Cardinal Confirms Rise of Feminism Behind Apostolic Visitation of Nuns

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

In an interview with Vatican Radio on Wednesday, Cardinal Franc Rode, admitted that the Apostolic Visition of American nuns was fueled by concerns that they have become overly secularized and influenced by feminism.

Cardinal Rode, who is prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, said his office decided to launch the visitation after hearing “critical voices from the United States.” He also indicated that “an  important representative of the Church in the United States” was among the critics.

He went on to clarify that he had been alerted “to some irregularities or deficiencies” in the way the religious sisters were living. “Above all, you could speak of a certain secularist mentality that has spread among these religious families, perhaps even a certain ‘feminist’ spirit,” the cardinal said.

The final decision to conduct the visitation was made in September 2008 during a symposium on religious life that was held at Stonehill College in Massachusetts where nearly 600 bishops, priests, lay people and religious were in attendance. During this symposium, many speakers were critical about developments in  womens religious orders since the Second Vatican Council.

“There a desire was expressed to look for a remedy to this situation [of women’s religious life], which many say is is not as good as that of past decades,” the cardinal said during the interview.

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