Group gathers in Seattle to support Catholic nuns

SEATTLE -- It wasn't just Catholics standing in support of thousands of Catholic sisters Tuesday evening.

American nuns are under the gun, and it's Seattle's own archbishop who is leading the charge.

Tuesday's vigil outside of St. James Cathedral was organized by a group called I Stand with the Sisters, which is a grassroots movement that claims to be seeking justice in the church.

The organization came about after an investigation by the group in charge of overseeing Catholic church doctrine. The church body slammed the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, which counts the majority of American nuns among its members.

It said the group was at odds with the church on hot-button issues, such as homosexuality.

"Our church feels like a laughing stock to many of us these days," said Gretchen Gundrum of I Stand with the Sisters.

The man in charge of the questioning is Seattle's own Archbishop Peter Sartain, who has ordered the sisters to reform their statutes, programs and affiliations to more closely reflect "the teachings and discipline of the church."

"They want the sisters to be more outspoken about the doctrine like speaking out against abortion and supporting the church's position on gays and lesbians," Gundrum said.

Sartain is also asking for oversight over the organization for the next fives years to make sure it stays in line with the Vatican.

The sisters themselves aren't saying much right now.

"They aren't speaking right now. They are in discernment and they have a big meeting coming up in August and perhaps we will learn more then," Gundrum said.
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