Religious women resisting…

Wow. So I guess American women religious are not going to take the Vatican investigation lying down. With the Nov 20 deadline for the questionaires to be returned to the apostolic visitation's office, only 1 percent filled out the questionaire properly. The rest provided some mix of partial answers or their Vatican approved apostolic constitutions.

The act of ecclesial disobedience seems to be an unorganized spontaneous response, but the general feeling is that the investigation is at best intrusive and at worst a kind of violence against the sisters, according to a story from the National Catholic Reporter. Get a load of this zinger from an unnamed sister:

"On the one hand we didn't want to roll over and play dead," she said. "So the question was, 'How do you step outside a violent framework and do something new?' That was the challenge that emerged." One congregation, she said, cited a U.S. bishops' statement concerning domestic abuse in its response letter to [visitation head Mother Mary Clare] Millea. "The point is, there have to be more than two choices: Take the abuse and offer it up, or kill the abuser."

The more than 800 sisters who responded to US Catholic's survey on the visitation, to be published in the January issue of US Catholic, were equally blunt, though also incredibly gracious. The survey of our readers and website visitors–about 1,700 of them–however, drew, shall we say, more strongly worded responses in support of the sisters. Follow the links for a sneak peak, and you can also read Sister Sandra Schneiders explain why a Vatican investigation of US women religious is neither desirable nor justified.

I've long been against this visitation: I think it's both ungrateful and unfair (and if you'd like to read my column on the issue, please do). Now we have non-compliant women religious and no one wants to pay the $1.1 million pricetag for the inquiry.

Can we just call the whole thing off?

About the author

Bryan Cones

Bryan Cones is a writer living in Chicago.