‘Stop cracking down on Catholics,’ outspoken nun tells Australian church leaders

An outspoken American nun who was recently embroiled in censorship with the Archbishop of Melbourne has warned the Catholic Church in Australia that it faces inevitable decline unless it stops removing members grassroots who push for reform.

The country’s bishops are under pressure to reform the church after years of sex scandals and internal turmoil, and one of America’s most prominent Benedictine nuns, Sister Joan Chittister, has renewed her calls for women to be ordained and that the laity have more power over their parishes, declaring that the Church needs to “grow” if it is to prosper.

Sister Joan Chittister, a well-known American nun, feminist and scholar.Credit:www.joanchittister.org

These reforms were supposed to be debated at the most important conference that Australian Catholic bishops have held in 80 years, the Plenary Council, which is due to take place in October.

However, the working papers prepared for the event have raised concerns that some of the more contentious issues on the agenda may be left out or not properly addressed by the bishops, despite past assurances that ” everything is on the table ”.

“Everyone knows that the Church in Australia needs a major overhaul of its governance, culture and structures, but instead of presenting a clear, concise and cohesive reform plan, this document is a plan. base for inertia, ”said the president of Catholics for Renewal. Peter Wilkinson. “It’s very disappointing.”


Sister Joan, who this month headlined an event organized by the Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, said Age and The Sydney Morning Herald she shared the fear that the “suppression by the bishops” would hamper the necessary improvements. This, she warned, would cause more members to abandon their parishes.

“There are two ways for this to end. Bishops may accept the concerns and the need for resolution or they continue to ignore the laity – at that point the church will one day wake up in the morning and find that the church is in fact a part of it.

In a speech to an audience of 3,000 this month, Sister Joan added: “Catholicism must grow, beyond the steeple towards the global, beyond a system and a tradition for a more vision. wide of life … Why not married priests, women priests or cardinal women?

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