NEW YORK - An association of US Roman Catholic sisters raised questions yesterday about why they are the subject of, and who is funding, a Vatican investigation that is shaping up to be a review of whether they have strayed from church teaching.
The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, representing about 800 heads of religious orders, said there was a “lack of full disclosure about the motivation and funding sources’’ for the inquiry. The group also said it objects to the Vatican plan to keep private the reports that will be submitted to the Holy See.
“There’s no transparency there,’’ said Sister Annmarie Sanders, a conference spokeswoman.
The probe, announced earlier this year, will examine the practices of the roughly 59,000 Catholic sisters working in the United States. Some nuns have privately expressed anger over the assessment, which they say unfairly questions their commitment to church teaching. In public, they have remained largely circumspect in their comments.
At the conference’s assembly last week in New Orleans, the outgoing president of the group, Sister J. Lora Dambroski, said the review could be “another definining moment’’ for Catholic sisters.
A Vatican working paper delivered to leaders of 341 US congregations said the review “is intended as a constructive assessment and an expression of genuine concern for the quality of the life’’ of the religious communities.