Vatican investigates nuns on complaints of "feminism, activism"


( Image: "day 128: practising to be a nun..." a Creative Commons licensed photograph from the Flickr stream of user Esthrerase.)

Boing Boing reader Andrea Dickson says,

My local NPR station had this story on Friday afternoon, in which Puget Sound area convents are being investigated by the Vatican, based on what appears to a survey of the nuns' opinions. I think this is a great way for the Catholic Church to follow up on its recent spate of PR brilliance. These nuns work to end human trafficking: heaven forbid they be considered "feminists" or "activists" or somehow less than "obedient."
Snip from the KUOW story:
The Archdiocese of Seattle says the Adrian Dominicans in Woodway, the Renton Sisters of Providence and the Tacoma Dominicans are on the list. Sister Joyce Cox is the Archbishop's Delegate for Religious. She says it's not clear what this latest development -- or the entire investigation -- means. Cox: "Ordinarily visitations are made because there is something of great concern, or some place of scandal or not having integrity to the origins of our life."

(...) The Seattle-area communities were chosen for visits after investigators reviewed responses to questionnaires sent out to every women's order. The Vatican's 20-page questionnaire asks about the extent of communities' obedience to the Church and their handling of nuns who dissent.

Wash. Nuns Investigated By Vatican (


  1. “heaven forbid they be considered ‘feminists’ or ‘activists’ or somehow less than ‘obedient.'”
    Right, and heaven forbid we take note that their fight against human trafficking is funded by the Catholic Church or that we withhold judgement until we actually know something relevant about why there is an investigation.

    1. The very fact that “feminism” and “activism” are reasons listed for this “follow-up” should tell you that this investigation is simply more papal bull (if you’ll pardon the pun) and that there is nothing relevant to know.

      There comes a time when you stop giving the benefit of the doubt to an organization that has repeatedly shown itself to be bass-ackward.

  2. Because the selfless tasks of charity performed by nuns don’t really count if the nuns are secretly harboring thoughtcrimes…

    1. lol – precisely. Anyone who is guilty of thoughtcrimes is hellbound. Stupid church.

  3. So, child molestation is fine, but helping women isn’t.
    Note to self: the catholic church really could use some restructuring. They may want to consider adding sanity as prerequisites for advancements.

  4. The Catholic Church has a long history of bloody hypocrisy, just like nuns, fathers and monks have a long history of social and political activism. So what else is new?

  5. Yup, those Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace are a radical lot, making sure there is medical care for all – sometimes the kind that doesn’t agree with the misogynist leanings of the Vatican (yes the Pacific NW is as far as you can get from Rome) when it comes to women and their health. But it’s better for the families involved and their communities.

    Awesome. This is of course happening when PeaceHealth is becoming a very successful health organization and potentially lucrative, if it weren’t for that darn non-profit status. Perhaps this is more about money then squashing nuns, they are sort of weak now with most of the sisters retiring and the group relying on laypeople more then ever.

    – Ethel

  6. I was raised RC. That’s short for Remotely Controlled, by the way. Thankfully, I’m tuned to a different frequency now.
    I, for one, am all for it. I sure hope the Church of Rome will succeed in driving out anyone who makes any sense at all, so that it can quietly sink into irrelevance, wither away and die.

  7. Headline reads: World’s Most Socially Backward Institution Does Something Socially Backward — Again!

    I mean really. We’re talking about a religion where the last “great progressive” leader (JP2) thought a woman’s place was in the kitchen.

    “The Vatican says it’s following up on complaints of feminism and activism.”

    Are we really surprised by the possibility that they have a problem with feminism and activism?

    /knee-jerk reaction.

  8. “Right, and heaven forbid we take note that their fight against human trafficking is funded by the Catholic Church”

    That funding isn’t coming from the Vatican’s personal stash, it’s coming from the charitable contributions of those who, like these nuns, take the “love thy neighbor as thyself” teaching far more seriously than the hierarchy does.

  9. I wonder if they’re going to investigate the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

  10. The Catholic church is checking to see that various Catholic religious groups are in communion with the Church and its teachings. People can disagree with or disapprove of the Church’s belief system, but it seems kind of silly to attack the Church for checking to see if its religious groups are following the beliefs of the Church.

    Once you get past the knee-jerk reactions and scare images, this story is actually kind of mundane.

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