What occasions such a visit?
Church historians said that the Vatican usually ordered an apostolic visitation when a particular institution had gone seriously astray.
And there is some resistance among those being offered a visit.
Some sisters surmise that the Vatican and even some American bishops are trying to shift them back into living in convents, wearing habits or at least identifiable religious garb, ordering their schedules around daily prayers and working primarily in Roman Catholic institutions, like schools and hospitals.
“They think of us as an ecclesiastical work force,” said Sister Sandra M. Schneiders, professor emerita of New Testament and spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, in California. “Whereas we are religious, we’re living the life of total dedication to Christ, and out of that flows a profound concern for the good of all humanity. So our vision of our lives, and their vision of us as a work force, are just not on the same planet.”
There also seems to be a desire to crack down on doctrine going on.
The second investigation of nuns is a doctrinal assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an umbrella organization that claims 1,500 members from about 95 percent of women’s religious orders. This investigation was ordered by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which is headed by an American, Cardinal William Levada.
Cardinal Levada sent a letter to the Leadership Conference saying an investigation was warranted because it appeared that the organization had done little since it was warned eight years ago that it had failed to “promote” the church’s teachings on three issues: the male-only priesthood, homosexuality and the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the means to salvation.
The letter goes on to say that, “Given both the tenor and the doctrinal content of various addresses” at assemblies the Leadership Conference has held in recent years, the problem has not been fixed.
The Leadership Conference drew the Vatican’s wrath decades ago when its president welcomed Pope John Paul II to the United States with a plea for the ordination of women. But several nuns who have attended the group’s meetings in recent years said they had not heard anything that would provoke the Vatican’s ire.