Religious Freedom, Revisited

The Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), an organization of women that comprises 80% of the Catholic nuns in the US, is displeasing the Vatican for its “radical feminist” views (and by radical feminism, I mean a simple refusal to voice a stance on social issues like sexuality, abortion, and contraception). In response, three (male) bishops have been appointed by the Vatican to oversee the organization and modify its tenets to become more in line with the church’s beliefs. I hope the tragic irony of three men “editing” the views of over 1,500 women is not lost on my readers. The Fresh Air interview with the president of LCWR, Sister Pat Farrell, is fascinating. In it, Farrell talks about dialogue, belief, and listening in ways that reach far beyond religion. This woman epitomizes thoughtfulness about issues that are important to all, but especially to educators: how we know what we know, how we hear and honor the views of others, and how we support those that society has cast aside.

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