Pod people: How “stunned” are those sisters?

As we discussed the other day, many media reports about the Vatican document cracking down on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious went with the angle that the report “stunned” or otherwise surprised the sisters. I suggested that reports should do a better job of explaining that surprise.

The first comment to that piece referenced an interview with a woman who has written on the matter and her view was that the surprise was not due to the content so much as that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith actually had the backbone to issue it — particularly given how much “dialogue” had been going on in recent years between Rome and the more liberal female orders.

Another reader pointed out some reasons why the sisters should not have been surprised. Commonweal responded to the post and some readers felt that the author’s snark overshadowed the substance. I just think he was confused about what I was calling for — more substantiation in the stories.

Finally, we found another great discussion — we mentioned the one on PBS earlier — that featured John Allen, senior correspondent, National Catholic Reporter; Sister Simone Campbell, executive director, NETWORK; and Donna Bethell, chairman of the board of directors, Christendom College:

The Vatican reprimanded America’s largest organization of Catholic nuns, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The Holy See charged the LCWR with promoting programs with “radical feminist themes” that are incompatible with doctrine on issues ranging from homosexuality to women’s ordination.

We discussed some of this, about the emphasis on the stunned sisters, in this week’s Crossroads podcast. Host Todd Wilken and I also chatted, ever-so-briefly, about coverage of Charles Colson’s death. We didn’t get enough time to discuss that in-depth, unfortunately.

Enjoy the podcast.

And while you are at it, do let us know if you’ve seen other good coverage about either of this week’s topics.

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    For the record, Ann Carey’s interview mentioned above and earlier is transcribed here.