire group to task for the sins of the few."

Related Content

Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

National Catholic Reporter's Sisters Under Scrutiny series

This story was produced for KC Currents, which airs Sundays at 5pm with a repeat Mondays at 8pm. To listen on your own schedule, subscribe to the KC Currents podcast.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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