Volume > Issue > A Coming “Crackdown” in the U.S.?

A Coming “Crackdown” in the U.S.?

VATICAN WATCH

By James Hitchcock | January-February 1984

Earlier this year, when Sister Agnes Mary Mansour was asked by the Vatican to choose be­tween remaining a Sister of Mercy and administer­ing tax-funded abortions in Michigan, the choice was presented to her by a special emissary, Auxil­iary Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua of Brooklyn. It was a task that many bishops would not have want­ed to undertake.

In October, Bevilacqua was appointed to head the see of Pittsburgh, another sign that John Paul II is beginning to reshape the American hierarchy in accord with his own policies.

In September, American bishops in Rome heard a series of lectures by the Pope in which he strongly restated key Catholic doctrines that are too often denied in the United States, especially concerning the ordination of women to the priest­hood and traditional sexual morality. The tone and contents of the talks left little doubt that the Pope thinks some American bishops are less firm than they should be.

For some time it has been apparent that any serious effort to free American Roman Catholicism from the influence of neo-modernism will involve a confrontation with some of the bishops. Following the September speeches, some prelates (anony­mously) and certain leading dissidents (by name) began to express alarm over a coming Vatican “crackdown” in the United States.

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