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Published May 22, 2012, 10:20 PM

Vatican cracking down on women's religious group

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The Vatican is cracking down on a group that represents 80% of the nuns in America. It says America's Leadership Conference of Women Religious is speaking out on issues the Catholic faith doesn't support, but now local Catholics and other faiths are standing in support of the group.

The Vatican is cracking down on a group that represents 80% of the nuns in America. It says America's Leadership Conference of Women Religious is speaking out on issues the Catholic faith doesn't support, but now local Catholics and other faiths are standing in support of the group.

In its assessment the church asked the LWCR to reform and separate themselves from issues like women's priesthood the inclusion of the gay community and social-economic justice. Today, nearly two dozen Catholics, and even people of other faiths gathered here outside St. Mary's in a strong showing of local support.

Helaine Arnold – Supporter of LCWR: “We're not here to protest anything. We're here to support, here to say we believe in these people.”

Women, men and children praying, holding signs and singing. For this group of people, their local sisters - known for teaching and giving back to the poor - have done nothing wrong.

Margaret Bitz – Supporter of LCWR: “Our religious leaders are great leaders in the church. They are the hope of the church.”

Vigils like this have taken place throughout the country since the decree came down, but there are no sisters behind this vigil or even in attendance. Many of these people are asking, is it the sisters that need reform, or the Vatican?

Margaret Bitz: “It was a lack of confidence in the leaders of religious women and that disturbed me.”

Helaine Arnold: “There are wonderful bishops, wonderful priests, but some of them have gone the way of corporations and they have gone the way of money and power.”

The national LCWR is expected to issue a response after their annual conference in August. As for if there will be any more vigils and demonstrations of support in between now and then, that's still up in the air.

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