As a Protestant, I have, as usual, been looking in from outside Catholicism at a running news story -- and finding myself profoundly puzzled.
News of the Vatican's condemnation of the largest organization representing Catholic nuns in the United States -- the Leadership Conference of Women Religious -- is not of the same magnitude as the long-running story of sexual abuse and cover-up in the church. But in its own way, it is needlessly damaging the church -- and not just the Catholic church, but the church universal.
It says to non-Christians that women cannot be trusted to think for themselves, to order their lives in ways that make sense, to take reasonable positions on issues, to be autonomous human beings outside the control of males.
I understand that some of these interpretations of what the Catholic church is saying to its women religious may be unfair, but as we all know, perception often trumps reality.