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Letters: The Vatican vs. nuns

April 27, 2012

Re "Sisters of mercy and dismay," Column, April 22

Steve Lopez got it right. It's all about the Vatican letting those nuns know who's in charge — and it's not Jesus.

I was a member of the Immaculate Heart Community of Los Angeles in the 1960s during the Vatican Council's call for renewal of religious life. We studied the documents and voted on the direction the community should go. All the while, Cardinal James Francis McIntyre, L.A.'s archbishop at the time, used every power he had to crush the community's efforts.

Ultimately the cardinal won out and the nuns decided to step out from under the restrictions of canonical status and become a lay community. As such they have continued their work in education, social justice and spiritual leadership. They have become pioneers in an experiment in community, opening membership to men and women, married or single, who share the mission of Christ-conscious justice and equality for all.

Pat Skeehan Berberich


As former student of a number of very fine nuns, it grieves me to see members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious treated by bishops as if they were their property.

It was the nuns at our school in Oregon who tried to show us right from wrong and instilled their concern for having an education — how to speak, how to write, how to figure sums, how to feel the worth of every person in class. It was these women who hiked up their gowns to pitch the softball game, to make sure that every child was included, to get the leaders in the class to become surrogates for the self-esteem of those slower, less athletic, more shy children.

One has to wonder how the male-dominated church expects to survive as anything more than a men's club with the dedicated women expected to be their servants.

Patrick O'Brien

San Juan Capistrano

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