Vatican Magazine Urges Church to Stop Exploiting Nuns


The entire March edition of Vatican magazine, “Women, Church, World”, a monthly supplement to the Vatican daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, is dedicated to the theme of women and work. Vatican magazine described how nuns are being used for nearly free labor in the Roman Catholic Church, saying the male hierarchy should stop treating them like lowly servants. The magazine is increasingly becoming the imprint of the Catholic Church’s #MeToo movement.

Catholic nuns are part of different religious orders and typically take vows in service of religion that often include poverty and celibacy. They are sent to the residences of male Church officials as part of their assignments. They cook and clean for cardinals and bishops and generally receive no wages. “Some of them serve in the homes of bishops or cardinals; others work in the kitchens of church institutions or teach. Some of them, serving the men of the church, get up in the morning to make breakfast, and go to sleep after dinner is served, the house cleaned and the laundry washed and ironed,” reads one of the lead articles.

“In the eyes of Jesus we are all children of God, but in their concrete life some nuns do not live this, and they experience great confusion and discomfort,” said one nun described as Sister Marie, according to The New York Times. Nuns are actually “rarely invited to sit at the tables they serve,” Sister Marie describes.

“Until now, no one has had the courage to denounce these things,” the magazine’s editor, Lucetta Scaraffia, told The Associated Press. “We try to give a voice to those who don’t have the courage to say these words” publicly.

One nun said she knew of fellow sisters who had PhDs in subjects such as theology and had been — with no explanation — ordered to do domestic work or other chores that had “no relationship to their intellectual formation”.

“Let these ... sisters go to the schools, into the neighborhoods, with the sick, with the poor. This is the criterion: a work that involves service and not servitude,” Pope Francis said in a 2016 address.  However, based on the article, nuns spend more time in servitude of the male members and less time working on the development of the community.

Photo Credits: National Geographic Alfa Vita

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