Monday, July 02, 2007

New Zealand bishop opposes Sr. Chittister's visit

~from The Press

The Catholic Bishop of Christchurch, Barry Jones, is opposing a visit by a controversial feminist nun from the United States.

He has written to priests saying that next week's visit by Benedictine nun Sister Joan Chittister is unauthorised.

Permission for the event had not been sought or given, and Jones did not want it promoted through Catholic churches.

"The point is that silence generates the misunderstanding that this is all approved, when it's not. I have made my position clear to the priests," he said.

Chittister, from Eire, Pennsylvania, has clashed with church authorities internationally over her strong stance on issues such as women's ordination and contraception.

She attended the first Women's Ordination Worldwide Conference in 2000, defying an order by the Vatican.

An independent group of Catholic lay people, the Adult Education Trust, has invited Chittister to Christchurch.

She will speak about spirituality, culture, justice and "God, women and the world".

Jones opposed the visit because he said Chittister did not agree with the Catholic Church's teachings.

"I don't see how I, as a bishop, can advance the teachings of the Catholic Church by appearing to condone other views," he said.

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