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People gather at a vigil to support Catholic nuns. Photo by Liz Jones.

People gather at a vigil to support Catholic nuns. Photo by Liz Jones.


Nationwide Vigils Support Catholic Nuns

Liz Jones

Tonight, supporters of American Catholic nuns plan to hold a prayer vigil outside of Saint James Cathedral in Seattle. Dozens of similar gatherings are also scheduled across the country.


These Tuesday night vigils started earlier this month in response to the Vatican's call for reforms of the nun's leadership in the US. That group is called the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, or LCWR. It represents most Catholic nuns in the country.

The Vatican has criticized the LCWR for taking liberal positions on issues like abortion and same–sex marriage. It wants to bring the nun leadership more in line with church teaching.

The Pope has appointed Seattle Archbishop Peter Sartain to oversee reforms for the nuns.

Magnoni: "Archbishop Sartain has made it clear that he's very supportive of the sisters. He is very appreciative of the impact religious women have had on not only the Catholic Church but society."

That's Greg Magnoni. He's a spokesman for the Archbishop. He says Sartain is approaching this issue delicately.

Magnoni: "His intention is to give the sisters an opportunity to meet, to allow them to discuss this among themselves. Then, when they've had a chance to meet and discuss the issue, he's going to be someone that I think they're going to find is going to be a good listener, a person with a good heart and who will be guided by the Holy Spirit on what it is he works through with them."

The board of the national LCWR is meeting today for the first time since the Vatican's call for reform. The sisters are expected to discuss their response to the crackdown.

Tonight's vigils in Seattle and other cities are timed to coincide with this national meeting.

During last Tuesday's vigil at Saint James, organizers estimated a turnout of nearly 200 people. They hoisted candles and signs that read "I Stand with the Sisters."

KUOW's Liz Jones was at the cathedral and has this postcard.

This audio postcard is not transcribed. It includes the voices of Debbie Covert–Bowlds and Mary Karges of Seattle, Janine Jamison of Gig Harbor, Phil Dindia of Kent and Tom Hill of Olympia.

Tonight's vigil at Saint James Cathedral in Seattle is scheduled to start at 7:00 p.m.

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