Sr. Sandra Schneider will speak in Los Angeles this afternoon to a packed room of nuns and other Catholics and feminists. Tickets are sold out, and I didn't plan ahead to get one.
Her passionate words against Rome's current investigation of American nuns appeared in the National Catholic Reporter last August.
"The current 'Apostolic Visitatino' is not a normal dialogue between religious and church authorities," which occurs annually in Rome, she explains. "It is the ecclesiastic analogue of a grand jury indictment, set in motion when there is a reasonable suspicion, probable cause, or a prima facie case of serious abuse or wrong-doing of some kind."
One might expect that the recent child sexual abuse scandal or its cover-up by bishops would have set in motion a visitation--but no. It's the nuns that Rome is worried about.
The elderly nuns who have worked 40 to 60 years without sex scandals and almost without pay are getting investigated.
This "visitation" could light the slow-burning fuse that will result in an explosion of changes in the church of Rome--including women priests, married priests, and a structural shift away from the top-down rule of the Pope.