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11 Nuns Deny They Back Church's Abortion Policy

July 24, 1986|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Eleven nuns who signed a 1984 abortion-related advertisement and were threatened with dismissal from their religious communities today denied a Vatican statement that they now adhere to Roman Catholic Church teaching on abortion.

The new statement was prompted by a new threat to expel two other nuns, Barbara Ferraro and Patricia Hussey, both Sisters of Notre Dame who work in Charleston, W.Va., for their refusal to publicly adhere to the church position opposing all abortion.

Today's statement said the 11 objected to the use of the settlements reached in their case to "pressure and isolate" Ferraro and Hussey.

"We continue to stand with them in solidarity in their ongoing struggle," the 11 said in a statement.

At issue is a July 21 Vatican statement that said it has accepted from 25 members of the clergy--priests, religious brothers and nuns--who signed the Catholic Statement on Pluralism and Abortion that appeared in The New York Times Oct. 7, 1984.

'Diversity of Opinions'

The ad, sponsored by Catholics for a Free Choice, argued that "a diversity of opinions regarding abortion exists among committed Catholics."

"Eleven of the nuns who signed (the statement) . . . and whose cases with the Vatican are closed, today categorically denied that they had ever made 'public declarations of adherence to Catholic doctrine on abortion,' " the nuns said.

"Moreover, (we) deplore the continuing threats leveled against the Notre Dame community and (Ferraro and Hussey) and . . . object to the misuse of the settlements in our cases to pressure and isolate (them)," the statement said.

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