A small band of Austinites braved the rain this afternoon to rally in support of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, one of the largest organizations of Catholic nuns in the U.S.
Eight protesters assembled outside of St. Mary's Cathedral in downtown Austin, holding signs reading "In solidarity with Women Religious" and "I stand with LCWR." Similar protests were scheduled in other cities today, including Dallas and New York.
On April 18, the Vatican issued a report chastising the LCWR for an insufficiently hardline stance on homosexuality that places it “outside the Church’s teaching,” and “a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”
“I'm here simply to support our sisters,” said local organizer Kay Arnold. “I cannot speak for the Vatican, but the message I got was that [LCWR] are not preaching the authentic word that we put out. Well, that's not their job. They're there in soup kitchens helping patients with AIDS, mothers with so many children that they don't know what to do. They're there to work and do the work of Jesus."
“Basically they're trying to quiet them and make them puppets of the bishops as opposed to being free people, make their own decisions, trying to figure out what god is to them as opposed to what the bishops tell God is,” said Eric Theisen, another participant in today's protest.
“We are more here to support the sisters than anything elss,” Theisen continued. “We're also praying for Archbishop [J. Peter] Sartain , who was the one who was put in charge of this crackdown, that he does more to support the sisters than to force them to be obedient.”
You can listen to audio from today’s protest above. And below, check out a slideshow of photos from the protest by KUT News.