This is part of a deep conflict about authority in the church. If the spirit of God works through the whole church, you honor your conscience, experience, prayer, and study, and that of others in the church too. But if your model of the church says that only the hierarchy has valid access to truth, there's no room for dialogue. The scandalous gender bias in the church only makes this conflict worse.
Sadly, the bishops and the Vatican genuinely don't register that the moral authority of the institutional church has been terribly eroded by their own behavior. You would think a dose of humility and some respectful listening to the wisdom of their sisters in faith would be appropriate.
Marisa Guerin, Philadelphia
Church defends its teachings
The church is not waging an attack on nuns and their good works. Church teachings are clear, and when individuals who are representatives of the church, whether they be men, women, priests, nuns, or laity in the public square, espouse a message contrary to these teachings, the bishops have the responsibility to address these issues. When corporate or political leaders find their message is not accurately delivered or carried out, they take action. Why, when it involves the church, does it somehow become an "attack" on an entire group?
Martha A. Reeves, Collegeville
Historical perspective on church
Thank you, Farah Stockman, for the essay "Church's nun attack is ahistorical." I appreciate the historical perspective and although I may question the value of spreading the teachings of the Catholic Church around the globe, the value of the work that "radical feminist" nuns are doing here at home is undeniable.
The Vatican's punishment of nuns because they are spending too much time caring for the hungry, the homeless, the sick, and the dying, and not enough time denouncing homosexuality and masturbation, would be absurd under the best of circumstances. But for this news to share headlines with news of the sex-abuse trial that is outlining how the church shielded predatory priests, lied to parishioners and victims, and left children unprotected from ongoing abuse, exposes a whole new level of hypocrisy within the Catholic Church leadership.
I was not raised in the Catholic Church, but my understanding is that what the nuns are doing would be considered God's work, and the abuse of children and the protection of their abusers would be the work of the devil.
Elayne Aion, Ardsley
Nothing changes at DRPA
Paul Nussbaum's article "DRPA faulted over slow pace of change" (Friday) is comical. Not his writing or the content, but the absurdity of the Delaware River Port Authority. Nothing changes. Nothing. Both governors are shocked, shocked at the continued mismanagement and they shout out that it must be stopped. But nothing changes. Corruption, patronage, and incompetence. Who is in charge here?
Andrew J. Anderson, Marlton