US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Daily Links, May 4: Nuns' attackers identified, sex abuse crisis continues, and what do the two have in common?

By Scott Alessi | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Thanks to the reporting of Robert Mickens of The Tablet in the UK, we know a little more about what--or more importantly, who--is behind the crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Tablet requires a subscription, but Father Jim Martin at America and Grant Gallicho of Commonweal provide some key details. We knew CDF head Cardinal William Levada was involved, but here are some interesting added details:

According to sources in Rome and Washington, [Levada's] successor at the conference’s doctrinal office –the then Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut – was the man who formally petitioned the CDF to launch the current doctrinal investigation of the LCWR. Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign as Archbishop of Boston in 2002 because of his perceived mishandling of the clerical sex-abuse crisis, was reportedly the person in Rome most forcefully supporting Bishop Lori’s proposal.

So apparently, a disgraced bishop who covered up widespread sexual abuse of children is still influential enough to be the driving force behind making sure women religious are not straying from the church's doctrine. For all the women religious who were upset about the CDF's actions before, this must feel like a heavy dose of salt poured into the wound.

Ten years after Law's actions in Boston became front page news, sex abuse is still in the headlines, including calls for Irish Cardinal Sean Brady to resign over his handling of an abusive priest. Church officials are denying reports that Brady actually offered to resign two years ago.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia priests on suspension for abuse accusations await news of their fates from Archbishop Charles Chaput. UPDATE: The decision came late on Friday afternoon, with five priests being removed permanently from ministry and three others being cleared.

In other news, Liz Lefebvre blogs about calls to increase minimum wage, including one from New York's Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

Finally, if you're into statistics, check out a report sponsored by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies released this week with tons of great information on the presence of religious congregations in the United States.