Former Charleston nuns criticize pope’s crackdown on women’s groups

Pat Hussey and Barbara Ferraro, former Roman Catholic nuns who lived in Charleston for many years, criticized Pope Benedict XVI for launching a crackdown on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

LCWR is a group of organizations that represents 80 percent of the 55,000 Catholic nuns in the United States.

On Wednesday, Pope Benedict released a document criticizing LCWR for focusing too much on efforts to eliminate poverty and economic injustice. The Pope also attacked the group’s failures to speak out strongly against allowing women to become priests, abortion and gay marriage.

“This is the same struggle that occurred with us in the 1980s,” Hussey and Ferraro told the Gazette on Thursday.

“Nuns for decades have been at the forefront of justice issues both nationally and internationally addressing poverty, health care, war, equal rights for all, both within and outside of the church.

“And now, as the world has evolved, so too have the positions of nuns and women of the church. These rights now include gay rights, marriage equality and reproductive rights,” Hussey and Ferraro said in a prepared statement.

“As evolutionary advances have been made by women in the Roman Catholic Church, the positions of the hierarchy have regressed. But the issue continues to be the same — power and control over women’s lives. These actions by the hierarchy are despicable and abusive.”

Hussey and Ferraro headed the Covenant House, an organization that helped provide shelter and meals to poor people, for 25 years before they left Charleston in December 2006.

They moved back to Maine to live near other members of their families. [More]


The Charleston Gazette