Nuns rejecting Vatican’s authority?

Jim Salter and Rachel Zoll, of Associated Press, wrote: “At a pivotal national meeting, members of the largest group for American nuns have been weighing whether they should accept or challenge a Vatican order to reform.”

“The national assembly is the first since a Vatican review concluded the Roman Catholic sisters had tolerated dissent about the all-male priesthood, birth control and homosexuality, while remaining nearly silent in the fight against abortion. Officials at the Holy See want a full-scale overhaul of the organization under the authority of U.S. bishops.”

Nine-hundred nuns met in St. Louis to discuss these and other issues. The group believes the Vatican’s review is inaccurate. The nuns have been receiving support from fellow Catholics and the public in general.

From the Manichaean perspective, this issue is really two-fold: First are the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church and Secondly, are the actions of this group of Catholic nuns in response to those doctrines.

The issues of homosexuality, female clergy, and birth control are not issues to Manichaeans because Manichaeism views all people and all sexual orientations equally; we have both priests and priestesses; and we allow birth control as long as it does not include abortion or anything that endangers the life of the fetus.

It is understandable that clergy and laity will have issues with policies of a questionable religious body that are inherently flawed.

The other issue is that of a community of Catholic nuns rejecting the doctrines of their own professed faith, and the authority that they assert is apostolic, which means they believe the authority comes from God, and still they opt to not follow its instruction, moving forward as nuns of such a religious body. This reflects a lack of character on their part from our perspective.

Either they move forward on the strength of their convictions and no longer affiliate with the Roman Catholic Church as nuns, or they submit to the authority of that religious institution and avoid making up their own doctrines and policies separate from that religious body. This makes them heretics for emphasizing some doctrines over others of their professed faith, and also apostate for rejecting the doctrines or authority their own professed faith. They are, in effect, repeating what the Protestant Christians enacted in the 16th century by protesting the beliefs or practices of the Roman Church.

Manichaean ascetics believe in the Divine Authority granted to the Holy and Ancient Manichaean Church and this Divine Authority is visible in its Doctrines. These are doctrines that are both deeply spiritual and at the same time, very humane and compassionate.

From the Manichaean view, both the Catholic Church and this group of nuns are both in the wrong for different reasons: 1) for implementing and promoting questionable and oppressive doctrines, and 2) for selectively choosing what doctrines and practices they will accept from a religious body that they claim to be from God.


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