The Vatican is making nice with American nuns. A report stemming from a three-year probe is full of praise while acknowledging the modern challenges the sisterhood faces. The tone reflects the gentler approach of Pope Francis and stands in stark contrast to a crackdown on nuns ordered under former Pope Benedict XVI, after an earlier investigation claimed U.S. religious women were promoting "radical feminist themes."
The report thanked the 50,000 nuns for "selflessly tending to the spiritual, moral, educational, physical and social needs of countless individuals, especially the poor and marginalized," acknowledged that nuns feel underappreciated, and merely reminded them "not to displace Christ" while they do their work in the community.
A delegation of nuns welcomed the findings. "Your message to us today shows that you do understand our ongoing struggle ... to faithfully serve the church in challenging times despite our shortcomings and limitations," Sister Clare Millea said tearfully." Sharon Holland, President of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, said the investigation sowed "apprehension and suspicion" but the outcome is "an affirmative and realistic report."