From the National Coalition of American Nuns and also supported by Women's Ordination Conference:
On June 26, 2008, Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke removed Sister Louise Lears, SC, from the Pastoral Team of Saint Cronan Parish in St. Louis and placed her under an interdict, which prohibits the reception of the Sacraments. In late December 2007, the Archbishop delivered to Sister Louise a formal summons, accusing her of four canon law violations--all connected to her support of the ordination of two women to the Roman Catholic Priesthood in November 2007 in St. Louis.
Throughout the process of investigation, Sister Louise and St. Cronan’s parish community asked the Archbishop for opportunities to communicate personally with him. Instead of engaging Sister Louise in dialogue, the Archbishop acted in a legalistic manner. Instead of a pastoral approach, the Archbishop chose an adversarial process. Instead of using this situation as an opportunity for creative growth, the Archbishop retreated to outdated methods of control. Sister Louise and the community of St. Cronan’s asked for bread, so that they and the church could be nourished and grow. They received stones.
Together with the people of Saint Cronan’s and the National Coalition of American Nuns, we, the undersigned, stand in solidarity with Sister Louise Lears as a woman of integrity and courage. We stand with all men and women who seek a church that values gender equality in every aspect of life and ministry, including priestly ordination. We stand with all who feel oppressed by patriarchal and imperial structures in the Church, rather than the loving and compassionate model the Gospel reflects.
It is difficult to imagine that Peter would place Paul under interdict for advocating the admission of uncircumcised Gentiles into the faith community. It is difficult to imagine Jesus harshly punishing a faithful disciple for disagreeing with him. It is difficult to imagine how the Christian faith could develop without the voices of faithful dissent.
It is difficult to imagine a Gospel-based faith community that stifles freedom of conscience. We pray for Church leaders. We ask that they provide, not stones, but the bread of life for Sister Louise, for St. Cronan's community, and for all of us who seek nourishment.
Click here to sign the petition in support of Sister Louise
For additional information about Sister Louise and her case: