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The fact that Catholic sisters have had a tumultuous relationship with catholic bishops throughout history astounds me. I used to believe that these two groups of clergy got along swimmingly in their pursuit of fully serving God throughout their lives. The difference between past traumatic experiences and current Catholic movements, particularly in the United States, is that modern Catholic sisters are able to express themselves and address their grievances (Thompson 65). They are among the most educated female groups in the United States. Although it is crucial to preserve the dignity of the Catholic Church, it is essential to keep the sisters comfortable as they have dedicated their lives to serve Christ.
According to the writer, the Vatican easily got whatever it wanted from the nuns by exploiting their obedience. The sisters listened to and obeyed the Bishops at whatever cost. For example, in the 1950s, the Vatican wanted the Catholic sisters to be meeting together and dedicating their service to the church collectively as a group. The sisters didn’t like the idea, but had to obey, since it was an order from the Vatican. This resulted in formation of Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) (Thompson 65). The sisters used this group as a platform to express their concerns. This exposed them to the crackdown by Vatican.
Different understandings of sex and gender further magnifies this controversy. In the 1970s, the LCWR expressed their desire to see ordination of women priests, response of the Vatican to gay marriages and sex change results in the American community (Thompson 69). Requiring the church to specifically address the issues paints the Sisters as a revolutionary movement that troubles the Catholic Church. Sex reassignment, sex change and bisexual trends in the modern congregation is not only difficult for the church but also widens the rift between the church and the catholic sisters.
Thompson, Margaret Susan. “Circles of Sisterhood: Formal and Informal Collaborations among American Nuns in Response to Vatican Kyriarchy.” Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, 32.2, 2016, pp.63-82
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