Erin Saiz Hanna: 202.675.1006
Nicole Sotelo: 773.404.0004 x285
WASHINGTON D.C. - One year ago today, the
Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an umbrella group
representing 80% of the 57,000 nuns in the
United States, came under fire from the Vatican's
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for their social justice
ministries and not supporting the U.S. bishops' agenda of attacking expanded
healthcare, women's ordination, and same-sex marriage.
LCWR described the assessment as "based on unsubstantiated
accusations and the result of a flawed process that lacked
transparency," causing "pain and scandal in our church."
On Monday, Pope Francis reaffirmed the censure.
"While Pope Francis presents a fresh face in Vatican City,
breaking from papal tradition by washing the feet of two women on Holy Thursday,
for example, without dismissing the mandate against the nuns such symbolism
appears meaningless at best and hypocritical at worst," stated Erin Saiz
Hanna, spokesperson for the Nun Justice Project and Executive Director of the
Women's Ordination Conference.
"Catholics around the country have been inspired by the
faith and work of the sisters and will continue to support them; we urge Pope
Francis to recognize their commitment and contributions and dismiss the
mandate," said Jim FitzGerald, spokesperson for the Nun Justice
Coalition and Executive Director of Call To Action.
Last summer, nearly 70,000 Catholics signed a Change.org
petition and hundreds organized vigils to rally around the sisters.
"The pope intentionally chose St. Francis as his
namesake," continued Hanna. "St. Francis of Assisi's sacred
friendship with St. Clare is well documented. He wrote a promise of
mutual respect for her and for the women who joined her community. St.
Francis worked collaboratively alongside his sisters rather than
against them. We expect Pope Francis to do the same."